I have been posting in several places about an ongoing theory which attempts to date a possible split in timelines. There are a lot of objectors to this theory, who do not seem to quite understand what I am trying to do. I thought I would produce a series of blogs which set out the underlying arguments, and why I have already dismissed some of these arguments, in posting what I do. The development of the theory is quite complex, and requires patience. It is an attempt to "close off all possibiilities", while being absolutely meticulous about what the assumptions are at each stage.
I make quite a lot of use of "Occam's Razor", which basically says you should not invent explanations for things more than the bare minimum. In other words, if there is a contest between a "simple" , "obvious" explanation which fits the facts, and another one which requires a whole back story of explanations to make your theory fit in with the facts, I opt for the former as being the more probable. In terms of Lost, I think this is quite acceptable. The producers only have a limited amount of time to show you stuff. If there is a whole other "story" to explain, which is not actually necessary, I think they are more likely to go with the simple explanation (or, which is more probable, never considered an alternative). I do accept however, that this is exactly how surprise & irony works. However in building a theory you need to make some assumptions, and this is a fundamental one. Having said that, I do not ignore possible alternatives, I merely sideline them.
If you detect a flaw in my reasoning, please alert me to it. The theory builds up like a tower, and if the foundations are shaky then the whole edifice crumbles.
Setting out the Theory's Major assumptions & the rationale for adopting them
Assumption 1: Up to some point in the past, FST & OT were one. At a Fracture Point, the two timelines separated, and from that point onwards different events have happened in the FST and ther OT.
Rationale for adopting this as an assumption:
FACT: We know that in the FST Nadia is alive, with two children, but is dead in the OT. Whatever else we may or may not know, this single event marks out the FST and OT as being different.
This means that one of two things is the case:
(A) The timelines have been separate since the beginning of time, and some unknown force has been continually monitoring them to keep them 'together', or
(B) The timelines contained exactly common events up until some fracture point, and then the timelines split. After that point they have been separate.
Since there are only two possibilities, if we can show that (A) is false or unreasonable, then we must accept (B).
Reasons for dismissing (A): If the two timelines had been different since the beginning of the universe, then there would have been a lot of opportunities for major differences to occur. For example, Nadia has two children in the FST, but was killed in the OT. Nadia's children will have children, and their children will have children, and so on, and after 30 or 40 generations, their DNA is spread around the globe in their potential 2^40 descendants (approx 1 trillion). This means that it would only have taken one person to be different in the timelines 30 generations ago (about 1000 years), and the entire population of the earth would be different. Clearly this IS an assumption, and the notion of "course correcting" has been prevalent in Lost. However, to 'course correct' for more than a few years would seem to be an extremely difficult task, and would keep a God employed full time, ironing out the kinks. We have also seen thet the two universes clearly do not "course correct" on major events like the existence/non existence of the island, whether Jack has a son, and whether or not someone's father pushes them through a window; however they do appear to 'course correct' on minor things like Locke going walkabout, whether Ethan meets Claire in labour, or whether Ben knows Alex in both timelines.
Conclusion: Although it is not completely certain, the scenario of 'divergent timelines' presents us with fewer things to explain than that of 'separate timelines'. It is therefore a reaonable assumption.
All of the material below is therfore based on the working hypothesis that Up to a fracture point, OT & FST were one, but separated, and followed distict paths afterwards
FACT We know that in the FST there is an island at the bottom of the ocean with a New Otherton, a Dharma Shark & a statue. All these exist in the OT, but are above water.
There are two interpretations of this:
(C) In the FST, the island sank, due to some event in its past.
(D) The island at the bottom of the ocean in the FST is a fake, having been put there by someone else.
