A Reply to: 'Supernatural' (and 'Immaterial) are broken concepts

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A Reply to: 'Supernatural' (and 'Immaterial) are broken concepts

It appears that Todangst, in association with Deludedgod, has produced a significant roadblock in respect to conversations which involve concepts that have anything to do with the concept of 'supernatural' or 'immaterial'. In other words, it allows T.D. and D.G. to have the basis to say that any discussions concerning the concept of 'God' are meaningless or incoherent because of the conversation's use of an incoherent concept as a vitally crucial part of the conversation.

To begin with, I want T.D. to know that I've considered his challenge for someone to actually provide a difference or distinction between his use of 'supernatural' (pg. 2 of his paper states: "You might also feel that you know of a way to solve the problem: by turning to euphemisms like 'beyond nature' or 'above nature' instead of 'not nature'. However, unless you can show how these distinctions lead to a difference, these euphimisms are all ontologically identical with 'not matter/not nature' - they still all rule out any universe of discourse" ). I think it is important to note that I will not be trying to extend my argument to the concept of 'immaterial'. I find that T.D. arguments against 'immateriality' compelling and I have not been able to come up with any viable challenges to his argument against it. However, I do feel that I have something to offer by way of challenging his argument concerning the concept 'supernatural'.

To begin I would like to focus on what the concept of 'supernatural' actually means. T.D. defines it in his paper as: "Supernatural - defined as 'not nature' or 'above nature' or 'beyond nature'. I will be operating from this same definition. However, I will obviously try to derive a different conclusion.

Definitional Argument

My argument rests on grasping the 'above nature' option of how to conceive the meaning of 'supernatural'. My conception differs from T.D.'s because I don't associate 'above nature' as necessarily outside of nature or 'not nature'. Following this layout, another sense of what it means to be 'above nature' can be seen as something which 'greatly exceeds the normal course of nature'. Therefore, if 'above nature' is conceived in the way that I recommend, then the concept 'supernatural' is not defined solely in the negative; it still retains positive natural properties.

Counter argument: Saying 'greatly exceeds the normal course of nature' is not a sufficient distinction between something that is 'outside of nature'. Therefore, you have merely given a poor semantical description for the same incoherent conception of 'supernatural'.

Reply: The distinction rests on the important involvement of 'nature' in my sense of conceiving 'supernatural'. I am in no way stealing from naturalism because I am conceiving of something which greatly quantifies the normal existing properties of nature. The properties of nature remain firmly intact within my sense of 'supernatural'. Something in this sense would be 'exceedingly or greatly X' where X would be a property of nature and capable of a universe of discourse.

Referential Argument

 

Just because a concept refers to an empty set does not mean that the concept is meaningless. For example, if I have the set of all Mastodons and look for existing members, then I would quickly realize that none exist. Does this mean that the concept 'Mastodon' is meaningless? No. What it means is that for the set denoting all things that are Mastodons, that set would have no members. The set can be meaningfully understood to delineate properties that a thing must have in order to be a member of that set. The lacking of something already in existence possessing these properties at time X does not mean that the set representing those things which would have those properties would be meaningless.

Counter argument: I see where you're going with this. Even if I grant your argument, Mastodon's are not something which is 'supernatural'. Those sets which represent things which are 'supernatural' would be necessarily empty and therefore meaningless at any time. You can prove that mastodons once existed through the fossil record and science, but where is the proof for your 'supernatural' set members?

Reply: This argument doesn't prove that possible members of a set representing 'supernatural' things is necessarily empty. What it proves is that there have not yet been any members which fit into the set of things which are 'supernatural'. Referential agnosticism does not denote conceptual incoherency.

 

The challenge from T.D. has apparently been that because the concept 'supernatural' steals from naturalism (under his conception) then any attempts to use the concept, merely renders it naturalistic and therefore, not what it meant to be; therefore rendering the concept 'supernatural' meaningless. However, If my arguments hold, I have been able to overcome his challenge. The concept of 'supernatural' as I have described proudly uses concepts from nature because I don't think that 'supernatural' means outside of nature. Because of this, my argument meets one aspect of T.D.'s challenge. Furthermore, my argument (hopefully) describes a set, which has no existing referent, but still has meaning. If my argument is successful, it is only meant to allow discourse concerning things in the sense of 'supernatural' in the way that I have described.

The implication that we should put Darwinism on trial overlooks the fact that Darwinism has always been on trial within the scientific community. -- From Finding Darwin's God by Kenneth R. Miller

Chaos and chance don't mean the absence of law and order, but rather the presence of order so complex that it lies beyond our abilities to grasp and describe it. -- From From Certainty to Uncertainty by F. David Peat


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I already punched a hole

I already punched a hole through that argument in the most recent version of this:

On Negative Theology and its Linguistic Implications For the Coherency of Certain Theological Concepts

"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.

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deludedgod wrote: I

deludedgod wrote:

I already punched a hole through that argument

 LOL...Smiling


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deludedgod wrote:

deludedgod wrote:

I already punched a hole through that argument in the most recent version of this:

On Negative Theology and its Linguistic Implications For the Coherency of Certain Theological Concepts

 

I'll try to defend myself on the definitional argument first Deluded.  

I don't see how my definitional description entials existence. I understand my definitional argument for 'supernatural' to be viewed as a kind of adjectival concept. If I maintain an adjectival conception of supernatual, without any reference to existence as a necessary property, I don't see how I am entirely crippled on my definitional account by your argument. I agree with what you said about the concept 'supernatural' if you include existence as a property of 'supernatural'. However, I am under the impression that my argument avoids this problematic existence quality. If this is the case, then I don't the difference between a class representing 'unicorns' and a class representing 'supernatural' (In the naturalistic way I've described without reference to existence). 

I'm low on time at the moment, so I will read your article again and take a second look at my referential argument. To be continued. In the meantime, can you point where my failings are in what I've written in reply to your paper, so if necessary, I can also rework the entirety of my position.

The implication that we should put Darwinism on trial overlooks the fact that Darwinism has always been on trial within the scientific community. -- From Finding Darwin's God by Kenneth R. Miller

Chaos and chance don't mean the absence of law and order, but rather the presence of order so complex that it lies beyond our abilities to grasp and describe it. -- From From Certainty to Uncertainty by F. David Peat


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Principally, your failing

Principally, your failing was arguing that "it doesn't mean that it doesn't exist". Identity is the antecedant to coherent existanceL

Common Counter-Argument: Just because there is no identity does not mean it does not exist!

This fundamentally misses the point of the argument. The point is not to demonstrate that it does not exist, but rather that there is no “it” to speak of! Otherwise, the corollary of this exclamation is the simple question “What is it that you speak of “existing”? Make up a word. Does this word have meaning? Well, you may have proposed that the word refers to an concept that suggests existence, ie the word denotes a real-world concept. But suppose you have not, but you still hold that this word should denote. In this case would you ask whether or not the referred to something that existed? Not yet. First, you have to ask “what is it that we speak of existing”? Identity is the antecedent to existence. It is meaningless to speak of existence without identity, since that requisite is axiomatic and any attempt to argue against it would refute its own premise, as I have already established.

In what sense are we referring to existence in this context? What sense is there of speaking of existence without identity? There is none. To exist is to exist as something. But this particular proposition is unique in that there is no coherent established property by which we have identity, there is only an eliminative lack of it. If God has no identity, then there is no entity, for how can speak of entity in this case? In what sense is it an entity? The “non-physical” sense? This is unhelpful because it simply returns us to the question above, we still have no identity for the entity in question, thence what sense is there speaking of it existing? It is rather like claiming that my computer on which I am typing could “exist” without plastic, silicon and liquid crystal. Well, then, in what sense does it exist? In the non-plastic, non-silicon, non-liquid crystal sense? You can see how the reductio ad absurdum is generated. How is it that people can operate under the delusion that they can reference “God” without identity, the satirical eliminate fashion in which I defined “my computer” above is simply an elimination of existential identity. That’s exactly what the word “supernatural” is. There is no difference between saying “God is supernatural” and saying a boat “exists” as “not a boat”. To exist is to exist as something, I cannot "exist" as "not a something"/

 

"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.

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I've been thinking over this

I've been thinking over this and think I can give a coherent definition of super-natural that accurate captures what most people want to mean by it.

If we use the scientific method and rely on results that are repeatable then we get the laws of nature - the laws of physics as we understand them.
Now I give the matrix as an example:
The matrix simulated a physical universe, but all these laws were contingent on the programming code. So there was a 'higher law' or 'higher power' that could see to it that events happened that broke the laws of physics that testing/experimentation would've given. This 'higher power' would be 'super natural'.

So an event is super-natural if it contradicts what we consider to be the laws of nature. (Such an event isn't impossible, it's just that given the perception of such an event, the laws of nature have more probability than the accuracy of the anomalous perceptions that contradict them.)
A supernatural being would be the 'will' that controls when these 'ad hoc' events happen.
I see no reason why this definition would be incoherent.
God would be analogous to a Matrix programmer, and I think that's the way that a lot of people see 'him'.

For obvious reasons, the presence of such a supernatural being might not be justifiable scientifically as by its very definition it's something that would slip through our scientific method. But atleast it's not incoherent and doesn't contradict the results of science.
If you accept this much I'll try out some arguments that would show that this definition of God would be justifiable in theory. Not that I have any opinion on whether they hold, I'd just like to play with them and try them out, see if anything can come out of them.


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The trick card up your

The trick card up your sleeve is "higher being".

You haven't given your proposition any identity. 

"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.

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I thought that I had,

I thought that I had, informally, through that Matrix analogy.
Still, I'll have a crack at giving it a slightly more formal definition.
This higher being 'does' things, so it would need to be an agent that exists within a 'space' with atleast one dimension to give it a temporal structure.
(I know that in physics, time and space are interlinked into space-time, but this is an a posteriori result about how the structure of our empirical universe is. It doesn't contradict the coherence of other mathematical models that represent a space and/or time.)
I think that would give it the minimal struture required for a coherent conception of agency.

