Monday, February 23, 2009

Energy and Money

Everything is connected to everything. There is a connection between H. erectus and the current economic crash--not a causal connection, other than that the cause of our demand for energy began with them.

Somewhere around 1.5 million years ago, give or take a hundred thousand years, someone in Africa made an amazing intellectual leap. They realized that fire could be used.

"J. W. K. (Jack) Harris, an archaeologist at Rutgers University, has discovered at the Kenyan sites of Chesowanja and East Lake Turkana areas of baked clay that date back to about 1.5 million years ago. These circular areas of baked clay test out to have been formed by quite limited fires of low temperature, unlike widespread spontaneous bush fires or high-temperature lightening strikes. Their circular outlines are different from the pattern of soil baking that results from a burning tree stumps. None of these sites have 'hearths' the stone-rimmed, ash-filled, and carbon-rich deposits indicative of habitual fire use-that archaeologists have discovered at later time horizons around the world." ~ Noel Boaz, Eco Homo, (New York: Basic Books, 1997), p. 180,

There are hearthlike arrangements of stones at Swartkrans, South Africa, dating from 1.6 million years. If these ancient sites represent control of fire, which is controversial, it represents an amazing increase in energy available to the human species over that available to our primate ancestors. Wildfires generally only reach 300 deg C. Controlled fire reaches up to 600 deg C. Interestingly, at Swartkrans, electron spin resonance indicates high temperatures.

With fire, one can use the energy for warmth, which is obvious, but less well known is the ability of cooked food to not only make the meat and vegetables tenderer, the heat also breaks apart the toxins many of our food contain, making them safe to eat.
"While the excavation and eating of yams possibly go back to the earliest fire-users (because they must be cooked), this tuber more than any other is likely to have become the staple for a distinctively new and eventually very successful lineage in Africa."

"Yams also have many useful by-products, which are known by contemporary, or have been used by, recent people. In southern Africa, two wild species are used to prepare a bait which immobilizes monkeys, while yam extracts can also be ingredients of arrow poison. In Southeast Asia, both birds and fish used to be stupefied with yam poisons and a yam shampoo was used to get rid of head lice. Learning that an underground root has all these toxic properties implies a very great and long-standing intimacy with the plant." ~ Jonathan Kingdon, Self-made Man, (New York: John Wiley and Sons, Inc.,1993), p.156-157

Speaking of a more recent group of people, who were very important in the history of energy, we see the effect on meat.

"An equally important technological advance was the growing reliance on fire. From the pattern of ashes left behind in Mousterian 'hearths,' Brace deduced that the Neandertals were earth-baking their food in shallow pits lined with fire-heated rocks and covered with soil. 'It seems abundantly clear that the Neanderthals of the Mousterian were cooking their food in the same way that the Polynesians still do...' he recently wrote. 'Meat cooked in such a fashion can become quite tender indeed, and in such condition it requires less chewing to render it [more] swallowable than would be the case if it remained uncooked." ~ James R. Shreeve, The Neandertal Enigma, (New York: William Morrow and Co., 1995), p. 51

By 800,000 years ago, there is clear unequivocal evidence for humans using the hearth, meaning that temperatures which they could create reached up to 600 deg C. But, 73,000 years agothe Neanderthals were about to make another grand discovery. They were the first coal miners.

"Charcoal analysis_the study of charcoal from archaeological contexts_is designed to reconstruct palaeoenvironment and human use of wood. At two prehistoric sites in the Causse du Larzac (France)_Les Canalettes (Mousterian) and Les Usclades (Mesolithic)_charcoal analysis has revealed specimens whose anatomical structure was abnormally compressed in transverse section. The authors conducted experiments to determine how the compression could have occurred. The result was the first evidence for lignite in Palaeolithic settlements. Lignite fragments in a hearth suggest local Palaeolithic people used it for fuel. The lignite could have come from major coal outcrops within 7 to 15 km of the sites. Coal use is otherwise unknown for Palaeolithic cultures in France, and its use at Les Canalettes during the last glacial is the oldest recorded instance. Coal may have been used for fuel primarily because wood became scarce during the last glacial."
I. Thery et al, Journal of Archaeological Science, v 23, n 4, July 1996, p509_512

Water boils at 100 deg C. For comparison, forest litter will ignite at around 210 deg C. Coal won't ignite until it reaches 300 degree C but it can, under some circumstances burn at temperatures as high as 1500 C. The rock that burns was an discovery of Neanderthals, probably because there were few trees in glaciated Europe

Thirty-two thousand years ago, coal was still being used.

