Author Topic: Natural Explanation Vs Magical  (Read 9898 times)

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Offline Foxy Freedom

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #551 on: April 21, 2014, 06:09:54 AM »
Dominic,

You have misunderstood what science is about if you think its purpose is to manipulate reality.

Physics is about energy, forces, and how things work. It does not have fixed assumptions about the universe being matter. We already know that the early universe was not matter and that matter formed later. If you look up the "holographic universe", you can see how the universe can be represented by information on the surface of space. Now you can ask, is this information evidence of a universal consciousness which controls the universe?
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Offline Graybeard

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #552 on: April 21, 2014, 06:57:08 AM »
[...]
Certainly this then makes it difficult to make statements about the nature of reality.  Of course it does.  So what humans have done for convenience is made some assumptions.  These assumptions are convention.  We do not know if they are truth.  The assumptions cannot be tested scientifically.  Is there another way to test the assumptions other than by science?

Can we say that some aspects of reality are obvious?   No.  Very little if anything is obvious.

Yes, yes, yes, this is all very interesting and I hope you have kept a copy of it, but you seem desperately confused by your own use of words.

Reality is that which the majority of us perceive and can be verified. Look on the word reality as convenient definition.

Your next problem is that you use the word "truth" as meaning one thing, whereas, like a lot of English words, it has more than one meaning:

I have explained this somewhere before and now, to my annoyance, can't find it, so here goes again:

Something is said to be true if it is a generality confirmed by observation and is testable: "All dogs have four legs" -> this is a general truth: someone will come along and tell you his dog has only 3 legs following an accident. You will tell him he is an idiot but then someone else will come along and tell you of a dog born with 6 legs. Nevertheless, the statement is generally true.

Something is said to be true if it is a definition (usually a short statement with the verb "to be"): "Dogs are mammals." -> this is our present truth. It may be that in a hundred years, we find out that the DNA of dogs means that they are in fact an advanced species of reptile and the truth will alter.

However, neither of these are "the absolute TRUTH" (I am using capitals to distinguish, not to shout.) The TRUTH is unalterable for all time and in all circumstances. This does not exist other than as a concept for use in such arguments as the one I am now writing.

We are restricted in our certainty by a whole army of factors, the least of which is that we do not know everything, and never will.

Now let us move to the word "reality" but first a word from Dr. Johnson, the lexicographer: "I do not have to be a carpenter to tell you that the table is wobbling." this is true, but not TRUE.

Reality can only be subjective as we are equipped with a brain that, to all of us, is individual. However, what we do to firm up the definition is to use heuristics: we take the sum of those who agree on what is "real" (e.g. what things are really like and what they really do and how they really work) and use this as a definition.

Thus, although to the schizophrenic, the voices are real, we know they are not and say that they "have lost touch with "reality"."

Now you may ask, "Are the majority always right?" and I will reply,
"Did you not read what I have just written? Yes, they are from their point of view and if they, in vast numbers, perceive X the same way, then that is, by definition, reality."

And before you ask, reality is not the same as "opinion.""

The method that you use to derail the thread and prevent yourself from being shown to be wrong, is characterised by "Oh we can know nothing for certain!" Well, in this world it doesn't matter. We are all grown up and most of us understand what "true" and "real" mean and we use them as any normal native speaker would.

The fact that it has taken you quite a while to discover that the request to "define your terms" can rarely be met other than by an a priori assumption, does not mean that we cannot accept something to be real and/or true. If the facts change then so will the truth.

To put a stop to your drivel-filled, pointless posts, "If there were no a priori assumption about the meaning of your words, then nobody could communicate, but we do. Your agreement upon this matter confirms that a priori assumptions can (not must) be valid regardless of why they are valid.

 

« Last Edit: April 21, 2014, 07:00:29 AM by Graybeard »
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Offline Dominic

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #553 on: April 21, 2014, 07:27:14 AM »
Dominic,

We have surely gone on enough with this side track. Please post a brief summary of your position in the hope we can understand it. Simple points, not long paragraphs.

Thanks

Science excludes purpose as an explanation of anything.

If science was to include purpose then repeatable testing (verification) could be made impossible because (for example) a test subject may have the purpose of invalidating the test.

Therefore if such things as emotions, desires, will and consciousness include an aspect of purpose they are outside the scope of science.

If purpose exists then science cannot encompass all of reality and models external to science are required in order to explain and describe purposeful activity.

Religions propose models of reality that do address purpose and thus address such things as feelings, emotions, desires and will.

Since science excludes purpose, science is not equipped to assess any claims relating to purpose.

