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Offline One Above All

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Supernatural and lack of evidence
« on: December 18, 2011, 03:13:46 AM »
We've all heard this claim from pretty much every theist we have ever spoken to - gods are supernatural and don't leave behind any evidence of their interference.
In this short post, I will attempt to cover everything that can be inferred from that, and debunk all of it, leaving behind the only logical conclusion - the supernatural does not exist.


Claim: The supernatural leaves behind no evidence of its interference.
Possible explanation #1: The supernatural does not exist.
Possible explanation #2: The supernatural does not interfere with the natural.

Why those are the only two possible explanations:
If something interferes, it is, by definition, changing the arrangement of the universe as we know it. This leaves behind evidence - the result of the action itself. Because there is no such evidence[1], we can safely assume that the two explanations I provided are the only possible ones.

Why explanation #2 is wrong:
As I mentioned above - interference leaves behind evidence. This is the only way by which we can know that something interfered.
For example, when you see an object falling to the ground, you immediately assume that someone dropped it or threw it or (...). Why? Because objects don't move by themselves.

Since the existence of the supernatural is not supported by evidence, we can also assume that it was either made up by people (since only people claim that the supernatural exists) or supernatural beings communicated this information to people. Since there's no evidence of interference, the latter is wrong, and so the former must be correct. Because the former is correct, it means that the supernatural is not real.

By process of elimination, we can deduce that explanation #1 is the only possibility.
 1. See the dozens of threads on NDE's and popular creationist claims being debunked ad infinitum.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Supernatural and lack of evidence
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2011, 03:44:09 AM »
<<CAVEAT: I don't believe in the supernatural at all.  But to play Devil's Advocate.....>>

I think there is a third - at least at the moment.

#3: The supernatural interferes with the natural, but in a manner and at a level that we are unable to detect.

Imagine if there WERE an incredibly powerful supernatural being, that could predict accurately the "butterfly effect" of one tiny little change.  Its conceivable that by slightly changing the charge in a synapse here, by making a drop of water fall just a couple millimeteres there, that amazing things could be acheived. 

You could explain (for example) ESP and precognition this way - the being that knows what will happen can make tiny changes last Tuesday that make you more likely to guess the wavy-line Zener card today.

Of course, this would mean that "the supernatural" would be completely indistinguishable from "coincidence" at the levels we could detect.  Maybe there is a function of the supernatural that makes it less potent depending on the observation (c.f. the "light slit" experiment), which would explain why when our detection equipment consisted of eyes and a bent stick, the supernatural was everywhere, while today it "has" to restrain itself to tiny and subtle processes.
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 One Above All

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Re: Supernatural and lack of evidence
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2011, 03:48:04 AM »
<<CAVEAT: I don't believe in the supernatural at all.  But to play Devil's Advocate.....>>

The ability to play Devil's Advocate shows, among other things, intellectual honesty.

I think there is a third - at least at the moment.

I don't think there is.
Won't it be fun to find out who's right?[1]

#3: The supernatural interferes with the natural, but in a manner and at a level that we are unable to detect.
<snip>

If that were so, then there would be no claims of the supernatural, because we wouldn't be able to detect it.
 1. Five ____ (your choice, as long as its not a type of currency) to whoever knows where this came from.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Supernatural and lack of evidence
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2011, 03:52:38 AM »
#3: The supernatural interferes with the natural, but in a manner and at a level that we are unable to detect.
<snip>

If that were so, then there would be no claims of the supernatural, because we wouldn't be able to detect it.

Oh, its "woo of the gaps", I freely concede.  Its why you'll only ever see it claimed when decent detection equipment is not around, or when there is no double-blind studies going on.

