Dilbertian Emergentism

Dilbertian Emergentism August 4, 2016

Dilbert Emergence dt960211shc0

The above Dilbert comic strip came up in a recent discussion here about radically-emergent theism. The discussion that post generated was vigorous and interesting and in my opinion fruitful and illuminating. And so I thought I would share the cartoon and see what thoughts readers of this blog might have about it.

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  • Stephen M Day

    Isn’t this a rehash of Tipler’s “Omega Point” idea?

    • Are you thinking perhaps of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin?

      • Stephen M Day

        Rather than de Chardin, I was thinking of Frank Tipler’s idea that eventually the entire universe will be converted into computing substrate and so will be de-facto omniscient and omnipotent. An outline here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omega_Point

        • My point is, given that Tipler is not the first to propose such an idea, why treat someone else’s articulation of it as a “rehash” of his, as though Tipler were the first to have proposed it?

          • Stephen M Day

            I thought of Tipler because of the specifically computational angle which, as far as I know, he was the first person to articulate. de Chardin’s ideas were developed before computers, as far as I understand (I’m prepared to be corrected!)
            Scott Adams has some very interesting ideas, and perhaps he has read de Chardin, but I suspect he’s more likely to have read Tipler.

          • You may be right that Tipler was the first to articulate the idea in computational terms. I need to take a look at Samuel Alexander’s Gifford Lectures from just under a century ago to see whether he had any inkling of a computational connection at that stage. But certainly the biological analogy can be connected with some quite ancient pantheistic and panentheistic ways of thinking about the divine.

          • Hi, Prof. James F. McGrath. One can go prior to Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, as the concept of man being gods and becoming ever-more Godlike is simply traditional Christianity, going all the way back to Jesus’s teachings (e.g., see John 10:34), that of Paul and the other Epistlers, and that of the Church Fathers. In traditional Christian theology, this is known as apotheosis, theosis or divinization. For many examples of these early teachings, see the article “Divinization (Christian)”, Wikipedia, Aug. 7, 2016. Though this traditional position of Christian theology has been deemphasized for the last millennium.

            Indeed, the words “transhuman” and “superhuman” originated in Christian theology. “Transhuman” is a neologism coined by Dante Alighieri in his 1320 work Divine Comedy (Paradiso, Canto I, lines 70-72), referring favorably to a mortal human who became an immortal god by means of eating a special plant. For the Christian theological origin of the term “superhuman”, see the Oxford English Dictionary (2nd ed.), the first appearance being by Henry Montagu, 1st Earl of Manchester, in his Al Mondo: Contemplatio Mortis, & Immortalitatis (London, England: Robert Barker, and the Assignes of John Bill, 1636).

            Lysander Spooner in his essay The Deist’s Immortality (Boston: 1834) also describes this concept of man becoming God.

            Edgar Allan Poe, in his book Edgar A. Poe, Eureka: A Prose Poem (New York: Geo. P. Putnam, 1848), basically gives a description of the Omega Point cosmology in its Tiplerian sense: of the universe starting at a “primordial particle” (i.e., an atom in the ancient Greek sense of indivisible unity), then expanding and evolving, and then collapsing into Godhead and unity. Poe considered this nonfiction book to be his magnum opus. I wonder if Teilhard was influenced by Poe, since Poe was very popular in France.

            Charles Sanders Peirce, in C. S. Peirce, “A Neglected Argument for the Reality of God”, Hibbert Journal, Vol. 7 (Oct. 1908-July 1909), pp. 90-112, also presents the concept of an evolving God.

            What physicist and mathematician Prof. Frank J. Tipler has done is to make the foregoing mathematically and physically rigorous, as his Omega Point cosmology is a proof (i.e., mathematical theorem) per the known laws of physics (viz., the Second Law of Thermodynamics, General Relativity, and Quantum Mechanics) demonstrating that the universe must end in the Omega Point: the final cosmological singularity and state of infinite informational capacity having all the unique properties traditionally claimed for God, and of which is a different aspect of the Big Bang initial singularity, i.e., the first cause. Said Omega Point cosmology is also an intrinsic component of the Feynman-DeWitt-Weinberg quantum gravity/Standard Model Theory of Everything (TOE) correctly describing and unifying all the forces in physics, of which TOE is itself mathematically forced by the aforesaid known physical laws. Tipler’s Omega Point cosmology has been published and extensively peer-reviewed in leading physics journals. For a great deal more on that, see my following article, which also addresses the societal implications of the Omega Point cosmology and details how it uniquely conforms to, and precisely matches, the cosmology described in the New Testament:

            * James Redford, “The Physics of God and the Quantum Gravity Theory of Everything”, Social Science Research Network (SSRN), Sept. 10, 2012 (orig. pub. Dec. 19, 2011), 186 pp., doi:10.2139/ssrn.1974708, https://archive.org/download/ThePhysicsOfGodAndTheQuantumGravityTheoryOfEverything/Redford-Physics-of-God.pdf .

  • ObscurelyAgnostic

    This is def NOT the kind of thing to watch if you get your herb ON first 😉

  • ObscurelyAgnostic

    … and i was watching it a little TOO closely I fear …

  • ObscurelyAgnostic


  • steve

    Isaac Asimov has a story similar that describes the evolution of humankind and a universal computer that can be spoken to at any place and time. It is called “The Last Question”. He wrote it in 1956. It only takes a few minutes to read. I don’t want to spoil it for you, please go ahead and google for your selves, but definitely it predates Tipler though not du Chardin.

    • Stephen M Day

      Yes! I’d temporarily forgotten that one – thanks for the reminder!