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← Refuting supernatural

Steve Zara's Avatar Jump to comment 2 by Steve Zara

The title of supernatural is given to the subject if it is beyond current scientific understanding and the known laws of nature, provided the available evidence was demonstrated to be unreliable or inaccurate.

That's not quite correct. The title of supernatural is given to the subject if it is considered to be beyond scientific understanding in principle. Angels are supernatural. That doesn't mean we don't yet know enough about them, it means that they are defined to be forever beyond the reach of science.

The reason why 'supernatural' doesn't work is because it is both impossible to justify and actually impossible in reality. There is no way to prove that a phenomenon is beyond the reach of science. The attribute of un-testability is itself nonsensical, and so there can be nothing supernatural.

The division of reality into natural and supernatural these days (as against historical meanings) is an attempt to keep science at bay by insisting that science is only able to investigate the natural. This is not true. Science can investigate anything at all. Science is simply testing ideas against reality; it makes no assumptions about the nature of reality. If we discovered fairies you can bet that some scientists would at least try and classify them, and see how they evolved! If we discovered that prayer worked, we could investigate if prayer power fell away with an inverse square law.

The supernatural is nothing more than a 'keep out' sign for science and reason. But we should ignore that sign, trample it to the ground, and march happily onwards.

Thu, 12 Jul 2012 13:56:24 UTC | #948965