Jump to content

How do we verify/falsify time travel claims?


DulceBASS
 Share

Recommended Posts

Is it even possible?

 

One of the more interesting problems I see with time travel is how we can verify/falsify the claims of a potential time traveler. We necessarily don't want to take them at face value since there are a lot of trolls who will make up stuff for a laugh. It can be pretty easy to make up some vague stuff about the future and hope people fall for it.

 

I think it's probably highly unlikely we could verify claims about the future but it might be possible to verify claims about the science behind time travel. Hypothetically, we could ask the traveler to explain the science to us. Understanding the science could be a big barrier since it could be very advanced but science is believed to be an on going method of understanding the world so theoretically a time traveler, if we found one who was patient enough, could trace the science back to the theoretical frameworks we understand.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Assuming the time traveler came from the future, have him make predictions that will happen in the future. And then if they come true that increases the chances he is a genuine traveller. Ofcourse maybe he came from another dimension from the future, in that case his predictions would not work since it is an alternative universe.

 

About the only certain way would be to examine the machine that he used to travel with, or tell him to travel 5 minutes into the future. So he would disappear for 5 minutes and then reappear 5 minutes in the future.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

This right here is probably a good portion of the reason for skepticism regarding visitors from the future. It’s far easier to find inconsistencies that refute a claim, than it is to find anything to verify whether a claim is true. And even then, the only way we currently have to verify such a claim is just to wait it out and see whether their claims turn out to be true.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The biggest issue I have is that the very action of them coming back could be all it takes to prevent the things they know as history from happening entirely. Any predictions they'd make could be half-true or false at all in that case, and it's because they came back in time that the events even changed.

 

I really don't know how you could get around that. Unless you try one of my other ideas, which is to predict a natural disaster.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To falsify I would suggest to check what the time traveler has to say, I mean going deeply into technical details should verify if he knows what he's talking about or not. To verify if a time travel is really what he claims to be I find it pretty hard because maybe most of us could treat those infos that he would share like some fancy ideas took from books or whatever and so we mark him as fake.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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..

This would be the harder part because of all of the variables involved. Is the time traveller stuck in this time period? Does his machine work anymore, to prevent him going back? Would it even have the capability of transporting more than one person? It would be the easiest in theory but hardest in practice and there's all sorts of weasel tactic excuses a phony could use to get around that.

 

The mathematical problem idea is extremely, extremely good though. If he's a phony, but provides a real solution to the problem, he's done a good thing in a bad way. On the other hand, if the time traveler provided the solution, you get the same result but the implications are different. In the former case, you'd have to have further proof, but then again you'd also have to have further proof from the time traveler as well.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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! ;)

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

On the other hand, if the time traveler provided the solution, you get the same result but the implications are different.

If an alleged time traveler is able to provide a verified solution to one of the remaining unsolved Millennium Prize Problems...

That simply presents another paradox. If the TT'er provides a proof in 2015, the future sees the proof as already being shown, so he would be offering the "next" proof in line and the paradox repeats until there is NO proof to offer. They have all been solved in his history.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I reckon that, we could see how they travelled and see if they have a time machine or something that takes them around back and forth, and may help us to try and believe them and also will be good if they can tell the future or go back in the past and do something. It is very easy to fall, for lies and people who just want to make money and need to keep our minds alert so we don't fall for any scam which would cause us to be betrayed. Most people would want to see evidence, and predicting the future has happened in movies I remember a indian movie called Krissh where a scientist makes a machine and shows a gun pointed at him he survives and destroys his work when the other one wants to use it for evil purposes. In the climax the bad guy sees, a gun shoots him and that happens and he did try to get rid of guns but still dies from it so we would not be able to change something if it occurs.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is it even possible?One of the more interesting problems I see with time travel is how we can verify/falsify the claims of a potential time traveler. We necessarily don't want to take them at face value since there are a lot of trolls who will make up stuff for a laugh. It can be pretty easy to make up some vague stuff about the future and hope people fall for it.

 

I think it's probably highly unlikely we could verify claims about the future but it might be possible to verify claims about the science behind time travel. Hypothetically, we could ask the traveler to explain the science to us. Understanding the science could be a big barrier since it could be very advanced but science is believed to be an on going method of understanding the world so theoretically a time traveler, if we found one who was patient enough, could trace the science back to the theoretical frameworks we understand.

You've poorly stated the question. You're not required to verify and you don't necessarily have to falsify the claim. You start from the position of the null hypothesis - "it isn't time travel" - and the evidence either causes you to reject the null hypothesis or you stay with it until such evidence appears. If it appears you propose a new hypothesis but you don't necessarily jump to the conclusion that the story is true just because you dump H0.

 

Don't fall into the trap of believing that you have to prove a premise to be false. Letting yourself be forced into that position puts you in a logical fallacy of "Shifting the Burden of Proof". You didn't make the claim. The person making the claim has an affirmative burden to prove his case. This situation, when it is allowed to continue, generally devolves into the logical fallacy of Argument from Ignorance. The proposer, his proponents or sock-puppets argue that the premise must be tentatively accepted to be true because you can't prove it to be wrong.

 

This doesn't mean that you shouldn't debate the situation and offer evidence. Just don't forget who is required to prove the case and who isn't. :)

 

 

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

The biggest part of it would be if they had precise control of what point in the past they go to.

 

If I knew I was returning to June 5th, 1987, it would be trivial for me to memorize the major stories on the cover of major newspapers for the next few days.

 

Anyone who is time traveling to the past would realize that there would be some burden of proof on them and they would be prepared for it.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

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.

Yes, but from the TT'er's prospective, proofs would have been shown in 2015, so he would not think to offer them. If he knew the exact date the proofs were evident and that corrisponded to the dates he was traveling to, he should suspect that "he" was "going to be" the source of the proof. Then we are stuck with the (I think it's the right one) "Bootstrap" paradox. Unless, it was someone from "his " future that presented it from it's discovery, in the TT'ers future.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...