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Thread: The Causation Argument

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    Veteran Member Wiploc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by T.G.G. Moogly View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Atheos View Post
    ... fruit trees or a cherubim with a flaming sword guarding the entrance to Eden.
    That always made me wonder if the inspiration for this story was really an actual planned garden, something for a king and queen. Cherubim at the entrance are quite common and these gardens were the dwelling places of god.

    Asimov suggested that it was a cultural memory of when hunting-gathering worked because the population was lower. You could walk around and find food; you didn't have to settle down and plow the ground.

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    Contributor skepticalbip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wiploc View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by T.G.G. Moogly View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Atheos View Post
    ... fruit trees or a cherubim with a flaming sword guarding the entrance to Eden.
    That always made me wonder if the inspiration for this story was really an actual planned garden, something for a king and queen. Cherubim at the entrance are quite common and these gardens were the dwelling places of god.

    Asimov suggested that it was a cultural memory of when hunting-gathering worked because the population was lower. You could walk around and find food; you didn't have to settle down and plow the ground.
    That would make it a romanticised cultural memory. The population density was much lower during for hunter-gatherer times because of limited food supply and the danger of obtaining it made starvation more common. It was agriculture that made higher population density possible.

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    Veteran Member Wiploc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skepticalbip View Post
    That would make it a romanticised cultural memory. The population density was much lower during for hunter-gatherer times because of limited food supply and the danger of obtaining it made starvation more common.
    Not so, according to Cows, Pigs, Wars, and Witches, and/or Cannibals and Kings. Bone studies show that hunter gatherers ate better generally and had fewer famines.




    It was agriculture that made higher population density possible.
    It was excess population that made agriculture necessary.

    Farmers tend to work all the daylight hours and more. Modern hunter gatherer women may work two hours a day, and the men not at all. Or at least that's what I seem to remember. I read those books a long time ago.

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    Gobleki Tepe in Turkey is archaeology that makes us rethink the whole hunter gatherer/farmer/civilization argument. It seems a formidable, cultural structure was built before domestication of any kind. Some people believe it was built by leftovers of Atlantean type civilizations that vanished under rising seas or natural disasters, or it was built by aliens. It seems it was built by hunter gatherers.

    It seems that domestication, overpopulation and environmental degradation are connected historically.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Learner View Post
    Mentioning the biblical God viewpoint, according to the bible ... humans & animals on earth, are alone! Ironically, finding any existence of aliens or intelligent life-forms being out there would be advantageous in proving the bible wrong.
    You begin with the premise that the Bible has not been proven wrong. This premise is false. Many of the claims made in the Bible are demonstrably wrong - young earth, special creation, Noah's flood etc. We already know that the Bible is wrong and there is an abundance of evidence to demonstrate that the Bible is wrong. Does this stop Christians from believing? No. Why would the discovery of extraterrestrial life be any more convincing than the Biblical errors we already know about?

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    The Bible tells me that if I have the smallest amount of true faith, I can say to a mountain, "Move over to there" and it will move. Has anyone else tried this? You'll feel like a goddamn fool when you're done. Also, pack a big lunch, because, news flash, mountains don't have ears.

  7. Top | #237
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve_bank View Post
    The proof of god based on this this argument has several forms.

    Generally the argument says all things we see occur through a causal chain. A bat hits a ball. Ball flies.

    Therefore the universe must have had a first causation, and that was god. Primarily because of a few lines in an ancient text.

    Ok, but where did god come from? Was he, she, or it always was and always will be o? Hmmmm….if so why could the universe itself not have always existed with no beginn9ng or end?
    I like to counter this bullshit from the perspective of quantum physics.

    There are real events in this universe that have no apparent cause. We can observe "uncaused" events all the time. In fact, there is a whole class of observable phenomena that appear to have no driver to how they specifically resolve

    Imagine you are at a table throwing craps (2d6), and suddenly time stops. The dice are not on the table. They are flying through the air at the backstop.

    Does asking what number the dice are on even make sense at this point in time? No, of course it does not make sense; the dice have not settled. The number they have rolled is "no number and every number, until they settle; though mostly (1/6 probability) on 7," no more, no less.

