Quotes About Causation

Quotes tagged as "causation" (showing 1-19 of 19)
Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Shallow men believe in luck or in circumstance. Strong men believe in cause and effect.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Winston S. Churchill
“I pass with relief from the tossing sea of Cause and Theory to the firm ground of Result and Fact.”
Winston S. Churchill, The Story of the Malakand Field Force

Robert G. Ingersoll
“Like the most of you, I was raised among people who knew - who were certain. They did not reason or investigate. They had no doubts. They knew that they had the truth. In their creed there was no guess — no perhaps. They had a revelation from God. They knew the beginning of things. They knew that God commenced to create one Monday morning, four thousand and four years before Christ. They knew that in the eternity — back of that morning, he had done nothing. They knew that it took him six days to make the earth — all plants, all animals, all life, and all the globes that wheel in space. They knew exactly what he did each day and when he rested. They knew the origin, the cause of evil, of all crime, of all disease and death.

At the same time they knew that God created man in his own image and was perfectly satisfied with his work... They knew all about the Flood -- knew that God, with the exception of eight, drowned all his children -- the old and young -- the bowed patriarch and the dimpled babe -- the young man and the merry maiden -- the loving mother and the laughing child -- because his mercy endureth forever. They knew too, that he drowned the beasts and birds -- everything that walked or crawled or flew -- because his loving kindness is over all his works. They knew that God, for the purpose of civilizing his children, had devoured some with earthquakes, destroyed some with storms of fire, killed some with his lightnings, millions with famine, with pestilence, and sacrificed countless thousands upon the fields of war. They knew that it was necessary to believe these things and to love God. They knew that there could be no salvation except by faith, and through the atoning blood of Jesus Christ.

Then I asked myself the question: Is there a supernatural power -- an arbitrary mind -- an enthroned God -- a supreme will that sways the tides and currents of the world -- to which all causes bow?

I do not deny. I do not know - but I do not believe. I believe that the natural is supreme - that from the infinite chain no link can be lost or broken — that there is no supernatural power that can answer prayer - no power that worship can persuade or change — no power that cares for man.

Is there a God?

I do not know.

Is man immortal?

I do not know.

One thing I do know, and that is, that neither hope, nor fear, belief, nor denial, can change the fact. It is as it is, and it will be as it must be.

We can be as honest as we are ignorant. If we are, when asked what is beyond the horizon of the known, we must say that we do not know. We can tell the truth, and we can enjoy the blessed freedom that the brave have won. We can destroy the monsters of superstition, the hissing snakes of ignorance and fear. We can drive from our minds the frightful things that tear and wound with beak and fang. We can civilize our fellow-men. We can fill our lives with generous deeds, with loving words, with art and song, and all the ecstasies of love. We can flood our years with sunshine — with the divine climate of kindness, and we can drain to the last drop the golden cup of joy.”
Robert G. Ingersoll, The Works of Robert G. Ingersoll, Vol 1: Lectures

Baruch Spinoza
“Those who wish to seek out the cause of miracles and to understand the things of nature as philosophers, and not to stare at them in astonishment like fools, are soon considered heretical and impious, and proclaimed as such by those whom the mob adores as the interpreters of nature and the gods. For these men know that, once ignorance is put aside, that wonderment would be taken away, which is the only means by which their authority is preserved.”
Baruch Spinoza, Ethics

Douglas Adams
“The complexities of cause and effect defy analysis.”
Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency

Robert A. Heinlein
“You are telling me that I did something because I was going to do something.”
“Well, didn’t you? You were there.”
“No, I didn’t—no… well, maybe I did, but it didn’t feel like it.”
“Why should you expect it to? It was something totally new to your experience.”
“But… but—” Wilson took a deep breath and got control of himself. Then he reached back into his academic philosophical concepts and produced the notion he had been struggling to express. “It denies all reasonable theories of causation. You would have me believe that causation can be completely circular. I went through because I came back from going through to persuade myself to go through. That’s silly.”
“Well, didn’t you?”
Robert A. Heinlein, By His Bootstraps

“Most of you will have heard the maxim "correlation does not imply causation." Just because two variables have a statistical relationship with each other does not mean that one is responsible for the other. For instance, ice cream sales and forest fires are correlated because both occur more often in the summer heat. But there is no causation; you don't light a patch of the Montana brush on fire when you buy a pint of Haagan-Dazs.”
Nate Silver, The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail - But Some Don't

S.T. Joshi
“God's existence needs to be established independently before he can be brought into account for causation; it cannot be assumed at the start.”
S.T. Joshi, God's Defenders: What They Believe and Why They Are Wrong

