Supernatural isn't God.
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24-08-2011, 09:27 PM
Supernatural isn't God.
The major atheistic organization in Australia, as part of its definition of atheism, holds that there is no credible evidence for the supernatural. Well hold on a minute how could there be?
Our secular way of understanding things involves the use of scientific method and logic, neither of which systems are infallible.
Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens ,et al tend to give science (scientism) more clout, I think, than it really deserves. The value of such is pragmatic and limited in time as one theory replaces another;in saying this I am well aware of its great power for both good and evil activities.
While supernatural phenomena may not be aligned to scientific methods of explanation, it can be argued, from a cosmic perspective, that it may transcend our present cognative abilities. Unlike the issue of God, the supernatural is in no way limited by moral issues ---it is neutral, and could involve vastly higher states of any type of experience.
As for God (as usually defined) I am unable to contemplate an absolute perfect
condition, for eternity, that would not become stagnant and unattractive by virtue of its finality.
As for potential supernatural happenings: such may well fit into any evolving spiritual mystery far better than does the notion of a perfect all knowing end time to be reached.
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25-08-2011, 09:25 AM
RE: Supernatural isn't God.
But what is a "supernatural happening?" I have never seen any convincing evidence of any supernatural force or action so what qualifies as supernatural?

Is this place still a shithole run by a dumbass calvinist?
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25-08-2011, 11:46 AM
RE: Supernatural isn't God.
I'm with the Facialhairfellow...
Define Supernatural!
When supernatural things happen in the natural world they become natural events by definition.

Observer

Agnostic atheist
Secular humanist
Emotional rationalist
Disclaimer: Don’t mix the personal opinion above with the absolute and objective truth. Remember to think for yourself. Thank you.
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25-08-2011, 11:57 AM
RE: Supernatural isn't God.
(25-08-2011 11:46 AM)The_observer Wrote:  I'm with the Facialhairfellow...
Define Supernatural!
When supernatural things happen in the natural world they become natural events by definition.

I gave you a rep for the FacialHairFellow line.

Is this place still a shithole run by a dumbass calvinist?
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25-08-2011, 02:36 PM
RE: Supernatural isn't God.
I'm with you as far as the title goes. Rejecting the Abrahamic religions and their god, or even rejecting all religions, past and present, and their various gods, isn't the same as rejecting all of the supernatural. And rejecting the supernatural is not the same as rejecting all unexplained phenomena. It does tend to be done by the same kind of people, but i'm sure there is overlap and overflow in all directions.

Then, of course, there are various classes of unexplained phenomena. I have no use for anything outside of, let alone above nature, but i keep an open mind toward the paranormal and can (just about) tolerate spiritual. The human brain is far from perfectly mapped or understood; its potential is unknown. So is matter/space/time.

If you have had an experience of telepathy or psychokinesis, you may nevertheless disbelieve in ghosts and extraterrestrials. If you've seen a UFO, you can still deny telepathy and time travel. Having prophetic dreams doesn't mean you believe in astral travel. And so on. Some of those unproven, unmeasured phenomena may, in time, become understood and controlled; some may be decisively disproved. (I mean, the true explanation for a perception found, not merely a claim debunked.)

None of them presupposes or necessitates or even implies the existence of a god.

It's not the mean god I have trouble with - it's the people who worship a mean god.
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25-08-2011, 06:47 PM (This post was last modified: 25-08-2011 07:06 PM by Mr Woof.)
RE: Supernatural isn't God.
(25-08-2011 09:25 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  But what is a "supernatural happening?" I have never seen any convincing evidence of any supernatural force or action so what qualifies as supernatural?

Instances of so called supernatural happening, if they do occur, are fobbed off by existing scientific criteria. Unless such criteria is absolutely infallible, in my view, a window of opportunity exists for any such assumed occurence to be questioned rather than ridiculed. The fact that scientific method fails in this area may indicate a lack in that methodology and not in the potentiality of the issue being investigated.
(25-08-2011 11:46 AM)The_observer Wrote:  I'm with the Facialhairfellow...
Define Supernatural!
When supernatural things happen in the natural world they become natural events by definition.

Yes, logically, by definition this would be the case.
However, in terms of finite potentiality what would you describe that yet to be discovered by science?
If the potentiality for the aeroplane once occupied the supernatural sphere, why ignore "the unknown" completely until science comes to the rescue?
Surely there is no harm in contemplating such issues while still respecting science and logic.
(25-08-2011 02:36 PM)Peterkin Wrote:  I'm with you as far as the title goes. Rejecting the Abrahamic religions and their god, or even rejecting all religions, past and present, and their various gods, isn't the same as rejecting all of the supernatural. And rejecting the supernatural is not the same as rejecting all unexplained phenomena. It does tend to be done by the same kind of people, but i'm sure there is overlap and overflow in all directions.

