Re: Tipler's quantum conversion bomb

From: Mitchell Porter (
Date: Thu Jan 05 2006 - 20:13:49 MST

Robin Lee Powell said

>On Thu, Jan 05, 2006 at 06:20:33PM -0600, Brian Atkins wrote:
> >
> >
> > "FRANK TIPLER Professor of Mathematical Physics, Tulane
> > University; Author, The Physics of Immortality
> >
> > Why I Hope the Standard Model is Wrong about Why There is More
> > Matter Than Antimatter
>Adding nothing useful:
>Hoooooooooooly shit.
>I note he doesn't say *how*. Good call.

Actually, he's already described how - "coherent sphaleron transitions" - in
a paper where he's trying to provide a physical mechanism for Biblical
miracles of materialization:

A sphaleron is a sort of four-dimensional soliton (an "instanton") which can
replace quarks with electrons or neutrinos, and vice versa. It involves
quantum tunneling between field configurations, across a trillion-volt
potential-energy barrier. As this is *extremely* unlikely at terrestrial or
even at solar temperatures, he has to postulate that the Higgs field gets
into an unusually peaked quantum state, far from thermal equilibrium - this
is the requirement of coherence.

So how are these tuned Higgs states created? He doesn't say, but he says he
believes that "the consistency of quantum field theory" requires that they
should be technologically accessible. Now, the last time Tipler used
"consistency" to deduce something, it was in his Omega Point Theory. He
decided that if a black hole were to ever completely evaporate, at any place
or time in the cosmos, it would create a naked singularity and thus an
"inconsistency"; he further deduced that only intelligent life could stop
this from ever happening; and so concluded that life would last forever.
That argument has an elementary flaw - anything that technology can do, a
random fluctuation can do too; so he might as well have argued merely that
consistency-saving quantum fluctuations would occur for the rest of time.
The premise that total evaporation leads to inconsistency is flawed in any
case; string theorists, at least, think they can describe the process from
start to finish.

My point is that the consistency to which Tipler is appealing may once again
be the consistency of his peculiar physical theology, and not of quantum
field theory as such - although the point of his apologetics is to argue
that the two things are the same, that the latter logically implies the
former. More bluntly: his basic reason for believing that sphaleron-powered
"materialization technology" is possible under terrestrial conditions, may
be nothing more than that the Christian gospels also took place at room

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