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Old 10-26-2011, 02:14 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxcar Overkill View Post
I'm only pointing out that the distinction between natural and supernatural is arbitrary and unmeaningful. The distinction is not logically or consistently applied. It is not helpful in determining what is "real".

For example:


1. Are theories regarding the Multiverse supernatural? After all, it is a theory relating to an existence beyond the visible observable universe. One would think it is the very definition of supernatural. Yet many phisicist believe that our universe is only one of many universes, M-Theory, etc.... Most people, for no particular reason, would describe those theories as natural, and therefore worthy of consideration, even if these theories are the very definition of supernatural and would otherwise be discredited based on existing beyond the observeable universe.
No, not at all. Unlike claims for supernatural occurrences, claims for the multiverse have a scientific and mathematical foundation. Since the scientific method is, by definition, a method of discerning natural explanations for natural phenomenon,to suggest that a scientific theory is somehow "supernatural" is ludicrous.

Quote:
2. Is a theory describing a "spiritual dimension" supernatural? Scientifically literate people will generally agree that theories regarding the multiverse are natural and credible, even though they exist by there very definition beyond the visible universe.... unless we happen to call one of those multiverses a "spiritual dimension." If we do nothing other than change the name, a multiverse becomes a spiritual dimension, a natural theory becomes supernatural, and a credible theory based on an unobserable existence beyond our universe is suddenly discredited because it is based on an unobserveable existence beyond our universe. All of that based on nothing more than changing it's name.
You appear to be intentionally leaving out a significant portion of the definition of "supernatural" in your argument. Why did you do that?


Quote:
3. If a person claims to have seen and thus observed a ghost, it is still called a supernatural claim. Even though the sole basis for the claim that ghost exist is that they have allegedly been observed, you choose to describe them as existening beyond the vobservable universe. If one claims to have observed a ghost, you may say that is an impossible claim because only observable things exist. That clearly begs the question.
Erm, the different between a scientific observation and one in which someone claims to have seen a ghost is (wait for it) -

DATA. Repeatable data. Falsifiable data. Your supernatural claim above suffers from a lack of physical data. Farmer Bob may be an honest, God-fearing man, buy we still need evidence that he saw the Virgin Mary in his corn field. Personal revelation, which is all that supernatural claims are, is by it's very nature, first person. As such, no one is under any obligation to accept one person's personal revelation over that of another. This is why anecdotal evidence is not scientific.

Quote:
4. Most theistic beliefs are built around the allegation that someone has seen a god, yet despite that explicit claim to have been observed, you would call it supernatural based on it's unobservability. Again, the claim that a person has seen a god is discredited under the logic that only observable things are real.
----If A person claims to have observed a God, he is either lying or telling the truth.
----If he is telling the truth, then God is natural, because he is observed in the universe.
----Accordingly, you can't use "unobserveability" as a basis to deny the claim that a god could exist.
You must have me confused with someone else. I don't call someone's claim to have observed God to be supernatural. Recall that my argument is that there is nothing that can reasonably be labelled "supernatural". If a person claims to have observed God, he could be lying, he could believe he is telling the truth, or he could be having a hallucination, be on drugs, or else be experiencing an altered state of consciousness due to drugs, a psychological disorder, seeing a mirage, or any number of other explanations. Regardless, the one thing he does not have is physical evidence to back up his claim. All we have is his word, his personal, anecdotal story. And there is nothing scientific about that.

Quote:
5. Every explaination for the cause of the Big Bang should rightfully be called supernatural. They all involve explainations that transcend (or nullify) the ordinary laws of nature. They all contain elements that exist beyond the observable universe. Some have colliding multiverses. Some have a time-before-time when the laws of nature and the universe didn't exist. Some have several universes in pockets, some have universes that are created and destroyed in cycles. Some posit the existence of a god. None that I am aware of explain the creation of the Big Bang by using the normal laws of nature, all occuring from within the obserable universe.
Again, you appear to be intentionally leaving out a significant portion of the definition of "supernatural" out of your argument. NO scientific description of the Big Bang I am aware of posits a supernatural origin. In fact, all of them are based on scientific evidence and mathematics. Do you have an scientific evidence or mathematical proof that the Big Bang was caused by a big sky daddy?

