Hence, this section of the site has been created to host those pages--the spreadsheet example, the two brothers example, and others, so that they can be referenced by those with questions, and not have to be written anew for each interested correspondent.
Click the page title below to reach the page described.
It would be incorrect to say that this is the first coherent explanation of the temporal anomalies theory used in these pages; that honor goes to Appendix 11: Temporal Anomalies in Multiverser: Referee's Rules, the role playing game in which everything is possible. However, this was the first time the fragments of information scattered through the movie analyses here were gathered into one explanation on the web site. It remains the starting point for understanding what some have dubbed the Replacement Theory of Time.
Nova produced a special in which the science behind the wormhole theory of time travel was presented and discussed, and then blurred with the metaphysical views of several scientists who were contradicting each other. This page distinguishes the physics from the metaphysics, and briefly addresses the flaws in the primary contenders for time theory, the Fixed Time Theory and the Parallel Dimensions Theory.
Parallel Dimension Theory takes two major forms and a lot of variants. Either you believe that all the universes already exist, and the time traveler merely moves to another (the primary theory, and the one least abusive to the laws of thermodynamics); or you believe that the arrival of the time traveler at a point in his own past immediately creates a diverging universe whose history has been the same to that point. An examination of two brothers shows why the possibility of diverging or parallel dimensions to which we might be able to travel is completely irrelevant to time travel theory.
In the main, discussion of time in these pages treats it as something in motion; this page suggests for those who have trouble with that perspective that time is more easily understood as something stationary through which we move. By looking at how a spreadsheet program works on a computer, we can see how time might function such that change is both instantaneous and sequential.
Most fixed time stories make the same mistake. In an effort to show how time is unalterable, they create looped chains of events, and fail to recognize that what they have described could never happen--it is contrary to basic rules of causality, as explained in this page.
The Fixed Time theory insists that what didn't happen can't happen, and that if you attempted to create a paradox you would fail. Yet those who advocate this position don't see the absurdity inherent within it.
Upon reading Poul Anderson's collected Time Patrol stories it was evident to me that no established theory of time could account for the stories as he presented them. I began pondering whether there was another way to consider temporal changes, and started working on such a theory. I consider it woefully inadequate and woefully incomplete, but it is a beginning of an idea some of my readers might find intriguing.
Although I receive e-mails frequently, it is rare that I receive thesis papers, and rarer yet that they attempt to present competing ideas in temporal mechanics. Mr. Koshkin forwarded his paper to me, and invited me to share it and respond. My response is linked to his paper as footnotes, as well as organized in the next page listed here.
Although I was impressed by Mr. Koshkin's efforts, I found his theory lacking and his criticisms insufficiently supported. We continued to discuss some of these points privately, but this was my response to his paper. It is linked to sections of his work, and quotes from it.
Shortly after the stint at The Examiner began, the editorial staff recommended writers create a series of introductory articles for their fields, and so Temporal Theory 101 was created. It was originally fourteen installments, and three were added over the year or so thereafter, covering the several theories of time, types of anomalies, identified paradoxes, and commonly discussed rules of time. They have been compiled into one page here, but linked as individual sections on subjects. There are also two sequels, the first covering questions asked by readers, the second written several years later to revisit the issues, offer more detail, and cover a few more common problems in time travel, Temporal Theory 102.
Following the release of Temporal Theory 101 there were quite a few questions, some of which were complicated enough to require their own articles in response. These articles have been compiled and slightly edited into a single page collection, including practical, scientific, and even theological issues.
Over two years it became apparent that the Temporal Theory 101 articles were inadequate in two ways. The first was that some of the answers were not comprehensive enough, leaving significant gaps in the explanations of important issues. The second was that there were important issues excluded from the discussion, points that kept appearing in analyses that linked to other movie articles because the explanation (e.g., of the genetic problem) was not covered in its own piece. This created the opportunity to restate everything in a more orderly fashion, and so became the new set of explanations.