For example, "reiki" (what a load of old bollocks) may well appear to work....in your living room.  The patient feels better, so clearly the "energy-transfer" worked.  Like I said - the more detection equipment we have access to, the more the supernatural recedes.  It's why WE had witches in the 1600s, and Africa has them today. 
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 One Above All

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Re: Supernatural and lack of evidence
« Reply #4 on: December 18, 2011, 03:55:54 AM »
Oh, its "woo of the gaps", I freely concede.
<snip>

Occam's Razor and burden of proof eliminate that possibility.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
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Offline grant

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Re: Supernatural and lack of evidence
« Reply #5 on: December 18, 2011, 05:38:00 AM »
To extend the Devil's Advocate position...

Quote
Claim: The supernatural leaves behind no evidence of its interference.
Possible explanation #1: The supernatural does not exist.
Possible explanation #2: The supernatural does not interfere with the natural.

Maybe we need to extend "The supernatural leaves behind no evidence of its interference" to include "discovered to date"? I'm sure the human race has always thought to themselves "we can't get any smarter or more advanced than we are now". And the're wrong every single day.

How about (as suggested)
Quote
#3: The supernatural interferes with the natural, but in a manner and at a level that we are unable to detect.
or:
The supernatural interfaces with the natural in a way that is indistinguishable from natural occurances; or
The supernatural obscure interactions with mind control; or
The supernatural only expose themselves to theists who will never be believed anyway; or
The supernatural only expose themselves to theists who then only preach to the brain dead believers anyway; or
The supernatural kill all people they interact with; or
The supernatural control all atheists minds to an extent they cannot see the woods from the trees; or
Blah blah blah. I'm sure you get my point.

Looks a bit like this thread...
http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,20888.0.html

Just seems a narrow view although I agree with your outcome 100%.
What if the hokey pokey is what its all about?

Offline One Above All

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Re: Supernatural and lack of evidence
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2011, 05:45:58 AM »
<snip>
Maybe we need to extend "The supernatural leaves behind no evidence of its interference" to include "discovered to date"? I'm sure the human race has always thought to themselves "we can't get any smarter or more advanced than we are now". And they're wrong every single day.
<snip>

See my reply to that position.

The supernatural interfaces with the natural in a way that is indistinguishable from natural occurances; or

Which would make it irrelevant.

The supernatural obscures interactions with mind control; or
The supernatural only expose themselves to theists who will never be believed anyway; or
The supernatural only expose themselves to theists who then only preach to the brain dead believers anyway; or
The supernatural kill all people they interact with; or
The supernatural control all atheists minds to an extent they cannot see the woods from the trees; or

See above.

Blah blah blah. I'm sure you get my point.

I'm sure you get mine as well.

Looks a bit like this thread...
http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,20888.0.html

No. That thread is circular logic, proving that something that exists does, indeed, exist. It is meaningless unless you can prove that there's something that exists in the first place.

Just seems a narrow view although I agree with your outcome 100%.

It wasn't narrow; those were just the possibilities that I thought about at the time.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

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Offline Bereft_of_Faith

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Re: Supernatural and lack of evidence
« Reply #7 on: December 18, 2011, 06:16:25 AM »
Let's set aside all accounts of the supernatural except for first hand accounts.

If a person (says he/she) saw a ghost hover over their bed that then disappeared, what interference would you expect to find?  No more than if I said that a person I passed on the street said 'boo' to me yesterday.  I would have no way of proving that, and any investigation would prove fruitless.  You could either take my word for it, or dismiss it, but you probably couldn't disprove it.

The problem is, that (for those inclined to believe such things) a first hand account can be very compelling.  More so, for the person who actually 'saw' the supernatural thing.  If someone I loved and trusted reported seeing something that seemed to be supernatural, I would be inclined to give their testimony some small consideration, despite me not believing in the supernatural.  We'd be hard pressed to convince that trusted person that they did not see what they said they saw.

As long as individuals see strange things, and are convinced that those things are not imaginings, dreams or delusions, we won't be able to eliminate a belief in the supernatural.

My solution, rather than wasting my time trying to convince someone I trust that they're full of shit, or myself that I was the same, is to shrug my shoulders and say to myself... 'so what?  How does their experience change or impact my life?'  If it doesn't (and it has never done so) then I don't care.

