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on the notion of correlation and causation


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Yes, it is an opinion piece, as is your opinion piece that human don't play a significant part, and natural causes play the most significant part. Now, I don't know about the inclinations of others, but disregarding my skepticism towards science (due again, to epistemic problems with some questionable assumptions it makes), if I were to hold a strong position on the issue, it would be in line with the vast majority of the scientific organizations.

uh, that's not the point i was trying to make. what i meant is that since it is an opinion piece, its estimation of "consensus" is at the very least biased. they choose not to point out all the significant numbers of people that disagree, or have made significant counter claims. i.e., saying that article is truly representative of "the vast majority of scientific organizations" is disingenuous at best (i'm not accusing you here of being disingenuous, rather, the article is).

 

Also, I would say that there is quite a bit of empirical evidence against your assertion given how many scientists let those organizations speak for them (I'll try to bring up a count of signatures of all the scientists who have latched on to the manifesto that global warming has a significant or main cause in human activities, and we'll compare it to the scientists who disagree).

19,000 signed the OPIM petition.

 

your first link is to a report on the IPCC SPM, which is NOT any indicator of any consensus. it was written by only a few people and many of the "consensus" scientists that are included in the group are slowly coming forward voicing their disagreement with many of the SPM conclusions.

 

your second link is more of the same but for the the 3rd IPCC report. indeed, the 3AR was where the hockey stick got promoted heavily, which has now been shown to be the result of spurious correlations as a result of overfitting (among other problems.

 

Both links show that there is wide agreement among scientists that human activities play a significant factor in global warming (on the severity of the problem, there is disagreement).

no, both links demonstrate that the same authors still hold the same views they did in 2001 as they do in 2007. the consensus view of the IPCC is manufactured. the IPCC, in general, does not conduct its own studies, btw. it is a political body, not a scientific body.

 

taks

 

I cannot find any mention of the OPIM, did you mean the OISM petition?

 

On the OISM survey, you do know that there is quite a bit of problems with it?

 

Some of them are discussed in this Wikipedia article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oregon_Petition

 

I know of some more detailed critiques by some specific organizations, if you want the links, just ask.

 

As for dismissing the IPCC and it's findings, you do know that a multitude of scientific organizations endorse it right?

 

All of these following organizations endorse the IPCC and it's findings and/or make their own statements that human activities play a significant/main role in global warming (some even advise policy changes):

 

*note: I know some societies have been listed more than once; this is because they made different statements*

 

http://www.nationalacademies.org/includes/...ergy_07_May.pdf

 

1. Academia Brasileira de Ci

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Is this a thead where several people use a lot of words to try and argue both sides of the debate 'If there is a line on a graph that goes up, does that actually mean that x is effecting y, or is it just cooincidence?'

 

Or am I completely wrong about that?

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I cannot find any mention of the OPIM, did you mean the OISM petition?

yes, OSIM.

 

On the OISM survey, you do know that there is quite a bit of problems with it?

no more than the union of concerned scientists.

 

Some of them are discussed in this Wikipedia article:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oregon_Petition

you'll note that this link has a "disputed" tag on it regarding neutrality.

 

snip most of the signatory stuff

interesting that you are advocating an argument by consensus as if it means something, particularly given your logic/philosophical background. i only posted the OSIM stuff to point out that many scientists disagree. also, that all these organizations agree is immaterial, and not surprising.

 

I for one, know that in my university, most of the science faculty agrees with the same view that human activities play a significant/main role in global warming.

most scientists don't actually dig into the details, either. they read the news like you and i do and simply assume all of what is being reported is the whole story. on the surface, it really does make "sense," it is not until you dig deep and look at what's going on underneath, the uncertainty, causality implied from weak correlation, etc., that you begin to doubt.

 

personally, i have a particular interest in the reconstructions that mann, et. al. have done. they generally use a method that i use in order to isolate "signals" in the proxies that they have. these proxies are usually tree-ring cores. tree-rings respond in a non-linear fashion to a variety of inputs, many of which are also correlated. however, they are using linear methods that require uncorrelated inputs in order to generate meaningful data. by hypothesis, two of the biggest growth factors CO2 and temperature, are correlated, rendering any results from PCA meaningless. they also manipulate the data from these rings, and have failed to report results that don't match their initial hypothesis (e.g. the failed r2 statistic). as i noted, given your apprehension towards assigning any cause-effect based on correlation, many of these shenanigans should make your hair rise. it is quite amazing the audacity of the leading scientists that are actually publishing.

