Supernatural isn't God.
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27-08-2011, 12:02 PM (This post was last modified: 27-08-2011 12:42 PM by Mr Woof.)
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.

Nature has been defined, refined and maligned by humanity.
As I do not hold science to be a secular god, I am unable to worship it.
The word "natural" is by no means clear cut.
(27-08-2011 11:23 AM)xander Wrote:  
(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
Hi Tim.
As for unexplained phenomena as opposed to supernatural, you seem to propose that "truth" lies firmly within the domain of science. I see this as a polarised position whereby science becomes the arbiter, quite unjustifably 'of what it is right to believe.
What if something "unexplained" is never explained by the current scientific method?
Does this mean it is rubbish,non existant, or what? Is it not possible that the phenomena simply does not lend itself to a particular methodology.
Conversely, if this seeming flaw in "reality" eventually meets scientific criteria as time goes by, it morphes into a "fact" or natural event.
I do not see the term "supernatural" as neccessarily having any religious or blatently stupid connotations, and while it may not suit everyone, it is indicative of potentially unknown realms of existence, separate from, not neccessarily trancending, our secular mode of understanding of life. Wink[/u]
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27-08-2011, 01:49 PM
RE: Supernatural isn't God.
Science-oriented people have a lot of trouble with the idea that anything exists that's outside their purview. That doesn't mean they won't come to accept a new thing, once it's explained to their satisfaction, but they remain both skeptical and fairly conservative. That's why original scientific thinkers through the ages have had to suffer more scorn from their colleagues than from the non-scientific community. This is good in one way: it's hard - though not impossible - to sneak in a poorly supported theory, but bad in that it's equally hard to get a new idea taken seriously.

Nevertheless, art thrives unscientifically; language existed for a very long time before it was subjected to scientific scrutiny; love has not yet been metrically diagrammed (though sex has been explained to death and back - twice - which tells you where the psychologists' heads are at), aesthetics are still a long way from cut and dried; while music itself can be measured, the impulse to music-making is still a mystery; interspecies communication is difficult to design instruments for.

That humans have experience that are not even close to being mapped and understood is a certainty. That some of these experiences will never be fully explained in scientific terms is a strong probability. Let's give future science credit for at least trying, and meanwhile admit that we don't know what we don't know.

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, 06:43 PM
RE: Supernatural isn't God.
(27-08-2011 12:02 PM)Mr Woof Wrote:  Nature has been defined, refined and maligned by humanity.
As I do not hold science to be a secular god, I am unable to worship it.
The word "natural" is by no means clear cut.
As for unexplained phenomena as opposed to supernatural, you seem to propose that "truth" lies firmly within the domain of science. I see this as a polarised position whereby science becomes the arbiter, quite unjustifably 'of what it is right to believe.
What if something "unexplained" is never explained by the current scientific method?
Does this mean it is rubbish,non existant, or what? Is it not possible that the phenomena simply does not lend itself to a particular methodology.
Conversely, if this seeming flaw in "reality" eventually meets scientific criteria as time goes by, it morphes into a "fact" or natural event.
I do not see the term "supernatural" as neccessarily having any religious or blatently stupid connotations, and while it may not suit everyone, it is indicative of potentially unknown realms of existence, separate from, not neccessarily trancending, our secular mode of understanding of life. Wink[/u]

Perhaps english is not your first language, in which case it's understandable, but a lot of what you say doesn't make any sense.

Regardless, nature, supernatural, and scientific method all have very specific definitions. If you're curious, they are all conveniently located in one book. Secular humanism is a little bit different in that is a philosophy, so there is some room for personal interpretation. However, there is no wiggle room in the supernatural department. You may call yourself a secular humanist, but if you do truly believe in the supernatural, then you are in fact not. If you want to believe in the supernatural, by all means, that is your right. I am not trying to convince you otherwise. I am simply trying (apparently to little avail) to help understand the definitions of some words.
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28-08-2011, 04:53 PM
RE: Supernatural isn't God.
(27-08-2011 06:43 PM)xander Wrote:  
(27-08-2011 12:02 PM)Mr Woof Wrote:  Nature has been defined, refined and maligned by humanity.
As I do not hold science to be a secular god, I am unable to worship it.
The word "natural" is by no means clear cut.
As for unexplained phenomena as opposed to supernatural, you seem to propose that "truth" lies firmly within the domain of science. I see this as a polarised position whereby science becomes the arbiter, quite unjustifably 'of what it is right to believe.
What if something "unexplained" is never explained by the current scientific method?
Does this mean it is rubbish,non existant, or what? Is it not possible that the phenomena simply does not lend itself to a particular methodology.
Conversely, if this seeming flaw in "reality" eventually meets scientific criteria as time goes by, it morphes into a "fact" or natural event.
I do not see the term "supernatural" as neccessarily having any religious or blatently stupid connotations, and while it may not suit everyone, it is indicative of potentially unknown realms of existence, separate from, not neccessarily trancending, our secular mode of understanding of life. Wink[/u]

Perhaps english is not your first language, in which case it's understandable, but a lot of what you say doesn't make any sense.

Regardless, nature, supernatural, and scientific method all have very specific definitions. If you're curious, they are all conveniently located in one book. Secular humanism is a little bit different in that is a philosophy, so there is some room for personal interpretation. However, there is no wiggle room in the supernatural department. You may call yourself a secular humanist, but if you do truly believe in the supernatural, then you are in fact not. If you want to believe in the supernatural, by all means, that is your right. I am not trying to convince you otherwise. I am simply trying (apparently to little avail) to help understand the definitions of some words.