[Some people, in order to try and maintain the supremacy of science, will claim that purpose and free will are only apparent but are in fact fictitious.  This viewpoint forms a part of what is known as scientism.  As far as I am aware most atheists do not subscribe to this view.]


Offline eh!

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #554 on: April 21, 2014, 07:55:04 AM »
I think religous belief and notions of purpose are covered by behavioural science.
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Offline screwtape

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #555 on: April 21, 2014, 09:11:30 AM »
Just a reminder, the whole dream question came up because of this post:
http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,26542.msg610793.html#msg610793

Biblegod 'spoke' the universe into existence apparently. His spoken word, without any assistance of technology, was enough to create a universe.
How is this not a claim of magic being used?

Even if it was meant to be taken literally, it can't be. Where's this immaterial being's mouth, larynx and respiratory system? Where has this immaterial atmosphere suddenly popped up from?

It also makes me face-palm when I hear the straw man argument that "something can't come from nothing", but yet it is perfectly logical to believe that "alakazam" can cause something from nothing.

When we dream we can feel and see our limbs, speak, touch, walk and lots more.  Where is the mouth, larynx and respiratory system ?   

You are coming from a materialist mindset which is very understandable because we have been taught that from birth.

Matter giving rise to thought and experience is only one possible framework.  Consciousness experiencing and manifesting as matter and worlds is another possible framework.   We already know that we do this when we dream.

So dreams were not meant to be anything other than (in my opinion) a distration from the question at hand: if god is immaterial, how did he "speak" the universe into being?  Dominic's answer was, "you speak in dreams, don't you?" 

It was a highly successful dodge. 

Let us grant for a moment that if we were in a dream we could not know otherwise.  What now?  In what way does that make speaking a universe into reality not magic?
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Offline jdawg70

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #556 on: April 21, 2014, 09:28:44 AM »
Let us grant for a moment that if we were in a dream we could not know otherwise.
Presumably, if this is all a shared dream experience, then what are we dreaming about?

If there is no external reality that we are dreaming about, then in what way is this shared 'dream' any different from reality?

What difference does it make if we call our shared experience dream, reality, magodushi, blarsperk, or *&^#(%#^#*?

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What now?
That's a good question.  Perhaps we do our best to ensure that we don't wake up from the dream:
http://creepypasta.wikia.com/wiki/Wake_Up
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Offline screwtape

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #557 on: April 21, 2014, 09:42:08 AM »
Let us grant for a moment that if we were in a dream we could not know otherwise.
Presumably, if this is all a shared dream experience,

Why would it be a shared dream experience?  If you are dreaming, I am a part of your dream - a projection of your mind.  I do not necessarily exist as an actual person, let alone one who is having an shared, interactive dream with you.  Even if I do exist, I could be having my own dream, in which jdawg does not exist.  Or I might just be awake and at work, not dreaming at all...

And all this is completely besides the point.  Dominic's original point was an attempt to explain or contradict Atartaxia's question as to how an immaterial god is supposed to speak.

Granting that you have dreams and there are periods when you are dreaming that you cannot tell you are dreaming, so what? 
In what way does that explain how an immaterial god spoke the universe into existence?
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Online wheels5894

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #558 on: April 21, 2014, 10:09:43 AM »
A quick guess - there is a problem with any sort of consciousness (sort of important for doing creation)  existing in the absence of a brain to produce it. Here on earth, in our limited way, we only know of consciousness as a affect of the operation of our brains - we know of nothing else. Yet we are asked to accept that a god that is entirely immaterial could exist and could create at entire universe!
The only way to categories such an idea is madness... or perhaps stupidity or, better still religion.

All this dreams stuff almost sounds the the Dream-Time of the native Australians but that is also religion....
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Offline median

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #559 on: April 21, 2014, 11:36:05 AM »
One thing I am trying to demonstrate is that the primacy of consciousness worldview is at least equally valid to the primacy of matter paradigm.

But you aren't accomplishing your goal because all you are doing is attempting to define consciousness as some spooky hocus pocus "non-physical" stuff - when in fact all of the evidence we have (both empirical and rational) demonstrates that minds are the products of physical substrates. This "primacy of consciousness" argument is just a repacked version of substance dualism based upon another argument from ignorance (i.e. - you can't possibly see how consciousness can be sufficiently described as the product of physical brains, therefore consciousness must be some "immaterial" thing). Have you not read Plato and Descartes? These are really old arguments that have been addressed. Their philosophical difficulties have not been overcome.

