Tipler, author of The Physics of Christianity, hopes to demonstrate through his work that there must be a God. His and his team’s near-term goal is to develop microwave apparatus having the capability to measure the spectrum of sky radiation across the X-Band (8-12 GHz), in 100 MHz bins, with a noise level of ±0.1 K.
Here he is interviewed by Ryan Cochrane:
Austrian mathematician Kurt Godel was a theist at a time when many of his academic peers were not. Godel, a Platonist, had faith in the idea that mathematics had an objective existence and that the Universe was an orderly, purposeful place because it was created by a designing intelligence. Godel attempted to provide concrete proof for the existence of the creator through his beloved mathematics because he believed it to be the language of God. Ultimately, Godel failed to provide unequivocal proof of a higher power.
Now another experiment is about to begin that hopes to establish the truth behind the standard theory of cosmological origins (i.e. the Big Bang) and it erupted out of a single point, an uncreated, self-existing entity called the singularity. If Tipler is able to produce this result from his upcoming pseudo-photon theory it will be tantamount to proving the existence of God. Since the 1960s, more and more evidence has accumulated supporting the idea that the universe began in a singularity. However, some members of the scientific community have tried to either downplay or even remove the need for such an entity. For the singularity, if it exists, is more than just the first thing ever. Tipler believes it to be the God of the Bible.
Tipler’s pseudo-photon theory attempts to establish God’s existence by proving that a transcendent singularity (timeless, uncreated and self-existing all by itself) exists, something Godel was not able to do.
Editor’s note: In The Physics of Christianity, Tipler has written:
Contrary to what many physicists have claimed in the popular press, we have had a Theory of Everything for about thirty years. Most physicists dislike this Theory of Everything because it requires the universe to begin in a singularity. That is, they dislike it because the theory is consistent only if God exists, and most contemporary scientists are atheists. They don’t want God to exist, and if keeping God out of science requires rejecting physical laws, well, so be it. (p. 2)
Whatever you may think of Tipler’s theories, this background should be kept in mind.
Ryan Cochrane: Can you say a bit more about what the pseudo-photon theory is and what you hope to show with your experiment?
Frank Tipler: The pseudo-photon theory is a test of how the universe began under the assumption that the Standard Model of particle physics and standard quantum gravity are indeed the Theory of Everything. If it is, then we can start using this theory to start talking about the ultimate future, but we need to know what the correct theory is before we can start talking about the future. The Standard Model, as you know, has been extremely successful. Last year, they discovered the Higgs boson, the last Standard Model particle undiscovered and as far as experiments can tell, it looks like a Standard Model Higgs boson. There is no indication of any physics beyond the Standard Model.
“All other theories assume there is physics besides The Standard Model. In fact, if you read the Nobel Prize Committee’s award of the Nobel Prize to Higgs and Englert, it says we don’t have an explanation in the Standard Model for the dark matter and the dark energy so there must be something else beyond The Standard Model.”
Ryan Cochrane: How does the Standard Model support the idea that there is a God?
Frank Tipler: The experiment will confirm my theory of how the universe began. The experiment will show that it is the Standard Model all the way. The Standard Model means we don’t have to invoke any new physics to explain anything in cosmology. The Standard Model explains everything. It has an explanation for what the dark energy is, what the dark matter is, how matter rather than antimatter was created, why the universe is homogenous and isotropic. In other words we have a complete explanation for everything, assuming that the Standard Model is true. All other theories assume there is physics besides the Standard Model. In fact, if you read the Nobel Prize Committee’s award of the Nobel Prize to Higgs and Englert, it says we don’t have an explanation in the Standard Model for the dark matter and the dark energy so there must be something else beyond The Standard Model. I disagree, and this experiment will tell whether or not that statement is true or whether I am right and the Standard Model is the ultimate theory. The Standard Model plus traditional quantum gravity theory is the theory of everything (TOE) is what I am claiming.
Ryan Cochrane: Besides trying to explain the origin of the universe and the question of whether a higher power exists, how is the nature of your experiment relevant to the field of epistemology?
