Re: The Physics of Immortality

Anders Sandberg (
23 Aug 1998 19:57:34 +0200

Hara Ra <> writes:

> Would someone briefly summarize Tipler's argument here? The local library
> doesn't carry The Physics of Immortality and I don't want to buy the book
> to find out.

The quick version:

  1. Tipler shows that it is possible under certain conditions (closed universe, Taub-like collapse, Higgs mass in a certain range etc) to have an Omega Point (infinite processing, info storage and life goes on forever).

[ This part is fairly accepted, people might disagree with the feasibility of some steps (like extracting the shear energy of the universe, colonizing it all or surviving as high frequency plasma states) but it is mainly "technical" problems. Nothing more than ordinary cosmological engineering :-) ]

2. Tipler hypothesizes that the universe has a future Omega Point as a boundary condition. This would force the natural laws to be of the right kind to support an OP, and require at least one intelligent species to implement the OP. This is falsifiable, since the assumptions can be checked.

[2 is a big hypothesis to swallow, it is by no means obvious and may contain some real subtelities when you take the MWI into account. But it is still logical, even if Occam is standing by with his razor.]

3. Tipler argues on economical and game theoretical grounds that the OP or beings near it will be very nice, and since they will have lots of computing power to spare they will resurrect everybody who has ever lived into a wonderful virtual world. He looks into this state, discuss the complications of simulation vs. emulation, compares it to traditional afterlives etc.

[ This is the weak part. His argument isn't that bad, but it makes it all look silly and makes people confuse the science and religion parts. It isn't necessary, and as some here would argue we can't predict anything about SIs. ]

I have more at

Anders Sandberg                                      Towards Ascension!                  
GCS/M/S/O d++ -p+ c++++ !l u+ e++ m++ s+/+ n--- h+/* f+ g+ w++ t+ r+ !y