Evidence and the Supernatural
In response to Caposkia's request, I've started this thread in the hopes that the conversation will actually progress somewhere.
The topic of this conversation is very simple.
- show me evidence for the existence of a spiritual world, basically, any world other than this one.
- evidence for the existence of a "soul."
- existence of some "creator" or "higher power."
I am pretty lenient on what is evidence: refer to a scientific journal with an article discussing evidence for the supernatural (even theist websites are okay, but it better be good. Not AIG), some aspect of nature or life that requires an outside force, valid philosophical argument, and even anecdotal evidence.
Oh, if I start seeing stereotypical, lame arguments like the fine tuning argument, every painting has a painter, appeal to fear or guilt, argument from morality, argument from faith, I'm going to be royally pissed.
I hope I have made this clear.
Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare
I know you're talking to BMcD, but I hope you don't mind if I address this point, too. The above is the impasse at which believers and non-believers often find themselves. Evidence is very frequently physically supported, and even if someone "wasn't there", secondary evidence is usually available. Let's say footprints in the snow as evidence of someone walking in the snow.
In fact, believers will usually go for that kind of idea: that we see the footsteps of God/Allah/Thor/Wotan. The fact that we have a whole bunch of different conceptions of these deities is a hint as to how poor an explanation it is. We give the supernatural all sorts of different characteristics depending on where we're born. Now, would that be because each culture has a different way of expressing something that definitely exists? Or might it be that all people have a tendency to want parental protection and love forever? The second (and it's not a dichotomy, there are many other possibilities) just seems more likely. Secondly, the "footprints" are often not physical at all, or have many other explanations available for them that are equally absurd and/or likely. That, again, points to those things not making sense.
What I mean is that "the footsteps of God" is a phrase that contains two questionable elements, and thus loses a lot of meaning.
That's why we have to be careful on how we approach the topic. You can't say draw me a picture of wind when you and I both know wind isn't able to be seen. WE do know however that wind is tangible and measureable and therefore we can use other methods of understanding wind.
No, basically the physical sciences strive to understand the interactions of the elements in the physical world. You'll need to present a "happening" that has no physical explanation before you declare it beyond the explanation of the physical sciences.
seeing an angel... ok.
That's why you'll often hear non-believers say "burden of proof" when you present them with bare assertions of the supernatural. All the supernatural would be is something that doesn't mesh with the rest of the observations of the physical sciences. That's all. Quantum mechanics has a bit of "spooky" in its language, which is often interpreted as supernatural, but is accepted as a description of the natural world because the careful measurement of the physical world often produces chaotic (or statistical) results.
I would just like to point out that I have not coined the term "supernatural" due to its implications.
I like your definition of it however and I agree with you on it.
That's not really the odds problem that's relevant. The problem explodes pretty quickly when you give the "intelligence" a name, language, and behaviour. Now you're talking about a very specific intelligence. Whether or not you're discussing an itelligence doing something is irrelevant: you mean a specific intelligence. Not only that, it's an intelligence you (by the admission of most believers) don't actually understand. So how exactly would you know if an intelligence you don't understand was doing something? Then to assign some probability to it is even more difficult.
To understand God and to know God are 2 different concepts.
As a child, I know my mother, i can identify her in a crowd of people. I may not understand her ways or her strength, but I know who she is and what her personality is like. As an older person, I'd know now that if someone told me my mother did something irratic like shot someone in the head, I'd know they'd be mistaken because my mother doesn't know how to shoot a gun. Due to her personality if she were inclined to kill someone, she'd be more apt to slit their throat versus shoot them.
You have an uphill climb if you want to call your personal experiences anything but personal experiences. I'm sure lots of people have had similar "walks" with God, because we all have similar ranges and patterns of behaviour. That's something else that doesn't point to any external influence.
You seem to think that's the only reason why I believe
If you're mormon you get a whole planet for you and all your wives!
If you're a Jehovah's Witness, you get to own Earth and clean up the mess after the apocolypse!!! WOOT!!!