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Author Topic:   What is Supernatural?
Member (Idle past 3278 days)
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Joined: 04-06-2009

Message 1 of 2 (544326)
01-25-2010 1:12 PM

What is Supernatural?

Merriam-Webster gives us:

1 : of or relating to an order of existence beyond the visible observable universe; especially : of or relating to God or a god, demigod, spirit, or devil

2 a : departing from what is usual or normal especially so as to appear to transcend the laws of nature b : attributed to an invisible agent (as a ghost or spirit)

My experience has been that Creationists and ID proponents critisize science's strictly "materialistic" or "naturalistic" worldview.

This is taken from Uncommon Descent, a well known ID blog:

Uncommon Descent holds that…
Materialistic ideology has subverted the study of biological and cosmological origins so that the actual content of these sciences has become corrupted. The problem, therefore, is not merely that science is being used illegitimately to promote a materialistic worldview, but that this worldview is actively undermining scientific inquiry, leading to incorrect and unsupported conclusions about biological and cosmological origins. At the same time, intelligent design (ID) offers a promising scientific alternative to materialistic theories of biological and cosmological evolution — an alternative that is finding increasing theoretical and empirical support. Hence, ID needs to be vigorously developed as a scientific, intellectual, and cultural project.

Of course we know what the dictionary definition is for supernatural, but I would like to discuss and examine a philisophical view of what it means for something to be supernatural. I'll give my two cents.

It seems to me that we file all observed phenomena into two "filing cabnets", either cabnet "N" for natural or cabnet "S" for super Natural. Before the 18th century, and the practice of modern science, the two cabnets may have been more or less equal in terms of files. However, scientists began digging through the "S" cabnet and found that many phenomena were mistakenly observed as supernatural. We can use germ theory as an example; after germ theory became accepted the file "Pathologies" was stamped "natural" and moved to the N-Cabnet.

But what criteria does our mind use to decide which phenomena get filed in which cabnet? The asnwer is predictability. If a phenomena becomes predictable, reliable, and constant, it is considered natural. We don't have to know exactly how something works to consider it natural so long as its predictable. Therefor, by definition, supernatural is a classification of phenomena for which no descernable pattern has been disovered. So, In the end, there is no "S-Cabnet"; it was conjured out of neccessity in order to explain the unexplainable, but now there is nothing unexplainable.

This is the fundemental problem with the ID movement's attack on "materialism" or "naturalism" in science. They posit that science does not take into account the supernatural. ID proponents claim a degree of sophistication because they do take into account the supernatural, but how can science attempt to explain that which, by definition, is unexplainable?

I hope that made sense,

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Message 2 of 2 (544572)
01-27-2010 8:15 AM

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