Ok, i’ll bite. What’s the difference between determinism and causation?
Causation is a relationship between events. Often this is interpreted as immediate cause, which means a cause immediately is followed by an effect, but it is also used in a slightly looser meaning as ‘when this cause would not have happened, then that effect would not have happened either’. Interpreted in this sense there can be a considerable time between a cause and its effect. If this time is too long however, a lot of other events might also have contributed to its occurrence, which then also would be causes of the event. So the idea that a cause a long time ago is a cause of an event is so to speak ‘diluted’ by many other causes. I think this is what you wanted to say above.
Determinism on the other hand is the view that all future events are already fixed. In the modern naturalistic view determinism mostly takes the form of causal determinism, which means that if every event is caused by a previous event, then all events are causally connected, which in its turn means that given a certain past (a collection of events a while, or a billion years ago), exactly only one future can happen. But determinism can also exist in theological contexts (God made his plans and so everything will happen according his plans (then determinism sometime comes under the flag of ‘pre-determination’, God made his plans ages before the events really occur)), or more exotic versions of causation, like the law of karma in Hinduism. So a deterministic world view does not necessarily entail causation.
On the other hand, if causality would be rigidly true in the universe, then the universe must be determined. Therefore my remark that causation and determinism are closely related in a naturalistic world view (in which there is no God or law of karma).
That’s not the determinism as I define it, use it and have written about. What you refer to here is predestination. That is a completely different concept.
There are many definitions of the word “determinism.” In the definition I use all events are caused by many factors unknown to the participants and the participants have no control (otherwise called free will) over those events. The factors are not fixed but change every moment depending on conditions in the universe and in the person over which no one has control. Nothing is fixed beforehand. You are talking about predeterminism and theological determinism. I have never suggested that anything is predetermined and nothing I have written has anything to do with the concept of predetermination or a god.
“The standard argument against free will, according to philosopher J. J. C. Smart focuses on the implications of determinism for ‘free will’. However, he suggests free will is denied whether determinism is true or not. On one hand, if determinism is true, all our actions are predicted and we are assumed not to be free; on the other hand, if determinism is false, our actions are presumed to be random and as such we do not seem free because we had no part in controlling what happened.“http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Determinism
“Everything in nature is worthy of respect-including all persons. We define respect as representing that attitude (thought and feeling) resulting from understanding the concept of total determinism. Applied to humanity, this implies, ‘There but for the differences in our determinants go I.’
“All persons are totally selfish. This makes sense when we define selfishness neutrally, to mean responding to one’s own motivations (determinants). The question of whether one’s actions are selfish or unselfish thus becomes irrelevant. The real issue is whether one’s actions are intelligently, healthily, and socially selfish, or stupidly, neurotically, and anti-socially selfish.
“There are no bad people, only persons who have a greater or lesser degree of mental health.
“Healthy behavior is social, equitable, tolerant, cooperative, and respecting to all.
“Morality represents man’s traditional attempt to formulate practical rules for living one’s life.
“To the extent that they are neurotic, the powerful tend to mislead, deceive, or lie to the weak.
“Parents tend to corrupt. Power brings out corruption (neurotic behavior)-with apologies to Lord Acton.
“Consistent with the Psychosomatic Principle, there is no life of the personality (mind, soul, spirit, psyche) after the death of the body. Death only results in the recycling of our constituent chemicals.
“All concepts of heaven, hell, purgatory, limbo, and the like, are false.
“There is no anthropomorphic god with a knowledge of, concern and plan for, individual organisms.”
When I speak of determinism, these are the definitions I refer to, which constitutes an argument against free will. The problem is that there are many definitions, concepts and uses of the term “determinism” that have nothing to so with the kind of determinism that I am speaking of. I wish there were another term for it that is more specific to the definition and concept i use, but there isn’t one that I know of so I am often stuck having to elaborate the definition I am using, especially to people who confuse it with predestination.