Steven Pinker
“It looks as if the offspring have eyes so that they can see well (bad, teleological, backward causation), but that's an illusion. The offspring have eyes because their parents' eyes did see well (good, ordinary, forward causation).”
Steven Pinker, How the Mind Works

“Quantum fluctuations are, at their root, completely a-causal, in the sense that cause and effect and ordering of events in time is not a part of how these fluctuations work. Because of this, there seem not to be any correlations built into these kinds of fluctuations because 'law' as we understand the term requires some kind of cause-and-effect structure to pre-exist. Quantum fluctuations can precede physical law, but it seems that the converse is not true. So in the big bang, the establishment of 'law' came after the event itself, but of course even the concept of time and causality may not have been quite the same back then as they are now.”
Sten F. Odenwald

“... the divine knowing - what the Father knows, and what the Word says in response to that knowing, and what the Spirit broods upon under the speaking of the Word - all that eternal intellectual activity isn't just daydreaming. It's the cause of everything that is. God doesn't find out about creation; he knows it into being. His knowing has hair on it. It is an effective act. What he knows, is. What he thinks, by the very fact of his thinking, jumps from no-thing into thing. He never thought of anything that wasn't.”
Robert Farrar Capon, Between Noon & Three: Romance, Law & the Outrage of Grace

Thomas Henry Huxley
“The careful observations and the acute reasonings of the Italian geologists of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries; the speculations of Leibnitz in the 'Protogaea' and of Buffon in his 'Théorie de la Terre;' the sober and profound reasonings of Hutton, in the latter part of the eighteenth century; all these tended to show that the fabric of the earth itself implied the continuance of processes of natural causation for a period of time as great, in relation to human history, as the distances of the heavenly bodies from us are, in relation to terrestrial standards of measurement. The abyss of time began to loom as large as the abyss of space. And this revelation to sight and touch, of a link here and a link there of a practically infinite chain of natural causes and effects, prepared the way, as perhaps nothing else has done, for the modern form of the ancient theory of evolution.”
Thomas Henry Huxley, The Advance of Science in the Last Half-Century

“He who wishes to explain Generation must take for his theme the organic body and its constituent parts, and philosophize about them; he must show how these parts originated, and how they came to be in that relation in which they stand to each other. But he who learns to know a thing not only from its phenomena, but also its reasons and causes; and who, therefore, not by the phenomena merely, but by these also, is compelled to say: 'The thing must be so, and it cannot be otherwise; it is necessarily of such a character; it must have such qualities; it is impossible for it to possess others'—understands the thing not only historically but truly philosophically, and he has a philosophic knowledge of it. Our own Theory of Generation is to be such a philosphic comprehension of an organic body, a very different one from one merely historical. (1764)”
Caspar Friedrich Wolff

Thomas Sowell
“One of the first things taught in introductory statistics textbooks is that correlation is not causation. It is also one of the first things forgotten.”
Thomas Sowell, The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy

John Darnielle
“Some lessons you learn gradually and some you learn in a sudden moment, like a flash going off in a dark room. I sift and rake and dig around in my vivid recollections of young Sean on the floor in summer, and I try to see what makes him tick, but I know a secret about young Sean, I guess, that he kind of ends up telling the world: nothing makes him tick. It just happens all by itself, tick tick tick tick tick, without any proximal cause, with nothing underneath it. He is like a jellyfish adrift in the sea, throbbing quietly in the warm waves of the surf just off the highway where the dusty white vans with smoked windows and indistinct decals near their wheel hubs roll innocently past.”
John Darnielle, Wolf in White Van

Thomas Henry Huxley
Lyell and Poulett Scrope, in this country, resumed the work of the Italians and of Hutton; and the former, aided by a marvellous power of clear exposition, placed upon an irrefragable basis the truth that natural causes are competent to account for all events, which can be proved to have occurred, in the course of the secular changes which have taken place during the deposition of the stratified rocks. The publication of 'The Principles of Geology,' in 1830, constituted an epoch in geological science. But it also constituted an epoch in the modern history of the doctrines of evolution, by raising in the mind of every intelligent reader this question: If natural causation is competent to account for the not-living part of our globe, why should it not account for the living part?”
Thomas Henry Huxley, The Advance of Science in the Last Half-Century

Peter   Atkins
“My aim is to argue that the universe can come into existence without intervention, and that there is no need to invoke the idea of a Supreme Being in one of its numerous manifestations.”
Peter Atkins

Raheel Farooq
“Present, rather than past, is the mother of future. So, your future must take after your present. But if it resembles more your past, the granny must be a slut!”
Raheel Farooq

Johnny Rich
“Can we say, in this case, that the cause of a cause is the relevant cause?”
Johnny Rich, The Human Script

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