The Tiplering point

By Phil Plait | January 9, 2009 2:44 pm

Frank Tipler is an accomplished physicist; his basic textbook was one I used as an undergrad, and his contributions to science have been welcome. But at some point, as some scientists do, he went, well, in a different direction. Talking about immortality, for one, and trying to use science (poorly) to support some religious beliefs.

I’ve been dithering over writing about this for years, but now that procrastination has paid off: Sean at Cosmic Variance already did it. I agree with what he wrote, so I’ll let him do the talking.

One thing though: the question remains as to why so many scientists go off the deep end later in life! It’s not a majority by any means, it’s just some, but off they go nonetheless. I’d love to see some studies done on this.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Antiscience, Debunking, Science, Skepticism

Comments (48)

  1. Nothing like a mad scientist, eh? Just cause you don’t have an Igor doesn’t mean you aren’t barking mad. :)

  2. Doug

    You sure you weren’t using the textbook by Paul Tipler? The only thing Frank Tipler wrote that could conceivably be used as a textbook is the anthropic principle book with Barrow and Wheeler.

  3. Ja Muller

    Phil,

    I don’t think Frank Tipler is the same guy who wrote your undergrad book, I believe it was just somebody with the same last name.

    http://books.google.com/books?id=FvC7HAAACAAJ&dq=physics+author+paul+Tipler&ei=MsdnSfiROZSWMr2bvZsF

  4. Don’t mix up the two Tiplers — Paul was the one who wrote the textbook, Frank is the general relativist who has fallen off the deep end.

  5. I had Tipler’s textbook as an undergrad too. I suspect that the scientists that turn to the malarky side just draw the attention… I doubt they do it at substantially higher rate than any other group. Scientists are just like any other person who has to fight the inclination to believe what they’d like to believe, simply because it’s what they’d like to believe. Inevitably, some are going to lose the battle and rationalize some line of thinking to reach the conclusion they want. It’s sad; you’d hope that the experience of empiricism would make them “foolproof.” What’s sadder is that so many people (particularly in this country, it seems) never really get the opportunity or have the motivation to learn and understand that we are all prone to self-delusion.

  6. PeteG

    I’m an undergrad and use Paul Tipler’s Physics for Scientists and Engineers. Is there two Tipler’s writing textbooks or is there some name confusion? :P

  7. IVAN3MAN

    Dr. Phil Plait:

    One thing though: the question remains as to why so many scientists go off the deep end later in life! It’s not a majority by any means, it’s just some, but off they go nonetheless. I’d love to see some studies done on this.

    Probably the same reason why an electronic amplifier with inadequate negative feedback — skepticism, in the human brain — will frequently whistle (oscillate) out of control, until it eventually blows its power transistor(s)!

  8. Just don’t you be getting all wacky in your old age, Phil. We couldn’t take it.

  9. Pete: it’s Frank Tipler, all right. I had an office a couple doors down from his when I was at Tulane. Even his physics is.. a little odd these days. I’m not the expert that some of my friends are, but they assure me that even if you include all appropriately symmetric terms (even the nonrenormalizable ones) in the lagrangian you do not get a working theory of quantum gravity.

  10. I’m still just and undergrad and I’m already going off the deep end. Robots, mind uploading, virtual reality, KERPLONK! BOINK! Plus I figured out there are likely no extraterrestrial civilizations for perhaps several hundred million light-years.

    Though, I do try to keep myself sane by constantly being critical of my own ideas, and realizing that they are merely ideas or (at best) hypotheses which require experimental verification or denial.

    For example: the no-aliens hypothesis. If there are no extraterrestrial civilizations (as I have good reasons to believe), then SETI and similar searches are a waste of time. However, I do think that they are invaluable because I’m not sure that I am actually correct. And, if I am proven incorrect (say positive identification of an extraterrestrial civilization), given the circumstances, I wouldn’t mind being proven wrong.

  11. HP

    Well, people go off the deep end later in life. And all scientists are people.

  12. Sili

    I think SETI is worthwhile since it does help push distributed computing.

    And while I doubt they’ll find any signs of artificial radiosources, they might perhaps pick up some natural ones that we’ve missed so far. Noöne expected the pulsars, after all.

  13. I think y’all are right, the dim recesses of my memory fooled me. I got rid of the book ages ago, but only remembered the last name. Funny coincidence!

  14. Kathy A.

    I’m with HP. After dealing with ‘rent and in-law issues, I think a large percentage of humans go off the deep end later in life. No reason scientists should be immune.