The next thing I'd need to do would be to give a coherent explanation on how this agent existing in this 'timeline' had any interaction with our spacetime universe. The answer would be that everything in our spacetime universe is contingent on its will. That the universe follows the laws it does depends on it's will, and if it wills it the laws are broken.
The fact that the laws of nature tend to be followed except for rare occasions would be explained in terms of the personality of this agent, why it does the things that it does.

While you might object that our consciousness/agency is closely linked to our physical conditions, this would be an a posteriori argument about how consciousness tends to be in the real world and not an argument against the coherence of a non-physical conception of consciousness. So I don't see how arguments such as those could affect the identity of this agent within this 'timeline'.

What's more, this 'timeline' need not be connected to our own spacetime (other than that the properties of our spacetime are contingent of the agent within this timeline), it just has to have the temporal structure in order for our mental concepts to be applicable to this 'being'.

An analogy that would was illustrate such a being would be if our space-time universe was a computer simulation. The programmer would live in a 'timelines' outside our own time (in this case the timeline would also be a spacetime), that every property of the universe would be contingent on this programmer's will... etc.


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But now your definition is

But now your definition is simply ad hoc and is not in concordance with the theistic description of the "supernatural", forthermore, you are forced into making an unclarified special pleading fallacy which would seem to indicate you are stealing attributes from entities about which we do have a posteriori knowledge except that you are begging the question by asserting that it is contigent to say that your supernatural being may have these attributes despite being in a different category. This is rather like a pick-and-mix child's game of "if you could have superpowers, what would you like to do?", "Well, it would be rather nice if I could shoot heat rays? Hang on, I thought you just said you wanted to be cold-blooded, you'd have no method of Homeostasis? "Damn. Well, I'll just pretend that I have some hitherto unclarified method of keeping temperature stasis so I can do both simultaneously".

Similarily, your proposition is subtly requisiting that you project your coherent understanding of our universe, that in which we live, to something you claim is outside it. You cannot defend this proposition on grounds of the possibility that there might be "other models" describing the a priori nature of the thing in question, like time, because then you're just playing pick-and-mix again! You might as well just admit your whole proposition is appeal to ad hocism. Once you start appealling to ideas like "the personality of this agent" and "consciousness", you are abandoning all pretense of metaphysical propositions, and adding empirical propositions into the fray whenever you please!

And you still haven't given me the identity of the entity in question. I don't want to know what this mysterious thing can do. Theists tell me that all the time with their threats of damnation! I want to know what the thing is. It is propositionally unhelpful to say "my computer is an "agent" capable of performing calculations and hooking me up to the the internet". Rather, my computer is a device constructed out of liquid crystal, plastic and silicon where silcon chips are arrayed in parallel circuitry slotted into containing locks inside the laptop clustured around a large silicon chip called a motherboard.

"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.

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deludedgod wrote:But now

deludedgod wrote:
But now your definition is simply ad hoc and is not in concordance with the theistic description of the "supernatural"
I agree that not all theologians define their God in this way. However, this is the way that a lot of the people who call themselves 'theists' see God. It fits the characteristics they want to attribute to God as having all power over nature.
Quote:
forthermore, you are forced into making an unclarified special pleading fallacy which would seem to indicate you are stealing attributes from entities about which we do have a posteriori knowledge except that you are begging the question by asserting that it is contigent to say that your supernatural being may have these attributes despite being in a different category.
There's no question begging because I'm not putting forward an argument based on premises. I am merely putting forward a definition of 'God' that does not contradict itself and fits some conception of God out there. I also think that this God has the necessary characteristics to be considered a theistic God. To put forward a coherent concept, all I need to do is state the rules of it's use without internal contradiction. The stolen concept fallacy is when one denies something that one relies on - i.e. an internal contradiction. Although I am doing what you describe, I'm not sure why you consider it 'stealing' or fallicious.
Quote:
This is rather like a pick-and-mix child's game of "if you could have superpowers, what would you like to do?"
Yes. It is. And it answers the question at hand. Claiming something is incoherent is a hefty charge to put against an idea. It should come as little surprise that putting forward a coherent idea isn't difficult. You pick and mix the characteristics you want, and just make sure that there's no internal contradiction. You have to make up your mind whether you hero has exactly two arms or atleast four!
Quote:
Similarily, your proposition is subtly requisiting that you project your coherent understanding of our universe, that in which we live, to something you claim is outside it. You cannot defend this proposition on grounds of the possibility that there might be "other models" describing the a priori nature of the thing in question, like time, because then you're just playing pick-and-mix again!
If it's just defending the coherence then I don't see why not? A positive definition has been given with no internal contradiction. All my theists position has to do is be a model that doesn't contradict itself.
Quote:
You might as well just admit your whole proposition is appeal to ad hocism. Once you start appealling to ideas like "the personality of this agent" and "consciousness", you are abandoning all pretense of metaphysical propositions, and adding empirical propositions into the fray whenever you please!
I don't get what you're accusing me of here. All I have to do for a coherent definition is put forward a model that doesn't contradict itself. Empirical propositions would only come into this if I wanted to show that this 'coherent possibility' was an actuality. I agree that I haven't attemped to argue for the existence of this being based on metaphysical necessity. This is because I don't think that such an argument is possible.
Quote:
And you still haven't given me the identity of the entity in question. I don't want to know what this mysterious thing can do. Theists tell me that all the time with their threats of damnation! I want to know what the thing is. It is propositionally unhelpful to say "my computer is an "agent" capable of performing calculations and hooking me up to the the internet". Rather, my computer is a device constructed out of liquid crystal, plastic and silicon where silcon chips are arrayed in parallel circuitry slotted into containing locks inside the laptop clustured around a large silicon chip called a motherboard.
A concept doesn't need to be of a material thing to be coherent. Besides, the whole point of this 'god' is that 'he' is not material 'himself'. All I needed was a conception that didn't contradict itself that fitted certain characteristics commonly assigned to God. I gave a conception that allowed agency and unlimited power over our material universe. This being exists in a n>0 dimensional space (so there's atleast a timeline) and this structure is enough to allow for concepts of agency. In this last paragraph you ask for what more fundamental matter/laws/structures is this being based on. Does there need to be any? As atheists/physicalists, we believe that there is no structure more fundamental than space-time, atleast there doesn't have to be. In the same way there wouldn't have to be any laws above and beyond this agency working within this one dimensional structure. True? I don't think so. I'm playing devils advocate - I'm still an atheist. But coherent? I can't see a contradiction in this definition.


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I'm sorry for the delayed

I'm sorry for the delayed reply Deluded; now I think I may have something satisfactory.

After considering your replies, I agree that my argument failed and fell victim to the identity issue; or in other words, my argument was too ambitious. I feel that my argument should primarily focus on the concept of 'supernatural' in its simplest terms and leave out God (for now). Perhaps we may find that the issue involves attaching 'supernatural' to a controversial being, and not 'supernatural' itself. This is what I will attempt to explain.

 

'Supernatural' as a Predicate Noun

Stemming from my definitional view of 'supernatural' I would like to explore the possibility of 'supernatural' conceived of in the following example. Consider the space shuttle when it was first launched. While watching the space shuttle launch, a spectator may exclaim "that's amazing!" In this setting, I would illustrate my conception of 'supernatural' as being expressed similar to "amazing" i.e. "that's supernatural!" Granted, this may not be what most people say at the sight of an "amazing" thing or event, but it seems that when most people say "amazing" you could plausibly substitute "supernatural".

Now how my conception of 'supernatural' would apply to the space shuttle analogy is this: the space shuttle appears to exceed the normal laws of nature. The sight of a huge metal vehicle being thrust into the air, and eventually passing outside of our atmosphere, would seem quite an extraordinary event. "Extraordinary" is my key emphasis on this point. The conception of 'supernatural' that I am supporting has everything in common with 'extraordinary'. This is so because 'supernatural' in my conception merely means 'something that greatly exceeds the normal course of nature'. Therefore, in the case of the space shuttle analogy, the space shuttle would be "greatly exceeding the normal course of nature." Which obviously would allow me to insert 'supernatural' in place of its definition resulting in: The space shuttle launching out of the atmosphere would be something supernatural.

I hope Deluded, that I did not make the same error that I did before dealing with th axiom of identity. If I have made an error in my argument, I at least hope that it is a new one. I concede that if what I have described is correct, then I may have an impossible task of applying 'supernatural' coherently to the idea of 'God'. However, I am not dissatisfied by that prospect. I look forward to your criticisms.

 

Note: I understand that in today's world, and maybe even the world during the time that the space shuttle was first launched, it may not be accurately described as 'greatly exceeding the natural course of nature'. For example, physicists can show how the space shuttle merely has the required force and velocity to thrust it out of the atmosphere; which is something completly "natural" to a scientist. However, this objection appears inapplicable when we concieve of putting ourselves in a spectator's shoes from during that time period. The true thought or concept that would concievably be in that spectator's mind while witnessing the space shuttle thrust smoothly into the air is apparently accurate to that of "that' supernatural!" Alas, if you feel that this example does illustrate a failing to my argument, then please explain how that may follow. I imagine that the failing of my argument maybe a fallacious appeal to the ignorance of the spectator and his incorrect labeling or misunderstanding of a completely natural event. However, would this deem my conception of 'supernatural' incoherent and/or incorrect? Or would it merely show that my example does not apply to my conception?

The implication that we should put Darwinism on trial overlooks the fact that Darwinism has always been on trial within the scientific community. -- From Finding Darwin's God by Kenneth R. Miller

Chaos and chance don't mean the absence of law and order, but rather the presence of order so complex that it lies beyond our abilities to grasp and describe it. -- From From Certainty to Uncertainty by F. David Peat


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Quote: I look forward to

Quote:

I look forward to your criticisms.

