1. SubscriberAThousandYoung
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    19 May '08 05:58
    See the title.
  2. Joined
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    19 May '08 07:131 edit
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung
    Does "Supernatural" equal "un-natural"?
    Scientificly - yes.
    Because there is no supernaturla phenomena.
    Everything we see around us is based upon natural laws.
  3. Cape Town
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    19 May '08 07:14
    My understanding of 'un-natural' is not-normal or uncommon. It does not necessarily imply the supernatural but it may in certain instances. It is most often used as an insult (such as when referring to gay behavior).
    Supernatural on the other hand implies breaking the laws of nature. Of course when one actually thinks about it, the whole supernatural category makes no sense. We learn about our environment and the 'laws of nature' by observation. So if something supernatural happens it should be observed and hence added to the laws of nature and thus becomes part of nature and no-longer supernatural. So supernatural events are by definition unobservable. We see this throughout history as scientific knowledge expands the supernatural contracts. I am not claiming that God is getting smaller but rather that if God exists then we either cannot know anything about him or we should in fact consider him to be part of nature and not supernatural.

    "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic"
    Carl Sagan

    That can be read the other way: magic once studied and understood, is merely advanced technology.
  4. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    19 May '08 07:30
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    I am not claiming that God is getting smaller but rather that if God exists then we either cannot know anything about him or we should in fact consider him to be part of nature and not supernatural.
    How very Spinozan of you ...
  5. Standard memberscottishinnz
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    19 May '08 07:41
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    How very Spinozan of you ...
    Ah, but it would rather preclude that god from being a universe creating god, who exists outside of time, as is the Christian God posited to be.

    Maybe the Japanese got it right with Shinto!
  6. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    19 May '08 07:44
    Originally posted by scottishinnz
    Ah, but it would rather preclude that god from being a universe creating god, who exists outside of time, as is the Christian God posited to be.

    Maybe the Japanese got it right with Shinto!
    Spinoza's God doesn't exist outside of time. Rather, extension (under which time (I think) falls) is an attribute of God.

    Shinto is one way of telling a story repeated in various mythologies. I don't know where people got the idea that there is only one way of telling a story.
  7. Standard memberscottishinnz
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    19 May '08 07:49
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    Spinoza's God doesn't exist outside of time. Rather, extension (under which time (I think) falls) is an attribute of God.

    Shinto is one way of telling a story repeated in various mythologies. I don't know where people got the idea that there is only one way of telling a story.
    Spinoza's god doesn't seem to explain a whole heck of a lot then.

    I'll stick with the more parsimonious argument, ok?
  8. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    19 May '08 08:061 edit
    Originally posted by scottishinnz
    Spinoza's god doesn't seem to explain a whole heck of a lot then.

    I'll stick with the more parsimonious argument, ok?
    You'll find that Spinoza's argument is in fact more parsimonious. Positing a God outside of nature multiplies entities. You might have a harder time understanding him than potting clay pigeons with 'God' written on them, but Spinoza will at least be a worthy adversary for your mental powers.
  9. round and round
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    19 May '08 22:18
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung
    See the title.
    It simply means 'above nature'.
  10. Hmmm . . .
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    20 May '08 03:311 edit
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    My understanding of 'un-natural' is not-normal or uncommon. It does not necessarily imply the supernatural but it may in certain instances. It is most often used as an insult (such as when referring to gay behavior).
    Supernatural on the other hand implies breaking the laws of nature. Of course when one actually thinks about it, the whole supernatural cat n be read the other way: magic once studied and understood, is merely advanced technology.
    My understanding of 'un-natural' is not-normal or uncommon. It does not necessarily imply the supernatural but it may in certain instances... Supernatural on the other hand implies breaking the laws of nature.

    That’s why I often add the parenthetical term “extra-natural” when I talk about the supernatural. I take positing a supernatural category to mean that reality is not exhausted by the natural totality (the cosmos)—generally, whatever the content of such a supernatural domain may be, the implication is that it is somehow “wholly other” vis-à-vis the natural order.

    Of course when one actually thinks about it, the whole supernatural category makes no sense...

    You seem to be making here a much stronger argument than I have; I have usually argued that there is just no epistemic warrant for positing a supernatural (extra-natural) category even if the grammar of our consciousness is insufficient to comprehend the entire syntax of the cosmos (which also includes that grammar). As BdN said, it needlessly multiplies entities (at the very least, it is dualistic).

    I have also argued that, unless there is communication between the supernatural and natural domains—and that any such communication by/from the supernatural is coherent to our (natural) grammar—then the supernatural category is an epistemically empty one. We can know nothing at all about it, including its existence.

    Any such communication, however, must be—as you put it—observable. To be observable to us it must be manifest in nature in a way that is sufficiently natural for us to recognize that something is happening. My stricture that such a communication must be coherent to us is not relevant at this stage (it is relevant to our ability to understand what it is that is happening).

