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Science and Technology "Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." - Carl Sagan.

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Old April 17 2014, 06:59 PM   #16
ManOnTheWave
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Re: time travel real?

It does make me wonder. Largely about psychopharmacology.
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Old April 17 2014, 07:10 PM   #17
USS Triumphant
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Re: time travel real?

Here's a thought experiment to prove that time travel is impossible*:

Suppose you invented time travel right now, today. Now let's say you're a clever, sneaky person, and you managed to use it to make yourself wealthy and save some people you care about from accidental deaths or by getting them preventative care for illnesses that otherwise would have killed them, all while keeping it completely secret. You destroy your time travel device once you're satisfied with the benefit you've taken from it, and you never reveal it to anyone.

Doesn't matter. Because if a thing is possible, someone will discover it again. And again. And again if necessary. In 10 years or 10,000 years someone is going to discover it and they're going to fail to be as clever and sneaky as you, and word is going to get out. Some government or private group may control it for a while, but eventually (remember, we have all of time to work with here), the tech WILL escape into the wild, and when it does, there's going to be all sorts of shenanigans. Time theft (stealing cool stuff from the past and future), and more importantly for our purposes, temporal tourism.

Now, to begin with it may be limited to the wealthy who will go to see the signing of the Magna Carta and such with guides who will dress them in period attire and help them to be very careful not to disrupt the timeline. But eventually, Joe Schlub and his family are going to want to take a vacation back to before it was necessary to wear breathing masks to survive outside on Earth, and the best place for the family budget is going to be in some cheesy hotel in your town in 2014, because all of the best spots will have been taken by other temporal tourists.

So there you go. The fact that you are not, as we speak, surrounded by temporal tourists, while being interviewed by future historians about what it was like to live in 2014, proves that time travel is not possible.

*There's actually two other things that this argument could prove:

1. Time travel involves branching of timelines, and the reason we've never encountered a solid, provable temporal anomaly is that WE are the ORIGINAL branch, so there are no changes here. All the fun stuff happens elsewhere.

2. Every civilization throughout space and time wipes itself out before reaching a level of tech that allows time travel.

But both of those are so depressing that I'd really just prefer to think that time travel is impossible.
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Old April 17 2014, 08:07 PM   #18
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Re: time travel real?

I'd argue that all things being equal, time travel within the same timeline is many orders of magnitude (if not many infinitesimal orders*) less likely than time travel to an alternative timeline. Alternative timelines per se are just as likely as ours, so time travelling there does not increase complexity (save for the time travel itself).

Travelling to your own magnifies the complexity for the reasons you've stated. Not only you'd have the grandfather paradox hanging over our entire species and historical records, the whole idea of cause and effect that are the essence of evolution and human history could go out of the window. For that to not happen, time travel needs to be limited in exactly the ways that is necessary for the world as we know it to continue to exist. Perhaps the world itself would also require its own adjustments to be susceptible to non-destructive time travel. That's a whole bunch of unnecessary complexity that you get rid of by simply getting rid of time travel. Since no time travel is in any way necessary for what we observe to exist, Occam's razor would suggest that unnecessary complexity (and time loops) aren't there.

This doesn't mean that time loops are impossible. On one hand, time travel still could be both difficult and limited, allowing safe travel to your own (e.g.. if it is only practically impossible it would still be safe ). On the other, if time travel to alternative timelines is possible, and people were to keep taking advantage of that, at one point the timelines might start to repeat themselves for the lack of options, hence time loops might suddenly become a possibility in special-case alternative timelines that are identical to the original ones. Unfortunately, in the latter case, each time jump you find yourself in a less likely timeline (just like every wavefunction collapse puts you in a less likely universe by its inherent - now more complicated - configuration). Hence, the time loop timeline is incredibly, incredibly unlikely in itself, so we can't be at the receiving end of it. That's why there are no time travelling historians around us.

I recently had another idea that might give some credibility to the notion of time travel. Perhaps a universe with unlimited time travel, i.e. a universe without a time dimension, is simpler and hence the default option, but it is incredibly boring, full of nothing, without any causal links between states, incapable of supporting intelligent life, so one of the dimensions needs to be specialised as much as possible to support evolution by separating cause and effect. And here we are, but the specialisation is shaky, so some causes might sneak before the effects. (For example, one might interpret portions of quantum mechanics as time travel at the microscopic level, alas if that's all you have, you can't do much with it. See practical impossibility.)

* Maybe the probability of our universe is equal to zero, hence we're dealing with some form of infinitesimals. I have no knowledge on either the theory or the terminology in that field, so forgive me if that's a nonsensical thing to say.
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Old April 17 2014, 08:26 PM   #19
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Re: time travel real?

