Author Topic: I'm back again, with a question on origin  (Read 3551 times)

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Offline Spinner198

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Re: I'm back again, with a question on origin
« Reply #87 on: January 29, 2014, 08:07:17 PM »
The 'natural' world and the 'supernatural' world don't exist separate from one another.

Indeed, they could not.  A real supernatural would have unlimited unpredictable impact on the natural, regardless of how these aspects of reality are supposed to interact with each other.

You are making an assumption that the supernatural is able to do anything and therefore is always doing everything.

If it does nothing then for all intents and purposes it doesn't exist.  I was talking about the implications of it existing, not of it not existing.

You are also assuming that the supernatural world wouldn't be able to control itself to a point where the natural world wouldn't be able to coexist.

That control would have to be complete.  The supernatural becomes natural.  As I said.

You are also assuming that the supernatural world does not take constant action to keep the natural world's existence stable in the first place.

That would be a consistent limitation on everything the supernatural does.  The supernatural becomes natural.  As I said.

Your conclusion is based on all kinds of assumptions. You treat the supernatural as if it was some kind of animal, unable to control itself and destroying everything in its path by accident.

These "assumptions" are necessary in order to avoid simply describing another hypothetical part of the natural universe.  If you wish to define your god(s), etc., as natural...cool.  But describing them as supernatural, as effectively being beyond order, requires that the things you've labelled as "assumptions" be true.
There is a difference between never doing anything and always doing everything.

The supernatural world controls itself. How does that make it natural exactly? I still don't see how an uncontrollable supernatural world would somehow make more sense than a supernatural world that is able to control itself, choose its own actions, etc.

How would the supernatural taking action to allow the natural world to exist be a limitation?

Who ever said that the supernatural world was beyond order?

You are making assumptions of the supernatural based only on what you think it should be limited by.

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Re: I'm back again, with a question on origin
« Reply #88 on: January 29, 2014, 08:08:33 PM »
I keep making double posts, is there any way to delete a post?

You can't delete the whole post, but for about an hour after you post, you will notice a "modify" button in the upper right hand corner of your posts, and your posts only. You can click on that if you've double posted, erase everything and simply type in "Double post erased" or something like that, and we'll understand.

Hope that helps.
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Offline Spinner198

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Re: I'm back again, with a question on origin
« Reply #89 on: January 29, 2014, 08:12:49 PM »
Whether you believe science can or can't prove that God doesn't exist, it doesn't matter, as that is the belief that the majority of atheists and secular scientists have adopted. At least the vocal minority. It is also that belief that has been treated as fact in schools and colleges around the world.

You seem to be listening to the prejudices of others here. Schools and colleges, as you say, teach science as we know it, and as we theorize it. They don't mention gods because none have been found in the various forms of research done within the scientific disciplines.

What do you want science teaching to be like? "This is how photosynthesis works, except somewhere in there a god is involved, we just don't know how. But be prepared to answer questions about him on the test." Is that what you prefer?

We know so little about reality that all we can do is try to figure out the stuff we experience and then extrapolate as far as we dare about other matters. That thousands of gods have been proposed, and none proven, means that either we ignore that contention or we figure out a way to add the christian and hindu and zoroastrian and aboriginal and native American and other gods to the curriculum and make stuff up as we go along. I have no idea what that would accomplish.

Now if you're upset that the physics folks working on the edge of knowledge aren't trying to fit god into the equation, that's fine. Just go get yourself as educated on physics and then come up with your own theory that includes deities and such. And let the scientific world try working out the specifics of your theory. But as of right now, even as mysterious as the universe it, there is no sign that gods or the supernatural are involved.

There are great mysteries, that perhaps can only be solved by gods or supernatural powers. We don't know that, but it is a possibility. We are still early in the learning process. The problem for theists is that as of now, we haven't had to invoke gods to explain anything quite yet. Our math doesn't show any, and our machines haven't discovered gods yet either. So we are forced, by default, to study only that which we can find evidence for. Anything involving gods would just plain have to be made up. I've no idea how one could work salt ladies into chemistry class, the flood into geology class, Eden into biology. Let alone biblical astronomy into the modern version of the subject.

If there are gods or the supernatural, they apparently don't want to be found, and prefer depending upon poorly passed-on ancient documents to supply all the knowledge of such things. Which, unsurprisingly, fail to meet any reasonable modern standards.

And an aside. If the earth was created in six days, 6,000 years ago or so, it sure shows no sign of either that speed or that age. Nothing science can find matches that story, and in fact everything found contradicts the tale. Nor is there any sign of floods or Babel or other audacious claims. And there is planty of evidence for the current theories about the age of our planet, which is that it is approximately 7,500,000 times older than the bible claims. Or the universe, which is almost 2,300,000 times older, as per all the evidence we can find.

