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Author Topic:   What is Supernatural?
slevesque
Member (Idle past 2748 days)
Posts: 1456
Joined: 05-14-2009


Message 46 of 230 (544861)
01-28-2010 8:55 PM
Reply to: Message 31 by onifre
01-28-2010 12:39 PM


Hi Onifre,

Again, who? From what I understand about it, it's a hypothesis based on empirical evidence.

A hypothesis is still a statement of belief; you only hypothesis something you believe to be true. Rarely is there a point to want to test somethign you believe isn't true.

And it is not based on empirical evidence, but on a mathematical construction for the most part. This may seem a small detail, but it is not. I think it should always be kept in mind when talking about multiverse and string theory.

And an example of a proponent of the multiverse idea is Jeffrey Sweerink (yeah I know, not the best example but it's the only name that popped in my head)

I think, iirc, cavediver has explained it many times to mean absolutely nothing. It, like supernatural, lacks any kind of conceptual description. There is no "outside of reality".

There is where there is a misconprehension. I agree that there is no outside of reality. The problem is that I'm not equivocating ''nature'' with ''reality''.

I define reality as everything that exists. This includes our universe, other universes, multiverses, the interior of black holes, and God if he does exist. This is reality, this englobes everything that is real, as opposed to imaginary, which includes everything that we can imagine but are not real. This would include Harry Potter and his crew, Biblo Baggins and God if he doesn't exist after all.

If we define nature as the place where we can do science, experiment, collect data, etc. then this means it refers only to our universe.

And so, supernatural, or ''outside of nature'' is everything that is a part of reality, but is not a part of nature.

Slevesque


This message is a reply to:
 Message 31 by onifre, posted 01-28-2010 12:39 PM onifre has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 52 by onifre, posted 01-29-2010 1:24 PM slevesque has responded

  
AustinG
Member (Idle past 3276 days)
Posts: 36
Joined: 04-06-2009


Message 47 of 230 (544862)
01-28-2010 8:57 PM
Reply to: Message 43 by Iblis
01-28-2010 6:07 PM


Re: Muggle Alert

Nope. In Harry Potter's world, wizardry is genetic, demonstrably recessive, and subject to specific laws of nature studied by a well-developed academic community. The only thing spooky about it is that it is a well-kept secret, intentionally confused with folklore and urban legend that society in general is trained to disbelieve. When someone gets inside information about it in an unauthorized fashion, they are isolated and brainwashed by officials deputed for that purpose.
In short, it is no more "supernatural" than WMD technology or Stealth™ brand UFOs.

Again, I agree with you Ibilis.

I really thing this is an interesting conversation and I'm glad to see others make the same arguments I have constructed in my own mind. I really do think "supernatural" is a concept created out of neccessity, but, in reality, has no meaning.

Lets assume a Diety exists for a moment. When the Deity uses her devine power to cure a follower, for example, how does this work? Even if the healing mode of action is beyond this reality's laws, the mode of action must still conform to some law. If this is true, then the mode of action is scientifically knowable and thus not supernatural. Does this make sense? Or am I a complete nut?

I guess then we could define supernatural as describing any phenomena that does not conform to a given reality's known laws.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 43 by Iblis, posted 01-28-2010 6:07 PM Iblis has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 49 by Iblis, posted 01-29-2010 3:35 AM AustinG has not yet responded

    
slevesque
Member (Idle past 2748 days)
Posts: 1456
Joined: 05-14-2009


Message 48 of 230 (544863)
01-28-2010 9:01 PM
Reply to: Message 37 by Larni
01-28-2010 3:44 PM


But I can be reasonably sure that when a dude comes along and says I am Yahweh's son and starts doing miracles and then dying and resurection, that if I really do think all this really happened I would have to have a strong reason to think something else then Yahweh is responsible for all of this.

Why?

Because I would have to have a reason to think otherwise. I know the skeptical approach to things is a good thing to have, but being over-skeptical makes you fall into irrational thoughts.

If I have positive evidence ofr something, there is no need to start thinking that it isn't the case without negative evidence. Of course, I can allude to the possibility of the contrary being true, but depending on the strength of the positive evidence, it may be a 10% chance, or 1%, or 0,1% or 0,000001% of it being the case.

