Cause and effect

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Cause and effect is the basic principle of all action. A person makes a choice to move so as to have an effect in the world. Some choices are internal and therefore show no visible result, such as planning or repentance. Not all effects have a particular cause. One example of this is radioactivity, where an atom decays because it is unstable. However when it decays is random.

The law of causality or the law of cause and effect is a fundamental law of science telling us that whatever happens is caused.[1] Even the great skeptic David Hume stated "I never asserted so absurd a proposition as that anything might arise without a cause."[2] Scientists try to discover the cause and effect relationships among physical phenomenon. For example, a bee sting may cause swelling in a victim. Or the moon's gravity affects the tides.

Quotes on Cause and Effect

Max Planck:[3]

  • Hitherto the principle of causality was universally accepted as an indispensable postulate of scientific research, but now we are told by some physicists that it must be thrown overboard. The fact that such an extraordinary opinion should be expressed in responsible scientific quarters is widely taken to be significant of the all-round unreliability of human knowledge. This indeed is a very serious situation.
  • Religion belongs to the realm that is inviolable before the law of causation and therefore closed to science.
  • The quantum hypothesis will eventually find its exact expression in certain equations which will be a more exact formulation of the law of causality.

See also


  1. Norman L. Geisler and Ronald M. Brooks (1990). "10. Questions about Science and Evolution", When Skeptics Ask. Victor Books, Baker Books, 219–221. ISBN 978-0-8010-7164-5. Retrieved on 25.1.2012. 
  2. David Hume (1932). in J.Y.T. Greig: Letters. Oxford: Clarendon. 
  3. Max Planck; James Murphy (1932). Where is Science Going?. Norton, 66,121,143.