Frank J. Tipler


Frank J. Tipler
Frank Jennings Tipler
Born February 1, 1947 (1947-02-01) (age 64)
Andalusia, Alabama
Nationality American
Education PhD (Physics)
Alma mater Massachusetts Institute of Technology; University of Maryland, College Park
Occupation Mathematical physicist
Employer Tulane University
Known for Omega Point Theory
The Physics of Immortality
Religion Christianity
Website
http://math.tulane.edu/~tipler/

Frank Jennings Tipler (born February 1, 1947 in Andalusia, Alabama[1]) is a mathematical physicist and cosmologist, holding a joint appointment in the Departments of Mathematics and Physics at Tulane University.[2] Tipler has authored books and papers on the Omega Point, which he claims is a mechanism for the resurrection of the dead. It has been labeled as pseudoscience by some.[3] Tipler is a fellow of the International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design, a society advocating intelligent design.[4]

Contents

Biography

Tipler is the son of Frank Jennings Tipler Jr., a lawyer, and Anne Tipler, a homemaker.[1] From 1965 through 1969, Tipler attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he completed a bachelor of science degree in physics.[2] In 1976 he earned his doctor of philosophy (Ph.D.) degree from the University of Maryland.[5] Tipler was next hired in a series of postdoctoral researcher positions in physics at three universities, with the final one being at the University of Texas, working under John Archibald Wheeler, Abraham Taub, Rainer Sachs, and Dennis Sciama.[2] Tipler became an Associate Professor in mathematical physics in 1981, and a full Professor in 1987 at Tulane University, where he has been a faculty member ever since.[2]

Work in physics

The Omega Point cosmology

The Omega Point is a term Tipler uses to describe a cosmological state in the distant proper time future of the universe that he maintains is required by the known physical laws. According to Tipler's Omega Point cosmology, for the known laws of physics to be mutually consistent it is required that intelligent life take over all matter in the universe and eventually force the collapse of the universe. During that collapse the computational capacity of the universe diverges to infinity and environments emulated with that computational capacity last for infinite duration as the universe goes into a solitary-point cosmological singularity (with life eventually using elementary particles to directly compute on, due to the temperature's diverging to infinity), which singularity Tipler terms the Omega Point.[6] With computational resources diverging to infinity, Tipler states that the far-future society will be able to resurrect the dead by perfectly emulating the entire multiverse from its start at the Big Bang.[7] Tipler identifies the Omega Point final singularity as God since in his view the Omega Point has all the properties claimed for God by most of the traditional religions.[7][8]

Tipler's argument that the Omega Point cosmology is required by the known physical laws is a more recent development that came after the publication of his 1994 book The Physics of Immortality.[citation needed] In that book, and in papers Tipler published up to that time, he had offered the Omega Point cosmology as a hypothesis, while still claiming to confine the analysis to the known laws of physics.[9]

Tipler defined the "final anthropic principle" (FAP) along with co-author physicist John D. Barrow in their highly cited 1986 book The Anthropic Cosmological Principle as a generalization of the anthropic principle[10] as follows:

Intelligent information-processing must come into existence in the Universe, and, once it comes into existence, will never die out.

Critics of the final anthropic principle say its arguments violate the Copernican principle, that it incorrectly applies the laws of probability, and that it is really a theology or metaphysics principle made to sound plausible to laypeople by using the esoteric language of physics. Martin Gardner dubbed FAP the "completely ridiculous anthropic principle" (CRAP).[11] Oxford-based philosopher Nick Bostrom writes that the final anthropic principle has no claim on any special methodological status, it is "pure speculation", despite attempts to elevate it by calling it a "principle".[12] Philosopher Rem B. Edwards called it "futuristic, pseudoscientific eschatology" that is "highly conjectural, unverified, and improbable".[13]

Physicist David Deutsch incorporates Tipler's Omega Point cosmology as a central feature of the fourth strand of his "four strands" concept of fundamental reality and defends the physics of the Omega Point cosmology,[14] although he is highly critical of Tipler's theological conclusions[15] and what Deutsch states are exaggerated claims that have caused other scientists and philosophers to reject his theory out of hand.[16] Researcher Anders Sandberg pointed out that he believes the Omega Point Theory has many flaws, including missing proofs.[17]