  15. Aleksandar

    Why is a physicist not allowed forays into philosophy and _very_ speculative cosmology? A number of people considering themselves cosmologists have been publishing some very speculative stuff in last decade or more , why attack Tipler? Yes, that is not science? But is a person banned for publishing anything other than pure science or be branded as… whatever would you say…

    His attempts at finding a scientific basis for Teilhardian philosophy? What is so bad with it?

    It is sad to see that with rabit anti science movement in capitol of the world (USA lol), and ever increasing danger of abandoning all modern though, supporters of science become violent (verbaly) atheists and anti-spiritualists? The fact that a evolutionary biologist is considered is considered most influential modern popsci writer, and a philosophical figure… is sad to me.
    Back in days of Carl Sagan, he and people like him attacked religion on basis of real evils and detriments to humanity religious blindness and superstition caused. Now its really coming close to “ha ha, there is no God, no afterlife, only nonexistence, nothing but despair and human greed in this life, I feel so mentally superior by pointing this out to you foolish believers”… Seriously, rhetoric of some “rational people supporting science and reason” really comes close sometimes to above parody.

  16. justcorbly

    Does the percentage of scientists who go wacky differ from the percentage of the general population who do the same?

  17. Molly

    Aleksandar:

    I couldn’t agree with you more.

  18. SLC

    Prof. Tipler is not the first reputable scientist to go off the rails. Think Linus Pauling, Peter Duesberg, Wiliam Shockley, J. Allen Hynek, Brian Josephson, etc.

  19. I had a deep sense of general malaise and disappointment when I found out that someone whose books I admired (books on skepticism!) AK Dewdney, was a 9/11 Truther. It frikken killed me. It still upsets me to think about it. It’s a bit like finding out your long time friend is someone who hates puppies.

    OT@ Phil Plait:

    Is it really true you wacky astronomers call carbon a metal? Really? Why would you do that? Have you been talking to the physicists again?

    *Wags finger disapprovingly*

  20. dp

    I’m with HP too. It could even that scientists are less likely to go off the deep end than the general population, but it that it hurts more because we have higher expectations of them.

  21. Bill C.

    I, for one, don’t mind crazy science-extrapolated speculation. It makes for some awesome science fiction, if nothing else. When the Omega Point makes it into science cirrucula around the country, send in the troops by all means.

  22. JPJ007

    Tipler’s from Andalusia, AL, my neck of the woods.

    Can’t say I’m too surprised.

  23. KC

    >His attempts at finding a scientific basis for Teilhardian philosophy? What is so bad with it?

    Umm…perhaps because some of us think that Teilhardian philosophy is a recipe for pure rubbish:

    Take some cosmology, high-tech alchemy, bad evolutionary concepts, God, and a dash of mysticism. Then beat until mixed and fold in some anthropomorphism. Then violate the second law of thermodynamics and bake a 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve warm with a scoop of butterscotch ice cream.

  24. T.E.L.

    A similar question can be asked about the seemingly reliable rate at which retired electrical engineers decide that special relativity is anything from just plain stupid to a misinterpretation of data and Maxwell’s equations. It could be that there’s a real anomaly, or perhaps they have no higher rate than anyone else, but are more noticeable or vocal when they do it.

  25. Wow, Tipler. I used his book to study (actually warm-up study) for my Ph.D. qualifier. I liked the book. So disappointing. Then again, my undergrad advisor was a very good physics prof., a super cool person (if I were religious I would say “saintly”), and a fundamental Baptist.

  26. Linkage

    It’s really easy to ridicule these people for what they are proposing, but what exactly is the reason that so many people it seems are desperate to grasp at any kind of scientific “proof” of the supernatural (and I don’t think it has to do with anyone’s “skeptic meter” exploding).

    This is just a thought, but what if it has to do with a fear, perhaps subconsciously) of no longer existing? I’ve thought about this quite a bit, usually inadvertently, and it has on a few occasions kept me up half the night. I have not come to any definitive conclusions on the matter (the truth is there’s really no way for me to know for sure), but I can see what kind of conclusions others can reach.

    I think, therefore I am.
    I just cannot accept no longer being, so I must continue thinking after my body dies.
    How would I be thinking if I no longer have a brain to do that? There must be a medium for this thought.
    We have not found such a medium, so it must exist beyond what we can observe.
    It’s possible to continue this line of thought until you conclude that God is the thought processes of the universe itself.

