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Comments by Genericguy

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Genericguy's Avatar Jump to comment 167 by Genericguy

Comment 166 by Akaei :

If it is impossible for x to happen, but x happens, then it was in fact not impossible for x to happen. We were just wrong about x...

So, x = "supernatural/natural interaction"

Sorry if I made that confusing. x would be anything that we might consider impossible as per our current understanding of the laws of nature. Traveling faster than the speed of light, perpetual motion, levitation, telekinesis etc.

Wed, 25 Jul 2012 06:15:50 UTC | #950023

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Genericguy's Avatar Jump to comment 165 by Genericguy

Comment 163 by Akaei :

the smallest bit of knowledge to be gained, is that the laws of nature do not work in such a way that would prevent the entity from lifting the rock.

It could be because there are more physical laws than we know or it could be in keeping with known physical laws but applied in some novel way.

Exactly. Some of our laws could also be wrong, or at least not entirely accurate.

Otherwise, the rock would not move. The entity, then, would be complying with the laws of nature. Because of this, there is no interaction, with nature, that the entity could do, that would be considered supernatural. These are the defining qualities of a natural existence.

Or it could be a direct and (for argument's sake) verifiable contradiction of the second law of thermodynamics. It could be a force that is not reproducible using physical means.

"the subjects interaction with nature is proof that the laws of nature do not work in such a way that would prevent it from interacting with nature."

If it is impossible for x to happen, but x happens, then it was in fact not impossible for x to happen. We were just wrong about x...

The second law of thermodynamics would have to be ajusted to comply with this verifiable phenomenon. At the very least, giving exemption to this new force. The new force would be added to the known laws of nature, perhaps as a new type of energy.

This is how we know supernatural events/causes don't leave a trail.

If we assume supernatural influences can only interact with nature is a manner consistent with physical laws then the question becomes: what's supernatural about that? If supernatural influence occurred I would expect a violation of fundamental physical laws. Anything else would be a natural phenomenon.

So if our hypothetical entity were able to lift this rock in a manner that violates fundamental natural laws how could we not call this supernatural? What would be in question is how could we possibly verify it? If the laws of nature do not work in such a way that would prevent the entity from lifting the rock it could be because it can manipulate the laws of nature or it could be because it can break them.

Violations of the natural laws are really just violations of the natural laws as we currently understand them to be. If this entity were to defy nature, we would be back to our impossible, and at the same time, possible paradox. It's not impossible if it happens. It would not have defied nature itself, but just our understanding of nature.

Wed, 25 Jul 2012 04:57:46 UTC | #950019

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Genericguy's Avatar Jump to comment 162 by Genericguy

Comment 161 by Schrodinger's Cat :

The problem with 'supernatural' is that it is no more than a semantic fudge. It's a concept that manages to mean 'exists' and 'doesnt exist' depending on what stage of the crazy loop of argument for it one is at. One minute it means outside nature....which to all extents and purposes means 'does not exist'....but then 5 minutes later the supporter is arguing for it as if it had literal existence.

The purpose of my being here is to establish a set of rules, lacking ambiguity and speculation, that can be used to determine a subjects title of natural or supernatural. Unfortunately, although i understand it is most likely true, equating supernatural and non-existence is based on speculation. We can never prove a supernatural entity/realm does not exist. Personally, i have never heard a supernatural claim that actually met the criteria of supernatural, but a true supernatural entity/realm would lack, even the ability, to influence nature. Because of this, we can never have knowledge of its existence. Although i will live my life assuming it does not exist, it could possibly exist. It's existence is not dependent upon our knowledge of it.

Tue, 24 Jul 2012 18:56:56 UTC | #949994

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Genericguy's Avatar Jump to comment 160 by Genericguy

Comment 159 by Akaei :

How do we know supernatural events/causes don't leave a trail, especially if we don't have any examples of supernatural events/causes? It seems like you're suggesting that the origin or existence of the universe is a trail of evidence leading back to a cause, but since anything supernatural wouldn't leave evidence the cause of the universe couldn't be supernatural. That seems like the conclusion is the premise. Maybe I'm misunderstanding.

If you saw an entity lift a rock without touching it, the smallest bit of knowledge to be gained, is that the laws of nature do not work in such a way that would prevent the entity from lifting the rock. Otherwise, the rock would not move. The entity, then, would be complying with the laws of nature. Because of this, there is no interaction, with nature, that the entity could do, that would be considered supernatural. These are the defining qualities of a natural existence. The same can be applied to anything that exists in nature and/or has the ability to influence nature. This is how we know supernatural events/causes don't leave a trail.

