snopes.com Post new topic  Post a reply
search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hello snopes.com » SLC Central » SLC: A Best Buy Christmas » On the morals of time travel (Page 1)

 - UBBFriend: Email this page to someone!   This topic comprises 3 pages: 1  2  3   
Author Topic: On the morals of time travel
James G.
Xboxing Day


Icon 200 posted      Profile for James G.   Author's Homepage   E-mail James G.   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Please indulge me in an unnecessarily long introduction, I was feeling a tad creative.

Quite unexpectedly you receive a letter from a friend who you haven't seen for ages, and have somewhat lost contact with. They mention that they have discovered something fantastic, and wish to help pay you back for a time at which you extracted them from a particularly sticky situation. Included with the letter is a plane ticket, and an invitation to meet them in two months time. Unfortunately you have plans for that time, but the invitation seems fairly insistent that you will be free.

As the date approaches your previous plans are throw into disarray, when an unexpected pack of buffalo tramples through Kidderminster, severely injuring your eight cousin twice removed. This somewhat disrupts you previous plans to go hunting a Wumpus in Kentucky. With nothing left to do you decide to pay your friend a visit.

Your friend greets you warmly at the door to his decidedly peculiar Edwardian Mansion. Peculiar because it is located in a Barrats housing estate in Milton Keynes, and appears neatly nestled among small square red brick buildings and clipped lawns. "Come in, come in," they say, taking your jacket and hanging it on what appears to be a Velociraptor, preserved by what must have been a fantastic taxidermist.

You wander down a series of increasingly narrow and dim passageways until you emerge in a large bare room, in the centre of which is a sphere, formed from concentric metallic rings which surround an armchair in the centre.

"Behold my time machine," they say, and motion you toward the armchair. You move hesitantly, but the eager expression on your friends face drives you forward.

"Does it work?" you ask, nervously watching the metallic rings slide about to allow access to the chair.
"Of course it works, do you think I'd show anyone it if it didn't. How else do you think I obtained a perfectly preserved Velociraptor? Now, just sit down in the seat and I'll show you something amazing."

You do as they says and the rings close over your head to surround you in the sphere. "Now, just give me a moment," They tap away as a board of buttons that appears to have formed from nowhere. However something is wrong, and their face begings to look more and more worried; they look positively alarmed when a few moments later the rings begin to glow.

"Oh dear, darn flux capacitor, I know I shouldn't have trusted that Dr. Brow. Look, I'm afraid I can't say exactly where, or when, you'll end up, but I can say that you'll be there for at least a week before I can get you back. The entry will be a little bumpy, and I wouldn't dare try and bring you back through a slightly damaged continuum. Still, as the thing runs on historical potential you should end up somewhere interesting."

Then, with a quick flash the machine disappears beneath you, and you find yourself on the floor. Only you are no longer in the mansion, and part of you is sure you are no longer in 2006.

Now imagine you find yourself in New York on September 10th 2001, or located next Door to a Mr.Hitler in Germany in the late 20s? (I leave you to select other scenarios.)

My question is, should you try and correct what once went wrong (Bear in mind you've only got a week and then your friend will be back with the time machine to rescue you. We will assume that this event is somehow protected from the modifications you may cause in the time-stream) what might the effects be. While obviously there is the possibility of your actions making things unexpectedly worse, there is also another issue, is it right to meddle?

If we assume you survive your sojourn into the past and are rescued, are there any events which you would persuade your friend to help you put right?

You will travel back to the new future, people you know would be different. What is jumping back into the future would result in you shifting to the 'new you.' You could improve your life, but if that made you a different person would you want to. (How do you distinguish change from death? Theres a lot of tangential stuff here which I won't go in to, but is interesting in its own right.)

My feeling is that I wouldn't change anything, better the devil you know, as they say. I'd sincerely hope that my actions couldn't possibly have an effect as the had in some way already happened, but without being able to rely on this I'd be minimising my impact as much as humanly possible, and hoping that Chaos theory doesn't ensure I don't cause major change just by being there. I'd also be curious as to what my friend may have changed. I'd be tempted to destroy the machine, but with all eternity in which one could be created would you ever truly succeed?

--------------------
This is a public service announcement. The board is moving. Check Announcements Photos[/URL]

Posts: 1302 | From: Edinburgh, UK (Currently Nr. Swindon, UK) | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Doug4.7
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Doug4.7   E-mail Doug4.7   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
If it were Sept. 10, 2001, I would call in a very realistic bomb threat to the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon. Damn the consequences.

