Saturday, May 07, 2005

Time Travel, UFOs & the Media

There I was, sitting with my lunch reading today's National Post (one of Canada's two national newspapers).

I turned first, as I almost always do, to the Editorial page.

What did I find? Well, the two editorials were "India belongs on the Security Council" and "Time to end 'racist' name calling," both of which were eminently sensible. Then there was a column by political writer Andrew Coyne, "The best friends money can buy," about how Canada's ruling Liberal Party pretty much bribes its way to power (alas, sadly true).

But it was the fourth piece that really caught my eye. In the "Informed Sources" section was an article titled "Calling all time travelers." It was an edited transcript from the promotional web site for the Time Traveler Convention being held today on the MIT campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Now, to be fair, the Post did describe it as an "unusual" conference, which indicates that the editorial staff may not be ready to endorse the concept of time travel just yet.

But there it was, nonetheless - on the main editorial page of one of Canada's two national newspapers.

I thought immediately of the recent X-Conference, which had NOT appeared on the Post's editorial page, or anywhere else for that matter. As far as I know, not a peep about it was uttered in the mainstream press up here, and probably not much south of the border either.

Of course, the UFO phenomenon in general gets very little press coverage these days, at least in the mainstream media.

Why is that, I wonder?

The answer can be seen by comparing the roster of speakers for the MIT conference (which can be viewed at, all serious academics, with the roster at your average UFO conference. Or try the venue - one of the country's major universities, as compared to the local Hilton hotel.

'Nuff said.

It says something about the state of ufology, and the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis in particular, that time travel can get the press coverage, and some serious academic attention and action, and UFOs cannot.

This should be a cause for some major soul searching within the ranks of ufology.

Instead, I predict the response will be to blame the media, or accuse it of being part of the government cover-up / Cosmic Watergate / Conspiracy of Silence.

Of course, if you want to know more about time travel and the MIT conference, you could also have tuned into the Today Show on NBC yesterday. It seems they got some play there, too.

Paul Kimball


Jim Deardorff said...

There's been a recent theoretical development in time-travel speculation, by a Prof. Dan Greenberger of CCNY. See

He notes that from quantum mechanical considerations, you cannot go back in time and then make some changes that would change the future from which you embarked on your time-travel trip. Thus the scenarios in the Michael Fox "Back to the Future" movies are not realistic.

The article leaves it unclear whether Greenberger meant that one simply is unable to make any significant changes whatsoever, when back in time, or that any changes one makes then do indeed propagate on into the future and were already existent then when you embarked on your time-travel trip. I favor the latter interpretation, though it's rather mind-boggling. Either way, the "grandfather paradox" does not then occur.

Thus any ETs from Earth's future traveling back to our time would not be able to make any changes that would affect the future world in which they live, because if they did, those changes would already have been present when they departed, so nothing would be any different.

Paul Kimball said...


The key word here is "speculation," as at this point (in time, as it were), that is all we can do.

However, I do agree with you that the most sensible concept seems to be that which states that time travellers (whether ET, or human) could not alter the future - which means that Zefram Cochrane should be safe from those nasty Borg!

Thanks for stopping by.