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Star Trek Movies XI+ Discuss J.J. Abrams' rebooted Star Trek here.

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Old March 9 2010, 04:49 PM   #76
Pauln6
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Re: Why doesn't Spock Prime go back in time to save Vulcan?

Cool - and I thought my own views no longer had any scientific merit! I've always believed that you can't go back in time to change the past because the past has already happened. Any changes that you make while in the past have already been carried forward to the present at the time you go backwards so all you are doing is creating events that already exist. Warnings, messages etc can make no difference because the time loop is fixed so it is often the warnings that cause the events that people were trying to avoid. This is why I love Time's Arrow as a piece of storytelling and get a headache from Voyager's time travel stories. I'm willing to concede that the Krenim's temporal shielding might be able to make some kind of bizarre exception but not that Kes wasn't present on the ship in order to be infected with Chroniton particles in order to travel backwards through time.
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Old March 9 2010, 05:22 PM   #77
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Re: Why doesn't Spock Prime go back in time to save Vulcan?

lawman, I would google Novikov Self-Consistency Principle but for the fact that doesn't actually change anything.
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Old March 9 2010, 05:23 PM   #78
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Re: Why doesn't Spock Prime go back in time to save Vulcan?

Okay, I googled it. Got the Wikipedia information. It changes nothing.
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Old March 9 2010, 05:27 PM   #79
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Re: Why doesn't Spock Prime go back in time to save Vulcan?

Actually, this is how it works:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Many-worlds_interpretation
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Old March 9 2010, 05:29 PM   #80
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Re: Why doesn't Spock Prime go back in time to save Vulcan?

Pauln6 wrote: View Post
Cool - and I thought my own views no longer had any scientific merit! I've always believed that you can't go back in time to change the past because the past has already happened. Any changes that you make while in the past have already been carried forward to the present at the time you go backwards so all you are doing is creating events that already exist. Warnings, messages etc can make no difference because the time loop is fixed so it is often the warnings that cause the events that people were trying to avoid.
Yeah, that's more or less the situation as described by Novikov (and Kip Thorne, et al.). It's not that time travel is impossible; it's just that you can't create self-negating paradoxes.

Just to complicate things, there are also theoretical approaches that combine the MWI with the SCP. (You can go back and do any number of things with your grandfather, you can have beer or wine over dinner with him and otherwise introduce differences, but you can't kill him and thus negate your own birth.) It all gets rather complicated... I'm not a physicist and don't claim to understand all the intricacies... but it's certainly not as clear-cut as O&K and their advocates here would have us believe.

This is why I love Time's Arrow as a piece of storytelling and get a headache from Voyager's time travel stories. I'm willing to concede that the Krenim's temporal shielding might be able to make some kind of bizarre exception but not that Kes wasn't present on the ship in order to be infected with Chroniton particles in order to travel backwards through time.
I must've given up on VOY before that episode aired, because I have no idea what you're talking about. I always did get the idea that B&B had a somewhat shaky grasp of science in general, though, never mind time-travel logic. (The episode where Janeway & co. visited 1996 was in many ways a breaking point for me.)
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Old March 9 2010, 06:00 PM   #81
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Re: Why doesn't Spock Prime go back in time to save Vulcan?

OneBuckFilms wrote: View Post
That's one way to look at it. But in the interest of science, there are so many different possibilities. This is the theory that O&K chose to use. The other is just as valid.
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Old March 9 2010, 06:08 PM   #82
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Re: Why doesn't Spock Prime go back in time to save Vulcan?

I-Am-Zim wrote: View Post
OneBuckFilms wrote: View Post
That's one way to look at it. But in the interest of science, there are so many different possibilities. This is the theory that O&K chose to use. The other is just as valid.
Very true. But since this IS a fairly well accepted and current theory, it meets the scientific plausibility requirement.
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Old March 10 2010, 12:56 PM   #83
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Re: Why doesn't Spock Prime go back in time to save Vulcan?

OneBuckFilms wrote: View Post
I-Am-Zim wrote: View Post
OneBuckFilms wrote: View Post
That's one way to look at it. But in the interest of science, there are so many different possibilities. This is the theory that O&K chose to use. The other is just as valid.
Very true. But since this IS a fairly well accepted and current theory, it meets the scientific plausibility requirement.
And contradicts all the time travel stories in previous Trek.
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Old March 10 2010, 01:05 PM   #84
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Re: Why doesn't Spock Prime go back in time to save Vulcan?

EJA wrote: View Post
And contradicts all the time travel stories in previous Trek.
Except "Yesteryear" (TAS) and "Parallels" (TNG) to name just two. And "Parallels" was the episode the JJ team told us to reference to understand what was happening to the timeline in this movie.
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Old March 10 2010, 01:31 PM   #85
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Re: Why doesn't Spock Prime go back in time to save Vulcan?

Therin of Andor wrote: View Post
EJA wrote: View Post
And contradicts all the time travel stories in previous Trek.
Except "Yesteryear" (TAS) and "Parallels" (TNG) to name just two. And "Parallels" was the episode the JJ team told us to reference to understand what was happening to the timeline in this movie.
I honestly can't understand why people keep on bringing up "Parallels". It had alternate universes in it, yes, but they were nothing to do with time travel altering history; those different realities had always been different.
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Old March 10 2010, 03:49 PM   #86
lawman
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Re: Why doesn't Spock Prime go back in time to save Vulcan?

Indeed. All "Parallels" established, so far as I can see, is what we already knew from the Mirror Universe episode(s)... which is that both history-altering time travel and alternate universes exist within the Trek "universe."

The crux of the debate here seems to be that if you look at the entire history of Star Trek time travel episodes... even allowing that some of them aren't particularly well thought out... you get a concept of temporal mechanics in which:
  • travel to the past is possible without necessarily altering anything (otherwise they'd never send anyone back strictly for research purposes, as we know was done as early as "Operation Earth" and later in "A Matter of Time")
  • if things are altered, that's considered risky, and can and should be corrected
  • such correction efforts occasionally reveal predestination paradoxes (e.g., "Time's Arrow,"), but more often simply restore the timeline to the status quo ante ("City on the Edge of Forever"), with at most minor variations (Sela after "Yesterday's Enterprise")
It's a time-travel schema that's familiar from other fictional settings, that's (fairly) internally consistent, and that appears to operate in a way relatively close to the Novikov self-consistency principle, albeit with some obvious variations for dramatic effect.

It does not appear to resemble the Many Worlds Interpretation, and trying to apply the MWI to it retroactively would leave our various protagonists shifting back and forth among a welter of variant timelines, with any success at achieving their goals a matter of sheer delusion on their part, and with quite a few logical conundrums created and unresolved along the way.

Now, it's certainly possible to create a fictional construct in which time travel operates consistent with the MWI and thus "meets the scientific plausibility requirement" that way. However, Trek canon has never been such a construct. And inasmuch as Orci and Kurtzman's entire purpose for using time travel in this film was to connect to the prior Trek canon, they've stuck themselves on the horns of a dilemma... which we're now debating.

In a nutshell, this story can either be based on the MWI, or it can have a logical connection to past Trek, but it can't do both.

---
Personally, the most logical solution I can see is that it doesn't actually rely on the MWI, and is connected to past Trek, albeit not quite as directly as the writers apparently intended.

Consider: we have nothing but the writers' dicta from interviews to suggest that the "prime" universe actually survives after Nero and Spock disappear into the past (and we're certainly unlikely ever to see it again onscreen). We also have nothing but our assumptions (and the familiarity of Nimoy's face) to tell us that the "prime" timeline they originated from was actually the same one we've been observing for 40-odd years... and there's subtle evidence to the contrary (e.g., the shuttle capacity of the Kelvin, Starfleet's knowledge of Romulans, the way stardates correspond to calendar years).

Thus, since we know that the Trek multiverse has always contained parallel realities... as the writers have taken such pains to point out!... it seems to me that the reality on display here was one of those all along, similar to the "canon" one but with small differences, and that Nero's actions have changed its past and irrevocably wiped away its future. (Or at least "irrevocably" unless OldSpock were to find a way to undo Nero's actions 25 years earlier, as we've been discussing.)

Result: the original Trek universe remains intact (and may or may not experience events in 2387 corresponding to the flashback in this film). The nuTrek universe remains intact as well, with no more need for concern over variations between its past and known canon. There's no need to retcon anything to fit the MWI, as pre-existing Trekian temporal mechanics can explain everything. Even OldSpock's disinclination to try to undo Nero's changes can be explained away, if we surmise that perhaps he hasn't had the same past experiences as the one we knew to inform him it was possible. Everyone should be happy.

Now, everyone will explain to me why they're not...

(This doesn't even touch on how IMHO everything post-First Contact already took place in an altered history anyway, thereby explaining away Enterprise, but that's a whole other discussion...)
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Last edited by lawman; March 10 2010 at 05:57 PM.
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Old March 10 2010, 05:45 PM   #87
OneBuckFilms
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Re: Why doesn't Spock Prime go back in time to save Vulcan?

EJA wrote: View Post
OneBuckFilms wrote: View Post
I-Am-Zim wrote: View Post

That's one way to look at it. But in the interest of science, there are so many different possibilities. This is the theory that O&K chose to use. The other is just as valid.
Very true. But since this IS a fairly well accepted and current theory, it meets the scientific plausibility requirement.
And contradicts all the time travel stories in previous Trek.
Incorrect. It merely alters PERCEPTION of it. Assuming it was all that consistent in the first place.
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Old March 10 2010, 05:51 PM   #88
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Re: Why doesn't Spock Prime go back in time to save Vulcan?

lawman wrote: View Post
Indeed. All "Parallels" established, so far as I can see, is what we already knew from the Mirror Universe episode(s)... which is that both history-altering time travel and alternate universes exist within the Trek "universe."

The crux of the debate here seems to be that if you look at the entire history of Star Trek time travel episodes... even allowing that some of them aren't particularly well thought out... you get a concept of temporal mechanics in which:
  • travel to the past is possible without necessarily altering anything (otherwise they'd never send anyone back strictly for research purposes, as we know was done as early as "Operation Earth" and later in "A Matter of Time")
  • if things are altered, that's considered risky, and can and should be corrected
  • such correction efforts occasionally reveal predestination paradoxes (e.g., "Time's Arrow,"), but more often simply restore the timeline to the status quo ante ("City on the Edge of Forever"), with at most minor variations (Sela after "Yesterday's Enterprise")
It's a time-travel schema that's familiar from other fictional settings, that's (fairly) internally consistent, and that appears to operate in a way relatively close to the Novikov self-consistency principle, albeit with some obvious variations for dramatic effect.

It does not appear to resemble the Many Worlds Interpretation, and trying to apply the MWI to it retroactively would leave our various protagonists shifting back and forth among a welter of variant timelines, with any success at achieving their goals a matter of sheer delusion on their part, and with quite a few logical conundrums created and unresolved along the way.

Now, it's certainly possible to create a fictional construct in which time travel operates consistent with the MWI and thus "meets the scientific plausibility requirement" that way. However, Trek canon has never been such a construct. And inasmuch as Orci and Kurtzman's entire purpose for using time travel in this film was to connect to the prior Trek canon, they've stuck themselves on the horns of a dilemma... which we're now debating.

In a nutshell, this story can either be based on the MWI, or it can have a logical connection to past Trek, but it can't do both.

---
Personally, the most logical solution I can see is that it doesn't actually rely on the MWI, and is connected to past Trek, albeit not quite as directly the writers apparently intended.

Consider: we have nothing but the writers' dicta from interviews to suggest that the "prime" universe actually survives after Nero and Spock disappear into the past (and we're certainly unlikely ever to see it again onscreen). We also have nothing but our assumptions (and the familiarity of Nimoy's face) to tell us that the "prime" timeline they originated from was actually the same one we've been observing for 40-odd years... and there's subtle evidence to the contrary (e.g., the shuttle capacity of the Kelvin, Starfleet's knowledge of Romulans, the way stardates correspond to calendar years).

Thus, since we know that the Trek multiverse has always contained parallel realities... as the writers have taken such pains to point out!... it seems to me that the reality on display here was one of those all along, similar to the "canon" one but with small differences, and that Nero's actions have changed its past and irrevocably wiped away its future. (Or at least "irrevocably" unless OldSpock were to find a way to undo Nero's actions 25 years earlier, as we've been discussing.)

Result: the original Trek universe remains intact (and may or may not experience events in 2387 corresponding to the flashback in this film). The nuTrek universe remains intact as well, with no more need for concern over variations between its past and known canon. There's no need to retcon anything to fit the MWI, as pre-existing Trekian temporal mechanics can explain everything. Even OldSpock's disinclination to try to undo Nero's changes can be explained away, if we surmise that perhaps he hasn't had the same past experiences as the one we knew to inform him it was possible. Everyone should be happy.

Now, everyone will explain to me why they're not...

(This doesn't even touch on how IMHO everything post-First Contact already took place in an altered history anyway, thereby explaining away Enterprise, but that's a whole other discussion...)
Most of this establishes that Time Travel in Star Trek has never been consistent.

Also, there is a lot of highly elaborate explanation here, when MWI is actually the simplest solution to the problem.

The obvious intent of the expositional dialog, along with the changes themselves, support the MWI model.

Find me something in the movie that CONTRADICTS THE MODEL, and you may have a case.

If you point out the Kelvin's design, I have to remind you that no vessels from around 2233 has ever been seen, or mentioned, in on-screen Star Trek presentations.

Also note that most of the past Time Travel stories are presentations of the event from within the box.
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Old March 10 2010, 06:13 PM   #89
lawman
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Re: Why doesn't Spock Prime go back in time to save Vulcan?

OneBuckFilms wrote: View Post
Most of this establishes that Time Travel in Star Trek has never been consistent.

Also, there is a lot of highly elaborate explanation here, when MWI is actually the simplest solution to the problem.
Never perfectly consistent, perhaps (what about Trek continuity is?), but reasonably consistent, along the lines I described.

And the explanation really isn't that elaborate. I took the time to lay out all the groundwork for my thinking, but what it amounts to is "this film takes place in a parallel universe, the past of which is changed." Simple as that.

Now, if you really want to delve into "highly elaborate explanation"... that's what you have to do to apply the MWI retroactively to the entire list of past Trek time-travel episodes itemized in the Memory Alpha link above, in any way that even remotely makes sense. The notion that the film requires this exercise in mental self-abuse doesn't seem to bother you in the abstract, and even seems to appeal to you for some reason, but I notice you don't seem to be anxious to undertake it in any detail.

OneBuckFilms wrote:
The obvious intent of the expositional dialog, along with the changes themselves, support the MWI model.
Not really. The expository dialog (between Spock and Uhura) merely explains that "Nero's very presence has altered the flow of history," resulting in "an alternate reality." Exactly what it's altered from, and whether that "what" still exists or not, is left entirely as a matter for speculation.

The dialogue as presented is entirely consistent with past Trekian treatment of temporal mechanics, even if O&K's behind-the-scenes remarks are not.

OneBuckFilms wrote:
Also note that most of the past Time Travel stories are presentations of the event from within the box.
Sorry, what box? I'm not clear on your metaphor here.
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Old March 10 2010, 06:35 PM   #90
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Re: Why doesn't Spock Prime go back in time to save Vulcan?

lawman wrote: View Post
Indeed. All "Parallels" established, so far as I can see, is what we already knew from the Mirror Universe episode(s)... which is that both history-altering time travel and alternate universes exist within the Trek "universe."

The crux of the debate here seems to be that if you look at the entire history of Star Trek time travel episodes... even allowing that some of them aren't particularly well thought out... you get a concept of temporal mechanics in which:
  • travel to the past is possible without necessarily altering anything (otherwise they'd never send anyone back strictly for research purposes, as we know was done as early as "Operation Earth" and later in "A Matter of Time")
  • if things are altered, that's considered risky, and can and should be corrected
  • such correction efforts occasionally reveal predestination paradoxes (e.g., "Time's Arrow,"), but more often simply restore the timeline to the status quo ante ("City on the Edge of Forever"), with at most minor variations (Sela after "Yesterday's Enterprise")
It's a time-travel schema that's familiar from other fictional settings, that's (fairly) internally consistent, and that appears to operate in a way relatively close to the Novikov self-consistency principle, albeit with some obvious variations for dramatic effect.

It does not appear to resemble the Many Worlds Interpretation, and trying to apply the MWI to it retroactively would leave our various protagonists shifting back and forth among a welter of variant timelines, with any success at achieving their goals a matter of sheer delusion on their part, and with quite a few logical conundrums created and unresolved along the way.

Now, it's certainly possible to create a fictional construct in which time travel operates consistent with the MWI and thus "meets the scientific plausibility requirement" that way. However, Trek canon has never been such a construct. And inasmuch as Orci and Kurtzman's entire purpose for using time travel in this film was to connect to the prior Trek canon, they've stuck themselves on the horns of a dilemma... which we're now debating.

In a nutshell, this story can either be based on the MWI, or it can have a logical connection to past Trek, but it can't do both.

---
Personally, the most logical solution I can see is that it doesn't actually rely on the MWI, and is connected to past Trek, albeit not quite as directly as the writers apparently intended.

Consider: we have nothing but the writers' dicta from interviews to suggest that the "prime" universe actually survives after Nero and Spock disappear into the past (and we're certainly unlikely ever to see it again onscreen). We also have nothing but our assumptions (and the familiarity of Nimoy's face) to tell us that the "prime" timeline they originated from was actually the same one we've been observing for 40-odd years... and there's subtle evidence to the contrary (e.g., the shuttle capacity of the Kelvin, Starfleet's knowledge of Romulans, the way stardates correspond to calendar years).

Thus, since we know that the Trek multiverse has always contained parallel realities... as the writers have taken such pains to point out!... it seems to me that the reality on display here was one of those all along, similar to the "canon" one but with small differences, and that Nero's actions have changed its past and irrevocably wiped away its future. (Or at least "irrevocably" unless OldSpock were to find a way to undo Nero's actions 25 years earlier, as we've been discussing.)

Result: the original Trek universe remains intact (and may or may not experience events in 2387 corresponding to the flashback in this film). The nuTrek universe remains intact as well, with no more need for concern over variations between its past and known canon. There's no need to retcon anything to fit the MWI, as pre-existing Trekian temporal mechanics can explain everything. Even OldSpock's disinclination to try to undo Nero's changes can be explained away, if we surmise that perhaps he hasn't had the same past experiences as the one we knew to inform him it was possible. Everyone should be happy.

Now, everyone will explain to me why they're not...

(This doesn't even touch on how IMHO everything post-First Contact already took place in an altered history anyway, thereby explaining away Enterprise, but that's a whole other discussion...)
Good God man! That makes perfect sense!
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