Understanding through Discussion


Welcome! You are not logged in. [ Login ]
EvC Forum active members: 86 (8951 total)
754 online now:
AZPaul3, dwise1, GDR, Hyroglyphx, jar, JonF, marc9000, Thugpreacha (AdminPhat) (8 members, 746 visitors)
Newest Member: Mikee
Post Volume: Total: 866,892 Year: 21,928/19,786 Month: 491/1,834 Week: 491/315 Day: 87/82 Hour: 2/5


Thread  Details

Email This Thread
Newer Topic | Older Topic
  
Author Topic:   Has The Supernatural Hypothesis Failed?
Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 541 of 549 (588427)
10-25-2010 4:27 PM
Reply to: Message 540 by onifre
10-25-2010 3:28 PM


Re: "Meaningless"
Is there any word that refers to anything that doesn't exist that you accept as being conceptually meaningful?
Or are all words that refer to fictional things "meaningless" as far as you are concerned?

Oni writes:

Straggler writes:

Are Klingons an example of life? E.T? Bigfoot?

No, they are actors, characters and invented creatures.

"Invented creatures"? So invented forms of life rather than invented places (for example - e.g. Atlantis)?

In that sense are they not conceptually distinct?

Oni writes:

IF they existed as they are represented in fictional works, then they too could be examples of life.

Well I would say that conceptually they are all examples of life whether they are real or not. No?

You seem to be saying that conceptual meaning and actual evidenced existence in reality are necessarily synonomous.

Is that your position? Or have I misunderstood?

Oni writes:

And...you didn't answer my question:

Oni writes:

If you heard me say that, that your son thinks Spiderman is a god and Christians think Jesus is their own personal superhero, would you know what I meant?

So would you?

I would know what you meant in the same way that I would know what you meant if you said you were a sexual god or a superhero of comedy.

But I wouldn't think that defined either term in the context we are talking about here.

Oni writes:

I asked how you distinguish between a concept and the proper definition.

My point was that the concepts provided the definition for the word, you said it didn't. But you haven't shown me how.

The definition is, "A supernatural consciouisness." The concept of god in deism is, "A supernatural consciousness."

So, does deism provide the definition, or was there an existing, universally accepted definition that has been established for all of history and deism just adopted it?

Neither. You have misunderstood what I am saying. I said (to quote) "The term “god” means a supernatural conscious being that is responsible for some aspect of reality".

The deistic god is a conscious supernatural being that is responsible for some aspect of reality (usually either the creation of the universe or as the source of morality depending on your deist). Thor is a conscious supernatural being that is responsible for some aspect of reality (i.e. storms, thunder, lightening etc.), Apollo is a supernatural being that is responsible for some aspect of reality (i.e the Sun) etc. etc. etc. etc.

The difference between the concepts is one of specificity and ambiguity. But they all meet the universal broad definition given in any major dictionary.

No?

Oni writes:

Or does the definition get more and more ambiguous as time goes and changes to represent that?

It tends to get more ambiguous the more intellectually sophisticated the believer/advocate is.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 540 by onifre, posted 10-25-2010 3:28 PM onifre has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 543 by onifre, posted 10-25-2010 6:00 PM Straggler has responded

AdminModulous
Administrator (Idle past 441 days)
Posts: 897
Joined: 03-02-2006


Message 542 of 549 (588435)
10-25-2010 5:34 PM


Thread closing time soon
This is quite a long thread now. Existing participants have put their cases forward, and new ones are unlikely to read the whole thing before contributing.

So one more post for those interested in so doing, please If there is a desire to discuss any of the issues raised in this thread further (such as the 'meaningless' sub thread), please propose a new topic.


onifre
Member (Idle past 1288 days)
Posts: 4854
From: Dark Side of the Moon
Joined: 02-20-2008


Message 543 of 549 (588444)
10-25-2010 6:00 PM
Reply to: Message 541 by Straggler
10-25-2010 4:27 PM


Re: "Meaningless"
Is there any word that refers to anything that doesn't exist that you accept as being conceptually meaningful?

Any word, invented to fill a gap, once the gap is filled, becomes meaningless. But, so long as questions remain, god as a gap filler remains. That is the only reason it still has meaning.

Where am I going wrong?

Or are all words that refer to fictional things "meaningless" as far as you are concerned?

No, and I haven't stated that. I'm being specific as to why I think certain words are meaningless.

It has nothing to do with fictional words, or referencing things that don't exist. This is only for words that are made up and concepts that are made up to fill a gap in knowledge.

Well I would say that conceptually they are all examples of life whether they are real or not. No?

Sure, but you asked me if they were "life." They're not "life." Concepts, yes. We know what life is, a character made up in a book isn't life. It can represent life, given all the necessary qualities for it, but it remains just a character.

