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the presumption of naturalism
Posted: 03 January 2008 04:03 AM   [ Ignore ]
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The presumption of naturalism is that not only are natural causes efficient but also necessary,jprimary and sufficient. This neither begs the question nor sandbags theists but is merely the demand for evidence of some sort. Without evidence, a claim begs the question and is dogmatic.
  The ignostic-Ockham and the two category classification threads uphold this presumption. We no more need divinity as a personal explanation,contrary to Richard Swinburne, than we need angels in addition to the laws of Newton to explain the orbits of the planets, gremlins in addition to laws of mechanics to explain mechanical problems, demons in addtion to psyschology to explain mental illness and Thor in addition to laws of meterology, as Katrina Voss would note, to explain the weather.
  God is excess bagage!

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Fr. Griggs rests in his Socratic ignorance and humble naturalism.He might be wrong!His cognitive defects might impact his posting. Logic is the bane of theists.‘Religion is mythinformation.“Reason saves, not that fanatic Galilean!
  ’ Life is its own validation and reward and ultimate purpose.”

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Posted: 03 January 2008 02:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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You’re preaching to the choir. smile

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Posted: 07 January 2008 05:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Irrelevant! What counts is that others add to this and take the argument to the religious as strongly as possible. And aren’t there theists who post here?

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Fr. Griggs rests in his Socratic ignorance and humble naturalism.He might be wrong!His cognitive defects might impact his posting. Logic is the bane of theists.‘Religion is mythinformation.“Reason saves, not that fanatic Galilean!
  ’ Life is its own validation and reward and ultimate purpose.”

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Posted: 07 January 2008 08:10 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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skeptic griggsy - 07 January 2008 05:31 PM

Irrelevant! What counts is that others add to this and take the argument to the religious as strongly as possible. And aren’t there theists who post here?


hmm, there may be, but I don’t know any.

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Posted: 21 January 2008 10:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Any argumentation we make would then be to the choir! Now what can one add to this showing that God has no substance and meaning?
  As Jonathon Harrison shows in his “God,Freedom and Immortality,” there is no other place with which to compare Existence[ the Universe., so it is unlike other cases like comparing cases of measeles with no cases of measle and Roy Jackson in” The God of Philosphy,” there are no outside raw materials from which comes Existence unlike other cases, so that the question why is there somethinng rather than nothing does not arise![  Yes, it arises from the void , a place of teeming activiy,not the ex nihilo of both atheists and theists alike. But that was Existence.] It is a non-question with a non-answer ,God as the ignostic challenge shows.
The presumption leads me to state, following Quentin Smith, dean of cosmologists, that Existence is the ultimate cause and explanation as it is the repository of all causes and explanations the natural cosmological   argument], the greatest and necessary being[ the natural ontological argument], and through natural   selection the ” desinger.[ the dysteological argument].
  As the ignostic and Ockham challenges to theism show, God is either meaningless or useless in explanations and that contradicts Richard Swinburne who states that He is a valid personal explanation.
Teleological arguments- design, from reason, fine-tuning and probabilty - beg the question in assuming a supreme mind had us in mind.
  No Anselmian god could be greater or beyond Existence as it is all that there is. And it is necessary for entities.
  What evidence is there to overcome this presumption as Einstein with evidence overcame Newton?
Where is the beef that some divinity causes miralcles when we have to apply Humean criteria to them?   
Where is the beef that there is a Ressurrected Yeshua or an ascended Mohammed ? Where is the beef that any scriptures are authoriatative?
Where is the beef that God favors Jewish survival[ the Holocaust!] ?
Where is then the beef?
These are challenges even to those theists who reject natural theology, for they implicitly endorse it in claiming that there is indeed the Creator- first cause, greatest being and designer.

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Fr. Griggs rests in his Socratic ignorance and humble naturalism.He might be wrong!His cognitive defects might impact his posting. Logic is the bane of theists.‘Religion is mythinformation.“Reason saves, not that fanatic Galilean!
  ’ Life is its own validation and reward and ultimate purpose.”

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Posted: 28 January 2008 09:35 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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skeptic griggsy - 03 January 2008 04:03 AM

The presumption of naturalism is that not only are natural causes efficient but also necessary,jprimary and sufficient. This neither begs the question nor sandbags theists but is merely the demand for evidence of some sort. Without evidence, a claim begs the question and is dogmatic.

