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The Philosophy of Time Travel

February 16, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 192

Traveling through time, typically with the intent of changing past and future events, has fascinated mankind for many years. It has been the subject of numerous books, TV shows, and movies. Sometimes things go well like in Back to the Future wherein Marty's time travel results in a much better dad. Chaos is other times the result like in A Sound of Thunder wherein the death of a butterfly causes the world to turn out much worse. Other times the effects are not felt at all, like in The Time Machine, in which Alexander goes back in time to save his girlfriend's life, only to see her die a different death.

These are all entertaining, fun ideas, but are they possible? Einstein thinks so and so do many scientists of our day. In fact, it has been a fundamental concept of physics since Einstein's equations showed that it is. Of course he couldn't test his theory, but the equations he developed showed that the faster an object moves, the slower time moves for that object. That means that if you were in a super fast spaceship traveling at close to the speed of light for a few years, centuries would pass everywhere else.

Like I said, it couldn't be tested in Einstein 's day, but it can, and has, today. Scientists have taken super accurate clocks and put one on a really fast jet and the other on the ground. The jet is then flown around at amazingly fast speeds, but of course nowhere even remotely close to the speed of light. After a while the plane returns and the clocks are tested. The one in the jet is actually a few thousandths of a second behind the grounded one.

This proves that we can move forward in time if we travel fast enough, but it doesn't say anything about going back to the past. A few obscure experiments indicate that at least electromagnetic waves may be able to go back, but we're just not sure. The equations say we can, but we don't know how to really test it yet.

Some scientists hold that backwards time travel isn't possible because of the paradoxes associated with it. For example, if you could travel back in time, then you could kill your grandfather, and thus never be born. This can be answered by invoking a multiverse in which every decision sends onto a different path, so the future you came from does not exist for you anymore, just the one you are making in your past. In any event, the philosophy of time travel is clear on forward time travel, but backward travel is still up for debate.

Time Travel

Source: EzineArticles
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