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Causation: Observations and Dialogue

The Concept of Causation

      Most of the advances in organized empirical science have been based on an assumption-whether implicit or explicit-of causation.

      Let us then refer to a "law" of causation. A law of causation would be seen as one level of abstraction above such a law as, for example, the law of gravity.

      That, in general, science is important for the field of epistemology is seen from the following quote under the "science, philosophy of" entry from A Dictionary of Philosophy in which Antony Flew served as editorial consultant.1

Organized empirical science provides the most impressive result of human rationality and is one of the best accredited candidates for *knowledge. The philosophy of science seeks to show wherein this rationality lies; what is distinctive about its explanations and theoretical constructions; what marks it off from guesswork and pseudoscience and makes its predictions and technologies worthy of confidence; above all whether its theories can be taken to reveal the truth about a hidden objective reality.

Definition of Causation

      Following is a brief discussion of the definition of causation in A Dictionary of Philosophy.2

The relationship between two events or states of affairs such that the first brings about the second. When the switch is turned on, the light shines. An apparently simple causal relationship clearly exists between the two events. But do all events have to have an antecedent cause and how, if at all, can one event necessitate the occurrence of another? According to quantum theory, it is not always the case that events at the atomic level do have causes; some occur at random (see quantum mechanics; uncertainty principle). . . .

Hume and later J. S. *Mill were unable to supply a satisfactory positive account of just what causal connection is. Russell was subsequently to claim that an advanced scientific understanding of the world needs no such notion. Modern analyses regard it as explicable through the subjunctive conditional "If e1 had not occurred, e2 would not have occurred', but little is clear about what makes such a remark true."

      What are the main objections to the concept of a law of causation?

Uncertainty Principle

      Some of the objection to the law of causation is explained in the following quote under the "uncertainty principle" entry from A Dictionary of Philosophy.3

A law of physics, first stated in 1927 by Werner Heisenberg (1901-76), that has profoundly affected quantum theory (see quantum mechanics) and the theory of *causation. It states that the position and momentum of a particle cannot both be known without uncertainty because the process of establishing either must affect the other. . . .

. . . [F]or an electron, say travelling at a known velocity, its position at a particular instant can only be expressed in terms of a probability. This implies an uncertainty in both its identity and destiny. How, then, can two consecutive observations of the same particle be distinguished from observations of two different particles? If a particle cannot be identified without uncertainty, how can one say what will happen to it in [the] future? And if identity and destiny are in doubt how can one know whether the law of cause and effect is obeyed?

Objections to Causation

      In the above material, it is suggested that "it is not always the case that events at the atomic level do have causes; some occur at random." Here, it would be asked how the mere occurrence of an event on a statistically random basis definitively establishes that this event was not brought about by a prior event. Granted, a set of events occurring on a statistically random basis means that any given event is not predictable. But because it is not predictable at some point in history, does this prove that the event was in no way brought about by a prior event. Would not such a dogmatic assertion, if applied in the history of science, have had a chilling effect if systematically adopted and enforced? Would not the ideological, dogmatic assertion that "the gods," "fate," or "randomness" caused infections of the type which later came to be cured by penicillin, or diseases of the type such as polio which later came to be prevented by vaccines-if such an assertion had been enforced by legal proscriptions or funding decisions-had a chilling effect on scientific research into an understanding of the prior events leading to either those afflictions or the cures thereof?

      This foregoing comment is related to the above quote regarding a particle: "If a particle cannot be identified without uncertainty, how can one say what will happen to it in [the] future? And if identity and destiny are in doubt how can one know whether the law of cause and effect is obeyed?" The fact that information at the subatomic level cannot be determined, and therefore since it is not known "whether the law of cause and effect is obeyed," is not in and of itself an adequate basis to proactively state that events at that level are not brought about by a prior event.

      The overwhelming evidence of science at the supra-atomic level is consistent with what might be fairly termed the law of causality. Thus any measurement difficulties or unexplained phenomenon at the atomic level would presumably be merely that-rather than the basis for declaring obsolete the well-founded law or theory of causality.

