Modern science owns much of its success to its ability to define a common causality of related events.
For example, Isaac Newton discovered law of gravity when he realized the casualty of an event like the moon orbiting the earth and objects falling were related. He then defined a common causality for both of these events that could be applied to similar events in other parts of the universe.
A 14th-century English logician and Franciscan friar Occam defined the underlying principles that Isaac Newton and most other modern scientists use to guide them in the understanding of our universe. This principal, called “Occam razor” states that the explanation of any phenomenon should be based on a casualty which is common to other phenomenon so as make as few assumptions as possible, eliminating those that make no difference in the observable predictions of the explanatory hypothesis or theory.
However, most scientific investigations of the “law” of cause and effect assume that all events or “phenomenon” are caused by other events or “phenomenon”.
For example, Newton defined the causality of an object falling towards the earth in terms of a force originating in mass called gravity.
However, there is a limiting factor to our ability to explain and predict the causality of the first event in a series of events because the last event in a we can define in series must be associated with previous event, which in turn must have a casualty. This means the first event in a series of events cannot be explained or predicted in terms of a causality because if it could it could not be the first event in that series.
Presently scientists use two very different methods to define casualty. The first is based on observing how components of an environment interact while the other, on using abstract mathematical equations.
The first assumes that one can predict the causality of events in unobservable environments by extrapolating the properties of an observable one to it.
For example, Louis de Broglie theorized all particles had a wave component by observing how mass and energy interacted in his macroscopic observable environment. Later, he and others were able to extrapolate those observations to the interactions of electrons in the unobservable world of chemical bonding thereby founding the scientific discipline called Wave Mechanics.
Therefore, one could consider the discipline of Wave Mechanics as an example of how a theory can be developed by observing the casually of an event in an observable environment and then extrapolating it to an unobservable one.
The second method assumes that one can define causality based only on an abstract mathematical environment.
Scientists use this method by assigning physical properties to abstract mathematical events and then define their casualty in terms of how they mathematically interact.
String Theory uses this method because it mathematically defines the causality of particle formation in terms of an abstract mathematical environment made up of one-dimensional strings, which are unobservable. Therefore, their definition of causality is abstract in the sense that they are not based on a physically observable environment.
Both of these methods are valuable tools that can be used to advance our understanding of our world. However, the first or physical method posses a greater degree of scientific credibility than the second or abstract method because its explanations can be corroborated by observation of similar events in different environments.
For example, the wave mechanical explanation of the causality of chemical bonding can be “externally” or independently corroborated by correlating it to the observable properties of waves in a classical environment whereas, the causality of events defined by the mathematical equations of String Theories cannot be independently corroborated because they are based on an abstract mathematical environment of Strings which are unobservable.
However, how one derives casualty depends on how one defines science.
If one feels that causality of an event is a result of a physical interaction of a component of an environment he or she will most likely embrace the philosophy that it should be derived by extrapolating observations of an observable environment to that causality. However if one feels that causality is related to only to the event and not to the physical interactions of the components of an environment then she or he will most likely aspire to the philosophy that it can be defined in terms of an unobservable abstract mathematical environment.
Copyright Jeffrey O’Callaghan 2008