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Can you see into the future?
Question Date: 2006-01-20
Answer 1:

The short answer is "No". That is assuming that your were asking if, scientifically, it is possible to give you answers to such interesting questions about the future as "who will I marry?", "who will be president in 2020?" or "will there be an end to all wars?". Science has not given us ways to look into the future like that (quite possibly a good thing) and while many attempts from a non-science background have been made there, it seems that their reliability is far from good. On the other hand, science actually is a lot about making predictions and thus looking in the future. And, of course, we all do it in some way in our own lives. And just as we have levels of reliability with our own predictions - I am 100% sure that an apple I drop will fall towards the ground, and about as sure that the sun will come up again tomorrow, but less sure about what I will eat tomorrow of if I will even be around to do that - there are more or less precise predictions in science. So we can predict the course of the planets (and comets etc.) with a very small error, so that you can probably already read about eclipses of the sun that will occur a few hundred years from now. Other predictions, such as knowing when an earthquake will occur or how the stock market will develop, are much researched but have remained without a solution up to now. Also, many of the most basic laws of science, from which all others can be derived, are drawn from experience and are in a sense predictions about the future: when you bring two items of different temperature together, one of them says, they will ALWAYS both end up at a temperature in between, rather than the warmer object getting warmer and the colder object getting even colder. So really, the answer is both yes (science is a lot about predicting the future) and no (some things can not be predicted yet, and others we will never be able to predict exactly - a whole different topic).

Answer 2:

I think the short answer is that there is most likely noway that we will ever be able to see into the future the way that might be depicted on TV.However, you might say that if we know what is happening right now (often called initial conditions) and you understand the laws of physics very well that you can predict the future. For example, i fyou light a match and hold it next to the wick of a candle you can predict that the candle will ignite. In addition,if you know how long the candle can last for you can predict what time it will burn out. Another example: You are driving down the road and see a lot of traffic on the other side. A few minutes later you see cars traveling the other direction who haven't hit the traffic jam yet. Thus you can predict that those cars have traffic in their near future. Is this the same as "seeing" the future? You be the judge. Even if you had as much information as you wanted, is there a limit to how well you can predict the future? Why is it sometimes so difficult to predict the weather?

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