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Old 2006-02-15, 20:15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by johnmansley
Unfortuantely, even the most rigourous of theories will be chock full of assumptions that are highly unlikley to occur in reality, i.e. planets are assumed to be perfect spheres, many fields are assumed to act uniformly, etc, etc. Basically, there's only so much detail that can be contained within a mathematical model, or else it becomes impractical to solve. I'd actually venture to say that a perfect model of the universe would take an infinite amount of time to solve.


There's a Borges satire on the exactitude of science which addresses this problem.

A bunch of cartographers determine to make the most accurate map of the land ever built. It becomes larger and larger in scale until the bastard covers the entire country - scale 1:1. Then it becomes impossible to maintain and gets run down and tore up, and goats ended up chewing bits off the side.

Moral of the story: anything that has to account for every variable in its entirety becomes as complicated as the system it's describing.

In conclusion, use the phrase "Borges' map" in conversation and watch the women flock to your feet in wonder.
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