Tipler's Conjectures

From: Lee Corbin (lcorbin@ricochet.net)
Date: Tue May 01 2001 - 23:03:04 MDT

I had written

>> If persons now living do manage to get past the
>> next couple of centuries, nothing prevents them
>> from establishing numerous copies of themselves
>> throughout the universe, and the chance of them
>> all being taken out... is quite small.

>> And some folks, such as Freeman Dyson, have been
>> talking a long time about physics that might
>> support an infinite amount of computation. The
>> ultimate source for these considerations is Tipler
>> "The Physics of Immortality".

and this harmless reference to Tipler drew some fire.
I was not appealing to authority, but rather to Tipler's
book as a source of materials for arguments in favor of
an infinite amount of computation perhaps being possible.

I had begun to get the impression, from a number of posts
(for example on Eternal Return) that people on this list
had not read "The Physics of Immortality". I see that I
was wrong---sorry about that.

Damien Broderick wrote of Emlyn's remark

>> If Tipler said it, it's gotta be right I guess ;-)

> A richly deserved smiley. If Tipler said it, it's almost
> certainly gotta be wrong. There's nothing more uncomfortable
> than building your theodicy on the wrong shaped spacetime.

Two points. I'm sure that you aren't serious about something
having to be wrong because Tipler said it. I know that you're
in chat mode---but even so...

Secondly, perhaps you can inform me where Tipler's conjectures
about the collapse of space at the end of time have been debunked.
I have always regarded such "calculations" with a lot of skepticism,
but don't have any prior reason for supposing that humankind or
intelligence in the universe to be incapable of having an enormous
influence on the fate of the universe, including, possibly its
very topology under collapse.

Let me guess: what's really bugging people is not Tipler's physics
nor his conjectures, but the religious slant he puts on everything.
I also am appalled, and argue against Tipler on this point with my
friends (some of whom think that he's doing nothing wrong, e.g.
Peter McCluskey). But concretely, why do you suppose that infinite
computation, which was how we got onto this subject, is unlikely?
I still think that no one knows enough to say a whole lot one way
or the other.

Lee Corbin

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