      At best, measurement difficulties or unexplained phenomenon at the subatomic level might serve as the basis for a hypothesis that the law of causality does not obtain at the subatomic level.

      To make the above points does not question the fact that science can in fact make progress without establishing causal relations. To know that there is a high statistical relation between red hair and blue eyes may be useful scientific information even though neither of these events are brought about by the other.

      Based on the history of science, one might note that an increase in useful information has come about as science has moved beyond mere statistical association or correlation to the level where there is a known "relationship between two events or states of affairs such that the first brings about the second."

      Because there is one level of the universe such that science is only able to function at the statistical association level should not, it would seem, necessarily provide a basis for disproving the law of causation which has been well-established and productive at another level of the universe.

Chaos Theory

      Let us note a popular illustration with regard to chaos theory. It is suggested that a butterfly flapping its wings in the Amazon region of Brazil may result in a hurricane in North America. Such an understanding would point to a limited or primitive ability in documenting and measuring all the contributing factors and intervening variables that led to the hurricane. Although it may be difficult to imagine that in practice one might ever be able to, or even decide it was worth the effort to try to, identify and track all of the factors contributing to a prediction of the development of the foregoing hurricane in North America, in principle it is conceptually possible. A few centuries back, it would have been difficult to imagine either specifically mapping and manipulating the genetic code, or, in general, the various accomplishments enabled by supercomputers. For the purposes of the present discussion, the above chaos theory illustration does not, in theory, call into question whether there is a "relationship between two events or states of affairs such that the first brings about the second." It merely highlights the practical difficulty of detailing the relationship between the two events.

Physics and Psychology

      It is interesting to note that two fields are affected by the fact that the process of observation affects the outcome: the study of quantum mechanics in the field of physics and experimentation in many aspects of the field of psychology. In this connection, it is further interesting to note that within physics, the facts that the process of observation affects the outcome and that there is a concomitant, necessary reliance on statistical models leads to a questioning of causation-while, within psychology, the fact that the process of observation affects the outcome leads to an energetic development of research methodology designed to minimize the effect of the fact that the process of observation affects the outcome-in an attempt to establish causation.

Questions

      A number of questions come to mind regarding the above line of thinking.

      First on an empirical basis, is there a reasonable basis for estimating what proportion of the advances in science have been dependent on the law or theory of causation, that is, a "relationship between two events or states of affairs such that the first brings about the second," in contrast to mere concurrent statistical association?

      Second, what would constitute proactive evidence that the law or theory of causation is not applicable? Here, it is assumed that, in addition to science progressing by establishing causation, science also progresses on the basis of establishing statistical associations or correlations which do not depend on a "relationship between two events or states of affairs such that the first brings about the second." It is also assumed that certain phenomena cannot be measured either with current techniques, or, as noted by the uncertainty principle discovered by Heisenberg in 1927,4 due to their very nature. It is also assumed that certain events occur on a random basis. Yet in each of these assumptions, it is postulated that they do not constitute evidence that in fact, the law or theory of causation is not applicable. It is suggested that in each situation, these observations are neutral with regard to the question of whether the law or theory of causation is applicable.

      Is the question of the presumed breadth of applicability of the law or theory of causation finally settled in terms of the first question in this section, namely the empirical question as to how much science is based on establishing a "relationship between two events or states of affairs such that the first brings about the second" as opposed to other types of scientific observation and inquiry?

      Does the fact that there are limits to making observations at the subatomic level, an area where progress can admittedly be made using statistical models-does this fact in and of itself nullify the theory or law of causation established in normative areas of scientific inquiry where observations can easily be made?

A Sampling of Others' Opinions on the Issue of Causation

      A friend, Jim Wehmer, offered to put the question about the status of causation out on an international electronic network. Following is the series of interactions which took place in February, 1990.

Message 1
From: James Wehmer
Subject: Re: Is Causality Still in effect.
Keywords:causality
Summary:The physicist today is not committed to the idea of causality?