I have explained why evidence is impossible when choosing whether matter or consciousness has primacy.  Most of you believe that the primacy of matter is obvious or self evident but it is not.  You are mistaken if you think that.  This is not dogma.  I have shown this by asking how it can be demonstrated that we are not dreaming.  For this question science is unavailable.

There has been no sufficient evidence or sound reason given for thinking that there is anything "non-physical". So all of these attempts you are making have not worked because the evidence demonstrates the opposite of your arguments.

But the same point can even be demonstrated in scientific terms (even though science is unreliable if we are in a dream!).  Imagine that we are cells in the human body.  We have various detection methods which tell us bits about our environment.  Do we then know what the world/universe/reality is like ?  No.  We only know what is being reported through available sense detection.  We have very little knowledge about the fullness of physical reality (let alone anything outside of the physical).

This is the age old "brain in a vat" philosophical problem (like the Matrix movie), and as I mentioned before it is just another version of the problem of hard solipsism. As I mentioned above though, the problem with your position is that you think your "immaterial stuff" or "primacy of [immaterial] consciousness" is equally viable when in fact you have neither demonstrated that, nor have you even attempted to make a case for defining consciousness as some immaterial "soul" thing - or whatever. So, like the term "God", we have good reason for being skeptical about whether or not such terms actually have referents. Thus far, I have been presented with no sound argument or evidence that demonstrates that any of those terms refer to anything real or actual. They are just nonsense words that explain nothing. They are just fillers for ignorance.

Have you read Bertrand Russell on The Problems of Philosophy? It is irrelevant as to whether or not we have some absolute knowledge of "objective reality", first because such a term needs to be defined (not all philosophers agree upon what "reality" actual consists of), and second because science does not deal with that question. It deals with phenomenological  epistemology (the demonstrable realm, regardless of whether some "other" reality exists that we don't yet know).

Why then can we assume that we know the universe at the body level any better than we can at the cell level?   We are just one more level 'up' from cells.  We have no idea about other levels outside of our current senses.  We are not justified in assuming that our bodily senses provide us with accurate or complete knowledge about absolute physical reality or about a reality which is wider than the physical.

100% Irrelevant.

Certainly this then makes it difficult to make statements about the nature of reality.  Of course it does.  So what humans have done for convenience is made some assumptions.  These assumptions are convention.  We do not know if they are truth.  The assumptions cannot be tested scientifically.  Is there another way to test the assumptions other than by science?

Fallacy of red herring, once again (and no we have NOT made any hard-line assumptions about the nature of reality - as you are implying). So too, you are using terms like "truth" and failing to define how in which you are using those terms. It sounds like you're using that term to mean "absolute certainty" again, and that is irrelevant to the discussion. We have the tools of reason and evidence and those are enough. If you don't like being a human with those limitations, tough. That's what we have to work with and those are the tools that have been demonstrated as the most reliable for separating fact from fiction. I think you're trouble is you want to go beyond the evidence because you just can't stand to accept that this physical life is perhaps all you will have.

Does our model provide us with knowledge about anything that is non physical ?  It might give us some hints but it is a physical model.  It is not designed to deal with anything that is non physical.

Does our model rule out a non physical reality ?  No, it only addresses the physical.

You keep using these terms that have no meaning. Please define, in positive and logically coherent terms what "non-physical" even means. Where is its referent?

- Science is a useful model related to one aspect of reality - the physical.  It's 'truth' is pragmatic ie useful not absolute.  Absolute truth is not addressed by science.  Science does not provide absolute truth.

"Absolute truth" is a red-herring. Please do your philosophy homework. One aspect? Please demonstrate some other "aspect" that is not physical or the product of something physical/energetic.

- Different self consistent and pragmatic models of aspects of reality can co-exist and be equally valid.  These models could contradict other models while maintaining self consistency and usefulness.

"Self consistency" does not in any way, shape or form, demonstrate the truth value of a claim or a set of claims. You should know this. Further, how is positing magic at all "pragmatic" or "valid"?? These are just assertions of yours based in incredulity.

- The scientific model cannot be used to assess the truth of other models since the basis of each pragmatic model is simply usefulness and self consistency as it is with the scientific model.

The scientific model includes the use of logic reason and evidence. You have yet to attempt to demonstrate some other "model" which is reliable for separating fact from fiction. You just keep making assertions that there is this "model". Quite a few people here have asked you to present this new model. You have yet to do so.

- Models concerning non physical reality may have little or nothing in common with the science model and yet be internally consistent and useful.

