PROOF GOD EXISTS! Details at 11

Actually, the report in question came on just shy of 11 p.m. Although my local Fox television network affiliate had been promoting its 10 o'clock news report, in which a scientist uses physics to prove the Christian god exists, for several days, the editors didn't think it newsworthy enough to slot it ahead of half a dozen car wrecks and other assorted crimes and offenses to decency. Which shouldn't come as a surprise, because news that someone had actually proved a god's existence would surely lead off any newscast I was directing. Also unsurprising was the discovery of the identity of the scientist in question.

It was none other than the irrepressible Frank J. Tipler, who has written a book that purports to find the evidence for his god's existence in the laws of physics and quantum theory. The Physics of Christianity is almost certainly not worth reading, if the Fox Carolina report is any indication, as Prof. Tipler was unable to even begin explaining what the heck he's talking about. And that snap judgment is confirmed in a review by Lawrence Krauss in New Scientist (subscription req.):

As a collection of half-truths and exaggerations, I am tempted to describe Tipler's new book as nonsense - but that would be unfair to the concept of nonsense. It is far more dangerous than mere nonsense, because Tipler's reasonable descriptions of various aspects of modern physics, combined with his respectable research pedigree, give the persuasive illusion that he is describing what the laws of physics imply. He is not.

It gets better:

For example, he argues that the resurrection of Jesus occurred when the atoms in his body spontaneously decayed into neutrinos and antineutrinos, which later converted back into atoms to reconstitute him. Here Tipler invokes the fact that within the standard model of particle physics the decay of protons and neutrons is possible, although he recognises that such decay would likely take 50 to 100 orders of magnitude longer than the current age of the universe: thus, the probability of such an occurrence is essentially zero. However, using a strange "Christian" version of the anthropic principle, a subject he once co-authored a book about, he then claims that without Jesus's resurrection, our universe could not exist - therefore, when one convolves this requirement with the almost, but not exactly zero, a priori probability, the net result is a near certainty.

The Fox Carolina report didn't delve into any of the details of course. In fact, the reporter mocked the very idea of being able to understand anything remotely related to physics, turning instead to a local preacher who, while praising Tipler's genius, noted that true faith requires something beyond logical deduction. You don't say.

I also wonder how hard it might have been for the reporter to come up with a scientist who doesn't buy Tipler's conjrceture to provide a little thing called balance. After all, 93 % of the NAS are atheists.

All of which goes to prove only that local news should stay off the god beat.

More like this

"...therefore, when one convolves this requirement with the almost, but not exactly zero, a priori probability, the net result is a near certainty."

When this hypothesis was tested, researchers discovered the existence of a rather large sperm whale suddenly plummeting from the sky, and what could conly be described as "a rather bewildered bowl of petunias." This was further complicated by the sudden appearance of sperm whale entrails over a 4 square block area. The principal investigator on the project commented, "Yuck."

A local station in Nashville, TN ran the same story. Of course, the reporter did not interview any scientists, only local pastors - although, to his credit, he did manage to find and a nun with a doctorate in "mathematical logic." Transcript and video:

This appears to be some sort of video news release to which local news hacks can tack on their ridiculous attempts at reporting. The Tipler "interview" is the same in both, as well as some of the B-roll. Lazy journalism.

By deskzombie (not verified) on 22 May 2007 #permalink

Tipler is nuts, and getting worse. As best I can tell, the person he is most trying to convince with these extraordinary mental contortions is himself.

Oh great... Somebody read Capra's "Tao of Physics" and thought "I could do that..."

