"Supernatural": is it a convenient way to describe ignorance of how reality works?
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25-03-2017, 07:22 PM (This post was last modified: 25-03-2017 07:26 PM by Kernel Sohcahtoa.)
"Supernatural": is it a convenient way to describe ignorance of how reality works?
Hello TTA members and anyone else. Via dictionary.com, here are some definitions of supernatural:

Adjective

1. of, relating to, or being above or beyond what is natural; unexplainable by natural law or phenomena; abnormal.

2. of, pertaining to, characteristic of, or attributed to God or a deity.

Noun

1. a being, place, object, occurrence, etc., considered as supernatural or of supernatural origin; that which is supernatural, or outside the natural order.

2. direct influence or action of a deity on earthly affairs.

Now, out of curiosity, how does one effectively differentiate between something that is supernatural and something that operates under completely different laws than those of humanity and the observable reality they occupy? In addition, if humanity encountered something that was just far beyond them and they couldn't explain it, then would it be presumptuous of them to label it as supernatural? Could something which is unfathomable to humanity be seen by some other life-form as a very basic, mundane aspect of its existence? Could the laws of our observable reality, along with the way that life exists in it, be seen as supernatural by a foreign life-form? Hence, is "supernatural" a relative, subjective term that can be equated with a lack of understanding about how reality operates?

Thanks for your time and attention. Live long and prosper.

"I'm fearful when I see people substituting fear for reason." Klaatu, from The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951)
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25-03-2017, 08:01 PM
RE: "Supernatural": is it a convenient way to describe ignorance of how reality works?
If something is outside nature, no one can make credible knowledge claims about it. Once you make a knowledge claim, if it is credible, you are reporting knowledge from your five senses that is coming from the natural world. The supernatural is a useless concept. It therefore can be nothing BUT a relative subjective reflection of ignorance.
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25-03-2017, 08:11 PM
Supernatural": is it a convenient way to describe ignorance of how reality works?
Yep. If it exists it's a part of nature. Simple and closed. The supernatural does not exist. The end.
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25-03-2017, 09:25 PM
RE: "Supernatural": is it a convenient way to describe ignorance
(25-03-2017 07:22 PM)Kernel Sohcahtoa Wrote:  Hello TTA members and anyone else. Via dictionary.com, here are some definitions of supernatural:

Adjective

1. of, relating to, or being above or beyond what is natural; unexplainable by natural law or phenomena; abnormal.

2. of, pertaining to, characteristic of, or attributed to God or a deity.

Noun

1. a being, place, object, occurrence, etc., considered as supernatural or of supernatural origin; that which is supernatural, or outside the natural order.

2. direct influence or action of a deity on earthly affairs.

Now, out of curiosity, how does one effectively differentiate between something that is supernatural and something that operates under completely different laws than those of humanity and the observable reality they occupy? In addition, if humanity encountered something that was just far beyond them and they couldn't explain it, then would it be presumptuous of them to label it as supernatural? Could something which is unfathomable to humanity be seen by some other life-form as a very basic, mundane aspect of its existence? Could the laws of our observable reality, along with the way that life exists in it, be seen as supernatural by a foreign life-form? Hence, is "supernatural" a relative, subjective term that can be equated with a lack of understanding about how reality operates?

Thanks for your time and attention. Live long and prosper.

How about this definition of supernatural? - imaginary.

Gods derive their power from post-hoc rationalizations. -The Inquisition

Using the supernatural to explain events in your life is a failure of the intellect to comprehend the world around you. -The Inquisition
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25-03-2017, 10:54 PM
RE: "Supernatural": is it a convenient way to describe ignorance of how reality works?
It doesn't mean anything. The only coherent definition anyone has suggest is "outside of our reality". That makes it a subjective term, and makes us supernatural regarding other realities.

Otherwise, it's just an arbitrary divide people draw. An equivocation fallacy between laws of nature as modeled by science, and the actual laws themselves. What does "natural" even mean to these people? As far as I can see, it's "the things that are subject to the laws of nature". So natural is "not supernatural". It's guff.

Basically, once you get rid of all the semantic games, it is just a way of saying something is currently unexplained. And then people follow that with an argument from ignorance to insert their own woo.