 

taks

comrade taks... just because.

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What's so funny about it meta?

How can it be a no ob build. It has PROVEN effective. I dare you to show your builds and I will tear you apart in an arugment about how these builds will won them.

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Is this a thead where several people use a lot of words to try and argue both sides of the debate 'If there is a line on a graph that goes up, does that actually mean that x is effecting y, or is it just cooincidence?'

 

Or am I completely wrong about that?

no, not really. the on-topic replies are really about what the meaning of causation is, and how that relates to correlation. it is in the context of GW, which is primarily based on correlations, and trends, but there was no intent (originally) to get into which side is right or wrong. more just what it means in general.

 

i see meta enjoys hume as much as i do. i intend to read some of his work as a result of this, btw. ultimately, i think science and hume will never agree.

 

taks

comrade taks... just because.

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taks, on the OSIM, the Wikipedia neutrality issue has to do with the way the article is written (and it is written in a polemical, one-sided way unbecoming of an encyclopedia). All of the issues of that OSIM survey are cited, however. The fact that the survey is nearly 10 years old, had problems with its text, some fake signatures.

 

Also bring into account that since the survey was nearly 10 years old (a time when less of an agreement was reached on the issue), opinions have changed:

 

Scientific American took a sample of 30 of the 1,400 signatories claiming to hold a Ph.D. in a climate-related science. Of the 26 we were able to identify in various databases, 11 said they still agreed with the petition
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What's so funny about it meta?

Arguing Hume is pointless (even Bertrand Russell opines, in History of Western Philosophy, that he created his own cul de sac in which to disappear: an unreachable redoubt of logic). Why? I'm glad you asked.

 

If you read the discussion you will see it plainly, too. If we agree with the assumption that causation MUST be proved before we can make use of it, then all the scientists will start packing up their equipment and looking for a new hobby/career. There is no way to "prove" causation. So what then? In the meantime, as taks pointed out, people use the models that science gives us (based in reality, taken from observable fact, and repeatable by anyone who wishes to confirm the relevant details) to PREDICT the behaviour of all sorts of useful things.

 

It may be impossible to prove that putting a swath of cotton in a hot oven sets the scene for the hot flames to CAUSE the cotton to ignite, but -- because we can reliably predict that it WILL, every time -- what does that actually mean?

 

If the argument has to go ANYWHERE, it should attack the notion of proof vis a vis cause-and-effect.

 

Hume was criticised by Russell, not for inventing a novel and unarguable epistemological argument, but for creating a side-show. The problem is not that causality is not reliable, it is that humanity has no way of proving causality from direct observation. Hence the problem isn't that there is no causality (try and provide a better model!), it is that we are insufficiently able to prove it (at this time). A semantic argument. The Mother of All semantic arguments.

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If we agree with the assumption that causation MUST be proved before we can make use of it, then all the scientists will start packing up their equipment and looking for a new hobby/career.

 

I don't think it was claimed by anybody that causation must be proved to be used. Certainly, it is used everyday by most people. What was claimed is that causation must be justified to use rationally to form conclusions that are rational.

 

It may be impossible to prove that putting a swath of cotton in a hot oven sets the scene for the hot flames to CAUSE the cotton to ignite, but -- because we can reliably predict that it WILL, every time -- what does that actually mean?

 

For prediction, see problem of induction (certainly a greater epistemic threat to science then the problem of causation). Ignore Hume's expose (not doing the strength of the argument justice), go to Salmon's work in The Foundations of Scientific Inference for a more cogent discussion related to science itself (he takes a sympathetic view towards science, but ultimately concludes that there is no satisfactory resolution to the problem, though he is optimistic). Karl Popper also agreed that Hume was correct on the issue and tried to formulate a "deductivist approach" that ran into the same problems he wanted to avoid.

 

Hence the problem isn't that there is no causality (try and provide a better model!), it is that we are insufficiently able to prove it (at this time). A semantic argument. The Mother of All semantic arguments.

 

For "a better model", Ghazali and Malebranche invoke that God is the cause of all things. The model is certainly much more logically consistent than attempting to use an invalid inference to jump from correlation to causation.

 

Pragmatic considerations for science (and other things) are nice, and may convince people as to their usefulness, but I'm afraid they provide no epistemic value to the discussion.

