I have a problem with the infamous Twins Paradox, and I’m hoping that if I talk you through the logic of it how I see it, you might agree it makes little sense…
The idea as we are given it is that if one twin accelerates at near the speed of light while the other twin is stationary, when the speedy twin comes home he will be younger than the twin who was stationary.
But he *wouldn’t* be!
Let’s call the speedy twin A, and the stationary one B. If twin A is going fast enough then time will slow down for him, as we know. We also know that twin B is going through time at the normal rate.
Now here’s the catch. If twin A has been going through time more slowly, he will come home in the *past* of twin B! The *past*!
Now I don’t know the precise calculations, but I suspect it might work out just enough to cancel out the time dilation, because twin A, though having aged more slowly, will come back in the past of twin B when he was also younger, perhaps the same age as twin A.
Am I being followed by anyone so far?
The problem with this theory is that time dilation has been proved. They sent a plane up with a very precise atomic clock, brought it back again, and found it out of synch with a previous in-synch clock on earth. So let’s reverse everything I’ve said so far…
The big question is how and/or when twin B becomes aware of twin A’s return. Obviously twin B perceives itself to be in the ‘present’. However, twin A also considers itself to be in the ‘present’.
Can it be that twin A can perceive itself as in the present when that present is in the past of twin B? That there can be multiple ‘presents’ at different moments in time?
For me, the way to explain this all a bit better is to change the way we think of time. If you imagine time as passing in finite ‘ticks’, the problem with time dilation can be made to go away.
You would then say that over a period of ten minutes (for example), twin A who is travelling at speed has fewer ticks of time than twin B who is stationary. Thus A would have experienced less change than B, BUT, most importantly, would still be in the same moment in time. So it is NOT that time moves more slowly for an object moving at near the speed of light, it is instead that the object experiences less passage of time, or less change.
What this also means is that there is a kind of ‘master time’ – we DO all exist in the very same moment of time. Thus there are effectively two forms of time – one as the present moment and the other as a rate-of-change. The master time does not dilate or warp or stretch or vary in any way, only your rate-of-change dilates.
How about now – any followed me *this* far?! I hope so!
There’s still the old relativity issue. Relativity says that either twin, A or B, can consider themselves to be in motion and the other to be at rest. I don’t get that bit, because those atomic clocks in the real experiment showed that only one of them had gone slower in time, and it was the moving one. If the stationary one could relativistically decide itself to be moving fast and thus slower through time, then why wasn’t IT a few nano-seconds slower than the other?