Time Travel Theories

"What would happen if...?" has always been a staple of Science Fiction. What do you wonder about?

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Time Travel Theories

Post by MainComputer »

Here's my personal theory on why time travel can never exist, and why I avoid it in my writing. All comments welcome.

Lets call today, day X. And the very final moment of time, the end of all things, lets call that day Z.

The time between X and Z is most probably so long, we might as well call it an infinite amount of time.

Now, lets call the moment that time travel is discovered, day Y.

In all probability, the period between X and Y would be relatively short, but the period between Y and Z would still be close to infinity.

In an almost infinite amount of time, statistically, everything that can happen, will happen. Someone will travel back in time with the machine, and make their presence aware to us. Despite rules, despite guidelines, they would come, and they would contact us - it is human nature. And given an infinite amount of time, lots of people would comeback; it would be highly, highly improbable that they wouldn't.

In short, this means that if time machines could exist,they would already exist, we would already know about them.

This is a very, very simplistic view however, and if you continued my thinking, you'd probably come to the conclusion that point Y in time, would result in the unzipping and destruction of our multiverse. However, my point is made - time travel is an unobtainable technology.

?
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Post by Bmat »

I enjoyed reading this idea. (edited to clarify, I enjoyed the entire post not just the quoted text below.)

In an almost infinite amount of time, statistically, everything that can happen, will happen.


If this were so, then it would also be possible that those who observed the time travelers could have had their memories erased. Another idea is that we see mainly what we expect to see, so we could see evidence of time travel, but since we don't expect to see it we interpret it as something else. Perhaps there is time travel that is so far in the future that it hasn't reached back here yet- the machine overheats at a certain distance in time, maybe.

I have a similar idea about Aliens arriving here. That the universe is so vast and so old that there must be other beings somewhere out there, scientifically advanced, and they would have found Earth by energy or waves given off. So it is likely that they would have come to the Earth.

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Post by MainComputer »

Memory erasing is a good point to challenge my theory. Two points though. 1) Many of the people coming back would be coming for malicious reasons, so you'd need "time police" to erase memories, and police are reliably unreliable. 2) One single mistake, from a potentially huge amount of visits from the future to our time, the news would spread like wildfire, and the whole world would need their memories erasing.

I do like your suggestion of limits in the distance through time that a machine could travel. But, you could travel back a short distance, build a new machine, then travel back further, and so on, and so on....?

I agree that the theory does translate to Alien life very, very well. So - no aliens either then... what a pity.
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Post by Magus »

I try to avoid time-travel in my writing as well, if only for its impossible complexity that makes my head hurt trying to think everything through to make sure that there aren't any plot-holes, which is quite often the case.

That isn't to say I don't enjoy it, though. The Terminator series was an excellent piece of fiction and for the life of me I have yet to find a single plot-hole in it. And, believe me, I've racked my brain on the subject and yet it all adds up. Even the whole "only organic substances may pass" in retrospect to T-1000 and T-X still add up, as they can sample DNA and effectively become what they sample, thus becoming organic, at least as much as Ahnuld is.

:wink:

Anyway, I always found it most amusing to think of the many theories of time-travel; the creation of an entirely new timeline, the traveling to any infinite universes exactly as any moment in history (Hard to explain, but think Michael Crichton's book Timeline ), simple travel back and forth, etc... They never fail to amaze and rarely ever fail to entertain.

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Post by Neurolanis »

Personally, I don't believe in time travel. From my point of view, if you go back in time then your body turns younger and the current time around you remains as it is. Your perception of time can be altered, and it may be possible that you your position in time could be altered -- so that you go faster or slower than other forms of life. There isn't much that I would deem impossible, but time travel is one of them.

Not that I don't enjoy it in stories, mind. :wink:

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Post by MainComputer »

Time travel is, and always will be, a daemon. So hard to manage in writing.

Few things annoy me as much as bad paradox management.

As far as Terminator is concerned - how do you bode with the paradox that in reality, the Terminators and SkyNet actually created themselves? Isn't this one of the biggest impossible paradox mishaps ever?

I.e. Only by the advanced technology being found in the present were humans able to develop the very same technology that, in the future, travels back in time and inspires it's own creation....

Surely, the most impossible event ever... or am I missing something?
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Post by Magus »

No, it didn't inspire its own creation. I believe they even said that they had it long under way before then in Judgment Day. But all it did was help it along on its inevitable course that was already in motion.

It's like in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time when you learn the "Song of Storms" from the old man and go back in time to teach the old man that taught you. So where did it come from?

:rofl:

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Post by Neurolanis »

In the series finale of Star Trek: TNG, "All Good Things", Picard follows the mystery of a nebula and, while investigating it, creates it! And people think this is clever? :shock:

Some ideas are just plain stupid. Like believing that space was nothingnes! "What is space?" asks student. "Nothing," replies Science Teacher. "How then does it exist?" should ask student. "It doesn't exist." "Then how is it that we are talking about it?" should ask student, and Science Teacher stares blankly. (Of course now we know that space is made up of various gasses and is not nothingess. What a discovery!) :roll:

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Post by Magus »

It's like imaginary numbers. They don't exist. They're imaginary. Yet we still have to give answers to them. I think that if we have to solve imaginary problems we should do so with imaginary solutions!

Yes, the answer is pi salmon squared.

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Post by Ariel »

Michael Crichtons "Timeline" was a great book!!

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Post by Magus »

Crappy movie... but an awesome book indeed.

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Post by Neurolanis »

Was it a long read or did time just fly by?

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