Author Topic: Metaphysics  (Read 1878 times)

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Offline JTW

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Metaphysics
« on: May 31, 2011, 06:58:45 PM »
"Miracles are not contrary to nature, but only contrary to what we know about nature."

- Saint Augustine


>

Is it possible that metaphysical elements simply cannot be detected by our current scientific instruments?

Just...is it possible?

Offline velkyn

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Re: Metaphysics
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2011, 07:02:09 PM »
Is is possible?  Sure. Is it likely since we've been looking for evidence of miraculous nonsense for thousands of years and still haven't found one scrap of evidence? Highly unlikely.


this is the usual god of the gaps argument, one of the last thrown up by a theist, usually followed shortly by claims of solipcism. 


JTW,  after you last little adventure here, capped by your lovely quote back in July 2009
Quote
Good riddance. As far as I'm concerned the majority of atheists on the site are hopelessly lost and need to seek Christ and His wisdom before it's too late. http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,7745.msg175640.html#msg175640
  Why are you back here?  It's not as if we've forgotten your antics. 
« Last Edit: May 31, 2011, 07:05:38 PM by velkyn »
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Offline Persephone

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Re: Metaphysics
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2011, 07:05:25 PM »
Of course it's possible. But then they're not SUPERnatural. They're just plain natural. Well, technically preternatural.

I'm reading Michael Shermer's latest book on my kindle, The Believing Brain, and he discusses preternatural phenomena. Just an FYI.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2011, 07:07:19 PM by Persephone »
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Offline jetson

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Re: Metaphysics
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2011, 07:22:33 PM »
"Miracles are not contrary to nature, but only contrary to what we know about nature."

- Saint Augustine


>

Is it possible that metaphysical elements simply cannot be detected by our current scientific instruments?

Just...is it possible?

"Anything is possible, when you don't know what you're talking about."  Not aimed at you, JTW, just a phrase I heard long ago, and it hits the mark fairly well.

What would be the practical use of the "possibility" that we simply cannot detect something?  Obviously, throughout time, humans have discovered all sorts of "invisible" things that were out of reach of the available tools of the time.  Which means that there is a likelihood that there are indeed more undiscovered things that are out of our current reach.

Having said that, I would not call any of it supernatural, or magic.  It is simply that which is not currently known, or understood.  That's why we have scientists!

Offline mram

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Re: Metaphysics
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2011, 07:25:51 PM »
Is is possible?  Sure. Is it likely since we've been looking for evidence of miraculous nonsense for thousands of years and still haven't found one scrap of evidence? Highly unlikely.


this is the usual god of the gaps argument, one of the last thrown up by a theist, usually followed shortly by claims of solipcism. 


JTW,  after you last little adventure here, capped by your lovely quote back in July 2009
Quote
Good riddance. As far as I'm concerned the majority of atheists on the site are hopelessly lost and need to seek Christ and His wisdom before it's too late. http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,7745.msg175640.html#msg175640
  Why are you back here?  It's not as if we've forgotten your antics.
Geeeez velkin.. You scare me.. You remember all of those stupid quotes..  I have seen the future and my own stupid quotes are coming to bite me in the ass someday.   &)
As best I can tell the ONLY thing possible in the supernatural is imagination.. I suppose it COULD in a really creepy theoretical kind of way imagination could be construed as the supernatural, buttttt........
Imagine gaining favor with "Darwin's"...kind of like praying, huh?

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Offline Graybeard

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Re: Metaphysics
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2011, 07:29:38 PM »
"Miracles are not contrary to nature, but only contrary to what we know about nature."
- Saint Augustine
>
Is it possible that metaphysical elements simply cannot be detected by our current scientific instruments?

Just...is it possible?
If we met a deity and he/she told us how they do miracles, so we to could do them, would that deity still be a deity?

The power of the gods lies in our lack of knowledge.

