Debunking the Butterfly Effect

Very interesting post and comments.

Thomas Cotterill

Butterflies surround a glowing ball of energy At the level of our lives, the famous butterfly effect is largely an urban myth. (Image: Thomas Cotterill)

These days we are all familiar with the concept of the “butterfly effect.” The usual formulation goes something like this: when a butterfly flaps its wings in one part of the world (often the Amazon jungle) it can cause a hurricane in another part of the world. The colossal disparity in magnitude between cause and effect embodied in the idea has fired the collective imagination around the globe.

The butterfly effect was “discovered” in 1961 by MIT meteorologist Edward Lorenz.

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