You may be right about his science being one-sided and frankly a little weird, but speaking of one-sided. I find it interesting that you quoted only a negative news report. Here are a few positive ones:

�A thrilling ride to the far edges of modern physics.� --New York Times Book Review

�A dazzling exercise in scientific speculation, as rigorously argued as it is boldly conceived.� --Wall Street Journal

�Tipler has written a masterpiece conferring much-craved scientific respectability on what we have always wanted to believe in.� --Science

�More readable than Roger Penrose�s The Emperor�s New Mind or Douglas Hofstadter�s G�del, Escher, Bach . . . an imaginative eschatological entertainment appropriate to the approaching end of the millennium.� --New Orleans Times-Picayune

�Undeniably fascinating�� --Seattle Times

�Tipler�s brash announcements are challenging�and entertaining. Although written from the viewpoint of a Ph.D., anyone should be able to get a kick out of the professor�s big-bang ideas.� --Publishers Weekly

�A book that proves the existence of the Almighty and inevitably of resurrection, without recourse to spiritual mumbo jumbo . . . Tipler does it all.� --Mirabella

I have one of those in my university (Bar-Ilan, Israel)...his name is Prof. Nathan Aviezer, and he wrote a book full of nonsense (which unfortunately I had to read for a Jewish philosophy course)

By Lucy Wiggin (not verified) on 25 May 2007 #permalink

L. Wiggin. You had the fortitude to endure it and discovered that your BS detector is working. I had a good sailing wind from Hillel to Yeshua to RamBam to Spinosa to Wise. Hmm-m; the BS detector is YOU.

Prof. Lawrence Krauss in his review of Prof. Frank J. Tipler's book The Physics of Christianity ("More dangerous than nonsense," New Scientist, Issue 2603, May 12, 2007) doesn't give anyone any reason for thinking he (Krauss) is correct. Instead, Krauss repeatedly commits the logical fallacy of bare assertion.

Krauss gives no indication that he followed up on the endnotes in the book The Physics of Christianity and actually read Prof. Tipler's physics journal papers. All Krauss is going off of in said review is Tipler's mostly non-technical popular-audience book The Physics of Christianity without researching Tipler's technical papers in the physics journals. Krauss's review offers no actual lines of reasoning for Krauss's pronouncements. His readership is simply expected to imbibe what Krauss proclaims, even though it's clear that Krauss is merely critiquing a popular-audience book which does not attempt to present the rigorous technical details. Krauss's bare assertions and absence of reasoning in his review have no place in actual science.

Whereas Tipler gives detailed arguments for the existence of the Omega Point and the Feynman-Weinberg quantum gravity/Standard Model Theory of Everything which soundly refute Krauss's bare assertions. See:

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 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.

Quite ironically, Krauss has actually published a paper that greatly helped to strengthen Tipler's Omega Point Theory. See Profs. Lawrence M. Krauss and Michael S. Turner, "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), which demonstrates that there is no set of cosmological observations which can tell us whether the universe will expand forever or eventually collapse.

This isn't the first time that has happened to critics of Tipler's Omega Point Theory. In a previous paper published by Prof. George Ellis and Dr. David Coule criticizing Tipler's Omega Point Theory ("Life at the end of the universe?," General Relativity and Gravitation, Vol. 26, No. 7 [July 1994], pp. 731-739), Ellis and Coule gave an argument that the Bekenstein Bound violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics if the universe collapses without having event horizons eliminated. Unwittingly, Ellis and Coule thereby actually gave a powerful argument that the Omega Point is required by the laws of physics.

So when Tipler's critics actually do real physics instead of issuing bare assertions and mystically nebulous cavils (the latter in Ellis's case, since Ellis is a theist who takes a fideist position, of which his fideist Weltanschauung extends to other areas, as he thinks that physics cannot be capable of explaining human consciousness), they end up making Tipler's case stronger. I find that deliciously ironic. (Ironic though it is, it's the expected result, given that the Omega Point is required by the known laws of physics.)

Continuing: God has been proven to exist based upon the most reserved view of the known laws of physics. For much more on that, see Prof. Frank J. Tipler's above-cited 2005 Reports on Progress in Physics 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).

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: God Is the Ultimate Physicist (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 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 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); 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, again, 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 baryon number minus lepton number [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 book The Physics of Christianity (New York: Doubleday, 2007), 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.