    Now, there is nothing wrong with speculation, as long as you understand that’s all it is. You can play “What if?” scenarios all day, but if you start accepting those scenarios at face value with absolutely nothing else to show for them and act on them as such, that’s when you step into dangerous territory. Even my thoughts above on why these guys believe what they do is mere speculation based on my own thought processes. Take from them what you will; just don’t automatically think I’m right.

  27. I’m pretty sure Tipler is simply proof of what the creationists, anti-vaccinationists, homeopaths, etc have been bravely trying to tell us all along. Namely that all scientists are, deep down, mad scientist trying to take over the world. Don’t deny it, you can’t spend all those years in labs and in front of computers without all the radiation, electromagnatic waves and quantum foam completely destroying your precious chakras. You brought it on yourself! :)

  28. Stephen

    Aleksandar: “Why is a physicist not allowed forays into philosophy and _very_ speculative cosmology?”

    A physicist may very well be allowed to indulge in highly speculative work from time to time. There is however a big difference between speculation and incoherent babbling. And if Sean’s article is in any way reliable, Tipler falls in the latter category.

    Another commenter mentioned Peter Duesberg, who forms an instructive case. For a couple of years he qualified as a gadfly: someone whose work was widely considered to be incorrect, but which still made contact with reality and might just possibly have been correct. Then a number of results came in which clearly demonstrated that Duesberg was in fact incorrect. Had he then acknowledged his mistake, I’m sure that his speculative forays would have been forgiven by most scientists. But he carried on as if nothing had changed – at that point he turned from a gadfly into a crank.

    I would speculate (hopefully not incoherently) that people like Duesberg and Hoyle get addicted to publicity. Once they are in the public eye, they enjoy the attention so much that remaining there becomes more important to them than intellectual integrity. Quite likely this applies to Behe, Pons & Fleischmann and many others as well. I don’t know enough about Tipler to say whether it applies to him, though.

    But I’m with HP and DP: lots of people do this. (Plenty of people don’t even have any intellectual integrity to begin with.) It just seems worse when it happens to a scientist.

  29. Maybe he didn’t find pure science (without God) *quite* as fulfilling as many of you think you do as he moved later into his life.

    Who knows? Maybe Phil P. will find himself oddly unsatisfied as he hits 60 or 70, and start searching for something more.

  30. Pat

    I’d echo fear of death as the reason.

    Grasping at any straw that might give hope past the final destination becomes more important the closer you get. Embracing notions that postulate the country past that destination is probably normal: not seeing a future for yourself is a hallmark of severe depression. It’s cognitive dissonance, also, for imaginative folks not to wonder about the unknown, especially the final big and scary one. Settling on one potential idea is probably a way to avoid constant anxiety, and telling others and getting agreement sets the idea as more plausible.

  31. Pat

    I’d also state that Cmajor7 isn’t on the mark at all. It’s not just scientists that have this happen to a portion of their population: it’s everybody. And with one of my relatives (an aging histrionic narcissist), I can tell that it’s fear of not being. I’d speculate that the fear is proportional to a person’s level of narcissism.

  32. Helena Constantine

    A psychologist who was interviewed on Talk of the Nation this week (I don’t recall the day, but it wasn’t Science Friday), when asked why scientists were often deceived by Geller, whereas Randi saw threw him at once, suggested that its because despite the use of the scientific method, scientists, especially great scientists, are highly intuitive thinkers, and once they leave their narrow field of expertise, they are accordingly more likely to be deceived or leap to wild conclusions than most because their thinking is dominated by unconscious leaps.

    If you really want to know about research on this, you should go to the website, look up his name, and then e-mail him for literature references.

  33. Craig

    the question remains as to why so many scientists go off the deep end later in life

    There’s something on this in one of the Pratchett/Stewart/Cohen books (The Science of Discworld, I think). They refer to it as the “philosopause”: the tendency for good scientists to spend the latter parts of their careers pursuing not-very-good philosophy.

    Newton is the canonical example…

  34. llewelly

    Aleksandar:

    Now its really coming close to “ha ha, there is no God, no afterlife, only nonexistence, nothing but despair and human greed in this life, I feel so mentally superior by pointing this out to you foolish believers”… Seriously, rhetoric of some “rational people supporting science and reason” really comes close sometimes to above parody.

    Shorter Aleksandar: “Ha ha, I’ve built a straw man, but I’ve protected it with qualifiers like ‘close’ and ‘sometimes’ so you can’t really call it a straw man.”