I'm not going to criticze you, actaully I am duly impressed, because you have made an honest admission that most would not. Todangst pointed this out in his essay God is an Incoherent Term:

If we consider how people use the word 'god', (both theist and atheist) we see that there are at least three main categories that cover what the term 'god' actually means in human discourse:

A statement of astonishment or wonder or pleasure: "Oh my god! Flapjacks!"

A concession of bewilderment: "We don't know. Goddidit!"

A anthropomorphic reference to a very human entity that shares the same feelings and thoughts and wants and desires as we do, that may even intervene in the lives of some people (if they pray hard enough or are good enough, despite the paradoxes contained in this belief) in order to save them from difficulties.

You are appealling to the former. It does not matter which way we cut this, we derive the same thing, considering what we were talking about previously, you have changed things around, making a fallacy of equivocation. THe issue under consideration was "supernatural" as a metaphysical proposition. You've started playing with the rules, using it as a generic expression of wonder or awe is to eviscerate the concept you were talking about in the OP. If we extended this to its logical result, it would be perfectly coherent to make the following chaing of reasoning:

P1: I am feeling very blue today

P2: Blue is a wavelength on the EM spectrum

C: I am feeling like a wavelength on the EM spectrum 

That's it. You must concede that you are making an appeal to wonder, because you cannot possibly maintain the error of stating that the events in question which "appear" to contradict our intuitive view of nature as contradicticted by science is to make a credible postulate of "supernatural". To do so would require that you make a second fallacy of equivocation between nature, the ontological proposition of naturalism, and natural, the intuitive human understanding of the world. By that logic,  you must understand, it would supernatural to speak of Galileo's experiment of dropping cannonballs and showing that in a vacuum, mass has no effect whatsoever on free-fall acceleration.

If you concede this, then you are simply admitting that your employment of "supernatural" is wordplay. You're appealling to an entirely different meaning of the word "nature" and setting up a contradistinctive proposition. In effect, you've tried to catch me in a bait-and-switch, or a moving the goalposts fallacy.  

 

"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.

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So, does the argument for

So, does the argument for the incoherency of the concept of 'supernatural' not apply if 'supernatural' is not used as a metaphysical proposition? 

The implication that we should put Darwinism on trial overlooks the fact that Darwinism has always been on trial within the scientific community. -- From Finding Darwin's God by Kenneth R. Miller

Chaos and chance don't mean the absence of law and order, but rather the presence of order so complex that it lies beyond our abilities to grasp and describe it. -- From From Certainty to Uncertainty by F. David Peat


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Quote: So, does the

Quote:

So, does the argument for the incoherency of the concept of 'supernatural' not apply if 'supernatural' is not used as a metaphysical proposition?

Not necessarily, as that would be a denying the antecedant fallacy, but, again, you're just playing with bait-and-switch. You end up with a reductio ad absurdum if you take a word as it is commonly used in the vernacular and mangle it enough to make it propositionally coherent, in the end it has nothing to do with what we started out with.

"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.

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You think I'm a swindler! I

You think I'm a swindler! I am hurt. Nevertheless, and all joking aside on my part, I do see your point. I take you to be saying, that when I use 'supernatural' in the completely non-related to the metaphysical sense it is a coherent term. However, this in no way helps to lead towards my end goal of attaching the concept 'supernatural' to God.

As of this point then, I would have to concede that my argument, as far as I have described it, does not successfully address what it set out to address: the incoherency of the (metaphysical) concept of 'supernatural'. Would you say that this is an accurate summation of what I've laid out Deluded? Oh and I meant criticism in the purely academic sense, not in the ad hominem sense.

 

Note: I could envision someone saying that 'supernatural' can be conceded as possibly used in a non-metaphysical sense (i.e. purely physical sense) and retain coherency (in the non-trivial way of an exclamation or mere saying-of-speech). However, on that point, I would definitely agree with you Deluded that this move would be unnaccetable, and as of yet, unargued. And just so you know, I will reattempt to formulate an argument which would lead to acheiving a successful reply to T.D.'s paper. Although, It may be a while before I come up with something.

The implication that we should put Darwinism on trial overlooks the fact that Darwinism has always been on trial within the scientific community. -- From Finding Darwin's God by Kenneth R. Miller

Chaos and chance don't mean the absence of law and order, but rather the presence of order so complex that it lies beyond our abilities to grasp and describe it. -- From From Certainty to Uncertainty by F. David Peat


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Wow it's been a while since

Wow it's been a while since i've been on here. Jread you're right to be suspicious about DG's thesis about meaning and that any religious utterance is meaningless. Mainly because it relies on a dubious Millianism (a thesis which i accept), a Millianism that has been largely abandoned by most contemporary philosophers of language and probably most contemporary Millians as well. Just so everyone knows Millianism is the thesis that names directly refer to objects, and words refer to objects. 

DG says something like the following about meaning:

Quote:
And (regarding the most common criticism of TN) I do not believe words necessarily have to refer to things to be meaningful, however, as we shall soon see, certain words do, and supernatural is one of them. Undoubtedly it has been established that for a word to mean something, it need not necessarily refer to something, nor an existent entity. And yet, the whole crux of this argument (as if it were construed against positivism) fails against more robust negative theology since we do acknowledge this except to make the point that by definition, certain types of words do need to refer to things. What types of words are we referring to when we say this? The answer is obvious: Those which attempt to make reference to the existence of things. We do not talk of the existence of "hello" or the existence of "what". Such statements would be category errors. Yet regarding the supernatural, demanding that the word have a genuine positive referent is a perfectly reasonable request, being that the word itself attempts, and fails to distinguish itself as referring to something which exists, in this case "the supernatural exists". Yet being that it is defined in negative terms only and eliminates all possible positives, supernatural is conceptually broken and hence it means nothing to say it exists.

According to this semantic thesis, a sentence that reports to refer to something that exists must refer to some object if it means something. Several 19th century scientists reported that a new planet had been discovered and these Scientists proposed that this planit is in an orbit between mercury and the Sun and they dubbed it “Vulcan“. Of course Vulcan never existed, and was proved to not exist because of advancements in physics on general relativity. It seems plausible that at least one of the 19th century Scientists uttered the following sentence:

1. Vulcan is a planet.

Intuitively this sentence does in fact mean something, and worse yet it reports to refer to something that exists. It does have a semantic content, but it also expresses the proposition that Vulcan is a planet. The proposition is true if and only if "Vulcan" satisfies the predicate "is a planet". Expressed as the following proposition:

1*. <Vulcan, is a planet>

Intuitively, we can grasp the proposition when we grasp what "Vulcan" refers to. But, your thesis runs into trouble when a name doesn't refer to something. Vulcan doesn't exist. It seems that the sentence (1) still means something and expresses a proposition, but the proposition is just false. The following utterances also seem to have meaning and express propositions but according to DG’s thesis, as best I can tell, do not have any meaning and thus express propositions with no truth value:

2. Pegasus doesn't exist.

3. God is worshiped by Christians.

This is problematic because intuitively both (2) and (3) do mean something, and there are readings in which even atheists can utter (3) and express a true propositions. We utter such things all the time. Here's some further problems with DG's proposal, consider the following utterances:

4. The tallest building on earth is in Asia.

5. The tallest building on earth was in New York.

6. The number of members of the Rational Responders is increasing.

Now, 4 expresses the proposition <The tallest building on earth, is in Asia>

The proposition is true according to DG's account because "the tallest building on earth" refers to Dubai, and Dubai is in Asia. This is good. But consider sentence 5.

Sentence 5 expresses the proposition < The tallest building on earth, was in New York>.

Now, sentence 5 is false according to DG's account because "the tallest building on earth" refers to Dubai, but Dubai was never in New York. And since Dubai doesn't satisfy the predicate "was in New York", so if DG is right the sentence is false. But intuitively there is a reading where sentence (5) is true.

Also, it is very difficult to see how (6) can express a true proposition if DG's account is right, since no individual number increases.

 

So given these difficulties with sentences (which express propositions) and references, it is difficult to see how DG’s thesis is true, thus i think you are right.


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Quote:

Quote:

According to this semantic thesis, a sentence that reports to refer to something that exists must refer to some object if it means something. Sentences often express propositions. Several 19th century scientists reported that a new planet had been discovered proposed to exist in an orbit between mercury and the Sun and they dubbed it “Vulcan“, of course Vulcan never existed due to advancements in physics on general relativity, but it seems plausible that these 19th century Scientists uttered the following sentence:

1. Vulcan is a planet.

Intuitively this sentence does in fact mean something, and worse yet it reports to refer to something that exists. It does have a semantic content, but it also expresses a proposition that Vulcan is a planet. The proposition is true if and only if "Vulcan" satisfies the predicate "is a planet". Expressed as the following proposition:

1*. <Vulcan, is a planet>

Intuitively, we can grasp the proposition when we grasp what "Vulcan" refers to. But, your thesis runs into trouble when a name doesn't refer to something. Vulcan doesn't exist. It seems that the sentence (1) still means something and expresses a proposition, but the proposition is just fals

This is most certainly not what my thesis was attempting to establish, and if it is what is being inferred, I need to clarify. My proposition was not that existence is the necessary antecedant to identity, but rather identity is the necessary antecedant to existence. It is propositionally coherent to speak the following:

Unicorns exist

Coherence theory of truth has largely been abandoned, but that not mean it cannot be employed, even if truth statements cannot be derived from it.

What I was not entailing, as you seem to be suggesting, was Fido-Fido theory, for when I speak of referents, I am not referring to the necessary entailment of existence, but rather identity, such that for any proper name p has description D entails that there are certain properties associated with p, this does not mean that p exists, that it has direct referent in the external world. It may not, but that is irrelevant. I am not Millian, to me, the sentence

Unicorns Exist

Is perfectly meaningful because it imbues certain recognized quantities onto the predicate. It's a white animal with a horse's body and a long horn. These predicates do not have to exist directly, in reality, no such animal exists, but that is irrelevant, it is still perfectly conceptually coherent. The word may attempt to refer to an existent thing, but I think my principle description was unclear. I was not suggesting that it is entailed that the description d need to refer to some existent entity, but rather, for there to be such an entity, we should be able to give it referents. It doesn't necessarily entail that what is refers to actually exists, but since I am unconcerned with the truth value of the proposition, that was not what I was focusing on. What I was advocating was denotation as apposed to Millian Descriptivism.

