E = E(C), the effect is a function of the cause. Nothing else. Another way of saying this is “the cause is completely responsible for the effect.” Causation is an absolute idea and a pestilential example of the big error known as the univariate function.
Recall my definition: The cause = S.I.N.
The cause is completely sufficient (excuse the redundancy here, but some people seem not to understand the word “sufficient”) to produce the effect; the cause immediately precedes the effect (leaving in effect no time for something else to help or to hinder the effect from occurring; immediacy aids and abets the sufficiency and the necessity); and the cause necessarily produces the effect. Another way of putting this is: “if the cause occurs, and that alone is sufficient, the effect necessarily and immediately occurs.”
The S in “the cause” is what makes the term “a cause” an oxymoron. Two causes means no cause.
Every observable process takes time (and not just because it takes time to observe it) – thus there is no immediacy and so no causation. In fact, slow down a process enough and you may be able to see cooperative forces and competitor forces you did not even know were there, cooperators that make a joke out of sufficiency and competitors that make a joke out of necessity in everyday observations.
There is no sufficiency, and although tricky people define things to be sufficient, smart people recognize these statements to be “analytic,” not “synthetic” in the Kantian senses, or that the tricksters are falsely trying to pass off an aspect of a much larger problem as being comprehensive about the phenomenon.
An example of this trickery is “A single A ->T transversion mutation causes sickle cell anemia.” Now this statement is synthetic, as it was a new discovery in its time. But it is not comprehensive. The correct interpretation is that they have defined sickle cell anemia by a single mutation. Recall that “the cause” also means “is completely responsible for.” If that were true of the defining mutation, then all people with sickle cell anemia would have exactly the same clinical course. Not even close to being true – some people are debilitated by this disease and even die young from complications of it, while others lead an almost normal life. Of course that mutation is just the beginning of the story – it sets up critical problems, but does not cause all of the problems encountered by those who have the disease.
Other mutations also affect the course of the disease, as does proper medical care. So do epigenetic changes, and so do lifestyle variables like diet, proper oxygenation of all tissues, and proper hydration and the avoidance of extremes in body temperature. Sickle cell anemia is a multivariate medical condition whose definition refers only to the presence of a single change in the DNA code, a mutation that presents the challenges but does not comprehensively define the challenges.
But in our world, is there necessity, the third essential element in causation? I believe so, but perhaps I am wrong.
In a multiverse in which there is a zero sum of all of the completely conserved quantities, there is the necessity of conservation – zero was eternally zero and will be eternally zero; that we cannot work around. Or so I am naïve enough to think so.