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Featured Does 'supernatural' mean 'imaginary'?

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by blü 2, Aug 25, 2017.

  1. blü 2

    blü 2 Well-Known Member
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    Paraphrasing my dictionary, ‘(the) supernatural’ means ‘things that cannot in principle be explained according to the laws of nature.'

    ‘Nature’ is the place beyond the lens of your eye, where everything with objective existence is found, the same thing as the realm of the physical sciences.

    The same thing as ‘reality’, indeed.

    Out there in reality we find no gods, spirits, ghosts, souls, demons, familiars, vampires, fairies, not even the headmistress of Hogwarts.

    And we can give no useful meaning to the idea ‘outside reality’ – by definition there’s no such real place. so there can only be an imaginary one.

    What have I missed?

    What real things cannot in principle be explained by the laws of nature? Imaginary things, fine, but real things?

    And where is ‘outside of reality’ except in the imagination?
     
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  2. Revoltingest

    Revoltingest Hihg Intellajence Kwoshunt.
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    I'd say it isn't the same as imaginary, but that sure seems to be the source.
    Who knows...perhaps some day, it could be shown to be more, eh.
     
  3. Guy Threepwood

    Guy Threepwood Mighty Pirate

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    So if we are looking for an explanation for the laws of nature, constraining oneself to those very same laws... is obviously paradoxical

    in other words, 'supernatural' by this definition, is a box you want to be able to check, aint it?
     
  4. blü 2

    blü 2 Well-Known Member
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    If the laws of nature were explained by appeal to the unexplainable, that wouldn't be an explanation at all, would it?
     
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  5. Liu

    Liu Well-Known Member

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    Pretty much why I don't use the term supernatural.

    Although I normally also include the imagination in what I count as natural.
    Therefore, supernatural stuff doesn't exist.

    There might be things our current understanding of nature can't explain yet, but that doesn't mean that they are outside of nature.

    Supernatural as a term to refer to the reasons behind the laws of nature? Now that's new to me. I'd prefer "metanatural" for this, though.
     
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  6. blü 2

    blü 2 Well-Known Member
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    It's not as though millions of apparently expert searchers across many thousands of years haven't been looking, though ─ strange, then, that the fish remains uncaught.
     
  7. blü 2

    blü 2 Well-Known Member
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    Leading us to the question, where do the laws of metanature come from?
     
  8. idav

    idav Being
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    The deeper the rabbit hole science goes the more mysterious we find the universe is. We don't have to invoke supernatural to get any strangeness, we simply need natural sciences, quantum mechanics and special relativity turned our view of reality around to a not necessarily mechanistic universe.
     
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  9. Liu

    Liu Well-Known Member

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    One step after the other ;) First find these laws and then try to get behind them. Maybe they are of a nature that needs no further laws? Who knows? They are out of the laws of nature (by definition).
     
  10. Mister Silver

    Mister Silver Faith's Nightmare

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    I personally view supernatural as that which man's imagination has conceptualized.
     
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  11. Nakosis

    Nakosis crystal soldier
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    25 Mind-Blowing Things Science Can't Explain

    There are somethings we can't explain, at least yet.

    With supernatural, your pretty much free to create/imagine any explanation you wish without the need for any kind of validation.

    So, perhaps not so much about finding ghosts but more like using ghosts/gods/demons/magic as an explanation for something that did occur.
     
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  12. Guy Threepwood

    Guy Threepwood Mighty Pirate

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    We agree, so does Krauss in regard to Hawking's multiverses: 'If your theory involves an invisible infinite probability machine, it's not entirely clear that you even have a theory'
     
  13. Guy Threepwood

    Guy Threepwood Mighty Pirate

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    Yes, it tends to run afoul of semantics...

    But arguably the phenomena of creative intelligence is quite literally supernatural, in that it very specifically transcends natural processes, ( 'Is this object natural or artificial' ?)

    It can achieve what natural laws alone never can, which gives it the unique power of explanation
     
  14. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    In my opinion you've made an unwarranted jump from "the supernatural cannot be discerned by the same means of inquiry we use to discern the natural" to "the supernatural does not exist and is imaginary". I think what you need to do is find a compelling reason why the latter follows from the former. Just my 2 cents.
     
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  15. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    If the supernatural cannot be discerned by the same means of inquiry as we use to discern the natural, then I think the implication is that the supernatural cannot be said to be real in the same sense in which we might say the natural is real. Which means, of course, that even if we could somehow know it was real, we would not know what we meant by "real". That could be a rather embarrassing position to take, don't you think?
     
  16. sun rise

    sun rise "Let there be peace and love among all"
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    One way of approaching this question is that there are realms of existence beyond the physical with their own laws. One example of this would be where people continue to exist after they drop their physical bodies.

    I once 'bet' someone that there was life after death with the comment that I could not lose the bet since if there is, I win. If there is not, I'm not there to lose.
     
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  17. DavidFirth

    DavidFirth Well-Known Member

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    Jesus actually rose from the dead. He isn't imaginary.
     
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  18. Maponos

    Maponos Kill V. Maim

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    Not at all. It's all very real.
     
  19. Nowhere Man

    Nowhere Man Bompu Zen Man with a little bit of Bushido.

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    The universe is freaky enough that you really don't need the supernatural.

    Still, the imagination does give it some royal zing to it all and people do like a good scare once in awhile.
     
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  20. Sanzbir

    Sanzbir Well-Known Member

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    Well paraphrasing your paraphrasing of your dictionary "supernatural" means "things that cannot in principle be explained according to the laws of nature".

    Not really much of a paraphrase so much as added emphasis.

    By your definition something needs to be explainable according to the laws of nature in order to disqualify it from being "supernatural".

    Thus, despite the fact that the laws of nature are potentially unlimited, if there is no one who knows the laws of nature required to explain an existing phenomenon, then it cannot be explained by the laws of nature as there is no one to explain it.

    "Explaining" is an verb, so if we lack the actor to do the "explaining" then the phenomenon "cannot be explained by the laws of nature". Thus in the dark ages, lacking an understanding of electricity, lightning would, under the definition you provided, be supernatural. It is not imaginary, but it could not be explained by the laws of nature, as there was no one capable of explaining it.

    Now is my response and emphasis on the term "explained" in counter to your argument pedantic?? Of course!! :p But the whole premise of the thread is pedantically examining the definitions of things with an unreasonable amount of scrutiny, so it's fair game.

    Due to the definition of "explaining" as a verb, without a noun capable of performing the verb, it is not possible. Thus, the things that are explainable by the laws of nature are, in fact, limited by human knowledge. :D
     
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