The Instigator
tBoonePickens
Pro (for)
Losing
29 Points
The Contender
Daniel18
Con (against)
Winning
30 Points

Time travel to the past can never be possible based on our current knowledge of the Universe.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 5/5/2009 Category: Science
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,770 times Debate No: 8109
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (35)
Votes (11)

 

tBoonePickens

Pro

Based on our current knowledge of the Universe and the empirical evidence of our established theories, time travel to the past can never be possible. I would like the debate to stick to scientifically accepted theories and stay away from sci-fi or pseudo science. I'll take the position of Pro, i.e. that time travel to the past can never be possible based on our current knowledge of the Universe.
Daniel18

Con

First of all defining time travel I define time travel as a window into the past not direct physical transportation back in time. Now with my definition out I strongly negate the resolution that you can not time travel into the past. My reference point is memories, writing, and stars in all three of these you can catch a glimpse of the past not always a full look into it but at least a small window into what has happened. my first point memories. Memories are a glimpse of the past while not always perfectly reliable it is a window that has been used often. my second point writing a much more reliable window then memories as memories fade and often become a little twisted though time. We have learned much form the writing of the Egyptians and many more from what they have written and so it becomes a window into the past. My third point is the stars what we see today is not happening now it is happening thousands of years ago and so when we see them die or when we see them born and grow we are watching a window of the past. many of the stars that we see are already dead and gone but still there from are point of view here at earth when in actuality the ones that we have just seen spring to life are already dead and gone. so with are current technology we can go into the past and have been doing it for hundreds of years while not physically but mentally. what more could we want.
We are always going forward in time never back we can stop but not reverse and if we could would we want to?
Debate Round No. 1
tBoonePickens

Pro

I respect your definition of time travel but, it is not the one that I am referring to in this argument nor is it the most commonly shared definition as quick Google search on "time travel" will reveal. I was however, referring to physical time traveling. I guess we should have possibly conversed on this in the Comments section but we did not. I really would like to stick the physical concept, though.

On an aside note, I really fail to see how recalling memories, reading, writing, or seeing involves or requires any form of traveling? By extent, the only traveling or "time traveling" of this type is purely philosophical in nature and not "scientific" as I had mentioned from the start.
Daniel18

Con

you are right which is why I said at the beginning and end that I was not going to debate that because you are right with are current knowledge that is available to the public and with out change there is no possible way to physically go back in time in which case the only way that this can properly be debated is by going into a philosophical debate because yes it was a debate lost before it was even started going by a physical debate so in order to make this an even debate is to make it a philosophical debate. reading writing and seeing is a form of mental travel the only current way of time travel into the past. (I tried to post a question and instead it excepted it so I went with it any ways) and based on are established theories worm holes and black holes are a a passage into the past however we do not have any way of getting to a black hole or of surviving the travel though them and so the only reasonable form of debate with the restrictions placed is to go with a philosophical form which is a form of science while not a widely excepted form of travel it is a type of travel.
Debate Round No. 2
tBoonePickens

Pro

(1) "...philosophical debate. reading writing and seeing is a form of mental travel the only current way of time travel into the past..."
I still fail to see (and you failed to have shown) how reading, writing, observing, or remembering are forms of transportation. As reference, I suggest to review the definitions of read, write, observe, and remember and you will see that travel has nothing to do with these:

http://www.merriam-webster.com...

(2) "...worm holes and black holes are a a passage into the past however we do not have any way of getting to a black hole or of surviving the travel though them..."
Einstein said "time is what clocks measure" and what do clocks measure? Change. Therefore time is change or time = change. Now as far as wormholes are concerned, there is no empirical evidence for them so they are (as of now) completely hypothetical. Blackholes, on the other hand, have the distinction of having been observed time and time again but, it is not clear at all what would happen if one (or anything for that matter) would traverse a blackhole; however, I believe that time travel isn't one of them. Why? Who says time is something that you "can travel" anyways? This is a common misconception; it's an exercise in meaninglessness! Time = change; nothing more and nothing less. You can have more change (like time "speeds" up), less change (like time "slows" down), or no change (like time stays "still"), but you can't have "negative change". Additionally, this is in agreement with Relativity: time dilation (slowdown/speed up of time) and c (time stopping with reference to traveling at c.)