Although denotation works tidily for certain concepts lke "blue" or "lamp" it breaks down when we consider words which don't denote anything, like "hello". When I speak of denotation, it does not entail necessarily that the thing in question exists in the real world, but it should have conceivable property nonetheless. What I was suggesting was that certain words, by their nature, needed to . I was not concerned in any way with whether or not this referred to something in the real world, or whether it was a true statement, my principle and only concern was whether the entity had identity.  That is my litmus test (It's actually Quine's, but meh)

I think, then we are working with tow different senses of referent. TO me, in this case, a referent does not entail existence in the actual world, because that would make numerous either false statements on those propogating imaginary concepts unclear, when they are not. Rather, the predicate in question should be denoted, because speaking of the "supernatural" does not appear to be coherently speaking of any actual concept, ie it does not appear to denote a thing which could possibly have identity, because it appears to be solely defined in a negative universe of discourse where it is not coherently established what it means to refer to something as only: ~N, where N stands for "natural". We can define objects by their opposites so long as we are aware what is left over, ie

"This number is not even"

which is coherent because it is established what remains, odd numbers. THis means that since there is something left in the universe of discourse, we can coherently define it. It has not been established what, if anything, is left over or what we mean when we say "supernatural", and it does not appear to have any identity attached to it (see the "pencil case universe" suggestion at the bottom).

Principally, I was not concerned whatsoever with the truth value of the utterance, it is impossible to speak of a something being "true" when you don't even know what it is conceptually expressing.

Anyway, I needed to revise that paper, since I'm trying to finish drafting something on Multiple Realizability, I had ignored that one for a while.

 

"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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Yeah. The DG/Todangst

Yeah. The DG/Todangst position doesn't sound Milligan at all.
They simply acknowledge what the conceptual building blocks are for our empirical concepts and question whether the supernaturalist qualifies as one. I still think it can, but agree that the theology that many theists have put forward doesn't.


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deludedgod wrote:

deludedgod wrote:

the predicate in question should be denoted, because speaking of the "supernatural" does not appear to be coherently speaking of any actual concept, ie it does not appear to denote a thing which could possibly have identity, because it appears to be solely defined in a negative universe of discourse where it is not coherently established what it means to refer to something as only: ~N, where N stands for "natural". We can define objects by their opposites so long as we are aware what is left over, ie

Supernatural is not appropriately defined as ~N. If this premise of your argument is removed, then your argument against my position dissapears.

Quote:
When I speak of denotation, it does not entail necessarily that the thing in question exists in the real world, but it should have conceivable property nonetheless.

This concession further supports my position concerning the rentention of the coherency of 'supernatual' if we define it as "above the normal course of nature" and not "outside of nature." It is quite feasible to see how the concept would retain coherency even we can merely denote its properties, yet not have an object in existence which can be referred to as 'supernatural.'

Argument from Analogy

The properties of a Unicorn would be:

white animal, with a horn, and a horses body.

 

The properties of something (existent or not) supernatural would be:

 

Speed: Super fast!

Power: Super power!

Intelligence: Super smart!

etc.

 

The only difference between the unicorn and the properties of 'supernatural' is level or quantity; not the actual properties themselves. I could add the following properties to the unicorn analogy:

 

Normal Unicorn:

white animal, with a horn, with a horse's body, normal intelligence, normal physical power, normal running and walking speed.

 

Supernatural Unicorn:

 

white animal, with a horn, with a horse's body, super intelligence, super physical power, super running and walking speed.

A super unicorn would then just quantify the normal unicorn's properties. There is no necessity to imagine that the properties of a super unicorn would be ~natural. Instead, they merely exceed the normal course of nature for a unicorn.

 

note: of course I agree, that if this analogy can hold water, and somehow lead to rescuing the coherency of 'supernatural' then possible reworking to the concept of God would be necessary. But let's take this one step at a time. I am in no hurry. First rescue the concept of 'supernatural' (somehow) and then let us move on to greener pastures.

The implication that we should put Darwinism on trial overlooks the fact that Darwinism has always been on trial within the scientific community. -- From Finding Darwin's God by Kenneth R. Miller

Chaos and chance don't mean the absence of law and order, but rather the presence of order so complex that it lies beyond our abilities to grasp and describe it. -- From From Certainty to Uncertainty by F. David Peat


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You are still scamming us

You are still scamming us with bait-and-switch, mate!

Your response entails: "Supernatural" is a meaningful concept, just like "superman" or 'superconductor

My Response (from todangst): You're equivocating on the word 'super' in a way that does not apply to a theological discussion - unless you are holding that your 'god' is entirely natural, i.e. the anthropomorphic deities found in ancient Greece or Rome. "Super" does not mean 'superior" when used in theological discussion, it means 'beyond' or 'above'.

 

 

"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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O.k. so our last 20 hours

O.k. so our last 20 hours of posts have been deleted. Bad luck. I remember most of what I said in my reply to your last reply deluded, so I will attempt to sum up the point that we are in at in our discussion.

 

--4 billion people define God in a way that falls susceptible to your argument. It is not that you are defining God as outside nature, it is that the 4 billion theists of past and present have been defining God this way. I understand your point.

--In my last reply I really wasn't trying to suggest or bring up the ontological argument. I personally don't like that argument either.

--I take fault for not being clear what I was saying and what todangst said in his paper. I will try to be clearer next time. In reference to the analogy that I was attempting to draw, I withdraw that analogy as not necessary to my aims.

Summation--It appears deluded, that after discussing with you at length the concept 'supernatural' and 'God' the ball is in my court so-to-speak. I have attempted to avoid your argument by defining 'supernatural' as remaining in the natural realm, in a "that which is superior" sense of what is natural. Furthermore, I have attempted to show how the concept of 'God' could conceivably be defined as 'supernatural' in the sense that I have described (rendering it in conflict with the 4 billion strong definition).

So far as I can tell, the position that I am advocating is coherent conceptually, however it risks being so disconnected from the mainstream 4 billion person endorsed definition that I am no longer talking about the same concept. In light of this description it appears that I have arrived at the following conclusions:

1. I have managed to avoid your argument, but not refute it, by suggesting a different conception of 'God' and 'supernatural.'

2. If I've avoided it, then it is my burden to show how a concept of God, conceived of in the way that I've described, is even remotely related to the mainstream conception of God.

 

Going off of memory deluded, this is where I think my argument stands. If you disagree that this is where it left off, or that I have attempted to somehow mislead you, then please let me know how so I can attempt to clarify.

 

The implication that we should put Darwinism on trial overlooks the fact that Darwinism has always been on trial within the scientific community. -- From Finding Darwin's God by Kenneth R. Miller

Chaos and chance don't mean the absence of law and order, but rather the presence of order so complex that it lies beyond our abilities to grasp and describe it. -- From From Certainty to Uncertainty by F. David Peat


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deludedgod wrote: You are

deludedgod wrote:

You are still scamming us with bait-and-switch, mate!

Your response entails: "Supernatural" is a meaningful concept, just like "superman" or 'superconductor

My Response (from todangst): You're equivocating on the word 'super' in a way that does not apply to a theological discussion - unless you are holding that your 'god' is entirely natural, i.e. the anthropomorphic deities found in ancient Greece or Rome. "Super" does not mean 'superior" when used in theological discussion, it means 'beyond' or 'above'.

I'd say that's wrong, Super-man is a man that is greater than man, he still has some properties of being a man. Likewise for Supernatural and God, God is not just an anthropomorphic deity, he exceeds that, yes, but his essence has also permiated everything that is, including the world. So Supernatural is equal to and also greater than the natural. And this sort of definition does permiate theology, especially Pannenberg, Clayton, and Peakcocke(sp?); they say that God is a being "in whom we live and move and have our being". Thus, supernatural is not just the negation of natural.


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When we say that super-man

When we say that super-man is super, we define certain limits that a 'man' has that a 'super-man' doesn't. We see how people cannot fly but a super-man can.
So super-man's 'superness' is defined in terms of his abilities and characteristics.

The charge being levelled at theism is that it the 'limits' that 'supernatural' wishes to leave behind are the limits that allow the concept to be meaningful. The limits that the supernaturalist tries to get around at the rules of language that are necessary for the concept to make sense. The challenge that DG and Todangst have set you is to define 'supernatural' in a way that makes sense.


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drummermonkey

drummermonkey wrote:
deludedgod wrote:

You are still scamming us with bait-and-switch, mate!

Your response entails: "Supernatural" is a meaningful concept, just like "superman" or 'superconductor

My Response (from todangst): You're equivocating on the word 'super' in a way that does not apply to a theological discussion - unless you are holding that your 'god' is entirely natural, i.e. the anthropomorphic deities found in ancient Greece or Rome. "Super" does not mean 'superior" when used in theological discussion, it means 'beyond' or 'above'.

I'd say that's wrong, Super-man is a man that is greater than man, he still has some properties of being a man.

You're a joke. You use a fictional character to argue epistemology? "super" in supernature is not a prefix. Supernature is a word in reference to that which is NOT nature.
Quote:
Likewise for Supernatural and God, God is not just an anthropomorphic deity, he exceeds that, yes, but his essence has also permiated everything that is, including the world.
What evidence do you have of this thing? Describe this god-thing without anthropomorphic terms.
Quote:
So Supernatural is equal to and also greater than the natural.
Evidence? Zero, because supernature is the antithesis of nature.
Quote:
And this sort of definition does permiate theology, especially Pannenberg, Clayton, and Peakcocke(sp?); they say that God is a being "in whom we live and move and have our being". Thus, supernatural is not just the negation of natural.
"god is a being" is meaningless; its less than a grunt of a water buffalo. Thus, "in whom we live and move and have our being" could be the sound of a water buffalo farting.