Naturalism as an idea per se is not question-begging.  But making a claim to the truth of naturalism without evidence flunks the test presented in the latter claim (“Without evidence, a claim begs the question and is dogmatic”).

Let’s suppose that I agree with you that a clam without evidence begs the question and is dogmatic.

Then let’s suppose that a naturalist makes the claim that natural causes are efficient and also necessary, primary and sufficient.  What’s the evidence?  At best, the naturalist can provide a probabilistic case for naturalism but even if he does so, “uncaused” quantum particle formation as currently understood by science seems to be a devastating counterexample to the presumption of naturalism (“natural causes ... necessary” does not appear to work well with uncaused quantum particle formation).

Now, you might insist that there is a naturalistic explanation for quantum particle formation that simply hasn’t been discovered yet ... but by the time you had done that you’d be begging the question as to the presumption of naturalism.

The ignostic-Ockham and the two category classification threads uphold this presumption. We no more need divinity as a personal explanation,contrary to Richard Swinburne, than we need angels in addition to the laws of Newton to explain the orbits of the planets, gremlins in addition to laws of mechanics to explain mechanical problems, demons in addtion to psyschology to explain mental illness and Thor in addition to laws of meterology, as Katrina Voss would note, to explain the weather.
God is excess bagage!

If you make it a natural law that things occur without cause (as with invoking a naturalistic explanation of random (“uncaused”) quantum particles, then naturalism as described would appear to have the capability of explaining all phenomena without exception (leaving no room for the supernatural as it is normally understood).  Indeed, an intelligent first-cause who guides all actions (ordinarily called a god and part of the theistic worldview) would fit very easily, by all appearances, into the naturalistic framework proposed.

Would you mind linking to the threads you cited that you feel undergird the argument for naturalism (if you need Ockham’s razor to prefer it then it can’t really just be a presumption, AFAICT)?  I’d be interested in seeing the answer to Swinburne in particular.

I’m a theist, for what it’s worth.

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Posted: 28 January 2008 12:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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skeptic griggsy - 21 January 2008 10:53 AM

Where is the beef that some divinity causes miralcles when we have to apply Humean criteria to them?   
Where is the beef that there is a Ressurrected Yeshua or an ascended Mohammed ? Where is the beef that any scriptures are authoriatative?
Where is the beef that God favors Jewish survival[ the Holocaust!] ?
Where is then the beef?

Oh, I beefed. I beefed so hard I got banned for it.

Fear not, I still beard the theists in their dens of ignorance. They’re just not as concentrated as at the site I was just banned from.

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People say we need religion when what they really mean is we need police.—H.L. Mencken
Split hairs, not atoms.

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Posted: 28 January 2008 01:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Bryan - 28 January 2008 09:35 AM

Then let’s suppose that a naturalist makes the claim that natural causes are efficient and also necessary, primary and sufficient.  What’s the evidence?  At best, the naturalist can provide a probabilistic case for naturalism but even if he does so, “uncaused” quantum particle formation as currently understood by science seems to be a devastating counterexample to the presumption of naturalism (“natural causes ... necessary” does not appear to work well with uncaused quantum particle formation).

Don’t! All methodological naturalism presupposes is that all events are natural and are the result of natural processes.  You assume too much by stating this in terms of efficient causes. This presupposition is about the most minimum one could make until evidence might show otherwise.

Bryan - 28 January 2008 09:35 AM

Now, you might insist that there is a naturalistic explanation for quantum particle formation that simply hasn’t been discovered yet ... but by the time you had done that you’d be begging the question as to the presumption of naturalism.

There is nothing to indicate a supernatural explanation AFAIK. What evidence is there that this is not the result of a natural process? There will always be mysteries at the borders of our knowledge but historically methodological naturalism has been shown to be the best and only method to extend those borders further. Although we cannot rely on an inductive argument, it certainly is the most likely approach to start from viewed as a Bayesian. I am a posteriori ontological naturalist, as this requires the minimal metaphysics given what I know. I cannot justify any more such as metaphysical supernaturalism - which can be compatible with methodological naturalism to date - that is inventing more entities than necessary

Bryan - 28 January 2008 09:35 AM

If you make it a natural law that things occur without cause (as with invoking a naturalistic explanation of random (“uncaused”) quantum particles, then naturalism as described would appear to have the capability of explaining all phenomena without exception (leaving no room for the supernatural as it is normally understood).  Indeed, an intelligent first-cause who guides all actions (ordinarily called a god and part of the theistic worldview) would fit very easily, by all appearances, into the naturalistic framework proposed.

