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Offline Geremia

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St. Thomas on the "butterfly effect"!
« on: April 02, 2018, 06:37:04 PM »
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  • The "butterfly effect" appears to be a modern variant of the ancient philosophical axiom "Parvus error in principiis, magnus in conclusionibus" or "Parvus error in principio, magnus est in fine":
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    A small error in the beginning (or in principles) leads to a big error in the end (or in conclusions).
    See St. Thomas Aquinas De Ente et Essentia, proemium, which references Aristotle De Cœlo bk. 1, specifically 271b:
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    …the least initial deviation from the truth is multiplied later a thousandfold. Admit, for instance, the existence of a minimum magnitude, and you will find that the minimum which you have introduced, small as it is, causes the greatest truths of mathematics to totter. The reason is that a principle is great rather in power than in extent; hence that which was small at the start turns out a giant at the end.
    Upon which St. Thomas commentates (In De caelo lib. 1 l. 9 n. 4 [97.]):
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    …one who makes a slight departure from the truth in his principles gets 10,000 [i.e,. many] times farther from the truth as he goes on. This is so because all things that follow depend on their principles. This is especially clear in an error at the crossroads: for one who at the beginning is only a slight distance from the right road gets very far away from it later on.* And he gives, as an example of what he is talking about, the case of those who posited a smallest magnitude, as Democritus posited indivisible bodies. By thus introducing a least quantity, he overthrew the most important propositions of mathematics — for example, that any given line can be cut into two halves. The reason for this effect is that a principle, though small in stature, is nevertheless great in power, just as from a small seed a mammoth tree is produced. Hence it is that what is small in the beginning becomes multiplied in the end, because it reaches unto all that to which the power of the principle extends, whether this be true or false.
    *St. Thomas's example here is exactly that of Chaos: A Mathematical Adventure, ch. 2 "Vector Fields", 9:10ff.; see also ibid. ch. 7 "Strange Attractors & the Buttery Effect".
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    Offline Neil Obstat

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    Re: St. Thomas on the "butterfly effect"!
    « Reply #1 on: April 02, 2018, 11:21:14 PM »
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  • .
    You have quotes around "butterfly effect" but you haven't said what that is.
    .
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    Offline Neil Obstat

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    Re: St. Thomas on the "butterfly effect"!
    « Reply #2 on: April 03, 2018, 12:03:30 AM »
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  • .
     philosophical axioms 
    .
    Where is the Latin for 7.7 (under First Principles of Reason)? My page cuts it off at the bottom.
    7.7  The same causes in the same circumstances produce always the same effects.
    .
    That's a nice list. Thank you, Geremia, I've asked several priests for such a list and they've told me there isn't one.
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    Offline Maria Regina

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    Re: St. Thomas on the "butterfly effect"!
    « Reply #3 on: April 03, 2018, 12:42:36 AM »
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  • .
    You have quotes around "butterfly effect" but you haven't said what that is.
    .
    The butterfly effect would be the same as a ripple effect when a stone is tossed into a perfectly calm body of water. The concentric circles of the ripple keep growing. Basic physics 101.
    Lord have mercy.

    Offline Neil Obstat

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    Re: St. Thomas on the "butterfly effect"!
    « Reply #4 on: April 04, 2018, 12:53:20 AM »
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  • The butterfly effect would be the same as a ripple effect when a stone is tossed into a perfectly calm body of water. The concentric circles of the ripple keep growing. Basic physics 101.
    .
    One could hardly call "chaos theory" basic physics 101. In fact, the ripples fade away at a distance. 
    .
    How about this, from the Urban Dictionary:
    .
    butterfly effect
    The scientific theory that a single occurence, no matter how small, can change the course of the universe forever.

    1. A man travelled back in time to prehistoric ages and stepped on a butterfly, and the universe was entirely different when he got back. 

    2. The flap of a butterfly's wings changed the air around it so much that a tornado broke out two continents away.


    by Jonah Rowley November 06, 2004
    .
    As soon as they say someone traveled back in time, you know they're talking about fantasy -- like "flat" earth fantasy.  ::)

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    Offline WholeFoodsTrad

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    Re: St. Thomas on the "butterfly effect"!
    « Reply #5 on: April 05, 2018, 05:42:08 AM »
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  • The "butterfly effect" appears to be a modern variant of the ancient philosophical axiom "Parvus error in principiis, magnus in conclusionibus" or "Parvus error in principio, magnus est in fine":See St. Thomas Aquinas De Ente et Essentia, proemium, which references Aristotle De Cœlo bk. 1, specifically 271b:Upon which St. Thomas commentates (In De caelo lib. 1 l. 9 n. 4 [97.]):*St. Thomas's example here is exactly that of Chaos: A Mathematical Adventure, ch. 2 "Vector Fields", 9:10ff.; see also ibid. ch. 7 "Strange Attractors & the Buttery Effect".
    I think that makes sense.  
    "Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night
    may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright."