For once we agree! Yes, the postulation of "non-physical reality" has nothing in common with science because it is...FICTION, and has been demonstrated as such all throughout human history (aka - the "supernatural" explanation has always failed). It is an invention of the human mind - via the attempt to explain a particular mystery with an even bigger mystery (aka - an argument from ignorance). And, as was stated before, internal consistency and "usefulness" have absolutely no bearing on whether or not a particular assertion (or set of assertions) accurately maps to what is real.

Muslims argue that they have internal consistency and usefulness (just like you do) and will spin, rationalize, and argue all day long with anyone who disagrees because they have too much to lose. They have started with their conclusion (like all religion does) and are attempting to work backwards, instead of practicing skepticism consistently.
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Offline jdawg70

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #560 on: April 21, 2014, 12:25:33 PM »
Presumably, if this is all a shared dream experience,

Why would it be a shared dream experience?  If you are dreaming, I am a part of your dream - a projection of your mind.  I do not necessarily exist as an actual person, let alone one who is having an shared, interactive dream with you.  Even if I do exist, I could be having my own dream, in which jdawg does not exist.  Or I might just be awake and at work, not dreaming at all...
Good call.  I don't have a basis for saying that this is a shared dream experience.  But I think Dominic's view requires it.

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And all this is completely besides the point.  Dominic's original point was an attempt to explain or contradict Atartaxia's question as to how an immaterial god is supposed to speak.

Granting that you have dreams and there are periods when you are dreaming that you cannot tell you are dreaming, so what? 
In what way does that explain how an immaterial god spoke the universe into existence?
I don't think this is completely beside the point.  I think my questions eliminate the possibility that we are the dreamers experiencing the dream.  I think that this forces Dominic's response to be that essentially, at the end of the day, reality is basically god dreaming.  That god 'dreamed himself' with a mouth to speak, with air to vibrate, yadayadayada, which, in god's dream, 'created' all this other in-dream crap, which includes us.

And I think that forces Dominic to think about what he actually means by the word 'dream', and hopefully gets him to drop the analogy.  Because, Dominic, you're stripping so much away from the words 'dream' and 'reality' that they are useless in the conversations that are being had here.
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Offline Dominic

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #561 on: April 21, 2014, 12:28:57 PM »
Just a reminder, the whole dream question came up because of this post:
http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,26542.msg610793.html#msg610793

Biblegod 'spoke' the universe into existence apparently. His spoken word, without any assistance of technology, was enough to create a universe.
How is this not a claim of magic being used?

Even if it was meant to be taken literally, it can't be. Where's this immaterial being's mouth, larynx and respiratory system? Where has this immaterial atmosphere suddenly popped up from?

It also makes me face-palm when I hear the straw man argument that "something can't come from nothing", but yet it is perfectly logical to believe that "alakazam" can cause something from nothing.

When we dream we can feel and see our limbs, speak, touch, walk and lots more.  Where is the mouth, larynx and respiratory system ?   

You are coming from a materialist mindset which is very understandable because we have been taught that from birth.

Matter giving rise to thought and experience is only one possible framework.  Consciousness experiencing and manifesting as matter and worlds is another possible framework.   We already know that we do this when we dream.

So dreams were not meant to be anything other than (in my opinion) a distration from the question at hand: if god is immaterial, how did he "speak" the universe into being?  Dominic's answer was, "you speak in dreams, don't you?" 

It was a highly successful dodge. 

Let us grant for a moment that if we were in a dream we could not know otherwise.  What now?  In what way does that make speaking a universe into reality not magic?


Ataraxia simply presumes that a larynx, mouth and respiratory system must be a physical (material) manifestation before a word can be spoken.  He simply presumes the nature of reality is of a particular type but that is in fact what this whole discussion is about.

Religions claim that a spiritual nature of reality is fundamental and that the material (physical) aspect of reality is secondary.

Material science presumes that physical reality is fundamental and that (say) consciousness, thoughts, emotions are then a secondary manifestation of the physical.

So ultimately the OP 'natural vs magical' is about these two worldviews and whether the spiritual is in any way valid (mockingly called 'magical' in the OP).

We cannot just presume one of these two is true.  Or if we do then the conversation ends by that dogmatic assumption.


Online wheels5894

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #562 on: April 21, 2014, 12:54:44 PM »
The very fact that you are in this conversation. Dominic, is demonstration that material science, which means all science in this case, has so accurately modelled the world that have been able to send messages across the world. I'm in the UK (Scotland) you, Dominic are probably far away yet our messages carry the distance. It is the same for landing spaceships on other planets and our medicine. Whether the underlying assumptions are really right or not, it works which suggests that they probably are.

