Some new conclusions concerning the supernatural

jmm
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Some new conclusions concerning the supernatural

I've been thinking on the idea of God as a supernatural being pretty intensely for the past several months, and I've arrived at the conclusion that if God exists, he is natural. The posts of deludedgod, Hambydammit, and Todangst have compelled me to reexamine my beliefs - which is something I try to make a habit of anyway, but albeit more intensely this time around. So guys, I humbly thank you for correcting me.

In hindsight, the entire idea of a supernatural realm is pretty silly. The thing is, I don't think I ever believed in a supernatural realm once I really started thinking about it, and I think quite a few Christians would eventually agree with me if they in turn thought about it for a while. For instance, my dad is really big into the string theory, more specifically his spin on it - that God exists in the 6 remaining spatial dimensions of ten total as outlined by Michio Kaku in his book Hyperspace. I don't know how much respect Kaku and the different variations on the string theory have garnered on this forum, but that's not really relevant to my post. The point is, my dad has sort of unwittingly stated that he doesn't believe in a supernatural God, which is incredible to me.

And while most Christians I know are nowhere near as intelligent as my father, I think this is the general idea, at least in my parts: God is "elsewhere" in the physical realm. Dad's ideas get a little muddy after this, though. Instead of 6 incredibly small spatial dimensions, he believes that these 6 dimensions are so incredibly spacious and far away that they are as equally unobservable as 6 incredibly small dimensions would be. When I ask him why he thinks this, though, he simply shrugs his shoulders. I would imagine that many string theorists also have well-defined shoulder muscles.

But anyway. As a result of these new tentative conclusions, I feel as though my thought process concerning God has become far more simple than it was when I thought I believed in a supernatural God, and I'm pretty excited about it. I'm always excited about new knowledge, even when my entire concept of the way we receive knowledge is turned inside out.

I now have a whole different set of problems to deal with, but I guess I like dealing with problems, so this is good news.


Hambydammit
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I'm glad to hear you have

I'm glad to hear you have reached this conclusion, jmm.

I suspect you'll get this warning a lot, but I guess I'll be the first. Be very, very careful about making decisions about physical possibilities when the truth is that you have no idea whether they're possible or not. I know you're basically aware of this, but consider this little anecdote before you dismiss me as being condescending.

When I was in college, I took biology 101. After I left college, I read maybe half a dozen books about evolution, beginning with Darwin and ending with a contemporary book whose title has slipped my mind at the moment. I didn't mess with evolution again for maybe 10 years. Suffice it to say that evolution exists, and the evidence is incontrovertible.

Now, well over a decade later, I've read a couple more books, including Dawkins' recent book, "Climbing Mount Improbable." Bear in mind, this book was written for people who have no comprehension of evolution, and I do have a decent comprehension of it. Even so, I learned a great deal from this book, and found out that there were rather basic principles in evolutionary science that I was completely unaware of.

Now, this is evolution. We can look at the fossils, and examine the DNA more or less directly.

Theoretical physics? WTF.

The brightest minds in the world are bumblefuzzled trying to explain even one extra dimension to a layperson. The math is so complicated, and the concepts so...um... theoretical, that even the people who know what they're doing are often not completely aware of what they're doing.

My point?

If you want to speculate that there's a deity living in the 5th Dimension (I'm refraining from bad jokes about the age of aquarious), that's all well and good. But, if you want to do anything other than say, "It's possible" then you're going to have to get serious about some math and physics.

Realize also that describing anything that you know about this deity is going to put you right back where you were when you believed in the supernatural. You don't know that it exists. You just think that it might, because you can't explain some things going on in your head. That's evidence for exactly nothing, and will hold exactly the same water in an argument for morality, reveletory knowledge, creation, cosmology, string theory, ESP, ghosts, or anything else.

In other words, until there's a theory on the boards, it's exactly the same wild speculation as when it was based on faith.

Anyway, I'm glad you've made this step, but I'm afraid you might hit a really interesting brick wall soon when you realize that your belief in a natural god is going to leave you in exactly the same place: with absolutely nothing to say about god.

 

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Interesting, you've become

Interesting, you've become a pantheist...

I was a pantheist for a while, under I more or less realized that the terms atheist and pantheist meant the same thing, so I started using the term atheist to describe myself. My beliefs hadn't changed, its just that the word was more familiar in conversation. 

