A long lost analysis on the merrits of time travel

I was really planning to use this site a little more than I have. That however, has not happened yet. I hope to get around to it soon, but for now, I thought I might post an old paper I wrote several years ago, concerning a couple of very specific philosophical problems related to time-travel.

(Note: I had completely forgotten about this article, and I found it today by a coincident. I know it`s silly and absurd, but I still think it`s good for a little laugh. I must have been pretty damn tired the night I wrote this… Enjoy! 🙂 )

An analysis of hereditary issues in time travel

If a guy traveled back through time to the period just before he was born, and “got together” with a woman who would later turn out to be his mother, would his genes be identical to his mothers?

Huh? WTF?!?!

Again: Say a guy gets to travel back through time (say 20-30 years, so he “arrives” just a few months ahead of his own birth). Incidentally, this guy doesn’t know his biological parents. Also incidentally, he meets a woman in the past whom he becomes rather fond of. Once again “incidentally”, this woman turns out to be his future mother, a fact unknown to either of them. So our hero has a nice time with his girlfriend in the past for a while, then he finally travels back to the future, quite oblivious to the fact that his girlfriend from the past soon (from her point of view) will give birth to a child, who will turn out to be our hero, the time-traveler himself.

Too fantastic to be conceivable you say? Well, lets analyze the situation:

You might claim that this would naturally be impossible (even considering time-travel in itself to be a real possibility), because for the son to become his own father, he would have to have been there already, right? Well guess what: He was!

Your question would be: “How could he go back in time and create himself? If he created himself, he would have to exist before he was created, and this clearly contradicts logic, common sense, and thirteen or fourteen other laws of science, nature, etc., right?”

My answer: “Wrong! In accepting time-travel as a possibility, you must ultimately accept that all events now, in the past, and in the future are already “predefined”. This has to do with faith: what will be will be, and there is nothing you can do to change it. If you try to change something in the past, it will turn out to already be accounted for in the future – in other words – you cant change anything. What will be will be. If this is the case, then do things at different points in time really have to happen in the expected sequence? Or in any specific sequence at all? I don’t think so. The relevant conclusion to our scenario is as follows: When our hero, the time-traveler was born “in the past”, he could do so because he had existed even before this. True, he existed as himself visiting from the future, but he still did exist at that time! Since every event throughout time must be definitely prearranged for time-travel to be possible, there doesn’t seem to be anything that clearly contradicts this seemingly illogical little time-loop.

Now, back to the main point…

What would this guys DNA look like after such an event? Well, consider this math-expression, where M is the mothers DNA, and F is the fathers DNA. T is our time-traveler’s DNA:

T = ( M / 2 ) + ( F / 2 )

Yes, I know this is totally simplistic and unrealistic. Still, it is a fact that T’s DNA is made up of about half of the DNA of each parent. So, let’s take it a step further, and exchange F for another T (the expression above), as he is his own father, after all. This would give:

T = ( M / 2 ) + ( ( M / 2 ) + ( F / 2 ) / 2)

Because his fathers DNA (which is his own) is made up of 50% of his fathers DNA, he can never quite be removed. This “Fathers DNA” however, is always the same, and always only 50% of the “older” generation. Since these “generations” go on eternally however, that part of the DNA becomes infinately small (half of half of half.. and so on infinitely).

As an example for the geeks, lets replace F for T a second time. This would result in:

T = ( M / 2 ) + ( ( M / 2 ) + ( ( M / 2 ) + ( F / 2 ) / 2 ) / 2)

This can be simplified through this…

T = ( M / 2 ) + ( M / 4 ) + ( M / 8 ) + ( F / 8 )

…and this..

T = ( 0.25*M + 0.5*M + M + F) / 8

…to this:

T = 0.21875*M + 0.125*F

Our result indicates that DNA inherited from the mother makes up a greater part of the time-travelers DNA than his fathers. This is after only 2 “generations” of traveling back and transferring his own DNA to himself. However, since this would (sort of) continue in an eternal loop, eventually the mothers DNA would make up
practically all of the time-travelers DNA (His own would be like 1 divided by an infinite number: the result would be infinitely close to zero). This would mean that an infinitely large part of the time-travelers DNA would consist of his mothers DNA, while an infinitely tiny part would consist of “his own DNA” (which again, would consist partly of his own, and partly of his mother’s).

The exception to this rule would have to be the Y-chromosome; this is the part of the human genome (DNA) that defines a human as male or female. And yet again “incidentally“, women do not have a Y chromosome! Where a male has one Y- and one X- chromosome, a woman has two X-chromosomes. This means (at least in the context of this completely meritless and scientifically ridiculously inaccurate paper) that the XY-combination, would probably get “carried on” in each generation, thus keeping our time-traveler within the male half of the Homo Sapiens-population on earth. Other than that however, his DNA would be almost entirely inherited from his mother.

We must thus conclude that our time-travelers genes would be almost entirely identical to that of his mother. This obviously opens a whole range of new questions concerning everything from physics and looks to questions concerning those infamous Mars-and-Venus-situations.

These problems are beyond the scope of this paper however, and should probably be dealt with in one or perhaps several other such papers. This paper has now come to a dismal end, but feel free to contact me with comments, praise, critical rants, or any other form of spam.

A note on the author

Kjartan spent eight years at an unnamed University studying the effects on hamsters of time-travel combined with a heavy intake of chocholate . Over these years, Kjartan would send hundreds of hamsters forwards to a certain point in time after having fed them large amounts of chocolate. Exactly what result this experiment was supposed to achieve is unknown. Furthermore, the project did not seem to shed light on any important new knowledge, nor did it provide any great scientific advances for humankind. As a result of this Kjartan never received the Prof.Rodent degree he was hoping for at the university. He did have a fantastically good time though, one warm spring day of 1997, when an army of around 23000 rather obese hamsters unexpectedly appeared out of thin air and completely ravaged the University.

About kjartanl

Systems Developer working near Bergen, Norway.
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