Building a Better Model
“We are to admit no more causes of natural
things than such as are both true and sufficient
to explain their appearances.”
CRITICIZING the subordinate role that quantum mechanics bestowed on determinism, Albert Einstein famously stated that God does not play dice with the universe. The cherished idea of strict cause and
effect constitutes the foundation for understanding the world in which we act.
Or does it?
Experience shows that in everyday life the answer is negative in all but the
simplest circumstances. While we understand that smoking (cause) increases
the likelihood of developing lung cancer (effect), it might be more difficult
to accept that road-building programs (cause) designed to alleviate traffic
congestion can increase it (effect).