How long can life survive in the universe? Can it evolve forever, or
will the third law of Thermodynamics lead to universal heat death? Apparently
there might be some ways around this fate, if intelligent life is sufficiently
clever and tenacious.
Essentially life has to adapt as the universe grows older, changing itself
to be able to survive when the stars grow cold. If the universe is open,
there will be plenty of time to work in, but energy will become very scarce.
Dyson has shown that a finite amount of energy is enough to guarantee
infinite survival if it is spent sufficiently slowly (this is called the
On the other hand, if the universe is closed, it will recollapse into
a Big Crunch after a finite time, becoming hotter and hotter. Life has
to adapt and restructure itself to these conditions, and if intelligent
beings accelerate the speed of their mental processes accordingly they
can even experience a subjective infinite time during the last stages
of the collapse (this is called the Tipler
A third possibility is that the universe may be open or closed, but new
baby universes branch off
due to natural or artificial causes, and intelligent life can survive
indefinitely by migrating into new domains as the old become uninhabitable.
This is commonly called the Linde
Long-Term Survival in the Universe
Cosmic Engineering and Evolution
The Omega Point Theory
Time Without End: Physics and Biology in an Open Universe
by Freeman J. Dyson. About the possibility of infinite survival in the
NASA and Self-Replicating
Systems. About the NASA study about the feasibility of a self-replicating
factory. As Dyson has pointed out, this essentially allows intelligent
beings to manipulate matter on any scale.
Timescales in Open and Flat Universes
the cosmic commons: Evolutionary Strategies of Interstellar Colonization,
Robin Hanson (PDF document). If intelligent life spreads in the universe,
there will exist an evolutionary pressure towards increased expansion.
This paper explores some of the implications.
Politics by Michael A. G. Michaud (Cosmic Search Vol. 1 No. 3).
by Jerome Rothstein (Cosmic Search Vol. 1 No. 2). How different can life
of Extraterrestrial Technological Activities by Guillermo A. Lemarchand
1, Number 1, pp. 3-13)
sci.astro ET Life
NASA Astrobiology Institute
SETI at Home.
A project of using housands of Internet-connected computers for SETI.
As Freeman Dyson has shown, intelligent life can if it is patient and
smart enough, manipulate matter and energy on a cosmic scale, changing
the evolution of the universe and maybe even its fate. According to some
theories, intelligence even plays a cruicial role in the evolution of
See also Space-Time Technology on
the technology page.
Baby Universes (This Week's Finds in Mathematical
Physics (Week 31)) by John Baez. About the possibilities of "baby
universes", and how they might be formed.
The fate of black hole
singularities and the parameters of the standard models of particle physics
and cosmology by Lee Smolin.
of the Quantum Theory of Gravity, An Introduction to the Meduso-Anthropic
Principle by Louis Crane. Nontechnical paper about how the activities
of technological civilizations could influence the evolution of baby universes.
Quotes about evolution
by David Zindell
The Linde scenario by Mitch Porter. A vision
of spawning baby universes, linked by wormholes, to extend the universe.
Self-Reproducing Inflationary Universe by Andrei Linde (Scientific
Smolin's theory as explained by John Baez. Essentially
the Linde scenario, as presented by "The Life of the Cosmos"
by Lee Smolin.
Matters Page. Describes the "coincidences" of the anthropic
principle, and some variants of it.
Frank J. Tipler has proposed that it is possible for intelligent beings
to process and store an infinite amount of information in the universe,
if certain conditions are fulfilled. His definition of the Omega
Point is essentially a future
c-boundary which is a single point and an Aleph
Information processing continues indefinitely along at least one world-line
gamma all the way to the future c-boundary of the universe. i.e. Life
never dies out.
The amount of information processed between now and the future c-boundary
is infinite in the region of space-time with which the worldline gamma
can communicate. i.e. There will be an infinite number of thoughts,
experiences and events.
The amount of information stored at any given time tau within this region
diverges to infinity as tau approaches its future limit. i.e. More
and more is learned, and things never repeat themselves.
What has made his theory controversial is his claims that it is experimentally
verifiable, that the beings near the Omega Point will resurrect anybody
who has ever lived into a state close to classical descriptions of Paradise
and that the Omega Point itself corresponds to the religious notation
From a transhumanist perspective, the Omega Point is the logical conclusion
of our striving towards higer levels, regardless of its nature. It is
more of an engineering problem than a philosophical question.
My Comments on Tipler. Critique, observations
The Tiplerian Scenario. How life could evolve
towards the Omega Point.
Terminology from the Omega Point Mailing List
Omega Point Mailing List. A mailing list
about the Omega Point theory
of Frank Tipler. Archives can be requested by e-mail from firstname.lastname@example.org
(in PKZIP format).
Church of the New Era. A sketch of a scientific
religion based on ideas similar to the Omega Point Theory.
Physik der Unsterblichkeit, a section of a larger website discussing
theology as a subject of physics (in german).
If the Omega Point theory is speculative, universal immortalism (the
idea that death can be completely undone) is even more speculative.
Determinism, Many-Worlds, Resurrection
and Cryonics by by R. Michael Perry. Discusses the possibility of
resurrection if various interpreta tions of Quantum Mechanics holds true.
An Alternative to Deism Based on
the Anthropic Principle by R. Michael Perry. Discusses an alternative
to Tipler's omega point theory of im mortality based on the anthropic
Home page of Frank
J. Tipler. Several pages about the Omega Point Theory.
Site for anthropic reasoning and the Doomsday
Freeman Dyson, Infinite in all Directions (Gifford Lectures Given
at Aberdeen, Scotland April-November 1985)
Frank J. Tipler & John R. Barrow, The Anthropic Cosmological Principle,
Oxford University Press; ISBN: 0192821474 1988
Frank J. Tipler, The Physics of Immortality: Modern Cosmology, God
and the Resurrection of the Dead Anchor Books/Doubleday; ISBN: 0385467990
John D. Barrow: Impossibility. The Limits of Science and the Science
of Limits. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998
Reviews of The Physics of Immortality
Rant / Review of
"Physics of Immortality" by John Walker.
on God by George Johnson. Review of "The Physics of Immortality".
Atheist Proves Existence of God, Review of the book by Victor
from New York Times.
by Danny C. Rich