"Chloe: The future is all programmed like a computer -- that's a proper theory, isn't it?
Valentine: The deterministic universe, yes.
Chloe: Right. Because everything including us is just a lot of atoms bouncing off each other like billiard balls.
Valentine: Yes. There was someone, forgot his name, 1820s, who pointed out that from Newton's laws you could predict everything to come."
Arcadia Scene 7
The Deterministic Universe Theory
between Chloe and Valentine in scene 7 of Arcadia concerns the theory
of the deterministic universe. Based on the laws of Newton, this
theory says that the universe follows Newton's universal laws and, therefore,
is predictable and predetermined. Sir Isaac Newton created universal
laws of motion and described the law of gravity. Insert Newton's Laws
Since these laws are applicable to all known matter in the universe, it
was theorized that every atom in the universe moves according to them and
is only affected by past events. One mathematician who helped develop
this theory is Pierre-Simon Laplace. He lived from 1749 to 1827 and
may have been the person who Valentine was referring to in the quote above.
More info on Laplace
The deterministic universe theory caused problems for many people because it eliminates the idea of free will. If every atom in the universe, including those in a human brain, are subject to predictable patterns of motion, then how can the human soul affect the future? Info on theories of human consciousness
Theory vs. Religion
Refuting the theory-Chaos and Quantum
Back to the Arcadia homepage.