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View Poll Results: Was there ever a timeline where John Connor was not fathered by Reese?
Yes. John Connor cannot independently create himself. He had to come from somewhere. 18 20.93%
No. The first film is a closed loop predestination paradox. 68 79.07%
Voters: 86. You may not vote on this poll

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Old May 31 2009, 01:24 PM   #61
Gojirob
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Re: John Connor's existence POLL

xman wrote: View Post
Cky wrote: View Post
The real question is, after failing to kill Sarah Connor in the first film, why didn't they send the T-1000 back in time a day before the T-800 arrived, and suprise her all over again? Better yet, go back and kill her parents.
This time loop may be a closed loop and Skynet is locked within its parameters. Just like old Spock can't get back to the old Star Trek time line, because, at least from his perspective, it's not there anymore. Similarly, Skynet may be unable to travel outside the paradox loop before it is resolved (by sending Kyle Reese back in time.

X
Also, trying to kill Sarah or her forebears raises the risks of greater and greater mistakes. Maybe her grandmother is caring for another child the day the Terminator hits. Maybe the actual Sarah is kidnapped by a crazed childless couple, and years after the Terminator hits, finds out who she really is. She has a messed-up life, and falls in with the wrong friends, one of whom shows her how to make pipe-bombs. She cleans up her act just in time to find a menial but stable job as a waitress...

Also, lives can realign. Sarah's grandma and granpa die in the 40's, but at the funeral, his brother and her cousin meet up. By the way, dark family secret : Her cousin is actually a half-sib. Wipe out the clan? Too bad about the brother forced to change his name when he took a job the family didn't approve of, and whose name was wiped from all family records. His family gone, he then resumes his name in their memory. Remembering the slaughter, he makes sure all his heirs get some form of military-style training...

It may not have worked so far, but by keeping its focus on the verifiable Sarah and John, Skynet avoids splitting the timeline past its comfort-zone of computation. Even a super-computer can only account for so much, when nigh-infinite parameters are at play.
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Old May 31 2009, 05:25 PM   #62
xman
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Re: John Connor's existence POLL

hyzmarca wrote: View Post
xman wrote: View Post
Ryan wrote: View Post
No, because Skynet failed before it ever sent a terminator back. That's the only reason John even exists in the first place.
Agreed, but that's a different issue. My question is, in the examples of the first three movies and the instances of Skynet/Resistance time travel, doesn't John have to launch a preemptive mission to the past in order to have any hope of affecting the outcome? T1 would otherwise have been successful in his mission eventually if not for Kyle Reese. The T-900 likewise if not for T2 and the T-X if not for T3! In each instance there is an attempt to protect Skeynet's target in the past with a time traveler ordered to protect Sarah Connor and/or John Connor. If Skynet is first to send any Terminator, the T-800, T-900 or T-X then it should meet no resistance from the future and eliminate John Connor's influence on subsequent events.

X
You are making the mistake of assuming that the time travel even happens in the future, and then changes made to the past propagate into the future. This requires multiple time dimensions and is incorrect. In essence, you have the order of things backwards.

The past effects of the backwards time travel happen before the backwards time travel occurs. It doesn't matter when Kyle steps into the time macchine, or in what order. All that matters is when he appears in the past, and where, and what actions he takes there.

From John Connor's perspective, and the perspective of an outside observer, the events of The Terminator and of Terminator 2 have already happened. They're written in stone before Skynet even builds the machine.
If events cannot be changed in the past, if everything must remain self consistent and any changes made to the past cannot change the future, then why would Skynet send the T-800 back to make changes anyhow? We also know that this is not the case, at least for the earlier time line where John is not related to Kyle. Also not true since something changes after the CTC is created ( or maybe it isn't yet) since T3's record of the future is different from that of T1 & T2.

Although putting John & Kyle in a time bubble might keep them free of the effects from the past and cognizant of changes to the time line, it seems a terrible risk to take since Skynet could create a world line where it doesn't need time travel and succeeds in the human genocide.

If changes made in the past do not effect the future then time travel creates a new world line and the effects of the past are unobserved in the original. If that's the case, then we're back to the first question, "Why would Skynet bother sending the T-800 back at all since it will not change their reality"?

X
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Old May 31 2009, 05:41 PM   #63
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Re: John Connor's existence POLL

xman wrote: View Post
If changes made in the past do not effect the future then time travel creates a new world line and the effects of the past are unobserved in the original. If that's the case, then we're back to the first question, "Why would Skynet bother sending the T-800 back at all since it will not change their reality"?
Because maybe Skynet thought that it could change the past. It simply turned out to be wrong. After all, it had lost the war so it seems to me that the time travel was a last ditch gambit on it's part. Why must we assume that Skynet had all the answers?
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Old May 31 2009, 05:49 PM   #64
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Re: John Connor's existence POLL

xman wrote: View Post
If events cannot be changed in the past, if everything must remain self consistent and any changes made to the past cannot change the future, then why would Skynet send the T-800 back to make changes anyhow?
Because Skynet doesn't know that. Why would it? Another poster made an excellent point saying the best thing Skynet could do to change the past is not send a terminator back.

We also know that this is not the case, at least for the earlier time line where John is not related to Kyle.
The movies don't even hint of such a timeline. T1 is already a predestination paradox because of Kyle's possession of Sarah's photo.

Also not true since something changes after the CTC is created ( or maybe it isn't yet) since T3's record of the future is different from that of T1 & T2.
I look at it like the 2002 remake of The Time Machine:

"You built your time machine because of Emma's death. If she had lived it would never have existed, so how could you use your time machine to go back and save her? You are the inescapable result of your tragedy."
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Old May 31 2009, 06:20 PM   #65
xman
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Re: John Connor's existence POLL

Arrghman wrote: View Post
xman wrote: View Post
If changes made in the past do not effect the future then time travel creates a new world line and the effects of the past are unobserved in the original. If that's the case, then we're back to the first question, "Why would Skynet bother sending the T-800 back at all since it will not change their reality"?
Because maybe Skynet thought that it could change the past. It simply turned out to be wrong. After all, it had lost the war so it seems to me that the time travel was a last ditch gambit on it's part. Why must we assume that Skynet had all the answers?
Very true, yes, but from a storytelling standpoint (and that's what were really talking about) that's a lame answer. It says to the audience that we shouldn't care what happens to Sarah and John because it doesn't matter, nothing can change. The implication is that we are fools for caring. A better tack, whether it's 'right' or not is that changes occur in the past because of time travel and affect the future.

Although there is never a mention of John having a different father than Kyle this must have been so at some point before the proposed CTC (which I think I'm beginning to doubt because of T3) there must have been a John to send Kyle back. the irony that he erases that version of himself when Kyle becomes the father to a different John and creates the proposed CTC by knocking himself out of reality. Outside CTC's at least changes must be made to the past since that's exactly what happens in T1.

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Old May 31 2009, 07:16 PM   #66
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Re: John Connor's existence POLL

xman wrote: View Post
hyzmarca wrote: View Post
xman wrote: View Post
Agreed, but that's a different issue. My question is, in the examples of the first three movies and the instances of Skynet/Resistance time travel, doesn't John have to launch a preemptive mission to the past in order to have any hope of affecting the outcome? T1 would otherwise have been successful in his mission eventually if not for Kyle Reese. The T-900 likewise if not for T2 and the T-X if not for T3! In each instance there is an attempt to protect Skeynet's target in the past with a time traveler ordered to protect Sarah Connor and/or John Connor. If Skynet is first to send any Terminator, the T-800, T-900 or T-X then it should meet no resistance from the future and eliminate John Connor's influence on subsequent events.

X
You are making the mistake of assuming that the time travel even happens in the future, and then changes made to the past propagate into the future. This requires multiple time dimensions and is incorrect. In essence, you have the order of things backwards.

The past effects of the backwards time travel happen before the backwards time travel occurs. It doesn't matter when Kyle steps into the time macchine, or in what order. All that matters is when he appears in the past, and where, and what actions he takes there.

From John Connor's perspective, and the perspective of an outside observer, the events of The Terminator and of Terminator 2 have already happened. They're written in stone before Skynet even builds the machine.
If events cannot be changed in the past, if everything must remain self consistent and any changes made to the past cannot change the future, then why would Skynet send the T-800 back to make changes anyhow? We also know that this is not the case, at least for the earlier time line where John is not related to Kyle. Also not true since something changes after the CTC is created ( or maybe it isn't yet) since T3's record of the future is different from that of T1 & T2.
As I stated, Terminator 3 isn't consistent with how real time travel works, and thus can be ignored for the purposes of examining time travel in the original film. Assuming that time travel in The Terminator resembles real time travel in any way, then there is not and cannot ever have been a timeline in which John Connor is not Kyle Reese's son.

There is only one time. While time is relative for different observers depending on things like velocity and position in space-time, there is always only one order of events. While time travel results in effects that precede their cause, it does not and cannot result in new timelines.

From the point of view of an observer on Earth, outside of the time loop, the Terminator and Kyle Reese appear first in 1984 for no apparent reason, and then disappear in 2029 when they use the time machine. This is, in a sense, absolute time. This is the order of events from the perspective of the universe at large, and is immutable according to the self-consistency principle.

The order of events is determined by absolute time, not by subjective worldlines. From the perspective of the Terminator and Kyle, the arrive in 1984 only after leaving 2029, but it is important to separate the subjective worldlines of individuals within a CTC from objective absolute time. While from their perspective, 1984 occurs after 2029, from all outside perspectives, 1984 comes first. Because 1984 comes first, the effects of their time travel are already set in stone before the time travel occurs. Time

Travel Cannot Create or Destroy Matter/Energy and Connot reverse Entropy.
This is very important. A time machine would easily become a perpetual motion machine if this were not the case.
This is, in fact, another argument for self-consistency, and another way to explain it. If time travel can alter the past, then it can be used to create an infinite amount of energy by generating conditions such that an object is sent to the present from the future, and then not sending that object when the time to do so arrives.
There is only one itteration of a time loop, not many.
This, again, connects mainly to the issue of conservation of Matter/Energy and the fact that there is only one absolute time. From the perspective of the universe, the time loop occurs only once. A time loop that itterated indefinitely would produce an infinite amount of energy as an infinite copies of the same time traveler would result. An infinitely itterating loop that did not produce multiple copies of a thing would fail due to entropy. Both are inconsistent.
For these reason, we must take the loop as seen by an outside observer at face value, that it occurs only once, and does not itterate.


The Many Worlds Interpretation Does Not Apply to Macroscopic Time Travel Effects

The Many Worlds Interpretation is very specific in its meaning and application. It only applies to probabilistic quantum wavefunctions, such as radioactive decay and the trajectory of a photon. It does not apply to macroscopic events, except in when macroscopic events are incluenced by probabilistic quantum events, which is rarely.
In the case of time travel, the probabilistic wavefunction is the "light cone" of the time traveler, the exact position and trajectory at which he enters the past. The Many World Interpretation that for every position and trajectory in the light-cone there is a universe in which the time traveler came into the past at that point with that trajectory. However, each of these worlds is entirely self-consistent, with the time-travel effects both pre-written and unalterable.

The self-consistency principle further limits the potential light cone of a time traveler because it cannot create inconsistent macroscopic effects, which means that Reese must be in a position to rescue and impregnate Sarah Connor in every world, the light-cone simply does not extend to positions where he cannot do so.


These facts together can only bring us to the conclusion that the backwards time travel presented in The Terminator, is a self-consistent closed loop, as any real backwards time travel must be.

