Omega Point Theory – Resurrection! (Pun intended)

It sure has been along time! Around 2 months since my last post and I do feel bad about it…

But what now has finally brought me out of my intellectual stupor? Why it’s my old buddy Omega Point Theory of course! For those who are interested or need a little refresher here are the two previous posts I’ve written on Omega Point Theory:

Omega Point(less?) Theory

Omega Point Theory – Redux!

After the long silence from Mr James Redford, presumably because he had not seen my blog entries, Redford has written a characteristically lengthy reply. Please sit back and relax while I examine this reply openly and honestly and see what it has to offer.

Without further ado, here is James Redford’s response.

Hi, Christian Polson-Brown.
Your write in reference to the abstract of my article “Jesus Is an Anarchist” (Social Science Research Network [SSRN], revised and
expanded edition, October 17, 2009 [originally published December 19, 2001] http://ssrn.com/abstract=1337761 ): “Mr Redford describes the implications his research have on the world as ‘profound’, a small slice of hyperbole if I’ve ever seen it!” It’s hardly hyperbole if Jesus Christ exists and he is God’s Messiah. Your response is the logical fallacy of circular reasoning, as you’re assuming as true that which has not been demonstrated to be true: that Jesus Christ doesn’t exists and he is not God’s Messiah.

For the historical reliability of Jesus Christ’s existence and his bodily resurrection, and the untenability of theories which deny his
resurrection, see Prof. William Lane Craig, “Contemporary Scholarship and the Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ”,
Truth, Vol. 1 (1985), pp. 89-95. http://www.leaderu.com/truth/1truth22.html For more on the historicity of Jesus Christ’s resurrection, see William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 3rd ed., 2008), Chap. 8: “The Resurrection of Jesus”, pp. 333-404, particularly pp. 360 ff.

It is empirically impossible to prove the non-existence of something, and science does not claim to. This point is articulated elegantly by Carl Sagan with his “dragon in my garage” story, printed in Demon Haunted World and available to read here. Burden of proof in this situation lies squarely on those making the claim of existence. For the life of Jesus of Nazareth to be accepted by the scientific community his existence needs to be proven, rather than his existence not disproved. Every argument that flows from the existence of Jesus is therefore based upon a false premise. The reference you cite regarding historical evidence for Jesus comes from a highly suspect journal. The journal “truth” existed for only three volumes and is written from an openly admitted “distinctively Christian perspective”.

You go on to write:
“”
Mr Redford then acknowledges that in 1994 Tipler didn’t have experimental confirmation of his theory but claims he does now. Not only does this contradict Mr Redford’s initial assertion that evidence lies in the laws of physics themselves but he fails to provide a link or description of this supposed experimental confirmation (which I failed to find myself).
“”
Actually, in that forum discussion I cited the following peer-reviewed papers published in physics journals wherein Prof. Frank J. Tipler provides a proof that the Omega Point cosmology is a logically unavoidable result of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, general relativity, and quantum mechanics:

That you claim the theory is “logically unavoidable” does not constitute evidence. If it were truly logically unavoidable then it would be a mathematical constant, which it cannot be. Even if we take as a premise that Tipler’s calculations are correct (which I do not), that would only constitute a “physical constant“. Physical constant are based upon physical measurements, which often contain degrees of error and are subject to revision. For example a mathematical constant is 1+1 = 2, while a physical constant is something like a Plank Length (1.616 252(81) × 10−35 m). The Plank Length is correct according to our current understanding of Physics but is not an immutable constant such as 1+1 = 2. To restate and reclarify, the assertion that the Omega Point Theory is logically unavoidable is not currently supported by the standard model of physics and being based on physical measurements would not even constitute irrefutable proof even if it were the case.

You further write: “When Michael Shermer wrote ‘science will find a way’ he was fairly and accurately paraphrasing the elaborate special pleading that Tipler goes through to justify his arguments.” This statement is incorrect, as I’ve already pointed out in the forum discussion. On p. 395 of Prof. Tipler’s book The Physics of Immortality: Modern Cosmology, God and the Resurrection of the Dead (New York: Doubleday, 1994), Tipler said that he himself does not yet accept the Omega Point Theory, and that he is still an atheist, but that if the Omega Point Theory is confirmed, then he shall be a theist. Since the publication of this book it has been shown that the Omega Point cosmology is a logically unavoidable result of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, general relativity, and quantum mechanics.
Additionally, you write:
“”
As stated above the argument that the only way to avoid Omega Point is to violate the known laws of physics is patently false. By invoking so many established foundations of science (thermodynamics, relativity etc.) I believe Mr Redford is attempting to intimidate me into thinking that in order to argue against him I will have to reject these established sciences. Sorry Mr Redford, no dice.
“”
See the aforecited peer-reviewed papers published in physics journals, each of which was already cited in the forum discussion.