  35. Of course, if scientists went off the deep end early in life, you’d never hear about them as serious scientists and therefore you wouldn’t care as much that they were nuts. So, really, the only way it’s really noticeable that a scientist has gone wacko is when they do it later in life.

    (I mean, sure, some start out wacko and we mock them. But you never really took them seriously, so it seems way less weird I guess.)

  36. amphiox

    How is it even possible to scientifically “prove” the existence of the supernatural?

    Any phenomenon that is scientifically “proven” to exist is, by definition, natural, no?

  37. Gary Ansorge

    “Daddy, why does Grandpa spend all day reading the Bible?”
    “Well Son, he’s just cramming for his final exams,,,”.

    Definitions:
    Crack pot:
    1)Broken pottery.
    2) One who desperately clings to a sinking boat, despite all the people trying to pull him/her to shore.

    Genius:(From the Greek)
    1)One who creates something new(particularly applicable to art and music).
    2)One who proposes a theory so outlandish, no rational being could possibly accept it, but evidence is later(often after the death of the “genius”) found to substantiate it.
    3) Me!(accompanied by self deprecating, maniacal laughter).

    Proposition:
    1)You exist(Ok, so, from this you might surmise I am NOT a Solipsist).
    2) We are all connected(If I flip my quantum state, will you do the same?).

    Of all the possible manifestations of mass/energy , you and I are the ones that made it into this reality. Be happy. You could have remained in Limbo,,,

    One of the possible consequences of General Relativity are temporal worm holes, which implies that past/present/future exist concurrently, ergo, anyone who has ever existed,,,still exists,,,we just can’t talk to them any more.
    There’s your immortality.

    Now, go hug your significant other/dog/cat,etc. and take joy in their existence.

    Gary 7

  38. Gary Ansorge

    Dang! I had to stop and go buy another bottle of propane to continue my barbecue,,,

    Frank Tippler has fallen prey to the assumption that Intelligence/sentience is the whole point of evolution. As has been pointed out on numerous occasions, the only “point” of evolution is reproductive success. Our “intelligence” has allowed us to propagate into many and varied ecological niches, thus it APPEARS that intelligence is of value,,,well, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see about that.

    GAry 7

  39. @llewelly: “you can’t really call it a straw man.”

    To be fair, there probably are some people with attitudes like that, just not any of the “big names” that I know of. Aleksandar seems to think that every skeptic on the internet ought to be a Dawkins or Sagan, which is pretty unreasonable..

    @amphiox: How is it even possible to scientifically “prove” the existence of the supernatural?

    That’s not what Tipler does. He tries to demonstrate how immortality and resurrection can occur using known physical laws and a brittle chain of assumptions and logic.

  40. Paul S.

    I agree with the poster who suggested that some scientists may be somewhat prone to mystical or irrational thinking because a lot of the big discoveries are actually first made by intuitive leaps which go against conventional wisdom, and are only later confirmed by experiment and observation. This was especially the case in the early parts of the scientific revolution, when religion and science hadn’t become clearly distinguished from each other even in the minds of most scientists. Newton turned from developing calculus and laws of gravitation and optics to alchemical experiments and attempting to figure out when the events foretold in Revelations would happen (also, as a good Protestant, he tried to prove that the Pope was, in fact, the Antichrist). Before coming up with his laws of planetary motion, Kepler spent years trying to demonstrate that the orbits of the planets corresponded exactly to the diameters of various “ideal shapes” (pyramid, cube, dodecahedron, etc.) if they were nested one inside the other (they actually don’t). Up until Kepler, virtually everyone, whether they believed in an earth-centered Ptolemaic solar system or a sun-centered Copernican one, believed that the planets orbits had to be perfectly circular – because the circle is a “perfect” shape and it wouldn’t make sense for God to create a solar system where planets moved in messy elliptical orbits rather than beautiful circular ones. It’s not surprising that this sometimes still happens.

  41. Bein'Silly

    “Well, people go off the deep end later in life. And all scientists are people.”

    Are they now? Sure there’s no secret Fomalhautese or Betelgeusean aliens among them? ;-)

    Not just later in life. Some of us go off the rails early, some go off them later and others were never *on* those rails to begin with! ;-)

    Actually, its all pretty sad. It also reminds me a bit of the astronaut & Moon-walker Edgar mitchell & his UFO crackpottery … :-(

  42. Bein'Silly

    Sorry that was HP who said (HP Says: January 9th, 2009 at 3:35 pm
    “Well, people go off the deep end later in life. And all scientists are people.”

