I was wondering if we could possibly obtain omniscience? I am speaking in terms of every possible factor known & having every answer to every possible thought; includes everything that cannot be thought as well. That being said, is it even possible to say measure how much that would be? How many bits per se?

  • $\begingroup$ Related: physics.stackexchange.com/questions/4118/… $\endgroup$ – Mr.Burns Jun 6 '16 at 9:06
  • $\begingroup$ Also related: physics.stackexchange.com/questions/35920/… $\endgroup$ – Mr.Burns Jun 6 '16 at 9:07
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    $\begingroup$ Hello, and welcome to the site! Unfortunately, your question is primarily opinion based. What this means is that what you're doing is asking for opinions on whether something will be possible at some point in the future, to which no good answer can be given. One person may have one answer, another may have another, which is entirely different, and both may be correct in their own ways, however we have no metric to measure which answer is superior. This is out of scope, as the site aims to have clearly defined answer to well framed questions. $\endgroup$ – AndreiROM Jun 6 '16 at 13:12
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    $\begingroup$ Read more about WB Risk Factors and find out how to better frame your question :-) $\endgroup$ – AndreiROM Jun 6 '16 at 13:12
  • $\begingroup$ If you make the argument that the world is a purely physical place (no souls, no magic, no gods etc) then you could make an argument that given the time and science it is possible that we could predict anything...if everything is the result of physical/chemical reactions (read human thought) its hypothetically possible. Not sure how the question is opinion based. $\endgroup$ – James Jun 6 '16 at 14:11

Emphatically No

As the links provided by Mr.Burns show:
Amount of information in the Universe: 10123 bits
Amount of information that can be known by man: 1090 bits


Those refer only to the information currently in the Universe, The Universe as a photograph if you will. To be omniscient you'd need to know not just the snapshot, but everything that ever was and ever will be. I'm far from qualified to work out how much information that is.

So let's pretend that you could know it all. What follows is simple, total insanity. The equivalent of the Total Perspective Vortex, the human mind is not capable of processing that quantity of information. You'd just be sitting there staring at the twinkling particles at the other end of time and the other end of the universe, totally unable to distinguish between now and then, here and there, and which feelings are hunger now and which are a thought of the burning out of a star somewhere at the end of the universe.

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  • $\begingroup$ Nice answer, I couldnt word it the way I wanted it to sound, but you hit the nail on the head. $\endgroup$ – Mr.Burns Jun 6 '16 at 12:57
  • $\begingroup$ I did a little more research myself & found this. Thank you so much. This site is great. youtube.com/watch?v=RxP7mz86PHo $\endgroup$ – Dante Alejandro Jun 6 '16 at 17:04
  • $\begingroup$ Mmmm lets make it a little worse by adding parallel time-lines. With travelling too of course. $\endgroup$ – Bookeater Jun 6 '16 at 18:13

Not as a human, no. But, as an entity comprised of everything in the universe? Maybe.

Assuming a deterministic universe - that is, one in which all states of matter, energy, etc. are perfectly predictable based on the states preceding them - it would be possible to extrapolate all future and past events if one knew the current state of all matter/energy in the universe at any given time.

For a simple example, if you had a universe comprised of two particles, and could somehow observe this universe without interfering with it, and could measure all meaningful data about these particles: mass, charge, momentum, etc., you could then predict the movement of these particles for the indefinite future, and deduce all past states as well. Again, assuming a deterministic universe, which may be muddled by quantum stuff that I'm not really qualified to talk about.

That was the simple example though, but it extrapolates to any other size universe. If you could somehow measure the mass, charge, momentum, location, etc. of every particle in the universe, then you could use that information to predict all future states of each of those particles, based on the interactions they must necessarily have with one another. This concept was summarized in a thought experiment by Pierre-Simon Laplace back in 1814, referred to as Laplace's demon. Again, though, this is assuming a deterministic universe that has no legitimate free will, or any truly random occurrences (as some aspects of quantum mechanics seem to imply). There have been many arguments - scientific and philosophical - that have intended to disprove the concept of determinism since Laplace.

So, then, I would propose two different types of entities that may be able to have limitless omniscience as you've suggested (provided you ignore randomness):

  1. A 'computer' that is comprised of all matter/energy in a universe, which could then assess the state of its own components down to the smallest detail.
  2. An entity that actually exists outside of the universe and can perceive everything inside with perfect fidelity, without interfering with those measurements by existing itself.

Anything less, such as a human, can only predict things with inferior accuracy. Though, to be fair, science has gotten pretty good at predicting outcomes of complex systems such as weather, based on computational/mathematical modeling beforehand; but even that's imperfect, and often pattern-based, which is probably not what you're looking for.

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    $\begingroup$ Good thing you specified a deterministic universe. If the Heisenburg Uncertainty Principle holds, though, it is in principle impossible to determine the state of anything to unlimited precision, which is needed to predict arbitrarily far in the future. $\endgroup$ – WhatRoughBeast Jun 6 '16 at 13:17
  • $\begingroup$ @WhatRoughBeast Oh, yeah, that's a very important caveat that I made sure to mention/allude to several times. No clockwork universe for us! $\endgroup$ – Magnanimancer Jun 6 '16 at 13:20

The only way to fully understand something is to exist outside of it.
An extra dimensional being that exists outside of time and space, in the realm where m-theory branes are something physical to be manipulated and examined, would be able to understand our reality so completely as to be omniscient and omnipresent.

To such a being the beginning of time and the end of time are like the two ends of a rope, and every moment in between is a physical thing that can be examined.

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The universe is finite. there is between 4×10^79 and 4×10^81 atoms in the universe.

Some things you can't store in that space. Some things you can't calculate with that much matter and energy.

If someone asks this being "what is the busy beaver number for BB(4×10^81)" there's no way it can figure that out or store the answer if it has it.


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