No, I think I gave it too much implication of existence.

People who think there is something they refer to as god don't ask enough questions.


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strafio wrote: When we say

strafio wrote:

When we say that super-man is super, we define certain limits that a 'man' has that a 'super-man' doesn't. We see how people cannot fly but a super-man can.
So super-man's 'superness' is defined in terms of his abilities and characteristics.

The charge being levelled at theism is that it the 'limits' that 'supernatural' wishes to leave behind are the limits that allow the concept to be meaningful. The limits that the supernaturalist tries to get around at the rules of language that are necessary for the concept to make sense. The challenge that DG and Todangst have set you is to define 'supernatural' in a way that makes sense.

Unfortunately the challenge doesn’t make much sense. I define “supernatural” as equal to and greater than natural. Just as “superman” is equal to and greater than a man. Granted superman has properties that we don’t find in a normal man, but he still does have features that we do find in men; he has thoughts, moral consciousness, desires, love, and even can have a son. It does not due to treat “superman” as “non-man” because that would negate all the properties that we find in common with men, we might say he is not a mere man, but we are still committed to him having the properties of men, but greater, more powerful. “Superhero” is also a linguistic expression we use that will not function well as simply the negation of “hero” because a superhero is still a hero. The theist is not trying to get around rules of language, if there is such a thing, the theist is expressing something that they find greater than yet within nature.

aiia wrote:

You're a joke. You use a fictional character to argue epistemology? "super" in supernature is not a prefix. Supernature is a word in reference to that which is NOT nature.

 

Name calling is not necessary, not to mention slightly fallacious. As far as using a fictional character to argue for epistemology, I don't take myself to be doing this at all, I made no reference to the nature of justification, or knowledge. I have used linguistic evidence to suggest that "supernatural" is a prefix in the same sense that "superman" is and "superstrength" and "superhero". Now you suggest that "supernatural" can be replaced with "non-natural". But what happens when we replace "super" with "non" in the other phrases? "Non-strength", and "Non-hero", this does not capture the meaning of "superstrength" nor "superhero" because super strong people are still strong, and superheroes are still heroes. So the linguistic evidence is there; unless "supernatural" is a unique expression which is what most of you are trying to do. But the burden of proof is on you to argue that "supernatural" is a unique expression. It certainly seems that "super-" is a prefix in most cases that we have discussed, why can't it be for "supernatural"?

Quote:
What evidence do you have of this thing? Describe this god-thing without anthropomorphic terms.

I've provided linguistic evidence to the effect that "super-" functions as a prefix in the term "supernatural". As far as evidence that "supernatural" is a unique expression and is not a prefix, I have seen no convincing evidence.

Quote:
Evidence? Zero, because supernature is the antithesis of nature.

Why? If you're arguing for a linguistic expression that is unique in character where "super-" looks like a prefix, yet functions as a negation then you're the one that needs to provide evidence.

Quote:
"god is a being" is meaningless; its less than a grunt of a water buffalo. Thus, "in whom we live and move and have our being" could be the sound of a water buffalo farting.

No, I think I gave it too much implication of existence.

What about "God is worshipped by Christians" or "Christians worship God" or "Theists worship a creator of the universe" ? I've heard atheists utter such phrases, so atheists are just uttering meaningless sentences? When you give a thesis for meaning you should try to explain our linguistic intuitions for why particular phrases that we take to be meaningful are meaningful, at least that‘s what I take philosophers of language to be doing; those who take the antithesis of this project are what my philosophy of language prof aptly calls “Quiners“. Since meaningful expressions express propostions or beliefs that have a truth content, then it is also important to explain our intuitions about why particular statements are true as well.


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drummermonkey wrote: aiia

drummermonkey wrote:

aiia wrote:
What evidence do you have of this thing? Describe this god-thing without anthropomorphic terms.

I've provided linguistic evidence to the effect that "super-" functions as a prefix in the term "supernatural". As far as evidence that "supernatural" is a unique expression and is not a prefix, I have seen no convincing evidence.

Have you ever even read a definition of 'supernatural'? You are outright lying. Supernatural is a single lexical item in and of itself and 'super' does not function as an affix to 'nature'.

As defined by Dictionary.com citing Random House Unabriged Dictionary, American Heritage Dictionary, Online Etymology Dictionary and WordNet 3.0 supernatural is:

su·per·nat·u·ral /ˌsupərˈnætʃərəl, -ˈnætʃrəl/ Pronunciation Key - Show Spelled Pronunciation[soo-per-nach-er-uhl, -nach-ruhl] Pronunciation Key - Show IPA Pronunciation –adjective
1.of, pertaining to, or being above or beyond what is natural; unexplainable by natural law or phenomena; abnormal.
2.of, pertaining to, characteristic of, or attributed to God or a deity.
3.of a superlative degree; preternatural: a missile of supernatural speed.
4.of, pertaining to, or attributed to ghosts, goblins, or other unearthly beings; eerie; occult.
–noun
5.a being, place, object, occurrence, etc., considered as supernatural or of supernatural origin; that which is supernatural, or outside the natural order.
6.behavior supposedly caused by the intervention of supernatural beings.
7.direct influence or action of a deity on earthly affairs.
8.the supernatural,
a.supernatural beings, behavior, and occurrences collectively.
b.supernatural forces and the supernatural plane of existence: a deep fear of the supernatural.

[Origin: 1520–30; < ML supernātūrālis. See super-, natural] su·per·nat·u·ral·ly, adverb su·per·nat·u·ral·ness, noun
1. See miraculous.
Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1)
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.
American Heritage Dictionary - Cite This Source - Share This
su·per·nat·u·ral (sōō'pər-nāch'ər-əl) Pronunciation Key
adj.
  1. Of or relating to existence outside the natural world.
  2. Attributed to a power that seems to violate or go beyond natural forces.
  3. Of or relating to a deity.
  4. Of or relating to the immediate exercise of divine power; miraculous.
  5. Of or relating to the miraculous.
n. That which is supernatural.

su'per·nat'u·ral·ly adv., su'per·nat'u·ral·ness n.
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The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2006 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Online Etymology Dictionary - Cite This Source - Share This
supernatural (adj.)
c.1450 (implied in supernaturally), "above nature, transcending nature, belonging to a higher realm," from M.L. supernaturalis "above or beyond nature," from L. super "above" (see super-) + naturanature). Originally with more of a religious sense; association with ghosts, etc., has predominated since c.1799. The noun is attested from 1587. "nature" (see
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2001 Douglas Harper
WordNet - Cite This Source - Share This
supernatural
adjective
1. not existing in nature or subject to explanation according to natural laws; not physical or material; "supernatural forces and occurrences and beings" [ant: natural]

noun
1. supernatural forces and events and beings collectively; "She doesn't believe in the supernatural"

WordNet® 3.0, © 2006 by Princeton University.

 

You can stop suggesting your own definition for this well understood term whenever you like and cease your intellectual dishonesty. Either live with the definition or stop arguing on false grounds. If you really believe that there is no evidence that 'supernatural' is a lexical item, then please, paste the definition and cite the dictionary so that it can be examined by those on the board. If the four sources I've cited aren't enough to satify your need for evidence, I will cite more. Further, the fallacy you would commit by misusing the word 'supernatural' in order to fit a definition you ignorantly claim is true in order to support an argument would be called equivocation.

drummermonkey wrote:

aiia wrote:
Evidence? Zero, because supernature is the antithesis of nature.

Why? If you're arguing for a linguistic expression that is unique in character where "super-" looks like a prefix, yet functions as a negation then you're the one that needs to provide evidence.

The evidence has been provided. Perhaps you should look up the definition before you blindly assert that 'supernatural' means anything other than the definitions provided.

drummemonkey wrote:

aiia wrote:
"god is a being" is meaningless; its less than a grunt of a water buffalo. Thus, "in whom we live and move and have our being" could be the sound of a water buffalo farting.

No, I think I gave it too much implication of existence.

What about "God is worshipped by Christians" or "Christians worship God" or "Theists worship a creator of the universe" ? I've heard atheists utter such phrases, so atheists are just uttering meaningless sentences? When you give a thesis for meaning you should try to explain our linguistic intuitions for why particular phrases that we take to be meaningful are meaningful, at least that‘s what I take philosophers of language to be doing; those who take the antithesis of this project are what my philosophy of language prof aptly calls “Quiners“. Since meaningful expressions express propostions or beliefs that have a truth content, then it is also important to explain our intuitions about why particular statements are true as well.


Simply because something is a 'broken concept' does not mean that it cannot be communicated. We are all capable of imagining any number of 'broken concepts' that we could convey to other people such that they would be able to understand what we are talking about. Our ability to communicate a concept has nothing to do with it's veracity or validity philosophically. If we could not communicate 'broken concepts' there would be no fantasy section at book stores.

BigUniverse wrote,

"Well the things that happen less often are more likely to be the result of the supper natural. A thing like loosing my keys in the morning is not likely supper natural, but finding a thousand dollars or meeting a celebrity might be."


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Thomathy, if you consider

Thomathy, if you consider all the definitions you listed, then you would see the alternative definitional accounts of 'supernatural' that would support the word 'supernatural' as not referring to something that is outside or beyond nature (i.e. not-natural) in all cases. Specifically I am looking at

1. of, pertaining to, or being above or beyond what is natural; unexplainable by natural law or phenomena; abnormal.
3. of a superlative degree; preternatural: a missile of supernatural speed.

1.Attributed to a power that seems to violate or go beyond natural forces.

 

In all of these accounts of the word, supernatural would not need to be deemed as outside of natural, or in other words, non-natural. How? Consider the first (1.), it refers of course to something 'being above or beyond what is natural,' but does this support a non-natural conception of 'supernatural'? I don't think that it does because it appears to ambiguously use the word 'natural'; it appears that natural in this first part of the definition refers more to 'what is typical' rather than 'what is natural' i.e. the nature we are discussing i.e. science and nature. This explanation is of course not enough to show how 'supernatural' can be defined in the way that drummer and I are attempting to define it as.

