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Thread: The Grandfather Paradox

  1. #1

    Default The Grandfather Paradox

    I've searched the forums and not found anything on this wonderfully entertaining subject. The Grandfather Paradox is a paradox that was raised to look at the problems of time travel. For those that don't know it, I shall explain.

    What would happen if you could go back in time and kill your own grandfather?

    For the purposes of this discussion I would ask that we refrain from looking at the morality of such an action, simply the implications. As far as time travel is concerned, we overcame the problems through that flux capacitor thingamy they have in back to the future

    What I'm interested in is - could we go back in time and kill our grandfather and survive?
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    Philosopher Jacana's Avatar
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    Only if we have sex with our Grandma after.

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    Artisan Jovan's Avatar
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    Even having sex with our grandma after it would not bring you back,but some sort of a cyclops like creature.
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    Philosopher MokMonster's Avatar
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    Of course you can.
    But you would be creating an alternate universe and would never be able to return to your own future.
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    Consul Sirveri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MokMonster View Post
    Of course you can.
    But you would be creating an alternate universe and would never be able to return to your own future.
    Just being in the past would make it so you could never return to a perfect version of your future.

    Quote Originally Posted by Joshyyy View Post
    There is some serious misquoting potential above.
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    Artisan Jovan's Avatar
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    Exactly,if you change a single thing in the past you're effecting the whole course of future. That's what Dr. Emmet Brown is trying to say at least. And don't you find it weird that when Marty goes back in the past and he does the whole crazy thing with his parents,they don't recognize him in the future and say "hey our son looks exactly like the guy that brought us together" ??
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    This has been done to death but if you really want me to explain it, I might get one of my Counter-Troll Gang members (I've been told I have one and the leather jackets are on order unless my granpappy gets to me first) to do it for me.

    In the meantime...


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    Since the ability to engage in time travel does not (as yet?) exist, we have no actual knowledge of how tine works, just some theories based on particle physics. it might be fluid enough to bounce back from paradoxes like this, it might deal with such events by branching, it might be so rigid that you simply can not do anything that didn't happen.

    Two of my favourite SF stories that play with time travel paradoxes are both by Robert Heinlein: 'By His Bootstraps' and 'All You Zombies.'
    And now I'll tell you what's against us, an art that's lived for centuries. Go through the years and you will find what's blackened all of history. Against us is the law with its immensity of strength and power - against us is the law! Police know how to make a man a guilty or an innocent. Against us is the power of police! The shameless lies that men have told will ever more be paid in gold - against us is the power of the gold! Against us is racial hatred and the simple fact that we are poor.
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    Philosopher MokMonster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sirveri View Post
    Just being in the past would make it so you could never return to a perfect version of your future.
    Unless it had already happened that you went to the past.
    If the timeline is already set, and past/present/future isnt merely how we perceive things rather than how things actually occur, then it is possible to go back in time and return to the same timeline.


    BTW, I just realized the OP failed to ask the question properly as it should be stated that G-Pa must die before knocking G-Ma up with your Pappy (or Mommy).
    (Though of course if he didn't die in roughly the same time frame anyway, you'd seriously be screwing with your own family's history and would likely make a huge enough impact on your father's (or mother's) life that you would no longer exist in that universe's future.)
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    This is all ******* stupid because if there was time travel, I would've told me about it.

    Either way: Slaughterhouse Five.

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    Consul Sirveri's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MokMonster View Post
    Unless it had already happened that you went to the past.
    If the timeline is already set, and past/present/future isnt merely how we perceive things rather than how things actually occur, then it is possible to go back in time and return to the same timeline.


    BTW, I just realized the OP failed to ask the question properly as it should be stated that G-Pa must die before knocking G-Ma up with your Pappy (or Mommy).
    (Though of course if he didn't die in roughly the same time frame anyway, you'd seriously be screwing with your own family's history and would likely make a huge enough impact on your father's (or mother's) life that you would no longer exist in that universe's future.)
    Right, you wouldn't be able to murder your grandfather before he sired your father. Which means that everything you do in the past is already written, and thus you have no control over your own destiny. And since the current time is always the futures past that means you can never do anything that you're not supposed to do. That means that Adam Lanza was required to murder 20 six year olds in CT and was totally not responsible for his actions since he was required by time destiny to do them.

