Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Are all things in the universe caused by things that cause things like themselves?

  1. May 12, 2006 #1
    A causes B, and B causes A.

    A changing electric field generates a magnetic field.
    An electric field whose change is changing generates a changing magnetic field which itself generates an electric field.
    An electric field whose changing of change is changing generates a magnetic field whose change is changing which itself generates an changing electric field that generates a magnetic field.

    If this change is infinitely rough, this pattern extends endlessly.

    If A causes B, and B causes A, then is it possible for:

    -inf...... >> A >> B >> A >> B >> A >> B >> A >> B >> A >> B >> A >> ......+inf

    The only way the change can be infinitely rough is for the pathways of energies to be infinitely rough, which require infinetesimal forces and accelerations, and hence infinitesimal energies. The largest possible thing is something that cannot change, something that is not subject to acceleration, or a change in path - that would have to be infinity (non-object).

    Are all things in the universe caused by things that cause things like themselves?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 12, 2006 #2
    What do you mean by 'infinitely rough'?
  4. May 12, 2006 #3
    You are a thing in the universe. You were caused by what ? Suppose you say sexual actions of mother and father--then one could say that you were caused by two things that caused a thing (you) like themselves. But there is another view. Suppose we hold that you were caused by union of DNA in egg and sperm cells. In that view, you as a thing are not like that which caused you for each agent of cause only contained 1/2 of the DNA material required to form you. Thus, to answer your question we need to know what you mean by the word "cause".
  5. May 13, 2006 #4
    It would also be useful to know what 'things like themselves' actually consist of. Most people think that all things consist of one basic something-ness.
  6. May 14, 2006 #5
    Meaning that if you take the derivative again, again, again, again, again, ag... etc. you'll never have a constant. Infinite detail - like a Mandelbrot.
  7. May 14, 2006 #6
    Think about this. If you take the derivative, you will get a constant. If you take the derivative again, you will get another constant. If you take the derivative yet again, you will get yet another constant.

    "if you take the derivative again, again, again, again, again, ag... etc." you'll have a constant at each and every step.

    The question is, exactly who or what is the "you" who is taking all these derivatives? If it is literally you, or me, or any other person, then I think you would agree that any of us could only take a finite number of such derivatives, in which case we'll always have a constant. If the "you" is a computer, or any other mechanism you can think of which is capable of taking derivatives, it too will only be capable of doing a finite number of iterations and will only produce a succession of constants.

    What else could you mean?
    What makes you think so? Take any program that lets you examine the Mandelbrot set in finer and finer detail and keep zooming in on any area you like. You will discover that in five or eight (or some other small number of) iterations, the image appears to reach a plateau in which it becomes uniform. The detail disappears. Yes, this is an artifact of the word size of the particular computer, but it clearly shows the limitations I am trying to show will always exist. My point is that there is no reality to the commonly accepted conclusion that infinite regress occurs under any circumstances.

    Of course, mathematicians will quickly point out that infinities occur in mathematics, and I agree that the "concept" of infinities occur in mathematics. The "concept" of unicorns also appears in literature.

    I just happen to disagree with most mathematicians that a consistent definition of infinity can be made. The typical approach is to accept the Axiom of Choice, or some equivalent axiom, which in essence posits the existence of some kind of agent which can carry out your sequence of "again, again, again, again, etc." to "infinity". In the views of Kronecker and Brouwer over a hundred years ago, and in my opinion now, the acceptance of such axioms leads to contradictions, and thus should be disallowed. Kronecker and Brouwer lost the argument and are now dead. In the meantime, Goedel proved that any axiomatic system robust enough to contain the infinite set of integers, must either be incomplete or inconsistent and you can't tell which. To me, that theorem should have been interpreted as vindication for Kronecker and Brouwer, but it wasn't.

    In my view, physics and philosophy would be better served by a "grainy" mathematics with no infinities than with the continuous math of Cantor et. al. (See www.paulandellen.com/essays/essay089.htm )

    Last edited: May 14, 2006
  8. May 14, 2006 #7
    Though what I meant was that the entire expression be a constant (i.e. no variables). For example, for 2x^2 + 3x + 2, you have to take the second derivative before the whole thing is a constant (=4). For a polynomial with an near-infinite degree, you would have to have take the deriviative a near-infinite number of times.

    No who is necessary here. Also, what exactly is causing these actions (in general) to exist. I don't know.



    The Mandelbrot is not a perfect analog of reality.
    Last edited: May 14, 2006
  9. May 15, 2006 #8
    What is shown here is a possible "inter-relatedness" between A and B, I'm not sure I would call it "cause and effect".

    At the quantum level, it seems that there may be no "cause and effect", and what we interpret in the macroscopic world as "cause and effect" may be an (intuitive) illusion.

    Best Regards

  10. May 20, 2006 #9
    The Universe appears to be 'acausal'...

    Sufficient Reason reveals itself to be Insufficient.....

    Cause is an assumption.... : )

    I am not sure but Bells Theorum comes into play somewhere about now..
  11. Jun 8, 2006 #10
    Only the uncaused can cause the caused.
  12. Jun 9, 2006 #11
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Discussions: Are all things in the universe caused by things that cause things like themselves?