      Regarding the question of causation, following is a quote from a gentleman in London in response to the treatise on the irrationality of the existance [sic] of God and the universe. He writes,

"For myself I have a background in Physics and would suggest that the physicist today is not committed to the idea of causality at all, but even allows for such an apparent paradox as a cause which follows the event it produces. However, the situation has passed even beyond that paradox to the point where for the contemporary physicist, causality is no longer a major issue."



I can understand that in keeping with the Heisenberg principle of uncertainty, we may not be able to predict future events exactly.

      I further understand that a good theory, according to Stephen Hawking, meets two criteria: "it describes a large class of observations with only a few arbitrary elements and it makes definite predictions about future behavior."

      Thus, is it5 [sic] possible that patterns or correlations among events allow for prediction without requiring the identification or description of actual causal relationships among events.

      Yet, is it true that science no longer assumes or needs to assume that events are caused?

      If so, I suppose we could adapt our line of argument re rationality, reasons, infinite space and first cause. That is, we could define irrationality in terms of events which themselves are theoretically unpredictable in the sence [sic] of having no imaginable set of events which could precede them and thus predict them. In this case, the distinction between cause and prediction would mearely [sic] be formal, rather than substantive, distinctions for our purposes.

      Please respond to me as to whether or not science still demands the functioning of causality. Also, what is an example of a cause which follows the event it produced?

Message 2

From: Jan Willem Nienhuys
Subject: Re: Is Causality Still in effect.
Organization: Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands
Status: R

      Seems to me that the idea of causes still apply. More precisely: investigation of repeatable or natural phenomena will look for causes as a default assumption. On the other hand, some quantummechanical phenomena seem to be uncaused. Maybe one should say:

      if causality seems to fail, there had better be a good reason for it.

      This shows that 'causes' only exist in the mind. By talking about cause and effect one actually is making artificial distinctions in what often is one process. More plainly: if you drop something, you may say that gravity is the 'cause' of the object temporarily being in a state of free fall at the same time as accelerating uniformly with respect to what you wish to consider as stationary. But strictly speaking gravity is not the cause, it is that phenomenon of falling itself. The 'cause' is you who let it go, or maybe a temporary dizziness and so on.

Message 3

From: Robert I. Eachus
with STANDARD_DISCLAIMER
use STANDARD_DISCLAIMER
Subject: Re: Is Causality Still in effect.
Organization: The Mitre Corporation, Bedford, MA

      Three examples of causeless phenomena. The first two require equipment not available in most laboratories....

      For the first, grab a rifle, hop in your spaceship and find a convenient rotating black hole. If you are careful in selecting your orbit, and the black hole is rotating fast enough, it is possible to fire a bullet on a trajectory which will return to your spaceship before you pull the trigger. While you are loading your rifle, a bullet spanges into the back of your spaceship...

      For the second choose the smallest black hole you can find. "Quantum" size preferred, but any size will do. Observe the particles apparently emitted by the black hole. What you are seeing is one of a pair of virtual particles created at random from the vacuum, where the partner fell beyond the event horizon before they could recombine. Notice that although there are no cause/effect paradoxes here, the paticles [sic] appear from nowhere without cause.

      The third experiment has actually been performed, the EPR "paradox." Einstein didn't believe this could be true, and used it as an argument against Quantum Mechanics. "God does not play dice with the universe," says Einstein. "Yes, he does, and he does it where he can't be seen..." says the EPR experiment.

      It works like this, create a pair of particles such that two properties (usually spin in two directions) are the same for both particles, but only one of the properties can be measured. Now separate the two particles by some distance so that the particles cannot interact. Quantum Mechanics says that if you attempt to measure the same property for both particles, you will succeed, if you try to measure different properties, the attempt will fail.

      Although you can't transfer information faster than the speed of light with this mechanism, if you make the decisions on which measurements to make at different times and distances (the experiment is usually performed with the two particles flying apart at the speed of light), the quantum machanical [sic] result still holds. Although this experiment is not as dramatic as the others, the result is the same as the first experiment, in that the effect is measured before it is caused.

