Omega Point

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The Omega Point is a spiritual belief and a scientific speculation that everything in the universe is fated to spiral towards a final point of "divine" unification.[1] The term was coined by the French Jesuit Catholic priest Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881–1955).[2] Teilhard argued that the Omega Point resembles the Christian Logos, namely Christ, who draws all things into himself, who in the words of the Nicene Creed, is "God from God," "Light from Light," "True God from true God," and "through him all things were made." In the Book of Revelation, Christ describes himself thrice as "the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end." The idea of the Omega Point is developed in later writings, such as those of John David Garcia (1971), Paolo Soleri (1981), Frank Tipler (1994), and David Deutsch (1997).[3][4][5]

Related concepts[edit]

Tipler[edit]

Frank Tipler generalizes[6] Teilhard's term Omega Point to describe what he maintains is the ultimate fate of the universe required by the laws of physics: roughly, Tipler argues that quantum mechanics is inconsistent unless the future of every point in spacetime contains an intelligent observer to collapse the wavefunction, and that the only way for this to happen is if the Universe is closed (that is, it will collapse to a single point) and yet contains observers with a "God-like" ability to perform an unbounded series of observations in finite time. However, scientists such as Lawrence Krauss have stated that Tipler's reasoning is erroneous on multiple levels, possibly to the point of being nonsensical pseudoscience.[7][8][9] Tipler (1994) has summarized his hypothesis as follows:

  • The universe has finite spatial size and the topology of a three-sphere;
  • There are no event horizons, implying the future c-boundary is a point, called the Omega Point;
  • Sentient life must eventually engulf the entire universe and control it;
  • The amount of information processed between now and the Omega Point is infinite;
  • The amount of information stored in the universe asymptotically goes to infinity as the Omega Point is approached.[10]

Deutsch[edit]

In the final chapter of his 1997 book "The Fabric of Reality" physicist David Deutsch considers the Tiplerian Omega Point. Though he criticizes Tipler for making exaggerated physical claims concerning his Omega Point theory, Deutsch stipulates a contracting universe that includes universal quantum computers could prolong the usefulness of the universe given the inevitability of an Omega Point collapse.

Accelerating expansion of the universe[edit]

In 1998, a value measured from observations of Type la supernovae seemed to indicate that what was once assumed to be temporary cosmological expansion was actually accelerating.[11] The apparent acceleration has caused many to dismiss Tipler's Omega Point out of hand, since the necessity of a final big crunch singularity is key to the Omega Point's workability. However, Tipler himself believes that the Omega Point is still workable and has explained on multiple occasions why a big crunch/ final singularity is still required under many current universal models.[12] [13]

Technological singularity[edit]

The technological singularity is the hypothetical advent of artificial general intelligence theoretically capable of recursive self-improvement, resulting in a runaway effect to an intelligence explosion.[14] Eric Steinhart, a proponent of "Christian transhumanism", argues there is significant overlap of ideas between the secular singularity and Teilhard's religious Omega Point.[3] Steinhart quotes Ray Kurzweil, one of the most prominent singulatarians, who stated that "evolution moves inexorably toward our conception of God, albeit never reaching this ideal."[3][15] Like Kurzweil, Teilhard predicts a period of rapid technological change that results in a merger of humanity and technology. He believes that this marks the birth of the noosphere and the emergence of the "spirit of the Earth," but the Teilhardian Singularity comes later. Unlike Kurzweil, Teilhard's singularity is marked by the evolution of human intelligence reaching a critical point in which humans ascend from "transhuman" to "posthuman." He identifies this with the Christian parousia.[3]

The Omega Point in pop culture[edit]

