"In the web of life every event has many antecedents. Only by an arbitrary decision can we designate a single antecedent as "cause." Our choice is biased - biased to protect our egos against the onslaught of unwelcome truths. As T.S. Eliot put it in Burnt Norton:
"Go, go, go," said the bird, "Human kind cannot bear very much reality."
"Were we to identify overpopulation as the cause of a half-million deaths, we would threaten ourselves with a question to which we do not know the answer: How can we control population without recourse to repugnant measures? Fearfully, we close our minds to an inventory of possibilities.
Instead, we say that a cyclone caused the deaths, thus relieving ourselves of responsibility for this and future catastrophes. "Fate" is so comforting.