By now you have likely read about William Taylor, a man who claims that the British government conducted time-travel experiments on him and sent him for a few hours to see the world of the year 8973. As reported by the Inquisitr, William claimed that society 6,000 years into the future is a “delightful utopia.” And while it’s easy to discount the man’s story for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that time travel violates the laws of physics as we know them, Taylor backed up his claims by passing a lie-detector (or polygraph) test.
That’s pretty compelling evidence that he’s telling the truth, right?
Except it isn’t. Polygraphs tests are ridiculously easy to beat, a National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower tells U.S. News and World Report.
Russel Tice spent two decades in the surveillance and spying industry, and his job required him to take at least a dozen polygraph tests over the course of his career. He claims the spy agency does so as a means of intimidating employees, as well as using them to extract information from them that their superiors can then use to blackmail them, should the need ever arise.
And if you know how a polygraph machine works, then you can beat it.
The way a polygraph works is this: the tester will ask the testee a series of questions – 10 or so, while machines record your heart rate, blood pressure, and other metrics. Some of the questions will be “control” questions, for which you’ll likely tell the truth. The others are the questions that the tester is trying to get to the bottom of; if you lie on these, your results will be different from those of your control results. In theory, anyway.
In practice, all you have to do is lie on the control questions and the results will be meaningless. Better yet, bite your tongue, hard, when you’re asked control questions. The needles will fly off the charts, says Tice. And, when you’re asked the questions intended to catch you in a lie, he says, try to daydream to calm your nerves.
“Think of a warm summer night… or drinking a beer, whatever calms you. You’re throwing them off. The needle might nip a little [because you’re lying], but not off the charts.”
At this point, two things need to be made clear. First, the Inquisitr is most certainly not encouraging you to try to beat a lie-detector test, should you ever be required to take one. By all means get advice from a lawyer before submitting to a polygraph test. Second, the Mythbusters tried these very techniques to beat a lie-detector test, and as The Discovery Channel makes clear, their results were inconclusive (they deemed the myth that you could beat a lie-detector test “plausible”).
So the bottom line is this: William Taylor may have been able to pass a lie-detector test, but that is hardly conclusive proof that his a time traveler from six thousand years in the future.