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Author Topic:   Has The Supernatural Hypothesis Failed?
purpledawn
Member (Idle past 1538 days)
Posts: 4453
From: Indiana
Joined: 04-25-2004


Message 211 of 549 (577966)
08-31-2010 8:49 AM
Reply to: Message 209 by Straggler
08-31-2010 7:18 AM


Re: Human Imagination
quote:
But that doesn't make it an impossibility. Which is what you have claimed. Even Dawkins and the like only go so far as to say such things are "deeply improbable". And that is where I stand too. For good philosophical reasons declarations of absolute certainty are unjustified.
Philosophical mind games. For a scientist well known or otherwise to make an absolute statement, I agree.

For me personally, I have no problem making an absolute statement concerning the description you gave in Message 97. Throw out imagination and mind games? With imagination anything is possible. In reality, not everything is possible.

Someone having an ability that I don't have doesn't make it an ability that is outside the realm of nature or mean that they are breaking the laws of nature.

The mind is one place we don't necessarily know all the "laws", but we are still part of nature. So what ever goes on in the mind is still part of nature.

From what I've read in the Bible and the writings from the early Church fathers, I have no problem saying that it was and is impossible for the type of being you described in Message 197 (a person not subject to the laws of nature) to exist outside of our imagination.

In our imagination, it is possible, but in reality, no.

quote:
The point being - That if the term "supernatural" has common conceptual meaning and refers to something that (no matter how improbable) might exist it cannot be accurately described as "meaningless" or "nothing".
I'm not sure of your whole "nothing" issue with onifire.

Edited by purpledawn, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 209 by Straggler, posted 08-31-2010 7:18 AM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 212 by Straggler, posted 08-31-2010 8:52 AM purpledawn has acknowledged this reply

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


Message 212 of 549 (577968)
08-31-2010 8:52 AM
Reply to: Message 211 by purpledawn
08-31-2010 8:49 AM


Re: Human Imagination
I agree.

Tentatively.......


This message is a reply to:
 Message 211 by purpledawn, posted 08-31-2010 8:49 AM purpledawn has acknowledged this reply

onifre
Member (Idle past 1031 days)
Posts: 4854
From: Dark Side of the Moon
Joined: 02-20-2008


Message 213 of 549 (577991)
08-31-2010 10:41 AM
Reply to: Message 210 by Straggler
08-31-2010 7:43 AM


Re: "Nothing"
If things were this easy there would be nothing to debate.

There really isn't, that's why I've refrained from debating this as of late. Exception was made for you because I know it won't go on for every and we'll just give up. Looks like we've sorta reached that point.

No. The object of your beliefs as conceived by you or your religion cannot actually exist. Thus you are refuted. Job done.

That about sums it up. Unless one single shread of evidence can be used to support their contradictory beliefs, then all you're debating is their imagination.

"Wrong" is a position that has to be argued and demonstrated. To declare a concept as "nothing" is a position simply derived from definitions.

Not to drag this on, and I know you mention I could get the last word but, do you not see the difference between logically possible, within the limits of nature & anything goes as long as you can imagine it? The latter to me seems fun to entertain but void of any real philosophical meaning.

- Oni


This message is a reply to:
 Message 210 by Straggler, posted 08-31-2010 7:43 AM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 214 by Straggler, posted 08-31-2010 11:16 AM onifre has responded

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


Message 214 of 549 (577993)
08-31-2010 11:16 AM
Reply to: Message 213 by onifre
08-31-2010 10:41 AM


Re: "Nothing" - Last Wordism
Oni writes:

Exception was made for you because I know it won't go on for every and we'll just give up. Looks like we've sorta reached that point.

Yep.

But you had to ask that one last question.......

Oni writes:

Not to drag this on, and I know you mention I could get the last word but, do you not see the difference between logically possible, within the limits of nature & anything goes as long as you can imagine it?

Of course I can see the difference. But you are assuming that we can definitively state what the limits of reality are. That is the philosophical problem I have with the "nothing/meaningless" by definition argument.

Aside from that we agree in all but the most pedantic and academic terms. But quibbling relentlessly over such things is I guess what we (or at least I) do here at EvC.

Oni writes:

The latter to me seems fun to entertain but void of any real philosophical meaning.

Well it has philosophical meaning. Just none that matters much in any practical sense.

I really will let you have the last word now.

Honestly

(**Straggler zips his lips together**)


This message is a reply to:
 Message 213 by onifre, posted 08-31-2010 10:41 AM onifre has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 217 by onifre, posted 08-31-2010 4:48 PM Straggler has responded

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


Message 215 of 549 (577996)
08-31-2010 11:46 AM
Reply to: Message 196 by shalamabobbi
08-27-2010 11:10 AM


Re: Has The Supernatural Hypothesis Failed?
SB writes:

Straggler writes:

Has belief in the supernatural succeeded in explaining anything?

Of course not..

Then it seems that you agree that the supernatural hypothesis has indeed failed.

SB writes:

Straggler writes:

Human belief in or experience of the supernatural

Belief and experience are two separate concepts.

Neither of which are indicative or requiring of the actual existence of the supernatural.

SB writes:

Religion is testimony based, so by definition it is discounted by science. That's where the problem lies.

Problem for who?

SB writes:

You made a statement(maybe on another thread) that you would have to reconsider your stance on atheism if you experienced the 2nd coming.

I was a bit more specific than that. And I certainly didn't mean that if I was sitting all alone on my loo and Jesus spoke to me that I would necessarily have a Damascus moment.

SB writes:

In all the above the experience is the same. But in one (or more) you accept the experience and in the rest you reject it.

No. I think you'll find that the difference is between objective evidence and subjective experience.

SB writes:

Reasonable and rational enough, but it really has no finality of proof that you are looking for.

I am not looking for "proof" of anything. That isn't what evidence leads to.

Edited by Straggler, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 196 by shalamabobbi, posted 08-27-2010 11:10 AM shalamabobbi has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 219 by shalamabobbi, posted 09-01-2010 2:30 AM Straggler has responded

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


Message 216 of 549 (577999)
08-31-2010 12:07 PM
Reply to: Message 200 by crashfrog
08-27-2010 6:21 PM


Re: False Premise Or Assuming Impossible?
Oh, I get it. Like humour.

Only different.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 200 by crashfrog, posted 08-27-2010 6:21 PM crashfrog has not yet responded

onifre
Member (Idle past 1031 days)
Posts: 4854
From: Dark Side of the Moon
Joined: 02-20-2008


Message 217 of 549 (578058)
08-31-2010 4:48 PM
Reply to: Message 214 by Straggler
08-31-2010 11:16 AM


Re: "Nothing" - Last Wordism
Of course I can see the difference.

And that's where I base my position on; the difference between something imagined and something actually being possible based on evidence or logic. If not, then your argument boils down to, anything is possible. And "anything" is not possible, somethings are just not possible.

But you are assuming that we can definitively state what the limits of reality are.

Not so. We can define reality - we do so and live under the assumtion that there are laws. You wouldn't jump off a building hoping today the laws of physics just happen to be suspended. Nor would you accept that someone can walk on water if someone told you that; you'd like tangible proof.

I believe you'll agree so far...

The problem we have is, what else is possible? And I would agree 100% that there are many things that are possible and not yet known. No argument from me on that.

But what isn't possible is, a human being, through ONLY the use of their imagination and wishful thinking, happened to, by sheer coincidence and absolute fucking you-just-hit-the-lottery-ten-times-in-a-row luck, conceptualize a realm of reality not known to anyone else on the planet. Then, take that imaginative concept and ascribe it to phenomena that have taken place in reality - and we're supposed to consider that philosophically meaningful? At which point, I'm supposed to accept the possibility of it?

I can't. And I can't see it as philosophically meaningful if all we're going by is a human's imagination.

I really will let you have the last word now.

Boobies!