So there are some of us that look at such evidence, and combine it with other insights, such as the lack of proof from any other sources regarding either gods or purpose, and draw the conclusion that the universe is a natural place, and here only for the natural physical reasons that caused it to exist, and no other explanation or rational is required. I am not so stupid as to assume that that assumption is absolutely correct. I am just saying that as of right now, I see no reason to think otherwise because any proof of other reasons/origins/god involvements are as of right now, non-existent.

And while I could spend my life guessing my ass off about what is going on, without any information to go on, all it would be is guesses. Or a decision to include ancient belief systems in my modern life.  And I happen to be one who is not so inclined.

If religion had something definite to offer, like usable information or claims that were not so far from being reasonable, I would sit up and listen, but until a religious story comes along that matches observed reality, or successfully explains it away, I'm going to go with scientific findings and my own version of rationality over the myriad imaginings of others.
How about "This is a theory, not necessarily true." instead of "This is a fact that we know to be true."

What people believe to be most reasonable depends on their interpretations. Theistic scientists have presented valid explanations for the world and an origin, however they are often ignored because they often rely on the existence of a creator, which is what is treated as irrational and unscientific.

Whether you find a theory or belief valid or not is up to you, not the theory or belief itself.

Online Azdgari

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Re: I'm back again, with a question on origin
« Reply #90 on: January 29, 2014, 08:28:12 PM »
There is a difference between never doing anything and always doing everything.

It wouldn't have to always do everything.  For that matter, "always doing everything" is a coherent and orderly way to describe it's behaviour.  It's not natural, so you can't do that.  It would instead be utterly unpredictable.

The supernatural world controls itself. How does that make it natural exactly? I still don't see how an uncontrollable supernatural world would somehow make more sense than a supernatural world that is able to control itself, choose its own actions, etc.

If it controls itself in a predictable manner - which includes not randomly destroying our universe, or changing it so that gravity is reversed, or whatever - then it is natural.  If there is an order to it which constrains it, then that is natural.  That doesn't mean that it's made of protons and electrons, just that it operates under "laws" that can be described.

The mind of a god would be a good example of this.  What constrains a god from deciding to blow up the Earth?  Some aspect of the state of its mind that can in principle be defined and is predictable.  But that is a coherent way of describing how it works, very similar to how our physical brains work, in fact.  It is a naturalistic description.  Again, you are necessarily making the supernatural into the natural in order to describe it existing.  Just call it "natural" already.  Why not?

How would the supernatural taking action to allow the natural world to exist be a limitation?

Because something definite about it would be limiting it from doing anything to violate the natural world to an unlimited degree.

Who ever said that the supernatural world was beyond order?

Order, predictability, these are the traits of a naturalistic existence.  A different metaphysical realm may exist that has order and predictability, and this is what you seem to be describing.  But if so, then that realm is naturalistic, operating on laws that are only considered "non-physical" because we havn't modelled them.

You are making assumptions of the supernatural based only on what you think it should be limited by.

Again, I am only describing it in such a way as to distinguish "supernatural" from "natural that we don't know about".  What do you think distinguishes the two?
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Re: I'm back again, with a question on origin
« Reply #91 on: January 29, 2014, 08:30:05 PM »
How about "This is a theory, not necessarily true." instead of "This is a fact that we know to be true."

So this would apply to the photosynthesis example given by ParkingPlaces?
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Offline Spinner198

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Re: I'm back again, with a question on origin
« Reply #92 on: January 29, 2014, 08:32:42 PM »
There is a difference between never doing anything and always doing everything.

It wouldn't have to always do everything.  For that matter, "always doing everything" is a coherent and orderly way to describe it's behaviour.  It's not natural, so you can't do that.  It would instead be utterly unpredictable.

The supernatural world controls itself. How does that make it natural exactly? I still don't see how an uncontrollable supernatural world would somehow make more sense than a supernatural world that is able to control itself, choose its own actions, etc.

If it controls itself in a predictable manner - which includes not randomly destroying our universe, or changing it so that gravity is reversed, or whatever - then it is natural.  If there is an order to it which constrains it, then that is natural.  That doesn't mean that it's made of protons and electrons, just that it operates under "laws" that can be described.

The mind of a god would be a good example of this.  What constrains a god from deciding to blow up the Earth?  Some aspect of the state of its mind that can in principle be defined and is predictable.  But that is a coherent way of describing how it works, very similar to how our physical brains work, in fact.  It is a naturalistic description.  Again, you are necessarily making the supernatural into the natural in order to describe it existing.  Just call it "natural" already.  Why not?

How would the supernatural taking action to allow the natural world to exist be a limitation?

Because something definite about it would be limiting it from doing anything to violate the natural world to an unlimited degree.

Who ever said that the supernatural world was beyond order?

Order, predictability, these are the traits of a naturalistic existence.  A different metaphysical realm may exist that has order and predictability, and this is what you seem to be describing.  But if so, then that realm is naturalistic, operating on laws that are only considered "non-physical" because we havn't modelled them.

You are making assumptions of the supernatural based only on what you think it should be limited by.