Interesting. If it is truly random why would there be any need for a supernatural process? Surely it would be the non-randomness and complete lack of any plausible naturalistic explanation that might indicate something supernatural?

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Posted: 28 January 2008 05:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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faithlessgod - 28 January 2008 01:43 PM
Bryan - 28 January 2008 09:35 AM

Then let’s suppose that a naturalist makes the claim that natural causes are efficient and also necessary, primary and sufficient.  What’s the evidence?  At best, the naturalist can provide a probabilistic case for naturalism but even if he does so, “uncaused” quantum particle formation as currently understood by science seems to be a devastating counterexample to the presumption of naturalism (“natural causes ... necessary” does not appear to work well with uncaused quantum particle formation).

Don’t! All methodological naturalism presupposes is that all events are natural and are the result of natural processes.  You assume too much by stating this in terms of efficient causes.

Not in terms of addressing Griggsy’s post, I don’t.

This presupposition is about the most minimum one could make until evidence might show otherwise.

I didn’t get the impression that Griggsy was referring to methodological naturalism.

Bryan - 28 January 2008 09:35 AM

Now, you might insist that there is a naturalistic explanation for quantum particle formation that simply hasn’t been discovered yet ... but by the time you had done that you’d be begging the question as to the presumption of naturalism.

There is nothing to indicate a supernatural explanation AFAIK.

What would indicate a supernatural explanation?

What evidence is there that this is not the result of a natural process?

The randomness of it.  The part that leads scientists to call such particles “uncaused.” 

There will always be mysteries at the borders of our knowledge but historically methodological naturalism has been shown to be the best and only method to extend those borders further. Although we cannot rely on an inductive argument, it certainly is the most likely approach to start from viewed as a Bayesian. I am a posteriori ontological naturalist, as this requires the minimal metaphysics given what I know. I cannot justify any more such as metaphysical supernaturalism - which can be compatible with methodological naturalism to date - that is inventing more entities than necessary.

Fair enough, but I suspect that your views do not overlay Griggsy’s perfectly.

Bryan - 28 January 2008 09:35 AM

If you make it a natural law that things occur without cause (as with invoking a naturalistic explanation of random (“uncaused”) quantum particles, then naturalism as described would appear to have the capability of explaining all phenomena without exception (leaving no room for the supernatural as it is normally understood).  Indeed, an intelligent first-cause who guides all actions (ordinarily called a god and part of the theistic worldview) would fit very easily, by all appearances, into the naturalistic framework proposed.

Interesting. If it is truly random why would there be any need for a supernatural process?

That’s my point.  If naturalism can explain order and randomness in principle, then how is “supernatural” even understood?  I doubt you could define it under those conditions.

Surely it would be the non-randomness and complete lack of any plausible naturalistic explanation that might indicate something supernatural?

For example?  A hypothetical will do.  It seems to me that so long as you can assert non-randomness that you can also assert lawful behavior (whenever Jesus goes for a walk on the water, he stays on the surface:  Firkins’ Law of Water Walking), and wherever you can assert lawful behavior there’s certainly nothing to stop you from claiming that said law is “natural” (and I still don’t know how you’d describe the alternative).

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Posted: 30 January 2008 07:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Bryan - 28 January 2008 05:25 PM
faithlessgod - 28 January 2008 01:43 PM

There is nothing to indicate a supernatural explanation AFAIK.

What would indicate a supernatural explanation?

Non-random effects for which no plausible natural explanation is forthcoming

Bryan - 28 January 2008 05:25 PM
faithlessgod - 28 January 2008 01:43 PM

What evidence is there that this is not the result of a natural process?

The randomness of it.  The part that leads scientists to call such particles “uncaused.” 

If a supernatural process has natural effects, they would be non-random, otherwise there would be no way of detecting these natural effects, in other words there would not be any natural effects and so there would be nothing in need of an explanation, supernatural or not!  Randomness does not mean uncaused and is neither necessary nor sufficent evidence of a supernatural process. Or are you saying that anything random is supernatural? -)

Bryan - 28 January 2008 05:25 PM
faithlessgod - 28 January 2008 01:43 PM

Interesting. If it is truly random why would there be any need for a supernatural process?

