Terminating the Time Travel Veracity of 'The Terminator'

I return to the cinematic franchise that sparked my career in time travel research, just in time for its latest iteration...

The latest offering from the Terminator franchise is just about to bow October 31st. It was the first Terminator sequel—Terminator 2: Judgement Day that got me interested in looking at the viability of time travel—back in the early 90s. I determined then that the only solution for a viable model for time travel to the past would be in fact, parallel universes. This is prior to my even knowing that there was a scientific construct for such things. I was a shear novice at the time, merely speculating on a problem that I saw needed solving. Now, I'm a temporal mechanic, someone who studies the physical nature of time, as well as the discoverer of the proof parallel universes, as described by the Everett Relative State Interpretation of quantum physics. So I'm going to take this opportunity to deal with the time travel issues that have been inherent in the Terminator franchise, since it eventually became the reason that I started to research time travel science and parallel universes.

The timing of this latest release couldn't be more timely. Terminator: Dark Fate comes in the wake of actual progress in the research and development of time travel. More on that later.

The first problem with Terminator time travel is the very premise of the film, something that anyone who actually knows real time travel science would laugh at immediately—the idea that intelligent machines would send one of their own to the past to prevent a subsequent future event from happening. Only if these machines had only access to the theories of Einstein and theoretical relativity—in regards to time travel physics, would such a scenario have taken place. Why? Because of the obvious reason that you can't go back in time to change the past in order for that change to effect the future you're from. Why? Because the real science says that all actions to change a past event, either from so-called retro-causal experiments, to full out time travel, result in a new, parallel universe copy of either the present with a different past or of the past as the new present. All of these events are what is called, discontinuous, which means that they will have no effect at all on the time period where the cause emanated from. So no grandfather paradoxes, closed time loops, etc, except in bad science fiction or bad interpretations of time travel science.

Speaking of bad time travel science, I notice that Cal Tech's Sean Carroll was the consultant to Terminator: Genisys and in a number of interviews he shows that, at least at that time, he wasn't a member of the new, true science of time travel club. Stating in Terminator: Genisys Science Consultant Calls Terminator Time Travel a 'Horrible Mess', for OuterPlaces.com, "Einstein taught us that time and space are both part of one four-dimensional thing called spacetime. So in general relativity, which is Einstein's theory of spacetime, if you want to go backwards in time, you just move through spacetime in a particularly curvy way, so that your path takes you to a point before you left. But there's no part in physics that says I can just disappear and reappear somewhere else. There's nothing even remotely respectable about that."

But of course, the caveat is what Carroll's describing is time travel within Einstein's general theory of relativity which, for those of us that know true time travel science, is a 'no-go' solution. What I call the new, true time travel science (as I presented this year at the Silicon Valley Comic Con) focuses on solutions from quantum mechanics and information theory—not anything from Einstein—who didn't even like the idea of time travel to the past. Furthermore, as Carroll says that, "There's nothing even remotely respectable about that," I would mimic Michio Kaku and say, "Not so fast!", since things disappear and reappear elsewhere all the time in quantum mechanics. It's called quantum tunneling. In fact, in a 2018 BBC article, "We Can Build a Real Time Machine," Peter Turok of Canada's Perimeter Institute, stated, "I think it's clear to me that there is some probability of us going backwards in time...In quantum physics, nothing is impossible—particles travel through walls!"

Of course, in the Terminator films, we see both humans and Terminators time traveling via highly dense, electromagnetic bubbles while nude, which makes no sense, however, oddly enough, the bubbles do. I can't go into the minute, technical detail that I'm clearly capable of, due to my voluntary compliance with US Code 35, Chapter 17, segment 181—which prevents the revelation of technological ideas that would be a threat to National Security, but essentially the bubbles perform the role of providing isolation of the exterior environment from the interior one with the time travelers who, thus contained, are either translated to new parallel universe copy of the past or rotated through hyperspace to arrive at their destination. The hyperspace explanation is determined by the method of travel utilizing a brute force approach—based on what that bubble is doing, while the translation explanation is strictly a quantum mechanical operation. This is not the way the Terminator franchise describes what's happening—they don't explain it, but as an advanced concept R&D engineer, I can look at what is depicted and run it through my knowledge base of highly exotic, theoretical physics, and make a good guess.

So, as chance would have it (or is it predestination?), the research into time travel has matured, started in 1992 by Yakir Aharonov as reported in Discover, followed by Rainer Plaga's 1995 proposal for detecting parallel universes from the Everett Relative State Interpretation, followed by the 2007 mathematical verification of the parallel universes model by David Deutsch, David Wallace and Simon Saunders of Oxford as cited by the Telegraph's Roger Highfield and the 2010 demonstration of a macroscopic object placed in a superpositional state by a group led by UC Santa Barbara's Andrew Cleland and capped off by my own work linking retrocausal delayed choice experiments with the nature of time and parallel universes via the participatory universe model of Princeton's John Archibald Wheeler. What does it all mean? It means that time travel to the past is one step away from becoming operational, that's what it means—but based on the new true science of time travel and not Einstein's relativity or anything you see in Terminator films.

So it wouldn't matter how many Terminators the machines sent back—all of their machines sent to kill John Conner, and ensure the victory of the machines in the future, would fail to change the future they were from—even if they were able to terminate their targets. They would return home and nothing would've changed, that is if they were capable of going back to the exact version of the future that they came from which, although possible, is no mean trick. It would imply that they have an understanding of temporal mechanics that would be in stark contrast to their stated mission. The only way to stop John Conner is in their own time period in the future, where clearly they're having a rough time of it or they wouldn't need to send Terminators back to the past to begin with.

Which brings us back to my original premise, that the Terminator franchise essentially makes no sense. However, that hasn't stopped some people from trying to make order of it all, even if it requires the use of alternate timelines, inaccurately utilized—at least from a scientific point of view. The best one of these, that I've seen so far, is that by the Youtube personality, Invisible Man, who tries his best to give a thorough explanation of the various timelines flowing through the Terminator movies. After watching it once, believe me, I can feel his pain and maybe you can too.

fact or fiction
Marshall Barnes
Marshall Barnes
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Marshall Barnes

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