(3) "...philosophical form which is a form of science while not a widely excepted form of travel it is a type of travel..."
Philosophy, in the way we are referring to it here, is taught as one of the "arts" and in almost all universities is considered a BA or MA (arts) degree and not a BS or MS (sciences) degree. However, there is usually a high degree of logic involved in Philosophy (in general) which would provide a great deal of formality and structure but, to venture into the abstract interpretations of "travel" and so forth, would be an exercise in futility. If we are so free to stretch meanings "time" or "time travel" then we loose all substance and are left to vie for only our manner of debate which, quite frankly, transforms our debate into a choice style over substance.
Daniel18

Con

1 philosophically speaking I am not talking direct quote from dictionary if you do not like it then you offer a new term like I did or you hold up your own all you did is say that it does not have to do with travel but I am speaking from a philosophical point of view which does not mean a literal point of view. so speaking from this point of view it does mean travel of a sort no it does not mean physically traveling but a mental form of traveling in which case I do fall under your definition.

2 worm holes are a theory not a proven fact has I have already said it is not proven nothing of which has been said is a solid fact but theory only for nothing as of now can be proven with what we know. nothing that you said or that I said because we do not have the technology to test it we have barely broken bast the sound barrier let alone the speed of light. Einstein defines time as change in which case even if you were able to go back to the 18 hundreds then you are still going forward in time and so you can never go back however that is just one way of looking at it.

3 it is not a widely accepted as I have again already said. you once again did not refute that it is accepted as a science in some places not all. they accept it has a form of science because it has a high degree of logic in which the more accepted sciences once fell under back in the days of Darwin when they refused to accept his theories of evolution they considered science of that sort to be plasphemy and so refused to accept it until much later in time. is there any other way to debate such a loose topic that has no other way form of proof other then theory in which this debate is all formed Einstein's theory is the biggest one used so far and it is just as easily refuted as the worm hole theory accept that it is from someone who is well looked up to and so is not to be thrown out until after it has been disproven.
Debate Round No. 3
tBoonePickens

Pro

tBoonePickens forfeited this round.
Daniel18

Con

well I have been unable to get on since Friday and I expected to have lost by forced forfeit but apparently he forfeited and so I am not sure what to do.
Debate Round No. 4
tBoonePickens

Pro

As I initially stated, time travel to the past can never be possible based on our current knowledge of the Universe and the empirical evidence of our established theories. I was clearly referring to "scientifically accepted theories" and wanted the discussion to "stay away from sci-fi or pseudo science."

My adversary insisted on defining time travel in terms that are not scientifically accepted; he wrote: "...I define time travel as a window into the past not direct physical transportation back in time...My reference point is memories, writing, and stars in all three of these you can catch a glimpse of the past not always a full look into it but at least a small window into what has happened." This of course is not the time travel referred to by the parameters of the argument. And I repeat: I really fail to see how recalling memories, reading, writing, or seeing involves or requires any form of travel? By extent, the only traveling or "time traveling" of this type is purely philosophical in nature and not "scientific" as I had mentioned from the start. Additionally, he failed to show how there was any traveling involved.
To this, I would like to add the fact that memories are not always a very reliable source of information about the past. For one, you are required to have been at the moment being recalled and even if you were, it is possible for everyone that was there to have a different account or recollection of the same events. This is very evident in police work. When police officers question witnesses (uninvolved parties) they can get very varied accounts of the same event. I believe this same flaw applies to writing and seeing.