Religion, on the other hand, makes assertions, gives no evidence and requires faith (that's belief without evidence). I am yet to see it shown that any gods have ever existed for example and, since you are keen to stick with the idea on supernatural things, I have yet to see any reason why I should accept anything supernatural - ghosts or gods.

To proceed you are going to have to come up with evidence - the evidence I asked for before but you ignored. Why should I accept that the material universe, which we know a lot about and which we are able to use, is not only primary but the only thing there is? Gove me one piece of hard evidence for that.
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Offline Ataraxia

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #563 on: April 21, 2014, 12:59:03 PM »
Ataraxia simply presumes that a larynx, mouth and respiratory system must be a physical (material) manifestation before a word can be spoken.  He simply presumes the nature of reality is of a particular type but that is in fact what this whole discussion is about.

BUZZ! Wrong! I don't presume they are physical manifestations, I am simply stating that speech is defined as a physical act. Going off down your route of, "well, we can dream about speaking" means 1) that we are all part of god's dream, 2) that you are assuming a priori that dreaming is not physical or an emergent property of the physical and 3) that in fact, any act we see as physical can be dreamt, and therefore you render the "speaking" concept invalid because you can replace it with anything. Why doesn't the Bible just state that god had a nice big poo, and voila - creation?

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Religions claim that a spiritual nature of reality is fundamental and that the material (physical) aspect of reality is secondary.

Yes, religions invoke something for which there is no evidence for and no methodology for gaining or testing any evidence. This is why you're on a loser, because you are behind materialism when it comes to actually presenting evidence for its existence. This is not something trivial....

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Material science presumes that physical reality is fundamental and that (say) consciousness, thoughts, emotions are then a secondary manifestation of the physical.

You ain't got a scooby what science "presumes", because it presumes no such thing. You are conflating philosophical materialism with methodological materialism. Based on what we can actually observe, we only see a consciousness exist when attached to something physical. We have not observed one instance of a consciousness existing without one - as if it was floating about in thin air like a will o' the wisp.

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So ultimately the OP 'natural vs magical' is about these two worldviews and whether the spiritual is in any way valid (mockingly called 'magical' in the OP).

It's not mockingly called magical. If people like yourself actually got off your fucking backsides for once and bothered to distinguish the difference between spiritual and magical, then you wouldn't see such "mockery" and you might get off the starting blocks to giving it some validity.

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We cannot just presume one of these two is true.  Or if we do then the conversation ends by that dogmatic assumption.

No, we can't, but we can at least start by demonstrating they exist. Will you be doing any time soon?
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Offline median

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #564 on: April 21, 2014, 01:29:44 PM »

Religions claim that a spiritual nature of reality is fundamental and that the material (physical) aspect of reality is secondary.

Material science presumes that physical reality is fundamental and that (say) consciousness, thoughts, emotions are then a secondary manifestation of the physical.

So ultimately the OP 'natural vs magical' is about these two worldviews and whether the spiritual is in any way valid (mockingly called 'magical' in the OP).

We cannot just presume one of these two is true.  Or if we do then the conversation ends by that dogmatic assumption.

Yes, that's right. Religions CLAIM that some alleged "spiritual" thing is "the essence" of reality. And they do so in total ignorance, credulity, and absurdity because that word has no meaning and refers to nothing that has ever been demonstrated (in any way shape or form) as anything real or actual.

What is "spiritual"? What does this term even mean?

PREVIOUS ATTEMPTS BY THEISTS:

1) A disembodied mind (WTF is that and how can you demonstrate it is real?)
2) A non-physical person (Again, WTF is that? What are you even talking about? Have you ever demonstrated such a thing is real?)
3) The non-physical part of a person (And the same question applies here. What are you even talking about? Where is the referent and or use?)
4) The immaterial essence of something (Huh? What-the-hell-are-you-even talking about?? Please give a coherent definition in positive terms)

Again, words like "spiritual" and "God" are superstition words with no referents or coherent definitions (similar to words like "jins", "demon", or "oracle"). If you disagree then please meet the challenge by providing a coherent positive definition.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2014, 01:33:49 PM by median »
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Offline median

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #565 on: April 21, 2014, 01:47:42 PM »
As a side note, here's a recent and perfect reference to exemplify the double standard being practiced by theists.

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2014/04/21/305495936/teen-survives-flight-to-hawaii-in-jets-wheel-well-fbi-says



A 16 old boy recently ran away from his home stowing away in the wheel well of Boeiing 767 (outside the plane) on it's way to Hawaii. The boy survived below freezing temperatures (as low as -40 degrees) and near zero oxygen levels (flying above 38,000 feet) for over 5 hours. Now, should we attempt to explain this situation (like the gullible Greeks would have) by appealing to "God [supernatural] did it", or should we use the tools of logic, reason, and evidence that have served our explanatory understandings of the world for so long? I think the answer is quite clear, and this is why supernatural explanations are neither applicable nor meaningful. This would be the case in EITHER view unless we actually had the alleged "supernatural agent" to examine and/or accurate explain things. It would also violate Occam's Razor to assert a supernatural explanation b/c such an attempt makes unnecessary assumptions that are not needed to explain such a rare event. The case and point is that when we do not have a sufficient explanation for something, we should admit instead of appealing to magic because that doesn't explain anything.


"No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such a kind, that its falsehood would be more miraculous than the fact which it endeavors to establish."
David Hume
« Last Edit: April 21, 2014, 01:55:52 PM by median »
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Online Hatter23

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #566 on: April 21, 2014, 02:52:15 PM »

It's not mockingly called magical. If people like yourself actually got off your fucking backsides for once and bothered to distinguish the difference between spiritual and magical, then you wouldn't see such "mockery" and you might get off the starting blocks to giving it some validity.

It is mockery, yes. It is also factual.


Quote
mag·ic
/?majik/

noun
noun: magic

the power of apparently influencing the course of events by using mysterious or supernatural forces.
"do you believe in magic?"

adjective

adjective: magic

used in magic or working by magic; having or apparently having supernatural powers.
"a magic wand"


synonyms: supernatural, enchanted, occult


what is spiritual but supernatural forces?
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Offline screwtape

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #567 on: April 21, 2014, 03:19:53 PM »
Ataraxia simply presumes that a larynx, mouth and respiratory system must be a physical (material) manifestation before a word can be spoken. 

I will leave it to me him to answer whether he presumes that or not.  But I will say this: If a physical apparatus is unnecessary, you have some heavy duty explaining to do. Simply waving our hand and saying we cannot presume this or that does not cut it.  If you have no explanation, no good reason to see it otherwise, then we have to take the plain meaning.

Religions claim that a spiritual nature of reality is fundamental and that the material (physical) aspect of reality is secondary.

They do.  And they do an absolute shit job of establishing the existence of a spiritual nature.  It is a "can't prove it isn't so" kind of deal, which is absolutely useless, not to mention juvenile.  Sure, there may be a spiritual nature.  And I have a mystical bat that flies around a gives people sexy thoughts and occasionally makes street lights go out when I near them. Prove it doesn't. 

These kind o stupid arguments irritate the shit out of me anymore.

Material science presumes that physical reality is fundamental and that (say) consciousness, thoughts, emotions are then a secondary manifestation of the physical.

They do, and they do a pretty decent job making the case.

We cannot just presume one of these two is true.  Or if we do then the conversation ends by that dogmatic assumption.

I think we have to.  Since you and your ilk have no conceiveable way to establish that there even is a spiritual, pretty much as you define it, you are completely up shit creek.  Add to that the fact that your spiritual idea adds nothing to explaining anything (at best) or leads to suicidal nihilism (at worst), you are up shit creek without even a boat. 

When you are in a dream, the only thing you can do is assume it's real and hope to wake up before it gets too weird. And let's face it, you don't behave as if you are in a dream.  You don't try to fly by jumping off buildings.  You don't let someone stab you because you think the knife will pass through you like mist.  You anticipate reality playing out in the exact same way as we do.  So by your actions, even you regard all this "spiritual" bullshit as irrelevant.  It's just entertaining talk.  Fanciful ideas you find beautiful. 


Now, I suggest either coming up with something concrete regarding how we can know, or let it go.  Because you are spinning your wheels, man.

« Last Edit: April 22, 2014, 01:08:08 PM by screwtape »
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Offline Foxy Freedom

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #568 on: April 21, 2014, 08:43:32 PM »
Science excludes purpose as an explanation of anything.

If science was to include purpose then repeatable testing (verification) could be made impossible because (for example) a test subject may have the purpose of invalidating the test.

Therefore if such things as emotions, desires, will and consciousness include an aspect of purpose they are outside the scope of science.

If purpose exists then science cannot encompass all of reality and models external to science are required in order to explain and describe purposeful activity.

Religions propose models of reality that do address purpose and thus address such things as feelings, emotions, desires and will.

Since science excludes purpose, science is not equipped to assess any claims relating to purpose.