Tipler's Omega Point theories have received criticism by physicists and skeptics.[18][19][20] George Ellis, writing in the journal Nature, described Tipler's book on the Omega Point as "a masterpiece of pseudoscience ... the product of a fertile and creative imagination unhampered by the normal constraints of scientific and philosophical discipline",[3] and Michael Shermer devoted a chapter of Why People Believe Weird Things to enumerating what he thought to be flaws in Tipler's thesis.[21] Physicist Sean M. Carroll thought Tipler's early work was constructive but that now he has become a "crackpot".[22]

Quantum gravity and the theory of everything

In a Reports on Progress in Physics paper included in the journal's "Highlights of 2005",[23] Tipler combines the Omega Point, a version of quantum gravity, and an extended Standard Model of subatomic particles to form what he maintains is the correct theory of everything describing and unifying all the fundamental interactions in physics.[24]

Extraterrestrial Beings Do Not Exist

In 1981, Tipler published a paper entitled Extraterrestrial Intelligent Beings Do Not Exist.[25] In it, he builds on the Fermi paradox and others to propose the theory that the number of intelligent life forms in the galaxy equals one, us. He points out that mankind is close to having the technology that makes colonization of the galaxy feasible, and further points out that, in accordance with the mediocrity principle, so would any other intelligent life form.

He discusses the SETI effort, and builds a case that the most efficient means to search for other beings is to use von Neumann self-replicating machines. Using this method, Tipler calculates that the entire galaxy could be explored and colonized in less than 300 million years, a reasonably short amount of time on the geologic time scale and especially as compared to the age of the universe.

In his paper, Tipler equates believers in extraterrestrials with believers in UFOs, and surmises that both share the same motivation:

The point is that a belief in the existence of extraterrestrial intelligent beings anywhere in the galaxy is not significantly different from the widespread belief that UFOs are extraterrestrial spaceships. In fact, I strongly suspect the psychological motivation of both beliefs to be the same, namely 'The expectation that we are going to be saved from ourselves by some miraculous interstellar intervention...'

In the above, the author of the statement that Tipler quotes was Carl Sagan, a noted proponent of SETI.[25]

Intelligent design

Tipler's writings on scientific peer review[26] have been cited by William A. Dembski as having formed the basis of the process for "peer review" in the intelligent design journal Progress in Complexity, Information and Design of the International Society for Complexity, Information and Design, where both Tipler and Dembski served as fellows.[4]

Selected writings

Books

  • Frank J. Tipler (2007). The Physics of Christianity. New York: Doubleday. ISBN 0385514247. 
  • Frank J. Tipler (1994). The Physics of Immortality: Modern Cosmology, God and the Resurrection of the Dead. New York: Doubleday. ISBN 0198519494. 
  • Frank J. Tipler (1997). The Physics of Immortality: Modern Cosmology, God and the Resurrection of the Dead. Anchor. pp. 560. ISBN 978-0385467995. 
  • Frank J. Tipler; John D. Barrow (1986). The Anthropic Cosmological Principle. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0198519494. 

