Wednesday 23 April 2008

Frank Tipler and the "Omega Point"

I think my Daemon was especially active during a recent visit to the library, helping me to find all manner of reading materials with an ITLADian/CTFian slant. One of these is a book called The Spiritual Universe, by Fred Alan Wolf (one of the physicists who appears in the film What the Bleep Do We Know!?) In Chapter 5, Wolf outlines physicist Frank Tipler's "omega point" theory, which is proposed in the book The Physics of Immortality. I can't say I comprehend the theory perfectly, but it's all just so ITLADian, CTFian, Matrix-ian, etc., that I simply had to post an outline here -- and my apologies if this theory has already been discussed here on this blog at some other time.
To quote Wolf:

"Tipler, basing his ideas on Einstein's equations, proposed that the universe will proceed from the big bang, expand for a while, and then contract to the big crunch -- a finale he calls the omega point after Teilhard de Chardin, who originally came up with the idea of a final time. . . ."

"Of course the universe can expand and then collapse in different ways. In some of these ways objects can get out of touch with each other, meaning they become too far apart for any light-signaling to reach each other. This becomes a real problem near the end of time when the universe undergoes collapse; if it collapses to a series of separated volumes, communication to different regions around the collapse points will not be possible. If, on the other hand, the collapse continues to a single point, the omega, communication can continue to the very end.

"Tipler's model universe, which he hopes is like our universe, expands and contracts in such a way that failure to communicate will never occur. But as nice and neighborly as this may seem, Tipler's universe will still, unfortunately, come to a devastating end at the omega point. What actually happens is that the universe uniformly expands for a while, reaches a maximum radius, and then uniformly contracts to a big crunch with nary a wrinkle in the fabric of space (meaning no pockets of space form or get pinched off during contraction.) But -- and this is the big but -- if all goes well, we won't know that the universe is coming to a dead end, even though it is doing so, because we will be too engrossed, much too busy to ever notice.

"What will we all be doing? We will all be contained as computer programs in nanotechnologically designed micro-micro devices hardly a few pounds in weight. Our souls will be ghosts in machines, computer analogies of ourselves, and we won't even know it. That is, we won't even remember what we once were when these devices suddenly resurrect us as fleeting bits of data. How can this be? How could we ever be constructed as fleeting bits of data and not flesh and blood?

"Tipler answers that although we as flesh and blood creatures assuredly won't be there, our information will. His answer is based on the assumption that the universe is deterministic. In other words, even though the universe may be chaotic, nothing is ever lost. All of the information, every single bit of it, may be scattered from here to the end of the universe; nevertheless, it is still there. By the time the universe comes to an end -- the big crunch finale -- the universe will have grown small enough for intelligent machines to fetch and record all of this information . . . ."

"As the universe goes from birth to death, heaven and hell arise as naturally as apple pie at omega in a complex of highly speeded computerized nanotechnology that reproduces, at the final instant of time, a virtual reality of every thing that ever was. All we need is for life to be simulated by programs, a kind of virtual reality on the scale of microns and nanoseconds rather than on the human scale of meters and seconds. This means that these computer simulations will be processing information extremely quickly. In fact, as the universe approaches omega, when everything that once was far apart gets extremely close, things will be speeded up even more into a kind of complex, gigantic but ever-decreasing-in-size universal, computer-generated, virtual, orgiastic frenzy.

"This is Tipler's vision of heaven. It's in the last few billionths of a billionth of a billionth of a second heading toward omega that the fun really happens, and we all get resurrected in a virtual-reality simulation carrying out all of the lifetimes of humanity and perhaps even enjoying other previous life forms. We also will live through and repeat all of the hells and wars we have created. There is nothing, in principle, left out."

-- from "The Spiritual Universe: One Physicist's Vision of Spirit, Soul, Matter, and Self," by Fred Alan Wolf, Ph.D.

[My question is, How do we know this omega point scenario hasn't already happened, and we aren't already re-experiencing a computer-generated simulation? Looked at from an ITLADian perspective, I'd have to say that it's highly likely that it HAS already happened!]


johar said...