- Oni


This message is a reply to:
 Message 214 by Straggler, posted 08-31-2010 11:16 AM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 218 by Straggler, posted 08-31-2010 6:25 PM onifre has not yet responded

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


(1)
Message 218 of 549 (578102)
08-31-2010 6:25 PM
Reply to: Message 217 by onifre
08-31-2010 4:48 PM


Mmmmm Mmmmmmm Mmmmmmm
(***Straggler, utterly unable to control himself, opens his mouth to as if to protest before throwing one hand over his mouth***)

"Mmmmmmm Mmmmmmm Mmmmmmmm" Come the muffled attempts to keep arguing.

(***Straggler uses his other hand to grab himself by the collar and drag himself backwards away from the conversation***)

"Mmmmmmmmm Mmmmmmm Mmmmmmmm". The muffled protestations fade into the distance.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 217 by onifre, posted 08-31-2010 4:48 PM onifre has not yet responded

shalamabobbi
Member (Idle past 929 days)
Posts: 397
Joined: 01-10-2009


Message 219 of 549 (578180)
09-01-2010 2:30 AM
Reply to: Message 215 by Straggler
08-31-2010 11:46 AM


Re: Has The Supernatural Hypothesis Failed?
Hi Straggler,

Thanks for replying. I was afraid that my lack of skills in philosophical debate might earn me an ignored status. So that we are not talking past each other I responded to the OP looking for the logical fallacy in the argument which you indicated must exist in your debate with Oni.
I hadn't followed all the arguments by other posters and missed msg 182 which was my only point, that this does not constitute a logical proof. But since you are proposing a scientific theory absolute proof is not required. Fine..

But as I understand it the concepts of this thread lie outside of the scope of science. If that is the case how can a question that is not in the domain of science be answered by a scientific theory?
(ie, a function maps from the domain to the range.) If dark matter did not interact gravitationally we would not know about it. I believe dark energy was predicted by cosmology but not dark matter. (Correct me if I'm wrong).

My point of the basketball analogy was similar in idea to petroglyph's posts I guess, in that by noting that beliefs/religion does not explain anything in the natural world you are setting up a strawman.
The idea of religion being based upon testimony is my understanding of it. That is the only evidence that I am aware of that has been claimed for religion. But it does not constitute anything acceptable to science.

The only thing that it would evidence (if it could be proved inexplicable by means of imagination alone) would be the existence of "something more". The fact that these claims are made does not constitute some sort of proof but how would your theory be able to disprove such claims? (other than simply stating that they are unlikely).


This message is a reply to:
 Message 215 by Straggler, posted 08-31-2010 11:46 AM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 220 by Straggler, posted 09-01-2010 7:47 AM shalamabobbi has responded

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


Message 220 of 549 (578238)
09-01-2010 7:47 AM
Reply to: Message 219 by shalamabobbi
09-01-2010 2:30 AM


Re: Has The Supernatural Hypothesis Failed?
SB writes:

But as I understand it the concepts of this thread lie outside of the scope of science. If that is the case how can a question that is not in the domain of science be answered by a scientific theory?

The supernatural hypothesis as discussed in the OP is essentially the claim that something inherently materially inexplicable (e.g. but not limited to - God) is responsible for some aspect of nature. Whether it be the rising of the Sun, the formation of life, the creation of the universe, the cause of human theistic beliefs or whatever else a supernatural cause is claimed for. Whether such claims are correct or not is very much within the scope of science. In fact overturning such claims has constituted much of the history of science.

Given the fact that humanity has a long history of wrongly claiming supernatural answers to seemingly puzzling natural phenomenon is it now ever rationally justifiable to cite the supernatural as the answer to anything? That is essentially the question posed in the OP Has The Supernatural Hypothesis Failed?

SB writes:

The idea of religion being based upon testimony is my understanding of it. That is the only evidence that I am aware of that has been claimed for religion. But it does not constitute anything acceptable to science.

That human beings believe in the supernatural and have religious experiences is a fact. But like any other observed phenomenon this human behaviour can be studied scientifically.

SB writes:

My point of the basketball analogy was similar in idea to petroglyph's posts I guess, in that by noting that beliefs/religion does not explain anything in the natural world you are setting up a strawman.