    Oops I did mean to mention that & put the quote in italics too.

    Also make that Edgar Mitchell with a capital ‘M’.

    Did I hear something about a preview / editing capability coming here at some stage?

    Question – are such crackpots becoming more common or just more visible?

    Are Conspiracy Theorists and crackpot theories becoming more common – and is it linked to any broader rise (?) in mental illness ..?

    Not sure about the American figures but I think in Australia they reckon its about 1-in-4 people suffer mental illness of some kind. :-(
    (Or was that just for Depression?)

    Sad for everyone involved in any case. Especially more so though itdoe ssem when the personused tobe so bright eg. Tipler, Mitchell.

    Being sombre now .. :-(

  43. José

    I think it’s the constant adulation and throngs of screaming fans that causes some scientists to go off the deep end.

  44. bob

    Scientists go off the deep end late in life for the same reason anyone does: they are afraid of dying. For all the wonderful things science does for us in this world it also tells us that we are finite. People are animals and animals are afraid of death. It is a self preservation instinct warped through thousands of years of myths and imagination, but the simple fact is that people don’t want to die.

  45. !AstralProjectile

    My brother gave me a copy of Tipler’s The Physics of Immortality. I didn’t bother cracking it until I read Fredrick Pohl’s abysimal book: The other End of Time. Quotes Pohl on Tipler: “The scientific community is ahh… pretty uniformally unconvinced of Tipler’s theory.”
    I made it through about 6 pages of Tipler’s introduction before getting to this: “Physicists know that the more beautiful a theory is, the more likely it is to be true, and the most beautiful theory I can imagine is that we all will live together with our deceased loved ones. QED”. I slammed the book shut in disgust.

  46. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    Thanks for the HT!

    Did I hear something about a preview / editing capability coming here at some stage?

    Crackpots – minds without an editing capability.

    [I believe a preview was promised this spring.]

    @ Aleksandar:

    His attempts at finding a scientific basis for Teilhardian philosophy? What is so bad with it?

    Because it isn’t just “philosophy”. Besides Tipler’s anti-GW crackpotism, for example Teilhard’s teleological ideas on evolution are still pushed, despite the fact that the basis for evolution is contingency in its mechanisms – and that has been amply tested. (There is possibly secondary effects such as accumulation of variation, but even that is lowered during contingencies such as mass extinctions.)

    And then you promote Teilhard’s ideas as harmless philosophy and argues that it’s sad that an “evolutionary biologist” is considered to be “a philosophical figure” one shakes one’s head at the unintended unthinking irony – as Teilhard was an evolutionary biologist!

  47. Nigel Depledge

    Aleksandar said:

    Now its really coming close to “ha ha, there is no God, no afterlife, only nonexistence, nothing but despair and human greed in this life, I feel so mentally superior by pointing this out to you foolish believers”…

    OK, I’ll bite. Please cite author, work and page number so I can see this for myself.

  48. For much more on the physics of the Omega Point Theory, see Prof. Frank J. Tipler’s below paper, which among other things demonstrates that the known laws of physics (i.e., the Second Law of Thermodynamics, general relativity, quantum mechanics, and the Standard Model of particle physics) require that the universe end in the Omega Point (the final cosmological singularity and state of infinite informational capacity identified as being God):

    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; available on Prof. Tipler’s website. Also released as “Feynman-Weinberg Quantum Gravity and the Extended Standard Model as a Theory of Everything,” arXiv:0704.3276, April 24, 2007.

    Out of 50 articles, Prof. Tipler’s above paper was selected as one of 12 for the “Highlights of 2005″ accolade as “the very best articles published in Reports on Progress in Physics in 2005 [Vol. 68]. Articles were selected by the Editorial Board for their outstanding reviews of the field. They all received the highest praise from our international referees and a high number of downloads from the journal Website.” (See Richard Palmer, Publisher, “Highlights of 2005,” Reports on Progress in Physics website.)

    Reports on Progress in Physics is the leading journal of the Institute of Physics, Britain’s main professional body for physicists. Further, Reports on Progress in Physics has a higher impact factor (according to Journal Citation Reports) than Physical Review Letters, which is the most prestigious American physics journal (one, incidently, which Prof. Tipler has been published in more than once). A journal’s impact factor reflects the importance the science community places in that journal in the sense of actually citing its papers in their own papers. (And just to point out, Tipler’s 2005 Reports on Progress in Physics paper could not have been published in Physical Review Letters since said paper is nearly book-length, and hence not a “letter” as defined by the latter journal.)

