Why believe in the supernatural?
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17-03-2014, 10:57 AM
RE: Why believe in the supernatural?
(17-03-2014 08:39 AM)rampant.a.i. Wrote:  Super-Natural - 1. Above or not belonging to nature.
This of course begs the definition of natural.

The dictionary.com definition includes the above and goes further:
of, pertaining to, or being above or beyond what is natural; unexplainable by natural law or phenomena; abnormal.

The second part helps, but then we have to ask how we know whether something currently unexplained by natural law is indeed unexplainable.

Here's a link for those of you who think I'm being unreasonab;e regarding definitions:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supernatural
The metaphysical considerations of the existence of the supernatural can be difficult to approach as an exercise in philosophy or theology because any dependencies on its antithesis, the natural, will ultimately have to be inverted or rejected.
One complicating factor is that there is no universal agreement about the definition of "natural" or the limits of naturalism. Concepts in the supernatural domain are closely related to concepts in religious spirituality and occultism or spiritualism. Additionally, by definition anything that exists naturally is not supernatural.

Quote:2. (of a manifestation or event) attributed to some force beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature.
Same problem here - how do we know that something not currently uderstood is actually beyond understanding?
Quote:Magic - the power of apparently influencing the course of events by using mysterious or supernatural forces.
Using magic to define supernatural, then supernatural to define magic, deosn't add anything to the conversation.
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17-03-2014, 11:31 AM
Why believe in the supernatural?
I'm beginning to think you should invest in a dictionary, or at least look up the phrase "begging the question," which is exactly what your "theory" of the supernatural is doing.

Both definitions of supernatural and Magic, while referring to the other, are defined clearly without the synonym. You're getting stuck on a synonym: Magic is a synonym of supernatural.

Effectively you are forming an argument from ignorance, and "we don't know: therefore magic," "we don't know: therefore aliens," and "we don't know: therefore God" are all synonymous.

Natural law in this context has no meaning whatsoever, unless you are referring to "natural" as anything constrained by the laws of physics: Which is therefore everything observable and physical.

Perhaps "supernatural" and "magic" are difficult to define because they don't exist empirically

“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”
― Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Sherlock Holmes
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17-03-2014, 12:45 PM
RE: Why believe in the supernatural?
(17-03-2014 11:31 AM)rampant.a.i. Wrote:  I'm beginning to think you should invest in a dictionary, or at least look up the phrase "begging the question," which is exactly what your "theory" of the supernatural is doing.
I agree that my view also leaves questions. As I said, it's difficult to meaningfully define.
Quote:Both definitions of supernatural and Magic, while referring to the other, are defined clearly without the synonym.
I disagree. The definitions that aren't circular refer to being explainable by science or something similar, and you haven't explained how we can know that something not yet explained is indeed explainable.
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17-03-2014, 01:13 PM
RE: Why believe in the supernatural?
In Which Captain Lubitron Demonstrates That He Doesn't Know Fuck About Science, Part Whatever:




(16-03-2014 05:17 AM)Luminon Wrote:  
(08-03-2014 04:43 PM)davidh Wrote:  I sometimes find myself wondering why on earth anyone would believe in the supernatural. If you don't understanding something about the world, so what? All that means is that you don't understand; it's a mystery. Why, because you don't understand something, or can't imagine how something might work, would you conclude that supernatural forces must be at work?

I see people making that connection all the time and I just shake my head. How does saying there must be a supernatural explanation help? What's the difference between that and just making stuff up?

Of course, I know why people have supernatural beliefs. It's how you're raised, your culture, it's how the brain works, it can make you feel better, etc.. Also, I think in our society, having supernatural beliefs, particularly religious ones, is accepted as normal, even encouraged.

I guess I just think that having supernatural beliefs is so intellectually dishonest, that I just can't get past how silly they sound when uttered in public.
People can't think properly. They think concepts without defining them. So they can believe pretty much anything they can imagine. The concept of belief itself is flawed.

On the other hand, there is a lot of fringe experience and some fringe scientific research, fringe theories... I think we're overdue a scientific revolution. There are always anomalies in science, but I think today due to cultural and political reasons the science is more rigid than usual and thus there is more "dissidents" than usual.

Strictly speaking, I don't have supernatural beliefs. I have fringe experiences which can be explained scientifically, though in a rather unusual way. For example, my experience with Laya yoga or and traditional Chinese medicine corresponds to Dr Nordenström's study of "biologically closed electric circuits". As the book's sub-title says, it is a clinical, experimental and theoretical evidence for an additional circulatory system in the body. That much is my experience. Of course for years I had no idea about that, I was left completely in the dark with my own empirical observations, without defense against a very... proactive skepticism. The first thing you get is, "c'mon, you made it all up, because you want to be special, admit it!" The second is, "how comes that scientific community isn't all over this research? YOU explain it, even though as far as you're concerned, scientific community might be located on Mars! Dodgy"

That's science. If you come up with anything new, you don't get response, you get kicked upwards, up and up until you bump off the laboratory ceiling. Nothing new ever happens in science except in laboratory. In privacy of laboratory people resolve all their technical disputes, they coin crazy and ill-fitting new concepts like "atom" (meaning indivisible, yet is totally divisible), everything else is reading, writing, talking and bureaucracy. That's the impression I got, that's my answer. That's why science is so inaccessible to random guys like me who stumble upon something empirically. People find it infinitely more comfortable to just do their own work from donations and earn a buck on alternative medicine skipping the rational explanation part, without going through all the hassle, without risking their time, money and privacy.