Quote:
6. Can I name any one phenomenon that fits these definitions, and have been unambiguously determined to be based on reality?
If we were to pick your second defintion, I would answer that many things that exist transcended the known laws of nature when they were discovered. Accordingly we amended the laws of nature to include the existence of those things. Dark matter, particles, the nature of light, Theoreis of relativity ect. They all transcended the laws of nature we knew of at that time, and so we changed the laws of nature to include them. Unless you believe we will never again amend the laws of nature, you have to assume that there are things that exist that violate the known laws of nature.
And yet all of those changes were made because of unambiguous, repeatable, falsifiable observations/data that necessitated the changes. What repeatable, falsifiable evidence do you have for ANY supernatural claims? Dark matter is not directly observable (yet), but is indirectly observable by any scientist who cares to study it. What evidence is there for "supernatural" claims that is not based on personal anecdotes.

Natural claims are falsifiable, verifiable, repeatable, and therefore are based on the scientific method. There is nothing falsifiable, repeatable, or verifiable about supernatural claims.
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Old 10-26-2011, 03:07 PM
 
Location: Somewhere out there
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Default This post will cause some cat-calls. I predict it!

I'm not sure that we'd see a lot of things that absolutely transcended or disproved the known laws of the universe as our first, fumbling initial experiments of the last 5 decades of science have determined. We should have known better than to make absolute statements about what we saw. Rather, we should now be stating things with limitations, such as:

"Such and such obeys the rules of the universe as we've determined to apply to them at their lower levels of energy, or within the subset of slower speeds, normal times and/or temperatures. However, at imagined extremes, potential variations or adjustments may take over, and our conditional determinations will still allow the application of the law within "normal conditions".

This would allow us to openly utilize the predictive behavior of the rules our early research has clarified while not losing the potential for their applications at the extremes of astro- and nuclear physics, as we've now realized.

This also does not mean, as is claimed by the gloating theists, that much of science's conclusions are shaky and questionable. We just hadn't realized, or hadn't taken them to, the far limits of extreme physics as of yet. Now we're doing that: See the LHC, which will either prove or disprove a critical PREDICTION of extreme physics at the sub-atomic level. If it does work out, and a Higgs boson pops out and rolls around on the floor, all shiny, transcendent and luminous (), boy, won't the puzzled theists be muzzled then, huh?

Einstein certainly knew this, as did Fermi, Oppenheimer and the other Big Boyz of Physics. They knew not to laugh at Ma Nature! Oh, and their predictions about unseen particles and their radical behaviors proved to be quite correct!

http://images.search.yahoo.com/image...mb=v0c5z0QJ93D
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Old 10-26-2011, 04:10 PM
 
Location: OKC
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orogenicman, I must admit I am confused about your position.


Your definition of "supernatural" used to be anything that dealt with an "order of existence beyond the visible observable universe." Yet when I showed you physicist theories of the multiverse that explicitly theorize of an existance beyond the observable universe, you made a special pleading that those types of existences were excluded because the evidence of their existence is founded on science and mathmatical theories.

Let me post your definition again, just for clarity:

Quote:
: of or relating to an order of existence beyond the visible observable universe; especially: of or relating to God or a god, demigod, spirit, or devil
Unless for some reason you are reading "especially" in some illogical sense, that definition does not include a special pleading for universes that are outside of our universe, regardless of whether we use math or science to infer their existence.




Next you say:
Quote:
Originally Posted by orogenicman View Post
You must have me confused with someone else. I don't call someone's claim to have observed God to be supernatural. Recall that my argument is that there is nothing that can reasonably be labelled "supernatural".
Which kind of agrees with what I'm saying, but then you say:


Quote:
What repeatable, falsifiable evidence do you have for ANY supernatural claims?
???

If there is nothing that can be labled as "supernatural", what sorts of things would I need to prove?

I know, a universe that exists outside of this universe would be a supernatural claim! Wait, if I bring evidence to support that claim, you'll immediately call it a multiverse which to you automatically makes it no longer supernatural - because I had evidence that it existed!

Don't you see how tortorous your logic is here?

You claim there has never been any evidence of the supernatural. Yet when I bring you evidence of the supernatural, you immediately claim that exact evidence is what makes it not supernatural.



