Is there a causal relationship between some physical thing or event being **possible** and a possibility actually happening?


Is there a casual relationship between some physical thing or event being possible and a possibility actually happening?

What i mean by this, could it be that the universe is constructed in such a way that a thing could happen due to a relational-probability and not strictly according to traditional causal-relationships (a domino hitting another domino).

To choose an extreme example, a house might randomly appear, that is to say that atoms might arrange themselves that way simply because it’s a possible outcome or because of a tendency towards that possibility given a particular situation. (It’s just an example, i am not saying that a house could just appear, but maybe things on a smaller scale could occur that way.)

This is to say that the universe isn’t just a bunch of cog-wheels producing a definite determined effect, but rather all manner of effects may be a result due to a selection of relational-possibilities, the mechanism of which we do not understand.


a possible ‘outcome’ is obviously the result of a ‘cause

It’s probably that you are unaware of the causes that yield those unexpected outcomes, isn’t it?

To give a simple example, we now know the cause of lightning but in prior millenia, we did not know the cause and just thought it happened. Lightning appearing was no different than your house randomly appearing.


Well there is definitely an existential cause, but i’m suggesting or suspecting that some cause and effect relationships don’t exist in the traditional sense. In this case a number of possible ends is actualised due to or in relation to a situation, rather than a thing being moved to that end like a domino hitting another domino.


Electricity also didn’t exist in the ‘traditional sense’ in my example. Someday we may be at the level we understand more, let’s just call it Theosis.

We don’t know what we don’t know.


Casual or causal?


Jesus said, “Be clean”, and the leprosy was gone.
Caused by the sound waves of Jesus’ words striking the leper?
Or, suddenly out of nowhere clean with the man’s material actuality equivalent to Jesus’ knowing…

The LORD’s knowing, his vocation to “be”, is causation nonetheless.


Sure. It’s possible that billions of atoms might spontaneously arrange themselves in configurations that normally appear through causal processes (cutting trees into timber, mixing concrete, fabricating insulation, building a picket fence). However, the probability of that occurring is so minute as to be essentially nil.

Is that what you’re asking? Whether it’s possible that a Big Mac might just suddenly appear at my desk, as I’m sitting here?

To take it a step further, it seems you’re asking that, since something is theoretically possible, does that cause it to actually occur? No. A theoreticaly possibility is not a cause.


Once upon a time, I dated a guy. He was talking about the destruction of the Amazon rainforest. I was for sustainable commercial forestry/reduced-impact-logging; he was against all forestry/logging, period.

I asked him why.

“Because there’s so many undiscovered plants in the Amazon, one of them must have the cure for cancer.”

I asked him why there HAD to be a cure for cancer hidden amongst the unknown rainforest plants. If there HAD to be a cure for cancer, why not some other common or uncommon object anywhere else on the globe, and we just hadn’t discovered that property or benefit?

But he was very firm in his belief.

Yes, it’s possible that there’s a cure for cancer amongst the undiscovered plants of the rainforest. But just because it’s possible doesn’t naturally lead to the jump that therefore, it actually exists.


Yes please change the title of your thread.


I don’t like the example of lightning. I’d rather use the example of the game of Plinko on the game show, The Price is Right.

Observation 1. There are something like 12 or 15 possible outcomes from the dropping of a Plinko chip. Observation 2. But, there are only 12 or 15 possible outcomes. So, there is a range of possible outcomes and none other (discounting a chip hanging up).

So, here, the range of outcomes is limited. And, a certain law emerges when the game is played over and again – the law of finite probabilities: Although there may be only a small probability of an event occurring, it will occur a small number of times (given the operation of pure chance).

If we consider an example that has no restraint of the number of possible outcomes, then the law of finite probabilities may operate, but we may never live to see that event, like the probability that a Kuiper Belt object strikes the Earth.

to me, an event which has a sufficiently low probability (pick your level of probability) then true cause and effect flies out the window.


No, that doesn’t hold up to reason. Just because something that may happen only has a low probability of actually happening, doesn’t mean that it’s not caused by something.

I mean, it’s an incredibly miniscule probability that I’ll visit China in my lifetime. However, if I do, then the cause will be the plane that flies me there; it won’t be a sudden and miraculous appearance (unless, of course, we figure out Star-Trek-style transporters in the next decade or so). :wink:


Too late lol


I’m not actually saying that a thing can happen without a “cause”, but rather i was suggesting that somethings may happen that doesn’t correspond to our normal idea of causality (a domino moving another domino for example). That is to say that commonsense notions of cause and effect might not always apply.


Having said that, the fact that we have found medicine in nature at all is an interesting and thought provoking thing. It is that idea which has probably lead to his belief that for every illness there is a corresponding substance in nature which cures or alleviates that illness. The more we look, the more it seems that may be true. And if that were true that would imply the existence of a different kind of causality in nature.


That might not be the case on smaller scales. Obviously i would never expect a house to spontaneously occur. But, if you know that it is in principle a possibility, what is the method by which we determine it’s improbability?


Are you saying merely that the forces that determine the cause are beyond our ability to quantify them? OK… but that’s not a non-trivial observation, isn’t it? I mean, our ability to model physical events is finite, but even if we don’t (or can’t) model them, they’re still cause-and-effect events, no? :thinking:

My intuition is that it would go along the lines of the ‘Drake equation’. Consider all the components, break them down into their components, assign probabilities to the lowest-level events, and then calculate up.


Actually, in QM the probability of something occurring is meaningless in determining whether or not it will occur. If it can occur, it ALWAYS WILL OCCUR.

For example, if you flip a coin it will always come up heads, and tails, and end up on edge, and every other conceivable, and inconceivable outcome as well. Whatever can happen, will happen.

So if it’s possible for billions of atoms to spontaneously assemble themselves into a house, they will. Probability has nothing to do with it.


Interesting, but anything that does happen is a distinct event, so if there is no probability involved, then what stops it occurring at 1 particular interval of time (lets call it A) instead of another time interval (lets call it B)

It seems to me that a thing occurring at all is still relational (there is still a casual/deterministic element involved despite there being chance/randomness in it’s effect)


This went right over my head :airplane:


I fixed it :slightly_smiling_face:

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