"At Landek, on the left bank of the Oder at Ostrava Petrkovice in Czechoslovakia, the Brno Archaeological Institute carried out in the 1950s extensive investigations into the possible use of coal in the Palaeolithic settlement there. The site is on carboniferous sandstone and, according to Klima (1956), is one of the most important Palaeolithic sites in Silesia. Evidence for three huts was found and these were oval in shape having two hearths on the longitudinal axis of each making six in all. The hearths had been dispersed by solifluxion leaving particles of coal and coke in ash layers. In the ash, which was greyish black and 2.5 cm thick, were fragments of animal bones and mammoth ivory particles. The hearths were bowl shaped hollows in the ground. Numerous small lumps of haematite were also found and these had been baked to accelerate their decomposition into forms suitable for use as red pigment. A statuette carved in haematite is also found. This Gravettian site, over 30,000 years old, is situated near the outcrop of the Ostrava coal seams, according to Demek and Miroslave, and it is presumed that the settlers dug out coal and used it has a source of heat. According to Klima coal was also used for the making of ornaments at Kesserloch and Kniegrotte."

"Three settlement sites were excavated by Bren in the mining district of Kladno-Rakovnik. Here was found extensive evidence for the manufacture of bracelets of sapropelite, which is a form of lignite or brown coal. Bracelets were found in many stages of manufacture from rough pieces of sapropelite to half completed discs and the completed article. The tools used in manufacture were also found. In many La Tene graves in Czechoslovakia such bracelets have been found on actual skeletons." ~ R. Shepard, Prehistoric Mining and Allied Industries, (New York: Academic Press, 1980), p.231-232

But the discovery of coal expanded the energy available to the human race.

Giampietro and Mimentel.

"In subsistence societies, about 4 kcalories of exosomatic energy (basically in the form of biomass) are required per kcalorie of food consumed. Thus, the total direct cost of the daily diet is much lower in absolute terms, approximately 10,000 kcalories of exosomatic energy per capita (assuming a food supply of 2,500 kcal/day per capita). On the other hand, because of the limited access to fossil energy, the average return of human labor in subsistence societies is low. In such a system up to 5 hours of labor are required to supply the daily diet. In terms of human labor, in subsistence societies the daily diet costs 16 times more than in the U.S. food system. "

These authors point out that our diet today requires 35,000 kilocalories per capita vs. the 10,000 kilocalories per capita for the subsistence society.

Slavery for Cattle

The next great increase in human access to energy came with the invention of agriculture, generally believed to have taken place around 10,000 years ago. At that time, humans learned to domesticate animals. One horse, and presumably one cow, can output about 640 kilocalories per hour. Since the Amish work a horse 6 hours per day and no more, that means a horse can output more calories than a human requires. The base level metabolism of the human, the level below which the human starves is 1200 kilocalories per day. Normal healthy humans will take in 2500 kilocalories giving him the possibility of outputting 1300 kilocalories as useful work each day and not starve. The horse can output 3800 kilocalories in useful work per day. So, in addition to the 3 kilocalories of biomass burning, the Agricultural revolution immediately yielded an additional 4 kilocalories per animal.

Another way to view the energetics of these ancient societies, is to look at the calories per hour generated by the lifestyle. If a society is hunting large animals, then 10,000 to 15,000 kilocalories per hour can be generated via the kills. But, if one doesn't have large game to hunt, then hunting small game means that you can only get a up to 1,500 kilocalories per hour. Shellfish collecting yields 1-2,000 calories per hour and gathering wild plants only 700 to 1,300 kilocalories per hour. Subsistence farming gives 3,000 to 5000 kilocalories per hour. (Thomas Gale More, Climate of Fear, (Washington: Cato Institute, p. 32)

This was the catalyst which allowed society to blossom. Assuming that a person worked 8 hours per day at agriculture and that a person needs 2500 calories per day, a single farmer could provide food for between 10 and 16 other people.

It was about this time that people discovered a way to crystallize work. At first it was called gold; later it was called money. A farmer's output in the form of barley was weighed with a quantity of silver or gold. Effectively this equated calories to a quantity of metal. Today, if one uses the energy consumed by the United States, say in 2006 which is 2.322 x 10^16 kilocalories with the money supply at that time, M3, about 11 trillion dollars, we can divide and find that a dollar is the equivalent of 2,111 kilocalories per dollar. The money supply rises about a half a trillion dollars per year, so doing the same calculation for 2007 shows that a 2007 dollar is equivalent to 2,053 kilocalories per dollar. This works out to (drum-roll please) a 3% inflation rate for the dollar. Inflation may be measuring the energy content of the currency. When we print lots of dollars, it isn't merely that there are lots of them that causes inflation, it is that the energy content, the ultimate value of the currency is absolutely less.

