Wednesday, November 25, 2009

WNW: You Know It Works Because It Already Has

Ten points to whomever spots the flaw in this logic.

Other than that, though, it's a fun little presentation.


  1. Jeez. I have looked at this presentation 5 times, and cannot figure out the flaw. Maybe the whole thing is a flaw from the beginning. I mean, the chicken in the egg simply cannot be the same chicken who layed it. Preposterous.

  2. Well spotted, Mister Grimm. Yes, the flaw in this otherwise perfect presentation is that it is physically impossible to be one's own mother due to the division of chromosomes.

    Now if it's a species that engages in cloning (microorganisms, insects, etc) then that's fine and plausible. But certainly not for chickens.

  3. It would however be possible (but hiiiighly unlikely) to send two chickens (male&female) back in time to be their own father&mother.

    The chance of the chromosomes creating 2 chickens with the exact same DNA profile is...astronomical. But possible.

  4. THE flaw? There's a lot more than one. But yes, the big one is definitely the neglect of the cock. What you'd end up with is an iteration of chickens that trended towards the DNA of the father.

    You could, of course, have some sort of setup where there is a male and female chicken in the present that produce an egg, and if the egg produces a male, it mates with the female and if it produces a female it mates with the male, and then the back-to-the-future chicken hovers between father and mother (except when there's a mutation - which, I guess we can rule out because of some sort of causality clause).

    But the real problem is that time travel simply isn't possible in any conventional sense. Time isn't some river you can jump in and out of. Objects have a certain composite makeup, and that makeup undergoes physical and chemical change.

    Take a piece of paper. You can tear that paper. This paper has "gone forward in time" transitioning from an unripped state to a ripped state. If you wanted to "go back in time" with the paper, you would have to seal the rip back up again. Then, all else being equal, the paper would be as it was in a previous point in time. Likewise, you could burn the paper - binding oxygen to the carbon composite that it original started as. Then you convert a very small amount of matter to energy while releasing a gas and producing an oxydized burnt-paper byproduct. "Going back in time" would involve rebinding the energy into matter, breaking the oxygen-carbon bonds, recapturing the emitted fumes, and restoring the paper to a normal state.


    That's what's wrong with this little conjecture on time travel. The guy wants to "send an egg back in time", but what he really wants to do is undo every single physical and chemical change in the area. He wants to unburn and untear every piece of paper.

    It can't be done. You're in blatant violation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics.


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