The second part of the first definition (1.) is where I find access to a favorable position.

"unexplainable by natural law or phenomena; abnormal."

The key here is that it notes that 'supernatural' would not be explainable by natural law, however, it does not say that it is outside of natural law or phenomena. It may be the case that with more studying and understanding,a supernatural event or thing could be explained using a completely naturalistic terms, in accordance to natural laws either not yet discovered or not yet concieved of being applied in such a way. The bottom line is just because something is not yet explainable by natural law, does not mean that it is necessarily outside of nature. It may very likely be the case that natural law cannot explain the event with the available laws, however, these laws alone do not have the power to rule out whether something is natural or not-natural.[Unless you hold that nature consists of only the things that can be explainable by natural or scientific law. If this is the case, then I would need to hear how you justify such a position.]

Of course the conception I am recommending does pose problems with attaching 'supernatural' as an adjective to the concept of God, however these issues will be faced once 'supernatural' can be sorted out and better understood. So in your reply, consider the fact that I have removed the ability on my behalf (I don't know about on drummer's behalf) to attach 'supernatural' to the concept of God at this time.

This third definition is exactly what drummer is referring to in his superman example. Of course you may say that under a naturalistic conception of the concept 'supernatural' we have not yet shown how it can be attached to the concept of God as a meaningful adjective. However, I feel that if we excluded God now as a supernatural being, because our attempt to define 'supernatural' in the way here described, then drummer's superman example would be a non-equivocated use of the word super if he takes out the correlation to God. Let us take a look at the definition for (3.):

3. of a superlative degree; preternatural: a missile of supernatural speed.

The missle of supernatural speed does not need much explanation; it appears to directly correlate with drummer's superman example. However, I do feel it necessary to define 'superlative' in order to better understand the definition's meaning.

adj.

  1. Of the highest order, quality, or degree; surpassing or superior to all others.
  2. Excessive or exaggerated.
  3. Grammar. Of, relating to, or being the extreme degree of comparison of an adjective or adverb, as in best or brightest.
n.
  1. Something of the highest possible excellence.
  2. The highest degree; the acme.
  3. Grammar.
    1. The superlative degree.
    2. An adjective or adverb expressing the superlative degree, as in brightest, the superlative of the adjective bright, or most brightly, the superlative of the adverb brightly.

 

This is the manner in which I (and it appears drummer as well) want to define the concept of 'supernatural.' On this usage, directly in line with your given definitions (at least some of them), drummer's superman example is not fallacious as long as we don't try to attach 'supernatural' as an adjective for the concept of God (yet) (A separate argument would be needed in order to attach supernatural to the concept of God at this point).

 

And lastly, I wanted to note the second definition (1.)

1.Attributed to a power that seems to violate or go beyond natural forces.

Again I am hammering home the 'seems' part of the definition. Now, I don't want to appear to be saying that just because something seems not to be one way that it is. Rather, I am merely attempting to show that 'seems' in the definition suggests that a power could be explainable by nature, but currently is unable to be explained or unable to be understood.

Lastly,please remember that if I what I've said makes sense, then I must seperately argue that my conception of 'supernatural' could be used to explain the concept of God (deludedgod has helped me realize this fact. 4 billion, 4 billion!!!) [The post in which deludedgod points out the 4 billion Christians strong definition of God that conflicts with my position concerning the concept of 'supernatural' was unfortunately deleted by a server reset.] 

 

The implication that we should put Darwinism on trial overlooks the fact that Darwinism has always been on trial within the scientific community. -- From Finding Darwin's God by Kenneth R. Miller

Chaos and chance don't mean the absence of law and order, but rather the presence of order so complex that it lies beyond our abilities to grasp and describe it. -- From From Certainty to Uncertainty by F. David Peat


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Thomathy,  A grade high

 

 


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Thomathy,   A grade high

Thomathy,  

A grade high school list of prefixes and root words with "super" as a prefix of the root word "natural":

http://www.mcps.k12.md.us/schools/senecavalleyhs/satroots-fall07.pdf

Wiki also has a list of prefix's with "supernatural" as an example:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_prefixes

Valarie Adam's lists supernatural as an example in "An introduction to modern English word formation".

And did you look at the latin etymology of the word supernaturalis on your own list (super+natura)?

I can live just fine with the definitions that you provided, however when you look at the definitions I don't have to be committied to the conjunction of all of these definitions. Indeed I do philosophically deny (1) and perhaps (2) in the American Heratidge dictionary, but I do accept most of the other definitions just fine. 

I also can't recall stating that "supernatural" is not a lexical item. Further, I am not presenting "my own definitions", I am working with the definitions that are in your own dictionary and then moving beyond those definitions by attempting to give a philosophical account of the supernatural. An account I find to be most consistent with the idea that God acts. But make no mistake when a person utters a word or a sentence, that person is not committing themselves to a conjunction of all the definitions within the dictionary, but rather with a particular intention and context in mind ,the speaker is communicating a particular meaning that might be found in one or more of the definitions given in the dictionary. It is for this reason that we must think of the definitions given as more of a disjunction than conjunction of all meanings within the dictionary. 

In addition, the same source says that "natural" is the negation of the supernatural, so it appears to me that natural is just as broken a concept as supernatural is, does this mean that the word "natural" and "supernatural" don't mean anything? Of course not.

Also you had stated something to this effect:

Quote:

Simply because something is a 'broken concept' does not mean that it cannot be communicated. We are all capable of imagining any number of 'broken concepts' that we could convey to other people such that they would be able to understand what we are talking about. Our ability to communicate a concept has nothing to do with it's veracity or validity philosophically. If we could not communicate 'broken concepts' there would be no fantasy section at book stores.

I'm not sure what your getting at here, are you saying that "broken concepts" have meaning? Is what your getting at "we can communicate broken concepts and grasp the meaning of a broken concept"? If so, then this is exactly the opposite thesis of what I understand DG is arguing. Indeed, "meaning" itself is a hazy philosophical concept, that doesn't mean it is not a concept, or a word without meaning.

 


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The last several posts have

The last several posts have all missed the point of my and Tod’sa rgument. Indeed, we are veering utterly off track to irrelevancy here. Believe me, we have been defending our thesis against semantic objections for years. You are not going to surprise us. What is under discussion now with the prefix “super” is an entailment of magnitude. Much like “superhero” or “superman”. “Cold” is not the negation of “hot”, nor vice-versa, they merely reflect different magnitudes of the same underlying concept of particle kinetics (temperature). What is under discussion hence is magnitude of property. This is not what Tod and I were focusing on. The error jread is making is exactly the same, because it entails a fallacy of conflation into how the term “natural” is employed. “it is not natural for a human to lift twice his body weight” is not the sense in which we are employing the term in question, rather we are making an inquiry into ontology, hence referring to ontological/metaphysical naturalism. It is meaningless to speak of “super” naturalism in the same sense as “superman” because the latter entails magnitude of underlying property. “Naturalism” is not a magnitude, but an ontology. The way the term “natural” is being employed here, you’d think this discussion was about superheroes. We are not appealing to magnitude, for what would we be speaking of magnitude of such that we could say “of greater magnitude than naturalism”. This is meaningless. It is a category error and entails of a fallacy of equivocation.  The phrase “God is including and greater than natural” is equally meaningless for this reason. “Naturalism” is not entailing magnitude of underlying quality such that we can say “greater than” in the normal sense that we associate with the prefix of super. In this sense, mixing-and-matching between the two to say “greater than” as a magnitude of property of naturalistic ontology is like the prhase “purple smelling”. Obviously, the above phrase would also be meaningless because the theistic God cannot in any way be consubstantial with naturalism if as is described he antecedes it by being the creator of the natural. It does no good to appeal to quasi-pantheism because that would entail that such a property, which I am sure is all but universally agreed on by theists (God is the immaterial creator of the material) would be rendered internally contradictory. It is further incoherent, for the reasons outlined, to speak of “beyond nature” in the sense of magnitude of property, because naturalism is not a vector quality, it is an ontological status. Supernatural in the sense that it is used by theists thene (an “immaterial existence” entails the negation of naturalistic ontology. One cannot speak of super in the sense attached to the word in a mix-and-match as being “greater than” or “>” because that would entail a category error. We are concerned with ontology here.

I assure you we’ve been going through this for years, the only saving grace is to produce an ontology for “immaterial” things.

"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.

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deludedgod wrote: The last

deludedgod wrote:

The last several posts have all missed the point of my and Tod’sa rgument. Indeed, we are veering utterly off track to irrelevancy here. Believe me, we have been defending our thesis against semantic objections for years. You are not going to surprise us. What is under discussion now with the prefix “super” is an entailment of magnitude. Much like “superhero” or “superman”. “Cold” is not the negation of “hot”, nor vice-versa, they merely reflect different magnitudes of the same underlying concept of particle kinetics (temperature). What is under discussion hence is magnitude of property. This is not what Tod and I were focusing on. The error jread is making is exactly the same, because it entails a fallacy of conflation into how the term “natural” is employed.

Show me where I've conflated in my own words (using recent posts).

Quote:
“it is not natural for a human to lift twice his body weight” is not the sense in which we are employing the term in question, rather we are making an inquiry into ontology, hence referring to ontological/metaphysical naturalism.

Then why do appear to deny an ontological inquiry here? :

Quote:
What I was not entailing, as you seem to be suggesting, was Fido-Fido theory, for when I speak of referents, I am not referring to the necessary entailment of existence, but rather identity, such that for any proper name p has description D entails that there are certain properties associated with p, this does not mean that p exists, that it has direct referent in the external world. It may not, but that is irrelevant.

I see your point deluded that we may be arguing about two different conceptions of 'supernatural,' however your general thesis appears to be arguing that generally 'supernatual' is a broken concept. Either qualify your claim in the paper's title or admit that under one conception of 'supernatural' your argument fails to assault it.