Again, I am only describing it in such a way as to distinguish "supernatural" from "natural that we don't know about".  What do you think distinguishes the two?
You seem to think that supernatural is the perfect opposite of the natural and that if anything in the supernatural is like something in the natural, that that means that the supernatural is also natural. Which is once again, an assumption.

How about "This is a theory, not necessarily true." instead of "This is a fact that we know to be true."

So this would apply to the photosynthesis example given by ParkingPlaces?
Well, I don't really know why not. Science has been wrong before. If you don't want to have certain theories treated unequally, I don't really see a problem with every theory being taught as such "That it is an interpretation, not 100% certain fact." even creationist theories.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2014, 08:37:11 PM by Spinner198 »

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Re: I'm back again, with a question on origin
« Reply #93 on: January 29, 2014, 08:37:22 PM »
You seem to think that supernatural is the perfect opposite of the natural and that if anything in the supernatural is like something in the natural, that that means that the supernatural is also natural. Which is once again, an assumption.

The details make this "assumption" a necessity.  Naturalistic systems operate under predictable rules.  If something violates those rules in an orderly/definite manner, then the "rules" just aren't what we thought they were; the system remains naturalistic.

For something to actually be beyond naturalistic, it would have to be unbound from such things as orderly behaviour and definite states, for if it had these things, then it would just be an extension of the natural universe.  It would have to be able to violate everything about the natural universe in a completly unpredictable way - or at least some component of it would have to, and that would be enough.

What is your objection to this, anyway, other than the "nuh-uh!" you've given so far?  Or is that it?
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Offline Spinner198

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Re: I'm back again, with a question on origin
« Reply #94 on: January 29, 2014, 08:39:28 PM »
You seem to think that supernatural is the perfect opposite of the natural and that if anything in the supernatural is like something in the natural, that that means that the supernatural is also natural. Which is once again, an assumption.

The details make this "assumption" a necessity.  Naturalistic systems operate under predictable rules.  If something violates those rules in an orderly/definite manner, then the "rules" just aren't what we thought they were; the system remains naturalistic.

For something to actually be beyond naturalistic, it would have to be unbound from such things as orderly behaviour and definite states, for if it had these things, then it would just be an extension of the natural universe.  It would have to be able to violate everything about the natural universe in a completly unpredictable way - or at least some component of it would have to, and that would be enough.

What is your objection to this, anyway, other than the "nuh-uh!" you've given so far?  Or is that it?
You make the assumption that the supernatural and natural world would share no similarities then?

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Re: I'm back again, with a question on origin
« Reply #95 on: January 29, 2014, 08:42:33 PM »
What relevant similarities can you think of?  Ones that don't define the supernatural as natural, I mean.
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Offline Spinner198

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Re: I'm back again, with a question on origin
« Reply #96 on: January 29, 2014, 08:45:38 PM »
What relevant similarities can you think of?  Ones that don't define the supernatural as natural, I mean.
What would you consider relevant? Also, how do you define natural and supernatural?

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Re: I'm back again, with a question on origin
« Reply #97 on: January 29, 2014, 08:47:10 PM »
Something that makes a difference to what we've been talking about.  Past that - I'm not the one claiming such similarities can exist.
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Re: I'm back again, with a question on origin
« Reply #98 on: January 29, 2014, 08:54:07 PM »
Something that makes a difference to what we've been talking about.  Past that - I'm not the one claiming such similarities can exist.
And what exactly have we been talking about? Similarities certainly exist, but I doubt any that you would personally consider relevant to the point where it would debunk your claims. How do I come up with a relevant similarity when you are automatically considering any similarity irrelevant?

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Re: I'm back again, with a question on origin
« Reply #99 on: January 29, 2014, 09:14:35 PM »
We've been talking about whether or not something that isn't bounded in its behaviour[1] can coexist with a universe that has a definite state without disrupting that state.

Whether or not any similarities between this hypothetical "supernatural" and the naturalistic universe as we know it are relevant to that problem, is not a matter of opinion.  They either are, or are not.

If you can't think of anything relevant[2] then why bring it up?
 1. A god whose nature it is to want to make the natural universe keep going, and to want to do so in a particular way, is bounded in its behaviour.  Such a god is naturalistic.
 2. And if it's relevant to you, but you don't think it'll be to me, then explain why it's relevant to you so that we can get on the same page.  Our minds are not categorically different from each other.
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: I'm back again, with a question on origin
« Reply #100 on: January 29, 2014, 09:33:37 PM »
I assume this is what you are referring to: "I have a much better question for you.  How can you tell if something isn't caused, since that's evidently necessary to tell that it's supernatural?  In short, how can you possibly tell the difference between something natural and something supernatural?  How do you tell the difference between something that has natural causes and something that has supernatural causes?  And if you can't do that, how can you tell that there is anything supernatural in the first place?  Simply deciding that it must exist because you've defined yourself into a corner doesn't suffice."
There are several things I've brought up; that is one of them.

