Does "Cause and Effect" exist?

Babe_Ruth

Sultan of Swat
Staff member
V.I.P.
#1
I'm aware that in quantum mechanics there are certain events that are causeless, but that's not quite what I'm asking here.

For events that "must" have a cause, is it possible to identify a single, direct, original cause that can be safely said to be independant of any other cause? Is it not possible that all events are made up of infinite chains of causes, therefore making it impossible to single out any one as *the* cause? Is it acceptable to identify the most recent cause (the cause the lead directly to the effect in question) as *the* cause for any given effect?

I know that in practical terms we have to assume the cause and effect really exists, otherwise our entire law system wouldn't work, among other things. I'm really only just curious as to what the current ideas on the nature of cause and effect are.
 
I

Islandhopper

Guest
#2
An interesting thought there. Scientists will use "associated with" rather than "the cause of" because there are so many variables that cannot be controlled all at once. And after all, a variable is only a statistical calculation away from being considered independent, hardly enough to be given the status of "cause".

That's why people get so upset with scientists because a scientist rarely gives a direct answer. And when he or she does, it's only by adding his or her own personal bias.
 

Kazmarov

For a Free Scotland
#3
An interesting thought there. Scientists will use "associated with" rather than "the cause of" because there are so many variables that cannot be controlled all at once
True. The original cause had to be put into place given various conditions, so I don't think it would be accurate to identify a singular cause to any chain of events.

That's why people get so upset with scientists because a scientist rarely gives a direct answer. And when he or she does, it's only by adding his or her own personal bias.
Also interesting. By stating that there is a clear original cause to any chain of events, they may mislead and deter others from delving deeper if their explanation appears sound and logical.
 
S

Snarflax

Guest
#4
indeed, every choice and action have a consequence... some negligible and some noticeable. those actions, whether realized or not, influence another decision down the road. because we oftentimes don't pay attention to the consequences of our actions, detrimining an original cause is almost an exercise in futility
 

Mad_Michael

Registered Member
#5
Vince Carter said:
I'm aware that in quantum mechanics there are certain events that are causeless, but that's not quite what I'm asking here.

For events that "must" have a cause, is it possible to identify a single, direct, original cause that can be safely said to be independant of any other cause? Is it not possible that all events are made up of infinite chains of causes, therefore making it impossible to single out any one as *the* cause? Is it acceptable to identify the most recent cause (the cause the lead directly to the effect in question) as *the* cause for any given effect?

I know that in practical terms we have to assume the cause and effect really exists, otherwise our entire law system wouldn't work, among other things. I'm really only just curious as to what the current ideas on the nature of cause and effect are.
In the current field of 'science' (medical science for example), 'cause' and 'effect' are represented by little more than a marginal statistical probability of outcome. Apparently, the terms really only have currency in political discussions. ;)
 
#6
For much of theoretical physics, things are done with a given set of pre-conditions (assuming gravity does exist, for example), assuming that those things are real, even though nothing can actually be 100% proven. This makes it so that an actual cause can be attributed to an effect, as only a single variable is added. However, because the givens are not real, and are merely constructs that have been added to make things possible to study, it is not truly possible to conclusively attribute an effect to a single cause. Things can be a likely cause, and things can be attributed to other things, but nothing can actually be proven.
 

breathilizer

Resident Ass-Kisser
#7
Postulating a first cause is like postulating a last effect.

What I mean by this is that people think of the universe as coming down to a moment in time at which the first event took place. They ponder what caused this event to take place, and further postulate via special pleading a self-contradictory element, usualy a god.

But what people don't usually think about is the last event that will take place. Can the result of something be nothing? It's basically the same problem from a different point of view, but when viewed in this light, I've never heard of anyone postulating that god (or whatever) will be the result of this "last cause."

This really illuminates the irrational thinking behind the assertion of a first cause god.
 
R

Requiem

Guest
#8
well, in my personal opinion, everything is derived from one inital cause, the creation of the universe, but just because theres cause and effect, doesnt mean we cant choose our own path, if a mans wife is murdered, and that caused him to enrage, he can still choose to kill that man, injure him, ignore him, help the cops find him, as such allows me to believe that we do indeed forge our own destiny, and that if there is a god, he does not have a plan for us, nor is he all knowing.
 
#10
It doesn't have to be an argument... do you have any opinions or thoughts on it at all, or is your final thought that it's not worth thinking about?