The God of the Gaps.
RELIGION, n. A daughter of Hope and Fear, explaining to Ignorance the nature of the Unknowable. Ambrose Bierce

Offline mram

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Re: Metaphysics
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2011, 07:35:02 PM »
"Miracles are not contrary to nature, but only contrary to what we know about nature."
- Saint Augustine
>
Is it possible that metaphysical elements simply cannot be detected by our current scientific instruments?

Just...is it possible?
If we met a deity and he/she told us how they do miracles, so we to could do them, would that deity still be a deity?

The power of the gods lies in our lack of knowledge.

The God of the Gaps.
That could be why the right wingers are so hell bent on cutting education funding too..
Imagine gaining favor with "Darwin's"...kind of like praying, huh?

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Offline JTW

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Re: Metaphysics
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2011, 07:43:44 PM »
Is is possible?  Sure. Is it likely since we've been looking for evidence of miraculous nonsense for thousands of years and still haven't found one scrap of evidence? Highly unlikely.


this is the usual god of the gaps argument, one of the last thrown up by a theist, usually followed shortly by claims of solipcism. 


JTW,  after you last little adventure here, capped by your lovely quote back in July 2009
Quote
Good riddance. As far as I'm concerned the majority of atheists on the site are hopelessly lost and need to seek Christ and His wisdom before it's too late. http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,7745.msg175640.html#msg175640
  Why are you back here?  It's not as if we've forgotten your antics.

Ah Velkyn. My antics = you being put in your place. I remember well.

Anways, yes your tormentor is back. lol

No, I am truly testing the waters again to see if anything has changed. It's likely no. But just to be sure...
« Last Edit: May 31, 2011, 07:45:31 PM by JTW »

Offline JTW

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Re: Metaphysics
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2011, 07:49:01 PM »
"Miracles are not contrary to nature, but only contrary to what we know about nature."

- Saint Augustine


>

Is it possible that metaphysical elements simply cannot be detected by our current scientific instruments?

Just...is it possible?

"Anything is possible, when you don't know what you're talking about."  Not aimed at you, JTW, just a phrase I heard long ago, and it hits the mark fairly well.

What would be the practical use of the "possibility" that we simply cannot detect something?  Obviously, throughout time, humans have discovered all sorts of "invisible" things that were out of reach of the available tools of the time.  Which means that there is a likelihood that there are indeed more undiscovered things that are out of our current reach.

Having said that, I would not call any of it supernatural, or magic.  It is simply that which is not currently known, or understood.  That's why we have scientists!

But would it convince a non-believer to believe?

Offline mram

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Re: Metaphysics
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2011, 07:51:20 PM »
Wow 1980 posts with 0 respect.. Man.. You REALLY have to work at it to achieve that mark not that I really care about those little brownie point things, but still... a hint is a hint.  &)
Imagine gaining favor with "Darwin's"...kind of like praying, huh?

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Offline jetson

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Re: Metaphysics
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2011, 07:56:08 PM »

But would it convince a non-believer to believe?

I don't see why.  How does knowledge that we don't know everything cause one to believe in God?

Offline JTW

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Re: Metaphysics
« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2011, 07:57:37 PM »
Wow 1980 posts with 0 respect.. Man.. You REALLY have to work at it to achieve that mark not that I really care about those little brownie point things, but still... a hint is a hint.  &)

That's not how it works on this website dude, sorry.

Offline Persephone

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Re: Metaphysics
« Reply #12 on: May 31, 2011, 09:49:35 PM »
Wow 1980 posts with 0 respect.. Man.. You REALLY have to work at it to achieve that mark not that I really care about those little brownie point things, but still... a hint is a hint.  &)

That's not how it works on this website dude, sorry.
OK, I'll bite. How *does* it work on this website, JTW?
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Offline Emily

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Re: Metaphysics
« Reply #13 on: May 31, 2011, 09:53:37 PM »
Not to take JTW's side on the whole "how the site works" thing, but about the respect points...

