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Supernatural philosophy/natural philosophy

Discussion in 'Philosophy' started by windy35, Sep 11, 2012.

  1. windy35

    windy35 Newbie

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    It seems like supernatural philosophy conflicts with natural philosophy. I cannot seem to make the two go together, or maybe the two don't go together. Any suggestions on this.
     
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  2. Paradoxum

    Paradoxum Liberty, Equality, Solidarity!

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    What are supernatural philosophy and natural philosophy?
     
  3. GrowingSmaller

    GrowingSmaller Muslm Humanist

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    Today i eat crisps. Tomorrow i eat dragons in disguise. One is observation based the other a priori synthetic. I think there are more than one possible world and gnosis is limited. We have freedom to believe and to enjoy or suffer the feedback. O think occams razor is ok for scientists if they see fit but i think positing an absence still involves metaphysical labour. So the judt a ctisp cognition is itself a supernatural attitude of dragon defiance.
     
  4. sandwiches

    sandwiches Mas sabe el diablo por viejo que por diablo.

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    Are we still arguing that we can't dismiss the idea of the supernatural even though no one has yet come forward to explain it, define it, describe it, or tell us how it differs from the natural?
     
  5. Eudaimonist

    Eudaimonist I believe in life before death!

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    The two don't go together. You'll need to either drop one of the two, or find some way to take good insights from one and recraft them to fit inside of the other.


    eudaimonia,

    Mark
     
  6. Eight Foot Manchild

    Eight Foot Manchild His Supreme Holy Correctfulness

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    Or, most importantly, how it causally integrates with the natural world.

    As it stands, 'supernatural' is a vacuous buzzword. It is functionally equivalent to 'nothing', or at the very best, 'magic'.
     
  7. Resha Caner

    Resha Caner Expert Fool

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    You see it your way, I see it mine. IMO the problem is a wall that prevents acceptance of any definition that might be offered.
     
  8. The Engineer

    The Engineer I defeated Dr Goetz

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    This wall, as you call it, is founded on basic logic. The label supernatural is an absolute negative statement about the nature of a phenomenon. It means that a phenomenon has no natural explanation. The problem is that absolute negatives can never be proven without absolute knowledge of the relevant system. We don't have this absolute knowledge, hence we can never call anything supernatural.
     
  9. Resha Caner

    Resha Caner Expert Fool

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    Well, see, you're assuming something about my definition before I even gave it - a strawman technique. "Super" is just a prefix, without much meaning until one understands how it is used.

    Should I assume from your screen name that you are, by profession, an engineer? So am I. So, if we have a structure and a superstructure am I making a statement that requires absolute knowledge about the superstructure?

    Even if you are referring to an absolute (or maybe "infinite" would be a better word) quality, your reasoning is wrong. I do not hold every natural number in my head (i.e. have an "absolute" knowledge of numbers), but that doesn't stop me from discussing some aspects of the infinite nature of the natural numbers.

    Further, I'll let you know that sandwiches and I have had this discussion before. My comment was to him about certain approaches to physicalism.
     
  10. The Engineer

    The Engineer I defeated Dr Goetz

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    If you want to use another definition, please share it with me. I debunked the definition that I think is the most commonly used one.

    Sorry, no. That was just the first word I could think of when I signed up.

    How does that constitute an absolute negative claim?

    But you know all the relevant rules.

    What exactly does this have to do with our debate?
     
  11. Eight Foot Manchild

    Eight Foot Manchild His Supreme Holy Correctfulness

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    I ask only that you define 'supernatural' in a way that is cognitively meaningful and demonstrable (in that order). Otherwise, there's nothing to even discuss, let alone predicate a philosophy.

    That's not putting up a 'wall'. That's holding you to the same standard of coherency I would expect of anyone who isn't schizophrenic.
     
  12. Resha Caner

    Resha Caner Expert Fool

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    I'll do that. I'll need some time to dig out my resource and refresh my memory.

    It doesn't. Exactly my point.

    I am in the process of learning some of the rules. According to Godel I'll never have a complete set. But what I don't know does not prevent me from discussing what I do know. It works in math. It works for discussing the non-physical as well.

    "What debate?" is the point. It was an inside comment to sandwiches. You chose to reply to that. That's fine. I can explain. But don't start jumping to conclusions quite yet.

    I have tried time and again to make what seems to me a very simple point about these discussions, but it must be much more obscure than I had supposed because it seems people don't get it. I'll start with something that maybe you are familiar with. One complaint unbelievers make against Christians is that we constantly make "goddidit" arguments. I think it is an overused exuse that doesn't apply nearly as often as unbelievers claim. But, for the sake of discussions between myself and unbelievers, I grant the point. I understand it is a pit into which a Christian can sometimes fall.

