Thursday, March 12, 2015

Backwards Time Travel: Caution Plot Spoilers ahead!

Can you travel backwards into time?  There are plenty of Hollywood movies that play around with this idea, and even get a little kinky with it, and somtimes downright perverted. 

Predestination is just such a film: a great work of art, and a scintillating mental reparte on fate, hence the plot-spoiling title.  However, how can you, a hermaphrodite, go back in time, get yourself pregnant, give birth to yourself, then an older version of yourself goes back in time also, snatches the baby (yourself) and transports that baby back in time to the orphanage where you were raised?

YOU HAVE NO PARENTS!  Your DNA spontaneously came into existence.  You always were, and always will be, flipping through time, with no beginning and no end.  This is impossible.  But, it's fun to watch, if you like film noir.

If biology doesn't convince you, how about metallurgy? 

In the film Timerider: The Adventure Of Lyle Swan, a racer in the Baja 1000 accidentally goes back in time and hangs with his Grandmother in Mexico.  When the time-warping scientists go back in time to rescue Lyle, his Grandma rips Lyle's gold necklace from his chest as he boards a helicopter and goes home to the future.  His Grandmother eventually passes it down to her child, who passes it on to her child, Lyle, who eventually wears it in the Baja 1000 when he goes back in time. 

Honestly, I don't remember if Lyle is his own Grandfather, and I don't want to know!  But, let's get back to the gold.

Where did the gold come from?  No miner unearthed it.   Where did the jewelry come from?  No designer built it with squinty eyes.  More importantly, which romantic story goes with the purchase of said necklace, and the gifting of it to Lyle's Grandmother?  None of that happened, she got it from her Grandson.  Eww.

This gold was never born in a supernova like all other gold.  It simply zapped into existence somewhere in Mexico on a motorcross racer's neck.

If biology and metallurgy don't convince you, then how about an idea?

In the film Interstellar, a hunky engineer, a hotty engineer, and the one black actor in an otherwise all-white movie (usually there are no blacks, but that's another problem with Hollywood), all get in a ship and leave the Earth.  They travel into the future thanks to high-speed travel, a worm hole, and Einstein's time dilation in his Theory of Special Relativity.

On the return trip, the hunky engineer and his robot get pulled into a black hole.  There they find a catacomb built from the engineer's daughter's bedroom, hundreds of copies of it, in fact, from different dates in time.  At this point, the robot discovers the engineering data used to create this catacomb, because the scientsts who made the catecomb placed the engineering notes with it.

The hunky engineer decides to transmit this engineering data to his daughter's bedroom, with her in it, so she can see it (in morse code) and transcribe it into a notebook.  Decades laer, she and NASA build this catacomb in that particular black hole, and place the engienering data in the catacomb for the robot to find.

These engineering notes were never fathomed by a scientist.  Nobody had an epiphany, nobody did the rigorous math required to prove theories, draw diagrams, and crunch the necessary numbers for construction.  This engineering simply popped into existence on the daughter's watch in morse code.

Again, this is impossible.

Do invisible walls constrain you?
If the paradox is impossible, then time travel must be impossible.  Why?   Who's to stop you from carrying a necklace back into time?  Who's to stop you from going back to 1900 and giving Einstein his theories of relativity?  Is there some magic force field that follows you around in the past, and stops you in your tracks every time you try something paradoxical? 

No!  (But that would be a really cool effect in a movie, wouldn't it?)  Therefore, traveling back in time is impossible.

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