He left before the respect points were a function. Now he's back, and they are a function. Have fun...

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Offline mram

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Re: Metaphysics
« Reply #14 on: May 31, 2011, 10:33:25 PM »
Not to take JTW's side on the whole "how the site works" thing, but about the respect points...

He left before the respect points were a function. Now he's back, and they are a function. Have fun...
In that case I vote zero respect. I would vote minus zero, but, ya know.. &) I have my reasons as per the General Religious Discussions page..

Anyway..to answer the question.. No, metaphysics is just making shit up and we have yet to invent the making shit up detector....scientifically speaking of course.  ;)
Imagine gaining favor with "Darwin's"...kind of like praying, huh?

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Offline 12 Monkeys

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Re: Metaphysics
« Reply #15 on: May 31, 2011, 11:48:03 PM »
what does UFO's or Bigfoot have to do with God? or any other unexplainable imaginary things? (BTW Bigfoot is real)
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Offline Alzael

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Re: Metaphysics
« Reply #16 on: June 01, 2011, 12:20:14 AM »
"Miracles are not contrary to nature, but only contrary to what we know about nature."

- Saint Augustine


>

Is it possible that metaphysical elements simply cannot be detected by our current scientific instruments?

Just...is it possible?

Possible, certainly. However if they can't be detected then there is essentially no difference between them existing and between them not existing. So whatever point you actually thought you were making is instantly invalidated by your initial premise.

You know, I find it interesting that in the other thread you describe yourself as an "intellectual theist". As nothing about this has any intellectual value. The entire post is flawed and contains no useful content of any kind. Am I to assume that you're saving your accumulated intellectual energy up for a special occasion?

No, I am truly testing the waters again to see if anything has changed. It's likely no. But just to be sure...

So aside from the severe narcissism that we have seen in the other thread, and the lack of demonstrated intellect we have seen so far in this one; we can also add douchebag to your resume as well. At least you're being up front about it.

Ah Velkyn. My antics = you being put in your place. I remember well.

You must be reading entirely different threads than the ones I'm reading.

So far all I'm seeing is nothing more than the typical Christian coward that comes through here day in and day out. A self-important man-child who's unable to handle reality and needed to hide behind the platitudes of a really good bedtime story because he couldn't stand to look in the mirror one morning and face what the world really was. Who spends a lot of time prancing around back and forth waving his hands in the air screaming "Look at me!Please validate my existence!God loves and that makes me special!" Someone who can't believe that everyone else in the world isn't as hopelessly broken as he is without hiding behind the skirts of an imaginary father figure for protection. I hate to be the one to break it to you, but you're alone here, and not because you're a theist among atheists. Because no one here is as naturally unpleasant and unhappy as you seem to be.

Your claims are not only absurd, they are largely unsubstantiated. Your arguments are fallacious and largely irrelevant. I went back through your last fifty posts and found about three of them that actually had anything of interest or value to say in regards to the discussion that was at hand. Most of it was just you spouting a series of jerk-ass abusive statements and rhetoric that do a lot to solidify my opinion of you as an utter and complete twerp.

I stopped about two hundred posts in but very little of it had any value at all. Calling yourself an 'intelligent theist' is an insult to the theists that we get here that actually are intelligent.

Now did you have something to say that is of even the slightest interest or value? Or are you going to throw another fit and stomp out with a few bible verses trailing in your wake and complaints of how you were being so terribly persecuted by the same people to whom you directed comments such as:

Well wtf Mar, what do you expect? God you guys are so boring, where would this site possibly be without someone like me? Pointless diatribe and stupid back patting to make each other feel better for secretly knowing the whole lot of you all are going straight to hell...that's where.

Anyone can make a mistake. But it takes an atheist to justify it.

Uh, because it's all right there in front of you, plain as day, at least for anyone with half a brain.

I can provide plenty of factual evidence but I'm not going to. I'm not your monkey.