By invoking so many established foundations of science Mr. Tipler does nothing but dress his theory up to give it the trappings of support. Hypotheses come and go, the rigors of scientific review weed out the weak and the unsupported. Omega Point Theory has been put through the mill and found wanting, to persist under the belief that it is logically unavoidable is to believe dogmatically.

Later, you write:
“”
Whether or not Tipler set out to prove the existence of god when he developed Omega Point Theory has no impact on the fact that when he presents his arguments (in their most recent form) he argues from a Judeo-Christian standpoint. That is to say that the Omega Point Theory constructs a future where a single entity (mono-theistic god of Abraham) resurrects every human (Rapture). This idea runs counter to many of the other thousands of religions that have come on gone in human history and this deeply flawed scientific theory just happens to create a universe where the Judeo-Christian outcome is inevitable? Oh please Mr Redford, don’t patronize me by suggesting that Tipler’s Omega Point is anything but an attempt at proving the biblical end of
days. Mr Redford only serves to damage further his and Mr Tipler’s credibility when he argues in the third paragraph that not only has he discovered the mechanism that Jesus Christ may have used to rise from the dead but that it’s in any way “trivially easy”. This is about the point where I begin to feel insulted not just for all the non-believers out their but for all the Christians as well. How pathetic and insulting it is that this small group of fringe believers claims to have scientific proof of how the miracles of the bible could be (and were) performed.
“”
As I pointed out, Prof. Tipler didn’t set out to physically prove the existence of God. Tipler had been an atheist since the age of 16, yet only circa 1998 did he again become a theist due to advancements in the Omega Point Theory which occured after the publication of his 1994 book The Physics of Immortality. You’re here again committing the logical fallacy of circular reasoning by *a priori* assuming what must be true and designating its contrary as *by definition* false. We should hardly be shocked that the religion which invented the university system, which invented natural science in the modern sense by giving us the Scientific Revolution, and which created modern Western civilization should turn out to be correct.

No circular reasoning is involved in my argument. Circular reasoning is a logical fallacy where the proposition to be proved is one of the arguments premises. For example a circular argument is “the bible is the inerrant word of god therefore the bible is true”. My argument is that sufficient evidence has not been found to support the historical claim that Jesus of Nazareth existed and performed his miracles. I do not make a new proposition, only that a proposition made is not supported by evidence. This is exactly the same as me saying that sufficient evidence does not exist to prove the existence of unicorns. Do you, James Redford believe in unicorns?

Also your point that Judeo-Christian religion has “turned out to be correct” is absurd. Do you honestly claim that mankinds quest for religion has been solved and that Tipler’s “science” proves god. Actually, what am I writing? It’s a premise of Omega Point Theory…

You further write:
“”
In reference to Omega Point this means that even if the super computer is able to reconstruct a brain that is functionally identical to my brain, continuity between my consciousness as it is now and this re-created consciousness is unlikely as we would be two different entities. Mr Redford’s continued argument that replicating a human mind would result in “resurrection” is fundamentally flawed. Yes the recreation might think it’s “me” but I won’t know anything about it because the copy of the information that is currently me will be dead. Instead of resurrecting every human the Omega Point computer would instead be recreating copies.
“”
To maintain that a perfect emulation is not the thing being emulated is to commit a logical contradiction. As an exact emulation of, e.g., a human is merely a very large number. Indeed, even the entire lifetime of a human can be perfectly described by a single number–a tremendously large number compared to the numbers we’re used to dealing with, but still quite finite.
It would be the same as saying that 3765258724 does not = 3765258724, i.e., that there is something about the number 3765258724 on the left-hand side which makes it nonequivalent to the version on the right-hand side. But this is a logical contradiction, as it violates the Law of Identity that A = A. Additionally, the laws of physics, particularly quantum mechanics and
thermodynamics, require that quantum indistinguishability be true, i.e., that identical quantum states are in every way
indistinguishable, even in principle. (For more on this, see Frank J. Tipler, The Physics of Immortality [New York: Doubleday, 1994], Chap. IX: “The Physics of Resurrection of the Dead to Eternal Life”, Sec.: “Quantum Mechanics Supports the Pattern Identity Theory”, pp. 230-233, and Appendix D: “The Law of Mass Action Requires Quantum Indistinguishability”, pp. 412-416.)