      Welcome to the perplexities of modern physics. Two good books describing this are "The Dancing Wu Li Masters" and "The Tao of Physics." If you have a good model for any of lots of things which doesn't depend on cause and effect, let us all know, because cause and effect is only a local approximation, and not a very good one at that...it is difficult to reason when rules start: First throw out all the rules of logic!

Message 4

From: Brian Donat
Subject: Re: Is Causality Still in effect.
Organization: Informix Software Inc., Menlo Park, CA.
Summary: I hope so.

>
6
>Regarding the question of causation ....
>... treatise on the existance of God and the universe. ....
>

      Jim,

      Your whole posting approaches this question based on rationalizations in a "historical" context. And there, you'll find your most valuable insight.

      I might further assume that your question requires an answer (for yourself) which would be determinate of 'where', things will lead to next (specifically within the framework of 'science' (it's [sic] abilities to 'predict' physical behaviors)).

      However, perhaps you might garner some further insight from the discussions some folks are having regarding 'chaos theory' - regarding artificial intelligence and human cognizance, philosophy, etc.. And should you get yourself into those weeds, and as you start thinking about 'chaos', how about considering for a minute, that 'science' is not alone in the universe of human 'expression', but that even as Einstein came up with the 'the theory of special relativity', socially, we all started saying "it's all relative", and the next thing anybody knew, we ended WWII in a major way and started a silent but deadly race. I guess these were 'effects', but having stated so, merely scratches the surface, when one considers where all those dominos really fell.

      But I digress ... perhaps I had to? ...

>Yet, is it true that science no longer assumes or
>needs to assume that events are caused?

Perhaps it still has (needs) to? ...

>If so, I suppose we could adapt our line of
>argument re rationality, reasons, infinite space
>and first cause. That is, we could define
>irrationality in terms of events which themselves
>are theoretically unpredictable in the sence [sic]
>of having no imaginable set of events which could
>precede them and thus predict them.

      Take as much imagination as you need; it's really not such a dangerous thing afterall.

      And BTW, you probably couldn't have done otherwise anyway (No that's not fatalism).

      If you were a meteorologist and had to predict tomorrow's weather, just how would you? And what use would science be to anyone if it wasn't concerned with making predictions and having 'faith' in its rules for making those predictions?

Message 5

From: Peter Hahn
Subject: Re: Is Causality Still in effect.
Organization: Network Systems Corporation, Mpls., MN.

In article >[ by the writer of Message 3 above]

>Three examples of causeless phenomena. The
>first two require equipment not available
>in most laboratories....

>For the first, grab a rifle, hop in your
>spaceship and find a convienent rotating
>black hole. If you are careful in selecting
>your orbit, and the black hole is rotating
>fast enough, it is possible to fire a bullet
>on a trajectory which will return to your
>spaceship before you pull the trigger. While
>you are loading your rifle, a bullet spanges
>into the back of your spaceship...

      Let me see if I have this straight.

      Like a stage magician, I take the bullet and carve my initials in it.

      I now pick up the the [sic] bullet in my left hand, and the rifle in my right hand.

      As I am loading up my rifle, the bullet spangs into the back of my spaceship, and say, for the sake of argument, kills me stone dead.

      With an unloaded rifle still clutched in my right hand, right? And the bullet in my left hand. And the bullet also between my eyes.

      And both bullets with my initials carved in them, right?

      Do I understand this right, or have I missed something obvious? Apologies in advance if I misunderstood something.

      I'll probably be sorry I asked, but how was mass conserved when the second copy of the bullet was "created", if "created" is the right term.

      I know the real answer to my questions doubtless requires math that I wouldn't understand anyway. But I would sure appreciate someone dumbing this one down for me a just a little bit more.

Message 6

Subject: Re: Is Causality Still in effect.

>And what use would science be to anyone
>if it wasn't concerned with making
>predictions and having 'faith' in its
>rules for making those predictions? >by the writer of Message 4 above

      And scientists reverently intone their "sacred truths" seemingly oblivious to the fact that-as James Burke has convincingly illustrated in his excellent PBS television series for mere lay mortals, "The Day the Universe Changed"-the rules have changed every fifty years or so for as far back as anyone can trace the history of science. In contrast, as Mr. Burke pointed out in the last program of his series, the basic truths of Buddhism have not changed in nearly 3000 years. So who is buying "pie in the sky" afterall?

