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Everything posted by aboleth_lich

  1. However, from our prospective in the present, this would be the first time that the solution(s) had been presented to us and would work as strong evidence of the alleged time traveler at least having the advanced knowledge expected of a future society in which time travel was achieved.
  2. Well, I was of course assuming that the time traveler in question had a working time machine with sufficient room for passengers for a group voyage through time in a fashion befitting an episode of Doctor Who or an issue of Time Masters. You are quite right though AgiTitor, an actual time traveler may not be able to facilitate such a trip for various issues and a fraud could cite those issues as an excuse for providing such a trip! If an alleged time traveler is able to provide a verified solution to one of the remaining unsolved Millennium Prize Problems and isn't actually from a society with more advanced mathematical knowledge (be it truly our future or perhaps an extraterrestrial society), then this fraud is one of our time's great mathematical geniuses and it begs the question as to why he or she is wasting his or her time pretending to be from the future! ;)
  3. If there was indeed something mistaken about the logical arguments and/or tautology within my examination of Kurt Gӧdel’s ontological proof, either one of you could have proceeded to briefly outline what those mistakes were and further the conversation as such (even though that would have apparently "taken the fun out of it"). Instead, both of you opted to be quite needlessly, childishly condescending--which is exceedingly hypocritical given your recent complaints about Nicolas being condescending towards you in his posts. Since it has been quite rudely wondered aloud whether or not I took any physics classes or merely slept though any parts relating to quantum mechanics, I shall clarify the matter: I completed numerous physics classes throughout my B.Sc. and M.Sc. in electrical engineering and my ongoing Ph.D. in engineering science. I moreover performed quite well in all of them, maintaining an A level GPA. (I've furthermore guest lectured for a course on semiconductor device physics on multiple occasions throughout my ongoing Ph.D.) At no point during these courses was the observing consciousness of the universe ever discussed, which is surprising given that such is apparently a fundamental underlying principle of physics. Would you have made the same snide comment about Dr. Lawrence Krauss, Dr. Stephen Hawking, or Dr. Carl Sagan as world-renowned physicists who are (or were in the late, great Carl Sagan's case) also vocal atheists? Does their rationalism imply that they clearly also slept through their physics classes? It's a bit of a shame. A serious, mature conversation of this topic could have been rather interesting (a welcome occasional distraction from furthering my thesis at least), but as it is I have little interest in participating further if this is the immature level of "discourse" that I can expect from this thread. Good day gentlemen, I leave you to being needlessly rude and condescending to those who disagree with you whilst simultaneously and hypocritically complaining about how exceedingly rude and condescending the people who disagree with you are.
  4. With respect to Earth's governments spying on its own citizens en masse, it seems as if most people either already assumed that was the case and didn't see what could be done about it or really didn't care all that much (the latter camp being those who seemed to forget about Wikileaks and Snowden a month later). The verified existence of extra-terrestrials is considerably bigger news and I suspect would resonate surprise and interest within greater numbers, especially if we're talking about extra-terrestrials who could or even have visited Earth. Regardless, while I do indeed believe in the existence of extra-terrestrials in general: I am skeptical that any have visited Earth and am especially skeptical that any of Earth's governments could keep such a large, revolutionary secret to themselves for reasons I outlined in an earlier post.
  5. The premise is that one is suddenly transported back in time, so one wouldn't have the advanced notice to prepare themselves for the trip as such. (And while we would indeed by protected from many past diseases, there are others that we may not be--especially the further from the present we are sent.) If it were a planned trip with enough advance notice with which to prepare, then any wise traveler would ensure that they are fully inoculated to the diseases of the time, have period clothing, have sufficient period money, speak in a period dialect, have a false identity prepared (for long stays), etc. It's the sudden unexpectedness that adds the initial panic and brings forth immediate concerns that must be dealt with before one can then start spying on one's ancestors or what-have-you.
