Which Universe Is The Best One?By
Science fiction has a field day inventing plots with alternate universes. The terribly written show Sliders did this in the 1990’s (I couldn’t watch beyond 3 episodes, the writing was so weak) and the better scribed but not superb Fringe explores this now. Sliders embraced the concept of an infinite number of alternate universes. Fringe practices the “keep it simple, stupid” mantra, pulling any science it can from dubious Wikipedia articles, and limits the number of universes to two.
I first remember encountering the alternate universe concept in 1987 when I read the book Timescape. A scientist from 1962 receives interference signals from 1998, warning the past of impending ecological disaster. The scientist from 1962 acts on these findings and changes the future. His 1998 will wind up very differently from the 1998 sending back the messages. That the messages were sent from somewhere means that there are at least two universes; and if there can be two universes based on group choices, there can be an infinite number based on an infinite number of choices made by the billions of people occupying this planet.
Alternative universes offer an explanation for the infamous Grandfather Paradox. If I am able to journey back in time and murder by grand daddy, how then can I be born? Well, I can’t — not on that timeline. By killing my grandfather, I’ve created an alternate universe in which my father could never be born to ever marry mother. The original universe, the one in which I was born, continues to exist in parallel with the alternate one(s).
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