    In the quantum scale, it's even more stark: there is no spinning dice, there is no physics of settling, there is only the very moment the probability wave collapses into an answer, and only for so long as the answer must be determinate. Once the electron stops happening to be somewhere, it is everywhere and nowhere again.

    What caused it to be there as opposed to somewhere else? Nothing. Nothing caused that. It is the purest definition of random that we have ever observed.

    I suspect that the universe is much the same way. There is a probability cloud of possible causes, and no cause. And because the universe is isolated, I don't think the cause will exist until we actually punch through the "wall" and make a cause need to exist.

    The universe is caused by everything (including "nothing") that possibly could create it, until it has to be something (or, maybe, nothing).

    Another way to look at it is to look at a computer. That computer has some internal state, I could take that state, load it into a completely different (but still compatible) machine that shares the same hardware identifiers, and it would be the same environment, from the perspective of its own universe. I could even make a copy of that environment and barring hardware noise, there would be no real difference. It's still the same identity of "computing environment". They are the same universe, despite existing from different sources, run by different people, for different reasons.

    I think the most important thing, from this perspective, is to focus not on what we don't observe and can't, but on what we do observe, the rules of our universe as it presents itself to us, and not care about wild speculations about last thursdayism or what "caused" it. It has no value because it has no determined qualities.

    And before you ask "how can something that exists now not already have a determinate cause", time is a perspective inside this based on our own causal chain. If you look at all time from the perspective of an outside observer, you end up in "hyper-time". And we don't actually know how causality works or IF there is such a thing as causal dependence in hyper-time. Nothing can be said of it because we are not in a position to ever observe it.

    And this doesn't even take into consideration the idea of "causal decay". That random events in the universe may at some point in time imply multiple causal paths to the result, and that individual causal paths could themselves become indeterminate over the course of time.

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    Veteran Member Wiploc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jarhyn View Post
    In the quantum scale, it's even more stark: there is no spinning dice, there is no physics of settling, there is only the very moment the probability wave collapses into an answer, and only for so long as the answer must be determinate. Once the electron stops happening to be somewhere, it is everywhere and nowhere again.

    What caused it to be there as opposed to somewhere else? Nothing. Nothing caused that. It is the purest definition of random that we have ever observed.
    Thanks. This is my understanding of what quantum physics tells us about causation.

    Is it fair to say that this is the scientific consensus? I'm not a scientist myself.

  9. Top | #239
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wiploc View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jarhyn View Post
    In the quantum scale, it's even more stark: there is no spinning dice, there is no physics of settling, there is only the very moment the probability wave collapses into an answer, and only for so long as the answer must be determinate. Once the electron stops happening to be somewhere, it is everywhere and nowhere again.

    What caused it to be there as opposed to somewhere else? Nothing. Nothing caused that. It is the purest definition of random that we have ever observed.
    Thanks. This is my understanding of what quantum physics tells us about causation.

    Is it fair to say that this is the scientific consensus? I'm not a scientist myself.
    Is there any difference between cause and effect at the quantum level?

  10. Top | #240
    Veteran Member Wiploc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by T.G.G. Moogly View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Wiploc View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Jarhyn View Post
    In the quantum scale, it's even more stark: there is no spinning dice, there is no physics of settling, there is only the very moment the probability wave collapses into an answer, and only for so long as the answer must be determinate. Once the electron stops happening to be somewhere, it is everywhere and nowhere again.

    What caused it to be there as opposed to somewhere else? Nothing. Nothing caused that. It is the purest definition of random that we have ever observed.
    Thanks. This is my understanding of what quantum physics tells us about causation.

    Is it fair to say that this is the scientific consensus? I'm not a scientist myself.
    Is there any difference between cause and effect at the quantum level?

    I'm not following, not sure what you're after. I'll try to think of an example anyway, which may either answer your question or allow you to rephrase it.

    Suppose a photon hits an electron, knocking it up to a higher orbit. The impact of the photon is the cause; moving to a higher shell is the effect.

    But nothing caused the photon to hit that particular electron, so the hitting of that particular electron is not an effect.

    I don't know if that's the answer you're looking for.

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