  6. I confess that I hadn’t addressed ontological arguments earlier as I had to perform some basic research (taking a wee break from my overdue thesis) as to what they precisely say, how valid its statements are, etc. (That, and frankly the tone in this thread grew so downright nasty that I was a bit turned off from wading back into the thick of it—but such is unfortunately the norm in the theism versus atheism debate, as it is after all challenging the fundamental core beliefs of both parties.) Ontological arguments are quite laudable in that they are attempts to verify the existence of a Godly being through abstract reasoning and logic. Regardless, they are ultimately still not particularly compelling and are in fact quite flawed. To begin, consider the classical ontological proof in its simplest form: 1) Definition: God is the greatest being imaginable. 2) Premise: It is greater to necessarily exist than to not necessarily exist. 3) Conclusion: God necessarily exists. I.e. God is the greatest being that exists, any being that necessarily exists is clearly greater than one that doesn’t, ergo God must necessarily exist or something else that does necessarily exist could be greater—and it was stated right off the bat that God is the greatest being that exists. It is specious, circular reasoning. Beyond being an entirely abstract argument with no link to the physical world with which to support it, this argument possesses a fundamental flaw that is best unveiled through a simple reductio ad absurdum counterargument: one could quite easily replace the word “God” with pretty much anything fictional that claims to the greatest what-have-you, note that it is greater to necessarily exist than to not necessarily exist, and thus “prove” that pretty much anything thus necessarily exists! As an especially absurd example: Bizarro Superman claims that he is the greatest being (“Bizarro am Number 1!”). As a being who necessarily exists is clearly greater than one who doesn’t necessarily exist, Bizarro Superman must necessarily exist—as he stated at the very start that he is the greatest being and thus no one can be greater by definition. Again, it is specious, circular reasoning. It is a common flaw with many arguments based upon formal logic: one can indeed build a sound argument with a conclusion that does indeed logically follow from its axioms, but those axioms themselves must be true for the logical conclusions that follow from them to also be true. For example: All bats are cold-blooded as all bats are mammals and all mammals are cold-blooded. The logical structure is fine, but an axiom and thus the conclusion that logically follows from it are quite false. Moreover, one could also craft a sound logical argument involving fanciful subjects. As another example: Logic states that Legolas is a fairy given that Legolas is an elf and all elves are fairies, but I have ultimately made a logical conclusion about the nature of a fictional character belonging to a fictional, mythological species. However, it was specifically Kurt Gӧdel’s far more complicated and mathematical modal logic ontological proof that was being touted. As such, to repute the above simplest form of an ontological proof alone would be a straw man argument on my part. I fully grant that the impenetrable-to-most mathematical structure of Kurt Gӧdel’s ontological proof has been mathematically verified in modern times (and it took a computer to do so). However, let’s put aside the near impenetrable modal logic notation of Gӧdel’s proof aside and examine it in as close to “plain English” as possible: 1) If property A is positive, and if property A entails property B, then B is positive. (It doesn’t specifically matter to this proof what these properties are, or what “positive” means so long as “positive” adheres to what follows below. In fact, we’re free to have non-existent properties entail further non-existent properties.) 2) If property A is positive, then the property not-A is not positive. (Who could argue against that? It essentially goes without saying.) 3) The property G is a positive property. (As proof of a Godlike being necessarily existing, G would be the property of being Godlike. Moreover, at that point it is said that G has all of the positive properties as it is the greatest being imaginable, after all. Again, we have stated that “God is the greatest being.") 4) If a property is positive, then it is positive in all possible worlds. (To extend the potential existence of a Godlike being possessing all positive properties to every corner of the multiverse, every plane of existence, etc to truly cover all of the bases imaginable—I presume.) 5) Necessary existence is a positive property. (Again, “it is better to exist than not-exist.”) The validity of its modal logic structure aside, Kurt Gӧdel’s ontological proof regardless essentially boils down to the same argument as above with a few additional steps and provisions that ultimately change nothing: God is declared to be the greatest being imaginable (this time in all possible worlds and possessing all positive properties—which naturally follows from being the greatest), it is better to necessarily exist than to not necessarily exist, and thus God must necessarily exist otherwise something else that exists could be greater—defying our baseless definition of a Godlike being. Like any proof, Gӧdel’s ontological proof holds true if and only if its axioms are indeed true—and I and other atheists are simply as-of-yet not convinced that those axioms are indeed true. Moreover, even if we are to accept Kurt Gӧdel’s axioms and thus his proof: it only proves the necessary existence of a Godlike being. Having that Godlike being be Yahweh is thus far no more or less valid than having it be Odin, Zeus, or some deity as-of-yet unimagined and unnamed by man. Indeed, to state that it is Yahweh would be quite the leap of faith. Furthermore, as a tangent: I’m also fairly skeptical of the claims that observation is some key, underlying principle