 

Quote:
It is meaningless to speak of “super” naturalism

Because of your adopted ontology; not because of a point of fact. (as you mention below concerning needing an onology to include immaterial things. But then your just attempting to draw me into another dilemma because you also argue that the concept 'immaterial' is broken.)

Quote:
in the same sense as “superman” because the latter entails magnitude of underlying property.

Please be clearer about what you mean here.

Quote:
“Naturalism” is not a magnitude, but an ontology.
O.K. but I thought we were talking about a concept being broken, not an ontological claim that is broken.

Quote:
The way the term “natural” is being employed here, you’d think this discussion was about superheroes.

Very funny. It's called an analogy.

Quote:
We are not appealing to magnitude, for what would we be speaking of magnitude of such that we could say “of greater magnitude than naturalism”. This is meaningless.

You seem to be using 'naturalism' as you would 'existence.' Your statement sounds like "for what would we be speaking of magnitude of such that we say 'of greater magnitude than existence.'" If naturalism does intend to act as it appears to, what are your grounds for having it act this way? You appear to be making the term 'naturalism' as inaccessible to be a magnitude of quality as existence is. If this is as it seems deluded, then how would you justify deeming naturalism this way?

Quote:
It is a category error and entails of a fallacy of equivocation.

Please explain the category error. If 'supernatural' is still within the 'naturalistic' realm of discourse then how is it in a different category? Are you going to suggest that all properties of nature are neither greater than or less than one another, but completely equal and worthy of no notation of difference and distinction in magnitude or quantity? If so, then please explain how this would be.

Quote:
The phrase “God is including and greater than natural” is equally meaningless for this reason.

This is not meaningless and needs a case to show how "God is including and greater than natural." If you say 4 billion then we obviously have identified our problem: a problematic definitional conception of God, not an equivocation of natural.

Quote:
“Naturalism” is not entailing magnitude of underlying quality such that we can say “greater than” in the normal sense that we associate with the prefix of super.

I would love to know more about this naturalism. It seems so bland. Everything's the same. Nothing is greater than or less than; it just is. Why is this flatness of quality necessary?

Quote:
In this sense, mixing-and-matching between the two to say “greater than” as a magnitude of property of naturalistic ontology is like the prhase “purple smelling”.

How can this statement match up with what you said here:

Quote:
My proposition was not that existence is the necessary antecedant to identity, but rather identity is the necessary antecedant to existence.

The goal of my thesis, is to give 'supernatural' an identity in the natural realm. But again, if you reply and say that things within naturalism cannot be distinguished in a greater than or less than fashion, then I would love to hear about that.

Quote:
Obviously, the above phrase would also be meaningless because the theistic God cannot in any way be consubstantial with naturalism if as is described he antecedes it by being the creator of the natural. It does no good to appeal to quasi-pantheism because that would entail that such a property, which I am sure is all but universally agreed on by theists (God is the immaterial creator of the material) would be rendered internally contradictory.

This deals with 'immaterial' principally and I am not attempting to argue for or against this concept's coherency.

Quote:
It is further incoherent, for the reasons outlined, to speak of “beyond nature” in the sense of magnitude of property, because naturalism is not a vector quality, it is an ontological status.

Naturalism=ontological status...why is naturalism an ontological status? Isn't it more of a description of what a thing is, not that it is a thing because it is natural? You are conflating natural and existence. Is this intetional?

Quote:
Supernatural in the sense that it is used by theists thene (an “immaterial existence” entails the negation of naturalistic ontology. One cannot speak of super in the sense attached to the word in a mix-and-match as being “greater than” or “>” because that would entail a category error. We are concerned with ontology here.

Again this may be so when used in theistic terms following readily accepted theistic definitions. However, your thesis argues more generally. I am attempting to limit this generality or atleast understand how you argue that it can be so general.

Quote:
I assure you we’ve been going through this for years, the only saving grace is to produce an ontology for “immaterial” things.

What do you mean by produce? Imagine or prove? How is your naturalistic ontology any different?

The implication that we should put Darwinism on trial overlooks the fact that Darwinism has always been on trial within the scientific community. -- From Finding Darwin's God by Kenneth R. Miller

Chaos and chance don't mean the absence of law and order, but rather the presence of order so complex that it lies beyond our abilities to grasp and describe it. -- From From Certainty to Uncertainty by F. David Peat


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jread wrote:It appears that

jread wrote:

It appears that Todangst, in association with Deludedgod, has produced a significant roadblock in respect to conversations which involve concepts that have anything to do with the concept of 'supernatural' or 'immaterial'.

The roadblock is inherent in the definition. We merely point this out.

 

 

Quote:


Definitional Argument

My argument rests on grasping the 'above nature' option of how to conceive the meaning of 'supernatural'.

I already refute this in my essay!

Quote:

Counter argument: Saying 'greatly exceeds the normal course of nature' is not a sufficient distinction between something that is 'outside of nature'. Therefore, you have merely given a poor semantical description for the same incoherent conception of 'supernatural'.

Wrong. You haven't given ANY description, you've merely stolen from naturalism, as you simply redefine supernature as nature.

 

Quote:

Referential Argument

 

Just because a concept refers to an empty set does not mean that the concept is meaningless.

Again, I already refute this in  my essay. Does anyone who attempts to respond to my essay even read it?

 

Quote:

Counter argument: I see where you're going with this. Even if I grant your argument, Mastodon's are not something which is 'supernatural'.

Please read my own arguments and stop trying to ineptly recreate them. The actual point is that even if your claim was true, it does nothing to define the supernatural!

 

 

 

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deludedgod wrote:The last

deludedgod wrote:

The last several posts have all missed the point of my and Tod’sa rgument. Indeed, we are veering utterly off track to irrelevancy here.

he doesn't even appear to have READ my essay.

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This post is old news. I was

This post is old news. I was missing the boat in trying to rescue 'supernatural' from a naturalistic framework. Rejecting 'supernatural' as an incoherent concept is one of the primary tenets of a naturalistic ontology. I didn't realize this when I read your essay. Contrary to what you may think, I printed it and read it many times. Although I grant that until I researched naturalism and its foundations, I failed to understand your essay on the subject. Some spammer brought it back to the forefront of the forum. I've considered my thoughts on the subject in this post fruitless. 

The implication that we should put Darwinism on trial overlooks the fact that Darwinism has always been on trial within the scientific community. -- From Finding Darwin's God by Kenneth R. Miller

Chaos and chance don't mean the absence of law and order, but rather the presence of order so complex that it lies beyond our abilities to grasp and describe it. -- From From Certainty to Uncertainty by F. David Peat


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jread wrote:This post is old

jread wrote:

This post is old news. I was missing the boat in trying to rescue 'supernatural' from a naturalistic framework.

Glad to hear it.

Quote:

Rejecting 'supernatural' as an incoherent concept is one of the primary tenets of a naturalistic ontology.

You're getting it backwards. The attempt to make the supernatural coherent necessarily fails no matter what sort of 'ontology' one wants to make (as if there could be something other than naturalistic one)  because any attempt at coherency requires that a term either have ontological status, or serve as a contradistinctive.

 

 

Quote:

I didn't realize this when I read your essay. Contrary to what you may think, I printed it and read it many times.

Yet each of your points is dealt with in my essay.  

 

Quote:

Although I grant that until I researched naturalism and its foundations, I failed to understand your essay on the subject.

Ok, that explains things.

Quote:

Some spammer brought it back to the forefront of the forum. I've considered my thoughts on the subject in this post fruitless. 

 

Glad to hear it.  By the way, my points on the term and its incoherency aren't the slightest concern to negative theologians, in fact, they'd find the attempt to make a reference to the un-referencible to be wrongheaded in the first place.

 

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todangst wrote:You're

todangst wrote:

You're getting it backwards. The attempt to make the supernatural coherent necessarily fails no matter what sort of 'ontology' one wants to make (as if there could be something other than naturalistic one)  because any attempt at coherency requires that a term either have ontological status, or serve as a contradistinctive.

Interesting. What exactly do you mean by 'serve as a contradistinctive'?

Quote:

Yet each of your points is dealt with in my essay.  

 

I know...deluded pointed this out to me with some effort. I thought that I was coming up with something different to consider at the time...But after the discussion and some research (which was by the way from Willfrid Sellars' Naturalism and Ontology. The book was very interesting and I only got through about half of it. His discussion on 'what makes a sort a sort' really helped me understand why 'supernatural' is an incoherent term) I realized I had nothing new to argue.

Quote:

 

Glad to hear it.  By the way, my points on the term and its incoherency aren't the slightest concern to negative theologians, in fact, they'd find the attempt to make a reference to the un-referencible to be wrongheaded in the first place.

 

Yeah I've heard of such things, I'm not too familiar with them (neg. theo.) though. Science (specifically evolution) has been my most recent research topic. I am constantly amazed by the explanatory power of evolutionary theory. Y.E.C.'s make me sick.

The implication that we should put Darwinism on trial overlooks the fact that Darwinism has always been on trial within the scientific community. -- From Finding Darwin's God by Kenneth R. Miller

Chaos and chance don't mean the absence of law and order, but rather the presence of order so complex that it lies beyond our abilities to grasp and describe it. -- From From Certainty to Uncertainty by F. David Peat


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  Contradistinctive is a

 

 

Contradistinctive is a term from logic, means 'opposing' quality....

 

As for Darwinism being on trial, it is, in the same sense that the wright brothers are on trial.... all science is on trial...

 

 

 

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Definitional Argument:The

Definitional Argument:

The argument reads to me like this. I am not saying that 2 is above 1 or not 1. I am saying that 2 is a larger version of 1 that, while still being 1, is different enough to be called 2.

 

Referential Argument:

I'll agree with this one, if you will agree that the set of all things supernatural is null.


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todangst

todangst wrote:

 

 

Contradistinctive is a term from logic, means 'opposing' quality....

 

As for Darwinism being on trial, it is, in the same sense that the wright brothers are on trial.... all science is on trial...

