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Is there destiny?

  1. Jun 30, 2011 #1
    I know that the world is made of atoms and energy, so humans. If we have a supercomputer that know the velocities, masses and other physical measurements of all the atoms at a specific time, then we can predict what will going to happen in the next second using laws of physics. Is that mean we can predict the future and there is destiny?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 30, 2011 #2
    First of all, due to chaos theory unless you know the EXACT position and velocity of EVERY particle in the universe your prediction will break down. That is an impossible feat in and of itself. Secondly, the Uncertainty Principle only allows for simultaneous knowledge of a particle's position and velocity up to a certain point. This induces non-determinism into our universe. Maybe, however, quantum mechanics is an incomplete theory. But, in the current understanding of the physical world the short answer to your question is no.
     
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2011
  4. Jun 30, 2011 #3
    Its called predicting the weather and/or you can read daily horoscopes which aren't always right just like the weather. Destiny is what you make it.
     
  5. Jun 30, 2011 #4
    It means that given a set of initial conditions, and assuming they are sufficient to describe a system, one can make predictions about that system which will be fairly accurate.

    However, like silmaril89 said, chaos is a tricky devil, and there are some "hidden variables" which can cause a system to diverge rather unexpectedly even though the initial conditions are similar (or even the same!).
     
  6. Jun 30, 2011 #5

    Drakkith

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    Staff: Mentor

    Byron, the short answer is that Science has never observed anything that could be described as "Destiny". Not like most people talk about it. It IS true that we can predict events with amazing accuracy, but Destiny implies that you have no choice in the matter.
     
  7. Jun 30, 2011 #6
    It is the destiny of a ball to fall to the floor when I let go of it.
     
  8. Jun 30, 2011 #7
    Thanks all
    Are the chaos and hidden variables due to the imperfection of our physics laws or there is true randomness is our universe?
    I just wonder if there is no true randomness in our universe and all the uncertainties are due to our incomplete understanding of the laws governing the behavior of all things, can we predict what will happen in the next second, for example in a frictional universe that contains only 2 atoms?
     
  9. Jun 30, 2011 #8

    Drakkith

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    Staff: Mentor

    You can only predict it to a certain degree because of the uncertaintity principle.
     
  10. Jun 30, 2011 #9

    DaveC426913

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    Gold Member

    As far as we can tell (and we have checked quite a bit), HUP is a fact. Thus, the universe is non-determisitic. That means it is impossible to predict the future better than a certain level of accuracy (which will be determined by the number of particles in the system). Error increases exponentially with more particles.
     
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