Is life just one large effect from one gigantic cause? Speaking in terms of the universe as a whole.

Is life just one large effect from one gigantic cause? Speaking in terms of the universe as a whole.

Can our small impact on the universe help create another cause that leads to an opposite effect or is it just part of the ongoing effect from an original cause?

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I perceived your question as a matter of free will. After re-reading your question, it still seems like a matter of free will.

Causality implies that if you can know all the causal factors currently extant in a closed system, then you could predict the state of that closed system at any point in the future.

The universe is a closed system, so causality implies that the physical universe will unfold in a predictable way.

And you're wrong about your question (as asked) having nothing to do with how the human brain operates. And I quote, "Can our small impact on the universe help create another cause that leads to an opposite effect or is it just part of the ongoing effect from an original cause?" Our small impact on the universe, if we have one, will be a direct consequence of our brains. So, yes, how our brain operates IS absolutely part and parcel of your question.

Cause and effect, more often than not, is a chain-reaction. Effects become causes. So there's no question that our impact (effect) on the universe creates "another cause". However, are we just reacting to prior cause and effect, like inanimate objects, or are we truly free agents able to act independently of causality? My position is that we are subject to causality but normally are free agents most of the time.

As I stated in my reply, "The difference between the animate and inanimate modes of response to causality is that inanimate objects have only one potential reaction to an event while animate beings have variable potential reactions to an event." The implications of this that living things are less predictable than non-living things. The real question to me is: are we simply harder to predict or are we completely unpredictable? Does free will enable us to interfere with causality or would that interference be an illusion?

In the end, we will all be dead and the universe will continue unfolding as if we were never here. Any change we might wrought is temporary in the grand scheme of things.

It's 3:38 a.m. here and I'm dozing off. I hope this reply still seems coherent in the morning.

Goodnight.
"it still seems like a matter of free will"

"The universe is a closed system, so causality implies that the physical universe will unfold in a predictable way."

These two statments have nothing to do with the question. the universe is not a closed system and i have never heard anyone say such a thing. You universe inside your body is a closed system. The universe outside your body and the the planet we live on is an open system which interacts with itself randomly, chaotically and never with a set purpose. If we pushed a astiord into the universe outside of our galaxy it could indeed disrupt another galaxy, which is what my question was more in-tune with, than the human condition.

"Speaking in terms of the universe as a whole. "

This statement should have lead you to discuss the universe not human free will.

"The difference between the animate and inanimate modes of response to causality is that inanimate objects have only one potential reaction to an event while animate beings have variable potential reactions to an event."

This statement doesn't even make sense to me especially when looking at physics. I often tend to think on a much larger scale than most and can see millions of reaction of inanimate objects. It really all depends on what kind of object.

"The real question to me is: are we simply harder to predict or are we completely unpredictable? Does free will enable us to interfere with causality or would that interference be an illusion?"

Huamn beings are not that hard to predict. many of us do it on a daily basis, it really depends on the individual. There is no illusion to life, what you see, hear and feel is very real to you. Free will is something invented by religion as a term, one that i find ridiculous, of course every living thing in the world has free will.

"In the end, we will all be dead and the universe will continue unfolding as if we were never here. Any change we might wrought is temporary in the grand scheme of things."

I disagree with this statement. We know to little about the universe to make claims like that. If we all died before we make contact with another race, will they still learn from us? If our galaxy is destroyed and shoved into space, will our microbes and DNA not live on through pieces of our planet floating in space?

"Cause and effect, more often than not, is a chain-reaction"

This is thinking of individual experiences not in the grand scheme of the universe. Is the universe and everything in it just a reaction(effect) of the original cause(the creation)?
Okay Michael,

First of all, facts are facts whether or not you've ever heard of them. Did you think to Google "closed systems" or "causality" before you replied?

You ask: "Is life just one large effect from one gigantic cause? Speaking in terms of the universe as a whole. Can our small impact on the universe help create another cause that leads to an opposite effect or is it just part of the ongoing effect from an original cause?" Your phrasing is imprecise and problematic, but I thought I understood what you meant. My interpretation of your question would go something like: "Is human life an inevitable consequence of the Big Bang? Can we function apart from universal cause and effect or are our actions just as inevitable as everything else?"

If that is not what you meant, then you need to clarify your questions. "Large effect" and "gigantic cause" are nebulous terms that don't really nail down anything specific. You ask about life but say you're speaking of the universe as a whole . . . what does that mean? . . . Do you mean to include (potential) alien life? Your question: "Can our small impact on the universe help create another cause that leads to an opposite effect or is it just part of the ongoing effect from an original cause?", seems to be addressing the effects of human activity that escapes the bonds of Earth to affect the universe at large (as opposed to human activity without universal implications). I take this to mean space exploration, radio and television signals, etc. The only way to know what you're really asking is to have you clarify.
"First of all, facts are facts whether or not you've ever heard of them. Did you think to Google "closed systems" or "causality" before you replied?"

