"The Clockwork Universe in Chaos"

BTG Issue: 
March/April 1991 | Vol. 25. No. 2
Perspectives on MIT mathematician and meteorologist Edward Lorenz's chaos theory offer "new ways of looking at the question of God's ability to act within the framework of physical laws."

"Could [a] hurricane's change in course have been caused by the altered flight of a butterfly? According to Edward N. Lorenz ... the answer is yes. Computer simulations Lorenz has carried out suggest that the flow of air in the atmosphere may display the property of 'exponential instability.' ... This, says Lorenz, makes short-range weather hard to forecast, because small changes, difficult to monitor, could result in large-scale effects. This unpredictability has been called 'deterministic chaos' because it arises in systems that, from a mathematical point of view, should be strictly deterministic. ... [Thus] deterministic chaos renders the laws of classical physics flexible instead of rigid and deterministic. So without producing measurable deviations from these laws, an unlimited intelligence with direct control over matter on a submicroscoipic level could guide the course of events freely."

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