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Silly time paradox

  1. Sep 19, 2008 #1
    ok so this is kinda a silly idea i just came up with on the spot during math class because im sure that like the rest of you on this forum, during highschool 90% of math class was/is spent daydreaming because 90% of people need to be explained simple concepts a thousand times lol. so the generic time paradox goes something like so; I go back in time because i remember my grandfather telling me about his apartment burning down before he met my grandmother. I go back in time to see if what he said was true and arrive at his apartment. on my way in i accidentally knock over a candle and cause the apartment to burn down! when my grandfather runs out of his building he meets his future wife aka my grandmother. so I went back in time and caused my grandfather to meat my grandmother which eventually lead to me being born then being told about the fire at the apartment which caused me to go back in time to see if it actually happened and thus the loop continues. So through a strange series of events I actually caused myself to be born. So what if the entire universe is an endless time paradox? somewhere in the far future man kind has such a great understanding of the universe that they can basically recreate it. unfortunately man kind in the future just cant quite figure out how the universe began because it just seemed to pop out of nowhere... and then it hits them... the universe created itself! so people go back in time to around the big bang and cause it to happen in order for the universe to exist in the future. just a fun idea i was playing with :rofl:
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 19, 2008 #2
    Young boy, watch not only your logic but also
    your tongue.

    And use your spare time to study more advanced mathematics. :tongue2:
  4. Sep 20, 2008 #3
    If you like fantasy/scifi check out a book called Anubis Gates by Tim Powers. Similar time paradox issues.
  5. Sep 20, 2008 #4


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    Or "The man who folded himself" by David Gerrold. In that novel, a boy is given a time machine by an older man which he regularly then uses to go back and mess with the past. At one point he changes things so much that he is born female- he becomes his own mother and father. Eventually, when he is very old and knows he is about to die, he goes back and gives the time machine to his younger self. Okay, where did the time machine come from? Who built it? For that matter, where did his genes originally come from?

    Actually, I see no "paradox" in the original post. A man goes back in time and causes events to happen just as he remembered them- no paradox there. There is no paradox in, nor even physical law forbidding, a "closed temporal loop".

    Now, if he had gone back in time and prevented his parent being born- that would be a paradox!
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 20, 2008
  6. Sep 20, 2008 #5
    well ya i know its not exactly a time paradox but im sure you get the idea. and no their is nothing any genius could tell me that would convince me that the universe creating itself is not concidered a paradox or at least related to some sort of paradox like idea lol. nah im not serious tho, its not like it is a legitamit idea because their are obvious problems with it but i just finished watching a season of doctor who :P just thought it was a funny idea and that i'd share it with you
  7. Sep 23, 2008 #6
    A paradox would be if you went back and killed your grandfather, otherwise it would be "just" a loop I think, but hey, when "mindsturbating", anything goes... :)

    I like to do this kind of things too once in a while, like what if the Universe/Cosmo/whatever behaves just like a sand clock, it "expands" in one direction and then it reaches a point where the gravity wins and it starts to concentrate into a one big massive black hole only to come out at the other side, "expanding" itself, repeating the cycle forever... (Brutus wants to write a book about it one day, so don't you dare steal it!! :P )

    Here is a website full of short sci fi stories, mostly related to math/physics/...
    http://math.cofc.edu/faculty/kasman/MATHFICT/browse.php [Broken]

    Back to study math.

    Take care,
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  8. Sep 23, 2008 #7
    well its kinda a matter of the fact that if the name was "silly loop" people would probaby not look at the thread because they may not know what it is about. now lets say i toss the word "paradox" into the equation and see how many people look at it on a physics forum. when anyone that likes physics at all even thinks they may have heard the word paradox, they go like OMFG TEH PARADOXzorz lol so i figured i would get better discussion going by unleashing the beast that is paradox
  9. Sep 23, 2008 #8