That is laughable. Why would i Google something when, nearly half the content on the internet is based on opinion. I understood my question and know where i was going as far as an answer goes. You are the one continuing to try and answer my question a certain way even after i stated the individual human condition had nothing to do with the question. I clarified my question to you several times now and you still wish to argue with me. If this were a question that neither of us asked and we both commented on it, then maybe you would be right. But i asked the question and felt your response was thinking to small.

"Can our small impact on the universe help create another cause that leads to an opposite effect or is it just part of the ongoing effect from an original cause?", seems to be addressing the effects of human activity that escapes the bonds of Earth to affect the universe at large (as opposed to human activity without universal implications)"

My question has little to do with individual human relations and includes the entire planet, not just humans. You could even include the whole galaxy in my question as we are apart of this galaxy and this galaxy can effect the rest of the universe. maybe i should have asked it a different way. maybe you should have took the advice i gave you after your first response, as i clarified my question to you. Which you still do not wish to see, i think you just wish to argue your case.

"Is human life an inevitable consequence of the Big Bang? Can we function apart from universal cause and effect or are our actions just as inevitable as everything else?"

Not even close to what i was asking but i really don't care at this point as it was just a question to gain insight into how other atheist think about the universe. My assumptions are mostly right in that many atheist do not contemplate existence outside of their own experience. everything becomes about human life and experiences because most people can only relate to their own personal life and nothing else.
From years and years of talking with atheist. I keep looking to prove myself wrong and on occasion I do see some that look for answers outside themselves and the human experience. many atheist are just as hard headed as any believer in what ever religion. I myself am included in this assumption. I try and break the mold by researching and questioning everything. In doing this and trying to understand the universe, certain questions arise in which you must take human existence out of the equation and think on a larger scale.

All I meant by my statement is we need to go outside of ourselves and realize that somethings in life are not explainable by science or human experience.
I only acknowledge what I find in the study, which is no different than any scientist or psychologist uses in their studies. My studies are personal at the moment, maybe one day i will right a article on the subject but doubtful as it really doesn't matter. There really are no limits to any approach I use. I often you generalizations to stir up other discussions which leads to further evidence. There are few limits to a study on the mind and how it thinks, especially when tlking about peoples beliefs. Often people will stray away from telling you what they really think while others tend to put their foot in mouth right from the beginning. again not like i have never done this, it is apart of our social structure. So, no i wouldn't say it is anecdotal evidence because it is based on what people say not what i think they say.

If a psychologist asks their patients year after year the same questions and they receive close if not the same answer, then is that anecdotal evidence(or hearsay), If the psychologist concludes that the majority of their patients feel a certain way or share a similar view, is that hearsay.

Bottom line is it really doesn't matter, we will continue this behavior most likely till the end of our time, while denying we ever act the same way as those we speak out against. It's a vicious cycle that i do hope later generation can move away from, but it is unlikely because society is set up to divide instead of bring together.
"What you are doing with this thread and what scientists and psychologists use in their studies are substantially different."

The only difference is how you perceive it to be different. In any study on any subject scientist or psychologist use various methods to reach the answer they seek. This post or question i have asked is no different than any study done on the human mind. You don't always need tons of gadgets or have personal talks with someone on a couch. I have asked this question to more than one group of people, as this discussion arose from a inside topic i had with friends. I alos asked the same question to the religious class i am currently taking. So in essence while it may be unorthodox, it is a study in which i can use as research.

In the case of this website i would say, intelligence can often get in the way of simple discussion and cause people to butt heads if you will.
Very nice all the way we assume events. No event can happen without time. True nothing in non-existent timeless space has no events. It is my theory a disturbance self-initaited by nothing needed a way to "event" itself or in other words make time and energy and space possible. Now life my theory is that life like gravity makes structure in the universe for which entropy works to unstructure every nano second.

This is all detailed in a book I wrote, "the odd atheist bible, 50 pages" The book in its draft form is on the blog space of my profile. I two weeks ago dared anyone to find the one math/physics error I made but no one has bothered to study it I suppose.

davo - by the way, I think life on Earth was transported first from Mars on an meteor from Mars a few Billion years ago.
I will give your book a look. I think it is possible that mars may have been the catalyst that started life on our planet.

If you could explain your ideas of time to me a little better that would be appreciated. I myself have a view of time but i wont get into it on this discussion.

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