FREEMAN DYSON DISTURBING THE UNIVERSE PDF

Freeman Dyson. ISBN: To evaluate it is easy: it is simply excellent; nobody will regret reading it; everybody should try to do so. But as to why it is excellent, agd what kind of a book it is, this is peculiarly difficult to say.

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Freeman Dyson, at the age of 94, is still disturbing the universe. He has a new book out, Maker of Patterns , a collection of annotated letters that tells his life story through the s. He ignored all the questions except for one about the Singularity. Here is our exchange:. Horgan: You have speculated about the long-term evolution of intelligence since the s.

Dyson: The Kurzweil singularity is total nonsense. For better or for worse, human nature is a tough beast, designed to prevail over technological revolutions and natural disasters. It changed only a little in response to the agricultural and industrial revolutions, not to mention ice-ages. It is absurd to imagine it changing radically in a single century. Here is an edited version:.

Freeman Dyson is a slight man, all sinew and veins, with a cutlass of a nose and deep-set, watchful eyes. His demeanor is cool, reserved--until he laughs. Then he snorts through his nose, shoulders heaving, like a year-old schoolboy hearing a dirty joke. Dyson was once at the forefront of the search for a unified theory of physics.

In the early s, he contributed to the construction of the quantum theory of electromagnetism. Other physicists have told me that Dyson deserved a Nobel Prize for his work, or at least more credit.

They have also suggested that disappointment, as well as a contrarian streak, nudged Dyson away from particle physics and toward pursuits unworthy of his powers. When I mentioned this assessment to Dyson, he gave me a tight-lipped smile and responded, as he often did, with an anecdote.

Those are the two things which made Cambridge famous over the next 30 years or so. Dyson, too, has spent much of his career swerving away from the mainstream. He argued that in an open, eternally expanding universe, our descendants could resist heat death and endure virtually forever through shrewd conservation of energy.

Dyson did not think biological intelligence would soon yield to artificial intelligence. Eventually, Dyson predicted, intelligence might spread through the entire universe, transforming it into one great mind. God may be considered to be either a world-soul or a collection of world souls.

We are the chief inlets of God on this planet at the present stage in his development. We may later grow with him as he grows, or we may be left behind. Dyson admitted to me that his vision of the future reflected wishful thinking. Science must, therefore, be eternal. Physics may become obsolete. But I would guess myself that physics might be considered something like Greek science: an interesting beginning but it didn't really get to the main point.

So the end of physics may be the beginning of something else. In Infinite In All Directions Dyson addressed, obliquely, the only theological issue that really matters, the problem of evil. If we were created by a loving, all-powerful God, why is life so painful and unfair?

It says that the laws of nature and the initial conditions are such as to make the universe as interesting as possible. As a result, life is possible but not too easy. Always when things are dull, something turns up to challenge us and to stop us from settling into a rut. Examples of things which made life difficult are all around us: comet impacts, ice ages, weapons, plagues, nuclear fission, computers, sex, sin and death.

Not all challenges can be overcome, and so we have tragedy. Maximum diversity often leads to maximum stress. In the end we survive, but only by the skin of our teeth. When I asked Dyson about the principle of maximum diversity, he downplayed it. Postscript: After I emailed this column to Dyson, he replied: Dear John Horgan, Thank you for sending your summary of my more oracular statements.

I find the summary accurate and thoughtful. I have nothing to add or subtract, except for one correction. We now have strong evidence that the universe is accelerating, and this makes a big difference to the future of life and intelligence. I prefer not to speculate further until the observational evidence becomes clearer.

Yours sincerely, Freeman Dyson. Freeman Dyson, global warming, ESP and the fun of being "bunkrapt ". Donald Trump and the Problem of Evil. Can Faith and Science Coexist? Is Science Infinite?

Is Science Hitting a Wall? The views expressed are those of the author s and are not necessarily those of Scientific American. You have free article s left. Already a subscriber? Sign in. See Subscription Options. Read Now. Here is our exchange: Horgan: You have speculated about the long-term evolution of intelligence since the s. Here is an edited version: Freeman Dyson is a slight man, all sinew and veins, with a cutlass of a nose and deep-set, watchful eyes.

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Disturbing the Universe

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Disturbing the universe

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Freeman Dyson's Solution to the Problem of Evil

Freeman Dyson, at the age of 94, is still disturbing the universe. He has a new book out, Maker of Patterns , a collection of annotated letters that tells his life story through the s. He ignored all the questions except for one about the Singularity. Here is our exchange:. Horgan: You have speculated about the long-term evolution of intelligence since the s.

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