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Author Topic:   What isn't natural?
pelican
Member (Idle past 3151 days)
Posts: 781
From: australia
Joined: 05-27-2007


Message 16 of 58 (417888)
08-25-2007 4:32 AM
Reply to: Message 15 by koan
08-20-2007 2:21 AM


age of humanity
Isn't everything contained within humanities' consciousness and therefore renders everything natural, even the supernatural? Isn't everything all a part of humanities' experience?
This message is a reply to:
 Message 15 by koan, posted 08-20-2007 2:21 AM koan has not yet responded

  
ikabod
Member (Idle past 2659 days)
Posts: 365
From: UK
Joined: 03-13-2006


Message 17 of 58 (417893)
08-25-2007 4:57 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by Fosdick
05-01-2007 1:33 PM


i guess im simple i like the easy version

if you remove mankind from the planet everything that then occurs is natural .. everything else is manmade/shaped .

this does create some fun questions .. how much of the countryside is manamade after 1000's of years of framing, lumbering , chaging water courses /levels .. which animal are natural or manshaped by breeding ... same for fruit and veg ....

and leads on to if you bio enginner a plant to produce more of a substance .. is that substance still naturally good for you ??


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Fosdick, posted 05-01-2007 1:33 PM Fosdick has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 18 by Fosdick, posted 08-25-2007 11:23 AM ikabod has responded

  
Fosdick 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3666 days)
Posts: 1793
From: Upper Slobovia
Joined: 12-11-2006


Message 18 of 58 (417920)
08-25-2007 11:23 AM
Reply to: Message 17 by ikabod
08-25-2007 4:57 AM


Nature is natural
Ikabod wrote:

if you remove mankind from the planet everything that then occurs is natural .. everything else is manmade/shaped.

Nah...Have you even watch an ant lion use the physical features of sand grains, slope geometry, and gravity to catch its lunch? None that I've ever watched took mechanical engineering classes at any university I know of. Same thing is true of cone snails—where did they learn about fractals well enough to decorate their shells with them?

Crows invent tools. Chimps invent tools, Spiders invent tools. Insect larvae invent tools. Even plaque-forming bacteria invent tools. They all use the same selective, adaptive, exaptive, and trial-and error methods humans use to do their so-called "arificial" things. Even if biologists eventually do make artificial life, it will be natural. And even if artificial life is confinded to virtual reality inside copmputers, it will still be natural.

The only things that are not truly natural are those things that people invent to make excuses for their bad behaviors...like God, original sin, saviorism, virginal mothers, and holy ghosts.

Once upon a time, the prokaryotes called the eukaryotes "unnatural." Once upon a time the protozoans called the mesazoans "unnatural"...

—HM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 17 by ikabod, posted 08-25-2007 4:57 AM ikabod has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 19 by ikabod, posted 08-26-2007 8:35 AM Fosdick has responded
 Message 20 by Taz, posted 08-26-2007 11:08 AM Fosdick has responded
 Message 23 by New Cat's Eye, posted 08-26-2007 1:55 PM Fosdick has responded

    
ikabod
Member (Idle past 2659 days)
Posts: 365
From: UK
Joined: 03-13-2006


Message 19 of 58 (418068)
08-26-2007 8:35 AM
Reply to: Message 18 by Fosdick
08-25-2007 11:23 AM


Re: Nature is natural
The only things that are not truly natural are those things that people invent to make excuses for their bad behaviors...like God, original sin, saviorism, virginal mothers, and holy ghosts.

do you include .. freedom, justice, love, hate, politics..left right and center ,economics ,social order , morality ,etiquette in your list of unnatural's ?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 18 by Fosdick, posted 08-25-2007 11:23 AM Fosdick has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 21 by Fosdick, posted 08-26-2007 11:31 AM ikabod has not yet responded

  
Taz
Member (Idle past 1457 days)
Posts: 5069
From: Zerus
Joined: 07-18-2006


Message 20 of 58 (418100)
08-26-2007 11:08 AM
Reply to: Message 18 by Fosdick
08-25-2007 11:23 AM


Re: Nature is natural
Hoot, have you gone off the deep end?


Disclaimer:

Occasionally, owing to the deficiency of the English language, I have used he/him/his meaning he or she/him or her/his or her in order to avoid awkwardness of style.

He, him, and his are not intended as exclusively masculine pronouns. They may refer to either sex or to both sexes!


This message is a reply to:
 Message 18 by Fosdick, posted 08-25-2007 11:23 AM Fosdick has responded

Replies to this message:
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Fosdick 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3666 days)
Posts: 1793
From: Upper Slobovia
Joined: 12-11-2006


Message 21 of 58 (418113)
08-26-2007 11:31 AM
Reply to: Message 19 by ikabod
08-26-2007 8:35 AM


Re: Nature is natural
do you include .. freedom, justice, love, hate, politics..left right and center ,economics ,social order , morality ,etiquette in your list of unnatural's?