"Physical reality” isn’t some arbitrary demarcation. It is defined in terms of what we can systematically investigate, directly or not, by means of our senses. It is preposterous to assert that the process of systematic scientific reasoning arbitrarily excludes “non-physical explanations” because the very notion of “non-physical explanation” is contradictory.

-Me

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jmm wrote: When I ask him


jmm wrote:
When I ask him why he thinks this, though, he simply shrugs his shoulders. I would imagine that many string theorists also have well-defined shoulder muscles.

That made me chuckle out loud!

I give you a great deal of credit, jmm, for examining your beliefs.

It's very impressive that you're listening, studying and not taking anything for granted (on faith, if you will).

What are your next steps in your search?

 

 

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Theists would have such an

Theists would have such an easier time if they just declared they worshipped the sun.   Easy to prove it's there, actually gives us life (and can end it), and is easily categorized as a "power up above."

 However, people can see that sun clearly isn't writing books and asking for money so it'd be bad for the business of churches. 


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I respect your thinkingness

I respect your thinkingness (to borrow a phrase from L. Ron Hubbard).


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Quote: Theists would have

Quote:
Theists would have such an easier time if they just declared they worshipped the sun.   Easy to prove it's there, actually gives us life (and can end it), and is easily categorized as a "power up above."

Taken from George Carlin?

(By the way jmm, despite my long winded opening post, I am also very happy for you!)

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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jmm
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deludedgod

deludedgod wrote:

Interesting, you've become a pantheist...

I was a pantheist for a while, under I more or less realized that the terms atheist and pantheist meant the same thing, so I started using the term atheist to describe myself. My beliefs hadn't changed, its just that the word was more familiar in conversation.

Well, I wouldn't say that I'm a pantheist.  I don't necessarily believe that God is everything which is material (though I'm not ready to rule it out), it just makes better sense to me that if he exists, and especially if he interacts with me, then he is material.     


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Susan wrote: jmm

Susan wrote:

jmm wrote:
When I ask him why he thinks this, though, he simply shrugs his shoulders. I would imagine that many string theorists also have well-defined shoulder muscles.

That made me chuckle out loud!

I give you a great deal of credit, jmm, for examining your beliefs.

It's very impressive that you're listening, studying and not taking anything for granted (on faith, if you will).

What are your next steps in your search?

I'd like to think that the truth drives me above all things, and that I have no theistic agenda in my studies.  Most of the time I live up to this, I hope.  

Next...I don't know.  I had considered looking into string theory a little deeper, but it seems to be on the fringe of modern physics, from what I can tell.  I would probably be better off getting down some more of the fundamentals of physics before I go into anything about that. 

But being a Christian, I'll inherently approach things from that perspective at least a little, but I try to be as objective as one possibly can.  Unless I denounce Christianity, that's really the only perspective that I can approach things from.  Like I've always said though, if my studies lead me away from Christianity, I'm fine with that. 


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Hambydammit

Hambydammit wrote:

Quote:
Theists would have such an easier time if they just declared they worshipped the sun. Easy to prove it's there, actually gives us life (and can end it), and is easily categorized as a "power up above."

Taken from George Carlin?

(By the way jmm, despite my long winded opening post, I am also very happy for you!)

 

Oh I know.  I read it with that assumption.   


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Quote: But being a

Quote:
But being a Christian, I'll inherently approach things from that perspective at least a little, but I try to be as objective as one possibly can.

GASP!

I was afraid you were going to say something like this.  I'd suggest that the first thing you do is examine the claim that you know anything about this deity, including whether or not it has interacted with you.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Hambydammit

Hambydammit wrote:

Quote:
Theists would have such an easier time if they just declared they worshipped the sun. Easy to prove it's there, actually gives us life (and can end it), and is easily categorized as a "power up above."

Taken from George Carlin?

 

No, but I would not have claimed I was the first to recommend the sun over the judeo/christian invisible sky man.


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The thing is some

The thing is some pantheists use 'God' as a metaphor, it's not in a literal sense. By metaphor, I mean like calling the Higgs Boson 'The God particle'. They don't literally think it's God.


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It takes a lot of courage to

It takes a lot of courage to question one's long-held beliefs.  Have a good journey. Smiling


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jmm wrote:

jmm wrote:

I've been thinking on the idea of God as a supernatural being pretty intensely for the past several months, and I've arrived at the conclusion that if God exists, he is natural. The posts of deludedgod, Hambydammit, and Todangst have compelled me to reexamine my beliefs - which is something I try to make a habit of anyway, but albeit more intensely this time around. So guys, I humbly thank you for correcting me.

