Butterfly effect

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Butterfly effect

Message  Philippe-Henri le Jeu 1 Mai - 19:51

Muriel quoted the so-called « butterfly effect » last January.

The butterfly effect says that, depending on initial conditions, little causes can have great effects.

The butterfly story is what scholars call a “thought experiment”. It refers to the principle of determinism as developed by Pierre-Simon de Laplace and by Henri Poincaré. According to this principle all events are linked together by a causal relationship. This would theoretically enable us to go back to the very origins of all things in the Universe.

Theoretically, yes, but in practice mathematicians state three major hurdles:
1. any event has not one single linear cause but a gigantic number of “combined causes” as a whole;
2. our brain, even when assisted by powerful computers, is incapable of plotting the huge network of individual events;
3. Nature itself functions according to a “non-rational”, i.e.  “probabilistic” scheme.

The latter point is perfectly illustrated by Thomas Young’s Double Slide experiment and confirmed by the quantum theory (Max Planck, Werner Heisenberg, Niels Bohr, Wolfgang Pauli, Paul Dirac…).

Generally, determinism “works” in the macroscopic world either on small and short term scale (if I drop an apple it’ll fall on the floor and roll in a certain direction) or by probability theory (I only has to drop a large number of apples, which will eventually form a perfectly cone-shaped pile of apples on the floor). Determinism is a nonsense in the microscopic world, where atoms and nuclear particles, which matter is supposed to consist of, behave in an indeterminate way (see Schrödinger’s cat).

Thus, the butterfly effect, when applied to our macroscopic world, is a concept that belongs to the realm of… science fiction.

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Re: Butterfly effect

Message  MurielB le Ven 2 Mai - 9:17

Thank you Heuri for all these explanations. I have noticed that at the level of information  "a butterfly effect "is observed. In the net, thanks to the social networks (I know that you do not like them ), the forum messages, the média,  information circulates. No one  knows neither where It goes nor its impact which can be huge !
What do you think?

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Re: Butterfly effect

Message  pierreP le Ven 6 Juin - 0:40

I am OK. In fact, the "Butterfly effect" comes from Konrad Lorenz, a meteorologist of the last century. Konrad Lorenz was modelizing the weather of the planet. He made the remark that, by making the same calculations with only dropping the unuseful decimals, the results were quite differents, whence its remark : "Flapping of a butterfly's wing in Brasil may generate a tempest in Texas"
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Butterfly effect

Message  Philippe-Henri le Ven 6 Juin - 2:29

The "butterfly effect" was coined by Edward Lorenz, an American mathematician and meteorogist. Not to be confused with Konrad Lorenz, who was an Austrian zoologist and ethologist.

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Re: Butterfly effect

Message  MurielB le Ven 6 Juin - 6:52

Hello Pierre ! hello Philippe-Henri !
Mr  Lorenz ( Thank you for letting  us know he is Edward, Henri )  was the butterfly effect 's father then. Thank you, Pierre for teaching me that.  I like the sentence  "Flapping of a butterfly's wing in Brasil may generate a tempest in Texas"
It is very positive and encouraging ! There is so much to do to improve communication between people and we tend to sit back and see what happens. Now we know that a tiny little thing can improve our world !  Very Happy

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Butterfly effect

Message  Philippe-Henri le Ven 6 Juin - 10:51

Applying the butterfly effect to social networks or forum contributions is just how you see it!

Actually, Edward Lorenz was a renowned meteorologist and statistician. His well-known theoretical question whether a butterfly in Brazil flapping its wings could set off a tornado off the Texan coast several weeks later was a JOKE. He and Henri Poincaré demonstrated that, as a part of the chaos theory, our linear, deterministic approach of causal relationhip (“relation de cause à effet”) doesn’t  work in case of weather forecast because of the great number of combined causes (“causes conjuguées”).

Now, any event, in both our macroscopic and microscopic world, is the result of thousand millions of thousand millions (and even more) causes going back in time and space to the Big Bang, our ultimate reference for the time being. This is, precisely, the fantastic strength of quantum mechanics and cosmology, where we must ban determinism and are forced to reason in terms of PROBABILITY.That’s what Edward Lorenz so brilliantly said about weather forecasts.

As I already pointed out on this forum, great oaks from little acorns grow (“à petite cause grands effets”). To my opinion, the butterfly effect doesn’t qualify us for participating in social networks of sorts, where [quote] “tiny little thing could improve our world”. It’s just a truism, stating the obvious or, as we say in French: a “lapalissade”! But, of course, everybody is entitled to be wrapped up in himself (“voir midi à sa porte”). While expressing my personal opinion, I do respect opinions by anyone else in our Polyglot Community.

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Re: Butterfly effect

Message  MurielB le Ven 6 Juin - 13:43

Henri, Pierre
Thanks for expressing your interesting view points. I  personally think that the power of an idea is the engine that transforms the way we live and think.

What is new in our present day world is that people easily express themselves thanks to social networks or forum contributions. In the past it was much more difficult. In Henri's  case, I know he has other possibilities to do it and social networks are not his cup of tea. Every one does as they please and it doesn't matter.  Thanks again Pierre for joining the forum ! I am very pleased about that !  Like you I respect other people's opinions because they enrich mine,  lead me to reflect and not be wrapped up in myself 

Philippe Henri a écrit:we must ban determinism and are forced to reason in terms of PROBABILITY
I totally agree with that because we never know the impact of our action.
 You have highlighted what is the forum purpose
Polyglot Community
For me language learning could improve our world because it makes people open-minded and empathetic
This is a very powerful and  efficient idea.