of physics and that the universe must have some observing consciousness for it to even exist. (It does seem that such an underlying principle of physics would have been mentioned repeatedly during my academic career in the applied sciences.) However, I’m admittedly as-of-yet unfamiliar with Dr. Wheeler’s lecture beyond that vague synopsis provided thus far and as such cannot rightfully criticize it any further at this time. Ultimately, I highly doubt that there any arguments that could be presented within this thread that could convince an atheist of the existence any Godlike being let alone that the said being would be Yahweh rather than Odin, Zeus, or what-have-you: not Pascal’s “I better believe just case the threat of Hell is indeed real” Wager, the notion that smarter scientists and intellectuals than us are convinced theists (as there are also plenty of other scientists and intellectuals also smarter than us who are convinced atheists or at least agnostics as well—as previously noted in the 15th post of this thread), not the even-if-not-taken-literally mythology of one-of-out-many cultures nor the poetry of its ancient tongue nor the rather forced analogies and coincidences between it and modern science, not analogies replacing the creator of man with extra-terrestrials, not the difficulties a childlike mind may have describing metamorphosis, and not a structurally sound version of the ontological argument that’s regardless still based upon unproven axioms. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6j8Babr_n4w In light of a lack of such evidence, the blind faith that is indeed ultimately required for theism when the aforementioned arguments are boiled down, and moreover the clear flaws and man-made nature of every proposed religion thus far: it seems more likely to atheists that there is no godlike being. That is the essential basis of atheism, and if critics wish to characterize that as stubborn blind faith on par with a creationist’s adherence or as an excessively argumentative condescending arrogance then there’s little that can be done to convince them of otherwise. It is equally unlikely that any arguments could be presented within this thread to conversely convince a theist of the nonexistence of a Godlike being. Ultimately, we may just have to simply agree to disagree and leave it at that. It does seem that we at least agree that any religion that stands counter to- and vehemently opposes- clearly demonstrable and verified modern science is clearly “bad religion,” and there is indeed a conflict between proponents of “bad religion” and science (specific examples having been provided in my last post in this thread). As for “bad science” being that which does not permit the existence of a godlike being, I would say that the existence of a Godlike being is totally irrelevant to the bulk of science and moreover proper science should develop irrespective of the scientist’s biases—including religious beliefs and the lack thereof. The "bad science" of a proper scientific disproof of a Godlike being, or a fundamental scientific theorem that totally discounts the very remote possibility of a Godlike being, is about as likely as the precise opposite—after all, it is exceedingly difficult to prove a negative.
  7. There are a handful of problems that we are aware of, don't currently know the solution(s) to, but could verify the validity of a potential solution if it were presented to us: namely, certain unsolved mathematical problems such as the Millennium Prize Problems. Presumably, a future in which our knowledge has advanced to the point that we have achieved time travel would have also have as-of-yet-unknown solutions to several of these very specific problems that we could verify. To me, that's very strong evidence that the supposed time traveler does indeed come from a more advanced society (although I suppose that alternative possibilities, like being an extraterrestrial in disguise, would also fit that bill). Ultimately, the only certain evidence would be having a truly reliable, irrefutable witness accompanying the traveler on a trip to the past or present--a trip of such breadth, length, and detail that the companion wouldn't arguably have been fooled by an elaborate set or any other such potential trickery. Beyond that, predictions, vanishing for a few minutes, supposedly advanced futuristic tech, are simply all too easily faked, potentially coincidental, unreliable, and/or unverifiable to overcome my tenacious skepticism and eliminate the other, more mundane possibilities.
  8. I didn't mentioned the use of time travel in The Planet of the Apes because that's not an out-of-left field fan theory derived through some viewer's creative interpretation, it was the film's actual, unambiguous twist ending! ;) I'm not aware of any weird fan theories in involving The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings. (I feel like one may needed to fix a major plot hole at the end of last year's The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies! Legolas is told to seek out a ranger named Strider at the end of that film, even though Aragorn is merely a child of ten at the time!) It's interesting that you state Gandalf seems more like a supernatural being, as J.R.R. Tolkien's wizards are actually not mortal men especially skilled at casting magic spells as they are in most medieval fantasies. His wizards are actually holy immortals, analogous to angels, sent by the Tolkien analog for God into Middle Earth from its beginning. (Presumably, a hero wizard who is merely a mortal man skilled in pagan witch-craft just wouldn't sit well with a conservative Catholic as devoted as Tolkien!) It's interesting that the general topic of wizards is being broached within a forum about time travel, given that the original wizard archetype, Merlin, is living backwards in time throughout T.H. White's The Once and Future King--though, again, that's an intended part of the actual story and not a fan theory proposed by one of its readers.