      Alan

Message 7 (by the writer of Message 4)

From: Brian Donat
Subject: Re: Is Causality Still in effect.
Organization: Informix Software Inc., Menlo Park, CA.
Summary: Imagine

Reference: Message 5 above.

>Three examples of causeless phenomena.
>The first two require equipment not available
>in most laboratories....

>For the first, grab a rifle, hop in
>your spaceship and find a convenient rotating
>black hole. If you are careful in selecting
>your orbit, and the black hole is rotating
>fast enough, it is possible to fire a bullet on
>a trajectory which will return to your spaceship
>before you pull the trigger. While you are loading
>your rifle, a bullet spanges into the back of
>your spaceship...

      As I said,

      Take as much imagination as you need; it's really not all that dangerous afterall ....

      Clue #1 that causality is involved: Somebody had to be there loading a bullet to 'initiate' the proposed sequence of events, regardless of the fact, that the author of this example claims it to be 'uninitiated'.

      Clue #2: Has anybody got a black hole they care to share with the rest of us? Or shall we say that a theoretical object is merely 'imagined'. Then, there is indeed a paradox here. The paradox regards what our logic and mathematics allow us to predict as 'true', but for what we have no 'objective' proof of. In other words, logic and math do have roots in the 'subjective' and hence some of what logic and math describe may NOT7 have 'real' counterparts.

      MY GOSH! It's my understanding that astronomers haven't even found a single brown dwarf, in their quest to prove the source of the observed 'missing mass' in the universe.

>For the second choose the smallest black
>hole youu [sic] can find. "Quantum"
>size preferred, but any size will do.
>Observe the particles apparently emitted
>by the black hole. What you are seeing
>is one of a pair of virtual particles
>created at random from the vacuum, where
>the partner fell beyond the event horizon
>before they could recombine. Notice that
>although there are no cause/effect paradoxes
>here, the particles appear from nowhere without
>cause.

      As I said,

      Take as much imagination as you need; it's really not all that dangerous afterall ....

      Clue # 3: Please refer back to Clue #2.

>The third experiment has actually been
>performed, the EPR "paradox." Einstein
>didn't believe this could be true, and
>used it as an argument against Quantum
>Mechanics. "God does not play dice with
>the universe," says Einstein. "Yes, he
>does, and he does it where he can't be
>seen..." says the EPR experiment.

      The EPR experiment supposedly concludes,

      "Yes, he does, and he does it where he can't be seen..."

      It seems to me, that we need somebody to step forth at this point, whose imagination is equal or better to that of Einstein's, and within a wink of an eye, belay this controversy, by of course, revealing it's true causality.

>It works like this, create a pair of
>particles such that two properties (usually
>spin in two directions) are the same for
>both particles, but only one of the
>properties can be measured. Now separate
>the two particles by some distance so that
>the particles cannot interact. Quantum
>Mechanics says that if you attempt to measure
>the same property for both particles, you will
>succeed, if you try to measure different
>properties, the attempt will fail.

>Although you can't transfer information
>faster than the speed of light with this
>mechanism, if you make the decisions on
>which measurements to make at different
>times and distances (the experiment is
>usually performed with the two particles
>flying apart at the speed of light), the
>quantum machanical [sic] result still
>holds. Although this experiment is not as
>dramatic as the others, the result is the
>same as the first experiment, in that the
>effect is measured before it is caused.

      So here's how it works....

      At some point in time, (T1), physicist (PA), initiates process (@P) using the appropriate equipment, such that from a source mass, two particles (! and ?) are created. (PA) then, using whatever device he has available, continues (@P) through successive (Tx) such that (! and ?) rapidly move apart, and while this is occurring (PA) attempts to make an 'observation' with whatever measuring equipment is available to him at (Tx + n).

      We again have clues similar to clues #1 and #2 above, that causality is still alive and well.