In hindsight, the entire idea of a supernatural realm is pretty silly. The thing is, I don't think I ever believed in a supernatural realm once I really started thinking about it, and I think quite a few Christians would eventually agree with me if they in turn thought about it for a while.

Agreed. You must actually steal the concept and imagine something natural.

Quote:

For instance, my dad is really big into the string theory, more specifically his spin on it - that God exists in the 6 remaining spatial dimensions of ten total as outlined by Michio Kaku in his book Hyperspace. I don't know how much respect Kaku and the different variations on the string theory have garnered on this forum, but that's not really relevant to my post. The point is, my dad has sort of unwittingly stated that he doesn't believe in a supernatural God, which is incredible to me.

I don't see how anyone can... they can claim it, but they must play a game of bait and switch on themselves and imagine not only something natural, but usually something utterly anthropomorphic as well.

Quote:

And while most Christians I know are nowhere near as intelligent as my father, I think this is the general idea, at least in my parts: God is "elsewhere" in the physical realm. Dad's ideas get a little muddy after this, though. Instead of 6 incredibly small spatial dimensions, he believes that these 6 dimensions are so incredibly spacious and far away that they are as equally unobservable as 6 incredibly small dimensions would be. When I ask him why he thinks this, though, he simply shrugs his shoulders. I would imagine that many string theorists also have well-defined shoulder muscles.

Heh! He's already met his goal of finding a place to hide god, so as to explain why there clearly is no real evidence of a god... That's the likely goal, so once it's met, I don't see why he'd bother with thinking it out any further....

Quote:

But anyway. As a result of these new tentative conclusions, I feel as though my thought process concerning God has become far more simple than it was when I thought I believed in a supernatural God, and I'm pretty excited about it. I'm always excited about new knowledge, even when my entire concept of the way we receive knowledge is turned inside out.

I now have a whole different set of problems to deal with, but I guess I like dealing with problems, so this is good news.

Welcome to pantheism. The last bastion of intellectual religious thought. Realize however that when these baracades too collapse, there's only atheism left...

Anyway, kudos to you on your bravery and intellectual integrity. 

 

 

"Hitler burned people like Anne Frank, for that we call him evil.
"God" burns Anne Frank eternally. For that, theists call him 'good.'


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Hambydammit wrote: Anyway,

Hambydammit wrote:

Anyway, I'm glad you've made this step, but I'm afraid you might hit a really interesting brick wall soon when you realize that your belief in a natural god is going to leave you in exactly the same place: with absolutely nothing to say about god.

 

Nice observation.

"Hitler burned people like Anne Frank, for that we call him evil.
"God" burns Anne Frank eternally. For that, theists call him 'good.'


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Quote: fundamentals of

Quote:
fundamentals of physics

There are only two known long range forces in nature, gravity and electromagnetism. These are what effect stuff on our scale.

Physics is largely not considered immutable but causality (cause comes before effect) and entropy (in a contained system disorder is more likely to increase) are - you don't churn out butter after eating a cake...or before Smiling

These are constraints on how a natural God can act. He can also not act without creating evidence/a trail. It is problematical to devise a God participating for humanity once He is considered to be restricted by nature. To wit he either becomes nature or just in your head.

Ask yourself how a natural God can be:

Knowing yet unnoticed,

Active yet undetected,

Loving yet passive,

Eternal yet ordered.

 

I often say that when you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind.


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It takes a lot of courage

It takes a lot of courage to examine and find problems in your own beliefs. Congratulations.

I understood the need for theists to have a supernatural realm comes from the need for life after death and to have God not be subject to the laws of nature.

You will get a lot of headaches trying to figure out a God that operates in the natural world and has the qualities from theist teachings.

 

Good luck and never stop questioning,

Richard 

A mystic is someone who wants to understand the universe, but is too lazy to study physics.


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I've explored ideas about a

I've explored ideas about a naturalistic God.
Rather than use string theory I used the 'matrix/programmer' analogy which I think is a popular intuitive view amongst many lay-theologians.

It certainly gets passed the incoherence, and while there remains no evidence now I think the possibility of evidence arising in the future remains. The main problem with it is that once a person 'naturalizes' God then you start to get conflictions with theology. But maybe not...


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I'd like to think that God

I'd like to think that God dictates theology, not vice versa.