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taks, on the OSIM, the Wikipedia neutrality issue has to do with the way the article is written (and it is written in a polemical, one-sided way unbecoming of an encyclopedia). All of the issues of that OSIM survey are cited, however. The fact that the survey is nearly 10 years old, had problems with its text, some fake signatures.

and they continue to update it, verify signatures, and remove people if requested. you still have opinion on opinion. neither are the wiki comment valid, nor are the 19,000 signatures valid to formulate any reasonable argument about consensus. i merely pointed out that there are "many" scientists that disagree. even if half of them no longer wish to be on the list, there's still a lot.

 

Scientific American took a sample of 30 of the 1,400 signatories claiming to hold a Ph.D. in a climate-related science. Of the 26 we were able to identify in various databases, 11 said they still agreed with the petition —- one was an active climate researcher, two others had relevant expertise, and eight signed based on an informal evaluation. Six said they would not sign the petition today, three did not remember any such petition, one had died, and five did not answer repeated messages. Crudely extrapolating, the petition supporters include a core of about 200 climate researchers – a respectable number, though rather a small fraction of the climatological community.

30 of the 1400 from SA, which holds a pretty high opinion of GW theory to begin with. phrases like "crudely extrapolating" and similar should raise eyebrows, btw. and the notion that "a core of 200 climate researches" is anything meaningful is absurd. the climate science field covers any analytical background. climate science uses concepts from signal processing, statistical analysis, chemistry, physics, etc. to rule those professions out because they are not "climate scientists" is unbelievably narrowminded.

 

I'm afraid I'm going to have to set the record clear about the incorrect motive you attribute to me. If you go and reread my posts in this thread, you will see that I do no such thing. I merely brought up the issue of a consensus (when I was trying to clarify my position on the issue) because you felt that it was something that did not exist, which flies in the face from what I know about the issue.

ok, i'll grant that you don't use the consensus, and are merely pointing it out. the true "consensus" however, is not measured by how many organizations are "on board" or how many people sign a petition. really what we would need to get at here is a survey of all the literature, which has been done. GD linked to the recent study which actually looked deeper into the oreskes study: less than 20% agreed with all the conclusions. as i've noted many times, using the term most scientists is really only applicable to one concept: the planet is warming, or has warmed.

 

I liked this quote from the statistical analysis of the consensus:

 

One could debate whether overwhelming consensus is adequate grounds for action on climate change, but there are no grounds for debating whether such consensus actually exists

the oreskes study? yes, it was horribly flawed and has been discredited.

 

Again, I'll reaffirm that besides my skepticism of science on the meta-level, when I am looking at science from within it (as you are doing), then I would expect "good science" to follow the rules of science very closely. This is why I agree with you on Gore and some of his sloppy science in the movie. So yes, if the scientists are not following correct scientific (and statistical) procedures, then it makes sense to criticize them.

which i am doing. personally, though nobody seems to understand this, i'm pretty apathetic towards an opinion one way or the other. i'm more worried about cooling since that will increase death and poverty. i'd prefer there to be warming, but sadly, those pushing the political side of things are using this possibility as a means to further limit human growth... oh well.

 

enough of this off topic stuff! we aren't really disagreeing anywhere and it is not furthering any intellectual discourse.

 

taks

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comrade taks... just because.

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i am thinking more on the correlation/causation issue, btw. i just don't have time to really put it to paper at the moment (so to speak). i'm working from the house right now (i pick up my child at 1 on T/TH), and i really need to pay attention to that, and school tonight. no rest for me i suppose. i'll come back later.

 

taks

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  • 3 weeks later...
If we agree with the assumption that causation MUST be proved before we can make use of it, then all the scientists will start packing up their equipment and looking for a new hobby/career.

 

I don't think it was claimed by anybody that causation must be proved to be used. Certainly, it is used everyday by most people. What was claimed is that causation must be justified to use rationally to form conclusions that are rational.

 

It may be impossible to prove that putting a swath of cotton in a hot oven sets the scene for the hot flames to CAUSE the cotton to ignite, but -- because we can reliably predict that it WILL, every time -- what does that actually mean?

 

For prediction, see problem of induction (certainly a greater epistemic threat to science then the problem of causation). Ignore Hume's expose (not doing the strength of the argument justice), go to Salmon's work in The Foundations of Scientific Inference for a more cogent discussion related to science itself (he takes a sympathetic view towards science, but ultimately concludes that there is no satisfactory resolution to the problem, though he is optimistic). Karl Popper also agreed that Hume was correct on the issue and tried to formulate a "deductivist approach" that ran into the same problems he wanted to avoid.