It all depends on the evidence you have and how you interpret it. Every alternative can turn out to be true, but will be more unlikely the less you have evidence for it.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 37 by Larni, posted 01-28-2010 3:44 PM Larni has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 75 by Larni, posted 02-02-2010 5:32 AM slevesque has responded

  
Iblis
Member (Idle past 2003 days)
Posts: 663
Joined: 11-17-2005


(1)
Message 49 of 230 (544879)
01-29-2010 3:35 AM
Reply to: Message 47 by AustinG
01-28-2010 8:57 PM


File Cabinets
Hi AustinG

That pattern-recognition you are getting isn't anything to be disturbed about, it means you are a good candidate to understand more about life and how to make the most of it. I will follow up on this later I think, just wanted to make confirmation noises right now.

I keep thinking about your file cabinet analogy. I think a better name for these two cabinets, from a science viewpoint, would be the Known and the Unknown. Science expects that everything currently in the second cabinet will eventually be in the first. Note that that doesn't mean that the second cabinet will be empty, presumably new things will have turned up to put in it in the meantime.

So if ID were science, it could be arguing that the Unknown should receive more emphasis in science classes, and not be far from wrong. From a "creation science" viewpoint, this wouldn't be a bad outcome, because creationism/ID has always been really truly just anti-evolutionism, a demand that the so-called "flaws" and gaps in the science synthesis be given equal time.

But they don't campaign for it on those terms, because, let's be honest, they have no intention of getting what they claim to want. If they did, their funding would get cut off and they would have to get real jobs or at least find new marks. A nicer way of saying this might be to point out that fighting evolution without glorifying their god in the process wouldn't be worth doing for them.

This scientific split between Known and Unknown is very different from the viewpoint of Religion. The supernatural that ID is talking about is similar to things that, in this world at least, will always remain in the second cabinet. We could call these things the Unknowable. I don't believe they exist, I believe the modern slave-priests are exploiting our sense of the numinous to manipulate society in such a way that they don't have to work for a living. And this is why they prefer to say "supernatural" rather than merely unexplored, or secret, or ripe for study.

I think this is a very bad move on their part, in terms of general value to our culture. Every time they stake out a gap and claim it proves God is there, and then we explore that gap and find that he isn't, their God takes another hit in the public estimation. A far better approach would be to point at the marvels of the universe as they are, without lying and dancing around contradicting themselves, and just say Wow, if you think that's awesome, wait til you meet the Guy who done the job.

But that would be the mature thing to do, and if creation scientists were mature, they would be eating meat instead of trying to chew spilled milk.

. . .

"Ah, but it makes a great deal of difference, you see. It is the difference between the unknown and the unknowable, between science and fantasy -- it is a matter of essence. The four points of the compass be logic, knowledge, wisdom, and the unknown. Some do bow in that final direction. Others advance upon it. To bow before the one is to lose sight of the three. I may submit to the unknown, but never to the unknowable. The man who bows in that final direction is either a saint or a fool. I have no use for either."

-- Zelazny


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Straggler
Member
Posts: 10284
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 50 of 230 (544917)
01-29-2010 12:50 PM
Reply to: Message 40 by onifre
01-28-2010 5:10 PM


Re: What is Supernatural?
I don't know what else to say to you other than that I agree.

It seems we both accept that there is a concept of the supernatural that is shared and even agreed upon by all of us who use that term in some vague internal sense?

But that at the same time any claim of having actually experienced the supernatural in terms of expereincing things that are external to ones own mind is fraught with contradictions.

I think we are essentially on the same page here.


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Straggler
Member
Posts: 10284
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 51 of 230 (544918)
01-29-2010 1:02 PM
Reply to: Message 45 by slevesque
01-28-2010 8:40 PM


Re: Supernature and Nature, where to draw the line?
The difference between supernatural and natural will be a supernatural occurence will contradict a known law of nature.

I don't think this is a good definition at all.

The constancy of time was a "known law of nature". It just so happened to be proved wrong by relativity. I don't think that made relativity a "supernatural" theory.

To me supernatural requires that we invoke something that is not only unable to be explained or contradictory to current understanding. But instead something that is inherently imune to such understanding in some way. For example immune to empirical detection or explanation regardless of technological advancement or understanding.


