Re: virus: Re: God Hypothesis

Mitchell Porter (
Tue, 27 Feb 1996 10:15:56 +1000 (EST)

> >On Feb 25 Amado Gramajo wrote:
> >>...It is time scientists consider the God Hypothesis.

(Amado is quoting Tipler's introduction here, incidentally.)

> As in any scientific hypothesis, I would like to see here:
> - reasons why this hypothesis should be made - preferably, some
> observed and reproducible phenomena that lead us to believe
> that postulated existence of this "God" object may actually
> improve our understanding of some area, and help us make things.

Tipler, I think, came up with all this when he was thinking about
conditions near the final singularity in a big-crunch universe
that has been completely taken over by intelligent beings. I
surmise that he had a go at attributing some of the alleged
properties of God (omnipotence, omnipresence) to his final mind or
final coalition of minds, and felt that they held.

I don't see why it should be preferable that _any_ scientific hypothesis
should help us make things. That would appear to render hypotheses in
paleoanthropology, for example, somehow inferior (unless they relate to
the tool-making practices of the Paleolithic). But in this case, Tipler's
God is one that we or other intelligent beings have to make (or at least,
we must make its precursors), so you _could_ argue that the theory
will "help" us make something, by motivating us to do so - showing us
the wonderful things that a universe-spanning superintelligence will do
for us (or for our resurrected copies), if only we'll help it come into
being. That would be special pleading, however.

> - a clear description of the postulated features of this object.

See the final part of Tipler's fourth chapter.

> - a description of experimental methods that may allow us to verify
> that the described object actually exist.

Tipler's fourth chapter lists six "testable predictions of the
Omega Point Theory". These all turn out to be physical conditions
he believes must be met if his Eternal Life Postulate is to be
possible. This postulate is that "information processing" will be
going on somewhere in the universe, arbitrarily far into the
future, and that the amount of information processed and stored
will increase without bound. Some of the predictions are indeed
testable (those concerning particle properties and cosmology).

My opinion is that Tipler's theory is interesting but contains a
number of dubious claims. He's vague about how information is
stored in the very final states of the universe, he is inconsistent
with his quantum ontology, and even if the universe allows for
something like his Omega Point intelligence, that's a far cry from
demonstrating its necessity (something else he attempts). For
anyone who wants to explore his ideas, I would again recommend
Anders Sandberg's Omega Point page (which contains the exact
statement of the Eternal Life Postulate) and the omega-point-theory
mailing list.

Omega Point: