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Time travel: how to be your own mother and father

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  • Time travel: how to be your own mother and father

    Suppose that time travel and closed causal loops are possible. (Actually, there are two very good reasons to think these are possible-(i) scientists take the possibility of time travel seriously, and it is consistent with out best accounts of science; and (ii) time travel is conceivable and conceivability is a good guide to possibility.) A closed causal loop is a chain of causes and effects some of which are foward and some of which are backward but none of which are caused by events outside of the loop.

    An example of a backward cause would be a time travel machine. It causes at some time t+1 the appearance of a person at some time t. That's a backward causal link. And example of a closed causal loop would be if you time traveled to the past to teach your younger self how to and to help him build a time machine, and this information cannot be attained in any other way. Each event in this causal loop has a causal explanation from some other event in the loop. How did you know how to make the time machine? Your older self taught you how. How did your older self build a time machine? He remembered being taught when he was younger.

    Now, there are no contradictions when describing a closed causal loop. In the one above it is inexplicable where the information about how to build a time machine came from. At least, the source does not come from outside of the causal loop. Scientists take the possibility of closed causal loops seriously and we can conceive of them (again no contraditions), so it appears that these are possible.

    So, let's suppose they are. If they are, then it's possible that someone is his own father and his own mother. Here's a possible situation: Andy is born in 2006. He builds a time machine in 2035 and travels back 30 years to 2005. He has sex with a woman, call her Anna, who conceives a child call him Aaron. Aaron is born in 2006. 9 years later, 2014, Andy travels back 10 years to 2004 and has a sex change that involves functioning female parts. A year later, Andy has sex with a man and conceives a child. 9 Years later, the child's father gets in a time machine, never to be seen again. 21 years after that the child gets into a time machine, never to be seen after that. Andy, Anna, and Aaron are the same person.

    This case involved two instances of time travel and a functional sex change operation. Every event described is caused, without breaking any laws of nature, by some other event. It is a closed causal loop because while every event in the loop can be explained by some other event in the loop, the whole loop is inexplicable from the outside--that is, the existence of Andy has no causal explanation from outside of the loop. But, as I said, there are good reasons to think closed causal loops and backward time travel are possible.

    So, directions to be your own mother and father:
    1. time travel twice
    2. get functional sex change
    3. have sex with yourself (twice, once from each perspective)
    4. conceive yourself
    5. done.

  • #2
    Re: Time travel: how to be your own mother and father

    I think a big assumption of that would be that we live in a 4 dimensional universe (length, width, depth, and time). Here's a cool visualization of a 10 dimensional universe that is hypothesized by the latest and greatest in string theory. In a 10 dimensional universe, I don't think this scenario is possible. Or is it?

    http://www.tenthdimension.com/flash2.php
    Beatnik

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    • #3
      Re: Time travel: how to be your own mother and father

      That site does not portray what scientist's conception of higher dimensions. As far as I can tell, that's not what string theorists mean by higher dimensions. I don't think this guy knows what he's talking about. String theorists take higher dimensions to be spatial dimensions, not possibility dimensions like this guy is imagining.

      I'm not sure what you mean by four dimensional. If you mean time is a dimension just like space, then that's pretty much where contemporary science lies. So, it's not really a big assumption. As I mentioned in the first post, physicists take the possibility of time travel seriously. That's some reason to think it is possible.

      Let's suppose time is a dimension like one of the spatial dimensions. Time travel is just movement of an object along the temporal dimension. Now, suppose you thought there were more than 4 dimensions. Why would that prevent an object from moving along the fourth dimension? Take our three well known spatial dimensions. I take it you can move along the second one, even though there is a thrid one. So, higher spatial dimensions doesn't appear to prevent an object from moving along lower spatial dimensions. So, if the temopral dimension is like a spatial dimension, then higher dimensions shouldn't prevent an object from moving along that dimension either.

      String theory isn't incompatible with time travel, as far as I know. I wouldn't know what reasons one might think it is.

      PS A little googling on that site shows that the book is self published by the author, and nowhere can you find academic credentials of the author. Being self published is a big sign that this is just some crank.

      PPS Wow, some more googling shows that this site has made it's way around lots of forums. Oh man, so many people taught false things about string theory, and what theoretical physicists mean by higher dimensions :(

      PPPS, oh wait I already wrote about this in the thread about his site: http://www.tacticalgamer.com/showpos...5&postcount=14
      Last edited by sordavie; 01-06-2007, 09:22 PM.

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      • #4
        Re: Time travel: how to be your own mother and father

        We need more dimensions to explain the huge number of side branches in your single post! :)

        Fun stuff, Sordavie. "Time Travel" seems like an interesting realm of research. I think the acceptance of the odd mother/father scenario as possible is very telling about how science approaches the mysteries of the world.
        Peace through fear... since 1947!

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        • #5
          Re: Time travel: how to be your own mother and father

          It certainly is fun stuff to think about. I don't know that much about the physics, but I work on some related stuff in philosophy of time. Even if actual laws of nature imply that time travel is impossible, it doesn't mean that time travel is not compatible with some possible laws of nature.

          What's interesting for me are the implications about the nature of persisting objects and personal identity over time. Just the possibility that some possible laws of nature are compatible with time travel is enough for me to work out the implications.

          Here's one implication: apparently under the right conditions, one can cause one's self to exist.

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          • #6
            Re: Time travel: how to be your own mother and father

            Ok just when I thought I was starting to understand the concept of multiple dimensions, *poof*, it's gone. The four dimensional universe I was referring to is just standard "space-time".

            I thought that was a cool demo that actually added insight, but I guess I was wrong. Regardless, it wasn't saying that time travel isn't possible, just that if you go back in time you're branching into another possible universe out of the infinite number of possible universes that could exist, or at least that was my understanding.