Again, there are only two possibilities; dismissing (D), means accepting (C) If the island at the bottom of the ocean is a fake, this implies it was put there for the specific purpose of fooling someone into thinking that the island had been destroyed when it hasn't; i.e. it is a ruse to protect the island. This must have happened in the past at some point. As the island in the OT was protected by way of its invisiblity and movements in space/time, this would mean that the FST Island's protection had been compromised, and this new subterfuge was required to fool people into thinking it no longer existed. Relatively few people had the knowledge of the island in the first place, and even fewer managed to find it, and set foot on it. To hide the island in this way is a mark that whoever is looking for the island is pretty determined, and has knowlege of it. The questions then arises: "Who is the island being hidden from and why?", and "What in the FST is so different that the island needs to be hidden in this manner?", and "Why would anyone who knows enough about the island just "happen" to be looking in the place that the sunken island is?" and "Why, if the people who are looking for the island are so determined, are they likely to be convinced that the island at the bottom is the actual island, and not a fake." This last question is based on the fact that Widmore, who faked the 815 copy crash, made an error with the pilot, which caused Seth Norris to know for certain that the plane crash was a hoax. Last, but by no means least: "If the island at the bottom of the ocean is a fake, where is the real island?".
Conclusion: Again, although this is not completely certain, hypothesis (D) seems untenable.
From this point onwards, this blog will be based on the working hypothesis that In the FST, at some point in its past, the island sunk, whereas in the OT it did not
Conclusions arising from the Major Assumptions
This now presents us with two events:
Event A: The Fracture Point in the Timelines
Event B: The sinking of the island.
Argument: Clearly B cannot precede A. If it were to do so, both islands would have sunk prior to the fracture, and in both timelines the island would be underwater. This is clearly not the case.
We can therefore conclude:
Deduction 1:: The fracture in timelines occurred prior to, or at the same time as the sinking of the island.
Deduction 2: The FST island and the OT island share a common history up to the fracture point. At this point or afterwards, the FST island suffered a catastrophe and sank.
Deduction 3: As the sunken island contains a New Otherton & a shark with a Dharma logo, one of two things is the case: either the timelines had split prior to the first Dharma visits, or they split afterwards. A split before the first Dharma vists would require two islands with two separate histories, one in each timeline. In one of those timelines, the island sinks (FST); in the other, it does not.
Not long after settling on the Island, the DHARMA Initiative fought an armed conflict with a group they called the Hostiles prior to 1973. The reasons for the conflict are not known, though Horace Goodspeed stated that the Hostiles were natives to the Island, implying that a conflict could have arisen from DHARMA moving into their territory or intruding on the Island. On August 15, 1973, DHARMA and the Hostiles agreed to a Truce, and an uneasy peace existed for nearly two decades.
There are therefore two separate options:
Option 1: If the split occurred prior to Dharma, then on the island a parallel development of Dharma occurred.
Option 2: If the split occurs after the first Dharma visits, then all of the documentary evidence for Dharma & its history prior to 1973 will be common to both timelines.
Option 1 is explored in depth in this blog which issues a number of challenges to the 'pre Dharma split theory. All of the challenges require additional explanations and a coherent theory to answer them. As yet, there has been no hint of a separate Dharma timeline; if the split did occur prior to Dharma, an entire slice of Lost history is missing, and will need to be filled in at some point. The producers of the series declared that "the time travelling season is over", so this would have to be through character talk or inference. The simple & obvious explanation here is that the timeline we have seen for Dharma is the same timeline for both the FST & OT. If this explanation is not correct, then the producers have not been pulling the wool over our eyes, and deliberately keeping from us all mention of an alternative Dharma History. While this avenue might be worth exploring at some future date. Therefore, in the analysis below, I used Option 2, that the fracture did not occur prior to Dharma arriving.
This analysis therefore takes as a working hypothesis: The material shown in Lost relating to the Dharma Initiative is a common history to both timelines
This would seem to suggest a minimum date of around 1973 for the split; however the same source notes that "an unidentified man was able to find the location of the Island in the 1960s (well before 1974, when the DI was well-established)". Since we have all the accoutrements of Dharma on the sunken island, we will therefore take a conservative lower estimate for the split date of 1970.
Deduction 4: The Timeline Fracture occurred in 1970 at the earliest.
Furthermore, as the FST plane flies over the sunken island, and we know the date of this is September 2004,
Deduction 5: The Timeline fracture must have occurred prior to September 2004.
CONCLUSIONS THUS FAR
The history of the Flash-Sideways (FST) and Original (OT) Timelines coincided up to a Fracture Point, and after this followed different courses. In one of those courses (FST), the island sank to the bottom of the ocean. In the other course (OT) the Island did not sink. The Fracture occurred sometime between 1970 and 2004