As for shooting Hitler, I am not sure that would have a good effect. He was just the focus for the potential in Germany at the time. Had it not been him, it might have been someone more sane, and that could have dragged the war on longer.

--------------------
And now for something completely different...

Posts: 4164 | From: Alabama | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
ComicBookGeek
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


Icon 1 posted      Profile for ComicBookGeek     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Depends....do we only get one shot (like the screen play I'm working on) or do we get to use the time machine more than once, like in Back to the Future?

One shot, I'd be leary but I'd probably call in the bomb threat and just take my chances (yes, I'd be torn, for example, what if we prevent the attacks, therefor the White House doesn't have an excuse/scapegoat to stage a war in Iraq. Without the war, Saddaam really DOES get WMD's)

More than once? Id' change things and then see if I made them worse. If so, go back (ala Back to the Future 2)

--------------------
My Blog

Posts: 177 | From: Mobile, AL | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Esprise Me
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Esprise Me     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I can't say for sure, but I would be more hesitant to tamper with history the further back in time I traveled. I would be especially reluctant to tamper with anything earlier than 1983, as it might impede my own birth. However, if I could go back in time one week, I would definitely not have picked up that extra serving shift, knowing how slow the restaurant was going to be.

--------------------
"If God wrote it, the grammar must be infallible. Perhaps it is we who are mistaken." -MapleLeaf

Posts: 977 | From: Boston, MA | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
James G.
Xboxing Day


Icon 1 posted      Profile for James G.   Author's Homepage   E-mail James G.   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
The problem with taking multiple shots is that you risk becoming a perfectionist. Plus I'm still not sure I'm keen on changing the future/present, it just seems wrong somehow. I suppose its a case of 'who am I to decide' I mean it may seem like a fairly simple thing is some decisions (Ie. Pointing out to the designers of the Hindenburg that the material they were making the airship out of was flamable and prone to sparking.) but a symptom of living with linear time is a need to accept that 'whats done is done' and I'm not sure how easy it would be to determine which cases are 'done.' Also, although you may save people, there are also countless people today who have been stongly influenced by these events, and in some ways these people will cease to exist when the waves of time no longer wash their way. As soon as time ceases to be non linear then you get a whole host of new problems. Doing something like precenting WW2 (Assuming that it could be done) may not only cause some peoples mental growth and history to change, but also cause many millions to cease to exist even from conception. The people existed in the time you left, is this murder, abortion, contaception or another concept entirely?

Also, is a bomb threat necessarily a good thing. I mean the people on the planes still die, and also there is a risk of news leaking and a change of targets. Don't forget that we have one plane which didn't meet its target precisely because the other did.

--------------------
This is a public service announcement. The board is moving. Check Announcements Photos[/URL]

Posts: 1302 | From: Edinburgh, UK (Currently Nr. Swindon, UK) | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Jenn
Layaway in a Manger


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Jenn   E-mail Jenn   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I would try very hard not to change anything. Too unpredictable, too many unknowns about the universe and everything. Best to just wait quietly for rescue.

--------------------
"You're the opposite of troll. It's a compliment!"

Posts: 12086 | From: Alberta | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
evilrabbit
Jingle Bell Hock


Icon 1 posted      Profile for evilrabbit   E-mail evilrabbit   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Well, I'm not entirely convinced that the past can be changed. I have a poorly-developed theory that if I went back in time and did something, then I would have already been there when it happened the first time, so anything I did I would have already done, thus nothing would change. Um, yeah...

I'd probably try to prevent the 9/11 attacks, but not kill Hitler, for much the same reasons as Doug.

--------------------
"My sandwich choice is uncertain, until I actually order. It's like Schrodinger's Sandwich."
"Is plutonium involved in this sandwich in any way?"
"Maybe."

Posts: 496 | From: Whitby, ON, Canada | Registered: Sep 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
First of Two
The Bills of St. Mary's


Icon 1 posted      Profile for First of Two   Author's Homepage   E-mail First of Two   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
No... I learned my lesson the first time.

But hey, you get a world where Fascism crashed and burned in the 1940's, instead of a world with superheroes in it.

