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Supernatural? What does that even mean? - Comments

Aguazul's Avatar Comment 1 by Aguazul

Yes, there are some parts of Nature that some of us are blind to, and some parts of Nature that all of us are blind to. Then there are parts of Nature which are fully formally understood and verified, but this is a surprisingly small part because we haven't really even started on the implications of quantum mechanics on complex systems, or many other areas which we are familiar with in daily life (consciousness, for example).

Sun, 18 Mar 2012 14:23:45 UTC | #928313

john buff's Avatar Comment 2 by john buff

Oh that's so last week, the new craze now is 'Mega-natural', it comes in small, fancy bottles of pure 'essence of ignorance' and available in 4 mouth-watering flavours. It retails at a modest £149.99 and can be bought at any reputable faith shop.

Sun, 18 Mar 2012 14:56:54 UTC | #928326

aroundtown's Avatar Comment 3 by aroundtown

Superstition or the supernatural from my perspective in nothing more than fantasy notions created in the mind that are adopted as truth. I have often been puzzled by the following condition of humans. There are dozens of religions in the World and they can't all be valid. The belief in a god spans the width of the primitive tribe in the Jungle to the higher lofty beliefs of say the Catholic church. It is amazing that this fact alone does not effectively challenge the whole charade but their belief prevails in the face of reasonable arguments of this nature. In short, you believe what you want to believe irrespective of it being true.

Sun, 18 Mar 2012 17:41:37 UTC | #928386

Aguazul's Avatar Comment 4 by Aguazul

Comment 3 by aroundtown :

In short, you believe what you want to believe irrespective of it being true.

This is true of all of us. We choose to believe in the validity of current scientific thought, for example. But history has shown that the 'truth' of one era is radically different to the 'truth' of the next -- scientific beliefs of 40 or 80 years ago seem quaint now. So in another 40 or 80 years where will we be? Will our views now seem quaint to the people of the future? Almost certainly. We are all dealing with a partial view of the truth, a partial view that we have chosen to use as a basis for our day-to-day approach to reality. We must always remain aware that it is incomplete and parts of it may be wrong.

The only difference with religious people is that they have chosen a set of beliefs which are convenient and sufficient for their lives, and choose not to look beyond them for any greater truth.

Ideally a scientist should always be looking for the greater truth beyond the current knowledge, although that is an idealistic view. Very many lesser scientists are quite resistant to new ideas. But as you say: "you believe what you want to believe irrespective of it being true".

Sun, 18 Mar 2012 18:36:51 UTC | #928405

aroundtown's Avatar Comment 5 by aroundtown

Comment 4 by Aguazul - The only difference with religious people is that they have chosen a set of beliefs which are convenient and sufficient for their lives, and choose not to look beyond them for any greater truth.

I appreciate your point of view. I generally have a tendency to gravitate to the most logical position myself. If I am standing in a narrow canyon and it starts to rain I am most likely going to appreciate my understanding of the principles of fluid hydraulics and move myself out of the canyon. If a religious individual thinks that prayer will hold back the impending flood, oh well, thats their choice.

Hopefully we will continue to question the absolutes we perceive as truths, now and in the future, and embrace the new answers we uncover. I would say those who are most likely to benefit and appreciate these new propositions/postulations would be open minded free-thinkers and not those chained to religious dogma.

Sun, 18 Mar 2012 19:43:32 UTC | #928429

Tony d's Avatar Comment 6 by Tony d

If Super=Better than

If Nature:=Everything that exists.

Then Supernatural =Led Zeppelin

Sun, 18 Mar 2012 22:25:19 UTC | #928475

Al Denelsbeck's Avatar Comment 7 by Al Denelsbeck

There's an additional aspect of the 'supernatural' dodge that can be found. Supernaturality is a realm of special rules about the universe, ones that scientists (at least) don't understand, but the religious do. Even when arguing that god works in mysterious ways and that we humble humans cannot fathom the intent behind, for instance, tsunamis and earthquakes (I almost said 'natural disasters,' but figured that would be confusing,) some religious folk seem to possess a special form of knowledge that lets them declare their understanding of such matters.