When a human brain ceases all electrical function and decays, all information stored within it is lost. The continuity of mind is broken and as no outside source of mind is known to exist (i.e. the dualistic paradigm is not supported by science) then no amount of throwing the word “quantum” into arguments will allow for that stream of consciousness to continue uninterrupted. If you wish to maintain that a perfectly reconstructed human mind will maintain a stream of consciousness please provide evidence supporting the dualistic paradigm.

Mr Redford then argues against some of Michael Shermer’s points, and not being Michael Shermer I will not respond for him.

You also write:
“”
The fact that Michael Shermer isn’t a mathematician or a physicist does not mean that he isn’t a world class critical thinker and
intellectual. Michael Shermer’s arguments against Omega Point Theory stand on their own merits, rather than their authors credentials. No such thing can be said for Mr Tipler, who Mr Redford feels the need to defend with a long-winded recounting of every single book, paper and article he has ever written. I have omitted from my quotation of Mr Redford the last part of his reply which was a many hundred word listing of such references, adding nothing to the argument at hand but an extension of the already established argument from authority.
“”
It’s interesting that you would write this, given that you previously wrote, “Not only does this contradict Mr Redford’s initial assertion
that evidence lies in the laws of physics themselves but he fails to provide a link or description of this supposed experimental
confirmation (which I failed to find myself).” Yet here you’re complaining about all the citations I provided to peer-reviewed papers
published in physics journals wherein Prof. Frank J. Tipler provides a proof that the Omega Point cosmology is a logically unavoidable result of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, general relativity, and quantum mechanics.

See above regarding my thoughts on Omega Point Theory being “logically unavoidable”.

Fin.

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5 Responses to “Omega Point Theory – Resurrection! (Pun intended)”

  1. The great thing about James Redford is that he’s entirely self-parodying. There is literally nothing I could add by way of reply that would make him seem more ridiculous.

  2. Hi, Christian Polson-Brown (cpolsonb). You write that “It is empirically impossible to prove the non-existence of something, and science does not claim to.” Actually, it’s quite easy to empirically prove the nonexistence of a thing. If someone were to claim that there is a chicken (just a regular chicken, with no special powers obscuring it) pecking on a particular table, when in fact there isn’t, then the nonexistence of that chicken on that table is empirically proved.

    If one were to claim that such a proof of nonexistence isn’t possible due to individual perceptions, then by the same token one couldn’t prove the positive existence of anything.

    And so it’s a logical fallacy that the nonexistence of things can’t be proved (empirically or otherwise).

    More to the point at hand, Jesus Christ’s resurrection is proved by the methods of historical analysis. That is to say, there exists a great deal of positive historical evidence for Jesus Christ’s bodily resurrection. So this isn’t even a case of attempting to prove a negative. Rather, one must disprove the great amount of positive historical evidence for Jesus Christ’s bodily resurrection if one rationally desires to claim that Jesus Christ did not rise from the dead. Such cannot be done by historical methods, because if it could be done, then it would have already been done. Jesus Christ’s bodily resurrection is a historical fact, whether one likes that fact or not.

    For the historical reliability of Jesus Christ’s existence and his bodily resurrection, and the untenability of theories which deny his resurrection, see Prof. William Lane Craig, “Contemporary Scholarship and the Historical Evidence for the Resurrection of Jesus Christ”, Truth, Vol. 1 (1985), pp. 89-95. http://www.leaderu.com/truth/1truth22.html For more on the historicity of Jesus Christ’s resurrection, see William Lane Craig, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books, 3rd ed., 2008), Chap. 8: “The Resurrection of Jesus”, pp. 333-404, particularly pp. 360 ff.

    You go on to write that “If it [i.e., the Omega Point] were truly logically unavoidable then it would be a mathematical constant, which it cannot be.” The concept you’re looking for is *theorem*. It is a theorem according to the known laws of physics (i.e., the Second Law of Thermodynamics, general relativity, quantum mechanics, and the Standard Model of particle physics) that the universe must be the Omega Point cosmology. Now perhaps–one may argue–that the known laws of physics are incorrect, but if they are correct, then the Omega Point cosmology is a logically-unavoidable result. The only way to avoid the Omega Point cosmology is to reject the known laws of physics, which have been confirmed by every experiment to date–and hence, one must thereby reject empirical science, as Stephen Hawking has done with his new book on M-theory, which has no experimental support and which violates the known laws of physics. Stephen Hawking obviously knows more about physical theorems than you. He didn’t attempt to disprove the known laws of physics or their implications, instead he rejected empirical science in order to reach the conclusion he wanted.