--------------------
"Liberalism is a philosophy of consolation for western civilization as it commits suicide." - Jerry Pournelle

Posts: 14567 | From: Pennsylvania | Registered: Jan 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Silas Sparkhammer
I Saw V-Chips Come Sailing In


Icon 504 posted      Profile for Silas Sparkhammer   Author's Homepage   E-mail Silas Sparkhammer   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Try to find a copy of "The Other Inauguration" by Anthony Boucher. (It is anthologized in "Science Fiction Terror Tales," edited by Groff Conklin, which also contains Heinlein's "They," and if these two stories don't screw up your mind, then "Nightmare Brother" and "Prott" and "Let Me Live In a House" damn well will.)

The big question is: what kind of time travel is there? David Gerrold, in "The Man Who Folded Himself" explores several of the immoralities that can apply. Fritz Leiber, in his "Change War" series of stories and novels (Spiders vs. Snakes) explores others.

If you change the past, does that entail "murdering" the present? If I kill Hitler, do I also kill every single one of the ten billion people who have been born since WWII?

Is there a multiverse? Is changing the past no different from jumping from one bus or train to another? Jack Vance, in "Rumfuddle" (and I, in "The Ultimate Anthropic Principle") explore the morality that this implies.

(And Larry Niven, in "The Flight of the Horse," simply has fun with the notion!)

Without knowing the physics, it is hard to answer the question. My personal suspicion is that time-travel is self-punishing, as Ray Bradbury suggested in "A Sound of Thunder."

Silas

Posts: 16801 | From: San Diego, CA | Registered: Sep 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Jay Temple
It Came Upon a Midnight Clearance


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Jay Temple     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I'm with Doug.

--------------------
"Well, it looks we're on our own ... again."--Rev. Lovejoy

Posts: 3572 | From: St. Louis, MO | Registered: Sep 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Dog Friendly
Carol of the Bills


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Dog Friendly   Author's Homepage   E-mail Dog Friendly   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I'm with Jenn, having read "The Men Who Murdered Mohammed". To Silas' reading list, I would add Zelazny's "Doorways in the Sand" and Turtledove's "Crosstime Traffic" series, even though the latter are actually juveniles.

I would, however, be awfully tempted to materialize right behind Mark Chapman outside the Dakota Hotel...

Kilgore Trout

--------------------
"Nobody ever got stoned and beat up his old lady" -- Spence, snapdragonfly's friend

Posts: 768 | From: North Hollywood, CA | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
1958Fury
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


Icon 1 posted      Profile for 1958Fury   Author's Homepage     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by First of Two:
No... I learned my lesson the first time.

That was you?

--------------------
I believe I'm growing skeptical of cynicism.
Myspace NWN Board

Posts: 917 | From: Nashville TN | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
FrogFeathers
Grandma Got Run Over By a Gift Card


Icon 1 posted      Profile for FrogFeathers   Author's Homepage   E-mail FrogFeathers   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I wouldn't want to go back and change the major stuff. I'd like to go back to April 12th, 1995 and tell my husband not to go to Maryland on that "one more run" before Easter. That way he would be at home when the stroke happened. As it was, he was in Washington DC and we lived in Savannah, GA. I can't say I'd go back and do something to prevent the stroke from happening because about two months after he was approved by the Veteran's Administration as "100% service-connected disabled", the government officially released the info on the Persian Gulf War about all the problems the soldiers were having since returning. I try to tell myself that his obvious and undeniable disability had something to do with pushing that info out faster (if you can call six years after the war "faster").

I'd like to be able to tell myself 8 years ago not to quit my job and instead, go to part-time or change jobs to something different then.

But, hindsight...

Frog-way to bring a thread down-Feathers

--------------------
"Is it ME? Am I a MAGNET for these idiots?"~Pearl Forrester MST3K
Die-Hard Engineers, Big Red One my Dad's website
"Must be a 'snopes' thing..." ~my entire family when I try to explain something.

Posts: 4524 | From: South of Madison, Wisconsin | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Doug4.7
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


Icon 203 posted      Profile for Doug4.7   E-mail Doug4.7   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Jay Temple:
I'm with Doug.

I started writing the outline of a story where someone DID go back in time just to kill Hitler. It has been so many years, but the result was a short delay in the start of WW-II, but a "sane" guy was the leader of Germany (I need to go back to my notes, I actually forgot who I put in charge). He took the advice of his generals better than Adolf and subsequently THEY got the bomb. With the bomb AND a delivery system, "hilarity" ensued...