Freedom, love, hate, economics, and social orders are all natural. And even protein molecules know difference between left and right of center. But nature is neither fair nor kind nor just nor polite. Nature rules and God obeys, or otherwise He is in serious ontological trouble (along with morality).

Fundamental, my dear Ikabod.

—HM

Edited by Hoot Mon, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 19 by ikabod, posted 08-26-2007 8:35 AM ikabod has not yet responded

    
Fosdick 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3666 days)
Posts: 1793
From: Upper Slobovia
Joined: 12-11-2006


Message 22 of 58 (418116)
08-26-2007 11:36 AM
Reply to: Message 20 by Taz
08-26-2007 11:08 AM


Re: Nature is natural
Hoot, have you gone off the deep end?

Yes, because the shallow end is full pompous nincompoops.

—HM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 20 by Taz, posted 08-26-2007 11:08 AM Taz has not yet responded

    
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 23 of 58 (418153)
08-26-2007 1:55 PM
Reply to: Message 18 by Fosdick
08-25-2007 11:23 AM


Nature is unconscious
Have you even watch an ant lion use the physical features of sand grains, slope geometry, and gravity to catch its lunch?

That's instinct, not conscious decisions.

When we make conscious decisions because we lack the instincts for those abilities, is where I would draw the line between natural and unnatural.

Do you think the evoltion of dogs is due to natural selection? Or can we call that unnatural (or artificial) selection? If not dogs, what about bananas?

Same thing is true of cone snails—where did they learn about fractals well enough to decorate their shells with them?

Cone snails know nothing of fractals, and need not to create them. Fractals hapen naturally like water forming into snowflakes.

Crows invent tools. Chimps invent tools, Spiders invent tools. Insect larvae invent tools. Even plaque-forming bacteria invent tools.

Instincts. Their tools are natural. My computer is not (because it was consciously made)

Well, maybe not the chimps, they seem to be making conscious decisions. But that just moves their tools into the unnatural category.

Even if biologists eventually do make artificial life, it will be natural. And even if artificial life is confinded to virtual reality inside copmputers, it will still be natural.

According to the "Everything is Natural" definition, sure. But not according to how define it. And my way is better :)

The only things that are not truly natural are those things that people invent to make excuses for their bad behaviors...like God, original sin, saviorism, virginal mothers, and holy ghosts.

I think that anything that people consciously invent is unnatural. Nature didn't make them.

It could be argued that belief in gods arrose without conscious decision, or rather naturally and the only things that you consider unnatural, I could consider natural.

Once upon a time, the prokaryotes called the eukaryotes "unnatural." Once upon a time the protozoans called the mesazoans "unnatural"...

No they didn't :rolleyes:

From Message 8

Percy wrote:
The word natural has a number of definitions, but there are two that are most relevant to the debate here.

One definition refers to those parts of the universe not affected or influenced by humans. In this definition, natural and artificial are opposites.

The other definition is more science-related. In this definition everything in the universe is natural, including humans, and the supernatural encompasses everything else.

You can argue that during a discussion one should not switch back and forth between these two definitions, but one cannot argue that one definition is wrong and the other right. They are both accepted definitions.


I would agree. However, the first definition, albeit valid, is a just bit too anthropocentric for me. It carries a sense of human arrogance. (This may be more my problem than anything else.)

The definition should be anthropocentric. We are the ones who have created the distiction, made up a word for it, and are talking about the definition of the word and where to draw the line. Why shouldn't it be based on our perspective?

I think my definition is better than the "Everything is Natural" definition because it is more functional. When everything is natural, and there is nowhere to draw the line, then there was no point in making the distinction in the first place.

We have a natural/artificial distinction. If everything is natural, then how would you define artificial? Your definition includes the crow's tool, and snail's shell as artificial?

Where do you draw the line?

Since we as humans are drawing the line, it might as well revolve around us.

I have a hard time including consciousness into the natural category. Nature seems to be unconscious. (Well, maybe that is just my problem :D but I have no problem with human arrogance.)


This message is a reply to:
 Message 18 by Fosdick, posted 08-25-2007 11:23 AM Fosdick has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 24 by Fosdick, posted 08-26-2007 3:36 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

  
Fosdick 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3666 days)
Posts: 1793
From: Upper Slobovia
Joined: 12-11-2006


Message 24 of 58 (418157)
08-26-2007 3:36 PM
Reply to: Message 23 by New Cat's Eye
08-26-2007 1:55 PM


Re: Nature is unconscious
Catholic Scientist wrote:

I think my definition is better than the "Everything is Natural" definition because it is more functional. When everything is natural, and there is nowhere to draw the line, then there was no point in making the distinction in the first place.