Tue, 24 Jul 2012 10:35:33 UTC | #949977

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Genericguy's Avatar Jump to comment 149 by Genericguy

Comment 144 by Akaei :

It is disingenuous to define the supernatural out of existence. It is disingenuous to define existence so loosely as to conflate the existence of a concept with the existence of that which is conceived. I still find it fascinating even if (or perhaps because) the bottom line is that the supernatural is meaningless.

Fist of all, great post.

The revision on post 105 does not define supernatural out of existence. Instead, supernatural, lacking the ability to interact with nature, is indistinguishable from fiction. A supernatural realm could still exists, but it would be impossible for us to have knowledge of its existence.

Sat, 21 Jul 2012 17:12:50 UTC | #949762

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Genericguy's Avatar Jump to comment 138 by Genericguy

Comment 137 by Schrodinger's Cat :

What I've tried to do is argue that 'beyond nature' quite likely does exist. However, it is beyond our nature.....that which we can scientifically measure or ever verify in any way.

You have to define it before you can suggest anything is beyond it. I have no idea what you consider nature to be, so how can I even evaluate your assertion that something "quite likely does exist beyond it"?

I honestly can't continue unless you provide a definition for nature.

Wed, 18 Jul 2012 03:08:53 UTC | #949480

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Genericguy's Avatar Jump to comment 134 by Genericguy

Comment 133 by Schrodinger's Cat :

Comment 129 by Genericguy

You still haven't defined nature.

Um......its a word invented by hominids on the third planet from a star in a universe that had managed just fine for 13.7 billion years until semantics came along. Alas..these days the universe is utterly confused, and desperately needs the views of said hominids in order that it can know its true state.

As were all the words you just used. So your argument is: "what is the definition of any word, really?".

Tue, 17 Jul 2012 20:06:04 UTC | #949459

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Genericguy's Avatar Jump to comment 129 by Genericguy

Comment 128 by Schrodinger's Cat :

Comment 126 by Genericguy

Your entire argument is built on my definition of nature, as is mine. If you are claiming that nature could extend beyond the realm of physical existence, then what is your definition of nature?

That is the crux of the matter.....and the key issue is whether we are capable of conceiving all that exists.

There's no guarantee that the human brain, however well we have done so far, is actually capable of grasping the full extent of nature. Thus there may be things that are both in principle and in practice beyond our grasp.

So it is entirely possible that 'beyond nature' does exist....insofar as we are ourselves capable of grasping nature. Phenomenon beyond our grasp would still be natural.......but would simply never be explicable or testable. I suspect that the multiverse represents just about the start of that level....insofar as it is explicable but may never be testable. Beyond that there may be stuff that is neither explicable or testable.

Does that provide a back door for 'the supernatural' ? I would argue no.....because the level at which we start to lose comprehension is so far beyond the everyday life that supernatural stuff is claimed to occur in that we can pretty much argue we've explained our local reality.

You still haven't defined nature.

Because of this sentence; "the key issue is whether we are capable of conceiving all that exists.", I'm left assuming your definition of nature is "all that exists". If so, why is your definition correct and the (for the most part) universally accepted definition wrong? "All that exists" was my original definition, but as someone pointed out, nature is not defined as such. It is defined as the phenomenon of physical existence. It, by definition, is limited to physical existence.

Tue, 17 Jul 2012 18:02:11 UTC | #949440

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Genericguy's Avatar Jump to comment 126 by Genericguy

Comment 123 by Schrodinger's Cat :

Comment 120 by Alan4discussion

I think this is a semantic argument.

It's an utterly pedantic argument......and one in which atheists are every bit as guilty as believers of semantic sleight of hand. It's an argument to which the facts seem utterly irrelevant.

The word 'supernatural' simply doesn't exist anywhere in the Bible. One has to look long and hard to find obscure Vatican texts, which most Catholics have never heard of let alone believe or follow, that define 'God' as above and beyond all of nature. One then has to ask........is that above and beyond simply nature 'as we know it', or above and beyond any conceivable nature. As the Vatican has no idea what might actually exist as meta laws in the 571st dimension......its actually impossible to argue that they've defined 'beyond all conceivable'...as by definition nobody knows what 'all conceivable' is or might be !

That's the utter absurdity of the natural/supernatural argument. 'Beyond nature' is in itself a meaningless and ambiguous term because nobody knows how far nature extends.