Quote from: Spinner198
I don't see the necessity to knowing the difference between the natural and the supernatural, or the difference between something that is caused naturally or caused supernaturally. It wouldn't change the facts or the truths.
And this pretty much kills your whole argument right here.  The only way I can think of for someone to be able to say that they don't see the necessity of figuring out whether something's natural or supernatural is because they already believe that it's one or the other, and they don't want any inconvenient evidence getting in the way of that belief.  This is what you claim about scientists (without any real evidence to support such an assertion), but you've shown that is certainly is true for yourself.

I'll tell you what the 'necessity' is.  It's because if something has natural causes, we can learn how to deal with it, even use it.  Knowing that lightning has natural causes and how those natural causes work has led us to some pretty amazing discoveries, one of which allows you to communicate nearly instantly with us on this forum despite the fact that you're miles and miles away, and that's just a single example.  Do you think we would ever have discovered how to use electricity[1] if everyone were like you, lacking the curiosity to care about whether something was natural or supernatural because "it wouldn't change the facts or the truth"?

Quote from: Spinner198
From a theistic perspective, the difference between the natural and supernatural doesn't matter, as it is unimportant. These are terms that I have to use when debating naturalists. So it would only make sense that naturalists are the ones defining both. The concept of nature vs. supernature is only necessary in apologetics when debating against naturalists. It is not required to understand a single thing about theology or God. Rather, they are words used by naturalists to describe the difference between what they believe themselves to be able to work with and what they believe themselves to not be able to work with.
Correction, from your perspective.  It has nothing to do with being a theist or not, as evidenced by the fact that quite a few theists spent their lives (and even today, a number of them continue to spend their lives) trying to figure out how the natural world works, because they believed that understanding the natural world was beneficial on its own terms.  No, your perspective (and that of a lot of people) is informed by a near-total lack of curiosity.  You're satisfied with what you believe and you want to keep someone who believes differently from coming along and upsetting your applecart.  That's what the whole field of apologetics is about - people who invent reasons for why their beliefs are special and thus shouldn't be questioned, even though they have nothing but a priori logic to 'support' it[2].

Quote from: Spinner198
From a creationists perspective there is no such arbitrary limitation put upon God or the universe in general. We understand the laws of physics and logic apply to things of this universe but not to God in the same way, but that doesn't mean that they are two completely separate and opposite existences.
Then demonstrate this, with evidence.  If you cannot, then you are merely expressing your opinion.  You see, the purpose of using evidence to figure things out is not to try to change reality, but to improve our understanding of it.  It doesn't change the facts or the truth of the matter, but it does help us better discern those facts and that truth.  You seem to be content with what you already believe, and don't apparently care whether it actually matches the facts or the truth of the matter, but only whether you think it does.

Quote from: Spinner198
I should be asking you this question. What do you think makes something natural compared to supernatural and vice versa? Asking me to define the two words would be like asking a creationist to define speciation; something that simply does not exist in a creationist theory of origin or existence.
In other words, you don't believe there's any meaningful difference between the natural and the supernatural - in effect, that it's all some god's doing anyway, so trying to explain any of it is pointless.  Well, I don't really care about that.  Your lack of curiosity won't change the fact that there's lots of things to discover and figure out, and your nattering about nonexistent "a priori pre-suppositions" that scientists have won't make their discoveries any less meaningful.  I find it interesting that you edge around admitting that your beliefs are fundamentally a priori presuppositions, though.  Is there a reason that bothers you?

My feeling is that trying to describe something as supernatural is nothing but an attempt to set it out of bounds for science or human understanding.  It's an attempt to provide an 'answer' in order to keep people from asking questions about it.  That doesn't mean I know whether everything is ultimately going to be explainable or understandable, but I think we have every reason to make the effort to and no reason to try to declare it off-limits by pretending we already have an answer.  I think everything is potentially explainable, but there are things that will keep us from being able to do so.
 1. or any of the other amazing technological marvels that we use in our daily lives
 2. ultimately, this boils down to special pleading

Offline Spinner198

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Re: I'm back again, with a question on origin
« Reply #101 on: January 29, 2014, 09:44:37 PM »
We've been talking about whether or not something that isn't bounded in its behaviour[1] can coexist with a universe that has a definite state without disrupting that state.

Whether or not any similarities between this hypothetical "supernatural" and the naturalistic universe as we know it are relevant to that problem, is not a matter of opinion.  They either are, or are not.

If you can't think of anything relevant[2] then why bring it up?
 1. A god whose nature it is to want to make the natural universe keep going, and to want to do so in a particular way, is bounded in its behaviour.  Such a god is naturalistic.
 2. And if it's relevant to you, but you don't think it'll be to me, then explain why it's relevant to you so that we can get on the same page.  Our minds are not categorically different from each other.
And why does something bound in some way, shape or form somehow automatically make it naturally existing?