It never really got out of the outline stage before graduate school consumed it (and my goldfish...).

--------------------
And now for something completely different...

Posts: 4164 | From: Alabama | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
DonSample
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


Icon 1 posted      Profile for DonSample   E-mail DonSample   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
If it is possible to change the past, then you can't avoid there being completely unpredicatable consequences of travelling back in time, even if no one sees you, you only stay for a second, in a locked room, with no windows.

Say you popped back to sometime in July of 2005. Within a few weeks of your visit, the day to day weather all over the world will be different: hurricanes and other storms would be following different tracks; Katrina probably would have missed New Orleans (but it might have gotten plastered by Hurricane Jose or Lee.)

--------------------
Signature? I don't need no stinkin' signature!

Posts: 41 | From: Ottawa, Ontario | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Doug4.7
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


Icon 212 posted      Profile for Doug4.7   E-mail Doug4.7   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
The way I "really" think it goes on is the Many Worlds Theory. At each decision point (do I go with red tie or blue?, etc.) the world splits.

Now think of time as a splitting river (like at a delta). In time travel, you go back "upstream" along the stream you came down on. Now in the past, if you do something different, you now are going down some other stream (one that does NOT lead to the world you left). So your original world has not changed, but now as you time travel back towards the future (downstream), when you arrive, things are different. You can never get back to the original world you started in (you don't or can't find the correct stream).

Now because of quantum symmetry rules, these streams both divide and recombine as time progresses. So somehow, you can have the SAME present with two DIFFERENT pasts. No, I am not sure how to think that.

I love quantum mechanics.... Thanks Dr. Morrison!

--------------------
And now for something completely different...

Posts: 4164 | From: Alabama | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
LeaflessMapleTree
The twelve shopping days 'til Christmas


Icon 1 posted      Profile for LeaflessMapleTree   E-mail LeaflessMapleTree   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Calling in a bomb threat to the WTC and Pentagon would heighten security. You kill less people, true, but different ones who wouldn't have been there are now there and they get to die.

Utilitarianism, sure. Moral? Hmmm...

--------------------
"For me, religion is like a rhinoceros: I don't have one, and I'd really prefer not to be trampled by yours. But it is impressive, and even beautiful, and, to be honest, the world would be slightly worse off if there weren't any."
-Silas Sparkhammer

Posts: 3239 | From: Ontario, Canada | Registered: Sep 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
James G.
Xboxing Day


Icon 1 posted      Profile for James G.   Author's Homepage   E-mail James G.   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by DonSample:
If it is possible to change the past, then you can't avoid there being completely unpredicatable consequences of travelling back in time, even if no one sees you, you only stay for a second, in a locked room, with no windows.

Say you popped back to sometime in July of 2005. Within a few weeks of your visit, the day to day weather all over the world will be different: hurricanes and other storms would be following different tracks; Katrina probably would have missed New Orleans (but it might have gotten plastered by Hurricane Jose or Lee.)

Hmm, thats a good point. Minimising your influence is like killing someone 'a little bit.' Seeing as just buy being there you've already changed things, it makes sense to at least try and ensure that the new timestream you've created flows as smoothly as possible. It would be interesting to try and plot the ripples of disturbance. Immediately they would be very small and confined, spread outwards and become more noticeable, but on a geological timescale are, in most cases, unlikely to be of huge significance. (Although I suppose thats something that'll be difficult to predict)

--------------------
This is a public service announcement. The board is moving. Check Announcements Photos[/URL]

Posts: 1302 | From: Edinburgh, UK (Currently Nr. Swindon, UK) | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Doug4.7
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


Icon 205 posted      Profile for Doug4.7   E-mail Doug4.7   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by MapleLeaf:
Calling in a bomb threat to the WTC and Pentagon would heighten security. You kill less people, true, but different ones who wouldn't have been there are now there and they get to die.

Utilitarianism, sure. Moral? Hmmm...

My idea was that the planes would still hit the towers, but many fewer than 3000 would die. We would still be PO'd at Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden, but I would hope that fewer would be dead.

If it would help save lives, I would hole myself up in the tower with the "bomb" to keep others alive ("Get everybody out of BOTH towers, or so help me, I'll blow them both!").

However, the unpredictability of changing history very much CAN come back and bite you in the butt.