That’s my point.  If naturalism can explain order and randomness in principle, then how is “supernatural” even understood?  I doubt you could define it under those conditions.

Supernatural is understood as a supernatural process that produces natural effects and as an explanation it is better than any natural explanation - even and especially so, if there is one.

Bryan - 28 January 2008 05:25 PM
faithlessgod - 28 January 2008 01:43 PM

Surely it would be the non-randomness and complete lack of any plausible naturalistic explanation that might indicate something supernatural?

For example?  A hypothetical will do.  It seems to me that so long as you can assert non-randomness that you can also assert lawful behavior (whenever Jesus goes for a walk on the water, he stays on the surface:  Firkins’ Law of Water Walking), and wherever you can assert lawful behavior there’s certainly nothing to stop you from claiming that said law is “natural” (and I still don’t know how you’d describe the alternative).

Off the top of my head. Imagine if some form of telepathy could be reliably, independently repeated with acceptable scientific standards (and there are none to date, yet, this is hypothetical). Then one could use this reliable test and attempt to eliminate all the known physical forces as constituting part of an explanation. Let us assume the attempt is successful and all physical forces are eliminated and the phenomena is still there. This would indicate a hitherto undetected fifth force to explore and investigate. However successful that endeavor would be I do not think many would be in doubt that we had finally captured the results of a supernatural process. Yes as we understand it better and our knowledge increases this would become naturalized.

Heres the rub. Nothing in the past prevented us discovering such supernatural processes and they too would have become naturalised. Instead what happened was that all these supernatural claims, to date, have been in error and other different natural processes were found to be the explanation. Now just because the accumulated evidence means it is unlikely, does not mean that this cannot occur in the future - it is still possible albeit implausible - and if so I just explained somewhat how it would work.

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Posted: 30 January 2008 10:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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faithlessgod - 30 January 2008 07:17 AM
Bryan - 28 January 2008 05:25 PM
faithlessgod - 28 January 2008 01:43 PM

There is nothing to indicate a supernatural explanation AFAIK.

What would indicate a supernatural explanation?

Non-random effects for which no plausible natural explanation is forthcoming

I suspect that if we chip away at the surface of your statement we’ll find that “non-random” means caused in a manner that is predictable in principle.  I’m suggesting that you’re probably offering me a sentence’s worth of oxymoron.  When something is predictable, science considers it explained naturally (predictable in principle=explicable in terms of natural law).

Natural laws are predictable; that is why the actions of machines are predictable.  However, man is governed by natural law which would make his thoughts and actions explainable and predictable—in a sense, predetermined—which obviously goes against free-will.
http://library.thinkquest.org/19314/thought.htm

I suppose the next question I should ask you is:  How do you determine that something is non-random?

Bryan - 28 January 2008 05:25 PM
faithlessgod - 28 January 2008 01:43 PM

What evidence is there that this is not the result of a natural process?

The randomness of it.  The part that leads scientists to call such particles “uncaused.” 

If a supernatural process has natural effects, they would be non-random, otherwise there would be no way of detecting these natural effects, in other words there would not be any natural effects and so there would be nothing in need of an explanation, supernatural or not!

Right, but you just pulled a switcheroo between the process and the effects.  Where do you draw the line between a supernatural process and its natural effects?  Suppose an angel made the Holy Grail appear over Camelot out of nothing.  How would you predict the occurrence of the grail (rather than detect its appearance)?  It seems to me, flg, that you’re mired in a mess of words.  If you insist that the grail is natural simply because we can detect it in the natural world then what miracle is exempt from naturalistic explanation?  Indeed, finding Yahweh’s signature on every molecule would certainly qualify as natural, wouldn’t it (Law of Yahweh’s Signature)?  It’s not like molecules with Yahweh’s signature is that much more difficult to explain than molecules without Yahweh’s signature, is it?

Randomness does not mean uncaused and is neither necessary nor sufficent evidence of a supernatural process.

As to the first clause, you should explain that to scientists who appear to claim otherwise; it is precisely the randomness that leads them to call quantum particle formation “uncaused,” for where there is no manner of predicting the event there is no room for an functionally accurate scientific prediction.

