Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

World Renowned Cosmologist Frank Tipler on Sci Phi Show!

arroba Email

One of my favorite ID proponents, Frank Tipler, was recently interviewed on the Sci Phi show.

To hear the 28-minute interview, visit: Frank Tipler on Sci Phi show.

Some of Tipler’s ID-related work has appeared in prestigious journals like Nature. One of Tipler’s recent ID-related papers appeared in the journal Reports on Progress in Physics in 2005. Tipler lays out the physics in that technical article which he describes for the layman in his new book The Physics of Christianity.

In addition, Tipler published some of his ID-related work on the Arxiv server. His most recent article is Intelligent Life in Cosmology [March 2007]. Here are some quotes:

Teleology has been completely rejected by evolutionary biologists. This rejection is unfortunate, because, teleology is alive and well in physics


If the laws of physics be for us, who can be against us?

Tipler is author of The Anthropic Cosmological Principle (1987), one of the 3 ID books which began the modern ID movement.

Tipler was a provisional atheist in 1992 when he wrote the book The Physics of Immortality. He describes his subsequent conversion to Christianity in the Sci Phi show interview. That was a complete surprise to me! My name was mentioned in the show because I had consistently described Tipler as a provisional atheist. That used to be the case for Tipler, but his research in physics has now persuaded him that God exists.