    I think unbelievers have a similar difficulty with discussions like this. I will use a recent question posted here as an example. The question asked if the effects of prayer can be scientifically measured. My answer was: no. From there the conversation proceeded through the usual stages where each side tries to define its position. I'm cutting the conversation short, so I hope you won't try to argue the specifics with me, but it came down to the fact that the scientific study would need to be able to identify a miracle if one occurred. That requires defining what a miracle is. But by the mere process of defining what the study would accept as a miracle, it implicitly concedes that miracles happen. So, an unbeliever who is doing the study will refuse to make that first step - that first concession, thereby fixing the conclusion before the study even begins.

    The same happens when discussing "natural" and "supernatural" (or synonyms such as physical & non-physical, material & spiritual, etc.). There is no point in even starting this discussion unless we have a definition of physical that doesn't a priori exclude definitions of the non-physical.
     
  13. Danyc

    Danyc Senior Member

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    No, you're making things too complicated. It's very simple.

    I have an apple. It is physical. I can show it to you.

    You have a God. It may or may not be physical, supernatural, non-physical, whatever. It doesn't matter.

    You cannot show it to me.

    It has nothing to do with definitions. Stop trying to beat around the bush.

    Just prove it already.
     
  14. Resha Caner

    Resha Caner Expert Fool

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    If I try your patience, it might be best if you just ignored me. If you want an answer from me, we'll do it my way.

    I could name any number of physical things that I bet you could not produce if I demanded it. A past example I have used is Kim Jong Un. Given today's technology, North Korea could easily forge the video evidence of his existence. So, prove it to me. Right now. Make Kim Jong Un appear at my desk. Just prove it already.

    Sorry. "Proving" the existence of a person just doesn't work that way. One must have their cooperation.
     
  15. The Engineer

    The Engineer I defeated Dr Goetz

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    I'll wait for it. Frankly, I don't see how I should argue against the views of my conversational partner if the conversational partner hasn't even made his views clear.

    Occams Razor. The hypothesis, Kim Jong Un's very existence was just a conspiracy, is based on more assumptions than the simpler hypothesis that Kim Jong Un actually exists. Occams Razor may not be an actual rule of logic, but it's still a handy tool to see which hypothesis one should prefer from a set of hypotheses.

    In this case, the new assumptions your hypothesis relies upon are not supported by any evidence, either. So your hypothesis fails in this regard, too, which is even worse because the burden of proof is an actual rule of logic.

    So yeah, your example doesn't cut it.
     
  16. Resha Caner

    Resha Caner Expert Fool

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    Hmm. Indications that we can trust information coming from North Korea about the ruling family vs. indications that such information has been distorted. I guess I tend to view what North Korea says with suspicion. It's somewhat of an outdated example, so perhaps you have forgotten how at one time the media wasn't quite sure if Kim Jong Il actually had a son named Kim Jong Un.

    More recently they were trying to figure out if he's actually married or not. What about children. Does he have children or doesn't he?
     
  17. KimberlyAA

    KimberlyAA Well-Known Member

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    You can't really mesh both philosophies together. One accepts the supernatural realm and the other accepts materialism/naturalism - the belief that there is no supernatural, and that nature or matter/energy is all there is. Some secular scientists are agnostic about the existence of some sort of God, but all are united in arbitrarily assuming that all phenomena can and must be explained naturalistically. The evolutionist Dr. Scott Todd wrote in the science journal Nature:
    “Even if all the data point to an intelligent designer, such a hypothesis is excluded from science because it is not naturalistic.”
    And this is what a leading evolutionary geneticist, Professor Richard Lewontin wrote:
    “We take the side of [evolutionary] science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs … in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism … . Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”
    The falsity of the naturalistic worldview can be shown in a number of ways—historical, scientific and logical/philosophical.

    Journalist Frank Morison set out to disprove the resurrection of Jesus. But after years of study, he found that the sheer weight of the evidence compelled him to conclude that Jesus did rise from the dead. As a consequence, he wrote the book Who Moved the Stone?

    Again and again biblical history has been shown to be accurate, and the skeptics have been proved wrong. Professor Sir William Ramsay, for example, was a skeptic, but after many years of study and archaeological investigation, he wrote, concerning the book of Acts (written by Luke): “Further study … showed that the book could bear the most minute scrutiny as an authority for the facts of the Aegean world, and that it was written with such judgment, skill, art and perception of truth as to be a model of historical statement. It is marvellously concise and yet marvellously lucid.” Luke, of course, recorded many supernatural events, including those involving the birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus.

    As Romans 1:20 tells us, the evidence is obvious, and there is “no excuse” if we fail to see it. Atheistic and agnostic scientists are perfectly well aware of this evidence, but they refuse to accept it. The Bible tells us that they do not want to be accountable to God, and they deliberately “suppress the truth” (see Romans 1:18–23). One example of this kind of evidence is the presence of huge amounts of ‘universal information’ (a term coined by Professor Werner Gitt) in living cells. This kind of information cannot arise by chance. It is always created by intelligence.