.
Let's go on:


Quote:
DATA. Repeatable data. Falsifiable data. Your supernatural claim above suffers from a lack of physical data. Farmer Bob may be an honest, God-fearing man, buy we still need evidence that he saw the Virgin Mary in his corn field. Personal revelation, which is all that supernatural claims are, is by it's very nature, first person. As such, no one is under any obligation to accept one person's personal revelation over that of another. This is why anecdotal evidence is not scientific.
I agree that the claim lacks data, and isn't a very strong claim. It's not a very good claim. Yet, by your definitions it is a natural, not a supernatural claim; because it was claimed to exist in the observable universe.

Again, you enter a special pleading for claims related to things which DO exist inside the obserable universe, but simply aren't backed by good evidence, i.e. personal revelation.

Quote:
:
Again, you appear to be intentionally leaving out a significant portion of the definition of "supernatural" out of your argument. NO scientific description of the Big Bang I am aware of posits a supernatural origin. In fact, all of them are based on scientific evidence and mathematics. Do you have an scientific evidence or mathematical proof that the Big Bang was caused by a big sky daddy?
Just because the evidence for the claims comes from science or math, that does not mean the claim itself is not "departing from what is usual or normal especially so as to appear to transcend the laws of nature!" After all, some of them require no-time and no-physics! Is that not a departure from the usual? Is that not abnormal? How could anyclaim transcend the laws of nature any more that that does?

Quote:
:
Natural claims are falsifiable, verifiable, repeatable, and therefore are based on the scientific method. There is nothing falsifiable, repeatable, or verifiable about supernatural claims.
Claims about God and the mulitiverse are on equal ground according to your definition of natural claims. They are both potentially falsifiable, potentially verifiable, potentially repreatable and may or may not be real. There's no real reason to call one a supernatural claim and the other not a supernatural claim.


My contention is that there is no useful distinction between the natural and the supernatural. There are only theories that are well supported by evidence and those that aren't. Whether or not those theores are about things that exist beyond the observable universe or transcend the laws of nature is irrelevent. There are some credible theories from science that posit an existence beyond the observable universe, and some that aren't so credible. Some credible theores from science that posit the ability to transcend the laws of nature and some that don't.
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Old 10-26-2011, 04:32 PM
 
Location: OKC
5,426 posts, read 5,572,373 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rifleman View Post
I'm not sure that we'd see a lot of things that absolutely transcended or disproved the known laws of the universe as our first, fumbling initial experiments of the last 5 decades of science have determined. We should have known better than to make absolute statements about what we saw. Rather, we should now be stating things with limitations, such as:

"Such and such obeys the rules of the universe as we've determined to apply to them at their lower levels of energy, or within the subset of slower speeds, normal times and/or temperatures. However, at imagined extremes, potential variations or adjustments may take over, and our conditional determinations will still allow the application of the law within "normal conditions".

This would allow us to openly utilize the predictive behavior of the rules our early research has clarified while not losing the potential for their applications at the extremes of astro- and nuclear physics, as we've now realized.

This also does not mean, as is claimed by the gloating theists, that much of science's conclusions are shaky and questionable. We just hadn't realized, or hadn't taken them to, the far limits of extreme physics as of yet. Now we're doing that: See the LHC, which will either prove or disprove a critical PREDICTION of extreme physics at the sub-atomic level. If it does work out, and a Higgs boson pops out and rolls around on the floor, all shiny, transcendent and luminous (), boy, won't the puzzled theists be muzzled then, huh?

Einstein certainly knew this, as did Fermi, Oppenheimer and the other Big Boyz of Physics. They knew not to laugh at Ma Nature! Oh, and their predictions about unseen particles and their radical behaviors proved to be quite correct!

Image Detail for - http://www.teslasociety.com/pictures/atomicbomb.jpg
I agree with what you are saying. I apologize if we have gotten a little off topic, but this has been a good discussion and it is at least related to the philosophy of science, if not the methodology of science.orogenicman is smart and a worthy debater.

I, and every other right thinking person, should agree that the scientific method is very powerful. But that's not really the point at issue here.

My point is that the terms "natural" and "supernatural" are meaningless, but to the extent the do mean something the supernatural will sometimes be right and has sometimes been proven.

For example:

If I state that there are alternate universes or dimensions out there, that is a supernatural claim.

If science proves the theories relating to the multiverse are true, we should say a supernatural claim has been proven true by hard evidence.

But instead, we ex post facto change the label of the claim to natural instead of supernatural, and then arrogantly claim that there is no evidence that anything supernatural ever existed.

