Why doesn't Spock Prime go back in time to save Vulcan?

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies: Kelvin Universe' started by EJA, Mar 3, 2010.

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  1. I-Am-Zim

    I-Am-Zim Captain

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    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.
     
  2. OneBuckFilms

    OneBuckFilms Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Very true. But since this IS a fairly well accepted and current theory, it meets the scientific plausibility requirement.
     
  3. EJA

    EJA Fleet Captain

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    And contradicts all the time travel stories in previous Trek.
     
  4. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  5. EJA

    EJA Fleet Captain

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    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.
     
  6. lawman

    lawman Commander Red Shirt

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    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...)
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2010
  7. OneBuckFilms

    OneBuckFilms Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Incorrect. It merely alters PERCEPTION of it. Assuming it was all that consistent in the first place.
     
  8. OneBuckFilms

    OneBuckFilms Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    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.
     
  9. lawman

    lawman Commander Red Shirt

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    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. ;)

    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.

    Sorry, what box? I'm not clear on your metaphor here.
     
  10. I-Am-Zim

    I-Am-Zim Captain

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    Good God man! That makes perfect sense!:techman:
     
  11. OneBuckFilms

    OneBuckFilms Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    An analogy as to why we cannot observe outside our universe.

    Think of the Universe as a box, and a Cat as us.

    If the Cat lives it's life entirely within the box, born, lives, dies, the can has no perception that there is anything that exists outside of the box. From the Cat's point of view, the box is the universe, since the box is all it knows.

    However, if the Cat goes to sleep, and is transported to another box, which is exaclty the same, then wakes up, the cat thinkgs it's in the same box. This, in essense, is classic Trek time travel. The box appears to be the same, but newer, with no idea that the box has changed.

    Now, Imagine if the Cat starts seeing things in the new Box that were not there in the old one, or a mouse that was in the old one is not present. The Cat may percieve that it has been moved at that point.
     
  12. OneBuckFilms

    OneBuckFilms Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Actually, when I see the this explanation, it amounts to throwing away cause-and effect, and simply assuming that if you kill your own father, and your own birth doesn't happen, then you simply go on remembering an origin that doesn't exist.

    This would have to be the case for the Star Trek movie to occur.

    Since this is the Grandfather Paradox, it means that therefore, either things have to be fixed so that they are back the way they were (impossible), or MWI comes into play.
     
  13. I-Am-Zim

    I-Am-Zim Captain

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    Basically, yes. The entire movie took place in an alternate universe that was similar, but not exactly like the one that Spock and Nero left. When Spock and Nero went through the black hole/wormhole/temporal anomoly thingy, they emerged in one of the infinite number of alternate universes described in the TNG episode "Parallels". That would explain the subtle but obvious differences such as the unreasonable size of the Kelvin (30+ shuttles!?!?!, 800+ crew!?!?!), and stardate designations that don't fit with what we know of the Prime universe. I know, that's not what the writers said. However, given their apparent lack of appreciation or respect for past Trek, I don't put a lot of stock in what they had to say in behind-the-scenes interviews. But again, that is the way I feel about it. Your mileage may vary.
     
  14. OneBuckFilms

    OneBuckFilms Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Size/Complement/Specs of the Kelvin

    We have seen nothing in TOS that factually contradicts this. Technology and design evolved along 2 different paths since 2233.04. This also applies to crew complement.

    Also note that no Starfleet vessel has been seen dating from the 2230s.

    Stardates

    The Stardates, are, in fact, consistent with the idea that it started with Earthdates (source: Enterprise), to "decimalized gregorian" (source: the movie) through to a new system, based on pulsar/other undetermined calculation method (source: TNG thru Nem).

    The information does NOT disprove the MWI model. Your alternative theory does fit, but no evidence supports it.
     