All of the above energy additions made it possible for humanity to grow from an estimated 125,000 for H. erectus 1.5 million years ago, to an estimated 10 million hunter-gatherers 12,000 years ago and then to an estimated 162 million people living on earth in 400 B. C. (Henry C. Harpending et al, "The Genetic Structure of Ancient Human Populations," Current Anthropology, 34:4(1993):483-496, p. 494-495;David Pilbeam, "What Makes Us Human?," in S. Jones et al, editors, The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Human Evolution, (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992), p. 2; L. Luca Cavalli-Sforza, Paoli Menozzi and Alberto Piazzi, The History and Geography of Human Genes, (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994), p. 68)

For the next several thousand years, the increase in population was fueled by the spread of agriculture to all ends of the earth. Nary a usable acre was left unplowed. But, while coal use increased, it didn't increase tremendously until the 17th century in England. Finding any quantitative information on coal use in the Roman era in either Rome or China is almost impossible. One thing is known, in 1770 to 1780 coal production in England, the coal production center of the universe in that time, was about 6.25 million tons. This fueled the industrial revolution, which gave humans control of huge calories with which to do work. For comparison this represents 41 trillion kilocalories, or 4.8 million kilocalories per capita in England (population 8.7 million in 1780). That is a huge quantity of energy with which to build the British Empire. Another way to look at it is the daily kilocalories that represents--13,310 per day per person. That means that at that time, when adding up horses, food and all, the Brits had around 23,000 kilocalories per day in 1770. One thing to remember, Britain at that time was THE developed country.

By 1900, the world was producing 924 million tons of coal and less than a billion barrels of oil per year. The population was 1.65 billion. All of this works out so that the average human had access to 19000 kilocalories per day per person in 1900.

Fast forward to 2008. Using the BP Statistical Review of World Energy and their conversion that a tonne of oil is equivalent to 10 million kilocalories, we find from all sources of energy, oil, natural gas, coal, hydropower and nuclear energy, the average human on earth has 46,000 kilocalories per day per person in extrasomatic energy; horses don't add much to our well being today. Effectively, every person on earth has the energy equivalent of 18-30 human slaves working for him. Here is the calculation

tonnes oil equivalent per year

kilocalories (10 million kilocalories per year
Total kilocalories..110,268,259,906,115,000

World population 6,602,274,812

calories/capita/day 45,758

This is low for a western society. In the US, each citizen has 212,000 kilocalories per day, which explains our high standard of living. In the next post, we will examine what happens as the energy runs out.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Multiverse+Turing = Resurrection+Eternal Life

The Multiverse + Turing = Resurrection + Eternal Life

As way of introduction, should there be any readers of this blog, I am a geophysicist who is interested in anything and everything scientific, philosophical and theological; thus the name of this blog, The Migrating Mind. We will wander over a lot of intellectual territory and what I hope to do is connect diverse areas of intellectual thought in surprising ways for you the reader, with comments (maybe not insights) from such areas as anthropology, math, physics, economics, politics and theology.

I hope to be somewhat controversial and to delve into areas where there is controversy, not for the purpose of solving the controversy, but for the purpose of stimulating thinking, and maybe a few caustic remarks aimed my way.I should warn any reader that I don't care too much for what everyone knows. I do care for data in all its forms, mathematical and observational, but especially observational data.If one has a view that violates observational data, then that view is false. Only by substantively explaining the datacan a view be honest and true.

But, one can't ignore the simple fact, that as Lewis and Sally Binford wrote so long ago,

"Many traditionalists speak of 'reading the Archaeological record' asserting that facts speak for themselves and expressing a deep mistrust for theory. Facts never speak for themselves and archeological facts are no more articulate than those of physics or chemistry." Lewis and Sally Binford, "Stone tools and Human Behavior", Scientific American, April, 1969, p. 84.

So, facts mingled with theory, philosophy and theologywill inhabit these pages.
For anyone who wishes to see my background, you can see it at

A few months ago I read a book I had wanted to read for about 5 years but hadn’t been able to find. It is David Deutsch’s The Fabric of Reality. Deutsch is a hard-core multiverse advocate, believing that the quantum interference phenomenon seen in the split screen is evidence of the existence of the multiverse. Deutsch takes the usual approach that there is no God, but then it is fascinating to watch as he unfolds the implications of the Turing Principle to the future of the universe/multiverse. Those implications often match what Christianity says will happen in the future. The outline of the argument is as follows:

1.Rejection of the Designer implied by the Anthropic Principle is accomplished by acceptance of the existence of the Multiverse.

2.The Turing Principle, the basis of all computation, says that any physical process can be simulated to any desired degree of accuracy by a universal quantum computer.

3.Our brain and our consciousness are due merely to computation, not due to a soul.

4. This means we would be unable to determine if we are living in reality or living in a computer simulation

5.Which means we can’t tell if our universe was created or evolved

6.If the universe is a gigantic quantum computation, there are only three options for how the computation started?
a.It was created by a Programmer
b.It has always existed
c.It popped into existence on its own

7.Since, if brains are mere computers, there is no defense against the concept that we are simulations inside this gigantic computation. Indeed, if the laws of physics are all there is, then we simply MUST be a computation inside this grand simulator.

8. In which case, we are vulnerable to having the program which makes us be ported over to another type of computer (those computers of the advanced civilization)

9. If the multiverse is added in to the mix, some of those universes will collapse in the proper manner to give an infinity of computational power, and in some of those, our programs (the ones creating our consciousness) will be simulated in a fashion which will feel like eternal life to us.

