Seeker of Truth

Ruminations of One Suspended between Catholic Christianity and Scientific Utopianism

Location: Washington, United States

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

How to Survive the End of the Universe - Bottom Up

The questions is obviously linked to that of its origin. Current theories of the big bang are not conclusive (yet?) and recent theories of 'multiverses' include models of contraction/expansion that had fallen out of favor when the rate of cosmic expansion was deemed to preclude a 'big crunch'.
Cyclical or not, is there any hope for a perpetual survival of intelligent life in one form or another? Assuming proton decay, entropy, all the possible dooms of the universe, the answer seems to be a clear 'no'. Even with local areas of cosmic inflation and consequent renewal, intelligence relies on structure, whether in the form of biological bodies or cybernetic ones, and structures do not survive cosmic upheaval very well. At least not as far as we can understand right now, and this is always a caveat. What 'realms' then might survive cataclysms such as an inflationary bubble, a cosmic crunch, two 'branes' colliding? One hope is the black hole/wormhole type of scenario, I believe thought up by Freeman Dyson, whereby a very advanced civilization might skip from one point in the universe to another, avoiding local disaster, where local might measure billions of light-years across. Another hope may be to hide inside a black hole, based on the theory that information does not get lost, ever, even if it falls into a black hole. A variety of this idea is Professor Tipler’s theory that intelligences can learn to steer the collapse of their universe so as to ‘cushion’ the big crunch and survive at the threshold of the thus created singularity in a virtual eternity.
What about 'emulating' our brains/processors in dynamic systems that have no clear structure, but are fluidly stable nonetheless, like vortices in water? I am not thinking of anything so simple and macroscopic, of course, but what about the random processes of empty space? Might one gain control of what happens at a quantum or 'subquantum' level there, imposing patterns that take on a periodicity, hence stability, and can interact with each other, hence process and store information? Might miniaturization lead to devices so small, they fall below the threshold of entropy, of thermodynamics? And if so, could one devise a process of translation from ordinary space into 'subspace' and back of such structures to ‘dive’ and ‘surface’ in a sense?
All these ideas presume a kind of functionalism of the human mind, i.e. that the cognitive processes of the brain can be replicated in virtually any kind of computing medium. Implicit in that assumption, then is materialism, or in more theological terms, any concept of a higher reality.


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