[Some people, in order to try and maintain the supremacy of science, will claim that purpose and free will are only apparent but are in fact fictitious.  This viewpoint forms a part of what is known as scientism.  As far as I am aware most atheists do not subscribe to this view.]

You know very well that a non-causal universe, which you subscribe to, cannot have a purpose. You are just having a mental block because your beliefs are threatened.

If you want to continue with this dogmatic charade about how little everyone else knows or how little everyone else is able to accomplish with science, just prove that your universal consciousness exists and has a purpose.
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Offline median

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #569 on: April 22, 2014, 12:18:42 AM »

Science excludes purpose as an explanation of anything.

If science was to include purpose then repeatable testing (verification) could be made impossible because (for example) a test subject may have the purpose of invalidating the test.

Therefore if such things as emotions, desires, will and consciousness include an aspect of purpose they are outside the scope of science.

If purpose exists then science cannot encompass all of reality and models external to science are required in order to explain and describe purposeful activity.

Religions propose models of reality that do address purpose and thus address such things as feelings, emotions, desires and will.

Since science excludes purpose, science is not equipped to assess any claims relating to purpose.

[Some people, in order to try and maintain the supremacy of science, will claim that purpose and free will are only apparent but are in fact fictitious.  This viewpoint forms a part of what is known as scientism.  As far as I am aware most atheists do not subscribe to this view.]

No, science does not always exclude purpose as an explanation. We have forensic science which specifically looks for human intention. There are other sciences, such as archaeology, that look in this direction as well - discovering human purpose and its expression in varying forms. However, we contrast purpose (i.e. - design) with nature. Otherwise, you have no distinction and the question is meaningless. Is this what you believe?
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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #570 on: April 22, 2014, 02:07:05 AM »
Religions claim that a spiritual nature of reality is fundamental and that the material (physical) aspect of reality is secondary.

Material science presumes that physical reality is fundamental and that (say) consciousness, thoughts, emotions are then a secondary manifestation of the physical.

And d'you know what's amusing about this?..... That those who claim that a spiritual nature is what is fundemental always surrender to materialism in order to convey and articulate that the spiritual is fundemental. Why aren't people like you doing this on a spiritual level?
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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #571 on: April 22, 2014, 02:19:34 AM »
Affect me somehow on an unambiguous spiritual level.
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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #572 on: April 22, 2014, 03:21:38 AM »
Affect me somehow on an unambiguous spiritual level.

Hey, you're on to something here, Eh!

So, Dominic, send us all here a message via spiritual means - the same message - and we will compare notes on the forum afterwards. If you succeed, you will have proved some of your claims.

Let us know when you are starting...
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #573 on: April 22, 2014, 08:12:24 AM »
Material science presumes that physical reality is fundamental and that (say) consciousness, thoughts, emotions are then a secondary manifestation of the physical.

So ultimately the OP 'natural vs magical' is about these two worldviews and whether the spiritual is in any way valid (mockingly called 'magical' in the OP).

We cannot just presume one of these two is true.  Or if we do then the conversation ends by that dogmatic assumption.

Donimic is definitely channeling Skeppo.

Quote
Material science presumes that physical reality is fundamental and that (say) consciousness, thoughts, emotions are then a secondary manifestation of the physical.

Material science would presume that, because it can only investigate things which are investigateable.

Quote
We cannot just presume one of these two is true.  Or if we do then the conversation ends by that dogmatic assumption.

The conversation ends much more abruptly when you presume that nothing is worth saying, or investigating.
Humans, in general, don't waste any opportunity to be unfathomably stupid - Dr Cynical.

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #574 on: April 22, 2014, 08:20:21 AM »
This week's New Scientist carries and article by Max Tegmark, Professor of Physics at MIT. Apart from starting to come up with a way of thinking about consciousness that is wholly  physical in its view, he mentions some work done by some researchers who came up with a consciousness index and, using EEG after magnetic stimulation of the the brains of subjects, could indicate if the person was conscious or not. During REM sleep the index was higher indicating that they were partly conscious but during normal sleep they were clearly unconscious.

Interestingly this has been tried on people with locked-in syndrome or vegetative state and were able to establish that some patients were conscious even though they lacked any muscle control to indicate such.

Consciousness is moving towards an explanation that does not need anything other than matter. This raises the question, for people like Dominic, as to exactly how a non-material thing might be conscious?
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline screwtape

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #575 on: April 22, 2014, 08:41:20 AM »
This raises the question, for people like Dominic, as to exactly how a non-material thing might be conscious?