Full disclosure:  I had what I had considered a supernatural experience.  I have no way of knowing if it was legit.  For a while I assumed so, but later have doubted it, however, before I began to doubt it, I decided that it was essentially meaningless.  My life went on and that experience is now no more important than a dream.

Offline One Above All

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Re: Supernatural and lack of evidence
« Reply #8 on: December 18, 2011, 06:32:38 AM »
Let's set aside all accounts of the supernatural except for first hand accounts.

Let's.

If a person (says he/she) saw a ghost hover over their bed that then disappeared, what interference would you expect to find?  No more than if I said that a person I passed on the street said 'boo' to me yesterday.  I would have no way of proving that, and any investigation would prove fruitless.  You could either take my word for it, or dismiss it, but you probably couldn't disprove it.

FMRI+Questions=Knowing if you're telling the truth or not.
Afterward it's a "simple" matter of testing your various body fluids and hair for traces of drugs that might have affected your perception. If that proves inconclusive, we're down to asking other people if they pulled a prank on you.

<snip>
If someone I loved and trusted reported seeing something that seemed to be supernatural, I would be inclined to give their testimony some small consideration, despite me not believing in the supernatural.  We'd be hard pressed to convince that trusted person that they did not see what they said they saw.

Speak for yourself. When people I trust say that they experienced something supernatural, I tell them it's bullshit.

As long as individuals see strange things, and are convinced that those things are not imaginings, dreams or delusions, we won't be able to eliminate a belief in the supernatural.

"Strange" is a matter of perspective. And note that I'm not talking about eliminating a belief in the supernatural; just disproving the supernatural itself. The belief will disappear after that.

My solution, rather than wasting my time trying to convince someone I trust that they're full of shit, or myself that I was the same, is to shrug my shoulders and say to myself... 'so what?  How does their experience change or impact my life?'  If it doesn't (and it has never done so) then I don't care.

That's one of the points I added in an earlier post. Even if the supernatural exists, it is irrelevant.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One.

Offline grant

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Re: Supernatural and lack of evidence
« Reply #9 on: December 18, 2011, 06:44:03 AM »
Your aggressive, non positions make you no better than the theists you try to defeat.

What does:
Quote
See my reply to that position.
mean? You DID NOT reply to that position at all. You may have "said" something but what exactly was the "reply"?

Quote
Which would make it irrelevant.
Not if the effect affected something....

Quote
See above.
How far?

Quote
I'm sure you get mine as well.
I did but now your just acting like an arrogant prick so your point diminishes substantially.

Quote
No. That thread is circular logic, proving that something that exists does, indeed, exist. It is meaningless unless you can prove that there's something that exists in the first place.
Umm, just like your argument? The non-existence on your behalf.... Two options and ignore the rest?

Quote
It wasn't narrow; those were just the possibilities that I thought about at the time.
I stand by my observation that it was narrow. Narrow and biased. Embarrassing to real atheists. You even said "I will attempt to cover everything that can be inferred from that" in a small minded attempt to be a big shot know all.

I've been on this site long enough to see what goes on. However, your position is not supportable. You're trying to make an argument from a poorly thought out position. Now you'll go the "quote everything and shoot it down point by point" syndrome.

You expose yourself as a wanker and will now have another go at me then wait for other (typically American) members to shoot me down too. Well who cares.

And then you end up with a forum you want, not one there should be. You even drive the TRUE atheists away (of which I am one) and wallow in your greatness of being so clever.

Good for you.







What if the hokey pokey is what its all about?

Offline One Above All

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Re: Supernatural and lack of evidence
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2011, 07:11:44 AM »
Your aggressive, non positions make you no better than the theists you try to defeat.

How was I aggressive?
And what do you mean by "non positions"? I have made my position quite clear: The supernatural does not exist.

What does:
Quote
See my reply to that position.
mean? You DID NOT reply to that position at all. You may have "said" something but what exactly was the "reply"?

Oh, its "woo of the gaps", I freely concede.
<snip>

Occam's Razor and burden of proof eliminate that possibility.