The neat thing is that even if time travel is impossible in the way we generally understand it, some of the current models of the multiverse say that out beyond our universe is a near-infinite number of other universes, and a near-infinite subset of those would be identical to ours or only slightly different. Some might be exactly the same except for their rate of development is 10 years behind. So if we could develop instantaneous or very very very fast travel through *space*, we could for all intents and purposes visit an Earth just like ours was 10 years ago. Or, even if the trip took a thousand years, if we could put ourselves in cryo or something, we could still do it - we'd just need to find a universe that is (duration of journey + 10) years behind ours developmentally and the same in all other aspects that matter to us, and we'd be set.
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Old April 17 2014, 08:38 PM   #20
YellowSubmarine
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Re: time travel real?

I'd go further and replace near-infinite with infinite, and then replace infinite with every possible, and then replace every possible with every possible thing that resembles a universe when you're drunk, stoned and on meth at the same time. Computer science has taught me that every possible thing, including all the absolute nonsense, is as probable as nothing, hence the more universe-like things you have, the more plausible all the rest become. Maybe. So why not go for the maximum possible plausibility by including everything?

That being said, I am sceptical of this multiverse thing. The word multiverse implies the universes are connected, similar on some level, and maybe you could even travel between them. As I used to tell my dad when I was 12 – dad, the universe is everything there is, if you can go there, it is the same universe. (I wish I was still that insightful!) I do not believe such connection is possible (as it would also complicate things – you'd now have to explain more than one universe!), and the only way to travel to other universes would be to imagine them. Sadly, the imagined universe would probably be too complex for a computer simulation, but you could theoretically simulate it to go there.
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Old April 17 2014, 09:21 PM   #21
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Re: time travel real?

"'Brane and 'brane! What is 'brane?"

But seriously, the ILIAD is a classic multi-verse.
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Old April 17 2014, 10:51 PM   #22
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Re: time travel real?

USS Triumphant wrote: View Post
... some of the current models of the multiverse say that out beyond our universe is a near-infinite number of other universes, and a near-infinite subset of those would be identical to ours or only slightly different.
Multiverse/Parallel Universes are not scientific. They aren't based on anything factual. It's just "made-up," sir.
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Old April 17 2014, 11:03 PM   #23
Avon
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Re: time travel real?

someones been watching Sliders
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Old April 17 2014, 11:50 PM   #24
Mr. Laser Beam
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Re: time travel real?

^ Damn right.

It's why we love John Rhys-Davies saying "...blistering idiot".
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Old April 17 2014, 11:51 PM   #25
USS Triumphant
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Re: time travel real?

Someone has been listening to TED talks by Brian Greene, but sure, Sliders, whatever.
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Old April 18 2014, 06:21 PM   #26
ebusinesstutor
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Re: time travel real?

Haven't seen any real proof of time travel yet. And it should be easy to test the assertions of anyone who claims to be a time traveler. Just have them make some predictions for what will happen for the next few years and check them.

But I haven't totally ruled out that it could happen some day. So I am building my time traveler traps now...

Favourite time travel novel I read is Orson Scott Card's "Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus."
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Old April 18 2014, 06:26 PM   #27
Tom
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Re: time travel real?

I remember reading a thread here on this guy about 10 years ago. The stuff he predicted over the next 10 years (2004 to now) have not come true. Another bullshit fantasy story. LOL
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Old April 18 2014, 09:07 PM   #28
USS Triumphant
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Re: time travel real?

Tom wrote: View Post
I remember reading a thread here on this guy about 10 years ago. The stuff he predicted over the next 10 years (2004 to now) have not come true. Another bullshit fantasy story. LOL
He was smart enough to specify that he wasn't actually in his own past, but in a very similar timeline's past, and to lay out some pretty good technobabble explaining why that was. And he said up front that his "predictions" were just him telling what had happened in the past where he was from, not necessarily what would happen here. A pretty obvious cop out, but at least he put that out there.
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Old April 18 2014, 09:15 PM   #29
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Re: time travel real?

J. Allen wrote: View Post
Every moment I exist, I travel forward through time.
Everywhere I rest my gaze is a window into the past.
That's damn poetic, J. So much so, that I Googled the lines to see if they were from a poem. Instead, Google pointed back to your post.
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Old April 18 2014, 09:22 PM   #30
JarodRussell
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Re: time travel real?

When people bring up grandfather paradoxes as an argument against time travel, I wonder why that needs to be the case. Just because the human mind runs into a logical paradox, does that have to be the case in nature?
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