Causality is essential for human beings as one of the many prerequisites that are necessary to allow for a physical presence in the physical world.
The Dutch Paradigm has applied causality as a metaphor to understand the events of the Big Bang.
The definition of causality is:
In common usage, causality is also the relation between a set of factors (causes) and a phenomenon (the effect). Anything that affects an effect is a factor of that effect. A direct factor is a factor that affects an effect directly, that is, without any intervening factors. (Intervening factors are sometimes called “intermediate factors.”) The connection between a cause(s) and an effect in this way can also be referred to as a causal nexus.
Though the causes and effects are typically related to changes or events, candidates include objects, processes, properties, variables, facts, and states of affairs; characterizing the causal relation can be the subject of much debate.
Causality is from a human point of view, linked to a notion of time. It is particularly relevant to support a physical environment that provides us with predictable conditions. Without this predictability, we would have no ground to stand on. When someone takes a step, then the assumption is that the person will be supported by the surface and not once, but every “time” and in a predictable way. Predictability means that one has a reasonable notion of causality what will happen while taking the next step. We breathe the air around us and assess with our senses the surrounding. We have the notion that we grasp the physical reality to allow for support of our physical existence. That is such a fact of life that we are not aware of what has to be foreseen in physical causality to prepare the causal conditions of unforeseen effects like someones wishing to take the next step.
The predictability of physical causalities translates into laws of nature. These laws describe the so-called macrocosmic world, but also the microcosm. We assume that the laws of nature for the microcosm also determine the final behavior of the macrocosmic world.
Particle physics focus on observations and understanding of phenomena in this microcosmic world. The status of findings is as in the Standard Model of Fundamental Particles and Interactions.
In particle physics observations on phenomena with causal relations are translated into mathematical formats through the use of algorithms, principles and the like. They reflect assumed causalities within the timeframes of phenomena observed and measured. We call these laws of nature until falsification by a deviating observation requires an adjustment or refinement.
Laws of nature in causality translate into a mathematical format in which we normally use the sign
“ = “
in the resulting mathematical equation. It implies that numerical values and units, or the dimensional formats of phenomena observed and measured, are equal. It does not imply that there is causality at any given time per se because these phenomena require a minimum amount of time for completion.
As a result, the outcome of the effect after the occurrence of a cause is only valid after such a minimum of time has lapsed.
Such a period can be very short, perceived as something happening as almost instantaneous or it will emerge over a longer period. For particle physics, it is a reflection of thoughts on perceived coherence in an observed movement of matter and energy in time. We observe a specific situation at time T1 and another at T2, assume coherence and predict the repetition of the event under equal conditions. That translates into mathematical formulas that are valid under a set of specific assumptions. The uncertainty principle of Heisenberg reflects the inability to define a relevant set of observations at the same point in time.
When a situation at T1 transforms into a situation at T2, we must accept that this transformation needs a lapse of time to take place: by definition, it is not instantaneous. In quantum physics, we nevertheless do accept that a situation could be possible in which the equality is timeless and in effect “=” and in which cause and effect are only potential “quantum” states of a phenomenon.
The actual situation of the phenomenon in transition can also be part of the observation, and the transition subdivided into a transition logic, which follows its own rules and principles. The Feynman diagrams are an example of such transition logic.
For transitions that are perceived by human beings as being almost instantaneous, we have been satisfied for a long time with the observations on the phenomena in stable configurations of parameters as perceived by the human being. A big rock is a heavy stone and continues to be so, in our human perception. We do not perceive this as a result of the continuous renewal of microcosmic causalities, but still, it is.
We understand there is a minimum time needed for a subsequent occurrence of observable causality. We call it the Planck time