--------------------
And now for something completely different...

Posts: 4164 | From: Alabama | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Artemis
The First USA Noel


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Artemis   E-mail Artemis   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I'm not into rocking the boat. I don't think I'd change anything. I've watched waaaaaaaaaaay too much Twilight Zone for this. (And I've seen that Simpsons episode with the time travel toaster about fourteen times). You think everything's going great, and then pug people show up...or it's a cookbook...and then where are you?

Seriously, though. No change. I think I'd feel a mite different if a loved one died on September 11, 2001. But in that case, I'd be a bit POed at my friend for putting me in the situation. He should've chosen someone who could afford to be dispassionate. (Still, how can I stay mad at someone with a velociraptor coatrack? Seems like he'd give fantastic gifts.)

--------------------
"You can't play Electro-magnetic Golf according to the rules of Centrifugal Bumble Puppy."
-Mustapha Mond, "Brave New World"

Posts: 679 | From: New York | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Jenn
Layaway in a Manger


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Jenn   E-mail Jenn   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Doug4.7:
My idea was that the planes would still hit the towers, but many fewer than 3000 would die. We would still be PO'd at Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden, but I would hope that fewer would be dead.

Unless 3000 people were supposed to die that day, and if those 3000 don't die the numbers must come from elsewhere. My worry would be that it wouldn't truly prevent any deaths, only displace them.

--------------------
"You're the opposite of troll. It's a compliment!"

Posts: 12086 | From: Alberta | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
LeaflessMapleTree
The twelve shopping days 'til Christmas


Icon 1 posted      Profile for LeaflessMapleTree   E-mail LeaflessMapleTree   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Jenn:
quote:
Originally posted by Doug4.7:
My idea was that the planes would still hit the towers, but many fewer than 3000 would die. We would still be PO'd at Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden, but I would hope that fewer would be dead.

Unless 3000 people were supposed to die that day, and if those 3000 don't die the numbers must come from elsewhere. My worry would be that it wouldn't truly prevent any deaths, only displace them.
Perhaps while everyone's going "HOLY CRAP! A plane just hit the WTC after a fake bomb threat was called in!" an organization of nutbars uses the chaos to go kill a bunch of unsuspecting people in NYC by blowing up some buildings and shooting panicked people in the street...

--------------------
"For me, religion is like a rhinoceros: I don't have one, and I'd really prefer not to be trampled by yours. But it is impressive, and even beautiful, and, to be honest, the world would be slightly worse off if there weren't any."
-Silas Sparkhammer

Posts: 3239 | From: Ontario, Canada | Registered: Sep 2003  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
vfwchick
Deck the Malls with Boughs of Money


Icon 1 posted      Profile for vfwchick     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
My idea of time travel is different than all of yours. I think if it really were possible, then one would go back as an observer. You would not be seen, heard or be able to change anything. It'd be like watching a movie.

--------------------
God bless our Troops!
If you can't stand behind our troops, please, feel free to stand in front of them.

Posts: 380 | From: Ohio | Registered: Apr 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Brad from Georgia
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Brad from Georgia   Author's Homepage   E-mail Brad from Georgia   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by vfwchick:
My idea of time travel is different than all of yours. I think if it really were possible, then one would go back as an observer. You would not be seen, heard or be able to change anything. It'd be like watching a movie.

The Charles Dickens theory of time travel!

quote:
They walked along the road, Scrooge recognising every gate, and post, and tree; until a little market-town appeared in the distance, with its bridge, its church, and winding river. Some shaggy ponies now were seen trotting towards them with boys upon their backs, who called to other boys in country gigs and carts, driven by farmers. All these boys were in great spirits, and shouted to each other, until the broad fields were so full of merry music, that the crisp air laughed to hear it.

'These are but shadows of the things that have been,' said the Ghost. 'They have no consciousness of us.'



--------------------
"No hard feelin's and HOPpy New Year!"--Walt Kelly
Hear what you're missing: ARTC podcasts! http://artcpodcast.org/

Posts: 7581 | From: Gainesville, Georgia | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
ds_40
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


Icon 1 posted      Profile for ds_40   E-mail ds_40   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Doug4.7:
quote:
Originally posted by MapleLeaf:
Calling in a bomb threat to the WTC and Pentagon would heighten security. You kill less people, true, but different ones who wouldn't have been there are now there and they get to die.