    Hence why I dislike the idea of a single time stream and much prefer branching or multiple reality from a philosophical point of view.

    Quote Originally Posted by Joshyyy View Post
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    So, I need more specifics. Has his child, our parent, already been born in this past time when we are supposed to kill him?

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    **** bothering with killing anyone, I'm betting on sports while I'm there.
    Quote Originally Posted by Baron D'Holbach View Post
    You should quote yourself. It's like liking your Facebook status or high-fiving yourself in the mirror.

    It's what I would do if I didn't have to keep mine exactly how it is for madsquirrels and erazer.

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    IMO, if one were to travel back in time to kill a family member, unless it was already known that said family member had been killed in unexplained circumstances there is no way you were successful, now or then. Chances are when you stepped into your time machine you were so blitzed out of your mind on some cocktail of narcotics and booze that when you awoke two days later in your bathtub, covered in vomit and possibly a little blood, the only thing your mind could fill the lost time with was some whacked out dream sequence of the past and you went with it because, well, your drugged up friends would believe just about anything for just one more taste of the good stuff.

    Our concept of time is controlled by our planet, if it travelled around its star faster than it does, or slower, we'd have alternative segments of time which we call hours, days and years. It's total bs. Time just is and it doesn't go back.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chumpanzie View Post
    IMO, if one were to travel back in time to kill a family member, unless it was already known that said family member had been killed in unexplained circumstances there is no way you were successful, now or then. Chances are when you stepped into your time machine you were so blitzed out of your mind on some cocktail of narcotics and booze that when you awoke two days later in your bathtub, covered in vomit and possibly a little blood, the only thing your mind could fill the lost time with was some whacked out dream sequence of the past and you went with it because, well, your drugged up friends would believe just about anything for just one more taste of the good stuff.

    Our concept of time is controlled by our planet, if it travelled around its star faster than it does, or slower, we'd have alternative segments of time which we call hours, days and years. It's total bs. Time just is and it doesn't go back.
    It does slow down and speed up: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_dilation

  16. #16

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    Scientists reckon that if you were to go back and try to kill your grandfather, the universe would skew every single statistic against you. Traffic jams, freak winds, broken weapons etc such that the probability of you being able to kill your grandfather tends to 0.

    Can't remember how they got there, but there is a paper on it somewhere. Fun stuff.

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    Philosopher MokMonster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sirveri View Post
    Right, you wouldn't be able to murder your grandfather before he sired your father. Which means that everything you do in the past is already written, and thus you have no control over your own destiny.
    Ya need more proof for this. Just b/c it creates a world-ending paradox doesn't make it impossible. Perhaps time itself bends and the future is actually the past. So by you going into the past to kill your grandpa that is the future you always had... which of course ends your life, bringing gramps back to life... etc., creating an infinite loop until the universe hits CTRL-C and just removes you from the program.

    And since the current time is always the futures past that means you can never do anything that you're not supposed to do. That means that Adam Lanza was required to murder 20 six year olds in CT and was totally not responsible for his actions since he was required by time destiny to do them.

    Hence why I dislike the idea of a single time stream and much prefer branching or multiple reality from a philosophical point of view.
    The same paradox applies to there being any chance of an all-knowing God who also gave us free-will.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Blazin1 View Post
    **** bothering with killing anyone, I'm betting on sports while I'm there.
    Meh...been done in a zillion time travel books/shows/movies already and is outside the scope of killing gramps.
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    Philosopher Erknen's Avatar
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    Killing your grandfather would create an alternate timeline, your timeline would cease to exist, but the actions from your timetraveling would, and you would most likely fade away. similar to back to the future.
    Last edited by Erknen; 12-17-2012 at 05:05 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Erknen View Post
    Killing your grandfather would create an alternate timeline, your timeline would cease to exist, but the actions from your timetraveling would, and you would most likely fade away. similar to back to the future.
    Not if your parent was born before you killed him, though it is likely your life will have changed to a degree that you never would have been in a position to travel back in time in the first place (Butterfly Effect).