In other words, scientists might get all hoity-toity over their book larnin, but religion provides an even higher aura of knowledge: special communication (either direct or indirect) with the grand planner. It takes no effort whatsoever to see the peculiar double-standard that arises in many discussions with religious folk, where they cannot tell us why so many people should be dealt misfortune in the plans of the loving god, but will assure us that these plans are indeed present (and must be good,) as vouchsafed to them through either their scripture or their personal revelation. There was nothing that should have convinced them of the accuracy of such statements, and nothing that could - all that exists is the ego-stroking notion that they're right. Anything that can be used to confirm this notion (for instance, Haiti's pact with the devil, according to christowhackjob Pat Robertson) is evidence of the supernatural influence that leaves no evidence.

UFO proponents have the same kind of double-standard: photos of mysterious objects are evidence, but when approached about the lack of anything more compelling, this very lack of better evidence is evidence itself of the conspiracy to cover it all up. They can have no cake and eat it too ;-)

Sun, 18 Mar 2012 22:27:55 UTC | #928476

Mr DArcy's Avatar Comment 8 by Mr DArcy

Having disposed of the "supernatural", I'm afraid we will still have our aces trumped by the "transcendant", "spiritual", "numinous", "other ways of knowing", "higher planes" and countless other meaningless jargon words.

Chattenooga woo woo!

Mon, 19 Mar 2012 15:12:11 UTC | #928633

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 9 by Alan4discussion

@OP - It merely emphasizes that merely declaring any specific thing as not understandable is a childish move that cannot be used in adult debate.

But of course the childish will assert their understanding is "superior"! - It must because it is theirs - and it supports their viewpoint! (I spy with my little eye something beginning with D-K)

Mon, 19 Mar 2012 18:08:24 UTC | #928686

Eyem4Christ's Avatar Comment 10 by Eyem4Christ

There is knowledge beyond physics. I hate to burst your bubble on that one.

Tue, 20 Mar 2012 05:19:05 UTC | #928824

ZenDruid's Avatar Comment 11 by ZenDruid

Comment 10 by Eyem4Christ

There is knowledge beyond physics. I hate to burst your bubble on that one.

That's called 'imagination', son. Sorry to burst your bubble.

Tue, 20 Mar 2012 05:24:09 UTC | #928825

Anonymous's Avatar Comment 12 by Anonymous

Comment Removed by Moderator

Tue, 20 Mar 2012 05:37:23 UTC | #928828

susanlatimer's Avatar Comment 13 by susanlatimer

Comment 12 by Eyem4Christ

Love is real and physics has nothing to do with it. Justice is real and has nothing to do with physics.

You must know an awful lot about physics to be able to rule it out like that.

Or are you one of those people who claims "knowledge" without actually knowing what "knowledge" means?

And for Christ's sake, clean up.

Watch yourself. First of all, comments about a person's appearance violate the Terms and Conditions here.

Second, ZenDruid's is one of my very favourite pictures on this site. And he's made some of my favourite comments of all time.

So for goodness' sake, stick to the topic and if you're going to make claims, support them. (Hint: Don't use the bible as evidence unless you're prepared to demonstrate that it's anything more than a cobbled together book of myths and hearsay.)

Tue, 20 Mar 2012 06:06:56 UTC | #928833

mmurray's Avatar Comment 14 by mmurray

Comment 12 by Eyem4Christ :

And for Christ's sake, clean up.

Could you please not abuse the name of Our Saviour like that. It is unnecessary and offensive to the believers amongst us.

Peace be with you.

Michael

Tue, 20 Mar 2012 06:12:05 UTC | #928834

Mee Peestevone's Avatar Comment 15 by Mee Peestevone

Is love not an emotion? If so, then wouldn't chemistry and physics have a lot to do with love.

Justice is a concept of moral rightness.

Are you one that believes morality is not a human construct? Many would argue that morality originated from evolutionary processes.