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    The point people are trying to explain to you is that there is a definition for paradox, and your scenario doesn't fit it. You're using the wrong word.
  10. Sep 23, 2008 #9
    i dont think people understand why i called the situation a paradox but if its of any importance this is my reasoning behind it wether it is right or wrong. the idea of a loop is that all events are unchanged in the past and future by the person causing the loop. for example, i saw a fire when i was younger so i went back in time to put it out but accidentaly started the fire. an example of a paradox would be if i went back in time and killed my grandfather because if i killed him before i was born then how would i go back in time to kill him because his death would prevent my birth. my reasoning behind calling my idea a paradox is becuase you are essentialy doing is creating yourself. it would be like me cloning myself, sending the clone back in time then killing myself. the clone that went back in time will repeat the cycle so where did i begin? a paradox can be described as a statement or proposition that seems self-contradictory or absurd but in reality expresses a possible truth and my example does exactly that becuase if you look at it one way, what created me in the first place? their must be some beginning because people dont just pop out of nowhere, and then the other way, well it makes sence becuase as long as i kill myself after i send my clone back in time and the clone repeats the cycle... it should work.
  11. Sep 23, 2008 #10
    "All You Zombies", is another consistant time-like loop scifi short-tale by Heinlein
  12. Sep 24, 2008 #11


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    A few tips. 1) Capital letters are your friends. Please use them. It makes reading long paragraphs a bit easier when one can find the beginnings and ends of sentences! :bugeye:

    2) Trying to rationalize your own definition of something isn't going to make it right. We are an education-based forum. If you incorrectly use terminology, we will correct you on it. Arguing to justify your incorrect usage isn't going to endear you to people around here.
  13. Sep 24, 2008 #12


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    No, what you've defined is a pseudo-paradox. Something that looks like a paradox at first sight, but after further analysis, isn't. Science is full of pseudo-paradoxes. Pseudo-paradoxes are a matter of misunderstanding.

    A real paradox is something that is true and false at the same time (and leads to the collapse of the logical system that produced it).

    The situation you described is sometimes called a "closed time-like loop".
  14. Sep 24, 2008 #13
    Would it be a paradox if he went back in time to post his original thread without the word paradox in it because of the grief he got for using the word paradox in his original post?
  15. Sep 24, 2008 #14
    the funny thing about... well anything that isnt a science or math, is that you are entitled to your own opinion. in my opinion if the universe created itself the laws of physics would be broken at some point in the process of say... creating something from nothing which we all know is imposible. Time loops are possible on the other hand and do not break the laws of logic or physics. becuase the big bang happend we all know that it follows the laws of physics therefore recreating the big bang may technicaly be possible some time in the far future. because creating something from absolutely nothing, let alone existing in absolute nothingness (because you are technicaly something) is impossible, its hardly logical to say that nothingness created everything but becasue time loops work and do not require a beginning or end, the universe may not have required a beginning or end to work but does require cycles. becuase the universe as we know it has a beginning but a time loop such as people eventualy going back in time and creating the universe dosent seem to break any laws of physics or logic, there is a dissagreement between the idea that everything has a beginning and an end relative to something else and the idea that the universe dosent necisarily need to. I accept that my reasoning behind calling this situation a paradox may be wrong but in my opinion the universe creating itself just has paradox writen all over it. If in your opinion, my opinion is wrong, then you are entitled to that opinion and i get the point but so far no one has answered my question becasue they would rather point out the missuse of a word. Sorry but if my use of the word "paradox" renders you incapeable of understanding the question then maybe you shouldnt be in physics. if it bothers people that much then i'll plan a date with a dictionary but realy... this isnt a gramer forum its a physics forum so please, if you understand the question then answer it, and if you dont then i will press the edit button and replace the word "paradox" with the word "loop". after this you can re read the post and then decide to answer the question or not.
  16. Sep 25, 2008 #15


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    It is very hard to imagine a real paradox in nature. It is not so hard to find paradoxes in abstract systems. If he went back in time to change his post, and the universe forked at that point into two parallel histories, that still wouldn't be a paradox. I can't imagine a genuine paradox in nature. Only in our thinking about it.
  17. Sep 26, 2008 #16
    Extending this, leads in a manner to the Many Worlds interpretation of quantum theory.
  18. Sep 29, 2008 #17


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    I liked Asimov's "End of Eternity". You have a whole select culture that winds up existing 'outside of time' in order to carefully manage how things 'inside of time' develop.

    Geez, I hope the main character was named Sigmund Freud.
  19. Sep 29, 2008 #18

    Ivan Seeking

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    There is a nice essay about changing the past, by Igor Novikov, in the collection of essays titled, The Future of Spacetime, c2002.
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