Three comments before we start. Since some will be unfamiliar with the concepts, I spend some time trying to bring those readers up to speed. Secondly, this will not be an easy read. Thirdly, I am not advocating this kind of resurrection, but only noting the ludicrousness of rejecting God and then being logically forced to accept what one thought he had rejected.

Let’s start with a couple of my favorite quotations about the Anthropic Principle, the idea that we live in an incredibly fine-tuned universe, a universe that is so special in its construction that it seems to have been made for life’s existence.

"This book is about a debate that is stirring the passions of physicists and cosmologists but is also part of a broader controversy, especially in the United States, where it has entered the partisan political discourse. On one side are the people who are convinced that the world must have been created or designed by an intelligent agent with a benevolent purpose. On the other side are the hard-nosed, scientific types who feel certain that the universe is the product of impersonal, disinterested laws of physics, mathematics, and probability a world without a purpose, so to speak. By the first group, I don't mean the biblical literalists who believe the world was created six thousand years ago and are ready to fight about it. I am talking about thoughtful, intelligent people who look around at the world and have a hard time believing that it was just dumb luck that made the world so accommodating to human beings. I don't think these people are being stupid; they have a real point.” Leonard Susskind, The Cosmic Landscape, (New York: Little Brown and Co., 2006), p. 6

"Tegmark agrees that nature's fine-tuning cannot be passed off as a mere coincidence. 'There are only two possible explanations,' he says. Either the universe was designed specifically for us by a creator, or there exists a large number of universes, each with different values of the fundamental constants, and, not surprisingly we find ourselves in one in which the constants have just the right values to permit galaxies, stars and life."
Marcus Chown, The Universe Next Door, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001), p. 103

Most physicists, being the academics they are, would not be caught dead believing in a Designer, so the escape from this conundrum is the postulation of the multiverse; it is better to believe in an unseen multiverse than an unseen God. Reading Deutsch, I finally realized that if one tries to escape the designer by this route, he runs smack dab into proof that resurrection and eternal life is possible. It all comes out of the Turing Principle applied to the multiverse, along with the assumption that our consciousness is not due to a soul but to mere physical computation.

Alan Turing was the most important founder of modern computing. One of his theorems, which was independently derived by Church, basically says,

“It is possible to construct a universal computer such that this machine can be programmed to perform any computation which any physical object can perform.”

This principle links physics with computation at a deep level. The laws of physics are related to a computation via simulation. The Turing principle allows us to know that our scientific models (Newton’s laws, General Relativity, Quantum…) can be exactly mimicked by a universal computer which has sufficient memory and sufficient calculation time.

Deutsch expresses the Turing Principle this way:

“It is possible to build a virtual-reality generator whose repertoire includes that of every other physically possible virtual-reality generator.”
David Deutsch, The Fabric of Reality (New York: Basic Books, 1997), p. 134

Deutsch, believing that the human brain is a computer, claims that it is the Turing Principle which allows us to know things. Science and math are virtual-reality being carried out inside our brains. We create a model of nature inside of our computational brains and via experiment, compare reality outside with this inner, virtual reality in our brains.

If the laws of physics as they apply to any physical object or process are to be comprehensible, they must be capable of being embodied in another physical object - the knower. It is also necessary that processes capable of creating such knowledge be physically possible. Such processes are called science. Science depends on experimental testing, which means physically rendering a law's predictions and comparing it with (a rendering of) reality. It also depends on explanation, and that requires the abstract laws themselves, not merely their predictive content, to be capable of being rendered in virtual reality. This is a tall order, but reality does meet it. That is to say, the laws of physics meet it. The laws of physics, by conforming to the Turing principle, make it physically possible for those same laws to become known to physical objects. Thus, the laws of physics may be said to mandate their own comprehensibility.”
David Deutsch, The Fabric of Reality (New York: Basic Books, 1997), p. 135

The Turing Principle is fundamental to our lives. With it, we do science, which can be defined as the simulation of reality by scientific theories. Imagination, dreaming, fantasizing are all forms of virtual reality which we do inside of our brains. While it is clear that our brains can do computation, the Lucas-Penrose argument, IMO makes it unlikely that the brain is only a computer, but that is an argument for another day. A universal computer can simulate things to any desired degree of accuracy and this has incredible implications.

Computers can only simulate logically possible items. It cannot simulate 2+2=5 or prove the unprovable.