    See also the below resource for further information on the Omega Point Theory:

    Theophysics (a website on GeoCities)

    Tipler is Professor of Mathematics and Physics (joint appointment) at Tulane University. His Ph.D. is in the field of global general relativity (the same rarefied field that Profs. Roger Penrose and Stephen Hawking developed), 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 in addition to Reports on Progress in Physics, such as Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (one of the world’s leading astrophysics journals), Physics Letters B, the International Journal of Theoretical Physics, 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. On pg. ix of said book, Prof. Wheeler wrote that Chapter 10 of the book, which concerns the Omega Point Theory, “rivals in thought-provoking power any of the [other chapters].”

    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), endorses the physics of the Omega Point Theory in his book The Fabric of Reality (1997). For that, 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. Available on the Theophysics website.

    The only way to avoid the Omega Point cosmology is to resort to physical theories which have no experimental support and which violate the known laws of physics, such as with Prof. Stephen Hawking’s paper on the black hole information issue which is dependent on the conjectured string theory-based anti-de Sitter space/conformal field theory correspondence (AdS/CFT correspondence). See S. W. Hawking, “Information loss in black holes,” Physical Review D, Vol. 72, No. 8, 084013 (October 2005); also at arXiv:hep-th/0507171, July 18, 2005.

    That is, Prof. Hawking’s paper is based upon empirically unconfirmed physics which violate the known laws of physics. It’s an impressive testament to the Omega Point Theory’s correctness, as Hawking implicitly confirms that the known laws of physics require the universe to collapse in finite time. Hawking realizes that the black hole information issue must be resolved without violating unitarity, yet he’s forced to abandon the known laws of physics in order to avoid unitarity violation without the universe collapsing.

    Some have suggested that the universe’s current acceleration of its expansion obviates the universe collapsing (and therefore obviates the Omega Point). But as Profs. Lawrence M. Krauss and Michael S. Turner point out in “Geometry and Destiny” (General Relativity and Gravitation, Vol. 31, No. 10 [October 1999], pp. 1453-1459; also at arXiv:astro-ph/9904020, April 1, 1999), there is no set of cosmological observations which can tell us whether the universe will expand forever or eventually collapse.

    There’s a very good reason for that, because that is dependant on the actions of intelligent life. The known laws of physics provide the mechanism for the universe’s collapse. As required by the Standard Model, the net baryon number was created in the early universe by baryogenesis via electroweak quantum tunneling. This necessarily forces the Higgs field to be in a vacuum state that is not its absolute vacuum, which is the cause of the positive cosmological constant. But if the baryons in the universe were to be annihilated by the inverse of baryogenesis, again via electroweak quantum tunneling (which is allowed in the Standard Model, as B – L is conserved), then this would force the Higgs field toward its absolute vacuum, cancelling the positive cosmological constant and thereby forcing the universe to collapse. Moreover, this process would provide the ideal form of energy resource and rocket propulsion during the colonization phase of the universe.

    Prof. Tipler’s above 2005 Reports on Progress in Physics paper also demonstrates that the correct quantum gravity theory has existed since 1962, first discovered by Richard Feynman in that year, and independently discovered by Steven Weinberg and Bryce DeWitt, among others. But because these physicists were looking for equations with a finite number of terms (i.e., derivatives no higher than second order), they abandoned this qualitatively unique quantum gravity theory since in order for it to be consistent it requires an arbitrarily higher number of terms. Further, they didn’t realize that this proper theory of quantum gravity is consistent only with a certain set of boundary conditions imposed (which includes the initial Big Bang, and the final Omega Point, cosmological singularities). The equations for this theory of quantum gravity are term-by-term finite, but the same mechanism that forces each term in the series to be finite also forces the entire series to be infinite (i.e., infinities that would otherwise occur in spacetime, consequently destabilizing it, are transferred to the cosmological singularities, thereby preventing the universe from immediately collapsing into nonexistence). As Tipler notes in his 2007 book The Physics of Christianity (pp. 49 and 279), “It is a fundamental mathematical fact that this [infinite series] is the best that we can do. … This is somewhat analogous to Liouville’s theorem in complex analysis, which says that all analytic functions other than constants have singularities either a finite distance from the origin of coordinates or at infinity.”

    When combined with the Standard Model, the result is the Theory of Everything (TOE) correctly describing and unifying all the forces in physics.

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