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Author Topic:   Is String Theory Supernatural?
Taq
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Message 9 of 181 (697378)
04-24-2013 5:31 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by Phat
04-24-2013 12:08 PM


Re: Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
well... if the definition of the word being that there is no measurable evidence i suppose so...but how would we know? The supernatural itself would have to inform us and the only evidence we would have would be subjective.

That is part of the problem.

First, there is the "innocent" definition of supernatural that includes deities and spirits of one kind or another. This is the definition that is usually produced first before the implications of the definition are fully brought to light. Why is that? People want to claim that supernatural deities/spirits manifest themselves in the natural world. This would mean that the supernatural is actually part of the natural world, and their effect on the natural world can fall under the purview of the scientific method. This is a problem. Since this definition of the supernatural would produce evidence, and there isn't any evidence, you have painted yourself into a corner.

Hence, the second definition for supernatural. It is now redefined as something that can never be evidenced because . . . well, you really want to believe in the supernatural and you don't want anyone questioning that belief. The supernatural is purposefully made to be unfalsifiable and incapable of being evidenced. The supernatural doesn't need to be defined in such a way, but to maintain a belief in the supernatural this definition must be used. Carl Sagan's essay about the dragon in his garage is a good description of what I am talking about:

http://www.godlessgeeks.com/LINKS/Dragon.htm

When the supernatural is defined in such a way that it is equivalent to the non-existent, then why claim that the supernatural exists in the first place?


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Taq
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Posts: 8473
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 6.0


Message 10 of 181 (697379)
04-24-2013 5:37 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Straggler
04-24-2013 5:24 AM


It has been suggested over in the topic Can science say anything about a Creator God? that anything which exists outside the physical laws of our universe is supernatural. On this basis the multiverse and any other universes within the multiverse which have different physical laws to our own universe would be supernatural.
String theory, from which I understand notions of the multi-verse are derived, would thus be a theory of the supernatural.

Is this wrong? (I am convinced it is entirely wrong - but I'll come to that)
Why is it wrong?
Is this a common perspective amongst theists/supernaturalists?

The processes that produced our universe would fall under the definition of natural because they are a part of the natural world.

Think of it this way. Could we decide that the natural world is limited by the Earth and it's atmosphere, beginning with its creation? Would this make the Sun and the Sun's gravity a supernatural force that moves the Earth about in a circular path through a supernatural realm? If not, then why limit the natural to our universe, and the start of our universe?

We would rightly say that the forces and objects that exist outside of the Earth are also natural, and their effects on the Earth can be understood as natural. So why not the same with the forces and processes that exist outside of our universe that governed its creation, and may very well be effecting it right now?


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Taq
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Posts: 8473
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 6.0


Message 27 of 181 (697440)
04-25-2013 10:55 AM
Reply to: Message 21 by GDR
04-25-2013 10:36 AM


Re: What is supernatural?
A multi-verse is certainly outside the visible observable universe as is dark matter for that matter. The line gets pretty blurred.

The question is why should we limit the "natural" to the observable universe? That is like limiting the natural to our planet which would make the Sun a supernatural object.

Also, if string theory is true then there is no deity involved. That would seem to remove a very important leg from the definition of supernatural. I really doubt that people will want to include machine like and mindless processes in the definition of supernatural. Just look at how upset people become when we want to replace direct special creation with a mechanistic process like evolution.

Edited by Taq, : No reason given.


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Taq
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Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 6.0


Message 60 of 181 (697763)
04-29-2013 5:00 PM
Reply to: Message 54 by GDR
04-27-2013 11:27 AM


Re: What is supernatural?
Of course. Why is it ok for atheists to say that science are congruent with their views but theists aren’t allowed to do the same thing? My theistic views are congruent with science and for that matter, as I’ve said numerous times, I believe that reason in general which includes scientific reasoning, should be used to help form our understanding of God. It was clear from his epistles that Paul believed that.