In 1981, Benioff and after him, Feynman showed that a classical computer could not simulate quantum systems to any arbitrary level of accuracy. But, a quantum computer could simulate anything. Julian Brown notes:

Feynman then went on to describe his idea for a
universal quantum simulator, a machine that could ‘imitate any quantum system, including the physical world.’” Julian Brown, Minds, Machines and the Multiverse, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2000), p. 100

This then, raises all sorts of interesting questions. Is the universe a quantum computer? Seth Lloyd would say yes

"What is the universe computing during these early times? As usual, it is computing its own behavior. The universe computes itself. If we knew more about quantum gravity, we could reproduce the first few steps of the universe's computation on existing, man-made quantum computers, simple though they are. In fact, the computational theory of quantum gravity advocated earlier gives a straightforward picture of what the universe is computing. In this picture, the universe embarks on all possible computations at once."

"Recall that quantum computers have the ability to perform many computations simultaneously, using quantum parallelism. Almost all input quantum bits are superpositions of 0 and 1. There is only one state that is 0 and one state that is 1, but there are an infinite number of possible input states that are superpositions of 0 and 1. Consequently, almost all one-qubit inputs to the quantum computer tell it to do this and that simultaneously.

"Similarly, almost all two-qubit input states are superpositions of 00, 01,10, and 11. If each of these four inputs instructs the computer to perform a specific computation, then almost all two-qubit input states instruct the quantum computer to perform these four computations in quantum parallel. And so it goes. As the number of input qubits grows, the universal quantum computer continues to embark upon all possible computations at once."
Seth Lloyd, Programming the Universe, (New York: Vintage Books, 2006), p. 197

Lloyd further states:

"Feynman was correct that quantum computers could provide efficient simulation of other quantum systems. A quantum computer with a few tens of quantum bits could perform in a few tens of steps simulations that would require Avogadro's number of memory sites and operations on a classical computer. A mere 30-40 quantum bits would suffice to perform quantum simulations of multidimensional fermionic systems such as the Hubbard model that have proved resistant to conventional computational techniques. Hundreds to thousands of bits may be required to simulate accurately systems with continuous variables such as lattice gauge theories or models of quantum gravity."
Seth Lloyd, "Universal Quantum Simulators," Science 273, August 23, 1996, p 1073-1078, p. 1077-1077

But, with a quantum virtual reality, one could mimic a quantum system to any desired degree of accuracy. This is an important point in my argument, so remember it.
Since my retirement, I am no longer a manager; I am just a geophysicist working on a UNIX work station. One of the VR kinds of things that constantly fool me is the screen snapshot utility on the UNIX machine. If I take a snapshot of the screen, the program puts up a picture of the screen inside another window, which is almost the same size as the original. Often, after saving the picture, I get interrupted and when I come back to the workstation, I try to get the ‘program’ in the picture to behave as the program. Then I realize that what I have is a poor Virtual Reality of my desktop. I need to close that dang snapshot utility. It really does mimic my desktop and fools me often—until I try to make it work. A good VR simulation would actually work.

Now, if, as the reductionistic/materialist believes, the brain is nothing but a computer, i.e., there is no soul in there, then Turing’s principle says that even brains and thinking could be mimicked by a big enough quantum computer. So, how would we tell the difference between a quantum Virtual Reality machine, and reality? Could our brains and thoughts be those of a vast VR machine? If the Turing Principle is true and the brain is merely a computer, it is hard to see how one could deny the possibility.

Deutsch discusses what people inside of a VR machine would think and how they would test to see if they are in a VR. He discusses this on page 137-138 of his book. He claims that if a group of scientists were trapped in a virtual reality machine and all they had were their memories within that machine that they would be able to determine that they were inside a big VR. They would study its laws and no matter how consistent they were, they would think about the origin of things and come to realize that their world couldn’t have originated naturally. He says:

"…they will want to explain the origin and 'attributes of the various entities, including themselves, that they observe in the reality they inhabit. But in most virtual-reality environments no such explanation exists, for the rendered objects do not originate there but have been designed in the external reality"

I don’t think it would be that simple, if you had a good VR. Indeed, it would not be possible for them to determine they are in a VR anymore than we can. Remember, Turing’s Principle states that a VR machine can simulate any physical process to whatever degree of accuracy preferred. If the VR simulated an evolutionary history, their VR society would have the same arguments that our society does. Some would say that evolution is too unlikely and others would claim that it works. Some, like me, would ask how the world came to exist and use that as evidence for a creator; others would say that the universe always existed. Indeed, every single philosophical issue we face would be faced by our VRgonauts. They would have the questions of whether philosophical idealism is true or not, whether solipsism true; and whether their brains were computers or possessed souls. That is what a good simulation of our reality would have to be.

And, beings living inside a really good simulation would also have the existential question hanging over them. They too would have three choices for how their universe came into existence—it was created by the great Programmer in the sky, it always existed or it popped into existence out of nothing.

Now, as we have seen, the multiverse is the popular escape hatch for those physicists not wanting to accept God, design, resurrection or whatever. But, when one takes that position and ties it in with Turing’s Principle, one comes up with some incredibly theistic-sounding beliefs. Deutsch discusses a theory named after Teilhard de Chardin’s views, Omega Point theory.

“The key discovery in the omega-point theory is that of a class of cosmological models in which, though the universe is finite in both space and time, the memory capacity, the number of possible computational steps and the effective energy supply are all unlimited. This apparent impossibility can happen because of the extreme violence of the final moments of the universe's Big Crunch collapse. Spacetime singularities, like the Big Bang and the Big Crunch, are seldom tranquil places, but this one is far worse than most. The shape of the universe would change from a 3-sphere to the three-¬dimensional analogue of the surface of an ellipsoid. The degree of deformation would increase, and then decrease, and then increase again more rapidly with respect to a different axis. Both the amplitude and frequency of these oscillations would increase without limit as the final singularity was approached, so that a literally infinite number of oscillations would occur even though the end would come within a finite time. Matter as we know it would not survive: all matter, and even the atoms themselves, would be wrenched apart by the gravitational shearing forces generated by the deformed spacetime. However, these shearing forces would also provide an unlimited source of available energy, which could in principle be used to power a computer. How could a computer exist under such conditions? The only 'stuff' left to build computers with would be elementary particles and gravity itself, presumably in some highly exotic quantum states whose existence we, still lacking an adequate theory of quantum gravity, are currently unable to confirm or deny.”

The dots that Deutsch and other physicists have connected are that in a collapsing universe, it would be possible for an advanced civilization to build bigger and faster computers and to utilize larger and larger memories with faster cycle times. Why? Because memory is moved to fundamental particles and as the universe collapses, the light travel time between parts of the circuitry gets shorter and shorter. Deutsch talks about this in a technical article:

"Given two machines M and M' it is possible to construct a composite machine whose set of computable functions contains the union of C(M) and C(m')."

"There is no purely logical reason why one could not go on ad infinitum building more powerful computing machines, nor why there should exist any function that is outside the computable set of every physically possible machine."

And as the universe shrinks to the point where life as we know it is impossible, an advanced civilization, utilizing the quantum computational abilities of the universe itself, would be able to simulate themselves in their computers, thus, doing what Sci Fi writers have talked about—moving our consciousness (which according to the reductionist view is nothing but computation anyway) into machines. And at this point in the discussion, one of Deutsch’s interesting side lights comes into play. He notes that humanities ability to control the natural world has increased throughout history. He claims, with a certain amount of relevance and truth, that one cannot predict the future of a physical system unless one takes into account intelligent living systems. Throw a ball into the air. It will follow the laws of gravity unless an intelligent person extends their hand and catches the ball. At that point, natural law has been overruled by intelligence. He uses this to claim that life is a fundamental part of the universe and one can’t predict the future of the universe until one knows what life will do to change the course of history. In 5 billion years, the sun will go red giant, engulfing the earth, unless our super-advanced descendants figure out how to remove matter from the sun to prevent this bloatational death. As life’s ability to control nature improves, if it can come to control gravity, then the stakes get really interesting.

In a universe where life-forms can control gravity and then move their intelligence into the fundamental particles (using the Turing Principle), they could guide the collapsing universe towards a state where an infinite number of oscillational cycles are available for use by the universal computer.

If one defines our brains as a computational machine, the Turing principle leads to a rational belief that one day we will have the capacity to simulate anything that has ever existed—every brain, including the brain of my cat that is sleeping on the printer next to me. Such a scenario would be like the pilot of the original Star Trek series, where that super race could put you into a VR reality and make it seem real. This is a physically realistic situation.

Now, as more and more computational cycles become available for use, physical resurrection with a new body, a belief of the Christian faith, becomes possible, and likely. Tipler observes:

"This resurrection does not depend on being able to extract sufficient information from the past light cone. In fact, the universal resurrection is physically possible even if no information whatsoever about an individual can be extracted from the past light cone. Since the universal computer capacity increases without bound as the Omega Point is approached, it follows that, if only a bare bones description of our current world is stored permanently, then there will inevitably come a time when there will be sufficient computer capacity to simulate our present-day world by simple brute force: by creating an exact simulation -an emulation --of all logically possible variants of our world. For example, since a human being has about 110,000 active genes, this means that the human genome can code about 10^106 possible genetically distinct humans. Furthermore, the human brain can store between 1010 and 1017 bits, as I discussed in Chapter II, which implies that there are between 2^1010 and 2^1017 possible human memories. ON this basis, there are
10^106 X 10^1017
X 10^1017 =10^1017 possible human states (2^1017 = 10^1017; it is a property of double exponentials that, if the second exponent is larger than about 10, then changing the base from 2 to 10 won't change the number expressed by the double exponential very much). I shall now show that an emulation of all possible variants of our world--the so-called visible universe--would require at most 10^10123 bits of computer memory, and that eventually this amount of computer capacity will be available in the future." Frank J. Tipler, The Physics of Immortality, (New York: Doubleday, 1994), p.220

Now, the astute observer will claim that this won’t happen because our universe is not a collapsing universe. Our universe will expand forever ending in a big rip as the cosmological constant rips everything apart. That is true. So, does this mean that the concept of resurrection via simulation will not happen? No.