This sort of thing and most of the others in your past posts makes your previous use of the persecution card when you crawled away more than a little hypocritical.

TL;DR What a putz.
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Online dloubet

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Re: Metaphysics
« Reply #17 on: June 01, 2011, 01:33:06 AM »
Quote
Is it possible that metaphysical elements simply cannot be detected by our current scientific instruments?

Just...is it possible?

Sure. But if you expect these elements to affect the non-metaphysical world, then we should -- by definition -- expect to notice their effects. But we don't.

So although we might not be able to say there are no metaphysical elements, we can say that even if they exist they don't appear to affect the physical world and so they are utterly irrelevant.

« Last Edit: June 01, 2011, 01:35:55 AM by dloubet »
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Metaphysics
« Reply #18 on: June 01, 2011, 02:04:16 AM »
"Miracles are not contrary to nature, but only contrary to what we know about nature."

- Saint Augustine
It is simply that which is not currently known, or understood.  That's why we have scientists!

But would it convince a non-believer to believe?

I guess it depends on how much knowledge that non-believer has.

Augustine's point suggests that - going back a few thousand years - damn near EVERYTHING would be a miracle.  Lightning.  Fire.  Getting better from an infection.  Having an idea.  Being healed by a "magical" plant.

Basically, if we don't understand it, it's a miracle.

One could also consider whether Augustine's "what WE know" refers to mankind as a whole, or mankind as individuals.  If the latter, then computers could well be miracles.  Heck, I sometimes think that telephones are miracles, the way they can transmit voices with all their inflections and accents and whatnot in a series of electrical 1s and 0s and then convert them back just the same!!  I can't explain it.....miracle?

Not a facetious point at all, honestly.  Consider how many "miracles" apparently happen in third-world countries compared to first-world.....and compare them with levels of education.

Next, let's extend Augustine's point forwards.  We know and understand more today than we did a thousand, a hundred, even ten years ago.  Augustine's point is therefore that as time goes on, fewer and fewer things count as "miracles".  Would it be too much of a stretch to conclude that - one day - nothing will qualify?  Like Graybeard said, if we can "do" every "miracle" ever described, would god still be god?
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
Why is it so hard for believers to answer a direct question?

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Metaphysics
« Reply #19 on: June 01, 2011, 02:08:16 AM »
Anyhoo.....with that bit aside.....

Is it possible that metaphysical elements simply cannot be detected by our current scientific instruments?

Can you define "metaphysical elements" please?  I think I know what you mean, but if you could define them a little it would be helpful.  Probably also helpful to define what you understand "scientific instruments" measure.

I suspect that on first go you may end up with something along the lines of "metaphysical elements are non-natural events" and "scientific instruments measure natural phenomena" - which would answer your question, but would not be particularly helpful.  Like saying that air pressure sensors cannot detect colour: true, but rather useless information.

Define the terms, and this could be an interesting conversation.
Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid.
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Offline Vivisectus

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Re: Metaphysics
« Reply #20 on: June 01, 2011, 02:17:09 AM »
Metaphysical speculations are tall ivory towers built on the narrowest foundations. The idea that you can theorize on some ultimate reality based on a few words has been well and truly overthrown now, and most metaphysical problems turn out to be us being confused by language, rather than cogent thought.

It appeals to mystics, I suspect this is because it is a great way to impress girls without actually having to bother to study something.
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Offline velkyn

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Re: Metaphysics
« Reply #21 on: June 01, 2011, 09:46:14 AM »
Ah Velkyn. My antics = you being put in your place. I remember well.
Anways, yes your tormentor is back. lol
No, I am truly testing the waters again to see if anything has changed. It's likely no. But just to be sure....
Well, I see that you still have no problem in making baseless claims.  Please do show our audience where you ever "put me in my place".  We're waiting.  Or is this one more instance of bearing false witness?  I am always curious when a supposed Christian does this constantly.  It does indicate that you have no real belief in your religion since you would put your soul in jeopardy for such a silly thing.