  9. If I were suddenly teleported back to another era as distant as a century ago, my immediate concerns and subsequent actions would be related to determining if and when I would return to my relative present and also to my survival during my visit to the past. First and foremost, no matter how long I'll be visiting the past: I would be quite worried about deadly diseases of the time that I may not be inoculated against--such as The Spanish Flu. Secondly, if it were clear that my visit were not a brief one and I was indeed stranded in the past: I would be worried about surviving without an established identity, period money, period clothing, etc. If I were to somehow over come all of that, and I really have no idea how I would deal with all of the above: I would gather a base of capital and then use my knowledge of the next century to grow that base into a level of wealth in which I would be quite comfortable. I would be hesitant about altering the past century of history any further than that, especially with respect to the risk of creating paradoxes, without knowing whether I am simply living in an alternate timeline or am indeed overwriting a single timeline's history. However, if I actually knew that I would be teleported back to my time soon enough: then I would simply sight see, taking care to not alter history significantly and moreover looking and acting like I actually belong to the period.
  10. If one were to strictly travel forward in time, there's no moment in which one is altering the continuity that one had experienced and thus one's memories of that continuity would of course be unaltered (at least not beyond the standard mundane faults of human memory). The more interesting scenario arises when one travel backwards in time, and in turn alters the continuity that one had previously experienced. If one is creating an alternate timeline by travelling backwards, parallel to the timeline that one had previously visited: I very much think that one's memory of the timelines that one had visited as one had indeed experienced them would remain unchanged. If one is instead re-writing the continuity of a single timeline by changing its past, then the situation is considerably more complicated and I'm at a total loss as to how the paradox would resolve itself. In any case, I doubt that one could simultaneously maintain the memories of the original and the altered continuities without at least being perpetually confused if not driven complete mad! Likewise for the process of having the memories of one continuity overwrite the other!
  11. Time is a continuous variable. The present would be a specific, infinitesimally small moment of time that is a few milliseconds prior to what our brain is actually registering as the immediate now (as an above post states). Anytime prior to that infinitesimally small moment of time, exclusive, is broadly referred to as the past, and anytime after that infinitesimally small moment of time, exclusive, is broadly referred to as the future. (As such, we are technically living a few milliseconds in the past, as the aforementioned above post states.) As time is a continuous variable, and making an analogy to a continuous probability density function: stating that something happens at an absolutely precise moment of time is quite iffy--it is better to speak of something happening within a range of times, even an exceedingly narrow range. (Mathematically, in terms of a continuous probability density function: one cannot attribute a non-zero probability to a specific event corresponding to a specific value of that continuous variable as you would be integrating an area of zero: e.g. "what is the probability that the next bus will arrive in precisely 12 mins and 5.897 865 235 892 125 258 685 256 895 258... seconds?" One can only speak of the probability corresponding to a range of the continuous variable: e.g. "what is the probability of the next bus arriving within the next 17 mins?" The narrower the range, the smaller the probability of the event occurring within the range--and that probability goes to zero as the range shrinks to the infinitesimal.) Although it is rather iffy to attribute an event and its probability to an absolutely precise value of a continuous variable like time, that in no way means that the said value does not actually exist! It is simply an infinitesimal small part of the broader overall continuum. And unlike physical quantities like energy, charge, and mass: time is a metric for measurement, like length. The former quantities are in truth discretized in to fine quanta, but with a step-size so fine that we do not perceive it on our macroscopic scale of perception and instead experience the quantity as a continuum. I don't think that metrics like time and length will similarly break down into a discretized quanta at even finer scale beyond our detection as of yet.
  12. As a hypothetical argument, I'm not really certain why any Earth government would want to keep knowledge of extraterrestrial life secret--outside of the rather frequent sci-fi narrative in which the military obtains, incorporates, and reverse engineers alien technology. I don't think that the mere proof of extraterrestrial life would inspire panic and rioting in the streets. More seriously, I'm quite skeptical that any government on Earth is capable of keeping something as significant as affirmative proof of extraterrestrial life a secret for the same reasons that I find most conspiracy theories involving Earth governments rather hard to believe. Our governments are barely compete enough to go about the actual, stated business of governing, maintaining infrastructure and social programs, etc. Moreover, the more people that are involved in a conspiracy: the more likely that there'll be a leak and it'll be exposed. After all, it only takes the likes of a single individual like Edward Snowden or Bradley Manning to expose a conspiracy and leak the evidence to the press, WikiLeaks, or what-have-you.
