2007-05-17

The Science of God

Although I missed the original airing, today I discovered the video and transcript of a news story entitled “The Science of God” recently presented by First Coast News, a local television news program, about a scientist who claims to have proven not only God but Christianity with physics. The man is Frank J. Tipler and his hypothesis is the omega point.

Tipler seems to toss the word proof around without justification. His omega point is not an accepted theory and has even been dismissed as pseudoscience by prominent scientists. Furthermore, it depends on other hypotheses which are still hotly debated. Puzzlingly, he identifies a hypothetical future state of the universe itself as the immaterial, eternal, personal creator of the universe. In the article, he refers to three “hypostases” of reality, a supposed trinity which somehow “proves” that a historically-questionable, illiterate, itinerant Jewish preacher in first-century Palestine executed for blasphemy is the only begotten son of God because some of his later followers decided to teach an unintelligible doctrine that God is three persons in one being based on confusing and contradictory sayings patched together long after his death. Tipler absurdly compares the certainty of his conclusion that Christianity is true and all other religions are false to “2+2=4”. He also claims that Biblical miracles can be explained by physics, but the only hint how given in the video was the suggestion that since God wrote the laws of physics, he can change them at his whim. This non-explanation is the epitome of banality. I doubt Tipler's work has any affect on anyone who wasn't already inclined and acclimated toward Christianity. Tipler, for the record, was born in Alabama, was raised as a Christian and now works at Tulane University in Louisiana. It's absolutely no surprise that he doesn't now claim to have proven the truth of Hinduism.

News stories like this are standard fare. They champion the uneducated, simple believer over the arrogant atheist intelligentsia, supposedly beating them on their own turf and validating the believer's traditional (read: backward) values. Never mind that the scientist's hypothesis is completely unproven and his conclusions are patently ridiculous; the man has proven almighty God with math and science! Stories like this don't even register a blip on a skeptic's radar.

The article features a comment section which displays a disturbing tendency within Christian thinking which probably merits its own entry, that it doesn't matter at all why you believe, just as long as you do. Several posters made this remark and no believer disagreed. Admittedly, it makes some sense given that they believe you will be tortured in a lake of fire if you believe the wrong things when you die, but this doctrine itself is remarkably perverse and despicable. The further conclusion that reasons for believing something are unimportant is very harmful to rational and critical thought.

Perhaps Tipler will continue his research and will eventually discover which sect of Christianity in particular quantum physics validates as the one true faith. We all need to know whether to join the Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1879 or the Reformed Baptist Church of God, Reformation of 1915 to save our eternal souls from damnation.

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4 comments:

Anonymous said...

For the record, Frank Tipler is a world-renowned theoretical physicist, not an "uneducated" believer trumping the intelligentsia. His work is dense and complicated (half the footnotes are equations). One might choose not to be persuaded, but this is hardly "dog bites man" cultural Christianity striking again.

Secular Planet said...

No, Tipler himself is not uneducated, but most of the people who would point to him as having proven God have no idea what he even said.

And how does one "choose" to be persuaded by the arguments? His math might be valid, but his theological conclusions are patently absurd and completely unsupported by his research (i.e., "he identifies a hypothetical future state of the universe itself as the immaterial, eternal, personal creator of the universe"),

James Redford said...

Prof. Frank J. Tipler didn't say in the news report that God changes the laws of physics at His whim. Rather, Tipler mentioned that the miracles performed by Jesus Christ could be achieved through a mechanism provided by the Standard Model of particle physics. This process uses baryon annihilation, and its inverse, via electroweak quantum tunneling controlled by the cosmological end state of the Omega Point (since in physics it's just as accurate to say that causation goes from future to past events: viz, the principle of least action; and unitarity). Tipler maintains, along with traditional Christian theology, that God does not violate natural law: that He knew in the beginning what He wanted to accomplish and so designed the laws of physics so that He wouldn't have to violate them.

For much more on this, I cordially invite you to read Prof. Frank J. Tipler's below paper, which among other things demonstrates that the known laws of physics (i.e., general relativity, quantum mechanics, and the Standard Model of particle physics) require that the universe end in the Omega Point:

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. http://math.tulane.edu/~tipler/theoryofeverything.pdf Also released as "Feynman-Weinberg Quantum Gravity and the Extended Standard Model as a Theory of Everything," arXiv:0704.3276, April 24, 2007. http://arxiv.org/abs/0704.3276

See also the below website for more on the Omega Point Theory:

Theophysics http://geocities.com/theophysics/

Nor are actual Christian values (i.e., the values preached by Jesus Christ) backwards. Jesus Christ was far ahead of His time, and the world is still a long ways from catching up with Him. For much more on that, see my below article:

James Redford, "Jesus Is an Anarchist," revised and expanded edition, June 1, 2006 (originally published December 19, 2001) http://praxeology.net/anarchist-jesus.pdf

Tipler is Professor of Mathematics and Physics (joint appointment). His Ph.D. is in the field of global general relativity (the same rarefied field of Roger Penrose and Stephen Hawking), 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, such as Reports on Progress in Physics (which is the leading journal of the Institute of Physics, England's main professional body for physicists), Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (one of the world's leading astrophysics journals), the International Journal of Theoretical Physics, Physics Letters B, 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), wrote in his 1997 book The Fabric of Reality regarding Prof. Tipler's Omega Point Theory:

""
I believe that the omega-point theory deserves to become the prevailing theory of the future of spacetime until and unless it is experimentally (or otherwise) refuted. (Experimental refutation is possible because the existence of an omega point in our future places certain constraints on the condition of the universe today.)
""

Prof. Deutsch later comments within a concluding paragraph of the same chapter regarding the synthesis of the topics in his book, which includes the Omega Point Theory:

""
It seems to me that at the current state of our scientific knowledge, this is the 'natural' view to hold. It is the conservative view, the one that does not propose any startling change in our best fundamental explanations. Therefore it ought to be the prevailing view, the one against which proposed innovations are judged. That is the role I am advocating for it. I am not hoping to create a new orthodoxy; far from it. As I have said, I think it is time to move on. But we can move to better theories only if we take our best existing theories seriously, as explanations of the world.
""

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. http://geocities.com/theophysics/deutsch-ends-of-the-universe.html

secular planet said...

Whether Yahweh defines the laws of physics at the beginning of time or alters them at the actual moment of a miraculous event is irrelevant. In either case, the omnipotent creator of the universe seems to lack the creativity or the ability to perform anything but banal parlor tricks, known to us only by unreliable ancient accounts. Color me unimpressed. I wonder whether Tipler's theories provide a mechanism solely for Christian miracles and not for those of other religions even though they have essentially the miracles and many precede Yeshua by centuries or millennia. I really don't care enough to wade through pages of otherwise uninteresting material to find out.

With regard to Christian values: Jesus was the leader of an messianic, apocalyptic cult whose teachings only make sense within that context. His instructions for living are completely impractical and his morality is unoriginal and authoritarian. His doctrine of eternal punishment is supremely evil. The western world is far ahead of him with the abolition of slavery, equal treatment of women, and religious freedom, just to name a few.