    Certain “preconditions of intelligibility”, such as laws of logic, uniformity of nature, absolute morality and reliability of our senses and memory are required in order to learn anything about the universe. According to the naturalistic worldview, however, the universe is an accident, and there is no intelligence, plan or purpose behind it. In that worldview, therefore, there is no logical reason why any of these preconditions should be true. Furthermore, if the human brain is merely the product of random chemical accidents, why should we trust its reasoning?

    Note also that when secular scientists decree that naturalism/materialism is the basic premise of science, they are being arbitrary. They do not know and cannot prove that there is no supernatural. They are simply expressing their personal opinion or belief. Note also that the naturalistic worldview is inconsistent. For example, it depends on preconditions of intelligibility which make sense only in a biblical worldview. Without these preconditions, secular scientists could not even begin to construct their worldview.

    These are not the only reasons for rejecting naturalism, but they demonstrate clearly that it is an inadequate foundation for discovering the truth about the universe, the world, ourselves and everything else. In other words, the naturalistic worldview is false.

    It needs to be understood that when, for example, Charles Lyell wrote Principles of Geology and Charles Darwin wrote On the Origin of Species, they were deliberately seeking to exclude God and the Bible, and to explain everything naturalistically.

    It is true that God’s Son “upholds all things by the word of his power” (Hebrews 1:3). This means, amongst other things, that he sustains the natural processes which he created.

    If God does exist and did create by means of special creation, secular science cannot discover that truth, because it has arbitrarily ruled out the possibility before it looks at the evidence. In fact, when secular science decrees that naturalism is the basis of real science, and that all phenomena must be explained naturalistically, it is being unscientific, because it is deciding what the answer is before it looks at the evidence.

    Supernatural philisophy is non-arbitrary, consistent, and in harmony with the “preconditions of intelligibility”.

     
  18. The Engineer

    The Engineer I defeated Dr Goetz

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    There's distorted information, and there's inventing a dictator from scratch.

    We know very little about Kim Jong Un. Still, there's having reasonable doubt about the information we have about him, and there's the belief that he doesn't even exist and is simply photoshopped into all of his pictures.

    The hypothesis that Kim Jong Un exists in some form, even if he is just an actor, makes fewer unproven assumption than the hypothesis that he was photoshopped into existence.
     
  19. Dieselman

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    Actually, that’s a very true statement. If we are commanded to come to God through faith, then if He allowed absolute proof it would mean that there no longer is pathway to salvation, since faith is the belief in things unproven. However, there are supernatural things which are sometimes recorded by devices intended to record the natural world. For example, a voice is clearly heard speaking on a recording when there was clearly nobody present to speak. Is that natural or supernatural? It was recorded so it must be natural, but no human voice made the sound so it has to be supernatural. The cynical can pass all such recordings off as forgeries, but does denying something make it untrue?
    Reports of hauntings are voluminous enough to overload your hard drive. Can they all be fakes? To the person who believes only in the natural, physical world they must be. If a single one is real, then he would have to admit that there are things beyond what we can see, feel, hear or understand. To the naturalist it is impossible to see the future, but precognition is well documented even if not completely understood or believed. Many have reported hearing voices when nobody was around or seeing figures that seemed to vanish before them. If a single one of these encounters is real, then naturalism cannot be the exclusive governing philosophy. The scientific explanation is not necessarily the truth.
    It’s not superstition to believe in the supernatural if it does, in fact, exist. It is not soundness of logic to simply dismiss the supernatural if it cannot be invalidated. While many times people make up explanations for things that they can’t understand and attribute it to magic or sorcery, the fact is the very complexity of our world indicates the work of a supernatural designer. If God is real then His angels are real, the devil is real, his demons are real, and all manner of scary things are possible.
     
  20. Resha Caner

    Resha Caner Expert Fool

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    I understand, but I was trying to give you fair warning. I'm not going to play the "definition game" where I make statements and all you have to do is sit back and "argue against" everything I say.

    If we come across one of those a priori conditions I mentioned, we'll need to root it out. I can recount one instance where someone insisted, "Anything I can sense is physical." That immediately rules out all definitions of the nonphysical - at least all those that have any meaning. But I guess we can cross that bridge when and if we come to it.

    I like to be open about these things, so I will say from the start that this is a very difficult question. It's been a work in progress for me, and I've done a lot of research on the topic. I have not found a good definition of "physical" from the physicalists, nor have I found a good definition of "nonphysical" from the other side. There are a few words from people like Quine that are only barely intelligible, but the best work I've found on it was by Markosian. Still, I like my definitions better than any I've found so far.

    I'm intentionally starting simple, with just a few words. Then, for as long as interest continues, we can go deeper and deeper into the details.

    Physical: A thing that is physical is something that can be at rest, exhibits mass and extension while at rest, and is divisible.

    Nonphysical: A thing that is nonphysical is always active, in some way exhibits a constant property, and in some way is continuous and indivisible.
     
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