On the scientific front, I showed how wormholes and blackholes were also incapable of backwards time travel: "...as far as wormholes are concerned, there is no empirical evidence for them so they are (as of now) completely hypothetical. Blackholes, on the other hand, have the distinction of having been observed time and time again but, it is not clear at all what would happen if one (or anything for that matter) would traverse a blackhole..." and because time = change one simply cannot travel change. Basically, wormholes are purely hypothetical and have never been observed and in all likelihood do not exist. Even if they did, the method of time travel using wormholes requires many other things (dark matter, dark energy, etc) that do not exist and are purely hypothetical: pure conjecture & speculation.

Thanks you and vote PRO!
Daniel18

Con

you asked for things in which there is no evidence and so there for is impossible to debate besides theories of which I gave and you then gave a weak rebuttal against saying that you do not see how it works of which I then tried to explain but you did not understand of which I apoligze for how ever you did not leave much room for widely accepted views and so I there for but forth some of the views that I know which are purely philosophical views and a little more accepted then most scientific views. with out change in knowledge that we currently have no we would never be able to go back in time and so I then took a position that is not fully accepted as scientific proof but again as I have already said previously none of this is the very nature of this debate is unscientifically based it is all on theories which is all highly controversial. none of which I have stated have you refuted in a real manner other then the fact that you said it is not scientific fact of which I then said none of which is and still stands with out refute. then when I have brought in a real scientific thought you did not refute it besides saying that it just would slow down time not reverse it and added a new definition to the debate time is change so in order to travel back in time we would have to change back time. with this thought we could never be able to go back in time but that is just one way of looking at it. I then argued you point of Einstein's there which is just as easily refuted as any other theories after this you forfeited the round. you then came back on and said how you did not agree with my point of view on the philosophical point of view without giving any other definition and so we kept at it with you saying the same thing in every round and then you once again said how it is all speculation for black holes and wormholes but did not refute my argument.

with that over view of the debate I know give my final argument for this debate of which has been a cat and mouse debate one answering the questions and then the other avoiding it with this happening on both sides you must then look at who gave the better arguments for this debate and with that I thank you my opponent and all who vote for this great round may the better one win.

(vote con) :)
Debate Round No. 5
35 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by WillRiley 2 years ago
WillRiley
I find it a bit funny that someone with a dalek as their profile picture is arguing against time travel.
Posted by tBoonePickens 8 years ago
tBoonePickens
(continued from below)

What if he stopped time down inside the machine? Can you guess? Basically this works like a movie reel (dvd, vhs tape) on pause.

So you see, he's only built a forwards time machine...but we already have one: our Universe!
Posted by tBoonePickens 8 years ago
tBoonePickens
fisher, you said it best "He published those theories solely to get media attention to obtain the funding he needed. It worked." It worked to get published attention; that's all.
1st off, you said "...Mallet has had his Phd since 1973. Ken Olum has had his since 1997." are you implying that a Phd from 1973 is worth more than one from 1997? I hope not.

2nd, his new theory also got shot down as "...the theorem 'would, however, rule out the creation of CTC's in any finite-sized approximation to this spacetime.' "

3rd, I repeat yet again, time isn't something that's traveled; time is simply change of which you can more or less or none but not negative. You said, "I believe you actually help prove the theory behind his project with this statement." The only thing that my statement says is that "traveling to the past" = "negative change" and because "negative change" is meaningless & not possible then so is "traveling to the past."

Therefore, the only thing his machine can possibly do is 1 of 3 things: stop, slowdown, or speed up time within his contraption. What does that mean if we were inside of it? I'll tell you! Whether you were inside or out, your perception of time would be unchanged. This is true and supported by experimentation; astronauts traveling at Mach 25 experience time the same as those stationary on earth.

What if he slowed time down inside the machine? From inside you wouldn't perceive any difference as you interacted with anything inside but when you looked "out" you would notice something funny: everyone outside is moving so quickly! And guess what: inside or out, you would still measure c to be the same!