Articles

See also

References

  1. ^ a b Terrie M. Rooney (editor) (1997). Contemporary Authors. 157. Farmington Hills (MI): Thomson Gale. p. 407. ISBN 0787611832. 
  2. ^ a b c d Frank J. Tipler (2007). "Biography". Frank J. Tipler's Tulane University website. http://math.tulane.edu/~tipler/biography.htm. 
  3. ^ a b George Ellis (1994). "Review of The Physics of Immortality". Nature 371 (6493): 115. Bibcode 1994Natur.371..115E. doi:10.1038/371115a0. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v371/n6493/pdf/371115a0.pdf. 
  4. ^ a b "ISCID Fellows". International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design. http://www.iscid.org/fellows.php. Retrieved 2010-03-11. 
  5. ^ Frank J. Tipler (1976). Causality Violation in General Relativity (PhD thesis). University of Maryland. Bibcode 1976PhDT........61T. 
       Source: Dissertation Abstracts International. 37. p. B2923. 
  6. ^ Frank J. Tipler, Jessica Graber, Matthew McGinley, Joshua Nichols-Barrer and Christopher Staecker, "Closed Universes With Black Holes But No Event Horizons As a Solution to the Black Hole Information Problem", March 20, 2000. Published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 379, Issue 2 (August 2007), pp. 629-640, doi:10.1111/j.1365-2966.2007.11895.x, Bibcode2007MNRAS.379..629T.
  7. ^ a b Frank J. Tipler, "The Omega Point as Eschaton: Answers to Pannenberg's Questions for Scientists", Zygon: Journal of Religion & Science, Vol. 24, Issue 2 (June 1989), pp. 217-253, doi:10.1111/j.1467-9744.1989.tb01112.x.
  8. ^ Frank J. Tipler (1997). The Physics of Immortality: Modern Cosmology, God and the Resurrection of the Dead. New York: Doubleday. pp. 560. ISBN 0385467982. 
  9. ^ Frank J. Tipler, "Cosmological Limits on Computation", International Journal of Theoretical Physics, Vol. 25, No. 6 (June 1986), pp. 617-661, doi:10.1007/BF00670475, Bibcode1986IJTP...25..617T. (First paper on the Omega Point Theory.)
  10. ^ Barrow, John D.; Tipler, Frank J. (19 May 1988). The Anthropic Cosmological Principle. foreword by John A. Wheeler. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780192821478. LC 87-28148. http://books.google.com/books?id=uSykSbXklWEC&printsec=frontcover. Retrieved 31 December 2009. 
  11. ^ Gardner, M., "WAP, SAP, PAP, and FAP," The New York Review of Books 23, No. 8 (May 8, 1986): 22-25.
  12. ^ Bostrom, Nick (2002). Anthropic bias: observation selection effects in science and philosophy. Psychology Press. ISBN 9780415938587. http://books.google.com/books?id=TZ5FLwnCTMAC&pg=PA50&dq=Final+anthropic+principle+barrow+tipler#v=onepage&q=Final%20anthropic%20principle%20barrow%20tipler&f=false. Retrieved March 16, 2011. 
  13. ^ Edwards, Rem Blanchard (2001). What caused the big bang?. Rodopi. ISBN 9789042014077. http://books.google.com/books?id=3y5xm4rUf58C&pg=PA203&dq=Final+anthropic+principle+barrow+tipler#v=onepage&q=Final%20anthropic%20principle%20barrow%20tipler&f=false. Retrieved March 17, 2011. 
  14. ^ David Deutsch (1997). "The Ends of the Universe". The Fabric of Reality: The Science of Parallel Universes—and Its Implications. London: Penguin Press. ISBN 0713990619. 
  15. ^ Mackey, James Patrick (2000). The critique of theological reason. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521772938. http://books.google.com/?id=jNZy1docFVsC&pg=PA128&lpg=PA128&dq=david+deutsch+tipler&q=david%20deutsch%20tipler. 
  16. ^ Shermer, Michael (2003). How we believe: science, skepticism, and the search for God. Macmillan. ISBN 9780805074796. http://books.google.com/?id=Im4Yl8qVuQEC&pg=PA107&dq=deutsch+tipler&q=according%20deutsch%20tipler. 
  17. ^ Anders Sandberg, "My Thoughts and Comments on the Omega Point Theory of Frank J. Tipler"
  18. ^ Gardner, Martin (March / April 2008). "The Strange Case of Frank Jennings Tipler". Book Review, "The Physics of Christianity". The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. http://www.csicop.org/si/show/the_strange_case_of_frank_jennings_tipler. Retrieved 29 June 2010. 
  19. ^ John Polkinghorne (1995). "I am the Alpha and the Omega Point". New Scientist (1963): 41. http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg14519634.400-i-am-the-alpha-and-the-omega-point.html. 
  20. ^ Richard G. Baker (1995). "Fossils Worth Studying". Science 267 (5200): 1043–1044. Bibcode 1995Sci...267.1043E. doi:10.1126/science.267.5200.1043. PMID 17811443. http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/reprint/sci;267/5200/1043?maxtoshow=&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&volume=267&firstpage=1043&resourcetype=HWCIT.pdf. 
  21. ^ Shermer, Michael (1997). Why People Believe Weird Things. W.H. Freeman. ISBN 0-7167-3090-1. 
  22. ^ The Varieties of Crackpot Experience. Sean Carroll, Jan 5 2009. Discover Magazine, Cosmic Variance blog.
  23. ^ Richard Palmer, Publisher, "Highlights of 2005", Reports on Progress in Physics; original URL, now dead.
  24. ^ 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, doi:10.1088/0034-4885/68/4/R04, Bibcode2005RPPh...68..897T.
  25. ^ a b "Extraterrestrial Intelligent Beings Do Not Exist", Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society, vol. 21, number 267 (1981)
  26. ^ Frank J. Tipler (2003). "Refereed Journals: Do They Insure Quality or Enforce Orthodoxy?". http://www.iscid.org/papers/Tipler_PeerReview_070103.pdf. Retrieved 2011-03-14. 

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