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effet papillon

Message  Philippe-Henri le Mer 23 Juil - 22:30

Effet papillon (Onze Taal n° 7/8 2014)

Le terme « effet papillon » nous vient de la bien connue Théorie du chaos dont Pierre Simon Laplace et Henri Poincaré ont imposé, des années durant, leur vision déterministe.

L’effet papillon, en termes déterministes veut dire qu’à l’intérieur de systèmes complexes (par exemple le système solaire) la moindre perturbation peut conduire à un changement radical du système entier.

Edward Lorentz, météorologue-mathématicien américain (1917-2008), affirmait en 1972 que le simple battement d’aile d’un papillon dans la forêt amazonienne pourrait causer un tourbillon d’air susceptible de causer un ouragan ailleurs dans le monde, en l’occurrence dans le sud des Etas-Unis. C’est ce qu’on appelle depuis lors "l’effet papillon", grâce notamment à l’œuvre de vulgarisation scientifique « Chaos – Making a New Science » (1987), bestseller de James Gleick (né 1954).

À remarquer que dans ses ses publications d’avant 1972 Lorentz n’avait jamais parlé d’un papillon. Sa découverte se référait à une… mouette !


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Re: Butterfly effect

Message  MurielB le Jeu 24 Juil - 8:39

Hi henri !
Let's go back to English since we are in "Let's talk to English lounge". For me the butterfly effect can be huge in results.   We never know the consequences of our acts. Positive or negative. For instance a friend of mine had told be that at a certain time of his life he was very depressed and wanted to commit suicide. A lady passed in the street and smiled at him. It cheered him up, as simple as that ! Imagine if had bumped into a grumpy lady.
It is up to us to choose what we want to be. Of course nobody is perfect but I do feel responsible !


Dernière édition par MurielB le Jeu 24 Juil - 12:22, édité 1 fois

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Butterfly effect

Message  pierreP le Jeu 24 Juil - 10:54

Hello Muriel, I am happy to see you, and I will come back later !
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Re: Butterfly effect

Message  MurielB le Jeu 24 Juil - 15:43

Hi Peter or Pierre in French !
I am so happy you have come back !


Dernière édition par MurielB le Ven 25 Juil - 7:14, édité 1 fois

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Butterfly effect

Message  Philippe-Henri le Jeu 24 Juil - 16:50

[quote="MurielB"]Hi henri !
Let's go back to English since we are in "Let's talk to English lounge". For me the butterfly effect can be huge in results.   We never know the consequences of our acts. Positive or negative. For instance a friend of mine had told be that at a certain time of his life he was very depressed and wanted to commit suicide. A lady passed in the street and smiled at him. It cheered him up, as simple as that ! Imagine if had bumped into a grumpy lady.

Hey Muriel!

At the end of the day, I don’t actually know in whichever lounge we are. Except for Arabic, Russian or Chinese, which are not my cup of tea, I do reply to anybody speaking a foreign language: English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch… That’s what a polyglot is deemed to do, isn’t he?

Now, back to the butterfly effect, listen.

If a plant pot fell down on my head from a balcony alongside a street in Lissabon and killed me, you could do two things: either ask yourself why I was in Lissabon that day, or accept that the accident was “written in the stars” In either case I would remain dead.

You can always make up a story afterwards, to link a present fact to a series of past causes. You can always say that, if that butterfly hadn’t stirred its wings that day in the Amazonian rain forest, hurricane Katrina would never have struck New Orleans in 2005. It’s easy to invent a credible explanation after the event. But nobody can anticipate what will happen somewhere in Timbuktu tomorrow if I lose my shoe today. All events in the world are definitely linked by a causal relationship of sorts, but our little brain is unable to go back over the millions of millions of millions of… of facts that lie between now and then. That’s why the so-called butterfly effect is just a WHIM. Or a THOUGHT EXPERIENCE without any practical value.

Dream along at ease but don’t bother me with butterflies that move their wings.

Philippe-Henri

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Re: Butterfly effect

Message  MurielB le Jeu 24 Juil - 21:28

Hold fast to dreams,
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird,
That cannot fly.”

Henri
wings are the dreams, the positive side of life. Without it what is life ? Just dust.

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Butterfly effect

Message  Philippe-Henri le Jeu 24 Juil - 23:56

Muriel

Birds do have wings and so do butterflies. Icarus too had wings, artificial ones, made of wax and feathers. As he flew too close to the Sun, the melting wax caused him to fall into the sea where he drowned.

This legend says that man is not made for flying. Wings are just dreams, i.e. the negative side of life. Climb to the top of Eiffel Tower, jump into the void and spread your imaginary wings…

With or without wings or dreams, what is life? Just dust. No need for wings: Thou art dust and to dust thou shalt return…

The butterfly effect won't work.

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Re: Butterfly effect

Message  MurielB le Ven 25 Juil - 8:10

Henri we don't have the same view, that's all ! It's like languages, cultures, everyone has their own view on life.
diversity is what makes life interesting !

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