 

Hence the problem isn't that there is no causality (try and provide a better model!), it is that we are insufficiently able to prove it (at this time). A semantic argument. The Mother of All semantic arguments.

 

For "a better model", Ghazali and Malebranche invoke that God is the cause of all things. The model is certainly much more logically consistent than attempting to use an invalid inference to jump from correlation to causation.

 

Pragmatic considerations for science (and other things) are nice, and may convince people as to their usefulness, but I'm afraid they provide no epistemic value to the discussion.

I really wish I had time at the moment to provide a full rebuttal; I shall endeavour to cover all the bases.

 

You are quick to conclude that causality is deductively orphaned without demonstrable proof that two events are linked, scientific sufficiency notwithstanding.

 

Let's be clear: Hume is attacking the MEANING of meaning; an equivalent critique would ask, say, what "Two" MEANS in the statement "1+1=2" ... i.e. it is implicit in mathematics (a model of reality), i.e. it is ASSUMED. (Two is the next counting number / whole number / integer / whatever in the infinite series of same, etc.)

 

Let's get back to the root of the discussion: confidence in the conclusions in the discussion of global Climate Change. By denigrating causality -- as defined by science, in this case -- one MUST also conclude that there is insufficient evidence to conclude that smoking causes lung cancer ... or even that nuclear weapons cause nuclear explosions! So much for the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty and the UN Security Council.

 

As for your reference to a Ghazali-Malebranche "ultimate mover", I find that less attractive. I'd need a lot more (concise) explanation about that before you could convince me (I haven't read them). How an independently, scientifically verifiable series of events can be called inconclusively causal (epistemically speaking, of course) and yet the alternative hypothesis makes a series of equivalent (or weaker) ontological assumptions ... like the jump to an external factor (a third factor not directly related to any object in the causal chain), the existence of a God (Deism), and onto a paternalistic God (Theism) that intervenes (in fact HAS TO) into EVERYTHING. That's three factors that SHOULD NOT be necessary to explain why, for example, EVERY TIME one raises the temperature of paper to 451 degrees Fahrenheit -- at standard pressure and volume -- it combusts, as predicted by our recorded observations of the physical world, including (but not limited to!) the Boyle-Mariotte law (1662).

 

Again, although I am almost reticent to mention it, the fault seems to be the (seemingly) cavalier assumptions you make, rather than deductive or inductive reasoning. (This harks back to our previous arguments, where I criticized you for syllogism. :)

 

If I may paraphrase, it seems to me your argument is:

"Causality is problematic, so let's solve it.

"First, Assume that there is a God (proof seems to be unnecessary for this);

"Given this assumption, by definition (for God), God is capable

"and able

"AND WILLING to be the unmoved mover of our problem.

"QED."

 

Compare that to me:

"Assume that causality is real and derived from observable correlation,

"Given this, when an event can be predictably repeated by anyone, anywhere with predictable accuracy and precision, then cause and effect are evident.

"QED."

 

You solution, however convenient from a theological (i.e. "divinely revealed" or completely arbitrary, depending on the reader) viewpoint, is patently useless from a utilitarian one (which must still have epistemic basis). And all in the name of searching for meaning!

 

Right now you are (seriously!) arguing that it is MORE MEANINGFUL to say that "God moves everything" rather than discern causes for outcomes. Aren't you? Or are you just fighting a rearguard action, using Hume, to save face?

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Humes is a very consistent empiricist, how would his syllogism go w/ his billiard balls?

 

I see your logic (created by Aristotle!) Im probably wrong since your a know-it-all but let me humor you. :)

 

Is the Humes billiard ball theory equivalent to being an Agnostic towards everything cause and effect?

So in "effect" to bring Humes up is to take evidence and facts away from the argument and start back over again, only to end it with throwing the baby out with the bath water?

 

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You are quick to conclude that causality is deductively orphaned without demonstrable proof that two events are linked, scientific sufficiency notwithstanding.

 

Yes. "Scientific sufficiency" has no bearing on epistemic merit.

 

Let's be clear: Hume is attacking the MEANING of meaning; an equivalent critique would ask, say, what "Two" MEANS in the statement "1+1=2" ... i.e. it is implicit in mathematics (a model of reality), i.e. it is ASSUMED. (Two is the next counting number / whole number / integer / whatever in the infinite series of same, etc.)