It is absurd because the very definition of 'beyond all conceivable nature' makes the ridiculous supposition that something is beyond a limit that we don't actually yet know ! It's like arguing that someone was driving 'beyond the speed limit' but then being unable to state what the speed limit actually is.

As nobody knows how far nature extends....nobody can logically argue that anything is beyond an undefined point. Some idiot at the Vatican might have written a load of hyperbole while gazing at his navel.....but its not even what most believers actually believe.

Thus an absurd high level argument ( the sort WLC loves to have ) gets set up whose only real effect is to have ridiculous debates...on par with angels on pin heads....that detract from the much more relevant fact that there's no scientific evidence that God exists.

Your entire argument is built on my definition of nature, as is mine. If you are claiming that nature could extend beyond the realm of physical existence, then what is your definition of nature?

Tue, 17 Jul 2012 16:07:13 UTC | #949430

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Genericguy's Avatar Jump to comment 118 by Genericguy

Comment 115 by Schrodinger's Cat :

1.Nothing can both exist and be outside of nature, as nature is the sum of everything in existence.

This statement is no more than a tautology. If you define all that exists as natural.......then by definition there wont be any supernatural phenomenon.

How, then, can you 'refute' something you have defined out of existence ?

Read post 105.

Comment 116 by Akaei :

Excellent post, akaei. My question, now, is why are there still "supernatural" TV shows on the discovery channel? It seems this concept would have gained more ground by now. I'm unaware of any structured set of "laws", like post 105, that we can use to easily explain this idea. As Alan pointed out, it would be beneficial to have something to make reference to.

Tue, 17 Jul 2012 06:11:52 UTC | #949384

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Genericguy's Avatar Jump to comment 106 by Genericguy

I was unaware of the concept of naturalism, until now. Based on what I've just read, it seems this is an argument for naturalism. If I'm understanding it correctly, why isn't naturalism brought up when talking about supernatural claims more often, and in my case never at all? Or does my argument differ from naturalism somehow?

Mon, 16 Jul 2012 20:02:46 UTC | #949342

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Genericguy's Avatar Jump to comment 105 by Genericguy

This is the updated revision. How can I edit the OP to include this?

The Supernatural Paradox

  1. Nothing that is natural, can defy the laws of nature. The subjects existence, in nature, is proof that the laws of nature do not work in such a way that would prevent it from existing. To the same degree, the subjects interaction with nature is proof that the laws of nature do not work in such a way that would prevent it from interacting with nature. The subjects existence in and/or interaction with nature is proof that it complies with the laws of nature. 

  2. The title of natural is given upon the subjects proven existence in and/or interaction with nature. Anything natural is within the realm of science.

  3. Our understanding of the laws of nature must adapt to comply with the subjects proven existence.

  4. Any assertion of truth in regards to evidence of the subjects existence is a claim for its natural existence and within the realm of scientific evaluation. 

  5. The title of supernatural is given to the subject if it does not exist in and/or interact with nature. Supernatural, by definition, lacking the potential to interact with nature, is indistinguishable from fiction and outside the realm of science.

Mon, 16 Jul 2012 19:04:45 UTC | #949338

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Genericguy's Avatar Jump to comment 85 by Genericguy

Comment 76 by Alan4discussion :

I think the simplest way is to state the "supernatural paradox", and expand and explain when the inevitable theist challenge follows.

I misunderstood what you were saying (although i am still not completely satisfied in the way it is phrased). You are suggesting the title of "supernatural paradox" is given for ease of reference?

Sun, 15 Jul 2012 23:33:27 UTC | #949277

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Genericguy's Avatar Jump to comment 75 by Genericguy

I just realized the last point needs work. I forgot to adjust it...

  1. Our understanding of the laws of nature must adapt to comply with the subjects proven existence. The laws of nature themselves continue to remain in harmony with the subjects existence. Either modification of the known laws of nature or a rewritten definition of the supernatural subject being discussed is required for the subject to exist.

Sun, 15 Jul 2012 19:12:07 UTC | #949258

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Genericguy's Avatar Jump to comment 74 by Genericguy

Comment 69 by Alan4discussion :

I think you now have a very clear description. I am not sure that this quoted section is clear. There could be undiscovered features beyond what is known at present, (such as a universe operating to different laws), but this surely would only be an alternative form of "natural".

Perhaps it should be worded differently still, but alternate universes would clearly enough have a natural existence, according to the basic concept of this theory (Not as in scientific theory, but literal meaning. I don't know what else to call it and will refer to it as a theory from now on for ease of discussion).

