Aristotle and Time Travel…

It does not seem to require that much space be devoted to the answer – not that it could not be done, but simply because Aristotle’s view, so far as I understand, has no room for the possibility.

That is to say, according to Aristotle’s view of time itself, there is the obvious and direct correlation it has with/to time-travel. If the past does not exist, and the future does not exist, then it follows that there is nowhere to travel. Of course, this depends more heavily on Aristotle’s defense (or argument for) what has come to be known as the “A-theory” of time (or some form of presentism). Which, again, has a direct correlation on the possibility of just where one could or could not travel.

However, having said as much, it seems that even Aristotle’s view does not necessarily rule out the metaphysical possibility (which was his concern) of what is called “time dilation” or “natural time travel.” That is, that sense of time travel that allows for the possibility to travel only into the future as a result of the initial observer traveling at a galactic rate of speed, whilst all else (say the earth and its inhabitants for simplicity sake) travels at its normal rate. The result that the effects of time (so far as I understand it) are “slowed” upon the initial observer (the one traveling at the galactic rate of speed) so that at his return, he/she is not “going to some abstract future place, per se,” but has, in effect, seriously slowed the effects of the time upon his/her person – so that when he/she “arrives” back at earth, time has “marched along” at its “normal” pace giving the initial observer the chance to have outlasted what would have been decades and/or centuries. It seems to me that this is exactly what the old ‘Planet of the Apes’ movie of the 70’s employed with Charlton Heston, at the conclusion, coming to realize that he and his comrades had travelled at galactic speeds through space which actually allowed them to “outlast” hundreds of years on earth, only to return and realize that Man had “destroyed himself” allowing evolution to take over with the primates rising to rule….

Is There A Conflict Between Science and Religion?

It depends.

It depends upon what one believes science is supposed to do (and if one views science to be truth-telling or simply pragmatic; and it also depends upon which religion is being discussed.

For the moment, let us assume that science is not merely concerned with a pragmatic approach, but that science is capable of bringing one closer to the truth of the way in which things are.

Now, from the Christian faith perspective, there ought be no discord at all between what science finds to be true, and what the Christian faith declares to be true – as, of course, both are actually trying to describe reality as it really is. On this view, it is obviously clear that, in principle, there may be not be any discord between the two – so long as the two are in agreement . This qualification, then, is also why we see that it is possible, in principle, for there to be “conflict.” For instance, if the Scriptures were to declare that the universe began at some point in time (which it does), and science were to affirm that the universe is eternal (which it did for some time) then one readily notices a conflict between the two. Again, this is only possible if both the religion in question and science are both making objective claims concerning reality as it really is. At this point, it should be said that, in principle, if both are making accurate claims concerning the way in which reality is, then there should be no conflict at all – and if there is, then the theologian is mistaken in his interpretation of the scripture, or the scientist is mistaken in his interpretation of his own data. The point being that if God has written both the book of nature and the book of Scripture, then it is an impossibility for a true conflict to arise.

Now, at this point, we must return to the first statement that was made: What if the view of science, again, is supposedly bringing one closer to the truth of the way reality actually is and a major faith system/religion claims that “reality” is merely an illusion, such as Buddhism, Hinduism, and many ‘New Age’ systems? I believe that one would be very hard-pressed to deny that a conflict is present between the two systems – seeing as to how both are apparently trying to describe reality. It would seem that the best “science” could do in this comparison is reduce itself to merely the pragmatic (though all of this an illusion, our theories, medicines, etc. still “work” within the illusion), but must drop the claim that science is discovering, or explaining the nature of reality. However, on the other hand, if the scientist is attaining the truth of the way reality actually is, then the belief of the Hindu, Buddhist, or “New Ager,” is just simply false – reality, as such, is not an illusion – pathogens, germs, and speeding bullets are deadly whether you believe them to be “non-real” or not. Meaning that, in principle, one could never ‘overcome’ them by ‘attuning oneself’ to their ‘non-real’ status. I would be willing to say that this is somewhat of a conflict.

Obviously, much more could be said if only by going back to the initial statement itself and making another comparison: But what if, as some scientists believe, ‘science’ does not claim to describe and evaluate reality as it is but claims instead that, science is only that which works, while it is up to philosophy and religion to decide what reality actually is? But let us leave this comparison for now and go back to make a last point on the comparison that both science and religion – specifically the Christian religion – are trying to describe reality as it actually is. It would seem that, if this to be the case, and to make a final point, the unmasked conflict is actually between science and an imported naturalistic framework, as opposed to Christian religion, as such.

In conclusion, there ought not be a conflict between the Christian religion and science – if, fundamentally, 1) both are claiming to describe reality as it is and 2) both are correct in their interpretations of the available evidence/data, whether it be Scriptural or natural.

But, there is actually a terrible conflict between a science that declares itself capable of bringing one closer to the truth of the way in which things are and the pure forms of the religions of Buddhism, Hinduism, and New Age belief systems that claim our understanding of reality to be “illusory.”