Utilitarianism, sure. Moral? Hmmm...

My idea was that the planes would still hit the towers, but many fewer than 3000 would die. We would still be PO'd at Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden, but I would hope that fewer would be dead.

If it would help save lives, I would hole myself up in the tower with the "bomb" to keep others alive ("Get everybody out of BOTH towers, or so help me, I'll blow them both!").

The thing is if there was a bomb threat, most likely everybody would probably just be waiting outside, and then instead of falling inside the towers and jumping out the windows people would wind up with planes falling on them...and some geniuses would probably stick around and wind up with the towers falling on them.

Not to mention, inside of the buildings we now probably have half the NYPD bomb squad along with other NYPD and FDNY officers in order to search for the bomb. So they would be the ones directly getting killed by the planes impact and towers falling.

Is any of this really much better than what did happen?

--------------------


Posts: 26 | From: New York, NY | Registered: Apr 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Brad from Georgia
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Brad from Georgia   Author's Homepage   E-mail Brad from Georgia   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Doug4.7:
The way I "really" think it goes on is the Many Worlds Theory. At each decision point (do I go with red tie or blue?, etc.) the world splits.
....

Or, as Terry Pratchett parses it, the Trousers of Time model:

Each time you make a decision, you are sliding down the Trousers of Time. Sometimes you fall through the left leg, sometimes the right; and you immediately fall into another pair of Time's trousers. But--and here is the neat thing--every time you slide down one leg, another you is created and slides down the other, so that every possibility is always filled by one "you."

Or as an Ephebean philosopher put it, "When, when you get right down to it, then, what's it all about then? I mean, really? I mean, I mean. Time for another round? Who'sh buying?"

--------------------
"No hard feelin's and HOPpy New Year!"--Walt Kelly
Hear what you're missing: ARTC podcasts! http://artcpodcast.org/

Posts: 7581 | From: Gainesville, Georgia | Registered: Jun 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
James G.
Xboxing Day


Icon 1 posted      Profile for James G.   Author's Homepage   E-mail James G.   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I sometimes wonder is in our drunken staes we DO actually come up with the answers to all the worlds problems. The only seem illogical and ilformed when sober not because they were, but because all the truely stunning details, the things that actually made the plans, are forgotten.

--------------------
This is a public service announcement. The board is moving. Check Announcements Photos[/URL]

Posts: 1302 | From: Edinburgh, UK (Currently Nr. Swindon, UK) | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
vfwchick
Deck the Malls with Boughs of Money


Icon 1 posted      Profile for vfwchick     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Brad,
EXACTLY!!!!
Thanks!

--------------------
God bless our Troops!
If you can't stand behind our troops, please, feel free to stand in front of them.

Posts: 380 | From: Ohio | Registered: Apr 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
masterlegomom
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


Icon 503 posted      Profile for masterlegomom   E-mail masterlegomom   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Hello Everyone, Looooong time lurker, first time poster. This is one that I had to get in on, it was too interesting not to.

I am one that lost someone that I love on 9/11 and had another injured pretty severely. If I could go back I wouldn't change anything. I know that sounds bad, I would give almost anything to have my dear friend back and my dad healthy, however I don't believe that "calling in a bomb threat" would have done much good. I also think that you would have to go back farther than 9/10 to really change it as the plan was well under way by then and many would still have died and even if the planes been stopped from hitting the towers, the White House may have been hit by the plane that crashed in PA. In which case different people would have died, but it would have been equally as devastating.

Time Travel if we believe in it ala Back to the Future or the new NBC show Heroes (with a time bending Hero named Hiro), it can create a rift and cause all kinds of problems, which could lead to events far more devastating than the ones we have already dealt with. I am with others who say, Better the devil you know, no matter how bad that devil is.

Also along these same lines, I have the worst ex-husband in the world, I never should have married him and have thought often of what it would be like to go back and tell my 19 year old self to run and run fast in the other direction when that guy asks you out. But as they say If I knew then what I know now I would know the love of my children and then I would not change a thing, the only good thing to come out of 10 hellish years was the 2 most beautiful boys on earth. (Ok I am biased)

Sorry if this is long, just too interested in the topic not to add my 2 cents.

Posts: 5 | From: Crofton, MD | Registered: Nov 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Stoneage Dinosaur
We Wish You a Merry Giftmas


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Stoneage Dinosaur   E-mail Stoneage Dinosaur   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Doug4.7:
quote:
Originally posted by Jay Temple:
I'm with Doug.