What if he sped time up inside the machine? From inside you wouldn't perceive any difference as you interacted with anything inside but when you looked "out" you would notice something funny: everyone outside is moving so slowly! And guess what: inside or out, you would still measure c to be the same!
Posted by fisher 8 years ago
fisher
tBoonePickens May I remind you that Mallet has had his Phd since 1973. Ken Olum has had his since 1997. You say that they found many errors in his work. That is true, but irrelevant to his project. Their arguments were against his theory's. In which he is not using to accomplish his project. That link you sent me to Wikipedia are all very true statements but are out of date. He no longer needs or wants to use any sort of medium to slow down the speed of light because he does not have to. "Again, time isn't something that's traveled; time is simply change of which you can more or less or none but not negative." I believe you actually help prove the theory behind his project with this statement.'One of their objections is that the spacetime which Mallett used in his analysis contains a singularity even when the power to the laser is off and is not the spacetime that would be expected to arise naturally if the circulating laser were activated in previously empty space." I think that is because it would not be empty space he would be turning it on in. It would be in our earths space/energy/time. He does not have to stop the flow of time in an empty space, rather just stop our time in our space. You may get confused thinking it is like a black hole because of the singularities but it is not. I do not think he would be stopping time, he would be slowing time down in a specific space within our time to that of the 'universe'. As to where a black hole is stopping time in the 'universe'. He did receive the funding needed for his project and it is currently being used to make his machine. He also does not release all of his facts to the public to debate for fear the government and other people will realize he is right and steal his work. He published those theories solely to get media attention to obtain the funding he needed. It worked.
Posted by tBoonePickens 8 years ago
tBoonePickens
I disagree completely. What happens in warp is slightly different than a worm hole and time dilation does not apply because ftl does not occur...and the ONLY way that time travel happens (to th past or future) is when ftl occurs. Hawking says it himself in the quote "...form of travel faster than light, would allow..." There are ways to make "things" (w/o mass) travel faster than c and they do not go back in time. Wikipedia: "Light spots and shadows:
If a laser is swept across a distant object, the spot of light can easily be made to move at a speed greater than c.[18] Similarly, a shadow projected onto a distant object can be made to move faster than c.[19] In neither case does any matter or information travel faster than light." http://en.wikipedia.org...

Even Einstein disagrees with uncertainty: "God does not play dice with the universe", "the moon is still there even when we don't look at it." Particles don't have a well-defined position or velocity according to the way we are able to measure them. Quantum mechanics is a great tool & way of seeing things for now; but, I do not believe that it is the end all be all of physics and it is definitely incomplete.

When we look at stars, we don't see what is actually there, we are seeing the light that left those stars some time ago (assuming astronomical/relativistic distances.) That is a fact.
"When we look out at Proxima Centauri through a telescope, we are looking 4.22 years into the past. When we look at the center of our own galaxy, we're looking 25,000 years into the past." http://www.stellar-database.com...
Posted by Rob1Billion 8 years ago
Rob1Billion
"There need be no relation between the distance through the wormhole and the separation of its ends in the nearly flat background. Thus one could imagine that one could create or find a wormhole that would lead from the vicinity of the solar system to Alpha Centauri. The distance through the wormhole might be only a few million miles even though Earth and Alpha Centauri are twenty million million miles apart in ordinary space. This would allow news of the 100-meter race to reach the opening of the Congress." (He was using an analogy where there were simultaneous events, a 100-meter race on Earth and the opening of the 100,004th Congress on Alpha Centauri, in a previous example). "But then an observer moving toward the Earth should also be able to find another wormhole that would enable him to get from the opening of the Congress on Alpha Centauri back to Earth before the start of the race. So wormholes, like any other possible form of travel faster than light, would allow one to travel into the past."

Another quote in the same chapter: "What most of these authors(referring to sci-fi authors like Star Trek) don't seem to have realized is that if you can travel faster than light, the theory of relativity also implies you can travel back in time."