Hi dreamer, As usual this post has overlapped with thought processes of my own. Whilst I don't know that we have already reached omega (personally I don't think we have but have no evidence for my opinion) I made a comment in reply to Karl's post on the memory pill and CTF pill
'Eventually new humans will be born, at one with their duality, higher beings, the next evolutionary step? Would this allow us to time travel, communicate telepathically, find balance, harmony and fundamental connection with the universe. Would it eventually lead to us all experiencing each other subjectively, inhabiting a global phaneron of consciousness?
Now if and when the omega point occurs, we may have already reached the point where we are pure consciousness and therefore exist perfectly happily within the omega dimension. Couldn't we conceivably be heading towards this in an evolutionary way to prepare for the omega point?

Dreamer said...

Good point (ha! "point"!) Johar -- if we learn to exist as pure consciousness, without bodies, then it won't matter if the physical universe no longer exists.

Anthony Peake said...

Last June I did apresentation at the Annual Gathering of the Scientific And Medical Network. In the audience were such luminaries as Dr. Peter Fenwick, David Lorimer and Paul Deveraux (Google them - all very interesting writers and researchers). I based this talk around the itladian aspects of Tipler's 'Omega Point' This seemed to go down very well and brought about a very lively debate in the auditorium. (Nearly as lively as the discussions on this blog!)

I agree totally that Tipler's theory is profoundly itladian and I strongly advise that those of you who have not heard of this theory should check it out.

Karl Le Marcs said...

"if we learn to exist as pure consciousness, without bodies, then it won't matter if the physical universe no longer exists"

Such as in Daemonically guided recurrences within our own subjective phaneron and time-lines?

Surely we are already beyond Omega (but then as time itself is cyclical then we are, at once, both before and beyond Omega)

Or some such !

James Redford said...

For much more on Prof. Frank J. Tipler's work, see his below paper, which among other things demonstrates that the known laws of physics (i.e., the Second Law of Thermodynamics, general relativity, quantum mechanics, and the Standard Model of particle physics) require that the universe end in the Omega Point (the final cosmological singularity and state of infinite informational capacity identified as being God):

F. J. Tipler, "The structure of the world from pure numbers," Reports on Progress in Physics, Vol. 68, No. 4 (April 2005), pp. 897-964. Also released as "Feynman-Weinberg Quantum Gravity and the Extended Standard Model as a Theory of Everything," arXiv:0704.3276, April 24, 2007.

Out of 50 articles, Prof. Tipler's above paper was selected as one of 12 for the "Highlights of 2005" accolade as "the very best articles published in Reports on Progress in Physics in 2005 [Vol. 68]. Articles were selected by the Editorial Board for their outstanding reviews of the field. They all received the highest praise from our international referees and a high number of downloads from the journal Website." (See Richard Palmer, Publisher, "Highlights of 2005," Reports on Progress in Physics. ) Reports on Progress in Physics is the leading journal of the Institute of Physics, Britain's main professional body for physicists.

See also the below resources for further information on the Omega Point Theory:


"Omega Point (Tipler)," Wikipedia, April 16, 2008

"Frank J. Tipler," Wikipedia, April 16, 2008

Tipler is Professor of Mathematics and Physics (joint appointment) at Tulane University. His Ph.D. is in the field of global general relativity (the same rarefied field that Roger Penrose and Stephen Hawking developed), and he is also an expert in particle physics and computer science. His Omega Point Theory has been published in a number of prestigious peer-reviewed physics and science journals in addition to Reports on Progress in Physics, such as Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (one of the world's leading astrophysics journals), Physics Letters B, the International Journal of Theoretical Physics, etc.

Prof. John A. Wheeler (the father of most relativity research in the U.S.) wrote that "Frank Tipler is widely known for important concepts and theorems in general relativity and gravitation physics" on pg. viii in the "Foreword" to The Anthropic Cosmological Principle (1986) by cosmologist Prof. John D. Barrow and Tipler, which was the first book wherein Tipler's Omega Point Theory was described.

