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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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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
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).Read more ›
*strong (indistinguishable from human) artificial intelligence is possible
*we can develop self-replicating interstellar probes
*humans can be completely grown/raised/educated from stored DNA
*on every planet, these seeded human colonists accept the destiny we assigned to them
*nanotechnology is developed
*250-gigwatt lasers are feasible
*cost of materials relative to wages drops exponentially every 50 years
*antimatter exists, can be feasibly manufactured, and harnessed as a means of propulsion
*the universe is closed (will eventually contract)
*a virtual "emulation" of a person in a computer is the same "consciousness" as the original person
*all information in the physical universe can be retrieved without loss or distortion
*a simulation of a living being also recreates perfectly its unexpressed internal states
*emulations of every person in history can be made without also re-creating their diseases, conflicting ideologies, etc.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was given this book as a gift shortly after completing a master's project on a related topic. For what it's worth, as far as I got in the math in the appendix, it was correct. Read morePublished 3 months ago
A good read for its time and place in history. I learned a lot. R.E. TownePublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
Very interesting read even if you're not religious.Published 5 months ago by Margarita G. Gutierrez
I bought this book based upon the title alone. I should have read the reviews first.
It's a huge volume where he tries to develop a physics model for immortality, and... Read more
This is a very serious book and a very courageous one. A scientist going way out on a limb to try and prove religion. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Stephen Muires, author of Ordained - a novel.