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

    On a side note, why are we killing grandpa? I loved both of mine very much and the last thing I'd want to do is kill them.

    This hypothetical is sorely lacking in detail and motivation.

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    If you go back and kill your grandpa,you would dissapear from the timeline you are talking about. So if you do not exit how can you go back and kill him?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jovan View Post
    If you go back and kill your grandpa,you would dissapear from the timeline you are talking about. So if you do not exit how can you go back and kill him?
    But if the timeline is static and you always went back in time to kill him, then how could you not go back in time to kill him?
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    Could also be hybrid of multiple different timelines, however we probably have to wait for a while before any test results will be available. + We might never know about if things done in past actually had effect or not.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jono View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pallosalama View Post
    Could also be hybrid of multiple different timelines, however we probably have to wait for a while before any test results will be available. + We might never know about if things done in past actually had effect or not.
    Actually the greatest evidence of time travel not existing, at least in the ability to go backwards is the fact that it hasn't been invented yet. Pretty much the moment it would be possible to build one, we'd have one simply bc someone from when it actually was built would go back and "invent" it themselves. Then someone else would steal the idea and go back to invent the idea...etc.
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    Maybe the person who invented the time machine did go back,but he just didn't want to build it in the past,but wanted to bet on sports like in the movie etc. and the future him didn't share the time machine with anyone.
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    History doesn't move in a straight line. It fits together like a jigsaw puzzle.

    Furthermore, going back in time and accidentally killing/becoming your own grandfather is not the most pressing problem of time travel; this is nothing a sound, well-adjusted family cannot handle. Rather, the principal problem of time travel is one of grammar...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baron D'Holbach View Post
    <great pic, need to spread>
    If time travel were to ever exist, I would assume option A is the reality.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Baron D'Holbach View Post
    This is all ******* stupid because if there was time travel, I would've told me about it.

    Either way: Slaughterhouse Five.
    Maybe future you finds religion and doesn't want to associate with itself.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jono View Post
    Maybe future you finds religion and doesn't want to associate with itself.
    Pfft. Flawed argument because all religious people want to do is save people.

    Plus, if I "found" religion, I'm sure I'd be leaving myself a map to do so. Sort of how I find Chocolate Babka in Whole Foods.

  30. #30

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    Well if time travel is EVER possible then why are there school shootings?
    Originally Posted by Baron D'Holbach
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loyalist42 View Post
    Furthermore, going back in time and accidentally killing/becoming your own grandfather is not the most pressing problem of time travel; this is nothing a sound, well-adjusted family cannot handle. Rather, the principal problem of time travel is one of grammar...
    Been awhile... is this a quote from HGttG?
    I know the grammar bit is from there. I think there was a whole chapter about future past tense, past past tense and past future tenses along with the guy who wrote his utterly moving poem by copying from himself.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mighty Quinn View Post
    Well if time travel is EVER possible then why are there school shootings?
    Don't muddy the thread.
    But you might also assume that by changing 1 such event you screw up enough of the timeline to no longer be able to correctly predict the rest. By saving a few kids today, maybe you let the superbowl get bombed killing 125k. Which one would you pick?
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    Steve jobs had a time machine, and he didn't die, he just went sometime else.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mighty Quinn View Post
    Well if time travel is EVER possible then why are there school shootings?
    Duh, the time travelers want us to ban guns
    Quote Originally Posted by Rokchick View Post
    OMG, Wodey found a woman who agrees with him. He must be right, cos all women are always right all the time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Loyalist42 View Post
    History doesn't move in a straight line. It fits together like a jigsaw puzzle.

    Furthermore, going back in time and accidentally killing/becoming your own grandfather is not the most pressing problem of time travel; this is nothing a sound, well-adjusted family cannot handle. Rather, the principal problem of time travel is one of grammar...
    Quote Originally Posted by MokMonster View Post
    Been awhile... is this a quote from HGttG?
    Restaurant At The End Of The Universe if I'm not much mistaken. Dr. Streetmentioner I believe. But then I just recently reread them all.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurtz View Post
    Restaurant At The End Of The Universe if I'm not much mistaken. Dr. Streetmentioner I believe. But then I just recently reread them all.
    Yes indeedy.

    Seemed appropriate
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