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Boogieman
none
Fri Feb 5, 2010 09:07
205.188.116.195

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‘Supernatural’ as a Meaningless Concept



The idea of ‘Supernatural’ involves a belief in events that have no grounding nor origin in ‘Nature’ (i.e. the physical universe). . The term implies that another ‘realm of being’ exists apart from the universe that is the domain of God(s), spirits, demons, etc. and is also the source of events commonly referred to as ‘miracles.’ I will attempt to demonstrate that this concept provides no useful information in explaining our phenomenal experience, and hence is a meaningless construct.



Supernatural propositions typically focus on two primary constructs: the domain of God(s), spirits, angles, demons, ghosts, etc. and, the source of events emanating from that domain, commonly referred to as ’miracles.’ It is usually described as ‘outside’ the physical dimensions of spacetime and is therefore not subject to the laws of physics as they are currently understood.



The primary argument proposed here is that supernatural explanations or interpretations for events (miracles) so considered are fundamentally undeterminable and therefore resist attempts to substantiate their existence within the experiential venue of human perception. I will rely of a method of argument initiated by Descartes in reaching his famous dictum “I think, therefore I am” in his epistemological journey.



Through a process referred to as ‘Cartesian Doubt’ Descartes questioned the reality of his phenomenological perceptions. Perceiving himself sitting in his study before a fireplace, he questioned whether those perceptions were true and real, or whether they might actually be the work of a demon planting percepts that have no truth in reality. He deduced that there was no way to evaluate the truth value of these percepts in a non-arbitrary fashion. Continuing this questioning analysis, Descartes finally reached an indubitable realization that the one concept that must of necessity be true is that since he thinks there must be an entity that thinks, for to do otherwise would be fundamentally illogical. With this first step as an established foundation, he then builds his epistemological system.



If the concept of supernatural is to advance any foundation of sound interpretation, it must be subject to an analysis that unequivocally leads to truth. Here is where that truth begins to loose its validity. The real defining question is ‘what means do human beings possess which demonstrate, beyond any shadow of doubt, that any given event requires the employment of the term ‘supernatural‘ for explanation? How is it that one can argue some given event did not, in actuality, originate in the ‘natural’ universe by means of a natural origin? This might seem on the surface to be easy to answer definitively. For example, if an event is completely outside of an individual‘s experience or that individual‘s exposure to anyone else‘s reported experience, that person may then wish to apply the supernatural construct to the explanation of that event. Another example might be a claim from a seeming apparition in such an event that claims to be of a supernatural source. A third example could be a claim made, either from another individual or an important text that some spectacular (i.e. supernatural) event took place at another time and place from that bears the hallmark of supernatural. An example of this would be the claim made in the Bible of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead after three days.



What are we to make of these claims? How could one prove beyond any shadow of doubt that any example like those stated above demonstrated the meaningful validity of term ‘supernatural?’ In answering the first example above, I would say that in the same fashion that theists (or deists for that matter) refute an atheist’s claim that God does not exist by reminding that the atheist cannot be at all places at all times can just as easily be applied to this example. Since the supernatural claimant also cannot be at all places at all times, what he/she claims as supernatural might well be explained as completely natural at another time of another place. Therefore the first example is not ultimately definitive of the supernatural construct. As for the second example, An entity appearing in an as yet unfamiliar context claiming that it comes from a place that would suggest a supernatural requirement




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    • Re: none ~ Anonymous, Fri Feb 5 12:19
      > > ‘Supernatural’ as a Meaningless Concept . The idea of ‘Supernatural’ involves a belief in events that have no grounding nor origin in ‘Nature’ (i.e. the physical universe). . The term implies... more
      • Re: none ~ test, Fri Feb 5 12:19
        > > ‘Supernatural’ as a Meaningless Concept . The idea of ‘Supernatural’ involves a belief in events that have no grounding nor origin in ‘Nature’ (i.e. the physical universe). The term implies that... more
    • 2nd try ~ Hootman, Fri Feb 5 10:15
      > > ‘Supernatural’ as a Meaningless Concept . The idea of ‘Supernatural’ involves a belief in events that have no grounding nor origin in ‘Nature’ (i.e. the physical universe). . The term implies... more
      • q ~ q, Sun May 23 18:18
        q
        • r ~ r, Sun May 23 18:19
          r
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