But I wouldn't think that defined either term in the context we are talking about here.

Well, you asked if I could describe Spiderman as god and Jesus as a superhero. My only point was that I could and you would know what I meant. Because the words are so ambiguous (God more than superhero) that anything can be referenced as such.

The difference though is that superheros are fictional characters that were not invented to fill gaps in knowledge. They'll exist so long as fictional work exists.

But they all meet the universal broad definition given in any major dictionary.

No?

Yes, they meet the definition. I guess the jist of what I'm asking is, what came first, the concepts or the definition?

Take superhero. Concepts were created by people first, I think Superman was the first. He needed a name, so, superhero was given to him. Now, anything that follows the criteria set by Superman (or which ever the first one was) gets called superhero. The concept set the basis for there to be an acceptable definition.

To me, that is the same as god - the (original) concept gave rise to an acceptable definition that is now universal.

- Oni

Edited by onifre, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 541 by Straggler, posted 10-25-2010 4:27 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 544 by Straggler, posted 10-25-2010 7:33 PM onifre has responded

Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 544 of 549 (588457)
10-25-2010 7:33 PM
Reply to: Message 543 by onifre
10-25-2010 6:00 PM


Re: "Meaningless"
Oni writes:

Straggler writes:

Is there any word that refers to anything that doesn't exist that you accept as being conceptually meaningful?

Any word, invented to fill a gap, once the gap is filled, becomes meaningless. But, so long as questions remain, god as a gap filler remains. That is the only reason it still has meaning.

Where am I going wrong?

You are going wrong because your definition of "meaningless" relies on the following: "Because any sane person can physically look at an object and investigate what it is. The object physically exists."

So can you give me an example of a word that you think has meaning but which refers to something fictional (i.e. which does not actually exist)?

Straggler writes:

Or are all words that refer to fictional things "meaningless" as far as you are concerned?

No, and I haven't stated that. I'm being specific as to why I think certain words are meaningless.

It has nothing to do with fictional words, or referencing things that don't exist. This is only for words that are made up and concepts that are made up to fill a gap in knowledge.

OK. Then you should be able to give a clear example of something that does not exist but for which a meaningful term exists.

Right?

Oni writes:

Yes, they meet the definition. I guess the jist of what I'm asking is, what came first, the concepts or the definition?

Why does it matter? If a term has common conceptual meaing it has meaning and is not "meaningless".

Oni writes:

Take superhero. Concepts were created by people first, I think Superman was the first. He needed a name, so, superhero was given to him. Now, anything that follows the criteria set by Superman (or which ever the first one was) gets called superhero. The concept set the basis for there to be an acceptable definition.

Well even if I accept all of that what does it tell us? That Superman is the definition of "superhero"? No. That Superman is an example of a superhero? Yes. Albeit an example from which the original concept developed and evolved to become the common conceptual definition.

Thus making the term "superhero" meaningful.

Oni writes:

To me, that is the same as god - the (original) concept gave rise to an acceptable definition that is now universal.

Given that all known human cultures have come up with their own god concepts (entirely independently in some cases) that argument holds little water.

If the term "god" has no meaning how do anthropologists recognise theistic cultures?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 543 by onifre, posted 10-25-2010 6:00 PM onifre has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 545 by onifre, posted 10-25-2010 11:26 PM Straggler has responded

onifre
Member (Idle past 1288 days)
Posts: 4854
From: Dark Side of the Moon
Joined: 02-20-2008


Message 545 of 549 (588482)
10-25-2010 11:26 PM
Reply to: Message 544 by Straggler
10-25-2010 7:33 PM


Final Post
Given AdminMod's post I'll end here. If you want to start a new thread then I'm game...if you think we can get somewhere.

You are going wrong because your definition of "meaningless" relies on the following: "Because any sane person can physically look at an object and investigate what it is. The object physically exists."

My definition of god is the same as yours, a supernatural consciousness. Within the context of the concepts it has meaning. Outside of that, there is really no meaning to "supernatural consciousness."

Those are just two words connected to sound like something.

Then you should be able to give a clear example of something that does not exist but for which a meaningful term exists.

A thought. A vision. An inspiration. I think stuff like that fit that criteria.

I don't know where you're going with that so I'll give you this last word with it.

Why does it matter? If a term has common conceptual meaing it has meaning and is not "meaningless".

-snip

Thus making the term "superhero" meaningful.

Right, and while the world of comic books and fiction exist, the word superhero has meaning. But they don't exist in reality so there isn't anything to define.

This is why I say within the context of religion or mythology, when the concepts are being discussed, it has meaning. But without the concept, gods don't exist in reality so there is nothing to define.

I'll give you the last word unless you think a new thread is needed my friend.