What causes human belief in the supernatural? Is human belief in the supernatural requiring or indicative of the actual existence of the supernatural? Theists/supernaturalists certainly seem to be claiming so.

SB writes:

The fact that these claims are made does not constitute some sort of proof but how would your theory be able to disprove such claims? (other than simply stating that they are unlikely).


You still miss the point.

The point is that human belief in the supernatural is no more indicative or requiring of the actual existence of the supernatural than the existence of different species suited to their environment is indicative or requiring of a supernatural intelligent designer. In both cases we have an evidenced naturalistic explanation for an observed phenomenon in place. In both cases we can be confident of the validity of these evidenced naturalistic explanations without recourse to disproving unfalsifiable supernatural alternatives.

The point is that anyone suggesting that a genuinely supernatural cause is the reason why humans have supernatural beliefs is being just as irrational as someone who claims that the appearance of design in nature requires a supernatural designer.

The point is that anyone suggesting that there is an unevidenced supernatural cause for human belief in the supernatural is doing so as a result of self-indulgent or indoctrinated conviction.

Not reason.

SB writes:

So that we are not talking past each other I responded to the OP looking for the logical fallacy in the argument which you indicated must exist in your debate with Oni.

Myself and Oni are engaged in little more than picking the nits out of each others fur. He (quite rightly) points out that the term supernatural refers to things which defy absolutely everything we know about reality. On this basis he argues that he is justified in describing the term as meaningless. I on the other hand am making a distinction between things that I would call genuinely meaningless (upside down water, square circles etc.) and things (e.g. supernatural concepts) which are just plain wrong in evidential terms.

As much as anything it is about a difference of approach. Oni has concluded that debates about the supernatural are rather pointless. I on the other hand would be utterly lost in life but for the occasional opportunity to wheel out the Immaterial Pink Unicorn. Thus I am forced to either disagree with his analysis on some level or face a life of unicornless nihilism which I find too terrifying to contemplate.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 219 by shalamabobbi, posted 09-01-2010 2:30 AM shalamabobbi has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 221 by shalamabobbi, posted 09-01-2010 12:12 PM Straggler has responded

shalamabobbi
Member (Idle past 929 days)
Posts: 397
Joined: 01-10-2009


Message 221 of 549 (578317)
09-01-2010 12:12 PM
Reply to: Message 220 by Straggler
09-01-2010 7:47 AM


Re: Has The Supernatural Hypothesis Failed?
Thanks Straggler,

I think I understand the thread now. What might be a more useful thread (and I'm not volunteering for this nor is this a dis on your thread) would be something along the lines of RAZD's thread about how different mechanisms of dating correlate with one another. In other words the thread would present an abbreviated collection of all known scientific facts that might bare upon various religious beliefs and their viability.

Such a thread would discuss for example the heat death of the universe due to thermodynamics. This concept (as an example) could be nailed down and ideas such as whether or not black holes recycle matter could be presented for those of us who are not cosmologists.

I remember reading a comment by cavediver which made perfect sense but was something that most people(myself included) would not have considered. Something to the effect that creating the universe from outside of "space-time" at the point of the big bang would be "last thursdayism" as much as creating it 6000yrs ago or last Thursday. (hope I remembered/understood it correctly).

Anyhow thanks for the detailed reply.

Thus I am forced to either disagree with his analysis on some level or face a life of unicornless nihilism which I find too terrifying to contemplate.

If Modulus's idea is correct that belief is a need, then it is unhealthy not to by definition, which would be a dilemma of monumental proportion especially down the road when there is nothing new left to discover.

I guess whether or not EvC forum is nothing more than a 12 step for theists remains to be seen..


This message is a reply to:
 Message 220 by Straggler, posted 09-01-2010 7:47 AM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 222 by Straggler, posted 09-01-2010 2:10 PM shalamabobbi has not yet responded

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


Message 222 of 549 (578343)
09-01-2010 2:10 PM
Reply to: Message 221 by shalamabobbi
09-01-2010 12:12 PM


Re: Has The Supernatural Hypothesis Failed?
SB writes:

In other words the thread would present an abbreviated collection of all known scientific facts that might bare upon various religious beliefs and their viability.

