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The Physics of Immortality: Modern Cosmology, God and the Resurrection of the Dead Paperback – September 18, 1997


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The Physics of Immortality: Modern Cosmology, God and the Resurrection of the Dead + The Physics of Christianity + The Anthropic Cosmological Principle (Oxford Paperbacks)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor (September 18, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385467990
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385467995
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.1 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #855,241 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Mathematical physicist Tipler attempts to demonstrate via scientific principles the existence of God and the likelihood of reincarnation.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Expect to hear a great deal about this book, which will be boosted through major advertising and a 13-city author tour. Tipler, a professor of mathematical physics at Tulane, presents a scientific argument for the existence of God.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

173 of 201 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 23, 2002
Format: Paperback
I enjoy having my brain stretched, so, with that goal in mind, I picked up Dr. Frank J. Tipler's "Physics of Immortality."
There are a number of serious problems with this book, logical, scientific, philosophical, and theological, to wit:
1. The argument is completely circular. (The main thrust is that life, broadly defined, will be able to manipulate the physics of a closed universe in the final moments of its existence in such a way that a form of subjective immortality is possible, for all conscious intelligences, including ourselves.) In order to get from point A to point B, Tipler assumes part of his conclusion. He assumes that life must exist forever, and then uses that assumption in his proof, a definite logical no-no.
Similarly, Tipler includes a "proof" of his argument, saying, in essence that if certain facts about the Higgs boson and the top quark are true, he's right. His conclusions do not follow from his premises at all.
2. Even if one can accept Tipler's main argument, his subsidiary argument is weak. Tipler assumes that his future god-like intelligences will be beings of infinite compassion, who will grant you and I resurrection and immortality, essentially because they're nice guys. This seems like a very slender reed to lean on. The history of intelligent life on this planet (the only intelligence we know anything about) suggests that greater intelligence is not necessarily correlated with greater compassion.
3. Tipler goes off on a strange theological tangent when he attempts to equate his "omega point" being with the God of the Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity and Islam).
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58 of 71 people found the following review helpful By D. S. Bornus on October 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
The thesis in this book is that God (aka "the Omega Point" - an omniscient entity reminiscent of "Vger" in Star Trek) does not currently exist (but will develop at some point in the future) and will choose to replicate (emulate) exact duplicates of every human who has ever lived, in a virtual-reality Heaven. I made a list of the "if's" mentioned in this book, that all have to happen for this to occur:

IF

*strong (indistinguishable from human) artificial intelligence is possible

AND IF

*we can develop self-replicating interstellar probes

AND IF

*humans can be completely grown/raised/educated from stored DNA

AND IF

*on every planet, these seeded human colonists accept the destiny we assigned to them

AND IF

*nanotechnology is developed

AND IF

*250-gigwatt lasers are feasible

AND IF

*cost of materials relative to wages drops exponentially every 50 years

AND IF

*antimatter exists, can be feasibly manufactured, and harnessed as a means of propulsion

AND IF

*the universe is closed (will eventually contract)

AND IF

*a virtual "emulation" of a person in a computer is the same "consciousness" as the original person

AND IF

*all information in the physical universe can be retrieved without loss or distortion

AND IF

*a simulation of a living being also recreates perfectly its unexpressed internal states

AND IF

*emulations of every person in history can be made without also re-creating their diseases, conflicting ideologies, etc.
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32 of 38 people found the following review helpful By B. Sauerwine on June 3, 2008
Format: Paperback
A well-meaning relative saved this book from a box of books destined for a landfill, and she thought that as a physicist I might be interested in reading this book. I usually try to avoid books that try to justify faith through science since demanding proof is itself an insult to faith, but decided to give it a chance while waiting for my carpool one evening, I pulled it out and checked the table of contents. Two things caught my eye that I wanted to see his take on:

The first was how he proposed that one solves the Halting problem. The gist of the argument is this: he proposes that one starts with a mechanical Turing machine, then adds energy to the parts until they travel at relativistic speed. He proposes then that one could perform an infinite number of calculations in a finite time, and avoid the halting problem entirely by checking to see if the program was finished.

There are two problems obvious to someone with even an elementary understanding of physics and computation theory: One, this plan requires an infinite amount of energy. More energy than exists in the universe. Two, supposing one was able to do this, it would require one to go on a speed of light voyage and return to the computer later. The problem is that to do this would not actually solve the Halting problem. In fact, it would just allow one to conclude that the computer had or had not stopped for some extremely and possibly even asymptotically large period of time--even if this intractable voyage was possible, it still wouldn't solve the problem. To his credit, the author says that this is merely a proposal and does not say whether it is an actual solution to the Halting problem.
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