How should we define the supernatural?


(Ashwin S) #101

You guys can read thoughts by studying brain activity… Wow… when did that happen?


People with facial paralysis can still have emotions. People without brains can not.

(Ashwin S) #103

How do you know this… :slight_smile:


According to my view of naturalism, yes.

(Neil Rickert) #105

That would be a very standard way of talking for theists. And non-theists would standardly ignore that kind of theistic talk.

(Ashwin S) #106

Yes… But both stands would be based on assumptions on what the world is like.

The existence of an ultimate cause in God or a reality where everything is an accident born of material interactions are both stances based on faith. At least many theists can point to positive experiences as reasons for faith.


It isn’t faith when we have evidence for material causes.

(Ashwin S) #108

Evidence for material causes does not mean there are no immaterial causes behind it… a grand design if you will.

For example, the material causes for a car to be manufactured are found in the physical interactions in its manufacturing facility. However, it’s design is immaterial and precedes the process of manufacturing.

You are making a logical fallacy here.


That doesn’t change the fact that it doesn’t require faith in material causes when you have evidence for them.

Please show that the design is immaterial.

(George) #110


So you replace an intuitive word like “natural” with the obscure word “objective”?

How do you mean objective? Do you mean “fair”? I’m only half kidding here. If something is natural it is something you can measure or something you can predict…

Why is this so hard?


I am using the non-obscure standard definition:

Adding “predict” has a few issues, but is true in the general sense. For example, we can’t predict long term weather patterns, but they are still natural.

(George) #112


So… is a ghost objective or not?

(George) #113


Maybe you could start with the Dictionary for Supernatural, and define anything that isn’t supernatural as natural?:

supernatural - -
[1] of, relating 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.

[1] a being, place, object, occurrence, etc., considered as supernatural or
of supernatural origin; that which is supernatural, or outside the natural order.

[2] behavior supposedly caused by the intervention of supernatural beings.

[3] direct influence or action of a deity on earthly affairs.


I have yet to see objective evidence for a ghost.


Or I could define what I mean by natural, which I have done on several occasions now.

(George) #116


Yes, but who has cheered the results of your definitions? The standard dictionary definitions may be clunky, but they usually avoid using technical words that need another dictionary definition.

For example… you may not think ghosts are not objective… but I’m sure we could find any number of people who from personal experience believe “ghosts are real”!

Real! < But wouldn’t we chuckle a little if someone came bursting through the door… and excitedly said,

"OMG… I can’t believe it … I just saw Gampa! Ghosts are OBJECTIVE!"


I thought we were discussing our views on things, not having a popularity contest.

Let’s revisit the definition of “objective”

Notice the “independent of individual thought and perceptible by all observers” part.

(George) #118


Trust me… my referencing the response of peers is a much nicer way of exchanging our views than me telling you what I think about the word “objective”!


(George) #119


I like that phrase.

Tell you what… drop the word “objective”, and include the phrase above!


Tell you what . . . when I use the word “objective” look back at that post.