Even a stop clock is right twice a day. Sometimes supernatural claims will turn out to be true. The only question is if we admit that, or if instead we change what the designation of the claim to natural.

But none of that denies the power of the scientific method. It only points out it can provide evidence that supports both natural and supernatural claims, if those terms even mean anything.
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Old 10-26-2011, 05:28 PM
 
Location: Somewhere out there
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Thanks for the clarifications, Boxcar!. Nope; you're definitely not off-topic. My intention was certainly not to troll, but instead to investigate if the usual suspects that vehemently and ruthlessly deny science or denigrate it as an evil, error-filled entity out to step on religion's tail, really do understand the SM's rather clearly stated intents and methods, it's protocols and it's obvious limitations.

I think we've done that here; it is the premier and essential method for answering many questions. How could it be anything but that, since it's been developed over literally decades as a well-disputed, argued and fine-tuned method which does not appear to leave out any of the necessary key elements.

It's final step, that of a global peer-review, and subsequent publication, esp. in light of the pervasive Internet, pretty much guarantees any outlandish conclusions are subject to in-depth critique. Thus fakery is always discovered and unearthed, and retractions published.

Plus its review of the universe of possible conclusions does much to spur new directions in detailed follow-up. And thus we advance, relentlessly, towards the best possible answers and new ideas, and we demolish fantasies where they have lain undisturbed and assumed to be true, for centuries.

As for testing those deeply held faith-based and spiritual concepts, that's probably best left to other means, but even so, if such fantasies depend, even partially, on some potentially testable component, we can also work on those elements.

As in: a devout but scientifically uneducated literalist's belief in God would necessarily require a belief in the actual occurrence of a Noah's Global flood, or of a parting of the Red Sea, or of a Genesis Week 6046 yrs ago, or of a lone Adam & Eve parental set as the sole procreators of all mankind, and of no such thing as Evolution or dinosaurs or mass meteorite-based extinctions and so on. We've proven all of those, so where does that leave the literalist belief?

Our detailed observational approach has of course left us with some reasonable conclusions about those types of unlikely events, to the point that many have become absolute atheists; folks such as myself.

I choose to not accept any wild-a$p, fully nut-ball fantasy concoctions that exist solely to loosely and poorly support an ancient fairy tale. Ones that for the most part are of recent origin, since those obvious inconsistencies have come to light ever more frequently over the past 200 years, just as the Church lost it's absolute ability to shut or lock up the questioners. Too bad; a good old Inquisition sure made things easier for the Church's administrators, huh?

Now, if there is a deity out there who just happens to be absent from this Earthly quadrant for an extended vacation, perhaps in grievance over His only begotten son, or is off in that other more interesting sector with the Borg supernaturalities who have been dabbling in active Evolution experiments, perhaps He will soon enough return, as others here so frequently threaten/promise/entice.

(Those Borg do seem to be able to enact a lot of unlikely events, eh? I'm sure there's a perfectly good scientifically derived explanation for it all though...)

"Resistance is futile", sayeth The Lord!

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Old 10-26-2011, 05:45 PM
 
Location: Mississippi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxcar Overkill View Post
I agree with what you are saying. I apologize if we have gotten a little off topic, but this has been a good discussion and it is at least related to the philosophy of science, if not the methodology of science.orogenicman is smart and a worthy debater.

I, and every other right thinking person, should agree that the scientific method is very powerful. But that's not really the point at issue here.

My point is that the terms "natural" and "supernatural" are meaningless, but to the extent the do mean something the supernatural will sometimes be right and has sometimes been proven.

For example:

If I state that there are alternate universes or dimensions out there, that is a supernatural claim.

If science proves the theories relating to the multiverse are true, we should say a supernatural claim has been proven true by hard evidence.

But instead, we ex post facto change the label of the claim to natural instead of supernatural, and then arrogantly claim that there is no evidence that anything supernatural ever existed.

Even a stop clock is right twice a day. Sometimes supernatural claims will turn out to be true. The only question is if we admit that, or if instead we change what the designation of the claim to natural.

But none of that denies the power of the scientific method. It only points out it can provide evidence that supports both natural and supernatural claims, if those terms even mean anything.
The terms supernatural and natural are not necessarily meaningless, Boxcar. Especially in the American dialect of English, reference to supernatural often comes with the vague implication that it is void and free of an explanation simply because someone calls it "supernatural." Many times it's often spoken with an air of authority as well.