  13. I quite enjoy reading creative, outside-of-the-box fan theories of stories that at best casts the entire narrative in a new light when re-examined and at worst induces laughter at its absurdity! (Well known and less-absurd-than-most examples of such fan-theories include the speculation that: James Bond is a MI6 codename and each new actor portraying Bond is really playing a new spy altogether, Ferris (and possibly his girlfriend as well) was merely Cameron's imaginary friend in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Zion and its human resistance is actually part of The Matrix's simulated reality, nearly all of Total Recall was in Quaid's head, and so on.) I've even encountered a few truly imaginative, out-of-left-field fan theories that attempt to inject time travel elements into tales were it would not be expected. Namely, the fan theories that: - Jack is a time traveler sent from the future to save Rose and ensure that the Titanic sinks! (Well, it is a James Cameron film after all!) - Various characters in George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire novels (the basis of HBO's Game of Thrones) are secretly time travelers. In fact, there are several separate such theories in which either Bran Stark, Daenerys Targaryen (disguised as Quaithe), and Tyrion Lannister (who is secretly the spirit of Daenerys' and Drogo's miscarried child) are the time traveler! (I can somewhat see the theorist's reasoning with the Bran Stark theory given Bran's dreams, but those other two theories are... a bit of a stretch, to put it mildly.) - In the Harry Potter franchise, Dumbledore is secretly an older, time-travelling Ron Weasley. - Time travel is actually central to The Blair Witch Project. What are your thoughts about these odd fan theories attempting to inject time travel into stories where it isn't expected? Personally, I consider them to be among the silliest and most far-fetched fan theories I have encountered! Are you aware of any other, unmentioned odd fan theories for stories in which time travel would be quite unexpected?
  14. I give considerably more leeway for silliness when the mechanism for travelling through time is some sort of magical spell. Unlike science fiction, the methodology for traversing time doesn't need to sound reasonably plausible on an at least pseudo-scientific level when it is ultimately magic based as circumventing and violating the limitations of natural laws like physics is sort of the entire point of magic in fiction. However, I do have qualms about the lazy use of magic to any degree within fiction in general. It shouldn't be a hand-waving license for anything to happen without due explanation (such as Joe Quesada's "It's magic! We don't have to explain it!" dismissal of having to explain the new Spider-Man continuity following the travesty that was One More Day or the more general, widespread "A wizard did it!" meme). To me, the use of magic as such need appropriate bounds, including rules and limitations, to maintain a semblance of conflict and engaging story structure. For example, I would have long ago lost interest in DC Comic's John Constantine if he could simply waive his hand to remove whatever obstacle by conjuring some deus ex machina silliness! All of that being said, and beyond that caveat about the use of magic in fiction: I much prefer a science fiction explanation for time travel rather than a magical one. Certainly, the blending of genres can be great when done well (e.g. the combination of science fiction and westerns that is Firefly) but I regardless prefer that sci-fi elements like time travel and extra-terrestrials remain strictly sci-fi and not be coupled with the sort of magical explanations better left to fairy tales and the medieval fantasy genres.
  15. 2012's Looper also comes to mind, not in terms of the mechanism of its travel (which isn't really depicted) but in its use. Having time travel be outlawed (seems prudent) and subsequently having the technology used only by the mafia is an interesting concept--but would they seriously use it primarily for hits and body disposal? Granted, I suppose that we can assume that William Hurt was sent back to do more than simply require new hitmen and co-ordinate the hits' logistics--but I would have thought the mob would think bigger and come up with a more lucrative use! All of that being said, there are others who are far harsher on Looper than I'm being here... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XwDbqhl_p3g Ouch!
