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Does the word “natural” mean anything?
Posted: 30 June 2008 07:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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does anyone believe that we as humans view nature as not including humans in judging this planet, like as human we explore the unknown
so do we as humans consider our selves a part of nature?

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Posted: 30 June 2008 09:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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OSX989 - 30 June 2008 07:02 PM

does anyone believe that we as humans view nature as not including humans in judging this planet, like as human we explore the unknown
so do we as humans consider our selves a part of nature?

huh??? oh oh

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Posted: 01 July 2008 01:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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OSX989 - 30 June 2008 07:02 PM

does anyone believe that we as humans view nature as not including humans in judging this planet, like as human we explore the unknown
so do we as humans consider our selves a part of nature?

As far as I am concerned everything is natural (there not being any supernatural to speak of) so yeah we are part of it.

I suppose it depends on what you mean as “natural” ... I use it in the sense of being explainable, as not being supernatural but others use it in the sense of being “not constructed” which has problems because beavers construct dams so then one has to decide where to draw the line between naturally constructed and non-naturally constructed (if there is such a thing).

Kyu

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Posted: 03 July 2008 02:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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i think kyu got it the best

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Posted: 03 July 2008 02:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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i like the idea of using it in a sense of being explainable, but for asanta, do you believe that humans put themselves about about the “natural world”

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Posted: 03 July 2008 04:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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Now it’s my turn.  Huh????  confused

Occam

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Posted: 03 July 2008 04:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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OSX989 - 03 July 2008 02:16 PM

i like the idea of using it in a sense of being explainable, but for asanta, do you believe that humans put themselves about about the “natural world”

“about about”? Please clarify!

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Posted: 11 July 2008 08:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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George - 18 June 2007 03:13 PM

Whatever was deliberately or accidentally created by men (by men only!), we call unnatural. It is something that nature has never thought of.

But man is nature, so if man creates something, it is nature creating something. So it is still natural. Actions\reactions within nature.

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Posted: 11 July 2008 09:12 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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I agree, Travis, everything is nature. The distinction between natural and unnatural is only meaningful to us, the humans. Perhaps we could look for analogy in art: to a much more advanced alien a human painting Mona Lisa or a male bird decorating his nest to attract a female bird will appear as the same thing. But not to us. I don’t think Picasso used to consciously engage in mathematical calculations such as 1 Guernica = 20 mistresses. But in the end he did get those women just like the most “talented” bird will get his hens.

[ Edited: 11 July 2008 09:14 AM by George ]
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Posted: 03 November 2008 10:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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In the philosophical sense of the word, everything of course is natural. “supernatural” is abused to create a place for our merry fictions to live (gods, demons, black republicans etc).

Nature in the “manmade” sense of the word is perfectly good, perfectly useful as in the remark “This area was landscaped to have those features but this rock formation over there is natural”. However the term has fallen into euphemistic abuse by PC thugs and newage marketers. Here is how I know. A synonym for natural is organic thus we have “organic” products. I kid you not I’ve seen “organic meat” for sale. I duno where they keep the inorganic meat... I don’t think I want to know.

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Posted: 03 November 2008 01:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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I agree.  “Natural” is the con-job opposite of “synthetic”.  Natural=good, synthetic=bad.  I cracked up a few years ago at a health food store when I saw “natural vitamin C - contains no synthetics.”  The ingredient section showed “ascorbic acid from lemons”.  Ascorbic acid is identical to ascorbic acid no matter what the source. 

Occam

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Posted: 23 November 2008 10:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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sate - 03 November 2008 10:15 AM

In the philosophical sense of the word, everything of course is natural. “supernatural” is abused to create a place for our merry fictions to live (gods, demons, black republicans etc).

Nature in the “manmade” sense of the word is perfectly good, perfectly useful as in the remark “This area was landscaped to have those features but this rock formation over there is natural”. However the term has fallen into euphemistic abuse by PC thugs and newage marketers. Here is how I know. A synonym for natural is organic thus we have “organic” products. I kid you not I’ve seen “organic meat” for sale. I duno where they keep the inorganic meat... I don’t think I want to know.

I agree.

I think everyone intuitively knows that difference between the different uses of the word natural. We all know that what humans do is just as natural as everything in nature in one sense of the word but that natural/manmade is a useful dichotomy to distinguish what man has made and what he has not. And I’m sure we all hate the new age meaning of natural!!

The organic thing is just another semantic issue. We all understand that organic can mean either made from organic materials or it can refer to specific agricultural practices used to raise the animals. I don’t think anyone is getting tricked in to buying “organic” meat when they meant to buy “inorganic” meat.

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Posted: 23 November 2008 01:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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I’m reading “Vital Fire”, an interesting if overlong tome on humanity’s use of fire on the land. Right up until the nineteenth century, fire was used to make land agriculturally productive. You burned off part of a forest and planted crops there. The land remained productive for a couple of years, then you abandoned it and moved on to another chunk of land. After about 40 or 50 years, it would be ready for another go.

In modern times, people have started to crack down on such fires, seeing them as destructive. But these efforts are often counterproductive, as fuel buildup makes the inevitable wildfire impossible to fight. So now most forest practitioners recommend some form of occasional fire. But what then do we mean by “natural” fire? The wildfire kind that reduces thousands of acres to black landscapes? The little fires we set to burn off the low fuel? The closer we mesh with nature, the harder it becomes to distinguish between natural and anthropogenic.

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Posted: 25 November 2008 03:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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When using ‘natural’ in the context of giving legitimacy or superiority to certain behaviours ie heterosexuality, smoking dope (cause hey it’s better than other drugs cause it’s natural ya know!) it becomes a bit of a vague and unsatisfying argument in that it is just as easy to point out some behaviour that is commonly observed in our species which the person wouldn’t condone could also be described as ‘natural’.

But hey it’s always handy to bolster your ideological views by appealing to something being ‘natural’. Gives great emotional resonance to arguments - and as others have mentioned is useful for advertisers too in their products. Natural in that context seems to = safer in the mind of the consumer.

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Posted: 25 November 2008 03:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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You’re quite right, Jade.  It would seem a counter-argument to their desire for all things natural would be to suggest that they get rid of their automobiles and bicycles, their shoes, eye glasses, contraceptives, antibiotics, and all reading material, electronic devices, etc.  That way they can really appreciate the “natural” life.

Occam

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