Re: The Physics of Immortality

Hal Finney (
Sun, 23 Aug 1998 08:25:49 -0700

Bryan Moss, <>, writes:
> I haven't read the book (I only became aware that
> there was a book after following several links
> from your own web site) but I read the reviews and
> wondered if Tipler had specifically said this was
> the Christian God. I looked it up at Amazon and
> the reviewers were split between those who think
> it's the ultimate satire and those who think
> Tipler's trying to confuse them with physics.
> Strangely, no religious persons had commented.

I doubt very much that the book is satire. Tipler's argument may or may not be persuasive, but he appears to intend it seriously. He had been developing it for a number of years before publishing the book.

> So in reality his ideas are not justification for
> religious practise.

He seems to mean it more as an attempt to bridge the separate cultures of science and religion/morality, to suggest that there may be this common ground between them. He's not saying you need to go to Confession every Sunday. But there are branches of theology that are much more liberal than the country parson who takes the Bible literally. These people are more open to examining the implications of mankind acquiring godlike powers in the future.

> If the universe is open, would it be possible to
> collapse it?

Tipler has physics in the appendices which is over my head. But he seems to be saying that localized collapse is not good enough, that it has to be the universe as a whole. And that would mean that the universe has to be closed, from what I understand.

> Or if not collapse it, how about
> constructing a massively dense *thing* with a huge
> gravitational pull and dragging all the other
> matter our way. Seems like a good alternative to
> interstellar travel.

Bring the mountain to Mohammed, eh? You will have to cultivate considerable patience.