      1st: It is an unavoidable fact that (PA) can 'initiate' his experiment at a specific temporal locus (T1), such that he can assure himself of success, regarding his observations at (Tx + n). It appears sound reasoning that should (PA) not initiate (@P) at (T1), the observations at (Tx + n) have no guarantee of success. Hence, we conclude that (PA) is the root cause of whatever is observed at (Tx + n). This is by far more 'rational' that what occurs in the first example with a bullet. I'll keep it [in] mind that in this case observations are duplicatable, but in the case of black holes, nobody as of yet has made any observations at all. Hence, I have little faith in black holes.

      2nd: It has been admitted that observations had been made successively under the same scenario, however, and it has likewise been admitted that what was observed conflicts with what was predicted as an outcome, but that the observation was always the same. Therefore, we must conclude, in agreement with what was stated about Clue #2 above, that the 'rules', mathematical or logical or otherwise, which were used to make the prediction must somehow be inherently wrong, but (and this is important) that this in no way denies causality. As Newtonian Physics collapses before quantum physics, so, there's something about our rules in Quantum Physics that may yet surrender to a higher order set of 'rules' for making predictions about this particular species of observation.

      3rd: It is my observation, that at least two of the examples given regard 'gravity' and to my knowledge, there is still no 'solid' connection in quantume [sic] physics between gravity and the particle physics of 'energy'. We have an open ballgame here and anybody's guess might just lead to the right answer regarding the particular 'rules' for predicting outcomes in those cases. However, the 3rd example remains interesting in that it, escapes this quandary, by remaining bound up with particle species which it was stated fall under the realm of quantum physics but in this case, defy prediction by it's 'rules'. This leads us back to the 2nd thing talked about above, that we may not have things tacked down with Quantum Physics alone and a higher order set of 'rules' is required to define predictable outcomes regarding not only this case, but also gravity.

      4th: We have a problem with the 'measuring equipment' available to (PA) at (Tx + n). Because we do not fully understand the observation because it conflicts with Quantum rules, we exacerbate the problem. We haven't a clue as to 'what' measuring device should be used, because we have little to hint as to what really happened, because our mathematics failed under the circumstance, except that it recurs and conflicts with our prediction. The cheap shot, is to deny however, obvious causality.

      I have seen no reason, yet, to deny causality.

Message 8 (by the writer of Messages 4 and 7 above)

From: Brian Donat
(SAME) Subject: Re: Is Causality Still in effect.
Organization: Informix Software Inc., Menlo Park, CA.
Summary: Discrete Macro Events vs. Micro Events w Multiple Influences

      Regarding the ongoing discussion on causality:
(M) -> ( ) -> (! and ?)

      There is a 5th, reasoning which I neglected to mention in the previous post because it deserves its own space.

      5th, This regards the difference between Macro Events-observed as discrete, and micro events on such a scale, that conditions of causality which influence its behavior are simultaneously 'universal' in nature.

      What the hell does that mean?

      OK. It means this.

      On a macro scale, a causal event which influences Object A (Oa) to behave in any predictable manner allows a higher degree of predictability, and secondarily 'measurability' because the set of 'influences' and their expressions are limited to those which specifically influence (Oa) on the macro scale. Or more specifically, a macro event, usually results from one or a limited number of macro causes, such that the 'plenum' of other causes which are always present, have little effect in altering the outcome. The observer would normally discard the micro effects and base observations on the macro scale activity. This works fine for bullets, apples and oranges.

      On the contrary, a micro event on the scale of the smallest currently predictable Quantum species, may no longer behave as if it involved a discrete entity, because the set of influences and their expressions include 'all' possible 'influences' at that scale. This doesn't necessarily preclude the possibility of consist[ent]ly producing the same observations from the same initial conditions because indeed, we are still talking causality. However we're talking about causality in a way, such that the causal influences become unlimited in number.

      This would preclude being able to make observations of the 'what' that goes on during the process initiating the observation, provided that the observation did not keep track of all incidentals effecting the outcome. I would suggest, that no tool currently exists for making such observations where all the incidentals are indeed kept track of.

      Matter of factly, a paradox occurs, in that the observation itself would act as a cause in the event and therefore would alter it's ultimate outcome. Predictability is lost and can never be had at this point.

      In other words, there is a limit at which observations of the discrete particles being studied by themselves is no longer sufficient, but that the outcome is the product, not just of the mass of the product and its source(s), but of ALL the incidentals as well.

      However, I suppose that it would never be quite that severe. Afterall [sic], if you can observe a discrete species, it must in itself be of such a nature that it does have some limited number of other species which may effect it. What may be true however, is that just below this is a level where constituent species are all equal and cannot be distinguished amongst each other.

      Mathematically, we would have a condition in which the 'unit' fails to be recognized, because it exists in a state where causal influences from other 'like' units are at such an extreme that measuring them has no meaning. Just above this however, the first definable species would consist of objects which occur as events at a scale above this meaninglessness, such that they are recognizable against simultaneous expressions of similar objects at the same scale. This pattern of recognizable species generation would eventually manifest itself in such familiar macro objects as bullets, apples and oranges.

      We might somehow infer that as such events become 'directed', their existence at larger scales becomes more and more secure, such that they are propagated through time.

      Now the question is, can a physicist (PA) initiate a process (@) such that a mass (M) can make the following transistion:

      (M) -> ( ) -> (! and ?)

      where ( ) represents the condition where the constituents of (M) express themselves temporarily in a state where the 'unit' is no longer recognizable and therefore meaningless and (! and ?) are recognizable quantum species, but are not the species which were predicted for the given process?

      This would represent the exact opposite of securing an object's identity over time via it's [sic] being more 'directed' in it's [sic] expression. The object regresses to a state of 'no discernable direction' and 'no discernable expression'. Ipso facto, we get NOTHING. But this is unreasonable at best.

      Secondarily, does a transition through this state deserve the status of defeating causality?

      What are the rules, by which (M) -> ( ) -> (! and ?) w/o defying the law of conservation of energy? Does the total expression of ( ) somehow ALWAYS bring things back to a state where

      (M) = (! and ?) + e?

      ALWAYS?!

      This is more reasonable that just getting NOTHING. We just think we had nothing; it comes back from nothing as something else. It's expression was momentarily taken up, by everything else, at the level of meaninglessness, but was returned as something meaningfull at (Tx +n).

      Philosophically then, one should be able to predict that there is a constant extant in the universe which defines the total level of 'meaningfullness' and that like the law of conservation of energy, this never changes.

      Wow! Blow that one through the tree-branches a couple times!

      It might well be that 'gravity' is the expression of this constant as 'force' such that 'gravity' is not particulate in nature, but instead, is the thing which maintains stasis in the level of meaningful expressions above the level where the 'unit' is no longer recognizable. There would then be no math to describe this except in terms of 'gravitational effect'.

      Well so much for now; many of you probably think I just puked up a pile of hogwash anyway.

      It came to me in a dream.

      As I said,

      Take as much imagination as you need; it's really not all that dangerous afterall ....

BRIAND




by John Ronsvalle and Sylvia Ronsvalle
empty tomb, inc.
Champaign, IL
August 30, 1993




1Antony Flew, editorial consultant, A Dictionary of Philosophy (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1979) 297.
2Ibid., 54.
3Ibid., 332-333.
4Ibid., 276.
5An original letter from one of the writers to James Wehmer dated February 3, 1990, with the exception of the last paragraph above, was the source for this Item1. The letter as written said, "Thus, it is possible..." However, since Item 1 went out with the error, the error is printed above: "Thus, is it possible ..." Other slight variations from the letter including spelling errors are included above since this is what was seen by the network respondents. Likewise, spelling errors and other seeming grammar errors are included in the subsequent interactions since this is what the respondents saw and commented on. When it is clear, and convenient to indicate, that an error has occurred, this is indicated by the normal usage of [sic].
6Note: ">" preceding a line means that that line was copied by the message writer for the purpose of reference from James Wehmer's original posting, "Message 1:" above, or, if specified, another Message.
7Capital letter in the original.





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