The Spanish painter Salvador Dali was fascinated by Teilhard de Chardin and the Omega Point theory. His 1959 painting The Ecumenical Council (painting) is said to represent the "interconnectedness" of the Omega Point.[16] Point Omega by Don DeLillo takes its name from the theory and involves a character who is studying Teilhard de Chardin [17] Science fiction writer Frederik Pohl references Frank Tipler and the Omega Point in his 1998 short story "The Siege of Eternity".[18] Scottish writer/ counterculture figure Grant Morrison has used the Omega Point as a plot line in several of his Justice League of America and Batman stories.[19] [20] [21] Arthur C. Clarke and Stephen Baxter's The Light of Other Days references Teilhard de Chardin and includes a brief explanation of the Omega Point.[22]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Could artificial intelligence kill us off?". Newsweek. Retrieved 21 September 2016. 
  2. ^ Castillo, Mauricio (March 2012). "The Omega Point and Beyond: The Singularity Event" (PDF). American Journal of Neuroradiology. 33 (3): 393–5. PMID 21903920. doi:10.3174/ajnr.A2664. Retrieved 6 June 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d Steinhart, Eric (2008). "Teilhard de Chardin and Transhumanism". Journal of Evolution and Technology. 20 (1): 1–22. ISSN 1541-0099. Retrieved 2015-06-03. 
  4. ^ Green, Ronald (2012). "Challenging Transhumanism's Values". Hastings Center Report. 43: 45–47. doi:10.1002/hast.195. Retrieved 2015-06-06. 
  5. ^ Lilley, Stephen (2013). "Transcend or Transgress?". Hastings Center Report: 13–24. doi:10.1007/978-94-007-4981-8_2. Retrieved 2015-06-06. 
  6. ^ Tipler, Frank J. "The omega point as eschaton: Answers to Pannenberg's questions for scientists." Zygon (journal) 24.2 (1989): 217-253. "Needless to say, the terminology is Teilhard de Chardin's..."
  7. ^ Ellis, George Francis Rayner (1994). "Piety in the Sky" (PDF). Nature. 371 (6493): 115. Bibcode:1994Natur.371..115E. doi:10.1038/371115a0. It is a masterpiece of pseudoscience 
  8. ^ Krauss, Lawrence (May 2007). "More dangerous than nonsense". New Scientist. p. 53. doi:10.1016/S0262-4079(07)61199-3. I am tempted to describe Tipler's new book as nonsense—but that would be unfair to the concept of nonsense. 
  9. ^ "The Strange Case of Frank Jennings Tipler". Skeptical Inquirer. 2008. Retrieved 21 September 2016. I began to wonder if the book could be a subtle, hilarious hoax. Sadly, it is not. 
  10. ^ Tipler (1994),[page needed]
  11. ^ http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-15165371 BBC News. 2011-10-04.
  12. ^ Q&A with Frank Tipler http://turingchurch.com/2012/09/26/interview-with-frank-j-tipler-nov-2002/
  13. ^ Audio interview with Frank Tipler- White Gardenia interview with Frank Tipler, December 2015 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kMkp1kZN5n4&t=26s
  14. ^ Chalmers, David. "The singularity: A philosophical analysis." Journal of Consciousness Studies 17.9-10 (2010): 7-65.
  15. ^ Kurzweil, Ray (2005). The Singularity is Near. New York: Viking Books. ISBN 978-0-670-03384-3. , pg 476; see also 375, 389-390
  16. ^ National Gallery of Victoria Educational Resource. http://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/dali/salvador/resources/vce_FINAL.pdf
  17. ^ DeLillo, Don (2010). Point Omega. Scribner. 
  18. ^ Pohl, Frederik (1998). The Siege of Eternity. Tor Science Fiction. ISBN 978-0812577662. 
  19. ^ Morrison, Grant- Sample page from Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #2 June 2010 DC Comics https://img.purch.com/o/aHR0cDovL3d3dy5uZXdzYXJhbWEuY29tL2ltYWdlcy9pLzAwMC8wNTUvNDczL29yaWdpbmFsL2JtcmJ3XzJfZHlsdXgtNC01LWNvcHkuanBn
  20. ^ Morrison, Grant- Sample page from JLA Volume 3: The Rock of Ages https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/S/cmx-images-prod/Item/4697/Previews/da389cc1263a70a33f4e4dbf75b9e303._SX1280_QL80_TTD_.jpg
  21. ^ Morrison, Grant- Sample page from Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #6 November 2010 DC Comics https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/S/cmx-images-prod/Item/18826/Previews/9b60a1eb22dfc4ff6a8b4fe745b232ab._SX1280_QL80_TTD_.jpg
  22. ^ Clarke, Arthur c. (2001). The Light of Other Days. Tom Doherty Associates, LLC. p. 331. ISBN 0-812-57640-3. 

External links[edit]