5 Mind-Boggling Paradoxes You Should Know Aboutby Sabera Surovy on Jul 22, 2021
Paradox, I am sure you have heard the word before. But do you know what it is? A paradox is a statement, event, or mostly a question that will seem true and not true at the same time, but ultimately you will never know the right answer. It is like a complex conundrum that will make you rotate in a full circle on and on and on. The most astonishing thing is paradoxes are found in all aspects of life— science, religion, philosophy, politics, you name it. So in this article, we will tell you about 5 mind-boggling paradoxes that you may find fascinating.
5. The Liar Paradox
The Liar Paradox is the most common paradox there is. Because it is simple to describe, many books and websites use the example of The Liar Paradox when explaining the definition of paradox. Now imagine a situation where there are two friends called Jack and John. One of them is lying. But when they are confronted, Jack is saying that whatever John is saying is the truth. John on the other hand is saying that whatever Jack is saying is a lie. Now, who would you believe?
The origin of this paradox is actually from the Bible. The paradox was created when David said, “All men are liars”. Well, David himself is a man. If all men are liars, that makes David a liar too. If David is a liar, then is his statement about all men being liars true?
4. Argument of Free Will Paradox
The Argument of the Free Will paradox is the question of many people. This particular paradox questions the coexistence of free will and omniscience. It is not possible for human beings to be omniscient, but they are considered creatures with their own free will. God, on the other hand, is regarded as an absolute omniscient. This means He knows everything— the past, the present, and the future. He knows what will happen in the very next second. Does not that mean everything is predetermined? If everything is predetermined, are humans really leading their lives by their own free will? Or are they following a predefined plan?
3. Irresistible Force vs Immovable Object Paradox
Scientifically, the coexistence of an irresistible force and an immovable object is impossible. If irresistible force exists, nothing in this world can be immovable. And if an immovable object exists, it can stop any force no matter how strong it is. But for the sake of creating a paradox, we will imagine a situation where both entities exist. Can you imagine what will be the result when an irresistible force hits an immovable object?
What happens exactly? The Joker seems to know the answer though.
2. Twin Paradox
Twin Paradox is taught to university students in real life. This paradox deals with relativity theory, speed of light, and time dilation. To understand this paradox you have to have some basic knowledge about the principle of relativity. First of all, you should know that nothing in this entire universe is absolute. Everything is relative compared to others, even time itself. If you are traveling at a great speed (almost close to the speed of light), you will feel three types of changes. Mass expansion, dimension expansion, and time dilation. If you are traveling quicker, time will pass slower for you. That is why a moving clock ticks slower.
Now imagine, Rose and Jane are identical sisters. Rose one day decided to travel to outer space by a high-speed rocket. After 15 years of traveling, Rose came back to earth and found that Jane is much older than her. But the paradox, in this case, this, the age difference can be the other way around too.
As I have said before, nothing is absolute in this universe, for the sake of the theory we have considered that the earth is the still frame. But it is not wrong for Rose to demand that she was still one and Jane along with the universe traveled away from her. Both of the sisters saw each other moving. So who will actually be the older one between the twins?
1. The Bootstrap Paradox
Now this one is my personal favorite. Before explaining the paradox, let me tell you the history behind it. The creator of this paradox is Robert A. Heinlein, The Dean of Science Fiction Writers. He was one of the first few writers that wrote hard sci-fi novels. (Hard science fiction is the books that are based on actual scientific facts).
The name Bootstrap came from one of his books By His Bootstraps. The theory of this paradox is that a causal time loop (just a simple time loop, not a loop inside another loop or tangled with another loop) can modify a piece of information or an object in such a way that it will have existence but not an origin.
The term bootstrap in the novel is a reference to time travel or casual time loop. You cannot lift yourself up by pulling your own bootstrap. Let’s be honest, no one can lift themselves by pulling their own feet. It will be only possible if another self of yours, travels from a different time, comes to your current time, and lift yourself up by pulling your bootstrap.
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About The Author
Khulna University of Engineering and Technology
Bachelor of Engineering (BEng),
Industrial Engineering 2017-2021
"Psycho-trillers and paradoxes are my jam. I spend my free time watching true crime documentaries."