Don’t you believe the idea of god is a creation of human thought?

Do you believe neanderthals had morals or loved? Did Abraham's god instil them with morals?

Some animals are sensitive to the plight of others. Chimpanzees have drowned in zoo moats trying to save others.

I personally believe that morality grew out of behavioural rules shaped by evolution. Do you?

Comment 12 by Eyem4Christ :

Well, let's leave God aside for a moment. You'll have pleanty of time to meet Him later. Love is real and physics has nothing to do with it. Justice is real and has nothing to do with physics.

And don't call me son. And for Christ's sake, clean up.

Tue, 20 Mar 2012 06:23:36 UTC | #928837

Steven Mading's Avatar Comment 16 by Steven Mading

Comment 4 by Aguazul :

Comment 3 by aroundtown :

In short, you believe what you want to believe irrespective of it being true.

This is true of all of us. We choose to believe in the validity of current scientific thought, for example. But history has shown that the 'truth' of one era is radically different to the 'truth' of the next -- scientific beliefs of 40 or 80 years ago seem quaint now. So in another 40 or 80 years where will we be? Will our views now seem quaint to the people of the future? Almost certainly. We are all dealing with a partial view of the truth, a partial view that we have chosen to use as a basis for our day-to-day approach to reality. We must always remain aware that it is incomplete and parts of it may be wrong.

There is a massive difference between believing in science and believing in the output of science. What you're talking about here is the output of science, not science itself. Science is the method by which the information is learned, not the information itself. Being confident in the methods is not the same thing as being confident in the end result we're at at the moment.

I am certain that some of the things science has concluded today will be right and some will be wrong, but the ones that are wrong will be found out to be wrong only by the methods of science itself, and not by the methods of, say, religion.

Science polices itself. That's what makes it not the same as superstition.

Tue, 20 Mar 2012 06:24:17 UTC | #928838

susanlatimer's Avatar Comment 17 by susanlatimer

Comment 14 by mmurray

Could you please not abuse the name of Our Saviour like that. It is unnecessary and offensive to the believers amongst us.

Peace be with you.

Michael

A quick visit to your fellow christian's linked site was interesting. He's written about atheist sites he's visited and from which he's been banned. I wonder if it has anything to do with him popping in, posting off-topic preaching that encourages no discussion and then insulting other users in his first two comments. He thinks it's because he's a theist. Could he be right? Is he being oppressed and silenced? Or is RD.net just another clay pigeon to pick off? I'm so confused.

Oh Michael, what would Jesus think?

Tue, 20 Mar 2012 06:51:45 UTC | #928845

ZenDruid's Avatar Comment 18 by ZenDruid

Comment 12 by Eyem4Christ

Well, let's leave God aside for a moment. You'll have pleanty of time to meet Him later. Love is real and physics has nothing to do with it. Justice is real and has nothing to do with physics.

Human children are born with the senses of love and justice. Don't you remember, human child?

And don't call me son. And for Christ's sake, clean up.

You don't look a day over 40, son. And for whatever it's worth, I hear from various points around town that I am the sort of father honest, talented and intelligent young folks would like to have.

...

Sweetness points to you, Susan.

Tue, 20 Mar 2012 07:03:28 UTC | #928851

mmurray's Avatar Comment 19 by mmurray

Comment 17 by susanlatimer :

A quick visit to your fellow christian's linked site was interesting.

Oh well spotted.

http://www.veridican.com/index.html

He has his own religion, his own bible, his own publishing company and his own website.

Oh Michael, what would Jesus think?

Not to keen on having His Words rewritten (again) I suspect.

Michael

Tue, 20 Mar 2012 07:03:53 UTC | #928852

susanlatimer's Avatar Comment 20 by susanlatimer

Comment 19 by mmurray

He has his own religion, his own bible, his own publishing company and his own website.

His own bible? Why would anyone rewrite the inerrant word of god?

Comment 18 by ZenDruid

Sweetness points to you, Susan.

Just telling it like it is. :-) .