 

I'm beginning to think it was a mistake to bring up that selected quote of Hume earlier, as this has become the focus of the topic of the nature of inference between correlation and causation when it shouldn't be. Let's just ignore what Hume meant or didn't mean. The critique of causality is older than Hume and put forward in more direct, "better" cases than Hume. I have referenced a few of those above. I have put forth the critique in my own words as well.

 

Let's get back to the root of the discussion: confidence in the conclusions in the discussion of global Climate Change. By denigrating causality -- as defined by science, in this case -- one MUST also conclude that there is insufficient evidence to conclude that smoking causes lung cancer ... or even that nuclear weapons cause nuclear explosions! So much for the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty and the UN Security Council.

 

Yes, so much for them. To say smoking causes lung cancer or that nuclear weapons cause nuclear explosions is a conclusion based on some correlation between two events, and an invalid inference is made to attribute a causal link. People may accept this inference for psychological or pragmatic reasons, but there is no logical or empirical justification present for those conclusions.

 

I suppose if one does not mind accepting conclusions that are logically invalid and have no empirical justification, then they do not have to do away with their world view.

 

As for your reference to a Ghazali-Malebranche "ultimate mover", I find that less attractive. I'd need a lot more (concise) explanation about that before you could convince me (I haven't read them). How an independently, scientifically verifiable series of events can be called inconclusively causal (epistemically speaking, of course) and yet the alternative hypothesis makes a series of equivalent (or weaker) ontological assumptions ... like the jump to an external factor (a third factor not directly related to any object in the causal chain), the existence of a God (Deism), and onto a paternalistic God (Theism) that intervenes (in fact HAS TO) into EVERYTHING. That's three factors that SHOULD NOT be necessary to explain why, for example, EVERY TIME one raises the temperature of paper to 451 degrees Fahrenheit -- at standard pressure and volume -- it combusts, as predicted by our recorded observations of the physical world, including (but not limited to!) the Boyle-Mariotte law (1662).

 

First of all, let's get this straight, I'm not here to convince you about anything, and your beliefs aren't my business, so believe what you want. :)

 

If you find the model I gave "less attractive", fine. I took your request for a "better" model to be a model with logical consistency, but maybe that wasn't what you meant by "better". The occasionalist model does make assumptions (like everything), but it has a logical consistency that inferring a causal nexus from correlated events does not.

 

In the occasionalist model once a prime mover entity and its attributes are proved or assumed, deductive inferences can take you

 

Again, although I am almost reticent to mention it, the fault seems to be the (seemingly) cavalier assumptions you make, rather than deductive or inductive reasoning. (This harks back to our previous arguments, where I criticized you for syllogism. :)

 

I make a couple of assumptions sure, though the assumptions are related to deductive reasoning, so it is incorrect to say 'rather'. I assume at the basic level the principle of the excluded middle and the truth values of the basic logical operators to derive the deductive inferences and rules of validity, which I then apply to the inference from correlation to causation to show that it is invalid.

 

If I may paraphrase, it seems to me your argument is:

"Causality is problematic, so let's solve it.

"First, Assume that there is a God (proof seems to be unnecessary for this);

"Given this assumption, by definition (for God), God is capable

"and able

"AND WILLING to be the unmoved mover of our problem.

"QED."

 

It is wrong to attribute this argument to me. I merely point out that causality is problematic. I have no desire to solve it.

 

You asked for a "better model" (given your context, I took this to mean explanation). I provided one. The occasionalist model holds that a prime mover entity (who's proof of existence is given by a deductively valid argument relying on assuming the principle of the excluded middle [a basic foundation of logic] and the principle of sufficient reason [very crudely, everything must have an explanation]) is the one who by nature of its attributes, is the cause of all things, and that while there is no necessary causation, there is a contingent causation based on the prime mover entity itself, which explains why certain events are correlated.

 

The inference from correlation to causation also provides an explanation which is (at least what I consider to be) just as strong in its explanatory power. We observe two things/events to be regularly correlated so we say that this is so because there is some sort of causation going on.

 

Both provide meanings and explanations for why things are as they are. The difference is that the former relies on a valid inference while the latter relies on an invalid inference.

 

Salmon in his Foundations of Scientific Inference on the other hand, does not provide another model. He simply is content to show the epistemic problems with causality and the challenges it poses to scientific knowledge, and at the end (he is a scientist sympathetic to his discipline), remain hopeful that it will be solved.

 

The former actually gives you a logically consistent model and explantion of why things are regularly correlated. It does rely on some ontological baggage of the existence of God (which remains indirect to the occasionalist model at hand and so does not affect its logical consistency), which, though also logically consistent itself, relies on the extra assumption of the principle of sufficient reason.

 

The latter does not attempt to give a model or an explanation for events. In doing such, it avoids that extra baggage of assumptions that the former brings along.

 

Also, if this is your impression of Ghazali and Malebranche, it is incorrect. First, they actually both give proofs for God (though you are right in a way that both, also do hold that a proof (in the logical sense) is patently unnecessary for them to believe in God, it seems to be more for those who don't believe and to show that rational tenability and cogency of such a belief). I won't get into why they argued for an occasionalist model (there are many articles which speculate on the motivations of occasionalist metaphyiscs), but it's safe to say that they really didn't seem concerned that causality was problematic, and solving it wasn't their motivation.

 

Compare that to me:

"Assume that causality is real and derived from observable correlation,

"Given this, when an event can be predictably repeated by anyone, anywhere with predictable accuracy and precision, then cause and effect are evident.

"QED."

 

If you begin with assuming that causality is real, good enough. You would have to already hold the conclusion that smoking causes cancer BEFORE observing any sort of correlation though. I think this is the point that is problematic for those who want to use observed correlations.

 

Let's make this clear again, if someone to begin with, assumes that causal links exist between specific events, it still does not change the fact that there exists no deductively valid inference to show us that. Assuming to start with, say, a casual link between smoking and cancer is present, means that observing a correlation between the two events is irrelevant.

 

If you look closely, you will see that never has causality itself been called FALSE or non-existent. Simply the avenues of proving it have been called into question due to their invalidity.

 

You solution, however convenient from a theological (i.e. "divinely revealed" or completely arbitrary, depending on the reader) viewpoint, is patently useless from a utilitarian one (which must still have epistemic basis). And all in the name of searching for meaning!

 

Not my solution, and the solution is not a search for meaning. Solve these misinterpretations, otherwise we cant go further.

 

Right now you are (seriously!) arguing that it is MORE MEANINGFUL to say that "God moves everything" rather than discern causes for outcomes. Aren't you? Or are you just fighting a rearguard action, using Hume, to save face?

 

Aside from again attributing the argument to me, are you equivocating me pointing out that the occasionalist explanation of causality has logical consistency while inference from correlation to causation is logically invalid to me saying that it is more meaningful to say that God moves everything rather than discern causes for outcomes.

 

I'm not interested in saving face on an internet message board.

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To say smoking causes lung cancer or that nuclear weapons cause nuclear explosions is a conclusion based on some correlation between two events, and an invalid inference is made to attribute a causal link. People may accept this inference for psychological or pragmatic reasons, but there is no logical or empirical justification present for those conclusions.

 

I suppose if one does not mind accepting conclusions that are logically invalid and have no empirical justification, then they do not have to do away with their world view.

1. What, exactly, is invalid about the logic behind attributing the causes of lung cancer and nuclear explosions to smoking and nuclear weapons?

2. The difference (in terms of burden of proof) between scientific sufficiency and epistemic proof is not as large as your arguments make it seem. (After all, if scientific sufficiency was such a poor standard for understanding causes then it would not be fit for purpose.) You are guilty of a fallacy here, definitely, by equating the quantity and quality of evidence required for people to be able to ACCURATELY predict (to a stipulated level of precision) EXACTLY how objects will behave in our universe, and the comparably fractional amount to prove the same beyond epistemic doubt.

3. The main fault with your (so far only demonstrable argument) is that you are belabouring under the weighty assumption that there is a god. If you relinquish this assumption (for the purposes of understanding how our universe works), as scientists do, then your highly-valued deductive logic would be free to work on the issues at hand.

4. It might facilitate the discussion if, instead of quoting other people's profundities, you might actually talk about what YOU think / believe. Whenever someone calls one of your more outrageous statements, you simply say "it wasn't my idea". Stop telling me OTHER people's ideas, because you lack the commitment to defend them (or perhaps you realise that the position is indefensible and you are avoiding the admission).

 

You might not be searching for meaning, but I am. I suspect I'm not in the minority (of scholars), either ... you seem to have an odd motivation to discuss the ineffable WITHOUT DESIRE TO UNDERSTAND.

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