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jaimehlers



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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
Changed Change Reason Date
SevenPatch Excellent points! January 29, 2014, 10:30:33 PM