Atomic decay, which happens at random along statistical distributions. Given one atom of an isotope there's literally no way to predict when it will decay, because nothing causes its decay. It just decays.
If something did not have a cause, then it is not an effect.
Ok, if you're drawing a distinction between things that happen and things that are effects, that's fine.
By what evidence, then, do you propose that the universe is an effect?
This message has been edited by crashfrog, 08-19-2004 05:54 PM
Examples of things that seem to happen for no reason at all, things acribed to "chance," are just where we do not have a full understanding of everything involved.
Says you. On the other hand, chance and randomness have so far been the most accurate explanations of certain phenomena in the universe. Deterministic explanations have largely failed at the quantum level.
God, it seems, plays dice with the universe. Classical theories can't explain quantum events. Only theories that take into account randomness are accurate, so far.
I don't see how something can "just decay." The laws of physics contradict this.
As you understand them, perhaps.
But it doesn't work like that. You don't get to tell the universe how to operate according to your view of the laws of physics.
Rather, you must derive the laws through observation of the universe, and in this universe, atoms decay randomly. Given a certain amount of time and a certain isotope, it's possible to predict roughly how many atoms should have decayed (this is the basis of radiometric dating, for instance) but not which ones have decayed.
If the universe had a beginning, as the big bang suggests, then it is an effect, because something had to cause it to come into being.
As Ned said, that's circular reasoning. Whether the universe had a cause or not is the very thing under question. You can't simply assert it to be true.
I say that the Big Bang happened, but was not caused because it's not an effect. If you propose a cause, then you must first establish that the universe is an effect.