Thursday, July 14, 2005

Scientific Determinism

This post contains comments from me to the post called ‘Unbreakable Bonds’ written by ‘The Procrastinator’in his blog I would like to thank him for inviting me to read and give comments on his post. Basically, from what I understood after reading his post, he was trying to say that the state of the universe at one time determines the state at all other times. Before I start my comments, I would like to highlight some sentences in his post.

"What is the equation of a good karma? How do you quantify it?"

"Faith is the idea that a higher power exists and governs the world, fueled only by the actions of the souls it governs."

"Albert Einstein once famously said “God does not play dice!” and I am inclined to agree."

"An aspect of the Chaos Theory is the Butterfly Effect which fits in beautifully with the idea of karma and reaffirms the notion that nothing is a coincidence."

"The truth however is that we, at each moments of our lives, are presented with a multitude of options and the choices we make determine the future that follows."

Pierre Simon de Laplace said that if at one time we knew the positions and speeds of all the particles in the universe, then we could calculate their behaviour at any other time, in the past or future. However, the extremely complex equations and sometimes a property called Chaos appeared to limit us in predicting the future. ‘The Procrastinator’ pointed out that a butterfly flapping might cause a tornado to hit Indonesia which reflects Chaos. The problem here is, it doesn’t repeat. The next time the butterfly flaps will cause other things to happen which might cause tornado as well. That is why I don't trust weather forecasts completely. If you think only this prevents us from predicting the future, then you are wrong. Scientific determinism is also threatened by Uncertainty Principle and Black Holes.

Uncertainty Principle by Werner Heisenberg stated that: the uncertainty in the position of a particle times uncertainty in speed is greater than a quantity called Planck’s constant divided by the mass of the particle. This means that the more accurately you try to measure the speed of the particle, the less accurately you can know the position and vice versa. So now, how do you predict the future when you cannot even measure accurately the positions and speeds of particles at the present time? The best thing you are allowed to do is to predict a combination of speed and position.

But then if we take into account of Black Holes, there is no room even for this limited predictability. The particles that we lost down Black Holes will only come out randomly. (* I will not explain how this happens as it will take lots of words) Yes, perhaps probability will work here but we cannot make a definite prediction.

These are the Physics theories that I have learned so far in my life and hence I would like to conclude that the future is not fully depended on the present state and the laws of science. The history also shows that the universe continued to surprise us with unpredictability. With the evidence, my opinion is if there is god, then he not only plays dice (Uncertainty Principle) but he hides it somewhere (Black Holes) we can’t see sometimes!



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