- Oni


This message is a reply to:
 Message 544 by Straggler, posted 10-25-2010 7:33 PM Straggler has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 547 by Straggler, posted 10-26-2010 9:59 AM onifre has responded

Omnivorous
Member
Posts: 3811
From: Adirondackia
Joined: 07-21-2005


Message 546 of 549 (588483)
10-25-2010 11:38 PM


Summary
1. The supernatural hypothesis has failed.

2. Onifre and Straggler can debate even my considerable interest into the ground.

3. Straggler had the better argument; Oni had more fun.


Dost thou prate, rogue?
-Cassio

Real things always push back.
-William James


Straggler
Member
Posts: 10285
From: London England
Joined: 09-30-2006


Message 547 of 549 (588518)
10-26-2010 9:59 AM
Reply to: Message 545 by onifre
10-25-2010 11:26 PM


Final Post (Confused)
Oni writes:

Within the context of the concepts it has meaning.

Well given that we are talking about whether or not certain words have common conceptual meaning I am not sure what else is required?

You seem to be saying that anything that doesn't actually exist (i.e. is fictional) is “meaningless”. But when I asked if that is what you meant you said not:

Oni writes:

Straggler writes:

Or are all words that refer to fictional things "meaningless" as far as you are concerned?

No, and I haven't stated that. I'm being specific as to why I think certain words are meaningless.

But this is the problem. I don't think you are have been specific. I honestly have no frikkin idea how to tell definitively which words you think are "meaningless" and which are not. So far we have established that you think the following terms are all "meaningless": god, superhero, ghost, wizard, shaman, telepathy, poltergeist and telekenesis.

What do all of these things have in common other than being fictional? Which of the following words do you consider to be "meaningless": dragon, unicorn, hobbit, extraterrestrial, angel, demon, heaven, hell, Atlantis, dodo, Loch Ness monster, Higgs Boson, Vishnu, Gandalf, love?

I reckon I could hazard a decent guess as to your answers but I really still don’t know what criteria you are applying in order to conclude that any particular term is “meaningless”.

Oni writes:

Right, and while the world of comic books and fiction exist, the word superhero has meaning. But they don't exist in reality so there isn't anything to define.

This is why I say within the context of religion or mythology, when the concepts are being discussed, it has meaning. But without the concept, gods don't exist in reality so there is nothing to define.

In both cases there is the concept to define. In fact whether something actually exists or not it is still ultimately the concept we are defining isn't it? Whether extraterrestrial life or the Higgs boson are actually found to exist or not the concepts still have meaning don’t they?

Oni writes:

Given AdminMod's post I'll end here. If you want to start a new thread then I'm game...if you think we can get somewhere.

The whole "don't exist in reality so there is nothing to define" line suggests to me once again that you are talking about anything that is fictional. But you said that isn't what you meant.

So frankly I am lost. If you think you can clear this up in a new thread I am game. But if you cannot be arsed no worries.

Oni writes:

I'll give you the last word unless you think a new thread is needed my friend.

My last word is that I remain confused as to the criteria you are applying in order to conclude that certain words are "meaningless". It doesn't make any sense to me.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 545 by onifre, posted 10-25-2010 11:26 PM onifre has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 548 by onifre, posted 10-26-2010 1:28 PM Straggler has not yet responded

onifre
Member (Idle past 1288 days)
Posts: 4854
From: Dark Side of the Moon
Joined: 02-20-2008


Message 548 of 549 (588539)
10-26-2010 1:28 PM
Reply to: Message 547 by Straggler
10-26-2010 9:59 AM


Final, final, for real this time, post
My last word is that I remain confused as to the criteria you are applying in order to conclude that certain words are "meaningless". It doesn't make any sense to me.

Words used to fill a gap in knowledge, Strag. I made that clear in a few post. Fictional characters like unicorns and superheros do not fill a gap in knowledge. God, supernatural, ghost, telepathy, poltergeist, those words do.

That is my ONLY criteria. Nothing to do with fiction, at all. Just gap fillers.

- Oni

PS. I agree with Omni's assessment.

{Stragler tried to also get in a second final message, but topic got closed too soon. His message can be found here. - Adminnemooseus}

Edited by Adminnemooseus, : Red text above.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 547 by Straggler, posted 10-26-2010 9:59 AM Straggler has not yet responded

AdminModulous
Administrator (Idle past 441 days)
Posts: 897
Joined: 03-02-2006


Message 549 of 549 (588542)
10-26-2010 1:52 PM


And so the thread ends...

Newer Topic | Older Topic
Jump to:


Copyright 2001-2018 by EvC Forum, All Rights Reserved

™ Version 4.0 Beta
Innovative software from Qwixotic © 2019