    You write: “Omega Point Theory has been put through the mill and found wanting, to persist under the belief that it is logically unavoidable is to believe dogmatically.” Found wanting by you. As far as anyone knows, the Omega Point Theory is correct. If anyone knows otherwise, then they have kept the refutation a secret. And given that it is now a physics theorem, it would be easy to refute: merely show that it leads to contradictions, or that its assumptions are incorrect. Its assumptions are nothing more than the known laws of physics, and so in order to demonstrate these as being false, one would have to disprove the known laws of physics, which have been confirmed by every experiment to date. Regarding contradictions, avoidance of the Omega Point cosmology leads to logical contradictions, and so this option also isn’t viable.

    You further write that “My argument is that sufficient evidence has not been found to support the historical claim that Jesus of Nazareth existed and performed his miracles.” You say this as a rebuff against my claim that you’re making a circular argument. But this doesn’t address my point. You’re arguing that Tipler’s Omega Point Theory is untrue because it too closely matches Christian theology. Yet this is circular reasoning, as you’re assuming something as true which has never been demonstrated to be true (i.e., that Christian theology is untrue). Moreover, the Omega Point Theory itself is apodictically true if the known laws of physics are correct.

    You also write:

    “”
    When a human brain ceases all electrical function and decays, all information stored within it is lost. The continuity of mind is broken and as no outside source of mind is known to exist (i.e. the dualistic paradigm is not supported by science) then no amount of throwing the word “quantum” into arguments will allow for that stream of consciousness to continue uninterrupted. If you wish to maintain that a perfectly reconstructed human mind will maintain a stream of consciousness please provide evidence supporting the dualistic paradigm.
    “”

    Again, this violates the Law of Identity in the field of logic, and is a logical contradiction. An exact emulation of, e.g., a human is merely a very large number. Indeed, even the entire lifetime of a human can be perfectly described by a single number–a tremendously large number compared to the numbers we’re used to dealing with, but still quite finite.

    It would be the same as saying that 3765258724 does not = 3765258724, i.e., that there is something about the number 3765258724 on the left-hand side which makes it nonequivalent to the version on the right-hand side. But this is a logical contradiction, as it violates the Law of Identity that A = A.

    Lastly, you write: “See above regarding my thoughts on Omega Point Theory being ‘logically unavoidable’.” Yet you never did try to show that the Omega Point Theory isn’t logically required by the known laws of physics. If you could show such a thing, then you would be the first. Much greater minds than yours have realized that this task is impossible, and so their answer is to reject the known laws of physics, as Hawking has done with his recent book on M-theory, which has no experimental support and which violates the known laws of physics.

    • Mr. Redford

      While I found our discussion interesting and engaging for a while, I no longer feel it serves the intent of this blog. I wish for this blog to focus more on fostering a positive attitude toward science and critical thinking, and less on repeated, and quite obviously futile debate with a passionate believer.

      Your most recent post provides no new arguments that I feel the need to argue against. My thoughts on everything who wrote have already been made clear in previous examples. Thank you for taking the time to engage in this discussion with me, I’ve found it a valuable learning experience. Rest assured that this is no admission of defeat, I remain as ever unconvinced that the Omega Point Theory is a supported hypothesis.

      – Christian Polson-Brown

  3. Hey Christian, welcome back to the blogging world!

    One small nit-pick: at one point you contended that evidence was needed as to whether Jesus actually existed or not. I think it would have been more reasonable to ask instead for evidence that Jesus was resurrected. That’s the extraordinary claim that requires extraordinary evidence.

    Most historians accept that Jesus probably existed. We accept the existence of historical individuals who have much less written about them. And it makes sense that a religion would have a founder, and that stories about that founder could grow and mutate over time.

    So the claim that Jesus existed doesn’t provide a lot of reason to doubt it. The claim that he had supernatural powers, though, is another story altogether.

    • A fair criticism.

      In previous writings I have been more careful to specify that I’m talking about the miracles of Jesus, slipped my mind in this case. I certainly agree that a historical Jesus likely existed, though anything meaningful we could have glimpsed about his real life is now far too obfuscated by centuries of revisionism, translation, fraud and apocrypha. One unfortunate consequence of Jesus coming from a low-birth means that no primary historical evidence exists from his life, only things that came after. This is different to most other historical figures you allude to like Emperors and Kings who were famous enough in their own life to have records kept about them.

      But I digress. You are indeed correct, and arguing against the existence of an earthly Jesus was not my intention.

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