As for chaos and chance. I don't agree that chaos means "beyond our ability to grasp." I think chaos points to the ungraspable, literally, that no ability will ever make it graspable. And I think there is such a thing as chance.


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And so we have the words G

And so we have the words  G A W E D , or AWE LA , or Y AWE WE  ..... but nothing is not natural , and nothing is not connected ..... Religion is the fucking super stupid of reality thinking .... ever heard of them earthlings asked one alien to another? ..... oh sure, those semi-conscious big bang dimension carbon based confused particles .....    

  K ))))  "supernatural is null."  


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todangst

todangst wrote:

 

 

Contradistinctive is a term from logic, means 'opposing' quality....

 

 

Thanks for the clarification, my formal logic is a bit rusty at times.

 

Quote:

As for Darwinism being on trial, it is, in the same sense that the wright brothers are on trial.... all science is on trial...

 

I think the quote may be getting misconstrued here. I put that quote in my signature to express what you just said. However, my primary reason I have the quote is to target charges put forth by creationists that, essentially, evolutionary scientists are being dogmatic (in a sense) concerning evolution's status as a scientific theory. Many times creationists will view evolution as being raised up on a pedestal, above the rigors and critiques of the scientific method. After a fair bit of research on evolution, I find this type of charge by creationists ludicrous. I put that quote up as a reply to anyone who attempts to argue that evolution is a type of scientific dogma.   

 

The implication that we should put Darwinism on trial overlooks the fact that Darwinism has always been on trial within the scientific community. -- From Finding Darwin's God by Kenneth R. Miller

Chaos and chance don't mean the absence of law and order, but rather the presence of order so complex that it lies beyond our abilities to grasp and describe it. -- From From Certainty to Uncertainty by F. David Peat


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kmisho wrote: As for chaos

kmisho wrote:

 

As for chaos and chance. I don't agree that chaos means "beyond our ability to grasp." I think chaos points to the ungraspable, literally, that no ability will ever make it graspable. And I think there is such a thing as chance.

 

I think that Feat meant the literal interpretation, like how you described, of what it means for something to be ungraspable. I also believe there is such a thing as chance. In a very undeveloped and weak sense, I find that the presence of chance is all that allows for the possibility of there being free will. I know it's completely off-topic, but I think that there is some correlation. I really just picked Feat's quote because I thought it evoked a nice sense of the changing limits of the human understanding. What may be beyond our ability one decade, may be child's play the next. Maybe I'm just being overly optimistic.

 

The implication that we should put Darwinism on trial overlooks the fact that Darwinism has always been on trial within the scientific community. -- From Finding Darwin's God by Kenneth R. Miller

Chaos and chance don't mean the absence of law and order, but rather the presence of order so complex that it lies beyond our abilities to grasp and describe it. -- From From Certainty to Uncertainty by F. David Peat


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kmisho wrote:Definitional

kmisho wrote:

Definitional Argument:

The argument reads to me like this. I am not saying that 2 is above 1 or not 1. I am saying that 2 is a larger version of 1 that, while still being 1, is different enough to be called 2.

 

 

Ha, I had to read that over a few times, but I finally get it now. I think you've captured what I was trying to say, but I still don't think my argument does the job. It's a bit too weak of an argument for what I was trying to do; not enough rigor behind it. I was being a little too playful with words and not playful enough with concepts.

Quote:

Referential Argument:

I'll agree with this one, if you will agree that the set of all things supernatural is null.

 

Yes I was intending to concede that the set of all thing supernatural is null. I was trying to argue that in some sense 'supernatural' could be entirely natural. But then, as DG sought to point out, why should we call something 'supernatural' when it's really just natural? The confusion ensuing would be highly undesirable.

 

Since this post's inception, I've moved on from this line of reasoning in reply to TD's essay. I may try again sometime, but I find that trying to argue against it would be quite fruitless within my current scope of understanding. I would need to know a lot more before I could attempt to overcome the tenets of a philosophical system that I find little quarrel with as a whole.

The implication that we should put Darwinism on trial overlooks the fact that Darwinism has always been on trial within the scientific community. -- From Finding Darwin's God by Kenneth R. Miller

Chaos and chance don't mean the absence of law and order, but rather the presence of order so complex that it lies beyond our abilities to grasp and describe it. -- From From Certainty to Uncertainty by F. David Peat


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jread wrote:kmisho

jread wrote:

kmisho wrote:

 

As for chaos and chance. I don't agree that chaos means "beyond our ability to grasp." I think chaos points to the ungraspable, literally, that no ability will ever make it graspable. And I think there is such a thing as chance.

I think that Feat meant the literal interpretation, like how you described, of what it means for something to be ungraspable. I also believe there is such a thing as chance. In a very undeveloped and weak sense, I find that the presence of chance is all that allows for the possibility of there being free will. I know it's completely off-topic, but I think that there is some correlation. I really just picked Feat's quote because I thought it evoked a nice sense of the changing limits of the human understanding. What may be beyond our ability one decade, may be child's play the next. Maybe I'm just being overly optimistic.

I see. I only chimed in because there are a lot of people who think that chance and chaos and other similarly related ideas are in fact words to express some level of ignorance. I happen to disagree with this.

I agree with you that free will requires elbow room (as Dennett put it) that is disallowed by a strictly Newtonian mechanistic/causal perspective. The concept of choice requires that things can happen in more than one way. As to whether things can only happen one way or there are choices is something I'm undecided about. But current science seems to support that things can happen in more than one way. If we can accept this at face value, and avoid the rather unscientific appeal to "causality of the gaps" (as I like to call it), causality strictly conceived is dead.

This can not be construed as a "proof" of the existence of free will. But it does create the elbow room that any such proof would require.


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kmisho wrote:jread

kmisho wrote:

jread wrote:

kmisho wrote:

 

As for chaos and chance. I don't agree that chaos means "beyond our ability to grasp." I think chaos points to the ungraspable, literally, that no ability will ever make it graspable. And I think there is such a thing as chance.

I think that Feat meant the literal interpretation, like how you described, of what it means for something to be ungraspable. I also believe there is such a thing as chance. In a very undeveloped and weak sense, I find that the presence of chance is all that allows for the possibility of there being free will. I know it's completely off-topic, but I think that there is some correlation. I really just picked Feat's quote because I thought it evoked a nice sense of the changing limits of the human understanding. What may be beyond our ability one decade, may be child's play the next. Maybe I'm just being overly optimistic.

I see. I only chimed in because there are a lot of people who think that chance and chaos and other similarly related ideas are in fact words to express some level of ignorance. I happen to disagree with this.

I agree with you that free will requires elbow room (as Dennett put it) that is disallowed by a strictly Newtonian mechanistic/causal perspective. The concept of choice requires that things can happen in more than one way. As to whether things can only happen one way or there are choices is something I'm undecided about. But current science seems to support that things can happen in more than one way. If we can accept this at face value, and avoid the rather unscientific appeal to "causality of the gaps" (as I like to call it), causality strictly conceived is dead.

This can not be construed as a "proof" of the existence of free will. But it does create the elbow room that any such proof would require.

Good stuff kmisho. Have you read Dennett's book Freedom Evolves ? I haven't yet read it, but it sounds like what you said would probably be addressed in his book.

The implication that we should put Darwinism on trial overlooks the fact that Darwinism has always been on trial within the scientific community. -- From Finding Darwin's God by Kenneth R. Miller

Chaos and chance don't mean the absence of law and order, but rather the presence of order so complex that it lies beyond our abilities to grasp and describe it. -- From From Certainty to Uncertainty by F. David Peat


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jread wrote:kmisho

jread wrote:

kmisho wrote:

jread wrote:

kmisho wrote:

 

As for chaos and chance. I don't agree that chaos means "beyond our ability to grasp." I think chaos points to the ungraspable, literally, that no ability will ever make it graspable. And I think there is such a thing as chance.

I think that Feat meant the literal interpretation, like how you described, of what it means for something to be ungraspable. I also believe there is such a thing as chance. In a very undeveloped and weak sense, I find that the presence of chance is all that allows for the possibility of there being free will. I know it's completely off-topic, but I think that there is some correlation. I really just picked Feat's quote because I thought it evoked a nice sense of the changing limits of the human understanding. What may be beyond our ability one decade, may be child's play the next. Maybe I'm just being overly optimistic.

I see. I only chimed in because there are a lot of people who think that chance and chaos and other similarly related ideas are in fact words to express some level of ignorance. I happen to disagree with this.

I agree with you that free will requires elbow room (as Dennett put it) that is disallowed by a strictly Newtonian mechanistic/causal perspective. The concept of choice requires that things can happen in more than one way. As to whether things can only happen one way or there are choices is something I'm undecided about. But current science seems to support that things can happen in more than one way. If we can accept this at face value, and avoid the rather unscientific appeal to "causality of the gaps" (as I like to call it), causality strictly conceived is dead.

This can not be construed as a "proof" of the existence of free will. But it does create the elbow room that any such proof would require.

Good stuff kmisho. Have you read Dennett's book Freedom Evolves ? I haven't yet read it, but it sounds like what you said would probably be addressed in his book.

To be honest, I'm not a Dennett fan nor do I read much philosophy any more. I have developed a view that if you've learned the skill of consistent thinking, there's not much in philosophy you really need to know. If I were Dennett, I would live in fear that someone might mention the book "Consciosness Explained" in my presence because of the embarrassment it would cause!


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"Dan Dennett" is a mere

"Dan Dennett" is a mere human , how disgusting  /  


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I AM GOD AS YOU wrote:"Dan

I AM GOD AS YOU wrote:

"Dan Dennett" is a mere human , how disgusting  /  

He's a blowhard. It was completley ridiculous for him to think he had "explained" consciousness at this point in time.


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kmisho wrote:I have

kmisho wrote:
I have developed a view that if you've learned the skill of consistent thinking, there's not much in philosophy you really need to know. 

It's funny how the skill of consistent thinking and disdain for much of what passes as philosophy often go hand-in-hand.

Saint Will: no gyration without funkstification.
fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence