Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Time Travel - Bah!

Time Travel - Bah!

Let's talk about time travel and the possibilities of it ever existing. Einstein thought you could warp the passage of time and maybe even slow it down, but not actually reverse it and I happen to agree with that assessment. However, I am not agreeing because I have poured over his theorems, checked his facts and graded his homework. I have my own test that tells me time travel, as I understand it, will never happen.

I can sit here at my terminal and intend to plant a message in an environment that can withstand
the elements of time; a message that tells some future discoverer to visit me at a specified time and location, say, right next to my computer in the next ten seconds.

Guess what? Nobody came (I did wait the full ten seconds). So one of the three things happened:

1) The time traveler never got my message
2) The time traveler got my message but didn't/couldn't obey the request
3) Time travel will never exist

Given the rest of my life, I can develop a means that a potential future time traveler can receive my message. I don't know what that means is now, but surely I can come up with one in the next 50 years. I'll probably plant it in a satellite or deep space spacecraft to insure the message will survive even planetary destruction. With this accomplished, someone living in an advanced technological age will get my message and either use it or pass it to a generation that surely is close to developing the means for time travel if it's going to be at all possible.

If the second option happened, it seems to me the future traveler would send me a hint or a small sign to indicate it was received. For a message to survive all those years, all that time and for that person not to reply to it, would drive the person into a frenzy and no one, not even the people of the future want that.
I received no such sign.

If the recipient is not Homo Sapien, I can not vouch for the psychological affect ignoring my long distance message would have on that species. It's possible another species with time travel capabilities is emotionally equipped to ignore my request, in which case, I would concede that time travel will actually exist, but since I will never find out this contradiction due to the paradoxical nature of the action, I am perfectly safe to continue with my assumption.

If the time traveler was forbidden to contact me in the past, well that's just silly. At some point, they will develop a means to communicate with the past and not affect their precious timeline or whatever rule that exists to keep travelers from communicating to the past. Surely, my message will be saved and passed down to the generation that can accomplish such a thing.

So we get to the third option, which just seems more likely to me, doesn't it? Time travel will never be possible. Occam's Razor says so.

My test would not be complete if I didn't say the following: A response to my request from a future time traveler can be answered, if personal appearance is impossible, difficult or the traveler is just lazy, by posting a comment to this post. Existence of this post will serve a record for me to pick the time and place of contact when I do finally develop a means of delivering the message.

This post must survive until I am ready to deliver my message to the future or I'll just have to choose a new time and location. I only have about a billion more chances.

Image 1: The time travelling duo from Voyagers! pictured with their time travel device The Omni
Image 2: Socrates (so - crates), Ted, Billy the Kid and Bill in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure