A few weeks ago I went on a YouTube binge. I’m sure you’re familiar with the practice. You start with one interesting video having to do with Honey Badgers or hilarious adolescent groin injuries; suddenly you realize that you’ve been watching videos about time travel for two and a half hours. This made the workday whiz by, as any series of videos about time travel should. Not only did I find that time seems to speed up when you’re thoroughly engaged on YouTube, but I learned a whole lot about time travel. Well, I learned a whole lot about what other people thought they knew about time travel. Probably the most important thing I learned was that no one really knows anything about time travel, but some seem to be better guessers than others.
There are those who claim to have traveled back in time accidentally while fixing their kitchen sink. There are those who claim to have been part of government experiments and highly classified projects. Others claim they can travel time at will. There are those who claim it happens sporadically and what seems to be at rather inconvenient times. Some use machines. Some can do it with there minds. Others just seem to do it without any real effort to understand how or why. This last category seems to be the most fun. Either way, on the subject of time travel, there are few consistencies.
YouTube, however, has an annoying habit of lacking any real academic credibility. So, after my eyes recovered from hours of bright shiny pixels, I had to seek out other sources of information. There exists, both online and in the archaic medium of book bound literature, an unnerving amount of information regarding time travel. Most of which, like all good conspiracies do, reach their peak of intrigue during the Second World War, a period of history for time travel that I will return to in the future. Get it?
A number of sources contain evidence for the existence of time travel in ancient texts, the Bible included. I think an exploration of these is in order. Undoubtedly if time travel does exist, a number of metaphysical and spiritual issues would arise. What would time travel mean in the context of God? Or eternity for that matter. Could it merely be another frontier that man was given to explore, or is time travel a subject as theologically off limits as tampering with the human genetic code? These questions will become increasingly important the closer we come to the possibility of time travel.
Many Christians may balk at the discussion of time travel. It has been my experience that at the very mention of science, many Christians revert to a sort of divine defense mode, as if God needed them to defend Him against the evils of science. Let’s get something straight. God created the universe. He knows how it works, and His intention is not to hide it from us. Discovering the details of time is simply the exploration of an ingenious invention. Of course, the real issues arise during the application stages of time travel, which has been the case since the discovery of fire and pointy sticks. So open your mind to the mysteries of God and His universe and trust that any sort of line is far, far from being crossed.
So, after having one’s mind boggled by the brain bending concepts involved in any serious attempt to understand traveling through time, one naturally sits down to write a series of article entitled Time Travel: God, Man and Science. So, in keeping with the tradition, here I am, and here you are. Thanks for following along so far.
The first hurdle to overcome when taking a serious look at time travel is the concept of time itself. Even if you’ve done your own research on time travel and you’re currently judging my elementary introduction to the subject, I’d like you to take a deep breath and simply think about time. Please, play along. Stop reading, take a few seconds, and think about time. How would you describe time to a rock? I figure if anything needs a good explanation of time, a rock does. Go.
So? What is time? It is a lot more difficult to describe then you may have thought 10 seconds ago. Is time an incremental measurement of moments? A fourth dimension through which to perceive the world around us? a state of mind? Time is… see? Not so easy. Don’t worry, we’re all as lost as you feel right now.
For centuries, human brains inside of human heads on top of human bodies have been trying to explain, or merely define, time. St. Augustine writes,
Surely we can all relate to this saintly scientist.
Let’s first try to take our brains out of it. As amazing and beautifully squishy as the human brain is, it has a nasty problem: perception. Perception is truly one of the murkiest parts of human existence. It’s a shame really, although some physicists, as well as a number of swamis and yogis, would argue that without one’s ability to perceive the universe, the universe might cease to exist altogether. I’m reluctant to get into the scientific and metaphysical evidence and implication of that, for now. But anyways, let’s remove time from our heads and put it so far away that we couldn’t possibly get tangled up in it. Time is now on Jupiter.
The really tricky thing about time is that its measurement, properties, and even its existence depend on a universe of variables. Gravity, movement, speed, electro-magnetism and all sorts of other things have been scientifically linked to this concept we call time. For example, time on Jupiter is an entirely different creature than it is here on earth.
Someone on Jupiter is subject to an exponentially higher level of gravity than somebody on good ol’ earth. This seems fairly simple, and I’m pretty sure we all learned this in grade school. Stay with me. Now, according to Einstein’s theory of relativity (E=mc2) time itself is altered by gravity. So time on Jupiter “moves slower” than time on Earth. (I’m going to start putting a lot of things in quotation marks now, so stay sharp.) But if you were to go to Jupiter, for whatever reason, you wouldn’t notice anything different, aside from the blistering wind and the toxic gases and things like that. Your wristwatch would tick along at a steady 60 “seconds per minute” just as it does on Earth.
But now it’s time to finally put that expensive, long distance cell phone service to good use. You decide to give Mother a call, as the trip to Jupiter “took a while” and she’s probably worried. So you call up Mother, but for some reason her voice sounds unusually high-pitched, and she’s talking even “faster” than she ever has before. Much like a tape recorder on fast forward. Not only that, but she starts complaining that your voice sounds much lower and you seem to be taking “much longer” to speak or even think. Finally, after convincing her you’re not on drugs, you realize that time itself is causing some issues in your conversations. You and Mother are experiencing different “rates” of time.
Now some of you may be thinking, “This guy is an idiot, time itself doesn’t slow down. Mother and I are just ‘perceiving’ time differently.” There’s that nasty little bugger “perception” again. Well you’d be right. We ARE perceiving time differently. Because the locations in space-time (space and time are often referred to together because of their close relationship, like that one annoying couple from that party?) Mother and I are occupying are naturally adhering to the rates of time that it’s cosmic variables produce. There are also examples where the fabric of space-time can fluctuate on earth, even technology that can produce this affect. But thats a subject much too controversial and interesting for this first article. Let’s continue.
Light is the fastest moving thing in the universe. Nothing can move faster than light. (Scientists are currently working to disprove this, and although some interesting things are happening at CERN, physicists are not holding their breath. So right now, light is the horse to beat.) Some pretty perplexing experiments have even demonstrated that a single molecule of light, a photon, can either a) travel back in time, b) operate outside the very concept of time, or c) both. Although c gets slightly paradoxical. Let me explain.
Perhaps you are familiar with an experiment called “The Double Slit Experiment.” If not, listen up, I’ll do my best to explain in the simplest terms I can. I’m making no guarantees, though; science is weird like that.
The experiment was designed to observe the activity of a photon as either a wave or a particle. Or in other terms, does light act like its fellow electromagnetic waves, or does it move through space like a solid object or “particle?” Here we go.
A scientist sets up an apparatus where a single photon is shot toward a screen. But in between the screen and the photon shooter is a piece of board with two parallel, vertical slits cut into it. The photon is shot at the screen and must pass through one of the two slits to get there.
While an observer is watching which slit the photon passes through, the photon will act like a particle. It will fly straight through the air, through one of the slits and hit the screen behind it. Do this a few more times and you have a pattern on the screen that shows a bunch of particles passing through the two slits. Simple enough.
But when the observer is not looking to see which slit the photon passes through, the pattern on the screen is that of a wave passing through the slits. A wave pattern is very different from a particle pattern.
So which is it?
The answer is both; a photon can either act like a wave OR a particle. Weird, right? That’s not even the crazy part. Where things really get strange is when you point out that what determines a photon’s wave/particle state is whether or not the photon is being observed.
When the photon is being observed it acts as a particle, more or less flying through space in a straight line. When the photon is not being observed it reverts to a wave function. In layman’s terms, the state of light moving through space changes depending on whether someone is paying attention to it or not. So what does this have to do with time? Well nothing, until scientists got creative.
Next, researchers set up two Double Slit apparatus. Lets call them A and B. For apparatus A, the photon has to travel 10 feet to reach the screen to be recorded. For apparatus B however, the photon has to travel 10 miles to reach the screen in order to be recorded.
Instead of firing two separate photons, researchers shot a single photon into a prism. The photon would divide into two sister photons inside the prism and they each travel their respective distances to their screens to be recorded. Sister photons are interesting because they copy each other’s movements. Any form or action one takes, the other instantly takes the same form or acts the same way. It is as if they are still connected somehow no matter how far away they are from each other. The quantum world is in one word, weird. So now the experiment.
Obviously, the sister photon in apparatus A should reach its screen 10 feet away before the sister photon in apparatus B reaches it’s screen 10 miles away. That’s exactly what happens. Predictable and perfect.
Now to add the observers. First an observer was placed at apparatus A, 10 feet away. Keep in mind there is no observer at apparatus B. They fired the photon into the prism. The sister photons travel toward their respective screens. Apparatus A shows that the sister photon A has reverted to a particle function because it had been observed, as expected. Interestingly, apparatus B is also showing a particle pattern on the screen. The sister photon B copied sister photon A, ten miles down the line.
I hope you are clear on what has been happening so far. Because next comes the kicker.
Now, researchers removed the observer from apparatus A and placed it 10 miles away at apparatus B. So the sister photon from apparatus A will be hitting its screen and revealing itself as either a wave or particle nearly 10 miles before sister photon B has even reached it’s screen. Here we go.
The photon is fired into the prism. The photon splits into two sister photons. The sister photons travel their respective distances and collide with their screens. The observer at apparatus B confirms that the sister photon had collapsed into it’s particle state, as expected. But to the astonishment of all human parties involved, apparatus A shows that it too has reverted to a particle state.
What does this mean? This means that sister photon A retroactively responded to sister photon B’s particle state. What does THAT mean? It means that either sister photon A traveled back in time, after it had already established its wave form, to match sister photon B’s particle form. Or that photons, and light, operate outside of what we humans like to call time. From the eyes of a photon, the universe simply exists in a timeless state.
Why did I spend an obscene amount of pixeley cyber space explaining this in such painfully complicated detail? Because, if we are going to start making baby steps toward time travel, you, reader, need to understand that nature already hints at it. And we all know that if nature hints at something, human beings are going to toil over it until we have siphoned out every last bit of mystery.
So now we have two instances where time becomes seriously complicated. Not only do we see that time can be inconsistent throughout space in the universe, but that time can be inconsistent for individual objects. We also know that perception plays a tricky roll in how time is measured. Which begs the question: if time isn’t measured, does it still exist? Is time a physical constant, or just a way for our minds to make sense of the universe? The answer is unclear, but for the purposes of this exploration, let’s assume that time is indeed an aspect of the universe that exists outside of the human mind, something that can, indeed, be traveled.
We’ve established that time is a lot more complicated than we like to think, where do we go from here? Time travel. In the coming series of articles I plan to explore the evidence for its existence, implications, applications, history and the conspiratorial cover up by those who have discovered its power. I will examine , criticize and analyze personal testimonies, documents (both ancient and modern), and the portrayal of time travel in the mainstream. I also intend to address the concept of time travel as it relates to a modern understanding of God, relevant interpretation of the Bible, and other metaphysical implications of its theoretical existence.