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Ignore me if this has indeed been discussed many times before; but most people seem to be assuming that the alt timeline (if it was presumably caused by jughead) split from the original timeline in 1977. But if the alt timeline is a result of the losties never coming to the island (because Jughead cancelled out the anomoly and stopped it from pulling their plane down 27 years later), then history isn't just different from 1977, but as far back as atleast the 1950s, as they travelled back to the 50s in one of their many leaps.
So how does the alternate timeline work. Did it start the instant before the losties arrived in the 1950s and everything from that point is different across both timelines? Did it start the instant Juliet detonated Jughead? Or when they arrived in the 1970s? If it started from the instant jughead detonated then Original Jack and Saywer and co where actually also in the alternate time line for sometime in the 70s. Interesting...
If time is different from the 50s onwards then there was no Faraday to advise the others on what to do with Jughead. Richard would never have gone looking for baby Locke etc.
The way i see it is that the original timeline only exists because of a paradox, the losties are only there because they eventually travel back in time and caused the chain of events that result in them being there (Donnie Darko anyone?), but this may be irrelivat. I see the alt timeline as Juliet detonated Jughead the new timeline began from the instant the losties would have appeared in the 1950s. OR, even crazier, the instant they would have appeared in the distant past when they briefly saw the statue still standing. Anything from that point may have been different. Butterflies and hurracanes innit...