  16. Fiction is rife with tales involving time travel, usually being a major factor in the story in question. However, not all uses of time travel in fiction are equal and some cases are downright silly and incredulous to some degree. What do you think are particularly silly uses of time travel in fiction? 1978's Superman: The Movie comes immediately to my mind. Don't get me wrong: it's a truly fantastic film, a classic, and a benchmark in movies in general and superhero movies in particular--but I always cringe whenever we get to its rather (in)famous climax... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjgsnWtBQm0 That's right, Superman flew around the Earth so quickly that he forced it to rotate backwards--which in turn made time itself turn backwards as well! As if time were a VCR tape and the Earth were the spindle unwinding the tape! Even if we assume that Superman were able to reverse the Earth's rotation, which is exceedingly silly itself: doing so wouldn't reverse the flow of time as such! (He has the cause and effect backwards here!) All it would do is create an even greater disaster on the surface! The Silver-Bronze Age method of Superman travelling through time by merely flying at superluminal speed (as The Flash can still do in the modern age, albeit sans the flight part) may have made Einstein shake his head, but it was at least considerably less silly of a concept!
  17. This thread reminds me quite a bit of Bruce Willis' character from 12 Monkeys! (One of my favourite movies about time travel in addition to being one of my favourite films by one of my favourite filmmakers, Terry Gilliam!) I can't really elaborate as to why without spoiling the film a bit too much though! ;) (I aware of the SyFy's new 12 Monkeys series, but haven't gotten around to checking it out yet... TV is much too fractured now and there are just too many interesting shows to keep with!)
  18. Of course, this revelation comes as absolutely no surprise to fans of Matt Smith's tenure in Doctor Who as The Eleventh Doctor! ;) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubTJI_UphPk (I adore the 2010 season of Doctor Who, of which "Vincent and the Doctor" was a particularly notable episode! It's my all-time favourite single season of the entire series thus far!)
  19. I absolutely adore Chrono Trigger! It is both my favourite Super Nintendo game and my favourite Square Enix RPG! Square Enix excels at crafting RPGs featuring epic main story arcs riddled with plot twists and numerous nonlinear side quests, hidden extra playable characters, and alternative endings--and I believe that this is most evident with Chrono Trigger! (I consider the revelation of Magus' origin and true motivation to be one of the greatest plot twists of any video game, bringing unexpected depth and complexity to what at first seemed to be a fairly stock, one dimensional villain!) More so than any other video game about time travel that I have actually played, Chrono Trigger cleverly uses time travel in manner that spans numerous disparate chronological eras to blend together several familiar sub-genres within the broader fantasy and science-fiction umbrella and moreover allows the player to travel through those eras in a non-linear fashion that incorporates significant cause-and-effect scenarios! (Contrast that to how time travel is usually treated in other video games, such as the admittedly-quite-fun-but-extremely-linear-and-simplistic Turtles in Time: Here's the prehistoric level! Now here's the old west level! Now here's the futuristic level!) Furthermore, on top of all that: Chrono Trigger also had a fantastically varied combat system that allowed the party to grow together rather than independently as if in a vacuum, learning special character specific team-work moves to a degree that surpasses that of any other RPG I have played! All the above makes Chrono Trigger a rather unique and thoroughly enjoyable, fresh experience for numerous play-throughs! I cannot recommend this game enough for fans of nineties styled JRPGs, especially those intrigued by stories about time travel! And yet, despite my love for Chrono Trigger: I have yet to give its sequel, Chrono Cross, a try! It just so happened to come out after I started my undergraduate degree and thus put video games aside to concentrate on my studies, and as such it passed completely under my radar! Even now, I only casually play older games every now and then out of nostalgia. I'll eventually get around to it though...