It also leads us to the conclusion that there is not, ever was, and could never have been, timeline in which Kyle Reese did not backtravel.

Skynet's motives for time travel are a mystery that only Skynet can answer, but the reality of backwards time travel cannot be denied. If backtravel is possible, then it must be self-consistent.

T2 attempts to shed a ray of rope without being too specific, while T3, TS, and T:SCC are all totally incompatible with real time travel physics.
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Old May 31 2009, 08:54 PM   #67
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Re: John Connor's existence POLL

^all well and good, except for where the franchise doesn't show this to be the case. T3 destroys all of this by showing that changes to the timeline have happened, meaning more than one itteration. Not sure you get to entirely delete the parts of the story that make your interpretation fall apart.

Can say it's not how "real" time travel works, but since it DOESN'T work, and there's no "real" time travel, not sure how you can make that statement. Can talk about theories, but there's plenty of those, and several conflict, so..?

Gotta work a theory that is actually consistent with the franchise as shown, or take it to the Science and Tech forum
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Old May 31 2009, 10:09 PM   #68
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Re: John Connor's existence POLL

So I must accept time travel as a continuum in order to adopt this theory. Nobody else except Kyle Reese was ever the father of any version of John Connor because there are no alternatives. John can wait years to send Kyle back as long as he gets sent back the loop can exist.

If this is the case, aren't Kyle's atoms already in use somewhere in 1984 giving us something from nothing and violating the principle of this kind of "real" time travel?

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Old May 31 2009, 10:42 PM   #69
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Re: John Connor's existence POLL

No. Because it is necessary for Kyle to entire the time machine and vanish in 2029. While new particles do come into existence in 1984, apparently, they correspond exactly to particles that cease to exist in 2029, thus preserving the conservation of matter/energy. The only way it would be a conservation violation is if Kyle appeared in 1984 but did not step into the time machine in 2029. Since Kyle not using the time machine is impossible under the self-consistency principle, matter and energy remain conserved globally. There is a temporary local spike equivalent to one Kyle's worth of matter/energy which, but this spike self-corrects in 2029.
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Old May 31 2009, 11:47 PM   #70
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Re: John Connor's existence POLL

That's pretty thin don't you think? "Oh, I can get something from nothing as long as I give it back".
I counter with, "Two wrongs don't make a right".

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Old June 1 2009, 12:06 AM   #71
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Re: John Connor's existence POLL

Scout101 wrote: View Post
^all well and good, except for where the franchise doesn't show this to be the case. T3 destroys all of this by showing that changes to the timeline have happened, meaning more than one itteration. Not sure you get to entirely delete the parts of the story that make your interpretation fall apart.
Er, but wasn't this thread really only about the first movie to begin with?

The third movie, and the TV series, both took the franchise in different directions then the one laid out in the first movie. IMO the second movie isn't really consistent with it either, but as far as I'm concerned the original intent of the first movie was very clearly that the entire thing was a loop; that John was always Kyle's son and there was no alternate timeline. Afterwords, it was essentially retconned so that they could continue to make installments in the franchise for better (TSCC) or for worse (T3). None of that changes the original intent in the first movie.

Frankly there is no consistent theory for the entire franchise because there's just been too many people involved. But if we only take the first movie? Yeah, it's a loop.
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Old June 1 2009, 12:06 AM   #72
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Re: John Connor's existence POLL

hyzmarca wrote: View Post
Lots of very impressive-sounding words and power-laced name drops.
If what you so loudly proclaim to be the truth were true, then both Skynet and John Connor are able to bootstrap themselves into existence.

John Connor exists because John Connor ... exists.

Skynet was always developed by Cyberdyne based on tech Cyberdyne will never actually invent. They're not standing on the shoulders of giants or even somehow standing on their own shoulders, they're standing on nothing and it works anyway.

