Paradox Argument

For the discussion of the sciences. Physics problems, chemistry equations, biology weirdness, it all goes here.

Moderators: gmalivuk, Moderators General, Prelates

jimmus mcbobbus
Posts: 8
Joined: Sat May 24, 2008 9:42 pm UTC

Paradox Argument

Postby jimmus mcbobbus » Sat May 24, 2008 9:47 pm UTC

Me and a friend were having an argument about a potential paradox. I kind of made it up (probably similiar to something else) but he says its wrong etc etc. I'm wondering what you think. Okay, here goes:

I have a device that can monitor the temperature of the device three minutes in the future.
If the device detects heat, it responds by increasing the heat being emitted by a heater mounted on it.
It is a hypothetical device that no heat can enter whatsoever from any other source.

Right, what happens to the device.
There are two logical answers: 1 is that it detects a heat increase therefore heats up and creates the heat increase and 2 it does not create a heat increase therefore it does not increase the heat.
Is this a paradox? Or is there some major law i've over looked.

Robin S
Posts: 3579
Joined: Wed Jun 27, 2007 7:02 pm UTC
Location: London, UK
Contact:

Re: Paradox Argument

Postby Robin S » Sat May 24, 2008 10:34 pm UTC

This is a predestination paradox, a problem with certain models of time travel. There's plenty of information in that article.
This is a placeholder until I think of something more creative to put here.

User avatar
seladore
Posts: 586
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2008 8:17 pm UTC
Location: Tumbolia

Re: Paradox Argument

Postby seladore » Sat May 24, 2008 10:38 pm UTC

Surely this would need to work the opposite way round to be an actual paradox?

E.g., the device heats itself if it doesn't detect heat in its future.
And if it does detect heat in its future, then it doesn't heat itself.


EDIT: actually, it might be a paradox as it is, I'm not sure. It seems fine if you don't worry to much about causality.
Last edited by seladore on Sat May 24, 2008 10:44 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

Mettra
Posts: 96
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2008 1:37 am UTC

Re: Paradox Argument

Postby Mettra » Sat May 24, 2008 10:40 pm UTC

jimmus mcbobbus wrote:I have a device that can monitor the temperature of the device three minutes in the future.


This is an impossible mechanism so it belongs probably in the logic or math forum instead of the physics forum. I don't see any paradox in play. If the detector measures heat, and heat cannot enter the system any way except by an internal heater, the internal heater must activate in order to satisfy the laws of the universe you have created.
zenten wrote:Maybe I can find a colouring book to explain it to you or something.

Robin S
Posts: 3579
Joined: Wed Jun 27, 2007 7:02 pm UTC
Location: London, UK
Contact:

Re: Paradox Argument

Postby Robin S » Sat May 24, 2008 10:44 pm UTC

seladore wrote:Surely this would need to work the opposite way round to be an actual paradox?
I assumed the concern over a paradox covered the possible situation where the machine did work the other way round - "surely if it can do one, it can do the other?"
This is a placeholder until I think of something more creative to put here.

Mettra
Posts: 96
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2008 1:37 am UTC

Re: Paradox Argument

Postby Mettra » Sat May 24, 2008 10:48 pm UTC

I made assumptions as well, specifically that such a device is impossible/nonsensical so that it must exist in a place with different laws of physics. Therefore, one would assume this place has some form of relativity where the laws are uniform throughout the universe such that this behavior would be considered logical. This is the thought process that was provoked when the OP said 'logical answers'.
zenten wrote:Maybe I can find a colouring book to explain it to you or something.

jimmus mcbobbus
Posts: 8
Joined: Sat May 24, 2008 9:42 pm UTC

Re: Paradox Argument

Postby jimmus mcbobbus » Sun May 25, 2008 7:47 am UTC

Why is this device impossible? I know that it is a theoretical device, but I do not know why it is not possible. (If i have made some huge relativistic faux pas, I apologize.)
And yes, this probably would have been better to be made in the logic forums, my bad.

Mettra
Posts: 96
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2008 1:37 am UTC

Re: Paradox Argument

Postby Mettra » Sun May 25, 2008 2:09 pm UTC

If you can detect something in the future, you can probably use a high-accuracy detector to violate the Heisenberg uncertainty principle.

Also, relativistically, there is no frame of reference for which the detected event will be in the past if the frame of reference is close enough to contact you before the event happens.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light_cone
zenten wrote:Maybe I can find a colouring book to explain it to you or something.


Return to “Science”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 11 guests