The leading quantum physicist in the world, Prof. David Deutsch (inventor of the quantum computer, being the first person to mathematically describe the workings of such a device, and winner of the Institute of Physics' 1998 Paul Dirac Medal and Prize for his work), endorses the physics of the Omega Point Theory in his book The Fabric of Reality (1997). For that, see

David Deutsch, extracts from Chapter 14: "The Ends of the Universe" of The Fabric of Reality: The Science of Parallel Universes--and Its Implications (London: Allen Lane The Penguin Press, 1997), ISBN: 0713990619; with additional comments by Frank J. Tipler.

The only way to avoid the Omega Point cosmology is to invent tenuous physical theories which have no experimental support and which violate the known laws of physics, such as with Prof. Stephen Hawking's paper on the black hole information issue which is dependant on the conjectured string theory-based anti-de Sitter space/conformal field theory correspondence (AdS/CFT correspondence). See S. W. Hawking, "Information loss in black holes," Physical Review D, Vol. 72, No. 8, 084013 (October 2005); also at arXiv:hep-th/0507171, July 18, 2005.

That is, Hawking's paper is based upon proposed, unconfirmed physics. It's an impressive testament to the Omega Point Theory's correctness, as Hawking implicitly confirms that the known laws of physics require the universe to collapse in finite time. Hawking realizes that the black hole information issue must be resolved without violating unitarity, yet he's forced to abandon the known laws of physics in order to avoid unitarity violation without the universe collapsing.

Some have suggested that the universe's current acceleration of its expansion obviates the universe collapsing (and therefore obviates the Omega Point). But as Profs. Lawrence M. Krauss and Michael S. Turner point out in "Geometry and Destiny" (General Relativity and Gravitation, Vol. 31, No. 10 [October 1999], pp. 1453-1459; also at arXiv:astro-ph/9904020, April 1, 1999 ), there is no set of cosmological observations which can tell us whether the universe will expand forever or eventually collapse.

There's a very good reason for that, because that is dependant on the actions of intelligent life. The known laws of physics provide the mechanism for the universe's collapse. As required by the Standard Model, the net baryon number was created in the early universe by baryogenesis via electroweak quantum tunneling. This necessarily forces the Higgs field to be in a vacuum state that is not its absolute vacuum, which is the cause of the positive cosmological constant. But if the baryons in the universe were to be annihilated by the inverse of baryogenesis, again via electroweak quantum tunneling (which is allowed in the Standard Model, as B - L is conserved), then this would force the Higgs field toward its absolute vacuum, cancelling the positive cosmological constant and thereby forcing the universe to collapse. Moreover, this process would provide the ideal form of energy resource and rocket propulsion during the colonization phase of the universe.

Prof. Tipler's above Reports on Progress in Physics paper also demonstrates that the correct quantum gravity theory has existed since 1962, first discovered by Richard Feynman in that year, and independently discovered by Steven Weinberg and Bryce DeWitt, among others. But because these physicists were looking for equations with a finite number of terms (i.e., derivatives no higher than second order), they abandoned this qualitatively unique quantum gravity theory since in order for it to be consistent it requires an arbitrarily higher number of terms. Further, they didn't realize that this proper theory of quantum gravity is consistent only with a certain set of boundary conditions imposed (which includes the initial Big Bang, and the final Omega Point, cosmological singularities). The equations for this theory of quantum gravity are term-by-term finite, but the same mechanism that forces each term in the series to be finite also forces the entire series to be infinite (i.e., infinities that would otherwise occur in spacetime, consequently destabilizing it, are transferred to the cosmological singularities, thereby preventing the universe from immediately collapsing into nonexistence). As Tipler notes in his 2007 book The Physics of Christianity (pp. 49 and 279), "It is a fundamental mathematical fact that this [infinite series] is the best that we can do. ... This is somewhat analogous to Liouville's theorem in complex analysis, which says that all analytic functions other than constants have singularities either a finite distance from the origin of coordinates or at infinity."

When combined with the Standard Model, the result is a Theory of Everything (TOE) correctly describing and unifying all the forces in physics.

ra from ca said...

Thanks for the interesting post dreamer. I will look into this some more.