On 3/10/2013 1:08 PM, spudboy...@aol.com wrote:
Question- I also thought determinism mean't that you could predict where and when, a
particle could move. But that Werner Heisenberg, said that you could determine, on, but
never the other. Would you say that the universe is predictable and Heisenberg might be
Determinism doesn't mean that you can predict everything. Determinism means the future is
completely determined by the past. But in order to use that for prediction you have to
know the past as well as the time evolution operator. This is impossible for a couple of
reasons. First, you can only know about the past that is within your past light cone.
There are things happening on the Sun that you can't know about for another eight
minutes. If those are things that can influence what you're trying to predict then you're
out of luck. Second, deterministic systems are not necessarily stable, so infinitesimal
errors in your knowledge of the present state or in the evolution operator can result in
large errors in prediction. So even if Heisenberg was wrong (and there's lots of evidence
he wasn't and none that was) the universe still wouldn't be predictable.
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