It is because they do not understand what consciousness is at all.  Which is understandable.  Even experts don't understand it all that well.  But the ironic thing is that "spiritualists" like Dominic suddenly flip to being "sensuists"[1], which I would say is the epitome of materialism.  They think they know what consciousness is because they feel it.  But your feelings/ senses are material in nature! 

I totally get not understanding it.  I have a hard time comprehending how my computer produces Star Wars Battlefront by manipulating high and low voltage switches.  It's crazy.

 1. not the sexy kind, the kind related to stimulation of the senses
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Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #576 on: April 22, 2014, 09:09:28 AM »
Looking at Dominic's post yesterday morning, it seems to me that he's he's made a seriously bad assumption of his own.  Yes, it's true that what we can perceive of reality is very limited, but it at least gives us a starting point.  His bad assumption is that we have assumed certain things about reality in order to get anywhere with science, when in fact we have not.  The only thing that we need to assume with science is that there is a shared reality of some kind that we can experience; we do not need to assume that matter (or for that matter consciousness) has some sort of primacy.  Instead, we just use those experiences to discover things and to draw conclusions about the shared reality we all experience.

Whether we live in a matter-based universe, a shared dream, a computer simulation or hologram, or something else, the fact is that it is a shared reality that we can jointly experience, and thus science is useful.  By comparison, his belief (that something is 'ultimately' responsible for creating the universe, the "uncaused cause") is no more verifiable than any of the other possible explanations.  Indeed, it is actually less verifiable than most other explanations, since this something apparently does not act in the world at large - meaning if it does act, it acts in such a way as to be effectively indistinguishable from non-action.

He is also making a logical mistake, specifically in assuming that logic is any more useful in comprehending this something than anything else.  Logic operates on a similar principle as science; it takes things as axiomatically true that you cannot verify using logic.  The axiomatic assumptions made in order to come to a logical conclusion are not themselves logical, just as the assumption made so that science can be useful is not itself scientific.  When you add that to logic's known weakness, that it is no more valid than the premise it is based on, logic becomes a very week reed to base any conclusions on.

In short, he must come up with something other than logical conclusions in order to make any headway for his beliefs.  He must do more than argue that his beliefs might be possible, while trying to undercut any basis for challenging him (with science, or possibly other things).  He must support his beliefs with evidence that shows that they are the way things actually are, because the mere fact that something is possible does not mean that it exists.

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #577 on: April 22, 2014, 09:30:21 AM »
What you are describing here, Jaime, is the problem of philosophical, logical arguments that can end is there being a necessary being for example without the need to 'look out of the window' so to speak and see if one can be found, compared with the rigorous study and testing that goes into the smallest bit of science.

As an example, on might take gravity, The earliest people - the whole of the living world actually - have to be aware of gravity and its effects to continue living. Cave men didn't do science per se but they knew enough what happened if one jumped from too high a place. Sure we are more advanced than them but they understood the idea anyway. Compare that with shamans coming up with weird ideas of god, demons, zombies and we have the contrast.

Today we have our so much greater pool of knowledge about the universe and we are closer than ever to seeing how the brain works and even what consciousness is when Dominic and, I think, Skeptic come along and tell us that there is a consciousness out there that doesn't have a brain and, in fact, is immaterial. Maybe logic could get you there but we have yet to understand or see evidence that any of this s real.
No testimony is sufficient to establish a miracle, unless the testimony be of such that its falshood would be more miraculous than the facts it endeavours to establish. (David Hume)

Offline jaimehlers

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #578 on: April 22, 2014, 09:59:18 AM »
In short, I'll believe that there is such a "necessary being" when someone shows me evidence that it exists.

Logic is good for many things, but one thing it is not good for is proving that things actually exist.

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Re: Natural Explanation Vs Magical
« Reply #579 on: April 22, 2014, 10:29:36 AM »
In short, I'll believe that there is such a "necessary being" when someone shows me evidence that it exists.

Logic is good for many things, but one thing it is not good for is proving that things actually exist.

In the Russell/Copelston debate it gets really interesting when Russell points out Copelstons fallacy regarding a "necessary being". Every man has a mother, therefore the whole universe has a mother? No. Russell, and likewise most of us here, can see the terrible logic in assuming that because things in temporal experience (for us) are contingent that therefore there must be a "being" that is non-contingent. Physical/energetic reality itself might very well be non-contingent! But since such discussions strain at the limits of human knowledge (aka - "We don't know!") the better approach is to admit ignorance, but theists are very uncomfortable admitting their own ignorance, aren't they? This is because they started with their theological assumptions and are now attempting to work in backwards fashion, filtering all evidence through that assumption.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2014, 10:32:19 AM by median »
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