Butterfly effect

butterfly effect
A 2008 artistic rendition of the butterfly effect used in an article attempting to argue that reductionism and determinism cannot be applied in biology and to humans. [3]
In science, butterfly effect is the theory that a small change in one part of the world (or system), such as the flapping of a butterfly’s wings in Japan, can, if the initial conditions are primed to a certain position of instability, effect a large change in another part of the world (or system), such as the initiation of a tornado in Texas.

In 1770, Baron d’Holbach, in his §4: “Of the Laws of Motion common to all the Beings of Nature—of Attraction and Repulsion—of Inert Force—of Necessity”, stated the following very-ripe anti-chance (or non-chance) view of a dust storm and a political revolution: [1]

“It may, perhaps, be in the arid plains of Lybia, that are amassed the first elements of a storm or tempest, which, borne by the winds, approach our climate, render our atmosphere dense, and thus operating on the temperament, may influence the passions of a man, whose circumstances shall have capacitated him to influence many others, who shall decide after his will the fate of many nations.”

The butterfly effect became a meme via its popularization in the 1987 book Chaos: the Making of a New Science, by James Gleick. [2]

The butterfly effect is a subject germane to chaos theory, complexity theory, far-from-equilibrium theory, and meteorology, but is sometimes involved in discussions of human implications, e.g. that Gavrilo Princip was the butterfly that started world wars one and two.

1. d’Holbach, Baron. (1770). The System of Nature: Laws of the Moral and Physical World (notes by Denis Diderot; translator: H.D. Robinson) (pg. 32). J.P. Mendum, 1889.
2. Gleck, James. (1987). Chaos: the Making of a New Science (butterfly effect, pgs. 8, 20-23, 246-47, 261, 322). Penguin.
3. Mazzocchi, Fulvio. (2008). “Complexity in Biology: Exceeding the Limits of Reductionism and Determinism Using Complexity Theory”, European Molecular Biology Organization, 9(1): 10-14.

External links
‚óŹ Butterfly effect – Wikipedia.

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