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  1. Standard member apathist
    looking for loot
    29 May '17 02:09
    In the 'moon and design' thread tw says "Causation doesn't apply to the universe as a whole (just as it is not known to apply to most of the universe's parts)."

    It is that parenthetical part I'm interested in this thread. I'd like to learn about events that are known to be 'uncaused'.

    I expect that the claim is false, or at least not known to be true.
  2. 29 May '17 05:16 / 9 edits
    Originally posted by apathist

    I expect that the claim is false, or at least not known to be true.
    As far as I am aware, most intelligent people who have studied science (esp scientists) don't make this claim. Instead, as far as I am aware, most merely acknowledge the logical possibility that there may be events without a cause and the beginning of the universe might be one such 'event' (if you can call such a thing an 'event'; before space and time, where and when did it occur? ) but, currently, no rational person is yet absolutely sure one way or another because it is too early to tell.
    But one thing all totally rational people are absolutely sure about; "Goddidit" explains nothing.
  3. Standard member DeepThought
    Losing the Thread
    29 May '17 05:33
    Originally posted by apathist
    In the 'moon and design' thread tw says "Causation doesn't apply to the universe as a whole (just as it is not known to apply to most of the universe's parts)."

    It is that parenthetical part I'm interested in this thread. I'd like to learn about events that are known to be 'uncaused'.

    I expect that the claim is false, or at least not known to be true.
    It's a bit of a paradigm busting statement, so unless he's taking an extreme skeptic's view of causation I'd say it's wrong.
  4. 29 May '17 05:36 / 6 edits
    Originally posted by apathist
    In the 'moon and design' thread tw says "Causation doesn't apply to the universe as a whole (just as it is not known to apply to most of the universe's parts)."
    Careful! whitehead didn't actually say this was true but rather said it merely as one of a number of opposing possibilities so it is important not to take that statement out of its context else you make it sound he said this is true, which he didn't!

    As far as I am aware, extremely few people including scientists insist that the universe as a whole MUST be without cause. Certainly I don't.
  5. 29 May '17 07:31 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by apathist
    (just as it is not known to apply to most of the universe's parts)."[/i]
    ...
    I'd like to learn about events that are known to be 'uncaused'.

    I expect that the claim is false, or at least not known to be true.
    Please read very carefully what I wrote.
    I did not say that it is known that many events are uncaused.
    I said, it is not known that many events are caused.
    If an event is apparently random, and a cause for it is unknown, then we do not know that it is uncaused, but we also do not know that it is caused.
    I would argue that it is impossible to rule out a hidden cause via evidential means. The only way to rule out causes would be some theoretical argument.
    At the quantum level (where the vast majority of events are taking place) most events are, as far as we can detect, random in nature and thus not known to be caused, or are apparently partially caused. Any claims that causation is universal are not founded on evidence.

    When an electron emits a photon of light, energy is conserved. We might say it was 'caused' to emit the photon because it had more energy than it 'likes' to have. But the timing of the emission is only probabilistic, and direction of the emission is apparently entirely random. So if you ask what caused that electron to emit that photon at that time in that direction the answer is we don't know, probably can never know, and do not know that there was a cause.
  6. 29 May '17 07:38
    It must be noted that theists, that love to use the causation argument to try and prove the existence of a creator, get all tangled up when you mention free will. Most theists consider free will to be a violation of causation as they do not like the idea of their thoughts being predetermined since the big bang. Of course once you dig into their concept of free will it breaks down into vague mumbling because the reality is that causation and randomness form a dichotomy and nobody likes the idea that their thoughts are random either.
  7. Standard member Ghost of a Duke
    The voice of reason
    29 May '17 07:44
    Originally posted by humy

    As far as I am aware, extremely few people including scientists insist that the universe as a whole MUST be without cause. Certainly I don't.
    An eternal universe (without cause) is a key facet of Jainism. (So there alone we have a few million people believing the universe has always existed).

    I quite like the idea, though it does of course remain to be proven.
  8. 29 May '17 08:27 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    It must be noted that theists, that love to use the causation argument to try and prove the existence of a creator, get all tangled up when you mention free will. Most theists consider free will to be a violation of causation as they do not like the idea of their thoughts being predetermined since the big bang. Of course once you dig into their concept of ...[text shortened]... and randomness form a dichotomy and nobody likes the idea that their thoughts are random either.
    one of the logical inconsistencies in the beliefs of some theists is that they simultaneously believe;
    1, everything has a deterministic cause;
    2, neither the existence of the 'supernatural' nor the existence of 'God' nor their personal decisions made from 'free will' has deterministic cause (thus all three contradicting 1,)

    -And if there can be 3 exceptions to there being deterministic cause to everything, what is the logical premise that there couldn't possibly be more exceptions?
  9. Subscriber Ponderable
    chemist
    29 May '17 08:49
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    Please read very carefully what I wrote.
    I did not say that it is known that many events are uncaused.
    I said, it is not known that many events are caused.
    If an event is apparently random, and a cause for it is unknown, then we do not know that it is uncaused, but we also do not know that it is caused.
    I would argue that it is impossible to rule out ...[text shortened]... on the answer is we don't know, probably can never know, and do not know that there was a cause.
    The philosophical Statement of an "uncaused" Event is quite difficult.