As to the second, if randomness can be natural in the naturalistic sense (that is, predictable in principle according to natural laws), then naturalism as described encompasses absolutely every possible phenomena and is, as such, utterly unfalsifiable as well as being vacuous.  It becomes the Atman of all worldviews, having room for all others within its encompassing folds.

  Philosophy.
a.  the view of the world that takes account only of natural elements and forces, excluding the supernatural or spiritual.
b.  the belief that all phenomena are covered by laws of science and that all teleological explanations are therefore without value.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/naturalism

Or are you saying that anything random is supernatural? -)

I’m saying that if naturalism is taken to encompass randomness then it inevitably explains all phenomena.  Once a “law” of randomness is allowed, there is nothing inexplicable in terms of law. 

I leave it to you to define supernatural if you can.  I think given your views as described, God would be natural if you spotted Him in the natural world.  He could make objects appear unpredictably out of thin air (all apparently “natural” objects, since you are able to detect them in the natural world), and you would apparently have no trouble at all incorporating Him into your worldview.

(I do affirm that if “natural” keeps its customary meaning in terms of science {explicable in terms of law}, then something that is truly random appears to fall outside the bounds of the natural.  I know of no other term to apply to it than “supernatural,” but you can pick one if you like and we can use that)

Bryan - 28 January 2008 05:25 PM
faithlessgod - 28 January 2008 01:43 PM

Interesting. If it is truly random why would there be any need for a supernatural process?

That’s my point.  If naturalism can explain order and randomness in principle, then how is “supernatural” even understood?  I doubt you could define it under those conditions.

Supernatural is understood as a supernatural process that produces natural effects and as an explanation it is better than any natural explanation - even and especially so, if there is one.

(edit to add)
Oops!  Almost forgot to address this part.

Is it just me or did you use the word itself in the explanation of the word?
I think if I know what a “supernatural process” is and how it differs from a “natural process” I will have a better handle on what you’re saying.

Bryan - 28 January 2008 05:25 PM
faithlessgod - 28 January 2008 01:43 PM

Surely it would be the non-randomness and complete lack of any plausible naturalistic explanation that might indicate something supernatural?

For example?  A hypothetical will do.  It seems to me that so long as you can assert non-randomness that you can also assert lawful behavior (whenever Jesus goes for a walk on the water, he stays on the surface:  Firkins’ Law of Water Walking), and wherever you can assert lawful behavior there’s certainly nothing to stop you from claiming that said law is “natural” (and I still don’t know how you’d describe the alternative).

Off the top of my head. Imagine if some form of telepathy could be reliably, independently repeated with acceptable scientific standards (and there are none to date, yet, this is hypothetical). Then one could use this reliable test and attempt to eliminate all the known physical forces as constituting part of an explanation. Let us assume the attempt is successful and all physical forces are eliminated and the phenomena is still there. This would indicate a hitherto undetected fifth force to explore and investigate. However successful that endeavor would be I do not think many would be in doubt that we had finally captured the results of a supernatural process. Yes as we understand it better and our knowledge increases this would become naturalized.

Your concluding sentence serves as a rather ponderous fly in the ointment, I should think.

Heres the rub. Nothing in the past prevented us discovering such supernatural processes and they too would have become naturalised. Instead what happened was that all these supernatural claims, to date, have been in error and other different natural processes were found to be the explanation. Now just because the accumulated evidence means it is unlikely, does not mean that this cannot occur in the future - it is still possible albeit implausible - and if so I just explained somewhat how it would work.

Well, no, I don’t think so (unless I’m misunderstanding your latter explanation).  Just as with telepathy, the original “supernatural” explanation would eventually be considered “natural”—it’s just that science would have self-corrected itself by eliminating what it had perceived as the more elegant explanation.

As I was preparing hit the “submit post” button, it occurred to me that God would be the ultimate naturalist, able to detect everything in the “natural” world and apparently having full understanding of its workings.  Everything would be, as flg put it, “naturalized.”

[ Edited: 30 January 2008 01:49 PM by Bryan ]
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Posted: 30 January 2008 05:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Bryan - 30 January 2008 10:55 AM
faithlessgod - 30 January 2008 07:17 AM
Bryan - 28 January 2008 05:25 PM

What would indicate a supernatural explanation?