And "tormentor"?  Oh, you think a lot of yourself which does explain a lot.  I think of you as just one more chew toy. 

So, how did all of those prayers to God to allow you to convert people here work? 

And let's see some of your posts, to let our newer members see just what kind of a person you are.  You are indeed an excellent example of a Christian here.:
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Morality isn't subjective to Christians. Flavour of the week morality is what atheists have.

Quote
Well wtf Mar, what do you expect? God you guys are so boring, where would this site possibly be without someone like me? Pointless diatribe and stupid back patting to make each other feel better for secretly knowing the whole lot of you all are going straight to hell...that's where.

Quote
You are shocked that I view atheists as cold, analytical and calculating of morality? Weird. Because that's how a lot of you want to be perceived.

Ok, so when the chips are down, the non God-fearers will end up rationalizing whatever is relative to their own best interest. When push comes to shove they are completely capable of anything, whereas someone who has a foundation of "love thine enemy" should not be.
These and many many more can be found here: http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php?action=profile;area=showposts;u=18

Now, back to your attempts to fish around for an answer you like.  Evidence is what it would take for this non-believer to believe.  And even that would not make me worship anything.   Since we have no evidence for miracles at all, nothing that even hints at any supernatural force, then there is no reason to believe that such a thing exists. It's a totally useless concept. In many religions, there are claims of "miracles" defined as actions by the gods of those religions.  They ostensibly do effect reality so they should by default have evidence that they occur in the manner claimed.  Not so suprisingly, those miracles claimed in those stories never occur in reality.  Not one Christian can demonstrate a miracle that is caused by their particular god.  We get claims constantly but not one shred of evidence.  To be honest, your question should read "Is it possible that my God simply cannot be detected by our current scientific instruments?"  If your god really wanted to be detected, it could be supposedly by just wanting too.  At best, you have a god that wants to play hide-n-seek now when supposedly it had no problem being obvious before.   There is no reason to make an assumption your god exists.   

Now, cue the solipsism.   
« Last Edit: June 01, 2011, 09:49:32 AM by velkyn »
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Offline Avatar Of Belial

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Re: Metaphysics
« Reply #22 on: June 01, 2011, 11:13:32 AM »
Is it possible that metaphysical elements simply cannot be detected by our current scientific instruments?

Does it matter? Our Scientific instruments can detect everything our basic senses can detect (arguably, our primary senses are themselves Low-Tech Scientific Instruments). And if it could do something miraculous, it would be detectable. So if it's not detectable, then what's the point? It isn't much of a miracle if it doesn't do anything.

Or has your imaginary god (or perhaps just your imagination) become impotent?
"You play make-believe every day of your life, and yet you have no concept of 'imagination'."
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Offline Jezebel

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Re: Metaphysics
« Reply #23 on: June 01, 2011, 12:32:08 PM »
Leaving aside the idea that that which cannot be detected has no effect and is therefore equivalent to not being (which is a valid point) I, too, would be interested in the definition of "metaphysics" as used by the OP. No discussion can occur without mutual understanding of the terms being used. Usually people use it to mean things which operate in direct conflict to the local laws of physics (understanding that the laws of physics are not constant). So, a stone that produces blood, for example. If samples of the stone and blood are both tested and there is no apparent element in the stone that could produce or be turned into blood, and the blood itself is actual blood with erythrocytes et al, and observation, collection, and testing were cleared from suspicion of human "tampering" (i.e. no one snuck out in the middle of the night and poured some blood on the stone and then ran away before he was seen)-- in other words, "impossible" as we understand what is possible and what is not-- that is what I understand by use of the word "metaphysics" in a layperson's context. If that is the definition, then examples must be provided of metaphysical events that were tested sufficiently to rule out natural explanation before we can discuss whether or not those phenomena were, in fact, "metaphysical."

