November 21, 2002
ALPHA AND OMEGA:God Is the Machine: IN THE BEGINNING THERE WAS 0. AND THEN THERE WAS 1. A MIND-BENDING MEDITATION ON THE TRANSCENDENT POWER OF DIGITAL COMPUTATION. (Kevin Kelly, December 2002 , Wired)
Probably the trippiest science book ever written is The Physics of Immortality, by Frank Tipler. If this book was labeled standard science fiction, no one would notice, but Tipler is a reputable physicist and Tulane University professor who writes papers for the International Journal of Theoretical Physics. In Immortality, he uses current understandings of cosmology and computation to declare that all living beings will be bodily resurrected after the universe dies. His argument runs roughly as follows: As the universe collapses upon itself in the last minutes of time, the final space-time singularity creates (just once) infinite energy and computing capacity. In other words, as the giant universal computer keeps shrinking in size, its power increases to the point at which it can simulate precisely the entire historical universe, past and present and possible. He calls this state the Omega Point. It is a computational space that can resurrect "from the dead" all the minds and bodies that have ever lived. The weird thing is that Tipler was an atheist when he developed this theory and discounted as mere "coincidence" the parallels between his ideas and the Christian doctrine of Heavenly Resurrection. Since then, he says, science has convinced him that the two may be identical.
While not everyone goes along with Tipler's eschatological speculations, theorists like Deutsch endorse his physics. An Omega Computer is possible and probably likely, they say.
That's kind of the long way around to faith, isn't it? Posted by Orrin Judd at November 21, 2002 11:59 PM