Frank Tipler: Science depends on values. Values and science are intertwined. I utterly reject the claim by those two monsters of philosophical depravity, David Hume and Emmanuel Kant, that matters of fact and matters of values are completely separate entities. I claim on the contrary that they are completely integrated. To illustrate, one of the really distressing about the most recent science was reported in “Nature,” the leading British scientific journal, about a year ago. “Nature” reported that nearly 90% of all research in academia in universities is false. “False” is the word the writers in “Nature” used. I would use a stronger word than “false.” I would say that 90% of academic research is fraudulent. I say this because the people doing the experiments should have known that their experimental claims were false. Now, obviously, intentional fraud makes science impossible. I think this is a really important question of epistemology because you have to be sure that the people doing experiments are doing their damndest to be as accurate and truthful as possible. But “thou shalt not bear false witness,” is a value judgment, and without this value controlling science, there are no scientific facts. Also, “thou shalt not kill,” which is to say, it is forbidden to kill one’s scientific opponents, or imprison them (as happened to Galileo in the 1600’s and as happened to John Lykoudis in the 1960’s). These two values, which are essential for science to determine what is a fact, are of course part of the Ten Commandments. So it complete nonsense to claim that facts and values are two completely different things. It is equally nonsense to claim a separation between facts and theories, as the Logical Positivists did, but epistemologists have understood that the Logical Positivists were wrong about this. Epistemologists still seem to think that a value-fact dichotomy is real. Not true. In view of the huge fraud now being committed by “scientists”, I have designed the experiment to be easy and cheap to replicate. So if anyone doubts the result of the experiment, I will merely say, “If you don’t believe me, do the experiment yourself.” This is way all science should be done. “Nullius in Verba—by no one’s word”—is the motto of the Royal Society, and it is the credo of what Steve Fuller calls “Protestant science.” I agree.
Ryan Cochrane: If the results of the pseudo-photon theory are positive, that would confirm the Standard Model of cosmology in that there will now be nearly irrefutable proof for the existence of a transcendent and self-existing Singularity outside of spacetime and reminiscent of Aristotle’s unmoved mover. Is this correct?
Frank Tipler: The initial singularity, part of the cosmological singularity, is something that Fred Hoyle was horrified at, because as Hoyle put it: “if the singularity exists, then the singularity is not only beyond known physical law, it’s absolutely beyond any possible physical law.” If you go back into time you see that everything has a cause. The singularity is the cause of everything but the singularity itself has no cause. In other words, the singularity is the uncaused First Cause, which, according to Saint Thomas Aquinas and Moses Maimonides, is God by definition.
Ryan Cochrane: Didn’t Kurt Godel try something like this?
Frank Tipler: He was trying to find a proof for the existence of God. But unfortunately as you know, he was unable to do so because Godel did not have a correct definition of God. He should have accepted the definitions of God given by the great theologians, as I do. Science is based on experimental proof, so here is the proof. In science, the only proof we accept is experimental proof, so I’m doing the experiment.
I am a follower of Einstein, who believed that the universe must be spatially closed. My mentor John Wheeler also believed in spatial closure, so Wheeler and Einstein persuaded me.
Ryan Cochrane: How has your previous research led you to this experiment?
Frank Tipler: I think my colleagues who are involved in superstring theory and quantum loop gravity theory are making a big mistake by trying to invent a theory without any guidance from experiments at all. Physicists have tried before to develop a correct theory by pure intuition – navel gazing, I call it – and they have always failed. Correct physics theory invention has always been guided by experimental evidence. The last chapter of my book on the Anthropic Principle, which I co-authored with John Barrow, dealt with the question of whether life on Earth was an accident in the Universe as Darwin held or is there some purpose for intelligent life in the Universe. At the same time John and I started on the book, Freeman Dyson’s famous article on life going on forever appeared. Dyson assumed that life could exist only in a universe that expanded forever but his idea for what life in the ultimate future would be doing looked a little boring to me. Also, I am a follower of Einstein, who believed that the universe must be spatially closed. My mentor John Wheeler also believed in spatial closure, so Wheeler and Einstein persuaded me. I was and am an expert in global general relativity, so I automatically looked at the universe on the largest possible scales. I asked if it was possible for life to go on forever in a closed universe. If life were to go on forever in a closed universe, the biosphere would have to expand outwards and engulf the entire universe, seize control of the entire universe and direct the universe as it moves towards the final singularity. I computed that if life were to make it all the way into the final singularity, this ultimate singularity would be have to be a single point in the Penrose c-boundary topology, and so I called such a future singularity an “ Omega Point”. I remembered that Teilhard de Chardin claimed that an Omega Point at the end of time would be God. So I thought to myself maybe there is something to religion here in the physics!
Ryan Cochrane: So there is a First Singularity and a Final Singularity and they are both God?
Frank Tipler: There are actually three singularities out there, which can be shown to be aspects of a single cosmological singularity… Three Persons in One God, to use the standard Christian language. Now reality is ultimately deterministic. As Einstein famously said “God does not play dice with the Universe.” Darwin, on the contrary claimed (in the last chapter of his book “The Variation of Animals and Plants Under Domestication”) that God does play dice with the universe, and if you don’t believe in a dice-playing God, you should reject his, Darwin’s theory of evolution. So I do. You have a choice between Einstein and Darwin, and I choose Einstein. There are no accidents in reality and the universe was intelligently designed and is now being intelligently guided. There are no accidents in reality and the Universe was intelligently designed by God, who is the singularity.