    It would require us to know "the cause". So wedo know that some isotopes are unstable and decay according to a known (and rather simple) law. But we don't know the "cause" of the decay of a given Atom. So some philosophers argue that the radioactive decay (of a given Atom) is an "uncaused" effect. But others argue that we know that a given Atom will decay due to its instability, so we know the cause, just not the time.

    Same holds for any and each of things we know only statistically. So we know that a perfect dice should come up with all the Umbers randomly. And we do have some understanding of all the thigs influencing the dice throw. So we probably can Devise a machine that uses all known effects to maximize the result. (Orientation of the dice when thrown, all the Forces in all directions at the Moment of acceleration, wind, landing surface...).

    Sceince normally tries to improve our insights into cause and effect by carefully excluding everything except one source...so we can study the Impact of that. So science is motsly about how to identify the various and multiple causes of one observed effect.
  10. 29 May '17 11:21
    Originally posted by Ponderable
    It would require us to know "the cause". So we do know that some isotopes are unstable and decay according to a known (and rather simple) law. But we don't know the "cause" of the decay of a given Atom.
    Actually the decay of unstable atoms is related to the quantum uncertainty of the positions of the constituent parts. If the protons, neutrons etc all move to a particular point where the charges are just right, decay will happen. So we could in theory move the 'causation' chain one step back and say we don know the cause, we just don't know what caused the protons and neutrons to move to that particular location at that point in time.

    Now if we take protons and neutrons and their constituent quarks and virtual particles to all be point-like objects following Newtonian-like mechancs then we could call it a causal system despite not knowing the exact velocities at any given moment. But quantum mechanics suggests very strongly that that is not how it works.

    In fact, quantum mechanics tuns the whole concept of causation on its head. Quantum mechanics looks at the outcomes and then judges the possible pasts. The past is seen as being 'caused' by the present.
    The only difference between past and future in this view is that the future has more possibilities a consequence of entropy.
  11. Standard member sonhouse
    Fast and Curious
    29 May '17 13:39
    Originally posted by Ghost of a Duke
    An eternal universe (without cause) is a key facet of Jainism. (So there alone we have a few million people believing the universe has always existed).

    I quite like the idea, though it does of course remain to be proven.
    There is this:

    https://www.universetoday.com/104863/goodbye-big-bang-hello-hyper-black-hole-a-new-theory-on-universes-creation/

    The implication being the universe is MUCH more than what we see in our version of it perhaps infinite.
  12. 29 May '17 13:54
    Originally posted by sonhouse
    There is this:

    https://www.universetoday.com/104863/goodbye-big-bang-hello-hyper-black-hole-a-new-theory-on-universes-creation/

    The implication being the universe is MUCH more than what we see in our version of it perhaps infinite.
    It must be noted that without even talking about time and origins, despite popular belief, it is not known whether or not the space dimensions of the universe we see around us are finite. I think the image of the big bang as an explosion from a point is partly responsible for this popular misconception, and the loose wording of scientists saying 'universe' when what they mean is 'visible universe' is also at fault.
  13. 30 May '17 18:01
    Originally posted by humy
    one of the logical inconsistencies in the beliefs of some theists is that they simultaneously believe;
    1, everything has a deterministic cause;
    2, neither the existence of the 'supernatural' nor the existence of 'God' nor their personal decisions made from 'free will' has deterministic cause (thus all three contradicting 1,)

    -And if there can be 3 ...[text shortened]... ause to everything, what is the logical premise that there couldn't possibly be more exceptions?
    If not determinism, then what causes free will?
  14. Subscriber karoly aczel
    Happy Chappie
    31 May '17 06:57
    Originally posted by Ghost of a Duke
    An eternal universe (without cause) is a key facet of Jainism. (So there alone we have a few million people believing the universe has always existed).

    I quite like the idea, though it does of course remain to be proven.
    I just don't understand when people say that eternity has a start.
    Like sure, in this lifetime. But after the fact (the realization of the eternal)
    how could one say that this just started?
    Think about it. Seriously.
    If you suddenly wake up and find yourself in eternity then surely you would remember when you fell asleep
  15. 31 May '17 07:28 / 7 edits
    Originally posted by wildgrass
    If not determinism, then what causes free will?
    1, What is 'free will'? (serious question)

    2, If what you call 'free will' is determined then that means you have no control over your decisions because your decisions were predetermined and thus inevitable to be whatever they are and at best you would have the illusion of control. But then why the word "free" in the term 'free will'? It wouldn't be "free" but determined. Somehow, I don't think a determined 'free will' would be what you mean by 'free will'.
    Somehow, I also don't think an UNdetermined 'free will' thus one that allows no 'free will' control over your decisions (if you got self-determination then its determined) would be what you mean by 'free will' either hence making your concept of 'free will' impossible to define logically (it is a nonsense concept) hence the reason for my question 1.