Monday, October 02, 2006

Butterflies and Hurricanes

"Quantum uncertainty never causes a lawnmower without gas to start." - Scott Adams

In another of Scott Adams' recent blog entries, he has continued his idea regarding moist robots, and has responded to the commenters, saying that quantum uncertainty may provide some amount of unpredictability or randomness, but doesn't generally bubble up to the surface in any practical way.

An understanding of chaos theory and butterfly effects quickly destroys this reasoning. Chaos theory essentially states that because there are so many complex and chaotic systems running the world we live in, a change as minute as picking orange juice over apple juice could alter the fate of the planet. By extension, an electron going one way rather than the other could ultimately create havoc on a widespread scale. For example, if a highly compact computer circuit had some electrons mysteriously jump from one place to another, and this had an effect on the data, the data could create a small error, which in turn somehow causes a larger error, which then makes someones day change, which then makes their life change, which continues to snowball until many things about the whole world be radically different.

While these things are impossible to prevent, they do happen all the time. An old rhyme speaks of the matter:

"For want of a nail, the shoe was lost;
For want of the shoe, the horse was lost;
For want of the horse, the rider was lost;
For want of the rider, the battle was lost;
For want of the battle, the kingdom was lost;
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail."

It can be argued that another horse may have been able to take the palce of the lost one, yet sometimes there is no backup. Other times there are backups, as we've seen when an Hitler-type person (that is, one many people dislike due to their leadership decisions) is killed, but is replaced by someone with similar qualities. Sometimes important things are replaced in this way. Other times, they are not, as we see with the classic film It's a Wonderful Life. In this film, George Bailey wishes he had never been born, and he is allowed to see what his town would be like if his wish were granted, and the town was very different indeed. Some people he knew were dead because of his absence, and others were poor, or sad, or richer. Clearly, there was no suitable replacement for George Bailey. Of course, It's a Wonderful Life is a poor example of chaos theory and butterfly effects, it does illustrate some parts of it.

It is my belief that the laws of the universe determine how many things go, although they are not predictable by us due to the Heisenberg Uncertainty and randomness from quantum things.

It is the creation of these quantum items which allows certain understandings of God to make sense.


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