Email this review


 A scientific argument that foresees the evolution of computer intelligence into an equivalent of God is likely to be greeted with skepticism by the majority of readers, and those who wade through this densely argued text are likely to emerge more puzzled than enlightened. Tipler (Mathematical Physics/Tulane) offers a cosmological theory he calls the Omega Point, based on the expansion of intelligent life to fill the known universe. Since the distances between habitable planets are so great, only spacegoing computers can ever hope to colonize the universe, he argues. The constant increase of computer intelligence will allow future computers not only to equal human accomplishments, but to recreate in exact detail all human beings who have ever lived. Tipler's insistence on calling this recreation a ``resurrection'' seems to be overstating his case. Similarly, a universal computer intelligence may be the sort of deity suitable to science fiction, but not one that many church-goers would find satisfactory. As tests of his theory, Tipler makes several predictions, one of which, involving the mass of the top quark, is in agreement with recently obtained experimental data, but most of which the average reader has no way to evaluate. He devotes the concluding chapters to consideration of such traditional theological questions as the problem of evil, the nature of heaven and hell, and a comparison of the Omega Point theory to the views of the world's great religions. An ``Appendix for Scientists'' provides more rigorous presentation of his arguments for those capable of following advanced mathematics. Tipler is wrestling with issues of enormous importance, but in the end his answers seem highly idiosyncratic and unlikely either to convert the skeptics or to satisfy the religious. (20 line drawings) (Quality Paperback Book Club selection; author tour)

Pub Date: Sept. 5th, 1994
ISBN: 0-385-46798-2
Page count: 432pp
Publisher: Doubleday
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 1994