Blimey!! That would quite wide ranging. In fact arguably as wide ranging as the entirety of EvC!!!! Maybe even more so.

SB writes:

If Modulus's idea is correct that belief is a need, then it is unhealthy not to by definition, which would be a dilemma of monumental proportion especially down the road when there is nothing new left to discover.

Nothing left to discover!!?? Well I suppose that when we reach that omniscient state we can kick back and just watch sports for the rest of time. But until that happy day....

SB writes:

I guess whether or not EvC forum is nothing more than a 12 step for theists remains to be seen..

I am sure participation at EvC has occasionally has a profound effect on those who are more open minded to begin with.

But for most I suspect it is primarily entertainment.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 221 by shalamabobbi, posted 09-01-2010 12:12 PM shalamabobbi has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 223 by Bikerman, posted 09-01-2010 3:57 PM Straggler has responded

Bikerman
Member (Idle past 3036 days)
Posts: 276
From: Frodsham, Chester
Joined: 07-30-2010


Message 223 of 549 (578365)
09-01-2010 3:57 PM
Reply to: Message 222 by Straggler
09-01-2010 2:10 PM


Re: Has The Supernatural Hypothesis Failed?
If you want to de-program creationists you really have to get them young. The churches realised that a long time ago...remember the old Jesuit maxim - give me a child 'till seven, and I'll give you the man...
If you get kids when they still have that natural spark of rebellious curiosity then you have a chance.
I've been posting on a couple of US forums for some years and one has more younger posters (13 plus). A couple of us keep slogging away, answering the same old same old and nipping in the odd posting which could cause that mental double-take if they bite..I'd say that in 5 years we have maybe 10 posters who were absolutely convinced creationists and are now not - ranging from one who is probably still, on balance, a creationist, but very very wobbly, to a couple of rabid atheist. Two of the male posters (I presume) did a complete 180 degree flip after just a few months and are now more atheist that the atheists. That is not so good...not enough thought behind it - flutterby mentality. Others are in better shape and starting to ask some excellent questions, which is a great sign.

It needs a lot of patience, a thick skin (I've been seriously threatened twice by a parent and once by an 'older brother) and a lot of time....


This message is a reply to:
 Message 222 by Straggler, posted 09-01-2010 2:10 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 224 by Straggler, posted 09-01-2010 4:27 PM Bikerman has responded

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


Message 224 of 549 (578376)
09-01-2010 4:27 PM
Reply to: Message 223 by Bikerman
09-01-2010 3:57 PM


Re: Has The Supernatural Hypothesis Failed?
Bikey writes:

If you want to de-program creationists you really have to get them young.

Well aside from my rather paltry efforts to show theists the error of their ways here at EvC I will leave de-programming to those better qualified than I.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 223 by Bikerman, posted 09-01-2010 3:57 PM Bikerman has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 225 by Bikerman, posted 09-01-2010 6:05 PM Straggler has responded

Bikerman
Member (Idle past 3036 days)
Posts: 276
From: Frodsham, Chester
Joined: 07-30-2010


Message 225 of 549 (578419)
09-01-2010 6:05 PM
Reply to: Message 224 by Straggler
09-01-2010 4:27 PM


Re: Has The Supernatural Hypothesis Failed?
I don't mean it in a technical way - I know there are some psychologists who are supposed to be experts, but I don't have a great deal of faith in the behaviourists anyway. It's really just a case of trying to get to that bit of the mind that I think we all have - that curiosity that most great scientists have in spades. If you manage to hit that target enough times, then often that is all it takes - you just sit back and feed them after that (which was quite a job with one of them...I don't think I've ever typed as much before - he wanted to know EVERYTHING, and in detail. 15 years creationist upbringing undone by three prods with special relativity and time dilation. Kid was a natural - as soon as I explained light clocks he got it - not many do. That opened the floodgates.)

Those are the days when I smile a lot :-)


This message is a reply to:
 Message 224 by Straggler, posted 09-01-2010 4:27 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 226 by Straggler, posted 09-01-2010 6:31 PM Bikerman has responded

  
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