Comment 69 by Alan4discussion :

  • Nothing magic, but as you say knowledge of this would be impossible (as other pre-discovery subjects have been in the past).
  • What was previously considered impossible was only, at the most, improbable. Our own ignorance was to blame. This revision is very clear on what is impossible. If it cannot or will not ever interact with nature, we cannot ever know about it. It doesn't suggest its nonexistence, though. But, as you say below...

    Comment 69 by Alan4discussion :

    No doubt theists will continue to try to hide deities in gaps - as something unknown (by critics) on the boundaries of the Universe, time, or sub-atomic quantum mechanics, with no identifiable connection to the natural universe They will then pretend they know (by "revelation" or whatever) and then make the monumental irrational leap, from a vague, materially remote nonentity, to "Jesus, gods, holy spirits, and miracles, fiddling with nature on Earth. (and paradoxically having "undetectable" but identifiable effects) Unfortunately, their cognitive dissonance and personal ignorance, is likely to continue to provide a sanctuary for such beliefs.

    Absolutely. I am not deluded in thinking many theists will see this as relating to their god(s). In my opinion god(s) fit perfectly within the basic model of this theory and I will implement it in discussions when necessary, nonetheless.

    Comment 69 by Alan4discussion :

    While your descriptions are now clear, I think in referring to them, it would be useful to abbreviate the description down to the phase "The supernatural paradox" - as I commented @31.

    Comment 31 by Alan4discussion

    In terms of science, "above and beyond nature", and "beyond space and time" are meaningless concepts, which are simply bandied around by people who do not understand nature, space or time, to provide them with perceived gaps in knowledge, in which to hide fanciful supernatural imaginary entities. The "gaps in knowledge" are usually their personal gaps.

    [To jay29] - You have still not addressed the paradox of supernatural claims. If there is no evidence of their presence in the natural world, the default would be "they are very unlikely to exist" ( just like everything else for which there is no evidence). If there is evidence of their existence and influence in the natural world, they are natural phenomena, not supernatural.

    I agree. It would be very helpful to have shorter points for the sake of reference. I admit to a lack of satisfaction in the current structure and phrasing.

    Sun, 15 Jul 2012 18:59:17 UTC | #949256

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    Genericguy's Avatar Jump to comment 68 by Genericguy

    Comment 5 by adiroth :

    By its definition, "nature" is the physical world, while "supernatural" is whatever beyond it.

    .

    Comment 2 by Steve Zara : The title of supernatural is given to the subject if it is considered to be beyond scientific understanding in principle.

    It seems my definitions of nature and supernatural are the biggest issues In regards to the OP. I have no problems with these issues as the end result, after revision, is pretty much the same.

    1. Nothing that is natural, can defy the laws of nature. The subjects existence, in nature, is proof that the laws of nature do not work in such a way that would prevent it from existing. To the same degree, the subjects interaction with nature is proof that the laws of nature do not work in such a way that would prevent it from interacting with nature. The subjects existence in and/or interaction with nature is proof that it complies with the laws of nature.

    2. The title of natural is given upon the subjects proven existence in and/or interaction with nature. Anything natural is within the realm of science.

    3. Any assertion of truth, in regards to evidence of the subjects existence, is a claim for its natural existence and within the realm of scientific evaluation. 

    4. The title of supernatural is given to the subject if it does not exist in and/or interact with nature. Supernatural, by definition, lacking the potential to interact with nature, is indistinguishable from fiction and outside the realm of science.

    5. Our understanding of the laws of nature must adapt to comply with the subjects proven existence. The laws of nature themselves continue to remain in harmony with the subjects existence. Either modification of the known laws of nature or a rewritten definition of the supernatural subject being discussed is required for the subject to exist.

    This revision differs from the original in that it allows the possibility of something to exist that would be considered supernatural. Knowledge of the subjects existence would be impossible, though.

    Personally, I'm very happy with the current definition of supernatural. Assuming this revision is recieved as logically sound, it abolishes the level of ambiguity previous associated with it.

    Off to bed...

    Sun, 15 Jul 2012 09:38:27 UTC | #949237

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    Genericguy's Avatar Jump to comment 60 by Genericguy

    Wow, that was a lot to read. Sorry for my absence. I lost hope in that my submission would be accepted and haven't check for a few days.

    While reading the responses, I failed to take notes of each issue in regards to the OP and apologize for not responding to them (yet, at least). I can go through the replies, at a later time, with a pen and paper at hand, but don't have the time to do so at the moment. I just wanted to say that I hope to take part in the discussion tonight and thanks for the constructive criticism.

    Sat, 14 Jul 2012 20:12:36 UTC | #949211