Monday, March 06, 2006

The Mother Paradox - A Resolution

I haven't seen this explaination before, so I thought I would submit it here.

The Mother or Grandfather paradox is a classic when discussing Time Travel scenarios. Essentially it goes:

If a time traveller goes back in time and kills his mother before he was born then you have a paradox...he wasn't born so he can't have gone back in time to do the killing in which case he was born and did in which case he wasn't and didn't, etc, etc

But the classic statement of the paradox ignores an interpretation of quantum physics, namely Wheeler's Many Worlds Hypothesis.

If the time traveller DOES kill his mother, then he creates a new world, a new universe in which he exists having crossed over from the universe in which he never existed. The paradox is resolved by a simple sideways shuffle. After the killing, he resides in a universe in which he exists, but in which he never did exist.

The beauty of it is that this gets around cosmic censorship while still observing it. No, you cannot have time travel in a manner which creates paradoxes. cosmic censorship sees to that. So you have to move into a universe in which your presence does not create a paradox. With an infinite number of them to choose from, not a problem.


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