Offline Spinner198

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Re: I'm back again, with a question on origin
« Reply #102 on: January 29, 2014, 09:58:54 PM »
I assume this is what you are referring to: "I have a much better question for you.  How can you tell if something isn't caused, since that's evidently necessary to tell that it's supernatural?  In short, how can you possibly tell the difference between something natural and something supernatural?  How do you tell the difference between something that has natural causes and something that has supernatural causes?  And if you can't do that, how can you tell that there is anything supernatural in the first place?  Simply deciding that it must exist because you've defined yourself into a corner doesn't suffice."
There are several things I've brought up; that is one of them.

Quote from: Spinner198
I don't see the necessity to knowing the difference between the natural and the supernatural, or the difference between something that is caused naturally or caused supernaturally. It wouldn't change the facts or the truths.
And this pretty much kills your whole argument right here.  The only way I can think of for someone to be able to say that they don't see the necessity of figuring out whether something's natural or supernatural is because they already believe that it's one or the other, and they don't want any inconvenient evidence getting in the way of that belief.  This is what you claim about scientists (without any real evidence to support such an assertion), but you've shown that is certainly is true for yourself.

I'll tell you what the 'necessity' is.  It's because if something has natural causes, we can learn how to deal with it, even use it.  Knowing that lightning has natural causes and how those natural causes work has led us to some pretty amazing discoveries, one of which allows you to communicate nearly instantly with us on this forum despite the fact that you're miles and miles away, and that's just a single example.  Do you think we would ever have discovered how to use electricity[1] if everyone were like you, lacking the curiosity to care about whether something was natural or supernatural because "it wouldn't change the facts or the truth"?

Quote from: Spinner198
From a theistic perspective, the difference between the natural and supernatural doesn't matter, as it is unimportant. These are terms that I have to use when debating naturalists. So it would only make sense that naturalists are the ones defining both. The concept of nature vs. supernature is only necessary in apologetics when debating against naturalists. It is not required to understand a single thing about theology or God. Rather, they are words used by naturalists to describe the difference between what they believe themselves to be able to work with and what they believe themselves to not be able to work with.
Correction, from your perspective.  It has nothing to do with being a theist or not, as evidenced by the fact that quite a few theists spent their lives (and even today, a number of them continue to spend their lives) trying to figure out how the natural world works, because they believed that understanding the natural world was beneficial on its own terms.  No, your perspective (and that of a lot of people) is informed by a near-total lack of curiosity.  You're satisfied with what you believe and you want to keep someone who believes differently from coming along and upsetting your applecart.  That's what the whole field of apologetics is about - people who invent reasons for why their beliefs are special and thus shouldn't be questioned, even though they have nothing but a priori logic to 'support' it[2].

Quote from: Spinner198
From a creationists perspective there is no such arbitrary limitation put upon God or the universe in general. We understand the laws of physics and logic apply to things of this universe but not to God in the same way, but that doesn't mean that they are two completely separate and opposite existences.
Then demonstrate this, with evidence.  If you cannot, then you are merely expressing your opinion.  You see, the purpose of using evidence to figure things out is not to try to change reality, but to improve our understanding of it.  It doesn't change the facts or the truth of the matter, but it does help us better discern those facts and that truth.  You seem to be content with what you already believe, and don't apparently care whether it actually matches the facts or the truth of the matter, but only whether you think it does.

Quote from: Spinner198
I should be asking you this question. What do you think makes something natural compared to supernatural and vice versa? Asking me to define the two words would be like asking a creationist to define speciation; something that simply does not exist in a creationist theory of origin or existence.
In other words, you don't believe there's any meaningful difference between the natural and the supernatural - in effect, that it's all some god's doing anyway, so trying to explain any of it is pointless.  Well, I don't really care about that.  Your lack of curiosity won't change the fact that there's lots of things to discover and figure out, and your nattering about nonexistent "a priori pre-suppositions" that scientists have won't make their discoveries any less meaningful.  I find it interesting that you edge around admitting that your beliefs are fundamentally a priori presuppositions, though.  Is there a reason that bothers you?

My feeling is that trying to describe something as supernatural is nothing but an attempt to set it out of bounds for science or human understanding.  It's an attempt to provide an 'answer' in order to keep people from asking questions about it.  That doesn't mean I know whether everything is ultimately going to be explainable or understandable, but I think we have every reason to make the effort to and no reason to try to declare it off-limits by pretending we already have an answer.  I think everything is potentially explainable, but there are things that will keep us from being able to do so.
 1. or any of the other amazing technological marvels that we use in our daily lives
 2. ultimately, this boils down to special pleading
I don't really feel like turning this into an exponentially larger growing debate to the point where we are writing books. So I will try to keep my answer short and sweet.

We are obviously viewing the same thing from different perspectives. I have already said I don't see the necessity in explaining the difference between natural and supernatural because I don't believe such a thing matters. You do though. You are reflecting your own beliefs onto me as if I must follow them, even though a definition would do nothing in allowing us to make discoveries in the first place.