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 Message 45 by slevesque, posted 01-28-2010 8:40 PM slevesque has not yet responded

  
onifre
Member (Idle past 1058 days)
Posts: 4854
From: Dark Side of the Moon
Joined: 02-20-2008


Message 52 of 230 (544921)
01-29-2010 1:24 PM
Reply to: Message 46 by slevesque
01-28-2010 8:55 PM


Hi slevesque,

A hypothesis is still a statement of belief; you only hypothesis something you believe to be true. Rarely is there a point to want to test somethign you believe isn't true.

I have to disagree, and the science geeks can confirm or correct my understanding of it.

As I understand it, a hypothesis is a proposed explanation for a phenomenon. It is not a staement, it is not a belief, it is not a claim; it is a possible answer to an observable phenomenon.

The difference with "supernatural" is it doesn't explain anything. It is the antithesis of an explanation in fact. It's basically a gap filler, a default word used when no known naturalistic explanation is available - or at least not known to the person.

The problem is that I'm not equivocating ''nature'' with ''reality''.

Yeah I see, but why? What makes you think some aspect of reality isn't natural?

I get what you're saying, I just don't understand how it makes sense.

And so, supernatural, or ''outside of nature'' is everything that is a part of reality, but is not a part of nature.

Interesting. I personally don't see how you can make the distinction between one and the other. To me, reality is nature and nature is reality.

There are aspects of reality that we are limited in our understanding of it and our ability to investigate it, that I can agree with, but it would still be natural and part of our reality - the difference being, our view of reality would extend beyond the current limits.

- Oni


This message is a reply to:
 Message 46 by slevesque, posted 01-28-2010 8:55 PM slevesque has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 53 by Straggler, posted 01-29-2010 2:16 PM onifre has responded
 Message 56 by slevesque, posted 01-29-2010 3:52 PM onifre has responded

    
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10284
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 53 of 230 (544925)
01-29-2010 2:16 PM
Reply to: Message 52 by onifre
01-29-2010 1:24 PM


Devils Advocate
There are aspects of reality that we are limited in our understanding of it and our ability to investigate it, that I can agree with, but it would still be natural and part of our reality - the difference being, our view of reality would extend beyond the current limits.

To play devils advocate - If there is a whole reality immune to empirical detaction that we only experience when we die (for example)....

Where does that leave us?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 52 by onifre, posted 01-29-2010 1:24 PM onifre has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 54 by onifre, posted 01-29-2010 3:06 PM Straggler has responded

  
onifre
Member (Idle past 1058 days)
Posts: 4854
From: Dark Side of the Moon
Joined: 02-20-2008


Message 54 of 230 (544931)
01-29-2010 3:06 PM
Reply to: Message 53 by Straggler
01-29-2010 2:16 PM


Re: Devils Advocate
If there is a whole reality immune to empirical detaction that we only experience when we die (for example)....

Where does that leave us?

In complete disagreement.

Experience when we die? Not unless Harry Potter himself waves his wand and brings you back to life can any sensory function in your body experience anything after the body is clinically dead.

Here's something I always found rather odd: It is claimed that the afterlife is immaterial, unlike this reality which is made of atoms, elements, etc. Yet it is also claimed that there is a lake of "fire." Which seems rather contradictory: (a) it is immaterial, yet (b) it contains oxygen and atoms, heat, etc....?

Likewise, after my sensory system stops working, it would be contradictory to say I'll "experience" something post death.

It's all too confusing to me.

- Oni


This message is a reply to:
 Message 53 by Straggler, posted 01-29-2010 2:16 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 55 by cavediver, posted 01-29-2010 3:17 PM onifre has responded
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cavediver
Member (Idle past 1750 days)
Posts: 4129
From: UK
Joined: 06-16-2005


Message 55 of 230 (544932)
01-29-2010 3:17 PM
Reply to: Message 54 by onifre
01-29-2010 3:06 PM


Re: Devils Advocate
Likewise, after my sensory system stops working, it would be contradictory to say I'll "experience" something post death.

What do you mean by "after"? As far as I am currently persuaded, we live in a static 4d Universe, and it is only our consciousness that gives meaning and the experience of "time passing". There is no great cosmic clock ticking away the time of the Universe, such that at T=CD0 my conciousness awakes and at T=CD1 it ends. We experience only that corner of the Universe that we inhabit, and this includes the time dimension as much as it does those of space. There is no "after". Then what is there?

