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The Omega Point, man to become God! Sounds like a campy headline screamed by a newspaper salesman on Fleet Street. In the parlance of academe however, the point at which human kind will have discovered everything there is to know and will thus be able to do all things is in fact referred to as the Omega Point. For many such an idea is blasphemous, analogous to the biblical Tower of Babel where humankind angered God by building a tower to find him. For many in the religious community it has become axiomatic that God remains hidden until he decides to manifest himself. As it turns out, science is now suggesting that if one wants to find God, one does not need a tower, a simple mirror will do.
While religion is a series of comprehensive answers to primal questions, science is a dynamic series of progressive and ever evolving questions calculated to take humankind on a wondrous journey of discovery. The ideational cul-de-sac that is religious dogma is at odds with the light-speed highway of ideas and discovery that science has become. Religion sits happy with the notion that there is a higher-power that created the cosmos and rules it in earnest. Science however, in its enlightened skepticism, refuses to sit, choosing to move in earnest and calculation to a point where the truth of all things is made manifest on its own terms, not humanity’s.
In fine Socratic fashion, science perceives the void in knowledge and tries to fill it by asking the right questions at the right time and this despite what road-blocks the non-progressive, self-styled conservative element might put up. As such, while religion champions the comfortable super-natural pre-conception, science champions the often uncomfortable nature-based conception. It is this series of questions the Academy so-called, since the days of Plato, have been asking in earnest. As nascent as science was in the days of the pre-Socratics, Socrates, Plato and Aristotle, in methodological terms, it demonstrated the courage to go where the evidence took it. This progressive-track knew nothing of agenda excepting the search for truth for its own sake, rather than for the sake of religious institutions that tend to be less about truth than about power and control.
With Socrates and his agora-based and borne dialectic in hand, western philosophical tradition has pursued a course of discovery that is astonishing. While the God of the western world and Judeo-Christian philosophy and theology has ruled western culture for thousands of years it is only recently that the fruits of the scientific revolution have turned the tables. Indeed, science has discovered and made manifest a future God that rivals the biblical God for knowledge and ability. The Omega point, the point at which man is to effectively become God as it acquires the attributes traditionally imputed to the western God, is not too far off in the future.
The God of western religion, namely of Judaism, Christianity and Islam is one that knows all things (omniscient), can control the elements and can, the biblical narrative suggests, move from one point to another with impunity and panache (omnipotent). He is not earth and death-bound nor is he regulated by what humankind sees as natural law and limitation and is concomitantly aware of all things (omnipresent and immortal). Man, as the future God of science, will enjoy each of these qualities and attributes and have the power to unilaterally employ them at will.
Many have seen the Hollywood movie The Fly. In it a new technology is introduced where teleportation is possible. As it turns out, like all good science-fiction, the movie anticipates quite nicely the so-called new science of what else, teleportation. At present the mathematics behind such a phenomenon exists. Scientists’ foresee a time when humankind will travel via teleportation from one point to another. At present such teleportation is restricted to information but, as all things can inevitably be reduced to bits of information, the distinction between self and information is rendered moot.
At present humankind is bound by what is referred to as hardware. As technology gets smaller and as information is transmitted on beams of light there is envisioned a time when hardware will be replaced by organic-ware. That is, while at present information needs hardware to upload and send as well as to download and receive, there will come a time when the light waves that are human thought will be transmitted from brain-to-brain without the need for hardware. One could then, in theory, sit on a beach in Miami, surf either a hardware-based server or another mind, and get whatever information one might need in real time. Not only this, but there will come a time when that self-same beach-goer will tire of sitting at the beach and effectively, similar to what goes on in Star Trek, simply beam him/herself to another location. And with the genetics of death firmly controlled, this beach-goer will find that he/she does in fact have all the time in the world to lolly-gag about in the warm sand.
In short, there will come a time in the not too distant future, known to science as the Omega Point, where man will effectively become the God it has worshiped these long years. While western religion creates God in its own image, science rather discovers the God-in-man. The Omega point might settle who the God of humankind actually is but the notion itself, in good scientific and paradoxical fashion, creates a whole host of new questions. That is, for as long as the universe and multiverses have been around, would it not stretch the powers of credulity to assume that this has not all been done before on some distant planet or universe? The next question for objective observers might be; has this exalted man attempted contact and is this the real story embedded in the Hebrew biblical narrative? The irony is delicious indeed.
By Matthew R. Fellows
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Photo Courtesy of Trey Ratcliff’s Flickr Page