The Implications of going back in time and changing the past

Cymro

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Nov 30, 1999
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#1
OK, Since my Astroverse tale involves this subject, I'd like to know what you people think about it. The whole subject's hasn't my mind for the last fortnight, and I need some perspective on the whole deal. It really is a fucking complicated thought to grasp.

Just consider this, if you went back in time and killed Hitler, or somehow prevented WW2, could that acctually work? I mean, If there was no WW2, you wouldn't have a reason to go back and prevent it, so there would be a WW2, but you'd go back in time and prevent it, and it goes all over the place again. It's that big ass Paradox...

Beer will always be good.

Can you acctually change the timeline, or do you create a new, seperate one by changing the past?

OK, I think I've made things worse.

I wish I could send my conciousness back in time to the brain of the 2 year old me, and be like some sort of genius kid (even more so, that is), and get a head start at stuff I wish I'd have learned to do earlier in life. But even if that was possible, would it work? Would I have to build a time machine again and do it over?
 

Deslok

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Jan 1, 1970
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#2
There are different philosophies about how time travel would really work if it would work at all.

One theory suggests that there is only one timeline, and to go into the past and change it would result in changes up and down the line. If you change just one detail, it could have repurcussions down to the tiniest of details. If someone went back into the past and killed Hitler, there may be a change in how someone else's parents may have met. It could affect countless births that happened since that event. Hitler was responsible for the deaths of a lot of people, if all those people survived there would be an entirely different world around us right now.

Now, if there was no WW2 due to your killing Hitler, the entire chain of events that occur after the baby Hitler's death would lead up to (most likely) the birth of someone else and not the person who assasinated the infant. Therefore there is nobody to go back in time to kill the baby Hitler because baby Hitler is already dead and there is no WW2.

The only question that remains is, what happens to the person who has gone into the past? Do they become trapped there? Do they transform at the instant that they killed the baby Hitler? Do they vanish? Do they become a reason for an inevitable course that history wants to take?
 

Cymro

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#5
While the "creating a new timeline" thing is cool in concept, it's essentially a new universe. And I don't see how one person altering an event on one tiny, insiginficant planet, generates enough energy to create a duplicate universe, billions of light years across, with billions of suns, etc.
Well, that was based on the theory that there is an infinite amount of parallel universes, and that each one is slightly different from the other, and that every possible outcome to any set of variables acctually does happen in at least one of these paralel universes. To paraphrase Stargate, they're like forks in the road for every choice we make.

This is all theoretical, BTW.
 

Arik

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Jan 1, 2010
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#6
I kinda liked the way time travel was dealt with in Gargoyles.

No matter how hard you try, you simply cannot change the past.

Clear and concise.
 

Deslok

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#7
While the "creating a new timeline" thing is cool in concept, it's essentially a new universe. And I don't see how one person altering an event on one tiny, insiginficant planet, generates enough energy to create a duplicate universe, billions of light years across, with billions of suns, etc.
I've always felt that for every sentient being, and maybe non-sentient ones too, there is the possibility of an alternate reality or timeline for each one. That is to say that with every point of awareness in endless space there is a multitude of alternate realities, potentially.
 

Stag

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#8
Regarding alternate universes, I like to think that if you were able to go back in time and change history that at the moment you make your change, you form a new, parallel universe.

I believe in pre-destiny, personally, and that if you were to go back in time to try and change history, that you will not be able to. The universe will prevent you.

Using the Hitler example from above, you would not be able to kill baby Hitler because you will be killed just prior to the act, or you will miss your intended target, which will give rise to Hitler if you hadn't taken that shot. So then YOU are the reason Hitler comes into be as a result of your timelinee tampering. Or you kill the baby Hitler, but the parents buy a black market baby which actually grows up becoming Hitler.

Time travel creates way too many issues to deal with all of them, you just basically need to focus on one theory and run with it.
 

Deslok

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#9
Quantum physics theory states that you can probably "almost" go back in time, but that as you reach the threshold, you're physically destroyed by the paradoxical nature of doing such a thing. I think they've actually done experiments involving photons on this sort of thing with similar results.
 

Cymro

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#10
Didn't Einstein theorise that by going faster than light, time for that object would go backwards? This was based on the whole idea that time slows down as you approach the speed of light(it's been proven that clocks on our current line of craptacular space vessels are always behind earth because they travelled so fast.

Would this mean that time goes by RELLY fast for a completely static object?

I doubt I'll include any of these theoretical views in my story, if they are, they'll probably be in an idle conversation between two of the people involved, I really wanted to clear the subject from my mind because it was starting to drive me loopy :shock: .

It's hard for a Sci-Fi writer person to invent any stories without breaking a law of physics, so I'll pass on that last one, Des. 8)
 

Stag

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#11
I actually read an article that said if you were travelling on a commercial jet at normal altitude and at normal cruising speed for 2 years straight or an accumulated total of 2 years, you actuallygain 1 second on everyone else who is staying with feet firmly planted on terra firma.
 

Cymro

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#13
Yeah, the whole speed slowing down the passage of time thing is quite well documented.

That's probably why Picard is still allowed to Captain the Federation flagship at the age of 70!
 

Deslok

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#14
Well, that and the fact that medical science has probably improved a lot by then too. Doctor McCoy lived to be 120 years old, which is how long the human body is supposed to last.

But also, time is relative. We measure hours because of the sun's rotation and the time it takes has been split up into 24 hours. If you're on a spacecraft flying at FTL speeds, who knows what it would do to one's physiology? Who knows if there isn't a part of the brain that regulates aging by the perception of the passage of time and seasons?
 

Cymro

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#15
Well, that and the fact that medical  science has probably improved a lot by then too.  Doctor McCoy lived to be 120 years old, which is how long the human body is supposed to last.

But also, time is relative.  We measure hours because of the sun's rotation and the time it takes has been split up into 24 hours.  If you're on a spacecraft flying at FTL speeds, who knows what it would do to one's physiology?  Who knows if there isn't a part of the brain that regulates aging by the perception of the passage of time and seasons?
That's something I've thought of too, I've always kinda wondered why Trek's never included a little conversation about the reation between speed, traveling through both time and space.
 

Stag

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#16
That's something I've thought of too, I've always kinda wondered why Trek's never included a little conversation about the relation between speed, traveling through both time and space.
Yeah, but by using warp, aren't they in effect warping the structure of space to get somewhere quicker than using the "normal" laws of physics (i.e. relativity)