English is my first language and philosophy my passion.
Unlke you I do not see "truth" ensconced within language.
If you simply listen to the so called experts, you will simply
become your own expert in the "expertise" of others! Cool
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28-08-2011, 05:42 PM
 
RE: Supernatural isn't God.
(26-08-2011 09:46 PM)Peterkin Wrote:  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.

You wrote, "When all the world's religious agree on a supreme being and canon, i will believe in miracles"? You really need to get some more practice with critical thinking and logic. The veracity of a claim is independent on how many people believe it.

Millions of people believe in some god, for which there is no credible evidence. If they all believed in the same god with no credible evidence, that would not mean that there exists some god.

Look into Solomon Asch's studies of conformity. The propensity to conform is probably a built-in feature of human cognition, just like observational learning. If the text quoted above represents your opinion, it means you are declaring support for conformity sans critical evaluation of a claim. Why? It cannot lead to a clear comprehension of reality.

(28-08-2011 05:42 PM)Araktsu Wrote:  
(26-08-2011 09:46 PM)Peterkin Wrote:  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.

I hope this got connected to correct message.

I copied this text from statement I was replying to: "When all the world's religious agree on a supreme being and canon, i will believe in miracles."

I replied:

You really need to get some more practice with critical thinking and logic. The veracity of a claim is independent on how many people believe it.

Millions of people believe in some god, for which there is no credible evidence. If they all believed in the same god with no credible evidence, that would not mean that there exists some god.

Look into Solomon Asch's studies of conformity. The propensity to conform is probably a built-in feature of human cognition, just like observational learning. If the text quoted above represents your opinion, it means you are declaring support for conformity sans critical evaluation of a claim. Why? It cannot lead to a clear comprehension of reality.
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28-08-2011, 07:07 PM
RE: Supernatural isn't God.
(28-08-2011 04:53 PM)Mr Woof Wrote:  English is my first language and philosophy my passion.

How old are you, then? Clearly you don't fully grasp the english language, yet. I draw this conclusion from all of your misspelled words and poor grammar.

(28-08-2011 04:53 PM)Mr Woof Wrote:  Unlke you I do not see "truth" ensconced within language.

That's obvious. You clearly don't even understand the words you are speaking.

(28-08-2011 04:53 PM)Mr Woof Wrote:  If you simply listen to the so called experts, you will simply become your own expert in the "expertise" of others! Cool

Non sequitur, anyone? Again, I don't even understand what you are trying to say.



I joined this thread because I thought it was an interesting topic, but wanted to elevate the conversation by clearing up some semantics. Unfortunately, the OP doesn't subscribe to rational thought or even acknowledge that words actually have definitions. Therefore, continuing is asinine.

-Tim
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28-08-2011, 09:03 PM (This post was last modified: 28-08-2011 09:14 PM by Peterkin.)
RE: Supernatural isn't God.
(28-08-2011 05:42 PM)Araktsu Wrote:  You wrote, "When all the world's religious agree on a supreme being and canon, i will believe in miracles"?

That's my signature line. It's by way of a joke, not a statement of intent. Given the odds against all the churches kissing and making up, let alone agreeing on a single set of rules, i feel i'm pretty safe from having to witness.

Quote:You really need to get some more practice with critical thinking and logic.

I'll be sure to do that.

As to my actual post above:
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.

Any ideas?

It's not the mean god I have trouble with - it's the people who worship a mean god.
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29-08-2011, 06:39 AM
RE: Supernatural isn't God.
Supernatural - of or relating to an order of existence beyond the visible observable universe; especially : of or relating to God or a god, demigod, spirit, or devil
2
a : departing from what is usual or normal especially so as to appear to transcend the laws of nature
b : attributed to an invisible agent (as a ghost or spirit)

Peterkin brings the point up again of what is supernatural. Just because an explanation is lacking for an observation or something is classified as "unknown" does not mean that it is supernatural. Lightning (as Peterkin) pointed out is not supernatural to monkeys and although once deemed to be the product of Zeus (and therefore once thought to be supernatural) we now know that it is clearly natural. Therefore the default position for any observation (known or unknown) is for it to simply be a natural process that is either explained or not yet explained.

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29-08-2011, 07:30 AM (This post was last modified: 29-08-2011 07:35 AM by Peterkin.)
RE: Supernatural isn't God.
(29-08-2011 06:39 AM)TheBeardedDude Wrote:  Lightning (as Peterkin) pointed out is not supernatural to monkeys and although once deemed to be the product of Zeus (and therefore once thought to be supernatural) we now know that it is clearly natural.

Thanks, that partly clarifies my problem with this assumption. Partly.
Science-lovers (not scientists) make this statement all the time, without the least shred of the supporting evidence they prize so highly.
Zeus's lightning-bolt is a weapon of threat and retribution; the symbol of his power, like Poseidon's trident, Artemis's bow, Demeter's sickle. Hermes's caduceus?
It's possible to make too large an assumption from too small a sample, and spread it over too wide a field.

Quote: wikipedia
Some of the most ancient lightning conductors can be found in Sri Lanka in places like the Kingdom of Anuradhapura that dates back to thousands of years. The Sinhalese kings who mastered construction of stupas and advanced building structures, installed a metal tip made of Silver or Copper on the highest point of every building to conduct any lightning charge.
.....
The church tower of many European cities, usually the highest structure, was the building often hit by lightning. Early on, Christian churches tried to prevent the occurrence of the damaging effects of lightning by prayers. Priests prayed,

It's not primitive man who didn't know his ass from his elbow.

It's not the mean god I have trouble with - it's the people who worship a mean god.
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29-08-2011, 09:47 AM
RE: Supernatural isn't God.
(29-08-2011 07:30 AM)Peterkin Wrote:  Science-lovers (not scientists) make this statement all the time, without the least shred of the supporting evidence they prize so highly.

What statement?
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