That^.

Quote
Which would make it irrelevant.
Not if the effect affected something....

If it affected something and is indistinguishable from natural occurrences, it is irrelevant because we have no way of knowing the difference.

Quote
See above.
How far?

One point above.

I did but now your just acting like an arrogant prick so your point diminishes substantially.

I was saying that I understand your PoV and asserting that you should have understood mine as well. I see no arrogance in that assertion.

Quote
No. That thread is circular logic, proving that something that exists does, indeed, exist. It is meaningless unless you can prove that there's something that exists in the first place.
Umm, just like your argument? The non-existence on your behalf.... Two options and ignore the rest?

I didn't ignore the rest, I just didn't think of it. However, when others pointed out different possibilities, I replied to them.

Quote
It wasn't narrow; those were just the possibilities that I thought about at the time.
I stand by my observation that it was narrow. Narrow and biased. Embarrassing to real atheists. You even said "I will attempt to cover everything that can be inferred from that" in a small minded attempt to be a big shot know all.

Emphasis on "attempt". I'll admit that this thread was made in a relatively short amount of time, so I already expected there to be other points that I didn't think of. Also, "real atheists"? Is that like OneTrueChristiansTM?

I've been on this site long enough to see what goes on.

Tell me then, what does go on here?

However, your position is not supportable. You're trying to make an argument from a poorly thought out position.

My position is not poorly thought out. The list of possible explanations is, but the conclusion remains.

Now you'll go the "quote everything and shoot it down point by point" syndrome.

I taught myself to do it this way, as I believe it is the best way to avoid walls of text. Even when using paragraphs, there is a limit. It is also a good way to leave different issues separated from each other.

You expose yourself as a wanker and will now have another go at me then wait for other (typically American) members to shoot me down too. Well who cares.

I expose my positions. You draw the conclusions. I can't force you (in an ethical and legal way) to see things from my perspective.
Post scriptum: A very large percentage of the people on the internet are from the USA. So what?

And then you end up with a forum you want, not one there should be. You even drive the TRUE atheists away (of which I am one) and wallow in your greatness of being so clever.

Once again, is "true atheists" like OneTrueChristiansTM? Because that's what it sounds like.
And for the record, the forum I want (for debate) is one where people are free to expose their PoV's, as long as it is supported by evidence and/or logic and as long as people follow certain rules of etiquette. From my experience, this forum provides all of those things.

Good for you.

I really have no idea what your problem is, but I really hope you get over it. If you have a problem with me specifically, we can work on it.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2011, 07:23:53 AM by Lucifer »
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One.

Offline free

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Re: Supernatural and lack of evidence
« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2011, 08:03:39 AM »
I think something someone could argue (and I'll too play devil's advocate since I think it's hokum) is that the supernatural once occurred and was observable, but isn't doesn't occur in the present for whatever reason.  In which case, the people who wrote the holy books could have seen/observed/divined etc whatever supernatural occurrence, recorded it and we now read it. 

Any thoughts on how to respond to this?

Offline One Above All

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Re: Supernatural and lack of evidence
« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2011, 08:09:00 AM »
<snip>
Any thoughts on how to respond to this?

That is a fairly good argument, if you don't consider the fact that the texts that supposedly document the supernatural are full of contradictions, fallacies and general evilness. The first two mean that if supernatural forces exist and interacted with us in the past, they were no smarter than us and therefore irrelevant. The last one means that they're evil and therefore we shouldn't pay attention to them.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

A.K.A.: Blaziken_rjcf/Lucifer/All In One.

Offline Historicity

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Re: Supernatural and lack of evidence
« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2011, 09:56:34 AM »
#3: The supernatural interferes with the natural, but in a manner and at a level that we are unable to detect.
... so far.

Stephen King hates science and scientists and anyone who likes science.  In a comment on one of his stories he says, "unless you are one of the horrible people who want to take things apart to know how they work".  In The Stand the scientists are the dupes of Evil.  In Golden Years the scientist is clownishly evil.  The result is that when King tries to write some, uh, science fiction 'cause it's so popular for some reason he can't understand, he writes outright junk like The Tommyknockers

One exception (and I doubt King knows it) is Carrie.  In it my "... so far." is realized.  Generally speaking, science changes the world and the supernatural does not.  Science, as its Latin root word implies, is knowledge -- but a public knowledge.  Carrie not only develops supernatural power but demonstrates that in an irrefutable public way.  A lot of scientific[1] phenomena are not completely understood.  It's been 350 years since the discovery of gravity and electrical and magnetic forces.  It's been about 200 years since we demonstrated how to make magnetism with electricity and electricity with magnetism.  We talk about gravity but where are the tractor beams we ought to have by now?  We should have a gravity generator in the ceiling my parents' place so they could cut their weight to half and walk around easily.  There is a lot we don't know about gravity but it is still not supernatural.  In Carrie telekinesis, including telekinesis in a major destructive way, is proven.  They don't know how to generate it but the public and government is left terrified by the proof of it.  They are left wondering what next, rather than, people will think we are crazy if we tell anyone about this.  So Carrie starts as horror fantasy and ends up as science fiction.

For a real world example, one of my country relatives way back when, at the end of a thunderstorm saw ball lightning come into the kitchen and float around until it went towards a porcelain covered pan.  It hit it with a bang! and blew a circular section of the ceramic off the steel.  Yet, ball lightning was held by many to be a superstition and my relative's experience would be written off that way.  Just some superstitious person from the backwoods.  Any avowal I would give that she was an atheist would have been dismissed.  Electrical charges cannot stand by themselves.  They need something to charge up and something to insulate the opposite charges of negative and positive.  A gas won't hold a charge very long because by definition its particles are mobile and the opposite ions will find each other.  So ball lightning would have to be a stable plasma and that can only exist in the presence of intense radio waves.  Typical of the supernatural, it disappears without a trace.  It was attested to as often as ghosts and to some, it was the same thing.  The psychological explanations were rather wide, eg, temporary blindness and afterimage from the brightness of nearby lightning or a hysterical fear and a vision of the Jungian Self.

But recently ball lightning was created in the laboratory.  In comes from a lightning strike hitting sand and vaporizing it and the sand recondensing a moment later as a puffball of extremely fine glass fibers.  These hold the charge and the whole thing is lighter than air.  When it extinguishes the solid part of it breaks into scarcely noticeable dust.

So, I am not original in this, but I define the supernatural (since it has such sketchy anecdotal evidence) as the collection of things generally regarded as supernatural.
 1. I mean scientifically known, known to science.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2011, 10:40:44 AM by Historicity »

Online jaimehlers

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Re: Supernatural and lack of evidence
« Reply #14 on: December 18, 2011, 07:36:02 PM »
My personal explanation is, "the supernatural only refers to natural things that we do not understand".

Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Supernatural and lack of evidence
« Reply #15 on: December 19, 2011, 01:43:43 AM »
Oh, its "woo of the gaps", I freely concede.
<snip>

Occam's Razor and burden of proof eliminate that possibility.

Simplest explanation?  EVERYTHING is woo.....much simpler to believe "magic" than all this nonsense about neutrinos that can pass through anything, photons that can move through each other without obscuring the view from the side, mass that warps space, tachyons that move backwards in time, dark matter......

When you get down to it, very little of what we call "natural" could really be described as "simple".  For many, many people, "magic" or "god" or "woo" is one heck of a lot simpler.

Burden of proof, maybe.....except that shifts through the ages, like I said.  If you haven't got the instruments to detect something (yet), how can you prove it?  Same as a couple hundred years back, everyone knew that the atom was the smallest thing there was - and we could "prove" that.  Doesn't mean it was true.

Heck, its hard arguing for something you know is bullshit!!!
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 One Above All

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Re: Supernatural and lack of evidence
« Reply #16 on: December 19, 2011, 01:58:39 AM »
Simplest explanation?
<snip>

Actually, Occam's Razor states that the explanation with the least assumptions is the best.

