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Is the concept of backward causation coherent and is it really taken seriously

Is the concept of backward causation coherent and is it really taken seriously by philosophers? I doubt whether any scientist would accept the idea and I would like to know what you think.

Is the idea of backwards causation coherent? It seems not, as you could, for example, cause earlier events, such as your own birth, not to have happened. There is also the famous "bilking" (cheating) argument due to Max Black, according to which you can prevent the future cause of something that has already happened from occurring. All the same, philosophers, particularly Michael Dummett, have taken the idea perfectly seriously, and defended it. You write that you doubt that a scientist would take the idea seriously, but plenty of physicists, including Richard Feynman, have indeed used the idea for a variety of purposes, including the remarkable idea of positrons running backwards in time.

Is the idea of backwards causation coherent? It seems not, as you could, for example, cause earlier events, such as your own birth, not to have happened. There is also the famous "bilking" (cheating) argument due to Max Black, according to which you can prevent the future cause of something that has already happened from occurring. All the same, philosophers, particularly Michael Dummett, have taken the idea perfectly seriously, and defended it. You write that you doubt that a scientist would take the idea seriously, but plenty of physicists, including Richard Feynman, have indeed used the idea for a variety of purposes, including the remarkable idea of positrons running backwards in time.

I really don't understand what the big deal is with the apparent 'fine tuning'

I really don't understand what the big deal is with the apparent 'fine tuning' of the constants of the universe, or even if 'fine tuning' is even apparent! The conditions have to be just right for life to emerge, sure, but so what? Conditions have to be just right for many things in the universe to occur, but we don't always suspect an outside agent as responsible for setting them up that way just so they'll happen. Is this the final refuge of the 'god of the gaps' habit the humans tend to fall in to? I also don't get the need for a multiverse theory either. To me it's a bit like saying, because I rolled a six on a die there must be five others each rolling the other possible numbers in order to explain it. Okay, much bigger die....

let me add a bit more in favor of the argument here ... we do tend to believe that certain very improbable things do not occur by chance -- poker/slot machine analogies common -- if your friend gets five royal flushes in a row you'd almost certainly be pulling your piece on him -- the fine tuning argument suggests that the very same sort of very ordinary, accepted reasoning applies to the universe -- that the specific tuning of the various constants is so improbable, when all others are possible (no combination of which would lead to any foreseeable valuable universe, key point), that just as you respond to your poker friend you should respond to the universe: not likely to have occurred by chance (tho always, of coure, remotely possible) -- but still the fact it is remotely possible that your friend randomly drew 5 straight royal flushes would stop no one from reaching for their piece ....

i have a bit more about the argument in my book 'the god question' --

hope that helps!
Andrew

Right on the money! It is extremely improbable that with say four dice I shall roll four sixes (1/1296 against, if my arithmetic is right, and there are no biases.). But I have done it, with dice that otherwise showed no evidence of being biased. What does this show? Nothing at all! In particular, it does not show the existence of a dice controller who favours me - assuming more sixes are better than fewer. Suppose human life is extremely improbable. What does that show? Alas, again the answer is, absolutely nothing at all. The improbable sometimes happens, although, of course, not very often! We should thank heaven that it did!