We have a natural/artificial distinction. If everything is natural, then how would you define artificial? Your definition includes the crow's tool, and snail's shell as artificial?

Where do you draw the line?


Why do you need to draw a line? Why are human activities unnatural? Why is a digital computer's software more unnatural than the digital genetic code? Could it be that your opinion on this derives from your belief that humans are specially made by God? Could it be that your church values trump your intellect?

Since I don't belief in anything "super-natural" I don't see why humans are so unnaturally special. And it is not a good idea to take the anthropic principle too seriously; it's worse than bothering over the cosmological constant.

—HM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 23 by New Cat's Eye, posted 08-26-2007 1:55 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 25 by New Cat's Eye, posted 08-26-2007 6:54 PM Fosdick has responded

    
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 25 of 58 (418174)
08-26-2007 6:54 PM
Reply to: Message 24 by Fosdick
08-26-2007 3:36 PM


Re: Nature is unconscious
You didn't answer my question:

how would you define artificial?

That would've helped me respond.

Why do you need to draw a line? Why are human activities unnatural?

I explained why in Message 23.

Why is a digital computer's software more unnatural than the digital genetic code?

Because the software was consciously made, while the genetics arrose naturally.

Hey, wait a minute. Not so fast, buster. There's no such thing as a digital genetic code. We figured that out in Message 90, where your response to this point will be on topic.

Just look at the way the word natural is used in normal conversation. Would you say that software arrose naturally? That implies that it arrose from nature as opposed to man-made, It is the "normal" way the word is defined.

If you want to include everything in the definition of natural, then the word loses meaning in that sense. But, like Percy said, we shouldn't really jump from one to another.

I think it is better to use it in the way that everybody else is using it, in that the distinction between natural and artificial is man-made or not.

Could it be that your opinion on this derives from your belief that humans are specially made by God?

It is possible, but I doubt it. If you don't have a response to the points I brought up and can't argue against them, then so be it. Why question the possibility of another derivation than the one I provided? Could it be that your opinions derive from your preconceived notions? Doesn't everybody's?

That's a pretty weak response, Hoot. I'm disapponted in you.

Could it be that your church values trump your intellect?

I'm gonna go ahead and say no.

Since I don't belief in anything "super-natural" I don't see why humans are so unnaturally special.

Nature is unconscious and we are not. We can control nature, too.

We are the ones who made the distinction and came up with the word in the first place, why shouldn't the word be defined around us.

And it is not a good idea to take the anthropic principle too seriously; it's worse than bothering over the cosmological constant.

That doesn't seem to have anything to do with this topic.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 24 by Fosdick, posted 08-26-2007 3:36 PM Fosdick has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 26 by Percy, posted 08-26-2007 7:53 PM New Cat's Eye has responded
 Message 27 by Fosdick, posted 08-26-2007 8:04 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

  
Percy
Member
Posts: 18484
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 26 of 58 (418175)
08-26-2007 7:53 PM
Reply to: Message 25 by New Cat's Eye
08-26-2007 6:54 PM


Re: Nature is unconscious
Hi CS,

You and Hoot Mon are using two different definitions of the word natural. You're using natural in the sense of "not made or influenced by man." Hoot Mon is using natural in the sense of "not supernatural." They're both perfectly legitimate definitions, but you guys won't be able to have a meaningful discussion until you start using the same one.

--Percy


This message is a reply to:
 Message 25 by New Cat's Eye, posted 08-26-2007 6:54 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 28 by New Cat's Eye, posted 08-26-2007 11:29 PM Percy has not yet responded

    
Fosdick 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3666 days)
Posts: 1793
From: Upper Slobovia
Joined: 12-11-2006


Message 27 of 58 (418177)
08-26-2007 8:04 PM
Reply to: Message 25 by New Cat's Eye
08-26-2007 6:54 PM


Re: Nature is unconscious...Wha?
CS,

If a wolf gets caught in a snow storm it will find shelter under a tree, curl up in the leaves, and stay as warm as possible...naturally. But if a man does the same thing is he doing artifically? He made a choice, so did the wolf.

Hey, wait a minute. Not so fast, buster. There's no such thing as a digital genetic code.

Oh, yes there is, buster. It even has a digital alphabet.

If you want to include everything in the definition of natural, then the word loses meaning in that sense...that the distinction between natural and artificial is man-made or not.

Well, OK. But why isn't "man-made" natural? If beaver-made, fish-made, insect-made, bird-made, and monkey-made are all natural then why can't man-made be natural, too? I think some humans like to assign unnatural characteristics to our species ('cuz we're special in the eyes of The Lord, maybe?) The only characteristic humans have that is truly unnatural is religion. I even regard a written symbolic language as natural, because it occurred in the course of biological evolution under entirely natural conditions. Can you say the same thing about religion?