Burden of proof, maybe.....except that shifts through the ages, like I said.  If you haven't got the instruments to detect something (yet), how can you prove it?  Same as a couple hundred years back, everyone knew that the atom was the smallest thing there was - and we could "prove" that.  Doesn't mean it was true.

Burden of proof is always on the side of the ones who make the positive, verifiable claim. Everyone else should be skeptical until evidence is shown.

Heck, its hard arguing for something you know is bullshit!!!

You're doing just fine, trust me. ;)
« Last Edit: December 19, 2011, 02:00:48 AM by Lucifer »
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
We choose our own gods.

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Online Azdgari

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Re: Supernatural and lack of evidence
« Reply #17 on: December 19, 2011, 12:47:24 PM »
Simplest explanation?  EVERYTHING is woo.....much simpler to believe "magic" than all this nonsense about neutrinos that can pass through anything, photons that can move through each other without obscuring the view from the side, mass that warps space, tachyons that move backwards in time, dark matter......

I actually just had this convo with my room-mate last night.  "Everything is woo" is not an explanation.  An explanation for why X is the way it is, has to actually describe how X got to be how it is.

The example I used was a car-engine, and tying my shoes in the morning.  A complex explanation for how a car-engine works involves all the mechanical this-and-that.  Versus, because I tied my shoes in the morning.

Explanation #1:  The car works because of <mechanical explanation>
"Explanation" #2:  The car works because I tied my shoes in the morning.
Explanation #3:  The car works because of <mechanical explanation>, and fairies teleport the gasoline from the tank into the pistons.  Or something.

The second one explains nothing.  There is nothing about tying my shoes in the morning that logically implies that a car should work.  It is not an actual explanation, so Occam's Razor cannot favor it among possible explanations.  The third one is actually an explanation, but gets cut out by Occam's Razor for having extraneous elements.

"Everything is woo" is as off-topic to the thing to be explained as "because I tied my shoes" is.

When you get down to it, very little of what we call "natural" could really be described as "simple".  For many, many people, "magic" or "god" or "woo" is one heck of a lot simpler.

It's simpler, agreed.  It just doesn't actually explain anything, so it doesn't merit consideration in the first place.

Burden of proof, maybe.....except that shifts through the ages, like I said.  If you haven't got the instruments to detect something (yet), how can you prove it?  Same as a couple hundred years back, everyone knew that the atom was the smallest thing there was - and we could "prove" that.  Doesn't mean it was true.

Heck, its hard arguing for something you know is bullshit!!!

Sure is, eh? :)
« Last Edit: December 19, 2011, 01:01:11 PM by Azdgari »
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Offline kaziglu bey

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Re: Supernatural and lack of evidence
« Reply #18 on: December 19, 2011, 01:24:18 PM »
I think something someone could argue (and I'll too play devil's advocate since I think it's hokum) is that the supernatural once occurred and was observable, but isn't doesn't occur in the present for whatever reason.  In which case, the people who wrote the holy books could have seen/observed/divined etc whatever supernatural occurrence, recorded it and we now read it. 

Any thoughts on how to respond to this?

If someone were to argue this, I would respond thus.

For whatever reason? That's not good enough. It begs the question "Why don't supernatural events occur anymore?" Without any explanation, this is just not believable.

Additionally, if those people who wrote the books of the Bible did witness supernatural events, why was it that they seem to expect supernatural events to continue to happen? Doesn't Jesus essentially tell his followers that they will do even greater (apparently supernatural) miracles than Jesus? If Jesus and his followers expected supernatural miracles to continue to occur, and even serve as a sign of a true believer, why do supernatural events no longer occur?

One possible explanation could be that there are no TrueChristians, or simply too few to make a noticeable difference in a world of 7 billion people.

Another possible explanation would be that God is simply angry with us and has turned his back on us, so there are no more supernatural events. (or the converse, we have turned our back on God).

