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The Physics of Immortality: Modern Cosmology, God and the Resurrection of the Dead Paperback – Sep 18 1997

3.3 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; First Edition edition (Sept. 18 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385467990
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385467995
  • Product Dimensions: 13.2 x 3 x 20.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 431 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars 60 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #333,371 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Mathematical physicist Tipler attempts to demonstrate via scientific principles the existence of God and the likelihood of reincarnation.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Expect to hear a great deal about this book, which will be boosted through major advertising and a 13-city author tour. Tipler, a professor of mathematical physics at Tulane, presents a scientific argument for the existence of God.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on July 9 2002
Format: Paperback
Linus Pauling got lost in his own head after copping the Nobel Prize (Chemistry), and then wasted his credibility on Vitamin C advocacy (Medicine). A much lesser light, Professor Frank J. Tipler of Tulane University, got lost in his own head after some success with the book The Anthropic Cosmological Principle(Cosmology) and has proceeded to waste his credibility on The Physics of Immortality (Applied Theology).
Tipler's appeals to authority to bulldoze past common sense objections, use of vast amounts of frightening but irrelevant mathematics to stop inquiry dead in it's tracks (Frank, it's supposed to be a POPULAR book), and his feckless use of the ultimate Theological trump card: "either you believe this stuff, or you will be forever without hope!"... is NOT just his style, it's the core substance of this entire enterprise. What, exactly, is Tipler's enterprise here? Why to separate the unwary from their money. This is disgusting and cynical, and Tipler is laughing all the way to the bank. I would have hoped that his mathematics and physics colleagues would have torn his credibility and career to shreds for this travesty, but it doesn't look like it's going to happen in any meaningful way. Cowards.
Truth in venting alert: Frank J. Tipler should not be confused with Paul A. Tipler, Professor Emeritus of Physics at Oakland University in Michigan. Paul A. Tipler was an honest and hard-working contributor of textbooks in Classical and Modern Physics for engineers and other undergraduates.
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By A Customer on Dec 23 2002
Format: Paperback
I enjoy having my brain stretched, so, with that goal in mind, I picked up Dr. Frank J. Tipler's "Physics of Immortality."
There are a number of serious problems with this book, logical, scientific, philosophical, and theological, to wit:
1. The argument is completely circular. (The main thrust is that life, broadly defined, will be able to manipulate the physics of a closed universe in the final moments of its existence in such a way that a form of subjective immortality is possible, for all conscious intelligences, including ourselves.) In order to get from point A to point B, Tipler assumes part of his conclusion. He assumes that life must exist forever, and then uses that assumption in his proof, a definite logical no-no.
Similarly, Tipler includes a "proof" of his argument, saying, in essence that if certain facts about the Higgs boson and the top quark are true, he's right. His conclusions do not follow from his premises at all.
2. Even if one can accept Tipler's main argument, his subsidiary argument is weak. Tipler assumes that his future god-like intelligences will be beings of infinite compassion, who will grant you and I resurrection and immortality, essentially because they're nice guys. This seems like a very slender reed to lean on. The history of intelligent life on this planet (the only intelligence we know anything about) suggests that greater intelligence is not necessarily correlated with greater compassion.
3. Tipler goes off on a strange theological tangent when he attempts to equate his "omega point" being with the God of the Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity and Islam).
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Format: Paperback
" ... cannot be read without a feeling of suffocation, a gasping and flailing around for sense ... the greater part of it is nonsense, tricked out by a variety of tedious metaphysical conceits, and its author can be excused of dishonesty only on the grounds that before deceiving others, he had taken great pains to deceive himself."
One will find this statement on page 111 of The Physics of Immortality. It is a bit of literary criticism concerning a 20th century work called The Phenomenon of Man by an American paleontologist and Jesuit named Teilhard de Chardin. What's notable - and ironic - is that this statement accurately describes Frank Tipler's The Physics of Immortality as well.
This book is pseudoscientific flatulence that fails on multiple fronts. It begins with the gross mischaracterization that the main text should be understandable to anyone with a high school education - not true. That is not because the material is too daunting, but rather because of poor explanatory writing on Tipler's part (i.e., quantum mechanics is discussed without ever being adequately defined). Books by Hawking, Sagan, Kaku - and in particular Fritjof Capra's Tao of Physics -- are vastly more accessible to the layman.
I found Tipler's thesis intriguing and was willing to afford the professor a long leash to explore his theories. I think he's in the ballpark with his ideas, and The Physics of Immortality does offer some compelling insights and provoke some worthwhile thoughts. He's to be credited with tackling this most formidable topic and for iconoclastic thought; the road to hell, alas, is paved with good intentions. One suspects that in more capable literary hands The Physics of Immortality would live up to its potential, but as it is, Tipler ends up chasing his teleological tail.
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