The Butterfly effect is the essence of chaos theory. It holds that a system can be sensitive to initial conditions. Systems, such as the weather, can become unstable over time, giving rise to the notion that a butterfly flapping its wings in New York can cause a hurricane in the Pacific Ocean. This argument has been used by proponents on both sides of the global warming debate.
In popular culture
The butterfly effect is usually found in science fiction stories and movies. It describes the possibility of a person traveling back in time, and inadvertently changing some minuscule thing in the past — such as killing a butterfly — that has momentous consequences as time goes by, so that the he returns to a radically altered future.
Most agree that this scenario is not only patently absurd, but harmful to the development and upbringing of children and other like-minded individuals. The Bible describes only Jesus and God as capable of time travel. Despite this assertion, the Butterfly Effect makes appearances in many Hollywood films (most of which have been condemned by the Vatican). Movies of this type include:
The butterfly effect was also a central theme of Isaac Asimov's short story "A Sound of Thunder", in which a man travels back in time to hunt dinosaurs, and inadvertently shoots a butterfly by mistake. This scenario, while plausible enough as a science fiction story, could certainly never happen in real life.
- "Before Abraham was born, I am", John 8:58
- "I the LORD do not change", Malachi 3:6