    But then, we are back a square one: something has happened in the natural realm which is incomprehensible to the grammar of our consciousness—and so we decide to leap to a supernatural category to “explain” an event in the natural realm that we can’t explain. If one is willing to concede that the grammar of our consciousness might not be exhaustive of the natural-order syntax (and even if it is), why should one assume that it can decipher the syntax of the supernatural?

    Some might claim that we possess also some kind of supernatural grammar—but once again the communication issue rears its head (and sometimes seems to result in what SwissGambit would call bizarro-speech).

    So, the supernatural is either accessible to our natural observation/grammar, or it is ineffable. But if it is naturally accessible, then why say that it must be supernatural? It may well still be ineffable (and I maintain that there is an aspect of our relationship to the natural order, of which we also are, that is ineffable—but that’s another story...).

    ...So supernatural events are by definition unobservable.

    ...because they are only observable if they are manifest (communicated) as events in nature.*

    I actually thought you were going for more than parsimony here, especially following your statement that “the whole supernatural category makes no sense.” What I think you have shown is that any sense we could make of it would be a natural sense, because it’s the only sense we can make of anything.

    Therefore, unless I have misread you, I’ll still stick with my “no epistemic warrant” position—but strengthened by (what I take as) your point that positing a supernatural category does not really make sense out of anything that is otherwise senseless; we just get entangled in the bewitchment of our own language when we think it does.

    Since, as I believe, there is no good reason to conclude to a supernatural category, it has to be taken as the first axiom of any supernaturalist-dualist theology. Anything else ends up being circular.

    None of which establishes that there cannot be a supernatural domain. Nor do I mind what is normally considered to be supernaturalist language, metaphor and symbol—as long as it is not intended propositionally, but just as aesthetic “fingers” pointing to the “moon” (the ineffable), or to express art-fully one’s experience of the ineffable. I take all religious discourse (including my own) in that sense; which is why I say that all religious language is either iconographic (pointing beyond itself, and all its images, to the ineffable), or it becomes idolatrous.

    [I added that last paragraph only because I think I sometimes confuse people when I move from one kind of discourse to another: about the time they have me pegged as a "conventional" atheist, I’m arguing Christology, cracking out bad Zen koans, or writing poems about Shiva. It’s all the same: I’m still a non-sectarian, non-supernaturalist non-dualist playing in maya, effing at the ineffable...]

    _________________________________________

    * This includes such things as verbal or written “revelation”, not just what is generally called “natural revelation” in theological discourse.
  11. weedhopper
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    20 May '08 03:42
    I would say no. Anything supernatural would be out of the ordinary (unnatural)--but there are plenty of unnatural acts that are far from supernatural.
  12. Standard memberscottishinnz
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    20 May '08 03:46
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    You'll find that Spinoza's argument is in fact more parsimonious. Positing a God outside of nature multiplies entities. You might have a harder time understanding him than potting clay pigeons with 'God' written on them, but Spinoza will at least be a worthy adversary for your mental powers.
    I cannot see how Spinoza's god could be any more parsimonious than "there is no god".
  13. Cape Town
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    20 May '08 06:33
    Originally posted by vistesd
    You seem to be making here a much stronger argument than I have
    My argument is new for me ans so probably has lots of holes in. But let me try it again.
    First some comments:
    1. If we observe a new phenomena in the universe, as scientists we do not immediately suggest the supernatural but instead assume it is a natural phenomena.
    2. It is popular to suggest the supernatural when one believes that he knows the laws of the universe and then sees a violation of the known law. But a good scientist would not do that.
    3. The only information we have about the universe comes via observation.
    4. If a supernatural phenomena communicates with the universe the observed effect will be natural.

    Now the centre of my argument:
    If we observe a phenomena but do not know the cause for example some new nuclear force, until the cause is known it is left simply as an unknown cause. We assume it is natural. If the cause becomes known then the cause is called 'natural'. I am in effect saying that we call natural that which we know or think we are capable of knowing, and the claim to know of something supernatural is incoherent.

    I know I am not explaining it in the way I see it in my mind. I am trying to say that if thought about seriously the word supernatural is meaningless. A phenomena is supernatural if it breaks a law of nature. A law of nature is only a law if it cannot be broken. So if a law of nature is broken by a supernatural even then it wasn't a law. So supernatural events cannot take place.
  14. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    20 May '08 09:16
    Originally posted by scottishinnz
    I cannot see how Spinoza's god could be any more parsimonious than "there is no god".
    Spinoza's God is not an entity outside nature. Which is why he was labelled an atheist in his time.
  15. Standard memberzozozozo
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    20 May '08 10:02
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    My understanding of 'un-natural' is not-normal or uncommon. It does not necessarily imply the supernatural but it may in certain instances.
    This is the correct answer😛 (no)
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