Posted by: arieliondotcom | October 15, 2008

“GOD’s Science Book” or “Have Some Popcorn with Those Butterflies!”

 

I found the Grae article, “Chaos Theory, A Brief Introduction”, in this week’s reading to be fascinating.  It had me worried, at first, because it referenced a lot of mathematics.  Numbers make me nauseous.  But there were a lot of other references and data that made it well worth the read.

 

The whole premise that “chaos theory is really about finding the underlying order in apparently random data” echoes what I said in my posts yesterday.  Although from the human perspective there seems to be chaos and disorder, we will find upon examination that there is order after all. 

 

I’ve also always been a big fan of The Butterfly Effect, both the theory and the  movie.  If you haven’t seen the movie, you should.  Pretend it’s a homework assignment if that helps.  J It takes the theory to levels of the imagination that will make the theory much more real to you.  I don’t know how I ever heard of this theory as a boy, but remember as young as 9 or 10 years old pulling up weeds and saying “Uh oh.  Now the world has changed.”

 

“…The butterfly effect. The amount of difference in the starting points of the two curves is so small that it is comparable to a butterfly flapping its wings…The flapping of a single butterfly’s wing today produces a tiny change in the state of the atmosphere. Over a period of time, what the atmosphere actually does diverges from what it would have done. So, in a month’s time, a tornado that would have devastated the Indonesian coast doesn’t happen. Or maybe one that wasn’t going to happen, does.”

 

I also found it ironic (I’ve got to use that word at least once in every entry!) to read about the network effects in the life of meteorologist Lorenz whose research went ignored until other nodes in the network were made aware of his discoveries years later.

 

The comments about some things (like controlling the flipping of a coin) being “impossible” seemed like a challenge to be met.  I have a difficult time thinking of anything as “impossible”, and think of these things as simply unimaginable given our present understanding and abilities and without supernatural (GOD’s) help.

 

But the most interesting quote of the entire article, for me, was “…It has even been speculated that the brain itself might be organized somehow according to the laws of chaos…” 

 

This was interesting on several levels. ORGANIZED infers design as do the other examples given throughout the article.  And, as I said in my posts yesterday, in the practices of GOD.  His actions SEEM random but in the end there is an embedded design.  We can look at Creation, the Bible, GOD’s interaction with us, all as being self-similar.  If we examine each, no matter how random they seem, we will find a repeating pattern.  The Bible is comforting to us today because the same issues afflicting Job 3,000 years ago afflict us, despite time, culture and technology differences, today.

 

Chaos is an illusion.  The comfort is that there is a design and a pattern; there is sense and logic behind the apparent randomness from the Hand of a Designer.  He bids us to seek it, and Him, out.

 

 

NOTES FROM THE ARTICLE:

 

“…chaos theory is really about finding the underlying order in apparently random data…”

 

“…This self-similarity, the fact that the graph has an exact copy of itself hidden deep inside, came to be an important aspect of chaos…”

 

“…The Butterfly Effect. The amount of difference in the starting points of the two curves is so small that it is comparable to a butterfly flapping its wings…The flapping of a single butterfly’s wing today produces a tiny change in the state of the atmosphere. Over a period of time, what the atmosphere actually does diverges from what it would have done. So, in a month’s time, a tornado that would have devastated the Indonesian coast doesn’t happen. Or maybe one that wasn’t going to happen, does. (Ian Stewart, Does God Play Dice? The Mathematics of Chaos, pg. 141)…”

 

“sensitive dependence on initial conditions”

 

“…Lorenz’s discoveries weren’t acknowledged until years later, when they were rediscovered by others…”

 

“…Theoretically, it should be possible to control these variables entirely and control how the coin will end up. In practice, it is impossible to control exactly how fast the coin flips and how high it flips…”

“…This self-similarity, the fact that the graph has an exact copy of itself hidden deep inside, came to be an important aspect of chaos…”

 

“…No matter how much a coastline is magnified, there will be more bays visible if it is magnified more…”

 

“…Fractal has come to mean any image that displays the attribute of self-similarity…”

 

“…(Feigenbaum) had found that a whole class of mathematical functions behaved in the same, predictable way. This universality would help other scientists easily analyze chaotic equations. Universality gave scientists the first tools to analyze a chaotic system. Now they could use a simple equation to predict the outcome of a more complex equation…”

 

“…The Mandelbrot set is the innermost section of the picture, and each different shade of gray represents how far out that particular point is…”

 

“…Blood vessels branching out further and further, the branches of a tree, the internal structure of the lungs, graphs of stock market data, and many other real-world systems all have something in common: they are all self-similar…”

 

“…It has even been speculated that the brain itself might be organized somehow according to the laws of chaos…”

 

 

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