Another still is that there is a critical part that we are missing in order for supernatural events to occur.

Or perhaps supernatural events/entities are afraid of technology that would attempt to detect them.

Maybe Global Climate Change has affected the ability of supernatural events to happen.

Jesus (or the Bible authors) could be liars.

Finally, it could be because there are no supernatural events and no God.

All of this though begs the question: if supernatural events are not detectable, how do we know that they occur, or ever did? Especially when many of the "supernatural" events attributed to the Bible were witnessed and recorded, thus had to be detectable in some measure.
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Re: Supernatural and lack of evidence
« Reply #19 on: December 19, 2011, 01:33:30 PM »

Another possible explanation would be that God is simply angry with us and has turned his back on us, so there are no more supernatural events. (or the converse, we have turned our back on God).



This is what I fear most will say.  It is very convenient for the lack of miracles in our world and fits very nicely with God being mad at us for ancestral sin, the whole purpose of Christ. 

It's very difficult to come up with an answer the theists will understand!  I know we can say the laws of the universe don't change.  they will respond, they used to but they don't anymore.  I know we can say that miracles don't meld well with their ideas that God doesn't need to manifest itself and we need faith.  But what would they actually listen to?

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Re: Supernatural and lack of evidence
« Reply #20 on: December 19, 2011, 03:26:45 PM »
Another possible explanation would be that God is simply angry with us and has turned his back on us, so there are no more supernatural events. (or the converse, we have turned our back on God).

This is what I fear most will say.  It is very convenient for the lack of miracles in our world and fits very nicely with God being mad at us for ancestral sin, the whole purpose of Christ. 

It's very difficult to come up with an answer the theists will understand!  I know we can say the laws of the universe don't change.  they will respond, they used to but they don't anymore.  I know we can say that miracles don't meld well with their ideas that God doesn't need to manifest itself and we need faith.  But what would they actually listen to?

Most might say that, but they would be going against the claims of their fellow theists, that miracles *do* happen now and evidently constantly considering the crap I see on Christian forums.   It essentially guts their bible too, in that this god has said plainly that one should belive him and his "son" because of the miracles performed.   One would have to postulate a god that randomly changes its mind on what it wants.  Do we need miracels to believe or not?  The modern Christian will often try to claim that this god now only wants faith, but its past "history" doesn't indicate this for a moment. 
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Offline Graybeard

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Re: Supernatural and lack of evidence
« Reply #21 on: December 19, 2011, 04:06:35 PM »
The supernatural is a lack of evidence

There is the known and the unknown.

The unknown is described by the known
(i)   we have a good idea and we’re working on it,
(ii)   It seems to be related to X but we’re not too sure;
(iii)   it is very difficulty to understand; it could possibly be x, y or z or something else and
(iv)   we have no idea.
(v)    “This defies everything, yes, everything, we have ever known or heard about. This simply isn’t possible, it defies known laws.”

In any of those cases, when a known false explanation is given and then maintained, the supernatural arises. An influential person’s unsubstantiated imagination fills in the gaps to justify the wrong explanation. And not only justify, but insist upon it, citing in support ever more spurious reasoning and invention, devoid of all reference to experience. Only a person of limited intellect, and/or someone who cannot accept that he could be wrong, could use this.

Therefore, only a person of limited intellect can invent the supernatural.

If we examine the idea that the sun went round the Earth, then this was not a supernatural explanation. Everything pointed to it being the case. When Galileo showed this not to be the case by accurate measurement, anyone who insisted on the old story by inventing planetary epicycles was in error but there was no superstition.

When someone, late at night, walked through a wood and thought they saw someone who then vanished, and then gave the explanation that it was a spirit of the dead, commits 3 mistakes – one, not accurately observing, two assuming the nature of the apparition, and three, inventing, without any cause, a reason for the supposed spirit behaving as it does.

Supernatural therefore requires faulty observation, and faulty reasoning and unsupported assumption.

Errors in science require faulty observation or faulty reasoning, but not both. Unsupported assumption does not figure in science.
Nobody says “There are many things that we thought were natural processes, but now know that a god did them.”