I started writing the outline of a story where someone DID go back in time just to kill Hitler. It has been so many years, but the result was a short delay in the start of WW-II, but a "sane" guy was the leader of Germany (I need to go back to my notes, I actually forgot who I put in charge). He took the advice of his generals better than Adolf and subsequently THEY got the bomb. With the bomb AND a delivery system, "hilarity" ensued...
Sounds a bit like the novel Making History by Stephen Fry. Nobody actually travels back in time, but they do send a male contaceptive pill to a well which Hitler's father drinks from, thus preventing his eventual birth. Unfortunately, the Nazi party still come to power, and their alternative leader doesn't have Hitler's personality faults, so Germany wins WWII and engages in a cold war with the USA.

An interesting "don't mess with history" part of the book is that the Nazis discover the sterilising properties of the contaminated well water, and use it to wipe out the Jews of Europe.

BTW - great first post masterlegomom, welcome to the board.

--------------------
"You learn something new every day if you're not careful" - Wilf Lunn

Posts: 893 | From: Durham City, England | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Midgard_Dragon
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Midgard_Dragon   E-mail Midgard_Dragon   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I've thought about, if time travel were possible, would I warn the world of what was going to happen on Sept 11, 2001 before. It's a really tough choice, once you think about it. Of course, first reaction is to say, "Of course I would warn everyone!" But, of course, even if you were quite convincing, you run into the chance of being labelled a lunatic. Or you would be held by the government, indefinitely. There's also the moral question of if you really have the right to change the entire course of human history. 9/11 was a massive tragedy, but what of the good that might have come out of it? Sons and Daughters reunited with estranged Mothers and Fathers in the face of the tragedy. Lovers brought together closer than ever by something horrible. Criminals who turned their lives around to help those that lost everything. Perhaps none of these things happened, but the chance that you are killing or ruining the lives of hundreds by saving thousands should factor in here. I don't think we have the right to make that choice, personally.

--------------------
Midgard Dragon
-==UDIC==-
MidgardDragon's MySpace

Posts: 2455 | From: Tennessee | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
ladyknight
The First USA Noel


Icon 1 posted      Profile for ladyknight     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Another great book to read is "Thrice Upon a Time" by James P. Hogan.

I don't think that, even if I could, I would change anything. Too much of a possibility that, even if you thought it was a small change (causing someone to jaywalk, or something of the sort), that it was a big deal in the grand scheme of things. Also, who's to say that even bigger problems than 9/11 wouldn't result from your changes?

--------------------
Triumphs cannot be given. They must be taken, and the worse the odds, and the fiercer the resistance, the greater the honor. -- A Civil Campaign, Lois McMaster Bujold

Posts: 638 | From: Minnesota | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
James G.
Xboxing Day


Icon 1 posted      Profile for James G.   Author's Homepage   E-mail James G.   Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Seeing as people are suggesting books etc. may I suggest the text adventure 'Jigsaw' by Graham Nelson. It asks the same questions, and you are largely responsible for trying to ensure that history progresses as it should.

--------------------
This is a public service announcement. The board is moving. Check Announcements Photos[/URL]

Posts: 1302 | From: Edinburgh, UK (Currently Nr. Swindon, UK) | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Steve
Happy Holly Days


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Steve     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
I'm afraid I don't understand why anyone wouldn't stop 9/11. The reasons against doing so are that some good has come of it, and that worse things might happen if it were stopped.

But neither reason, as far as I can tell, has anything to do with time travel. That is, if today I heard of an impending terrorist attack, should I do anything to stop it? I'd be stopping the possible good that could arise, and worse things could happen. But I don't think anyone would agree with my decision to not report it.

Posts: 1699 | From: New York | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Mistletoey Chloe
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


Icon 1 posted      Profile for Mistletoey Chloe     Send new private message       Edit/Delete post   Reply with quote 
Wouldn't it be better to call in bomb threats to the airport and airlines in question, rather than to the targets on the ground?

--------------------
~~Ai am in mai prrrrrraime!~~

Posts: 10111 | From: Oklahoma | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
  This topic comprises 3 pages: 1  2  3   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is enabled.
UBB Code is enabled.

Instant Graemlins
   


Post new topic  Post a reply Close topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Urban Legends Reference Pages

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2