Why time travel enthusiasts are the world's most patient protestors

Illustration for article titled Why time travel enthusiasts are the worlds most patient protestors

Folks who demand that we invent time travel know where their priorities lie. But where do you want time travel, sir?

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Anyone know who snagged this photograph? Or, better yet, who's carrying the sign?

Tip of the hat to Gawd.

Illustration for article titled Why time travel enthusiasts are the worlds most patient protestors

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DISCUSSION

The issue is causality violation, exemplified by the famous "Grandfather Paradox". There are basically three ways is could work out:

1. The past cannot be changed. If you go back in time to kill your grandfather, you won't be able to. Something will happen to prevent it; you can't find him, he sees you coming and escapes, or maybe you have a change of heart, thereby insuring you are born.

2. You can change the past but it turns out your were supposed to all along; your present is the result of your changing the past. You intend to kill your grandfather, but when you get there he's being mugged; you instinctively shoot the mugger saving your grandfather's life, thereby insuring you are born.

3. You can change the past and in doing so you create a new future in which you may or may not be born. Your memories of your present (your grandfather's future) become irrelevant; you're a person out of time on a new world line. If you stay in the past until you get back to the point where you left, it may well be significantly different from the future you remember.

My guess is number 3. If time travel is common, our reality may be continually changing around us; we could never know. When you think about it, this explains a lot.