Physical laws are characterized by their mathematical form, the values of universal constants, and the contingencies to which the laws apply—known as boundary conditions. For instance, Newton's Law of Universal Gravitation is an inverse square law (its mathematical form), employs the gravitational constant (a universal constant), and applies to certain boundary conditions (like the positions and momentums of the planets at a given time). Boundary conditions, because of their inherent contingency, hamper the physicist's search for a theory of everything. In addition, when the mathematical form of physical laws is nonlinear, as in chaotic systems, slight changes in boundary conditions can lead to enormous changes downstream.
See also Complexity; Chaos Theory
william a. dembski
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