Offline Frank

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Re: Supernatural and lack of evidence
« Reply #22 on: December 20, 2011, 10:07:40 PM »
If there was evidence of the supernatural it would no longer be supernatural. It would be natual. People who believe in the supernatural don't want evidence since it would spoil the "mystery" for them. Especially those who make a living from it. Televangelist, Mediums, Spiritulists, Fortune Tellers, et al are getting rich pickings from fleecing suckers. The last thing they need is real examinable evidence.
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Offline One Above All

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Re: Supernatural and lack of evidence
« Reply #23 on: December 21, 2011, 03:06:21 AM »
@Graybeard and Emily (since you made the same point that supernatural=lack of evidence):
Supernatural events are events that do not follow the natural laws of the universe. This would certainly leave evidence behind, but the events themselves would be "impossible" (in the sense that they're not supposed to happen because they go against all the laws of the universe[1]).
 1. I don't just mean our current understanding of them; these events would be unexplainable even if we knew everything about how the universe works.
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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: Supernatural and lack of evidence
« Reply #24 on: December 21, 2011, 03:31:22 AM »
For your consideration



extra dimensional beings yo. Of course this would all be perfectly natural from an objective point of view.

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Offline One Above All

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Re: Supernatural and lack of evidence
« Reply #25 on: December 21, 2011, 03:43:23 AM »
For your consideration

<snip>

extra dimensional beings yo. Of course this would all be perfectly natural from an objective point of view.

Just another advocate

That wouldn't be supernatural. That's the whole point - the supernatural should provide evidence for its existence, but the supernatural events would be impossible from an objective PoV.
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Offline Mr. Blackwell

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Re: Supernatural and lack of evidence
« Reply #26 on: December 21, 2011, 11:29:37 AM »
For your consideration

<snip>

extra dimensional beings yo. Of course this would all be perfectly natural from an objective point of view.

Just another advocate

That wouldn't be supernatural. That's the whole point - the supernatural should provide evidence for its existence, but the supernatural events would be impossible from an objective PoV.

That's what I said.

In the example I used, we wouldn't be able to tell the difference. There would be no trace that we could measure from our subjective point of view. But the occurrence would still be explainable with a more complete understanding of the fundamental laws of reality.

The supernatural cannot exist within the confines of our universe. If a supernatural event were to leave traces of it's passing then it is not supernatural it is just a failing on our part to properly explain it. So I am 100% in agreement with you.  ;D


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Offline One Above All

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Re: Supernatural and lack of evidence
« Reply #27 on: December 21, 2011, 12:55:48 PM »
<snip>

Not sure if you're getting what I'm saying:
Supernatural events are impossible events that occur anyway. Not impossible from our current understanding of the laws of physics but literally impossible.
This does not mean that they do not have an explanation; that was a mistake on my part. They have an explanation, but the fact that they occurred defies all the laws of physics.
The truth is absolute. Life forms are specks of specks (...) of specks of dust in the universe.
Why settle for normal, when you can be so much more? Why settle for something, when you can have everything?
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Offline Truth OT

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Re: Supernatural and lack of evidence
« Reply #28 on: December 21, 2011, 03:06:38 PM »
In a way isn't the concept of anything being supernatural illogical and not at all possible? Isn't saying that something is supernatural in effect the same as saying something is not real or at best not a part of the shared reality we all exist in (e.i. NOT REAL)?
I could be mistaken here, but it seems to me that in order for anything to be able to affect the natural world (reality), it must be a part of the natural world in some way, shape, or form. It would make much more sense if believers in deities would not consider the deity as being supernatural, but rather powerful ones (gods) that more greatly understand and had mastered the laws of the reality we all exist in to the point that they could purposefully manipulate them. That would mean that even "miracles" done by (or in the name of) supposed gods would not be supernatural in any way, rather they would be the manifestations of the "god-beings" doing stuff and acting upon our reality in a way that we do not (yet) understand.