It's all too confusing to me.

Yep, me too for the moment...


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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slevesque
Member (Idle past 2748 days)
Posts: 1456
Joined: 05-14-2009


Message 56 of 230 (544935)
01-29-2010 3:52 PM
Reply to: Message 52 by onifre
01-29-2010 1:24 PM


I have to disagree, and the science geeks can confirm or correct my understanding of it.

As I understand it, a hypothesis is a proposed explanation for a phenomenon. It is not a staement, it is not a belief, it is not a claim; it is a possible answer to an observable phenomenon.

We won't argue any longer, maybe what you say is good in theory. But in the practice of things, when a scientists posits a theory, he'll believe in it and defend it until it is proven otherwise. He won't be in the distant mode of 'it's only a possible explanation, mabe it's right or wrong'.

Yeah I see, but why? What makes you think some aspect of reality isn't natural?

I get what you're saying, I just don't understand how it makes sense.

Kinda of topic, but their are multiple reasons that I believe nature is not the whole of reality. And again other reasons that make me believe that the Christian God exists.

Interesting. I personally don't see how you can make the distinction between one and the other. To me, reality is nature and nature is reality.

Which is of course, naturalism. Which is of course a statement of belief, a starting axiom in your worldview. And I can understand that, from a naturalistic point of view, 'nature' and 'reality' can be interchanged without much a difference in meaning. But of course, if you are going to do this it will make it difficult to communicate with anybody who is not a naturalist.

Of course, the whole issue is to find a correct terminology where all views can be expressed and understood by everyone. Hence my previous post, in which there is a terminology of reality,nature,imaginary,supernatural which can be used to express any given worldview by anyone.

Including your, since then you can just say 'I think nature is all of reality'.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 52 by onifre, posted 01-29-2010 1:24 PM onifre has responded

Replies to this message:
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onifre
Member (Idle past 1058 days)
Posts: 4854
From: Dark Side of the Moon
Joined: 02-20-2008


Message 57 of 230 (544945)
01-29-2010 7:32 PM
Reply to: Message 55 by cavediver
01-29-2010 3:17 PM


Re: Devils Advocate
What do you mean by "after"?

In this context I meant after one dies.

As far as I am currently persuaded, we live in a static 4d Universe, and it is only our consciousness that gives meaning and the experience of "time passing". There is no great cosmic clock ticking away the time of the Universe, such that at T=CD0 my conciousness awakes and at T=CD1 it ends. We experience only that corner of the Universe that we inhabit, and this includes the time dimension as much as it does those of space.

There's a philospher, former physicist, named Max Velmans who has proposed a theory equal to what you describe above - which I actually agree with (not that that means anything, lol).

His theory is called Reflexive Monism.

quote:
In its evolution from some primal undifferentiated state, the universe differentiates into distinguishable physical entities, at least some of which have the potential for conscious experience, such as human beings. While remaining embedded within and dependent on the surrounding universe and composed of the same fundamental stuff, each human, equipped with perceptual and cognitive systems has an individual perspective on, or view of, both the rest of the universe and him or her self. In this sense, each human participates in a process whereby the universe differentiates into parts and becomes conscious in manifold ways of itself, making the entire process reflexive.

Basically, we are all one consciousness experiencing life subjectively.

There is no "after". Then what is there?

Well in the context I was talking about, there definitely is an after death. When I die life goes on and I am left to decompose. Consciousness, or at least my conscious mind goes with it. Consciousness is a sum of all parts, so once the system is done functioning one is no longer conscious.

At least that's how I've understood it.

- Oni


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 Message 55 by cavediver, posted 01-29-2010 3:17 PM cavediver has not yet responded

    
onifre
Member (Idle past 1058 days)
Posts: 4854
From: Dark Side of the Moon
Joined: 02-20-2008


Message 58 of 230 (544946)
01-29-2010 8:09 PM
Reply to: Message 56 by slevesque
01-29-2010 3:52 PM


naturalism -vs- what?
But in the practice of things, when a scientists posits a theory, he'll believe in it and defend it until it is proven otherwise.

Sometimes even by they themselves, like Hawking did.

He won't be in the distant mode of 'it's only a possible explanation, mabe it's right or wrong'.