I have a website here which discusses the issues and terminology surrounding religion and atheism. It's hopefully user friendly to all.
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25-03-2017, 11:11 PM
RE: "Supernatural": is it a convenient way to describe ignorance of how reality works?
(25-03-2017 07:22 PM)Kernel Sohcahtoa Wrote:  --
Hence, is "supernatural" a relative, subjective term that can be equated with a lack of understanding about how reality operates?

Yes. Shy

I might also note that any "supernatural" notions one might have could be based entirely on the human imagination, as TheInquisition also noted.

A new type of thinking is essential if mankind is to survive and move to higher levels. ~ Albert Einstein
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25-03-2017, 11:33 PM
RE: "Supernatural"
(25-03-2017 07:22 PM)Kernel Sohcahtoa Wrote:  Now, out of curiosity, how does one effectively differentiate between something that is supernatural and something that operates under completely different laws than those of humanity and the observable reality they occupy? In addition, if humanity encountered something that was just far beyond them and they couldn't explain it, then would it be presumptuous of them to label it as supernatural? Could something which is unfathomable to humanity be seen by some other life-form as a very basic, mundane aspect of its existence? Could the laws of our observable reality, along with the way that life exists in it, be seen as supernatural by a foreign life-form? Hence, is "supernatural" a relative, subjective term that can be equated with a lack of understanding about how reality operates?

Supernatural: A portmanteau of superstition and natural.

Take a little modern tech back a few thousand years and you too can be a deity. You see a zippo lighter. They see the power of the fire god in the palm of your hand.

You don't need anything so exotic as completely different laws, you just need ones we don't understand yet.

---
Flesh and blood of a dead star, slain in the apocalypse of supernova, resurrected by four billion years of continuous autocatalytic reaction and crowned with the emergent property of sentience in the dream that the universe might one day understand itself.
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26-03-2017, 12:54 AM
RE: "Supernatural": is it a convenient way to describe ignorance of how reality works?
There is no evidence at all that supernatural exists. Burden of proof is on those that claim supernatural exists to show evidence of that. There is none.

It's akin to God of the gaps. Create an entire realm we are ignorant of to supply a place to plug in a God of the Gaps. And then dare us to prove that it does not exist.

It's Russell's Teapot in spades.

Extraordinary Claims demand extraordinary proof.
- Cark Sagan
"What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence."
- Christopher Hitchens

Wikipedia
Modern understanding of categorical propositions (originating with the mid-19th century work of George Boole) requires one to consider if the subject category may be empty.

When I shake my ignore file, I can hear them buzzing!

Cheerful Charlie
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26-03-2017, 02:32 AM
RE: "Supernatural": is it a convenient way to describe ignorance of how reality works?
(25-03-2017 07:22 PM)Kernel Sohcahtoa Wrote:  ... Now, out of curiosity, how does one effectively differentiate between something that is supernatural and something that operates under completely different laws than those of humanity and the observable reality they occupy? In addition, if humanity encountered something that was just far beyond them and they couldn't explain it, then would it be presumptuous of them to label it as supernatural? Could something which is unfathomable to humanity be seen by some other life-form as a very basic, mundane aspect of its existence? Could the laws of our observable reality, along with the way that life exists in it, be seen as supernatural by a foreign life-form? Hence, is "supernatural" a relative, subjective term that can be equated with a lack of understanding about how reality operates?

You're overthinking this.

Quote: ...if humanity encountered something that was just far beyond them and they couldn't explain it, then would it be presumptuous of them to label it as supernatural?

Science has yet to explain how gravity "works"—but that doesn't make it supernatural. Your problem with the word is more one of simple semantics.

I'm a creationist... I believe that man created God.
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26-03-2017, 02:47 AM
RE: "Supernatural": is it a convenient way to describe ignorance of how reality works?
Quote: ...if humanity encountered something that was just far beyond them and they couldn't explain it, then would it be presumptuous of them to label it as supernatural?

Absolutely!

Because....they can explain it 1 year later and figured it was natural? So why not sticking to "i.dont.fucking.know" for "i cant explain it"?
Wouldnt that be more intellectually honest? What additional info or purpose would there be to call stuff we dont know "supernatural".

Ceterum censeo, religionem delendam esse
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