            That's the last time I get science linkage from digg. ;)
            Beatnik

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            • #7
              Re: Time travel: how to be your own mother and father

              My brain are hurted...........

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              • #8
                Re: Time travel: how to be your own mother and father

                All you have to do is go to Arkansas to prove your theory sordavie. (Those from Arkansas would say the same about oky homy, I am sure.)
                Iím not racists, I have republican friends. Radio show host.
                - "The essence of tyranny is the denial of complexity". -Jacob Burkhardt
                - "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" - Emerson
                - "People should not be afraid of it's government, government should be afraid of it's People." - Line from V for Vendetta
                - If software were as unreliable as economic theory, there wouldn't be a plane made of anything other than paper that could get off the ground. Jim Fawcette
                - "Let me now state what seems to me the decisive objection to any conservatism which deserves to be called such. It is that by its very nature it cannot offer an alternative to the direction in which we are moving." -Friedrich Hayek
                - "Don't waist your time on me your already the voice inside my head." Blink 182 to my wife

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                • #9
                  Re: Time travel: how to be your own mother and father

                  Ah, I'm talking about a universe with just one temporal dimension, not a second temporal dimension that you move along when you time travel. The sort of time travel I'm talking about is movement along a single temporal dimension. So this is not like back to the future time travel. Whether that's possible or not, I don't know. But it doesn't seem like real time travel to me. That's just travel along a second temporal or possible dimension. Real time travel is when you travel to some history of the actual world.

                  Let me see if I can find a link to David Lewis' "Paradoxes of Time Travel."

                  No, but it's a very good read. Lewis is one of the best analytic philosophers of the latter half of the 20th century.

                  Here are some other good links to philosophy of time travel though (most from one of my favorite living philosophers):
                  http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/time-travel-phys/
                  http://fas-philosophy.rutgers.edu/si...rs/sciamer.pdf
                  http://fas-philosophy.rutgers.edu/si.../ab_travel.pdf
                  http://fas-philosophy.rutgers.edu/si...ime_travel.pdf

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                  • #10
                    Re: Time travel: how to be your own mother and father

                    if you can theoretically time-travel back, can you also go forward? "along the same pipe" so to speak? If so, which future do you land in? the one where you play video games way to much and die happy, or the one where you study investment banking in your spare time and die rich and happy?

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                    • #11
                      Re: Time travel: how to be your own mother and father

                      Going forward in time is easy. We do it all the time. :p But, given general relativity's truth, traveling foward relative to some other frame is certainly possible.

                      Presumably there's only one future. There are many possible futures, but there is only one way the future will go. And, the sort of time travel I'm talking about isn't a "speeding up" of time. It's going into a machine during the year 2006 and walking out an instant later in the year 1900 or 2600 or whatever.
                      Last edited by sordavie; 01-07-2007, 12:48 AM.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Time travel: how to be your own mother and father

                        Going beyond the possibilities of time travel. If you were in fact capable of procreating with yourself, first... That's just weird. anyways. There IS a chance you would essentially create a clone of yourself, heck, there is a chance you can essentially create a 'clone' of yourself with another partner, i.e. not yourself. But the chance of that happening is EXTREMELY small.

                        Read:Recessive Genes

                        *hums Dueling Banjos*
                        RAWGRLRLRLRRLGLRL!!!

                        Nations are like individuals: they achieve more when they plan to plant a tiny tree, and do it, than when they propose to raise an entire forest and then fall asleep in the furrows.

                        I AM socializing artard, I'm logged on to an MMORPG with people from all over the world and getting XP with my party using Teamspeak

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                        • #13
                          Re: Time travel: how to be your own mother and father

                          Ah, but my story goes much further than mere procreation with one's self and time travel. In my story Andy procreates with and gives birth to himself. :p

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                          • #14
                            Re: Time travel: how to be your own mother and father

                            The best thing coming out of this is that there is some scientific support for the notion that someone can go **** themselves.

                            :D
                            Peace through fear... since 1947!

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                            • #15
                              Re: Time travel: how to be your own mother and father

                              Originally posted by sordavie View Post
                              Ah, but my story goes much further than mere procreation with one's self and time travel. In my story Andy procreates with and gives birth to himself. :p
                              I'm just saying that Andy and Anna might end up making Steve.

                              And what happens if Aaron were female?

                              How do you exist if you remove your parents from the equasion? Your loop can't be closed since It is initially Started by Andy. What continues it may be the genetic equivalent of Andy (though I'd tend to argue that, as seen above, but for the sake of theorizing) but it is impossible that it is in fact Andy.

                              See, if Andy and Anna had Aaron, Aaron would be the one in your story that goes back in time to meet Anna. However, he'd have to crash Andy's party that night and jump in instead, but in doing that, he would break the cycle, because if Andy were kicked out of the bedroom by Aaron, Aaron would have never been born, if Aaron wasn't born, Andy couldn't have been kicked out of the bedroom by him. If both of these need to happen, but neither can. What becomes of the loop?

                              Short answer, it would not be a loop, it would be a more like a Fractal Spiral. Continuing for all eternity, but never going anywhere but further in and upon itself.

                              Oh well, Time is just a perspective anyways.



                              But on a completely unrelated side note... On the plus side, you would have killed "The Matrix" if it were true.


                              "Woah"
                              RAWGRLRLRLRRLGLRL!!!

                              Nations are like individuals: they achieve more when they plan to plant a tiny tree, and do it, than when they propose to raise an entire forest and then fall asleep in the furrows.

                              I AM socializing artard, I'm logged on to an MMORPG with people from all over the world and getting XP with my party using Teamspeak

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