Things were odd enough when we seemed to live peculiarly close the mid-life of the universe. But now it seems we live infinitesimally close to the birth of the universe ...
Most of the energy in the universe is dark energy. And yet, we are made of matter. The post-Big-Bang lifespan of the universe is very plausibly infinite. And yet, we find ourselves living within the first few tens of billions of years (a finite interval) after the Bang.
which produced a motley range of comments varying from funny to thoughtful to eccentric. One of them was particularly hard to characterize ...
.... As to the far future, my article on this, which cited Freeman Dyson and others, which first published the idea that we are most likely simulations by a far future dilute electron positron plasma civilization, and which served as the extensively quoted basis (quotation marks accidently omitted) of some Greg Benford novels, is:
“Human Destiny and the End of Time” [Quantum, No.39, Winter 1991/1992, Thrust Publications, 8217 Langport Terrace, Gaithersburg, MD 20877] ISSN 0198-6686
In fairness to Benford, who I think is being criticized here [update 12/7/07: see comment by Vos Post -- this is not a criticism of Benford], science fiction writers have been talking about 'life in a simulation' at least since the early 1980s and I dimly recall Dyson as talking about it eons ago.
For related discussions, see:
- Ten cosmologies and Theory 10
- Life seem absurd? Maybe it is.
- George Bush; Deity of the Computer Simulation?
- http://www.faughnan.com/setifail.html# (Footnote - Are You Living in a Computer Simulation? Nick Bostrom, Department of Philosophy, Oxford University. Philosophical Quarterly (2003), Vol. 53, No. 211, pp. 243-255.)
- In Our Time: Common Sense Philosophy: Descartes and Hume try to get out of their heads, and mostly fail to persuade anyone that they're not living in a simulation. Hume in particular seems to have struggled with the impossibility of proving he wasn't a "brain in a bottle", though it's easy to argue that Plato (and probably "Thog") was talking about a similar problem.