Tue, 20 Mar 2012 07:11:19 UTC | #928854

foundationist's Avatar Comment 21 by foundationist

Thanks to Eyem4Christ for making my point for me. To just declare certain things to lie "beyond physics" or having "nothing to do with physics" is precisely what I´m talking about. Even intelligent people like John Lennox make the same mistake. Love and consciousness - the latter, of course, being the prerequisite of justice - are the most commonly used objects of "supernaturalism".

I´m fairly certain (about 99.99%) that both consciousness and love can be explained by already known physics, chemistry and biology. Since they are both rather complex phenomena, the explanation is going to be very intricate and multi levelled, but cognitive scientists and neurobiologists are making progress by leaps and bounces. Whoever says these things lie beyond science is betting against two complete branches of science, not a smart move in the long run.

However, even if it would some day turn out, that the human mind does not arise solely from the biochemical processes in brain and body, but really was a sort of otherworldly wisp, we could still try to investigate and understand it. It would fall into my definition of nature as given above, and we could attempt to work out, how it can control neural activities or what its inner structure is. "Beyond physics" is always just a lazy surrender.

Tue, 20 Mar 2012 07:43:56 UTC | #928858

Tyler Durden's Avatar Comment 22 by Tyler Durden

Comment 10 by Eyem4Christ :

There is knowledge beyond physics. I hate to burst your bubble on that one.

By what means did this bubble appear, physics, or beyond-physics? I think we should be told.

Tue, 20 Mar 2012 08:02:13 UTC | #928862

Eyem4Christ's Avatar Comment 23 by Eyem4Christ

          [Comment 21](/discussions/645286-supernatural-what-does-that-even-mean/comments?page=1#comment_928858) by  [foundationist](/profiles/112015)          :


                 Thanks to Eyem4Christ for making my point for me. To just declare certain things to lie "beyond physics" or having "nothing to do with physics" is precisely what I´m talking about. Even intelligent people like John Lennox make the same mistake. Love and consciousness - the latter, of course, being the prerequisite of justice - are the most commonly used objects of "supernaturalism".I´m fairly certain (about 99.99%) that both consciousness and love can be explained by already known physics, chemistry and biology. Since they are both rather complex phenomena, the explanation is going to be very intricate and multi levelled, but cognitive scientists and neurobiologists are making progress by leaps and bounces. Whoever says these things lie beyond science is betting against two complete branches of science, not a smart move in the long run.However, even if it would some day turn out, that the human mind does not arise solely from the biochemical processes in brain and body, but really was a sort of otherworldly wisp, we could still try to investigate and understand it. It would fall into my definition of nature as given above, and we could attempt to work out, how it can control neural activities or what its inner structure is. "Beyond physics" is *always* just a lazy surrender.

I apologize, I'm still trying to learn how to use this forum. So, I don't know what this reply is going to look like (I'm attempting to quote your reply).

You actually manage to say two different things at the same time. You say that claiming things are beyond physics is lazy, but then you use unknown, uninvented, unobserved physics to explain everything that has no physical explanation.

For instance, justice is not a physical thing. So, you can't set up a laboratory to study justice. You can't do experiments on justice. Justice is a mental concept, nothing more. But it is considered a real thing.

Now, this could lead to a discussion of consciousness, but there's no need to derail anything. And I'm not trying to derail this post. I just wanted to make a comment. [removed by moderator to bring within Terms of Use]

Tue, 20 Mar 2012 08:13:30 UTC | #928863

Eyem4Christ's Avatar Comment 24 by Eyem4Christ

          [Comment 19](/discussions/645286-supernatural-what-does-that-even-mean/comments?page=1#comment_928852) by  [mmurray](/profiles/2876)          :

He has his own religion, his own bible, his own publishing company and his own website.> Oh Michael, what would Jesus think?> Not to keen on having His Words rewritten (again) I suspect.Michael

Okay, I think I'm getting the hang of this. In response, what can I say? Sometimes you just have to grab the bull by the horns in this life. Why follow? I got God. My spirit is reborn into the spirit of Christ, why should I sit in a pew and follow some other guy's preaching.