This is the beauty of the multiverse. While our particular universe will expand forever, in the multiverse, SOME universes WILL collapse and WILL have a super-advanced civilization capable of all of the above, and they will be able, with an infinite number of computational cycles to resurrect us because ALL possible worlds will be simulated in this vast cosmic simulator, many times over.

What is more amazing is that there is an analogue to Anselm’s Ontological Argument when it comes to the universal quantum computer considered in a multiverse environment. Since it is possible to build it, it must therefore exist! Why? Because, the multiverse is the ensemble of all logically possible universes. Since it is a logical possibility, therefore it exists. (I am still trying to figure out if this applies to God.) But if it has or will (how does one apply our time to other universes?) been built in some other universe, and, they gain sufficient computing power, and our brains are merely computers, we will, repeat will be simulated in those environments.

Tipler explicitly states this—that all possible universes could be simulated.

"On might be tempted to question the morality of such brute force resurrection: not only are the dead being resurrected, but so are people who never lived. However the central claim of the Many- Worlds physics in Chapter V and the Many-Worlds metaphysics in Chapter VIII is that all people and all histories who could exist in fact do. They just don't exist on our phase trajectory, and so we have no record of them. The resurrected dead would not care which phase trajectory they are resurrected in --their own trajectory or another one--so long as they are resurrected."
Frank J. Tipler, The Physics of Immortality, (New York: Doubleday, 1994), p.223-224

Tipler claims that the future beings will have a moral obligation to resurrect us and give us good lives because we live and die in such suffering. Somehow I don’t think they will feel such an obligation. But, they may want entertainment ala the Star Trek Holodeck, which would then have the collateral side effect of resurrecting us. But, we won’t be resurrected with our bodies. In a collapsing universe, our bodies wouldn’t work anyway and what is important is not that we have our 5 toes, but that our consciousness be resurrected. Thus, we would have to be resurrected in whatever form the future computers take.

Thus, what we see is that acceptance of the laws of physics, the Turing Principle, and the existence of the multiverse leads logically to beliefs amazingly similar to some found in the Bible. So, while the atheist may think he is rejecting things like resurrection, eternal life etc, the things they accept lead them back to the same issues. The fabric of reality as we know it, along with the laws of computation, is telling us that 1 Cor. 15:51,52 are correct in principle. They say:

1 Cor 15: 51-54 KJV
Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

And this gets into a friend's question to me in one of our discussions of atheism. He commented that I was merely defending God and that even if God existed, one couldn’t know which religion was correct. I answered at the time that that was technically true, but, with the above, it appears that the physical laws themselves may point us in a direction consistent with the beliefs of the Abrahamic religions. If you remember I said that the Turing Principle allows simulations of logically possible realms. Some religions specify cosmologies which are not logically consistent—the earth on top of the shoulders of a giant man, both of which are in a gravity field—the earth as a table on the back of an elephant standing on a turtle swimming in a cosmic sea of clarified butter. Scaling laws would not, could not be consistently applied in such universes, which may mark them for being falsified via the Turing Principle.
On the other hand, the transmigration of the soul could not be ruled out because it would look just like our world. But religions and other views which hold that individual resurrection is not possible should be falsified by the Turing principle and the multiverse’s existence.

Not only will we, with all our memories be raised intact, we would have eternal life if Deutsch’s view of consciousness is correct. This is because of the relationship between consciousness and the flow of time.

"But we know that the subjective duration of a virtual-reality experience is determined not by the elapsed time, but by the computations that are performed in that time. In an infinite number of computational steps there is time for an infinite number of thoughts - plenty of time for the thinkers to place themselves into any virtual-reality environment they like, and to experience it for however long they like. If they tire of it, they can switch to any other environment, or to any number of other environments they care to design. Subjectively, they will not be at the final stages of their lives but at the very beginning. They will be in no hurry, for subjectively they will live forever. With one second, or one microsecond, to go, they will still have 'all the time in the world' to do more, experience more, create more - infinitely more - than anyone in the multi verse will ever have done before then. So there is every incentive for them to devote their attention to managing their resources. In doing so they are merely preparing for their own future, an open, infinite future of which they will be in full control and on which, at any particular time, they will be only just embarking.” David Deutsch, The Fabric of Reality, (New York: Penguin Books, 1997), p. 352

A friend once saw a car-wreck coming. It began with a ladder falling off of a truck on an Interstate Highway. He said that it was like slow-motion. I recall this time dilation taking place when I broke my leg in four places, driving my foot to my knee-cap, after executing a particularly bad gainer off a diving board. It seemed to take a long time for me to straighten the leg which was eventually broken. This experience=computational cycles seems to be the only real explanation for this very commonly reported experience.