Then show us the science that supports these claims:

quote:
Let’s assume that God lives in a parallel universe that somehow interlocks with our universe in a way that is not directly perceivable to us. God is responsible for the existence of life in our universe and has a long term plan for us. Part of that plan is that we are to have hearts that are genuinely kind, merciful, loving and fair. Another part of the plan is that our universe is not going to last forever and so that at the end of time there will be a resurrection into new bodily form for life in a renewed universe where the two parallel universes come together as one, where the hearts of all will be kind, merciful, loving and fair.

Because these two universes are interconnected God is able to subtly speak to the hearts, minds and imaginations of humans, but again however we are able to reject His influence. However, in the middle of time He chooses one man, namely Jesus, to perfectly embody His heart for us. Through Him He is able to bring about miracles that foreshadow the renewed world that He has planned for us, by bringing His healing and love directly to the world through the man Jesus. Mankind rejects God and His messenger and puts Him to death. However, God demonstrates that death is not the last word and does for Jesus what is planned for all of this creation at the end of time and resurrects Him.



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Taq
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Posts: 8473
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 6.0


(1)
Message 64 of 181 (697820)
04-30-2013 11:51 AM
Reply to: Message 61 by GDR
04-29-2013 8:13 PM


Re: What is supernatural?
I'm not saying that science supports theism.

Then what did you mean when you said:

"My theistic views are congruent with science and for that matter, as I’ve said numerous times, I believe that reason in general which includes scientific reasoning, should be used to help form our understanding of God."--GDR

It seems that you want to have your cake and eat it too.

My point is that atheists take science and then use the science to show compatibility with atheistic claims.

As an atheist, I have to say that this is the most backwards claim possible. Atheism is simply a lack of belief in deities. That's it. It has nothing to do with science.

What you may see is a tendency on the part of atheists to adopt the findings of science, but this is hardly mandatory to be an atheist. In fact, there are atheists who believe in all sorts of woo, it just doesn't involve deities.

I've asked on this forum for not just congruence, but evidence for atheism and the answer has been evolution.

Atheism is the null hypothesis, so it is really the lack of evidence for a deity that keeps us at the null hypothesis.

We could use Bertrand Russell's Teapot as our example. What is the evidence that there is NOT a cosmic teapot circling the Sun in the orbit of Mars? Well, there isn't any, but there is simply no evidence that would lead you to conclude that there is such a cosmic teapot. Same for deities.

They are making the case of showing how evolution is compatible with and informs their existing beliefs.

Evolution only informs our beliefs as to how the universe works. It has nothing to do with atheism. We could NOT know how life changes over time, and atheism would still be the same. There were atheists before Darwin, and there were after.

I'm not saying that science proves anything about my theistic beliefs. I'm only pointing out where science is consistent with and can inform my existing beliefs.

What's the difference?

I look at science from a theistic point of view and then allow the science to mould those views as there is no science that gives any real evidence for the existence or non-existence of God.

It would seem to me that you add your unevidenced beliefs on top of science.


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Taq
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Posts: 8473
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 6.0


Message 66 of 181 (697829)
04-30-2013 2:53 PM
Reply to: Message 65 by Phat
04-30-2013 1:09 PM


Re: What is supernatural?
Nothing wrong with that!

There is if you want to claim that your views are scientific. Scientists also frown on those who add unevidenced and superfluous mechanisms for no other purpose than to assuage their beliefs. Theists who want to give their faith based beliefs the outward appearance of being scientific are not doing themselves any favors. They are only furthering the perception that scientific understanding trumps faith based beliefs.

Afterall, how often do you see scientists trying to dress their theories in religious regalia in an attempt to make their theory appear better supported? Why do we see the opposite so often?


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Taq
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Posts: 8473
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 6.0


Message 73 of 181 (697840)
04-30-2013 4:42 PM
Reply to: Message 69 by GDR
04-30-2013 4:00 PM


Re: What is supernatural?
There is a difference in saying that science is congruent with my theistic views as opposed to saying it supports them.

