The Things That Pop Into My Head At 3:00 am: Time Travel

So here we are, the whole house is asleep. And this is when the weird shit starts to pop into my head. All the questions of the day that I come up with. So where should I start? Let’s try to make this one kid-friendly. We’ll start with time travel.

The Back to the Future trilogy has always been one of my favorites. But there was one thing in the movie Back to the Future Part 2 that always get's my goat. In the movie, Doc Brown brings Marty to the year 2015 to help get his kids out of trouble.  At the moment Doc and Marty leave for the future, they exit the space-time continuum.  My issue is this: How can Doc and Marty exist in the future if, for that moment, they were not present in the past?

Let’s assume for a second that what we understand to be space-time is continuous; that is, events that occur in the future are determined by events that precede them.  Therefore, a given future event only occurs in its given form because a certain combination of events preceded it in a specific sequence. 

I mean, you can say that Marty’s life might have turned out that way because Doc Brown, a key person in Marty’s life, was gone since he went into the future. But shouldn’t that future that Doc saw have changed when he returned to 1985 to get Marty?

And another thing: Doc changes his looks to look like future Doc. They never say what happened to future Doc. If Marty was so important to Doc, wouldn’t he still have been in his life in 2015?  Or maybe Doc wasn’t in the future because he was outside the timeline? If that is the case, then Marty wouldn’t have been there either.

Well, there is always the Quantum Leap string theory: “A person's life is like a length of string; one end represents birth, the other represents death. If one were to tie the ends of the string together, their life becomes a loop. Next, by balling the loop together, the days in one's life would touch one another out of sequence. Therefore, jumping from one part of the string to another would allow someone to travel back and forth within their own lifetime, thus making a ‘quantum leap’ between each time period.” But that’s a topic for another time.

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