If all you feel like doing is limiting my beliefs and opinions by your own arbitrary standards, we aren't going to get anywhere.

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Re: I'm back again, with a question on origin
« Reply #103 on: January 29, 2014, 10:14:12 PM »
And why does something bound in some way, shape or form somehow automatically make it naturally existing?

Becaust that's what defines naturalism:  Operating in a predictable-in-principle (ie. behaviorally-bounded) manner.
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Offline Spinner198

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Re: I'm back again, with a question on origin
« Reply #104 on: January 29, 2014, 10:21:48 PM »
And why does something bound in some way, shape or form somehow automatically make it naturally existing?

Becaust that's what defines naturalism:  Operating in a predictable-in-principle (ie. behaviorally-bounded) manner.
Sounds to me that is just saying that when something acts in accordance to its own nature, that it is therefore acting naturally. Is that what you mean to say?

Online ParkingPlaces

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Re: I'm back again, with a question on origin
« Reply #105 on: January 29, 2014, 10:25:36 PM »
Whether you find a theory or belief valid or not is up to you, not the theory or belief itself.

That goes both ways. Of course opinion does not trump whatever the truth is. But people who guess that they are right based upon what they hope is true are not necessarily more likely to be right.

I don't care if there is a god or not. If he is real, that's fine. If he is not, and billions of people are running around basing their entire lives, and their opinion of mine, on his existence, then something is pretty wrong.

I tend to think that going where information takes us is a better way of figuring out stuff than making up what we want the information to be. I am not making stuff up. Yes, I am trusting that was science say is as accurate as it can be at the present time, but only because it reflects the reality I experience more accurately than other possible explanations.

Fundamentalist christians, for instance, want to believe that people are sometimes bad because of original sin. They have it in their head that people should be perfect, and they aren't, and that is only because A&E went south in the morals department. So we all have to pay. And that makes sense to them.

I simply ask why anyone would ever think humans would all be perfect in the first place and assume that our evolution, unguided by anything except reproductive success, is as capable of making bad guys as it is of making good ones. Discoveries in psychology and sociology seem to bear this out. Whereas look as we might, its real hard to find talking snakes or other foreign influences.

Our world, our universe, is complex. We humans do not have the wherewithal to understand much of it. We are restricted by everything from size and the speed of light to the capacity of our brains and our tools, to learning just so much about this arena we inhabit. We were once to ignorant we couldn't even talk about it. Then we were so ignorant that all we could do was make up thousands of stories to explain it all, and kill each other over our differences. Now we are so ignorant that we can just barely detect the Higgs boson. It may be that someday, after we've found ways to look at the strings in string theory, that we'll find out that they are made of something trillions of times smaller than anything we can detect and our ignorance will reestablish itself in that field.

Even science is going to be influenced by trends, just as the religious and the political and the economic people of the world have their own vogues. But at least science is open to being told it is wrong. Perhaps not 100% of science, but enough to allow for change over time. Something that other areas of interest are often not willing to accept. And the flaws of science, as big as they are, still allow for research and discovery, whereas the flaws of many other endeavors allow for little change. Vested interests are stronger when so much of any given subject is made up and nobody realizes it.

If there is something out there that qualifies as supernatural, it will be science that finds it, not folks whose heads are buried in old books and older ideas. Those people are not interested in discovery. What they want is the same-old, same-old, in spades.

If the term "dark ages" sounds good to you, you're doing it wrong.

Edit: added the occasional comma so as to not drive Nam quite as crazy as usual.
« Last Edit: January 29, 2014, 10:28:23 PM by ParkingPlaces »
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Offline Spinner198

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Re: I'm back again, with a question on origin
« Reply #106 on: January 29, 2014, 10:36:30 PM »
I know truth trumps opinion, but that doesn't mean that somebody is forced to believe the truth over a non-truth.

We both have very different views on how fundamentalist christians act. I know many fundamentalist christians and not a single one believes that humans can behave perfectly.

Creationism does not contradict the majority of science. Macro-evolution, a purely naturalistic origin and the age of the earth are the most hot debated topics and while there might be a few things here or there they aren't as large.

The only dispute between creationism and science are these areas, not science in general.

Online Azdgari

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Re: I'm back again, with a question on origin
« Reply #107 on: January 29, 2014, 10:57:39 PM »
Sounds to me that is just saying that when something acts in accordance to its own nature, that it is therefore acting naturally. Is that what you mean to say?

If it has a nature, and that nature interacts coherently and harmoniously with our naturalistic universe's...nature, then both are natural and "nature" is broader and more grand than it appeared.

EDIT:  Typo, "coverently" -> "coherently"
« Last Edit: January 29, 2014, 11:13:28 PM by Azdgari »
The highest moral human authority is copied by our Gandhi neurons through observation.