It would seem to me that science is irrelevant when it comes to your theistic views. It's like saying that Germ Theory is congruent with Zeus, or the Pauli Exclusion Principle is congruent with a belief in Leprechauns.

My point is simply that science does not mitigate against Christianity and can be used to inform it.

How does it inform it?

What I find more interesting is that christianity does not seem to inform science.

Well, actually there is evidence but just not enough to convince you. For one thing the Bible is evidence.

The Bible is the claim, not the evidence.

The Gospel writers in particular wrote out their accounts of events 2000 years ago.

Actually, they wrote out other people's accounts, and those accounts are claims, not evidence.

We would agree that science isn't able to prove that what I believe is correct. However, as an example science has shown me that God didn't create humans in one instant but that humans evolved. This has helped to form my picture of how God interacts with this world.

Where in the theory of evolution does it describe how God interacts with the world? What evidence or experiments have demonstrated how this interaction takes place? What experiments have tested the interaction of God with our "hearts and minds"?


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Taq
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Posts: 8473
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 6.0


Message 78 of 181 (697865)
05-01-2013 9:06 AM
Reply to: Message 76 by GDR
04-30-2013 7:11 PM


Re: What is supernatural?
I already gave you the example that science has shown me that God used an evolutionary process for creation.

What science informed you that God used evolutionary processes? I am unaware of any scientific study that has shown a deity being part of evolutionary processes.

Science only uses what can be verified through the scientific method. Science might verify some aspects of Christianity but it won't work the other way around.

Why do you immediately assume that some aspects of Christianity are unverifiable? Why immediately assume that the supernatural is unverifiable through scientific means?

It has many authors but they have a point in writing what they did.

It has authors making claims of what they did.

Science gives an account of how we have evolved so I understand that God has interacted with the world in such a way as to be a first cause of the evolutionary process.

What scientific studies have shown that God interacted with the world as a first cause for evolutionary processes?

For you it is, presumably, simply the result of a process with a non-intelligent first cause .

It is the result of whatever the evidence indicates. If there is no evidence then "I don't know" is the correct answer for the time being.

As I stated before, there were atheists before Darwin, and there were after. Right now we do not know how universes are produced, and there are still atheists. We don't know the specifics of how life started on Earth, or how life could start. There are still atheists.

There is no evidence that God interacts through our hearts and minds. It is belief.

Then why try to continually attach science to these beliefs?

I'm just saying that if God is part of a co-existing universe that interlocks in some way with our own that that could be the point of connection between God and our hearts and minds.

And if the world was created by an invisible pink unicorn then ice cream is made of spirits. I can make stuff up, too.


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Taq
Member
Posts: 8473
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 6.0


Message 84 of 181 (697929)
05-01-2013 5:03 PM
Reply to: Message 81 by GDR
05-01-2013 2:47 PM


Re: What is supernatural?
I didn’t claim that. You used a quote out of context. I assumed my belief that we are a creation of God. I am only saying that science is compatible with my Christian faith and in the case of evolution I have learned about the process that I believe God used to bring about life as we know it. I am not claiming that science gives us any objective position on the existence of a deity.

Why bring science into it at all? Why not just say, "These are my beliefs, and I have no evidence for them." I just don't see how unevidenced beliefs are compatible with science.

OK, but we all have our beliefs, whether we know something objectively or not.

I agree. I, as an atheist, have beliefs. For example, I believe that helping out my fellow human beings is a worthy cause and worth my time. I believe that Delta Blues is far better than Chicago Blues. I believe that desert landscapes are extremely beautiful. However, at no time do I feel the need to say that my beliefs are compatible with science. That's the part that I don't get.

My posts have assumed that I am correct in my theistic beliefs. Science itself is agnostic as you pointed out. However, if I am correct, then as science would be the study of what God has created and so it seems to me that science will tell us something about the creator.

Why bring science into it at all? It starts with unevidenced beliefs, does not touch anything that can be considered evidence, and then ends on unevidenced beliefs. It reads to me like an attempt to add legitimacy to your beliefs where none exists.