Just listened to the interview—very interesting! I read Physics of Immortality back when it first came out (was living in Mexico at the time, read Michael Denton then too, this before hearing anything about ID). Tipler is a clear thinker and fine writer and a most worthy member of the ID community—and one I’m not competent to critique—except here I go anyway—just two points: First Tipler seems not to have a place for the soul, the elemental, non-mechanistic component at the base of our identity such as Menuge argues for philosophically and Denyse’s forthcoming promises to treat scientifically. For me the Turing Test seems to slough off the most important question, which is not whether a robot might fool us into thinking it is a person but the question of just what a person really IS. Would a virtual copy of a person in a computer be the same consciousness and will as the original person? That I doubt. The other point—and here my skepticism probably extends to Augustine and Aquinas and other great theologians—is what seems to me a determinist vision of God—that everything was fixed from the beginning with no provision for God changing his mind along the way. I would agree with Tipler that “miracles” do not defy the laws of physics—or at least they do not defy the laws of logic/mathematics—but that all the biblical miracles were programmed into the cosmos before the Big Bang—there I’m a skeptic (if I understood him correctly in the interview). But this is me and who am I? It’s wonderful that folks like Frank Tipler are thinking about these things. The object of ID—in relation to biology—is modest—to determine what those not brainwashed in the academy have known all along anyway. But science as a whole—meaning the human pursuit of knowledge—is to find God. That was its original purpose—the purpose of its founders—and Frank Tipler is a scientist in that grand tradition. Rude
Good interview. I think Dr. Tipler is a colorful, fun guy. I read The Physics of Immortality years ago, but wasn't very impressed with the argument there. I'm glad Dr. Tipler stayed at it and developed his argument further, even changing some points due to more evidence becoming available (wish that all scientists behaved this way). His view is becoming ever more interesting. I like Dr. Tipler, even if I disagree with his theology and logic at times. Atom
To see a set of views closer to my own (and a bit to the right of Tipler's) see this article by a Physics Professor: How Quantum Physics may defeat Atheism scordova
Irony of ironies, the discovery institute boasts that one its fellows, William Lane Craig, published a rebuttal of Barrow and Tipler in a philosophy journal. See Peer-Reviewed & Peer-Edited Scientific Publications Supporting the Theory of Intelligent Design
Discovery Institute list of pro-ID articles: Craig, W.L., “Barrow and Tipler on the Anthropic Principle vs. Divine Design.” British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 38 (1988): 389-395.
The full article is here. Craig's notion of a Intelligent Designer is not the same as what Barrow and Tipler would envision, hence, Craig was critical of Barrow and Tipler, and the DI views Craig's criticism of Barrow and Tipler as defending ID from the supposed anti-Design of Barrow and Tipler, when in fact, Barrow and Tipler have a different notion of who the Intelligent Designer is. Tipler especially is in fact, very pro-ID. Despite this, Craig writes:
Not that Barrow and Tipler are endorsing a design argument; on the contrary, although scientists hostile to teleology are apt to interpret their work as sympathetic to theism and although I have already seen this book cited by two prominent philosophers of religion in support of the teleological argument, the thrust of the book's argument is in the end anti-theistic.
Yet, now that 20 years have passed since the writing of The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, we see Tipler is an ID proponent at heart. He's just not quite what one envisions as mainstream ID [i.e. Discovery Institute material]. Interestingly, of all people, Bill Dembski puts in a word critical of Barrow and Tipler:
Thus Barrow and Tipler, to block Premise 3 [life has small probability] not only give themselves all the time and planets that Dawkins ever wanted, but also help themselves to a generous serving of universes (universes that are by definition causally inacccessible to us). p 62. Design Inference 1998
"If the laws of physics be for us, who can be against us?" Satan and his cronies? mike1962
If the laws of physics be for us, who can be against us?
Funny Mats
I'm going to read the "Physics of Christianity" by Frank Tipler too, I just got it from Amazon. I'm just too curious to ignore such a loaded title as "The Physics of Christianity". I've also just started reading Dr. J.C. Sanford's "Genetic Entropy" and was already blown away by page 4 (He illustrates how complex the human genome is by page 4). He was a Genetics Professor at Cornell for more than 25 years with a stellar record of accomplishment. His conversion from Darwinism should send shudders down the spine of most evolutionists. Though I have barely begun the book I truly believe that this is the one unifying principle (Genetic Entropy) that will be the key piece of evidence that establishes when God created each "kind" and will also bring into sharp focus the outer limits of variation and adaptation for each "species". In the long run It should even provide a concrete way to establish the proper order in the way man classifies animals and plants of this world. bornagain77
I first became aware of the importance that many non-elite scientists place on “peerreviewed” or “refereed” journals when Howard Van Till, a theistic evolutionist, said my book The Physics of Immortality was not worth taking seriously because the ideas it presented had never appeared in refereed journals. Actually, the ideas in that book had already appeared in refereed journals. The papers and the refereed journals wherein they appeared were listed at the beginning of my book. My key predictions of the top quark mass (confirmed) and the Higgs boson mass (still unknown) even appeared in the pages of Nature, the most prestigious refereed science journal in the world. ..... More than this, quantum mechanics is actually teleological, though physicists don’t use this loaded word (we call it “unitarity” instead of “teleology”). That is, quantum mechanics says that it is completely correct to say that the universe’s evolution is determined not by how it started in the Big Bang, but by the final state of the universe. Every stage of universal history, including every stage of biological and human history, is determined by the ultimate goal of the universe. And if I am correct that the universal final state is indeed God, then every stage of universal history, in particular every mutation that has ever occurred, or ever will occur in any living being, is determined by the action of God. Frank Tipler in Uncommon Dissent by Bill Dembski
I have read the first book (Anthropic Cosmological Principle) and the second The Physics of Immortality. The third Physics of Christianity is on order from Amazon. I don't necessarily agree with every thing Tipler believes, but I am delighted he is friendly to Christianity. He was certainly not very enthused about organized religions in 1992. In Physics of Immortality he did not strongly believe in the resurrection nor that Christ was God incarnate. He apparently does now! In Physics of Immortality, he wrote in 1992:
To emphasize the scientific nature of the Omega Point Theory, let me state here that I am at present forced to consider myself an atheist, in the literal sense that I am not a theist. (A-theist means "not theist") I do not yet even believe in the Omega Point. The Omega Point Theory is a viable scientific theory of the future of the physical universe, but the only evidence in its favor at the moment is theoretical beauty....But of course I also think the Omega Point Theory has a very good chance of being right, otherwise I would never have troubled to write this book. If Omega Point Theory is confirmed, I shall then consider myself a theist. Frank Tipler
Now in 2007, he has changed his mind. The evidence forced him to believe in God existence. His theology would probably give much indigestion to my YEC brethren, but on the other hand, more so than anyone else, I've seen his views evolve over time as he has objectively weighed the evidence. scordova
Scordova Have you read both books and if so what is different in "The Physics of Christianity that is not in "The Physics of Immortality,,i.e. Does He talk about waking on water and such in the book? bornagain77
The article in Nature was way back in 1983: Black holes and the nature of quantum gravity It was this body of research like this that led him to conclude that God was the Designer of the Universe. scordova

Leave a Reply