Offline Spinner198

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Re: I'm back again, with a question on origin
« Reply #108 on: January 29, 2014, 11:07:11 PM »
Sounds to me that is just saying that when something acts in accordance to its own nature, that it is therefore acting naturally. Is that what you mean to say?

If it has a nature, and that nature interacts coverently and harmoniously with our naturalistic universe's...nature, then both are natural and "nature" is broader and more grand than it appeared.
And if so then what would that mean? It would just be changing the definition of a word, semantics. Would it somehow change the reality itself? No. I guess if you choose to define nature that way, then you could view God as existing naturally. However I don't see why that matters once again. Does that somehow mean God doesn't exist or that he didn't create the universe? Does it somehow mean that heaven wouldn't exist or that we humans didn't have souls?

I could define "natural" as something that 'exists' and then say "Therefore God is naturally occurring." but what does that change other than our own interpretation of the same exact event?
« Last Edit: January 29, 2014, 11:10:13 PM by Spinner198 »

Online Azdgari

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Re: I'm back again, with a question on origin
« Reply #109 on: January 29, 2014, 11:22:05 PM »
And if so then what would that mean? It would just be changing the definition of a word, semantics.

It would mean that we can stop using "it's supernatural" as an excuse to exclude a topic from inquiry.  Folks do that.  A lot.

Would it somehow change the reality itself? No. I guess if you choose to define nature that way, then you could view God as existing naturally. However I don't see why that matters once again. Does that somehow mean God doesn't exist or that he didn't create the universe? Does it somehow mean that heaven wouldn't exist or that we humans didn't have souls?

It means that none of those things are in-principle beyond the scope of the scientific method to detect and determine.  It means that we can't just make stuff up and claim it's both real and "outside the natural universe" or some such nonsense just to dodge questions, as is common from religionists.

I could define "natural" as something that 'exists' and then say "Therefore God is naturally occurring." but what does that change other than our own interpretation of the same exact event?

See above.
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Offline Spinner198

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Re: I'm back again, with a question on origin
« Reply #110 on: January 29, 2014, 11:43:03 PM »
And if so then what would that mean? It would just be changing the definition of a word, semantics.

It would mean that we can stop using "it's supernatural" as an excuse to exclude a topic from inquiry.  Folks do that.  A lot.

Would it somehow change the reality itself? No. I guess if you choose to define nature that way, then you could view God as existing naturally. However I don't see why that matters once again. Does that somehow mean God doesn't exist or that he didn't create the universe? Does it somehow mean that heaven wouldn't exist or that we humans didn't have souls?

It means that none of those things are in-principle beyond the scope of the scientific method to detect and determine.  It means that we can't just make stuff up and claim it's both real and "outside the natural universe" or some such nonsense just to dodge questions, as is common from religionists.

I could define "natural" as something that 'exists' and then say "Therefore God is naturally occurring." but what does that change other than our own interpretation of the same exact event?

See above.
I still don't see how the changing of the definition of a word would change that. If you want to believe that God is able to be discovered and described by science, I don't really have a dispute with that. I still don't know what that changes though.

Online Azdgari

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Re: I'm back again, with a question on origin
« Reply #111 on: January 29, 2014, 11:55:15 PM »
I still don't see how the changing of the definition of a word would change that.

Because it shines light on one's slight of hand when one attempts what I described in my last post.

If you want to believe that God is able to be discovered and described by science, I don't really have a dispute with that. I still don't know what that changes though.

Really, you don't?  It means that theism is no longer strictly a matter of faith.
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Online ParkingPlaces

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Re: I'm back again, with a question on origin
« Reply #112 on: January 30, 2014, 02:20:33 AM »
I know truth trumps opinion, but that doesn't mean that somebody is forced to believe the truth over a non-truth.

We both have very different views on how fundamentalist christians act. I know many fundamentalist christians and not a single one believes that humans can behave perfectly.

We may be talking about two different kinds of fundy's. The ones that show up around here say that the only reason that people are not all warm and fuzzy is because of Adam and Eve and their transgression, which made all of us sinners, and that's the only reason that people do bad things.

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Creationism does not contradict the majority of science. Macro-evolution, a purely naturalistic origin and the age of the earth are the most hot debated topics and while there might be a few things here or there they aren't as large.

The only dispute between creationism and science are these areas, not science in general.

That's cute, but picking and choosing the science you like and the science you don't like based on differing opinions means that unwise choices are being made.

Creationism contradicts genetics and geology, organic and inorganic chemistry, astronomy, physics, paleontology, anatomy, anthropology, botany, zoology, climatology, crystallography, ecology, plate tectonics, linguistics, archaeology, geophysics and hydrology, among others. To pretend that the differences are minor is to take pretense way too far.

No, we do not know how life started. We're working on that. In the mean time, there is good reason to believe that it may be ubiquitous in the universe. Life may be as natural as stones and ice. Again, we don't know that yet, but our instruments will be good enough within the next decade or two to look directly at the new planets that we're finding around other stars, and if there is life there, we should be able to detect it. And if we detect life (even if it is only single celled organisms) elsewhere, then we cease to be as special as we had hoped. No matter how we started.

