Time Travel: Conspiracy or Real?

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Grace McClung and Nina Dorighi, Journalists

Time travel: the science fiction phenomenon that has created countless theories about our existence on earth and expanded the boundary of possibility. For most, the idea of time travel only exists in the imagination of hollywood writers and conspiracists. But there are questions about whether it’s scientifically possible and what effect it would have on our earth. 

When a lot of people think of time travel they associate it with a secret government project and think of a portal that once you enter, takes you back in time or to a timestamp. This depiction of time travel is due to the portrayal of time travel in movies and media. Whether it be present in a comedy with movies like Hot Tub Time Machine, or taken seriously in movies like Interstellar, the concept of time travel has made its way around Hollywood. Aside from its plot driving ability, time travel in media has helped influence the public’s perception. When you watch movies like Back to the Future and Arrival, you can’t help but wonder about the accuracy. These movies prompt viewers to ask questions about what would happen which leads to the creation of conspiracy theories. 

When it comes to time travel, there is a plethora of conspiracy theories. Some are shockingly believable with explanations for everything. Others are made for entertainment and don’t hold much substance. One of the most popular ones involves government secrecy. According to conspiracists, the government found a way to make time travel possible and has been using it for years without the public’s knowledge. This was done, they say, to protect the public from a widespread panic that would undoubtedly occur.  Andrew Basiago, a self proclaimed time traveler explained in an interview with BBC that the CIA developed 8 modalities of time travel before 1970. He also claimed he was drafted into the program as a young child and has gone back in time to witness Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, the Crucification of Jesus, and Lincoln’s assassination. As expected, not many believe that Basiago’s story holds much truth. When religion was brought into the argument, it was a lot harder to believe because there are so many different religions that would disagree with his account. 

A similar story was told by another self proclaimed time traveler Michael Phillips. He posted an eerie video on youtube in 2018 explaining a government coverup and predicting future events. However, his story has even less substance than Basiago’s because he made false predictions; he predicted that a short nuclear war in 2019 would kill Kim Jong Un, for example. Obviously, that never happened. So while Phillips’ video is entertaining, it doesn’t qualify as scientific proof. Many other conspiracy theories serve the same purpose; they are solely made to entertain or voice political opinions. Take, for instance, the theory about Great Thumberg. A photo was posted online with a caption: Great Thumberg in the Yukon Gold Era – Time Traveler? Obviously, Photoshop is not too hard to use and this was done to stir the pot of already complex theories about famous leaders and celebrities. 

Another interesting theory revolves around the Simpsons. According to multiple sources, many episodes have predicted events correctly such as Trump’s election and Lady Gaga’s performance at the 2017 super bowl. However, it is important to note that events like these can be easily predicted due to the hype that surrounds them. The influence of the media gave the Simpson producers comedic ideas for the show, so the theory that they are time travelers is a stretch. 

So the question is, would time travel theoretically work? According to Gary T. Horowitz, physics professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara, “it is not obviously ruled out by our current laws of nature. Recent investigations into this question have provided some evidence that the answer is no, but it has not yet been proven to be impossible.”  Stephen Hawking formulated a “Chronology Protection Conjecture,” which states that the laws of nature prevent the creation of a time machine. However, according to Horowitz “a round trip to the center of our galaxy and back to the earth–a distance of some 60,000 light-years–could be completed in only a little more than 40 years of ship time. Upon arriving back at the earth, the astronaut would be only 40 years older, while 60,000 years would have passed on the earth.” This is only theoretical and doesn’t account for the numerous engineering and mechanical challenges. And technically, considering time zones, time travel is possible, although its the travel through our created perception of time, not time itself. Not all scientists believe actual time travel is possible and many believe even if it was, it would be fatal to a human choosing to do it.  Even if it did exist would it be a good idea? According to student Cathrine Yow, “No. Because the way time works is like if you go back in time and then, like the butterfly effect is too strong for time travel to work. If you do one small thing, the repercussions can be giant. Even if it was possible, it wouldn’t be a good thing for anything.” She says, “The universe has a plan ….let’s not screw it up.” 

 

There are a lot of varying views on the existence of time travel, if it would be beneficial and the logistics of the concept. However there is no way to know the truth. For us we cannot state whether it’s possible or not because there’s not enough information and there’s too much hypothetical reasoning when theorizing. If it is possible, we personally believe it should not be done. Interfering with time itself could have catastrophic consequences that none of us know how to deal with. So for now, time travel is good for entertainment and speculation, and that’s all it needs to be.