    Offline Geremia

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    Re: St. Thomas on the "butterfly effect"!
    « Reply #6 on: April 05, 2018, 12:58:06 PM »
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  • philosophical axioms

    Where is the Latin for 7.7 (under First Principles of Reason)? My page cuts it off at the bottom.
    7.7  The same causes in the same circumstances produce always the same effects.
    I'm not sure. Email the webmaster and let him know: Lawrence Myers <cath_apolo@yahoo.com>. He's the one who compiled the list from scratch.

    That's a nice list. Thank you, Geremia, I've asked several priests for such a list and they've told me there isn't one.
    He has another: A Scholastic List of Definitions for Philosophical Terms
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    Offline Neil Obstat

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    Re: St. Thomas on the "butterfly effect"!
    « Reply #7 on: April 06, 2018, 04:50:51 PM »
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  • Steven Reppert of UMass shows the effect of butterflies appearing to grow in size when they migrate.
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    Offline kiwiboy

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    Re: St. Thomas on the "butterfly effect"!
    « Reply #8 on: April 24, 2018, 11:25:20 AM »
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  • this thread is very interesting.

    This is exactly what happens when you start to believe the lie of the globe earth.
    Eclipses neither prove nor disprove the flat earth.

    "As for whether or not I work for NASA, I'm sorry, but I fail to understand what that could possibly have to do with anything" Neil Obstat, 08-03-2017

    Offline forlorn

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    Re: St. Thomas on the "butterfly effect"!
    « Reply #9 on: April 24, 2018, 01:40:48 PM »
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  • this thread is very interesting.

    This is exactly what happens when you start to believe the lie of the globe earth.
    Interesting, seeing as St. Thomas believed in the globe earth. 

    Online Smedley Butler

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    Re: St. Thomas on the "butterfly effect"!
    « Reply #10 on: April 24, 2018, 03:11:50 PM »
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  • This phenomenon is why Ptolemy's Almagest is in error.

    His first premise is wrong: he assumes earth cannot be flat because he could not explain sunrise/sunset.
    He had no knowledge of the law of perspective.
    Therefore his entire work snowballed into massive error.

    The early Christians murdered Greek science teachers in an effort to stop the spread of their pagan god's errors.


    Offline Geremia

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    Re: St. Thomas on the "butterfly effect"!
    « Reply #11 on: April 24, 2018, 03:34:32 PM »
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  • Therefore his entire work snowballed into massive error.
    If it was in error, where did it's predictive power come from, then?
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    Offline Geremia

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    Re: St. Thomas on the "butterfly effect"!
    « Reply #12 on: April 24, 2018, 03:50:24 PM »
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  • If it was in error, where did it's its predictive power come from, then?
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    Offline Matthew

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    Re: St. Thomas on the "butterfly effect"!
    « Reply #13 on: April 24, 2018, 03:56:44 PM »
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  • .

    butterfly effect
    The scientific theory that a single occurence, no matter how small, can change the course of the universe forever.

    1. A man travelled back in time to prehistoric ages and stepped on a butterfly, and the universe was entirely different when he got back.

    .
    As soon as they say someone traveled back in time, you know they're talking about fantasy -- like "flat" earth fantasy.  ::)
    Yes, time travel is fantasy. But it's a fun fantasy to think about.
    I know where that sample sentence came from -- a classic Sci-fi short story called "A Sound of Thunder"
    A thrill seeking hunter went back to prehistoric times to hunt dinosaurs, and accidentally stepped on a butterfly. He irrevocably changed history when he got back. In fact, now I want to re-read it.

    Here's the story in PDF:
    Start your Amazon.com session by clicking this link, and my family and I get a commission on your purchase!

    Offline Neil Obstat

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    Re: St. Thomas on the "butterfly effect"!
    « Reply #14 on: April 24, 2018, 09:30:11 PM »
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  • Yes, time travel is fantasy. But it's a fun fantasy to think about.
    I know where that sample sentence came from -- a classic Sci-fi short story called "A Sound of Thunder"
    A thrill seeking hunter went back to prehistoric times to hunt dinosaurs, and accidentally stepped on a butterfly. He irrevocably changed history when he got back. In fact, now I want to re-read it.

    Here's the story in PDF:
    .
    I heard a guest on talk radio recently saying that he thinks time travel is possible, and, if it is in fact possible, that could explain how we would get the multiverse, because, he said, when the guy who stepped on the butterfly (for example) got back to the present (from which he had traveled back in time) and found the universe all different, the universe that he had first come from would not have ceased to exist but rather it would have continued to exist as an alternative universe, different from the universe the man sensed upon his return, but existing as it were in a parallel reality which the man did not know how to observe. This doesn't mean he was unable to observe it, but that to do so he would require certain specific knowledge to do so, and the description of that knowledge is an entirely new theme to develop and describe. Since it may entail activities and procedures that are entirely unfamiliar to us, we might not have vocabulary to adequately and accurately describe it such that a reader may be able to go out and replicate the process. He used the example of the mysterious man in Florida who built the Coral Castle, but he died and left no notes describing his procedure, nor did he take on any apprentice, so as to teach his skills to someone else who might survive him. He also used the example of an automobile mechanic going back in time with a car to an ancient culture where he would then attempt to describe to the people he met how to do repair work on the car or to partially disassemble it in order to show them how it works. They would probably end up killing him, accusing him of witchcraft or some such thing.
    .
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