If all you mean by "artificial" is "man-made" then you have not yet explained why either one can't be natural. I think this topic could naturally morph into a discussion on emergent properties. Nature shows us marvelous tricks in that category. I don't see how any emergent property could be artificial unless governed by un-natural laws that don't exist.

Nature is unconscious and we are not. We can control nature, too.

I don't agree with either statement. How do you define conscious-ness? Control? Does a religious belief pass for conscious-ness? (Well, yes, it certain does have control!) Would you say "scientific conscious-ness" is different from "religious conscious-ness"?

I think human consciousness is an extended phenotype of the Dawkinsian variety. At least the tool-making part of it is. If you want to call human tool-making "artificial" then go ahead. But would you agree, per chance, that it is naturally artifical?

—HM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 25 by New Cat's Eye, posted 08-26-2007 6:54 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 29 by New Cat's Eye, posted 08-26-2007 11:37 PM Fosdick has responded

    
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 28 of 58 (418209)
08-26-2007 11:29 PM
Reply to: Message 26 by Percy
08-26-2007 7:53 PM


Re: Nature is unconscious
You and Hoot Mon are using two different definitions of the word natural. You're using natural in the sense of "not made or influenced by man." Hoot Mon is using natural in the sense of "not supernatural." They're both perfectly legitimate definitions, but you guys won't be able to have a meaningful discussion until you start using the same one.

Thanks Percy, but I realize this. I'm trying to explain why I think he should be using my definition instead of his.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 26 by Percy, posted 08-26-2007 7:53 PM Percy has not yet responded

  
New Cat's Eye
Inactive Member


Message 29 of 58 (418211)
08-26-2007 11:37 PM
Reply to: Message 27 by Fosdick
08-26-2007 8:04 PM


Re: Nature is unconscious...Wha?
Well Hoot, you ignored most of my questions and points.

I don't have much time tonight, I should be able to reply tomorrow, hopefully.

But I will answer some of your questions so then you can go back and answer mine too, ok?

If a wolf gets caught in a snow storm it will find shelter under a tree, curl up in the leaves, and stay as warm as possible...naturally. But if a man does the same thing is he doing artifically? He made a choice, so did the wolf.

The wolf was following his instincts and the man was consciously trying to change his future.

Can you say the same thing about religion?

Sure I could.

If all you mean by "artificial" is "man-made" then you have not yet explained why either one can't be natural.

Artificial is still natural in the sense that its not supernatural.

I don't agree with either statement. How do you define conscious-ness? Control?

No, just the dictionary definition.

Does a religious belief pass for conscious-ness? (Well, yes, it certain does have control!) Would you say "scientific conscious-ness" is different from "religious conscious-ness"?

Religion has nothing to do with it.

But would you agree, per chance, that it is naturally artifical?

Yes, it is not supernatural.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 27 by Fosdick, posted 08-26-2007 8:04 PM Fosdick has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 30 by Fosdick, posted 08-27-2007 11:43 AM New Cat's Eye has responded

  
Fosdick 
Suspended Member (Idle past 3666 days)
Posts: 1793
From: Upper Slobovia
Joined: 12-11-2006


Message 30 of 58 (418306)
08-27-2007 11:43 AM
Reply to: Message 29 by New Cat's Eye
08-26-2007 11:37 PM


Re: Nature is unconscious...Wha?
CS,

I think I understand most of your points. Percy has us summed us up pretty well. But I can't let one aspect of this discussion go completely; it's the part that says humans are unnatural—i.e., 'we are unnatural because we are conscious.' I think you are defining "conscious-ness" from a limited perspective. The only definition of consciousness that I can accept right now is the one posited by Julian Jaynes: consciousness and the bicameral mind are two different things. The bicameral mind is commanded by hallucinations, or godly voices, instinct on steroids, take your pick. Consciousness, on the other hand, recognizes its historical bicamerality and surmounts this primitive human condition by making choices independent of the 'voice of God.' (Thor lost his voice when thunder was intellectually understood.) That was necessary to discover the laws of nature.

And, obviously, it was natural to discover the laws of nature. They have ontological meaning!

So, if you want to attach artificiality to consciouisness, I guess I'll go along. But I still don't see why artificiality is unnatural. That's all. Religions are unnatural, gods are unnatural, saviors are unnatural, angels are unnatural, all simply because they don't exist, they have no ontology, except for those landscapes of heavenly dreams, which are too subjective to be of any use to this discussion.

—HM


This message is a reply to:
 Message 29 by New Cat's Eye, posted 08-26-2007 11:37 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 31 by New Cat's Eye, posted 08-27-2007 2:49 PM Fosdick has responded

    
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