Then, of course, there are various classes of unexplained phenomena. I have no use for anything outside of, let alone above nature, but i keep an open mind toward the paranormal and can (just about) tolerate spiritual. The human brain is far from perfectly mapped or understood; its potential is unknown. So is matter/space/time.

If you have had an experience of telepathy or psychokinesis, you may nevertheless disbelieve in ghosts and extraterrestrials. If you've seen a UFO, you can still deny telepathy and time travel. Having prophetic dreams doesn't mean you believe in astral travel. And so on. Some of those unproven, unmeasured phenomena may, in time, become understood and controlled; some may be decisively disproved. (I mean, the true explanation for a perception found, not merely a claim debunked.)

None of them presupposes or necessitates or even implies the existence of a god.

Thanks Peterkin.
You get my drift in terms of the difficulty inherent in the idea of a god beyond question, as opposed to the notion of possible phemomena occurring within the universe that is beyond our grasp.
One can be a secular humanist and still be reasonably open to such issues in my opinion.
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26-08-2011, 11:53 AM
RE: Supernatural isn't God.
Unknown phenomenon aren't supernatural per sé.
Take lightning for example... it used to be an unknown phenomenon, yet turned out completely natural.

Observer

Agnostic atheist
Secular humanist
Emotional rationalist
Disclaimer: Don’t mix the personal opinion above with the absolute and objective truth. Remember to think for yourself. Thank you.
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26-08-2011, 06:42 PM
RE: Supernatural isn't God.
(26-08-2011 11:53 AM)The_observer Wrote:  Unknown phenomenon aren't supernatural per sé.
Take lightning for example... it used to be an unknown phenomenon, yet turned out completely natural.

And so lightning was "supernatural" until we could explain it. I mean that's just the way this shit works with rational inquiry. There's a lot of shit out there which we can't yet explain rationally. So what do we do? The only thing we really know how to do really really well, we're looking into it. Wink

Breathing - it's more art than science.
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26-08-2011, 09:46 PM
RE: Supernatural isn't God.
When did people start thinking lightning was supernatural? Monkeys don't - they know it's just rotten weather that you need get out from under, if possible.

It's not the mean god I have trouble with - it's the people who worship a mean god.
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27-08-2011, 11:23 AM
RE: Supernatural isn't God.
(25-08-2011 06:47 PM)Mr Woof Wrote:  Instances of so called supernatural happening, if they do occur, are fobbed off by existing scientific criteria. Unless such criteria is absolutely infallible, in my view, a window of opportunity exists for any such assumed occurence to be questioned rather than ridiculed. The fact that scientific method fails in this area may indicate a lack in that methodology and not in the potentiality of the issue being investigated.
[...]
One can be a secular humanist and still be reasonably open to such issues in my opinion.

I believe you are not using the word "supernatural" correctly. "Unexplained" would be a better term for what you are talking about. Supernatural, by definition, means that which is outside the natural world or laws. By saying something (anything) is supernatural you are requiring there to be a transcendent reality outside the universe/world. Just because something is unexplained by the scientific method at some point in time, does not make it supernatural. Let's use the lightning example already proposed. Before we, humans, understood how lightning worked, it was attributed to the supernatural. Many believed it was a show of the gods' anger. This explanation, however, presupposes the supernatural, e.g., gods. Once the scientific method was applied to it though, any extra-natural essence was discarded.

To say something is "supernatural" is a world (pun intendedBig Grin) away from ascribing it "unexplained." The unexplained is simply that: that which has not been explained, yet. This does not mean that it cannot, or will not, be explained by existing (or yet to be discovered) natural laws. On the other hand, the supernatural, will not, and cannot, be explained by any current or future natural law. I would argue that a secular humanist, as defined by the Council for Secular Humanism, cannot believe in the supernatural, only the unexplained.

Someone tell me who I am quoting, I am drawing a blank, when I say, "The scientific method is the most reliable way we have for finding the truth." That is not to say that some people write off what they should investigate. Can we explain absolutely everything in the world right now? No. But by being a secular humanist, you are saying that you think that in the future we will know more than we know now, and I don't need the transcendent to live a life full of meaning.

-Tim
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