  15. I-Am-Zim

    I-Am-Zim Captain

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    Why would starship sizes baloon to 10X the size of the NX-01 by 2233 and then shrink by half by the 2260's (in the Prime)? That makes no sense. Then there's also the stardate used near the end of the movie when NuSpock asks the Jellyfish it's "manufacturing origin" and it replies "stardate 2387". That is another inconsistency that doesn't fit with what we know and could be contributed to lack of respect on the part of the writers. If SpockPrime actually did come from the Prime universe that we know, that stardate would have been something more like 49XXX.XX or something to that effect. So was SpockPrime from one of those infinite alternate universes? Who knows. But that theory works for me. And there's no evidence to disprove it either.
     
  16. lawman

    lawman Commander Red Shirt

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    Thank you! :) I'll be here all week, two shows on Sunday...

    Yes. So? That's how time-travel has routinely been presented in Trek, among a wide variety of other fictional settings.

    It doesn't really damage causality. The important thing to remember is that the worldline of you, the time-traveler, is not the same as the worldline of the universe/timeline you happen to be in. So if (say) time is progressing forward through points A, B, C and D, and you're born at C, age until D, then time-travel back to B and change things such that you're never born and history diverges off toward E... then the timeline of the universe you're now in progresses "A>B>E," but your own personal past still includes additional points in which you were born in the ordinary way.

    But Trek has routinely shown things being "fixed so that they are back the way they were." We've seen it. How can you dismiss it as "impossible"?

    Not explicitly ("here are the details of all the ships in the fleet back in the 2230s" would've made for a pretty dry episode), but logically. If one of the most advanced ships in Starfleet in the 2260s, one of a select dozen, has only two shuttles and a crew complement of 430 (which we know was even smaller a decade earlier under Pike's command), then it defies credibility that a ship 30 years earlier would have twice the crew and ten times the shuttles.

    Two problems. One: there was never anything (prior to this movie) suggesting that stardates had ever used a system of "decimalized Gregorian," so you can hardly use that as evidence of consistency with past canon. Two: the movie has Spock's "Jellyfish" ship from the 2380s describe its origin date in those same "decimalized Gregorian" terms, even though we know that no such system was used in the TNG era.

    It's difficult to prove a negative, so no, I suppose I didn't technically "disprove" the MWI model. I don't feel an obligation to do so, however... since as you acknowledge my explanation does fit all the available evidence, from both the film and previous Trek canon, while meanwhile (if we ignore out-of-universe things like the writers' interviews) there's no actual evidence to support the MWI model in the Trekverse.

    As I suggested: if you (or O&K!) really want to do the heavy lifting to explain how the MWI makes sense for all previous Trek time-travel stories, feel free, and I'll cheerfully give those explanations serious consideration. However, since we don't need to reinterpret all those past stories in order to make sense of this one, it would seem to be a lot of unnecessary effort.
     
  17. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    The writers told us to "think 'Parallels'", and I always took TNG's episode to warn us that each alternate universe was the result of a "Sliding Doors" phenomenon. Each time we jump left instead of right, there's another universe that diverges - where we jumped right intead of left.
     
  18. Happy Xmas (War Is Over)

    Happy Xmas (War Is Over) Fleet Admiral Premium Member

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    Donna Noble agrees.
     
  19. OneBuckFilms

    OneBuckFilms Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    When you talk of "proving a negative", perhaps "disproving the positive" is what needs to be done.

    Prove that an ALTERNATIVE time-travel scenario is the case.

    Since we cannot say for sure which Time-Travel model it ACTUALLY is, the writer's intent is the only other evidence to use.

    PROVE ME WRONG means proving something else is RIGHT.

    Granted on Spock asking about the date of manufacture being Stardate 2387, but that is within the realm of possibility.

    If the ship knows WHEN it is, it may adjust reporting to the appropriate timeframe.

    Or Vulcan may be using an older system outside of Starfleet usage.

    Or it was a simple mistake, and should be treated as such.
     
  20. OneBuckFilms

    OneBuckFilms Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    FYI, Supporting Evidence for MWI comes from the fallback to writers intent. There is no other precedent available beyond personal preference.
     
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