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Replies to this message:
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Taq
Member
Posts: 8473
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 6.0


Message 87 of 181 (697934)
05-01-2013 6:54 PM
Reply to: Message 86 by GDR
05-01-2013 6:40 PM


Re: What is supernatural?
Well I don’t agree that my beliefs are unevidenced.

This constant vassilation between evidence for God and God can never be evidenced is a bit much.

There are claims made by the writers of the Bible as well as other books about our origins. Those books are evidence and we come to our own beliefs of what to believe about the various claims.

They are evidence that people can write down stories. That is not what we are talking about.

If I understand the Bible as a science text dictated by God then I will have a very different take on our origins than I will if I accept the scientific account.

I am unaware of a scientific account by which God has dictated anything. Again, you are trying to cozy your beliefs up next to science in the hopes that the legitimacy of science will rub off onto your beliefs. Doesn't work that way.

Do you believe that your atheism is compatible with science?

My atheism has nothing to do with science. Atheism is a lack of belief in gods. That's it. Science has to do with a methodical process of determining how the the universe works. Two different things. There were atheists before modern science existed, before we understood the things we now understand.


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Taq
Member
Posts: 8473
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 6.0


Message 89 of 181 (697937)
05-01-2013 7:12 PM
Reply to: Message 88 by GDR
05-01-2013 7:09 PM


Re: What is supernatural?
I am not using science to legitimize my beliefs, I am using science to help form them.

So what scientific studies have demonstrated that God dictated what is found in the Bible?

Sure. I get that. However you don't find anything in science that causes you to disbelieve your atheism.

Nor do I find anything in a Mary Kay brochure that makes me doubt my atheism, but I don't go around saying that my atheism is compatible with Mary Kay products.

So why science? Why do you feel the need to compare your beliefs to science?


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Taq
Member
Posts: 8473
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 6.0


Message 91 of 181 (697992)
05-02-2013 11:18 AM
Reply to: Message 90 by GDR
05-01-2013 8:06 PM


Re: What is supernatural?
None. For that matter I don't believe God dictated the Bible. Good grief, I have had enough arguments with Faith and others on that point.

Then why make the following claim?

"I am not using science to legitimize my beliefs, I am using science to help form them."

You claim that you are using science to form your beliefs, but when asked for the science you claim there is none.

Because I believe that science can tell us a great deal about the world.

I agree. Where we differ is in your claims that you are using science to form your beliefs.


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Taq
Member
Posts: 8473
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 6.0


Message 93 of 181 (698056)
05-02-2013 6:50 PM
Reply to: Message 92 by GDR
05-02-2013 1:45 PM


Re: What is supernatural?
Science informs me about processes that He used to bring it about.

Around we go.

What scientific studies demonstrate that God used anything?


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Taq
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Posts: 8473
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 6.0


Message 98 of 181 (698159)
05-03-2013 11:48 AM
Reply to: Message 94 by GDR
05-02-2013 7:26 PM


Re: What is supernatural?
I keep answering that and you keep asking it.

The answer is none.

Then you are not using science to form your beliefs as you claimed earlier.


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Taq
Member
Posts: 8473
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 6.0


Message 101 of 181 (698168)
05-03-2013 1:07 PM
Reply to: Message 100 by New Cat's Eye
05-03-2013 1:01 PM


Re: What is supernatural?
I think you could be a little more fair here. Let's say he comes to a belief that god created man. Then, through science, he learns that man evolved over time. Then he modifies his belief to include evolution in god's creative process. That would be using science to form his beliefs even though science doesn't include god in the process.

As you admit above, he came to the belief that god created man before learning about the science. The belief is that god created man, and nowhere in that belief do we find a reference to science nor a scientific source as the foundation of that belief. The belief exists independent of any scientific study or theory. The belief is just tacked on to the scientific theory. Nowhere does the scientific theory lend itself to the belief.


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