Reality itself, from 1984 onwards, exists ... because. There is no free will after the T-800 appears, all of reality beyond that point is predetermined to occur and meaningful life has just become a Final Fantasy cutscene: unending, unalterable and unbearable.

Step 1: Your version of timetravel

Step 2: ????

Step 3: Profit!

Ugh. I'll take my dream of a world where Cyberdyne never invented Skynet and its greatest foe was the mysterious, legendary, gender indeterminate General Connor. Then it invented timetravel and reality changed.
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Old June 1 2009, 12:08 AM   #73
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Re: John Connor's existence POLL

Not really. The important thing is that there is no net increase in usable energy. You can't harness fuel from the future to power something. You can't harness matter from the future to build something. There is no net gain. It isn't perpetual motion, it's just borrowing. It's the same principle of lowering entropy in one system by increasing the entropy of another. Only in this case it is a single system lowering entropy by borrowing from the future. The debt that must be paid back in full.

The result is that there is an amount of matter/energy, equivalent to one Kyle Reese, which cannot be used to do work, because it is destined to go back into the past.

Base_Delta_Zero wrote: View Post
Reality itself, from 1984 onwards, exists ... because. There is no free will after the T-800 appears, all of reality beyond that point is predetermined to occur and meaningful life has just become a Final Fantasy cutscene: unending, unalterable and unbearable.
It only has to be self-consistent within the confines of the loop. Once Kyle Reese of gone from 2029, the whole thing is up in the air again. It's no longer possible to make deterministic predictions about the future based on the present conditions due to potential interference from future time travelers, but that's really the only long-term consequence outside of the loop. If there was any free will to begin with, it remains. The future is wide open and totally unknowable.

hyzmarca wrote: View Post
Lots of very impressive-sounding words and power-laced name drops.
If what you so loudly proclaim to be the truth were true, then both Skynet and John Connor are able to bootstrap themselves into existence.

John Connor exists because John Connor ... exists.

Skynet was always developed by Cyberdyne based on tech Cyberdyne will never actually invent. They're not standing on the shoulders of giants or even somehow standing on their own shoulders, they're standing on nothing and it works anyway.
Technically, Cyberdyne reverse engineers technology that they will develop in the future, and uses the principles gleaned from it to create that technology in the first place, which will eventually get sent back in time.

John Connor exists because Kyle Reese boned his mom.

Last edited by hyzmarca; June 1 2009 at 12:24 AM.
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Old June 1 2009, 06:04 AM   #74
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Re: John Connor's existence POLL

xman wrote: View Post
Very true, yes, but from a storytelling standpoint (and that's what were really talking about) that's a lame answer. It says to the audience that we shouldn't care what happens to Sarah and John because it doesn't matter, nothing can change.
It's explicitly stated in T1 that "the future is not set". The entire movie runs under that premise (even Reese spends the whole movie not knowing he's John's father). That it's all really a predestination paradox isn't fully revealed until the end with the photograph of Sarah. It's a twist ending, very much in the spirit of The Twilight Zone.
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Old June 4 2009, 05:35 AM   #75
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Re: John Connor's existence POLL

Ryan wrote: View Post
xman wrote: View Post
Very true, yes, but from a storytelling standpoint (and that's what were really talking about) that's a lame answer. It says to the audience that we shouldn't care what happens to Sarah and John because it doesn't matter, nothing can change.
It's explicitly stated in T1 that "the future is not set". The entire movie runs under that premise (even Reese spends the whole movie not knowing he's John's father).
And that's exactly why I voted that time is mutable no matter how much it might look to you like it is a closed loop, it isn't.

Ryan wrote: View Post
That it's all really a predestination paradox isn't fully revealed until the end with the photograph of Sarah. It's a twist ending, very much in the spirit of The Twilight Zone.
The photo simply reveals that Kyle who was from the future, had some accurate knowledge of the past, much of which, but not all, will repeat.

Time is mutable. Time travel is possible. Novikov be damned, this is fiction.

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