So a) definition and b) examples: both required for meaningful discussion.
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Offline screwtape

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Re: Metaphysics
« Reply #24 on: June 01, 2011, 03:50:46 PM »
JTW,

Since you have not been here in a while and may not be familiar with "how it is done on this website" anymore, the green text indicates when moderators are speaking as a moderator, not as participants.  So as a moderator, I ask that you not instigate trouble with trash talk.


Everyone,

Lets please stay on topic and avoid personal attacks.  Anfauglir asked a very good question that I would hope JTW will answer:


Can you define "metaphysical elements" please?  I think I know what you mean, but if you could define them a little it would be helpful.  Probably also helpful to define what you understand "scientific instruments" measure.

Thanks.
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Offline mram

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Re: Metaphysics
« Reply #25 on: June 01, 2011, 04:29:36 PM »
I'd like to know exactly what a metaphysics detector would detect.. I can only imagine it would detect a bunch of people imagining magic, but hey... I don't know.. Maybe it'll detect miracles like amputees growing new limbs.. Personally I'd like it to detect me growing some new teeth, but I'm not going to hold my breath on it.. I would even go so far as to say I'll risk my right arm, left leg and both testicles and one nostril betting this magic detector isn't going to detect anything other than the above mentioned, a bunch of people imagining magic.  &)
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Offline LadyLucy

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Re: Metaphysics
« Reply #26 on: June 01, 2011, 04:58:08 PM »
"Miracles are not contrary to nature, but only contrary to what we know about nature."

- Saint Augustine

I already see a problem in what is being presented.

St. Augustine? The same St. Augustine who came up with the idea of having churches (AKA: "Houses of God")?

The same St. Augustine who build up the idea of original sin, due to Adam's doing, therefore sin results in infinite punishment in exchange for finite transgression?

The same St. Augustine who thought that wars that protect Christianity are justified, which is completely out-dated and is a primitive concept today?

The very same St. Augustine who was against magic of the Pagan kind, but completely supported miracles instead?

The last one strikes me as a double-standard type of person, also known as a hypocrite. There is no such thing as a miracle. It is related to magic. However, there is such a thing as mathematics, a tool used by man which can calculate the chances of something happening. Probability has never been my forte in mathematics, but as far as I know, knowing the chances still doesn't make anything closer to a miracle [I.E. Something that happens that is supernatural].

St. Augustine is not very bright if you ask me. But the answer to your woo-filled question?

Nope.


Offline mram

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Re: Metaphysics
« Reply #27 on: June 01, 2011, 06:31:01 PM »
I was named after a saint.. Look him up.. The saint of tours...whatever that means, but if you look to your left you'll see the left side of your shoulder..
So someone with the name "saint" said something, but that doesn't mean it's true or even remotely even close..
Imagine gaining favor with "Darwin's"...kind of like praying, huh?

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Offline Bagheera

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Re: Metaphysics
« Reply #28 on: June 02, 2011, 11:53:06 AM »
"Miracles are not contrary to nature, but only contrary to what we know about nature."

- Saint Augustine


>

Is it possible that metaphysical elements simply cannot be detected by our current scientific instruments?

Just...is it possible?

That proposal implies one of two things:

  • that our future scientific instruments will be able to detect 'metaphysical elements', in which case we should endeavor to develop said instruments
  • that no matter what scientific instruments are developed, the definition of metaphysical elements will always include "something that these current scientific instruments can't detect". In which case, why not be honest and eliminate the word "current"?

These types of suppositions tend to rely on the latter argument as little more than god of the gaps. Eg, once we thought lightning was the wrath of the gods. Now we know it to be an atmospheric phenomenon, and can illustrate that with mathematical models and physical rules that lightning follows.

So then, what was lightning? Was it something supernatural that  stopped being supernatural because of our expanding knowledge? Or was it supernatural in the first place?