There is so much evidence for both a 4.5 billion year old earth and evolution it isn't funny. We don't even need fossils to prove evolution. DNA is quite adequate. So those the want to pretend our knowledge is lacking in those two areas first have to redefine voluntary ignorance as genius and solid evidence as fiction, and then pretend they didn't just do that.

We've learned too much in the last few centuries to justify depending on 2-3,000 year old tales for our knowledge. If wild-assed claims don't match reality, there is no need to consider them.





Not everyone is entitled to their own opinion. They're all entitled to mine though.

Offline Ataraxia

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Re: I'm back again, with a question on origin
« Reply #113 on: January 30, 2014, 03:44:37 AM »
The 'natural' world and the 'supernatural' world don't exist separate from one another.

This is irrelevant. Perhaps supernatural stuff is randomly swirling around my head. It's the ability to observe it, test it and predict it's behaviour that matters, but you can't do any of that with the supernatural.

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You are making an assumption that the supernatural is able to do anything...

No, you have said yourself that anything can be evidence for god. That assumption is primarily yours and we just work with what you supply. Please stop projecting.

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....and therefore is always doing everything.

No, based on your assumption, it can be concluded that god can do anything. It's because of this that we can't detect when god has done something, which is quite the opposite.

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You are also assuming that the supernatural world wouldn't be able to control itself to a point where the natural world wouldn't be able to coexist. You are also assuming that the supernatural world does not take constant action to keep the natural world's existence stable in the first place.

Stop trying to turn this around as if this is an assumption made by others, when it is your assumption that is the starting point. We are just highlighting the repercussions of such an assumption. If anything can be evidence of god, then it is beyond our scope of investigation to conclude whether or not god takes constant action to keep nature in existence because god is indistinguishable from random behaviour.
"God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh." - Voltaire

Offline Ataraxia

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Re: I'm back again, with a question on origin
« Reply #114 on: January 30, 2014, 03:59:10 AM »
Unbiased science, no, I never believed unbiased science assumed God didn't exist.

You have a funny way of showing it. Rather than try and make that point, like I have, you've kept jumping on the back of science/scientists with the assumption that they assume god doesn't exist. I thought you'd rather be trying to drive the point home and explain why "unbiased" science doesn't assume that.

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Modern science however, as it is taught in schools and by famous naturalists, does assume such a thing, and that is the science I am referring to. That since science is correct, and our scientific findings 'contradict' a creator, that that must mean God doesn't exist.

Do you have anything you can reference for this?
"God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh." - Voltaire

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: I'm back again, with a question on origin
« Reply #115 on: January 30, 2014, 10:41:06 AM »
I don't really feel like turning this into an exponentially larger growing debate to the point where we are writing books. So I will try to keep my answer short and sweet.
I tend towards writing long posts, but as long as you respond to what I write, I don't have a problem with short responses.

Quote from: Spinner198
We are obviously viewing the same thing from different perspectives. I have already said I don't see the necessity in explaining the difference between natural and supernatural because I don't believe such a thing matters. You do though. You are reflecting your own beliefs onto me as if I must follow them, even though a definition would do nothing in allowing us to make discoveries in the first place.
No, I'm not reflecting my 'beliefs' onto you.  I think it matters, but if you aren't interested in finding out, then there's no reason you should have to.  However, if you're going to engage me, or anyone else who has an active sense of curiosity, in a discussion regarding something like this, then saying, "I don't think it matters, so why bother trying to figure it out" is not going to fly.  In short, if you want other people to take your opinions seriously, then you have to be willing to do the same.  The problem is that you're focused on trying to show that other people's opinions are "a priori pre-suppositions", effectively saying that they're based on preexisting biases, and using that as an excuse to arbitrarily dismiss what they say without so much as considering it.  As far as I can tell, that's the whole reason you started this topic, so you could pigeonhole anything you disagreed with as "not worth considering, because it already dismissed God, therefore I'm dismissing it".  It's like coming in with a chip on your shoulder, then wondering why other people are reacting badly to you.

Quote from: Spinner198
If all you feel like doing is limiting my beliefs and opinions by your own arbitrary standards, we aren't going to get anywhere.
Then why do you keep doing that to other people?  I'm not kidding here; you're doing exactly that with practically every word you type.  For example, you wrote in a previous response, "Asking me to define the two words would be like asking a creationist to define speciation; something that simply does not exist in a creationist theory of origin or existence."  You didn't put that because you were willing to make any serious effort to try to understand what I was trying to get at; you were simply using it as an excuse to avoid having to think about it at all.

I don't doubt that there's some of that coming back at you, but the operative words are "back at you".  Meaning, it's a response to you doing it to other people here.  You don't have any right to complain when you get the same treatment you dish out.