I recently heard some pastor in an interview and he explained the following (I'm paraphrasing):

"Because the element of the supernatural is so mysterious, we have a hard time fathoming the 'mind' of God."

I know you're no idiot, Boxcar, but the imposition and usage of the word supernatural in this case is rather authoritarian. It's as though the listeners of such a blowhard have given abundant thought to the available evidence for a supernatural existence of anything at all. Then, they've taken the pastor's word for it that not only does supernatural exist but it has qualities such as being mysterious as well as housing God within it! I'd love to see that scientific paper!

I've always wished someone could answer for me what supernatural actually "is." People throw the term out there like it's this fantastic place we all know so well. For all we know, the only thing that comprises of existence is "to be" or, rather, to be of something - whether that be matter, energy or perhaps even empty space.

To be "supernatural" or above and beyond the natural, would require that no matter and no energy exist within the confines of such a realm. Or, at the very least, could not interact with such a realm as those would be quite natural interactions in and of themselves. Thus, by proxy, it would seem that any interactions of the supernatural world with the natural world would, by proxy, become natural in their behavior and require a natural explanation - not a supernatural one.

If we were to say that Particle 'X' interacted with Particle 'Y' we could probably describe that motion and interaction to finite details. But, to make a supernatural claim that 'X' and 'Y' interacted with one another because of 'Z' supernatural activity brings another element into the game... That element being using the term supernatural as a convenient tool to say "I don't have an effing clue so I'll just use this word," rather than digging for an explanation.

If we were to be so confusing such as that every discovery made is now natural and prior to its discovery was called supernatural then we could conceivably consider that a round Earth was at one time a supernatural claim. Or, that mysterious supernatural phenomena were responsible for disease not germs. But, that would be rather irresponsible.

Thus, the word supernatural should exist separately and independently of the word natural and the phenomena therein. Supernatural should have its own explanation of the activity within it. It should not be used as a tool to explain our own ignorance. We may call natural what it is, as we have come to expect that even without a viable explanation for everything, we can understand a basic premise of interactions we call natural. That which we do not know could easily stand in the realm of "we don't know" but should not be considered supernatural simply because of such ignorance. To claim that anything is supernatural is to claim intricate knowledge of what supernatural is and that would be a virtual lie.

Speaking of lying, it's no wonder pastors and clergymen use the term so loosely. They simply can't help but lie through every hole in their body.
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Old 10-26-2011, 08:13 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxcar
If I state that there are alternate universes or dimensions out there, that is a supernatural claim.
Not if there is scientific and mathematical evidence to support the claim. Furthermore, there is nothing in the laws of physics as we know them today that prevents the existence of multiverses. Indeed, the laws and rules of science and mathematics actually lead researchers to the hypotheses of multiverses. On the other hand, just because there is math and science behind a hypothesis doesn't make it correct. Plenty of hypotheses have been shown to be wrong in the past (i.e.e, a flat Earth). But whether or not they are true, there is nothing unique about them that would require one to assume that they are "supernatural".
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Old 10-26-2011, 11:37 PM
 
Location: OKC
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I think we've pretty much gone as far as we can on this subject. I do appreciate the logical way each of you have stated your position, and I apologize to anyone if I have been too brash in my comments. I do enjoy having these kinds of esoteric discussion since I can't normally have them in my everyday life.

In the end, I think we all agree about what sorts of things a person should believe, and what they shouldn't believe. Our only disagreement is about what the proper label is to apply to some of those things.
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Old 10-26-2011, 11:40 PM
 
37,545 posts, read 25,255,858 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boxcar Overkill View Post
I think we've pretty much gone as far as we can on this subject. I do appreciate the logical way each of you have stated your position, and I apologize to anyone if I have been too brash in my comments. I do enjoy having these kinds of esoteric discussion since I can't normally have them in my everyday life.

In the end, I think we all agree about what sorts of things a person should believe, and what they shouldn't believe. Our only disagreement is about what the proper label is to apply to some of those things.
I agree with Box . . . there is no such thing as supernatural, period.
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Old 10-27-2011, 02:20 AM
 
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Originally Posted by MysticPhD View Post
I agree with Box . . . there is no such thing as supernatural, period.
Interesting, since that was my argument from the very beginning.
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