I wouldn't be confident enough to speak for everyone in science. Perhaps some are more stuborn than others, but that seems irrelevant for science as a whole.

Which is of course, naturalism. Which is of course a statement of belief, a starting axiom in your worldview.

How can you approach reality in any other way? The only way to understand the world you exist in is through a naturalist approach, no other way has given any answers.

I go where the evidence takes me. I don't start with any preconceived notions. Any phenomenon requires an explanation. The best, and only, method to understand it has proven time and time again to be naturalistic. Can you provide evidence otherwise?

But of course, if you are going to do this it will make it difficult to communicate with anybody who is not a naturalist.

My approach to any question is using the scientific method. If I see a bag flying through the air I don't assume invisible pixies are carrying it; I assume it is the wind - this is a naturalistic approach.

Can you provide evidence that another type of approach has proven successful?

- Oni


This message is a reply to:
 Message 56 by slevesque, posted 01-29-2010 3:52 PM slevesque has responded

Replies to this message:
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ICANT
Member
Posts: 6187
From: SSC
Joined: 03-12-2007


Message 59 of 230 (544949)
01-29-2010 9:37 PM
Reply to: Message 54 by onifre
01-29-2010 3:06 PM


Re: Devils Advocate
Hi Oni,

Onifre writes:

Here's something I always found rather odd: It is claimed that the afterlife is immaterial, unlike this reality which is made of atoms, elements, etc. Yet it is also claimed that there is a lake of "fire." Which seems rather contradictory: (a) it is immaterial, yet (b) it contains oxygen and atoms, heat, etc....?

I don't know who made those claims but the Bible sure does not make them.

The Bible teaches there will be a physical material heavens and a physical material earth, and a physical material lake of fire.

Mankind will have a physical body that can not be destroyed that will be inhabited by their present mind (consciousness).

God Bless,


"John 5:39 (KJS) Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me."
This message is a reply to:
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Coyote
Member (Idle past 213 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008


Message 60 of 230 (544950)
01-29-2010 9:38 PM


Evidence, science, theory & hypothesis etc.
Here are some definitions which may help:

Theory: a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world; an organized system of accepted knowledge that applies in a variety of circumstances to explain a specific set of phenomena; theories can incorporate facts and laws and tested hypotheses. Theories do not grow up to be laws. Theories explain laws.

Theory: A scientifically testable general principle or body of principles offered to explain observed phenomena. In scientific usage, a theory is distinct from a hypothesis (or conjecture) that is proposed to explain previously observed phenomena. For a hypothesis to rise to the level of theory, it must predict the existence of new phenomena that are subsequently observed. A theory can be overturned if new phenomena are observed that directly contradict the theory. (Source)

When a scientific theory has a long history of being supported by verifiable evidence, it is appropriate to speak about "acceptance" of (not "belief" in) the theory; or we can say that we have "confidence" (not "faith") in the theory. It is the dependence on verifiable data and the capability of testing that distinguish scientific theories from matters of faith.

Hypothesis: a tentative theory about the natural world; a concept that is not yet verified but that if true would explain certain facts or phenomena; "a scientific hypothesis that survives experimental testing becomes a scientific theory"; "he proposed a fresh theory of alkalis that later was accepted in chemical practices."

Also, the overall approaches of science and ID/creationism differ.

Science uses the working assumption of naturalism, and deals with what can be perceived.

ID and creationism use the a priori belief that various spirits (supernatural beings) exist, and that they interact in some ways with the natural world and with people.

There are significant differences between working assumptions and a priori beliefs. One of the primary ones is that the former are subject to testing and change, while the latter are dogma--you better believe it or else! (e.g., "We don't need no steenkin' evidence!")

This brings up two additional definitions:

Science: a method of learning about the world by applying the principles of the scientific method, which includes making empirical observations, proposing hypotheses to explain those observations, and testing those hypotheses in valid and reliable ways; also refers to the organized body of knowledge that results from scientific study.

Religion: Theistic: 1. the belief in a superhuman controlling power, esp. in a personal God or gods entitled to obedience and worship. 2. the expression of this in worship. 3. a particular system of faith and worship.

And this all goes to establish a clear division between science/reality/the observable/evidence-based and supernatural/belief/dogma/the unobserved/non-evidence based.


Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.
  
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