An objection might be that we are real and simulations are not real, thus making all this talk about simulation resurrection so much malarkey. This ignores the deep relationship between the laws of physics and computation. Julian Brown, citing Deutsch, Barenco and Ekert, {Proc. Royal Society of London 449(1937), (June 8, 1995), p. 669-77}

'The fact that the laws of physics support computational universality is a profound property of Nature. Since any computational task that is repeatable or checkable may be regarded as the simulation of one physical process by another, all computer programs may be regarded as symbolic representations of some of the laws of physics. Therefore the limits of computability coincide with the limits of science itself. If the laws of physics did not support computational universality, they would be decreeing their own unknowability. Since they do support it, it would have been strangely anthropocentric if universality had turned out to be a property of a very narrowly defined class of interactions. Almost every class of physical process must instantiate the same standard set of mathematical relationships, namely those that re quantum computable."
Julian Brown, Minds, Machines, and the Multiverse, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2000), p. 232

Brown states that computation seems to have been built into virtually every kind of physical interaction! Indeed, the quantization of reality seems to demand that the universe is a giant computer. Of Ed Fredkin,

"Fredkin saw that a universe in which everything was quantized would be analogous to a digital computer because in both, everything would be discrete and finite. In effect, the difference between Fredkin’s view of the universe and the conventional view was like the difference between digital and analog computers. The idea that the universe is gigantic digital computer processing information was a view for which Fredkin became famous, if not notorious."
Julian Brown, Minds Machines and the Multiverse, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2000), p. 59

Now, strict adherence to the laws of physics leads one down this path, like it or not.

The interesting thing is that

1.We can’t tell the difference between living in reality and living in a simulation

2.Which means we can’t tell if our universe was created or evolved?

3.If the universe is a gigantic quantum computation, there are only three options for how the computation started?

a.It was created by a Programmer
b.It has always existed
c.It popped into existence on its own

4.If brains are mere computers, there is no defense against the concept that we are simulations inside this gigantic computation. Indeed, if the laws of physics are all there is, then we simply MUST be a computation inside this grand simulator. And because the multiverse will bring into existence very logically possible universe, it must be granted that resurrection, in the form described, is logically possible and follows from believing that consciousness is mere computation.

5. In which case, we are vulnerable to having the program which makes us be ported over to another type of computer (those computers of the advanced civilization)

6. If the multiverse is added in to the mix, some of those universes will collapse in the proper manner to give an infinity of computational power, and in some of those, our programs (the ones creating our consciousness) will be simulated in a fashion which will feel like eternal life to us.

One final question, will it be us who are in that simulation or will it be not-us? Well, if we are merely computer programs running on a particular brain, it would be us, if our program is ported to another form of computer even if it is in another universe. But one thing that prevents me from accepting the concept of consciousness as the output of a computer program (albeit very sophisticated), is that programs are portable and I have never seen anyone run a human program in the brain of a cat, or a parallel network of cat brains. If brains are merely computing machines, and programs are portable as the Turing Principle requires, then why a human ‘program’ can’t be run in a cat’s brain? This and the Lucas-Penrose argument from Godel’s theorem tell me that the way to avoid the implications outlined in this article is to simply accept the existence of the soul. But then, we would have to believe in all that supernatural nonsense rather than the rational logical, yes, scientific belief in resurrection and eternal life, not to mention the belief in doppelgangers. Tegmark explains:

”Is there a copy of you reading this article? A person who is not you but who lives on a planet called Earth, with misty mountains, fertile fields and sprawling cities, in a solar system with eight other planets? The life of this person has been identical to yours in every respect. But perhaps he or she now decides to put down this article without finishing it, while you read on.

"The idea of such an alter ego seems strange and implausible, but it looks as if we will just have to live with it, because it is supported by astronomical observations. The simplest and most popular cosmological model today predicts that you have a twin in a galaxy about 10 to the 1028 meters from here. This distance is so large that it is beyond astronomical, but that does not make your doppelganger any less real."
Max Tegmark, "Parallel Universes" Scientific American May 2003, p. 41

So, now, nature has told us that it is possible to have resurrection and eternal life—even if God doesn’t exist. To me it is fascinating that the universe seems to be set up in such a fashion as to make us run into these theistic ideas, even if we try to escape the concept of God.

How does one escape this logical conclusion? By denying one of the premises. If the Turing principle or the multiverse is false, then this conclusion doesn’t follow. If our brains are not merely computers, but have souls, one escapes this form of resurrection but then faces a different situation all together. But atheists should be aware that in escaping the Designer by living in the multiverse, logically brings them back to some of the things they were trying to avoid—resurrection, eternal life and unseen beings out there somewhere in the multiverse. If one doesn’t like the implications of all this, don’t gripe at me. I am merely reporting what is out there in the computational and physics literature—and all these guys I have cited, with the exception of Tipler, are atheists.

Maybe the heavens are declaring the glory of the Lord and maybe it would be better to merely believe in a God who can resurrect people in the good old fashioned way. Ockham's razor being what it is.