Saturday, March 16, 2013

Aspies and the Butterfly effect

Katie teaches me something new on a regular basis, even when I least expect it.

She is a fan of Dr Who and has pulled me into that world with her.  Dr. Who is a long running  British series about a guy with no name and his ever changing companions who travel through time in a big blue police box, that is "bigger on the inside".

I have to stop here to tell you.  I hate time travel.  I get all caught up in it and can't figure out how anyone can keep it straight.  Back to the Future is especially mind numbing to me.  Don't even get me started.

Anyway Katie recently started blogging herself.  She fancies herself a writer and has taken to the platform like a fish to water.  Today she is writing about time travel.  She kept going on and on about stepping on butterflies and how this could alter the outcome of history should you step on one in the past.  She claims it is a well known discussion among science fiction fans and indeed if you google, like I did, butterflies and time travel, you will even see a Wikipedia article about it.

Apparently it is closely related to chaos theory which states something about how a small change  at one place in a nonlinear system can amount to an even larger change down the line.  All I remember about chaos theory is that is has to do with fractal geometry and if something is a fraction off at the start, it can be miles off down the line.  In short as my son says, it's rocket science and frankly gives me a headache.  It is also mentioned that the flapping wings of a butterfly can possible alter the atmosphere and possibly alter the path of a tornado.  This is heavy stuff.

Of course when I told her about all this we had a discussion about chaos theory and her brother piped in and we had a grand old time.  We discussed Back to the Future, Star Trek, Dr. Who and even the classic It's a Wonderful Life, where Clarence the angel shows George Bailey what life would be like if he had never been born.  Little things make a big difference i.e. the butterfly effect.

It's times like these that I marvel at the possible effects my kids and other Aspies will have on the future of the world.  There are some who are trying very hard to discover the gene that causes Autism. They want to develop a prenatal test to detect the presence of this elusive gene.  And to what end?  Termination?  How can we possibly tell if this gene will result in someone who is so profoundly affected vs someone like us?  And who can say that those profoundly affected kids won't somehow challenge those who care for them to make an even greater positive change in the world.  That's assuming they themselves won't alter time.  Talk about boggling the mind.  Each of us is a butterfly capable of changing the future, even without a time machine or a Tardis.

1 comment:

laughing helps said...

thank you so much for 'introducing' yourself! i now have a link to your blog on my website - and thank you for sharing your journey!