Oh, look, you get a preview...when you're typing, you get a preview. Now that is cool.

So, if you say something bad about Richard Dawkins, are you immediately banned from this forum?

Tue, 20 Mar 2012 08:21:34 UTC | #928864

JHJEFFERY's Avatar Comment 25 by JHJEFFERY

Comment 23 by Eyem4Christ

You actually manage to say two different things at the same time. You say that claiming things are beyond physics is lazy, but then you use unknown, uninvented, unobserved physics to explain everything that has no physical explanation

I do not get this out of the original quote. Could you elaborate? Thanks.

JHJ

Tue, 20 Mar 2012 08:25:28 UTC | #928865

Eyem4Christ's Avatar Comment 26 by Eyem4Christ

How can I elaborate. I can't even figure out how to use the forum. What is the right way to quote someone?

I just flagged a comment. I thought it was a way to multi-quote, now I'm wondering if I just reported it to a higher power that will consider it a complaint.

Nevertheless, I have faith. I will figure this forum out before I'm banned from it--or I will die trying. Well, more like cry trying, but I'm trying to be enthusiastic.

Tue, 20 Mar 2012 08:25:50 UTC | #928866

susanlatimer's Avatar Comment 27 by susanlatimer

Eyem4Christ

So, if you say something bad about Richard Dawkins, are you immediately banned from this forum?

Refer to the Terms and Conditions if you'd like to know how to get banned from this forum.

To quote someone, place a ">" (without the quotes) before the the comment you'd like to block quote. Don't indent and it should work.

Tue, 20 Mar 2012 08:41:27 UTC | #928869

foundationist's Avatar Comment 28 by foundationist

Comment 23 by Eyem4Christ :

For instance, justice is not a physical thing. So, you can't set up a labratory to study justice. You can't do experiments on justice. Justice is a mental concept, nothing more. But it is considered a real thing.

Justice is not a rock. It is a construct, that by and large is an expression of our sense of morality. The question how morality arises, both neurologically and evolutionary, is being studied by many scientists as we speak. Bot in laboratories and computer simulations. The same goes for the question as to how our mind makes up concepts. All of it is subject to scientific investigation.

Tue, 20 Mar 2012 08:41:53 UTC | #928870

Eyem4Christ's Avatar Comment 29 by Eyem4Christ

   :

Comment 28 by foundationist
Justice is not a rock. It is a construct, that by and large is an expression of our sense of morality. The question how morality arises, both neurologically and evolutionary, is being studied by many scientists as we speak. Bot in laboratories and computer simulations. The same goes for the question as to how our mind makes up concepts. All of it is subject to scientific investigation.

Ha! I got it. Now we can get down to business of atheismbuss'n.

Some things can be studied by science, and we get some knowledge that way. Other things cannot, and we have to use other means to acquire knowledge about them.

And we should define what we mean by "science." I'm assuming we mean the scientific method of acquiring knowledge. In other words, start with an observation, create a hypothesis, form an experiment to prove or disprove the hypothesis, make a conclusion, that sort of thing.

Well, you can’t do that, for instance, with consciousness. You can’t make an experiment to prove whether or not I am actually conscious, and I can’t make one to prove you are conscious. We just have to take it on faith.

Tue, 20 Mar 2012 09:01:24 UTC | #928876

foundationist's Avatar Comment 30 by foundationist

Comment 29 by Eyem4Christ :

Well, you can’t do that, for instance, with consciousness. You can’t make an experiment to prove whether or not I am actually conscious, and I can’t make one to prove you are conscious. We just have to take it on faith.

Cognitive scientists, AI researchers and the neural sciences do precisely that. In my opinion the best experiment to prove consciousness is the famous Turing test, proposed by Alan Turing. If nobody is able to tell the difference between a conscious being and a computer program, that program is conscious.

Tue, 20 Mar 2012 09:17:52 UTC | #928881