I know it's hard to shake the notion that sci-fi has instilled in us, that travelling in interstellar space is just like travelling around Earth. But it is not. Relativistic concepts are hard to stomache; like the fact that particles don't have a well-defined position or velocity. The events on Alpha Centauri that we see when looking at them through the telescope are what is essentially happening right now in our frame of reference. If we suddenly appeared there, we would be looking at the same thing we would see out of our telescopes, not what has happened in the time since the light left in their reference four years ago. It's weird... I know.
Posted by Rob1Billion 8 years ago
Rob1Billion
OK I've found the quote I was looking for. This is from Stephen Hawking, the Lucasian Chair of Mathematics at Cambridge and widely regarded throughout the scientific community as the most brilliant mind in theoretical physics today. His book, which I am citing, has sold more copies than any other modern published book.

In his "wormholes and time travel chapter", he discusses being in a race and being able to go faster than light and being able to get back around the track and finish before the race starts. This is faster than light travel, with time dilation, that neither of us disputes. He goes on to talk about wormholes and folded space, in which the traveler need not travel faster than c to get where he or she is going. I will just post another comment with the relevant paragraph perfectly quoted.
Posted by Rob1Billion 8 years ago
Rob1Billion
I can't seem to find any internet sources to prove you wrong; most people seem to agree with you in google searches(unfortunately most amateur physicists haven't grasped this concept)... Unfortunately, since Stephen Hawking actually appeared on Star Trek, I can't narrow down the search criteria to find his quotes ABOUT star trek. I will have to dig up my copies of his books and paraphrase him... suffice to say, the foremost mind in theoretical physics does agree with me and I will cite him word for word for you. I'll paraphrase him on here when I get home tonight, I'm crunching for exams for the time being.
Posted by tBoonePickens 8 years ago
tBoonePickens
Rob, Also see: http://www.yellowknife.com...

The warp effect is similar to the inflationary period of the early universe where c was much higher (or possible did not exist as a limit.) So, inside the warp field, 3 light years distance (28,381,585,200,000 km) becomes 1000 km and the ship need only travel at 1000 kph (locally) to get to a point 28,381,585,200,000 km away (external) in 1 hour.

How would you create, maintain, and direct a warp bubble is pure speculation but, anyways, there it is in a nutshell. That's why there is no "time traveling" with respect to warp. What annoys me is the time travel plots that they use extensively in all the flavors of Star Trek and other sci fi. I did see the new movie and of course J.J. Abrams uses time travel in the plot...but it was still a great movie!
Posted by tBoonePickens 8 years ago
tBoonePickens
Rob, there seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding about how warp drive works. Of course, warp is an imaginary concept so there is some lee way allowed (however, I think it's got more possibility than half of those string theories out there.) You are talking about time dilation because time dilation is what causes the differences in time and these only come into play at relativistic speeds. For example, if you send a rocket (a slow one) away from the earth traveling at 200 kph for 200 years and then turn back and come back to earth at 200 kph (another 200 years.) If you measure the clocks on earth & the rocket they will be same (400 years have passed.) It is only when get close to c that the clocks begin to differ (where earth's is quicker and rocket's is slower.)
The whole point of warp is that it does not cause time dilation because speeds never need to get close to c. In your example: "...if you are standing next to me, let's say 2 light seconds away (OK that's still farther than the moon but whatever) then you are standing 2 seconds in my future. Nothing I can ever do will affect you for at least two seconds." (Nothing except warp.)
"If I was to use warp drive to instantly stand in your spot, we both would be suddenly looking at me 2 seconds ago." (Yes the image of you but not you. If we look long enough, we will see the image of you warp outta there.)
"You are, for ALL intensive purposes, standing 2 seconds in the past of where you just were. " (Your image is standing there in the past not you.)
"There is no measure of time or space that can attest otherwise. You are essentially stepping out of the light cone; whenever you step out of the light cone you are traveling through time." (But light cones don't account for warp because a warp bubble does not share an inertial frame with that which is outside the warp bubble. What ends up happening is that they don't share light cones. Actually, there is a separate light cone inside the warp bubble.)
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