Then there's of course a huge crowd of irrational believers, from whom the above cases are almost impossible to tell apart. That's my experience and as you realize, there is no rational method of rejecting an experience. When experience is the topic, it's not obligatory for you to believe me and it's not obligatory for me to provide evidence for the experience.

It's Special Pleadings all the way down!


Magic Talking Snakes STFU -- revenantx77


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17-03-2014, 01:17 PM
RE: Why believe in the supernatural?
(17-03-2014 12:45 PM)alpha male Wrote:  
(17-03-2014 11:31 AM)rampant.a.i. Wrote:  I'm beginning to think you should invest in a dictionary, or at least look up the phrase "begging the question," which is exactly what your "theory" of the supernatural is doing.
I agree that my view also leaves questions. As I said, it's difficult to meaningfully define.
Quote:Both definitions of supernatural and Magic, while referring to the other, are defined clearly without the synonym.
I disagree. The definitions that aren't circular refer to being explainable by science or something similar, and you haven't explained how we can know that something not yet explained is indeed explainable.

You are simply resorting to obfuscation in order to bolster the APPEARANCE of an argument you don't have.

It's Special Pleadings all the way down!


Magic Talking Snakes STFU -- revenantx77


You can't have your special pleading and eat it too. -- WillHop
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17-03-2014, 02:37 PM
RE: Why believe in the supernatural?
(17-03-2014 08:17 AM)davidh Wrote:  That's not true; theists do believe in the supernatural. That's the whole point. Instead of admitting that we don't know everything about the world, they simply ascribe supernatural (made up) explanations for things. By doing so, you're basically sacrificing intellectual honesty for the comfort that fantasy beliefs convey.

Regarding the "raising Lazarus" claim, since bringing someone back to life after they have truly died contradicts everything we know about biology and physics, this kind of silliness is easily rejected. But you're basically saying that you would accept this claim, since it's possible we simply don't understand how it was done.

Of course if some scientist today created a technique for reviving dead people, and the technique was tested, peer-reviewed, etc., then we would be hard-pressed not to accept is as a scientific fact, a true state of the natural world. But that is not what's being claimed in the case of Lazarus.

Very well put.

(17-03-2014 11:31 AM)rampant.a.i. Wrote:  I'm beginning to think you should invest in a dictionary, or at least look up the phrase "begging the question," which is exactly what your "theory" of the supernatural is doing.

Both definitions of supernatural and Magic, while referring to the other, are defined clearly without the synonym. You're getting stuck on a synonym: Magic is a synonym of supernatural.

Effectively you are forming an argument from ignorance, and "we don't know: therefore magic," "we don't know: therefore aliens," and "we don't know: therefore God" are all synonymous.

Natural law in this context has no meaning whatsoever, unless you are referring to "natural" as anything constrained by the laws of physics: Which is therefore everything observable and physical.

Perhaps "supernatural" and "magic" are difficult to define because they don't exist empirically

That too.

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17-03-2014, 02:41 PM
RE: Why believe in the supernatural?
(17-03-2014 12:45 PM)alpha male Wrote:  I disagree. The definitions that aren't circular refer to being explainable by science or something similar, and you haven't explained how we can know that something not yet explained is indeed explainable.

That's the foundational premise of a coherent worldview. Not to mention a pretty good track record so far.

Within the constraints of invariant physical laws: if something is observable then it occurs by observable means. If it happens by observable means then it is explicable.

To argue otherwise is to claim that physical laws are not invariant. There is not a single shred of evidence to ever support such a claim.

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17-03-2014, 03:03 PM
RE: Why believe in the supernatural?
(17-03-2014 10:57 AM)alpha male Wrote:  begs the definition




When I want your opinion I'll read your entrails.
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17-03-2014, 03:38 PM
Why believe in the supernatural?
I don't understand why every theist who shows up here is wearing 3 socks. It's like they went to the Sherri Lewis school of apologetics, and are at some level aware their rhetoric doesn't stand up to scrutiny on its own.

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“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”
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17-03-2014, 10:54 PM
RE: Why believe in the supernatural?
Should really rephrase the title to reflect the non-existence of "supernatural things".

The phrase "the supernatural" implies that "supernatural" things actually exist...

It's Special Pleadings all the way down!


Magic Talking Snakes STFU -- revenantx77


You can't have your special pleading and eat it too. -- WillHop
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