  20. I actually rather enjoy the myths of various cultures, unto themselves as fantastic stories and also as elucidating the traditional values and beliefs of the culture in question. However, they also represent the limited knowledge and antiquated values of our ancestors and certainly shouldn't be taken literally today. For example, like many others, I love reading about Greek and Norse mythology unto itself as epic tales and also as part and parcel of studying the history and values of those cultures--but like most (but admittedly not quite all) people who enjoy those tales today, I don't believe that the likes of Zeus and Odin ever actually existed! There are indeed a great many people today who are able to successfully reconcile religious belief with modern science, but there are also many others for whom this is most definitely not the case and for whom there is indeed clearly a conflict between science and religion. This is evident in the efforts of creationists to vehemently denounce evolution, the true age and origins of the universe, etc and conversely propose convoluted junk science to vainly prove the supposedly literal truth of Genesis and its fantastic tales of humanity springing forth from a man made from breathed upon mud and a woman made from that man's rib, of every species on Earth being reduced to- and subsequently recovering from- but a single pair crammed together with all of the other pairs on a house boat, of the Earth only being a few thousand years old, of man co-existing with dinosaurs, etc. For some of these people, even the likes of embryology and the notion that moonlight is reflected sunlight is astoundingly offensive. Returning to the main theme of this thread, religion has also convinced others to vehemently denounce the heliocentric model of the solar system. When specific religious myths and beliefs are incompatible with and are disproven by modern hard science, as per the above examples: the bad religion label most certainly applies. However, are we to honestly label the science that is denounced by such people as "bad science" merely because it contested by them and buts up against the ancient, antiquated beliefs of our largely ignorant ancestors? That is a frankly bizarre proposition. The conflict, irreconcilable for many, is between bad religion and science--not between bad religion and "bad science." However, there is indeed "science" that can be rightfully labelled as "bad science." Junk "science" that is deeply twisted and contorted so as to fit a pre-existing narrative and bias, be it supposedly verifying creation myths as above, disproving the man-made contribution to climate change, etc, would indeed deserve the "bad science" label.
  21. Naturally, we would have made numerous great scientific advances between now and the moment if and when we achieve time travel. Such advancements would include finding solutions to exceedingly difficult mathematical problems that we have identified but have thus far been unable to solve: chiefly among them, the six as-of-yet unsolved Millennium Prize Problems. While we ourselves have not currently solved such problems, our modern day mathematicians would be able to verify the validity of a proposed solution. Having a time traveler present one or more such solutions would represent a greater level of "proof" of being a time traveler than predictions of future events or the presentation of future technology that could be faked (although such fraud eventually wouldn't hold up to vigorous scrutiny by modern day science).
  22. Although you may not have personally know any atheist physicists, there are of course several renowned physicists who are also atheists. Particularly notable among them, as both physicists and atheists, are: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FpSt-qk0g98, Stephen Hawking, and Stephen Weinberg. Moreover, while Niels Bohr may not have explicitly self-identified as an atheist--he clearly expressed a disinterest in religion. There are of course also notable physicists who self-identify as agnostic, such as Neil deGrasse Tyson. Conversely, there are of course many physicists who are indeed theists. To suggest that physicists, or scholars of any particular scientific field, don't come in all of these flavours in terms of religious belief is rather silly. Personally, I've meet scientists, physicists included, who are atheists, others who are theists, and others who are agnostic--no one particularly famous though, merely colleagues.
  23. Under this scenario, I would have to naturally imagine that the disasters prevented through time travel would be of a scale exceeding those that were not prevented and warranted the potential risks posed by time travel. Namely, disasters of a scale that would have completely wiped us out. I'm picturing time travelers manipulating events to prevent a full scale nuclear war, or ensuring that we would have the suitable defenses and/or contingency plans for an asteroid strike or cosmic ray burst directed at the Earth. Honestly, if developed further, this could be the basic premise for a fairly interesting series of sci-fi stories. Such a series could feature an elite agency of time travelers dedicated to tending to humanity's history and the spacetime continuum alike, preventing only the true disasters that would have completely wiped us out and also mending any damage caused to the continuum by time-travel. (Or, if we adopted the theories involving alternative universes being constantly created: perhaps we would say that this agency is tending to their metaphorical garden to create a continuity that may not be ideal but is one in which humanity at least persists.) The first entry in the series would naturally follow a protagonist who discovers- and is subsequently recruited into- that agency, and would naturally feature a heated debate as to why some of disasters, like World War II, were not altered at all by the agency due to their risk analysis contrasting the scale of the disaster to the potential damage caused by time travel. We could even have this rookie over step his bounds and make the future even worse in his or her attempts to improve it, learning first-hand of the extreme care required in selecting the what and the how of altering the past.
  24. The avant garde, post-industrial outfit Coil (whose members John Balance and Peter Christopherson are two of my all-time favourite musicians) once released an entire album of lengthy ambient drones entitled https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries, posthumously released as a Peter Christopherson solo album.
  25. If it were clear that alterations to the past created a new alternate universe within the broader multiverse rather than wiping the previous continuity out of existence, I would be considerably less anxious about not changing the past (and, indeed, my very existence and even minor interactions constitute changing the past to some degree). However, I would still be very cautious about not creating a paradox by changing my own past, would keep my true origins as a visitor from the future a closely-guarded secret, and would avoid tinkering with major events.
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