Non-random effects for which no plausible natural explanation is forthcoming

I suspect that if we chip away at the surface of your statement we’ll find that “non-random” means caused in a manner that is predictable in principle.  I’m suggesting that you’re probably offering me a sentence’s worth of oxymoron.  When something is predictable, science considers it explained naturally (predictable in principle=explicable in terms of natural law).

No non-random just means there is a pattern to it, one that is predictable to some degree - whether possible in fact certainly in principle - but still in need of an explanation. It is the quest for an explanation and whether a natural one is forthcoming that is the challenge. Of course scientist will assume so - it would be illogical to assume otherwise and contrary to the historical evidence to do otherwise - but still it depends what they find (or do not).

Bryan - 30 January 2008 10:55 AM

I suppose the next question I should ask you is:  How do you determine that something is non-random?

There are plenty of methods to do this ask any statistician.

Bryan - 30 January 2008 10:55 AM
faithlessgod - 30 January 2008 07:17 AM
Bryan - 28 January 2008 05:25 PM
faithlessgod - 28 January 2008 01:43 PM

What evidence is there that this is not the result of a natural process?

The randomness of it.  The part that leads scientists to call such particles “uncaused.” 

If a supernatural process has natural effects, they would be non-random, otherwise there would be no way of detecting these natural effects, in other words there would not be any natural effects and so there would be nothing in need of an explanation, supernatural or not!

Right, but you just pulled a switcheroo between the process and the effects.  Where do you draw the line between a supernatural process and its natural effects?  Suppose an angel made the Holy Grail appear over Camelot out of nothing.  How would you predict the occurrence of the grail (rather than detect its appearance)?  It seems to me, flg, that you’re mired in a mess of words.  If you insist that the grail is natural simply because we can detect it in the natural world then what miracle is exempt from naturalistic explanation?  Indeed, finding Yahweh’s signature on every molecule would certainly qualify as natural, wouldn’t it (Law of Yahweh’s Signature)?  It’s not like molecules with Yahweh’s signature is that much more difficult to explain than molecules without Yahweh’s signature, is it?

No I did not. I was making a quite standard process/product distinction. Unless some “effects” were reliably observable there would be nothing to explain period. If a grail appeared it would be in need of an explanation how. If there was nothing natural to observe then there could be no basis to claim a miracle, since if nothing has occurred there is no miracle in need of explanation - it is absurd to claim otherwise.  You insist on confusing the explanation of the event with the event to be explained (the process/product distinction) it is you who is pulling the switcheroo - I have been quite consistent - and you who is lost in a quagmire of words.

Bryan - 30 January 2008 10:55 AM
faithlessgod - 30 January 2008 07:17 AM

Randomness does not mean uncaused and is neither necessary nor sufficent evidence of a supernatural process.

As to the first clause, you should explain that to scientists who appear to claim otherwise; it is precisely the randomness that leads them to call quantum particle formation “uncaused,” for where there is no manner of predicting the event there is no room for an functionally accurate scientific prediction.

Really? Then how come quantum mechanics is the most accurate theory we have ever developed??? grin grin

Bryan - 30 January 2008 10:55 AM

As to the second, if randomness can be natural in the naturalistic sense (that is, predictable in principle according to natural laws), then naturalism as described encompasses absolutely every possible phenomena and is, as such, utterly unfalsifiable as well as being vacuous.  It becomes the Atman of all worldviews, having room for all others within its encompassing folds.

Quantum mechanics does show that this “randomness” is predictable via statistical distributions. Your conclusion does not follow. It remains as I said already. You are confusing methodological naturalism with metaphysical naturalism. Methodological naturalism is is the collective term for a set of methods that incorporate falsifiability, nowadays part of the qualification to be in this set is that they are falsifiable methods. Metaphysical naturalism - as currently understood - is falsifiable but only by methodological naturalism, how else could one falsify it?

Bryan - 30 January 2008 10:55 AM
faithlessgod - 30 January 2008 07:17 AM

Or are you saying that anything random is supernatural? -)

I’m saying that if naturalism is taken to encompass randomness then it inevitably explains all phenomena.  Once a “law” of randomness is allowed, there is nothing inexplicable in terms of law.

Nothing is explicable in terms of law. It is explicable in term of a theory should one be forthcoming that explains the law. You seem to be confusing scientific laws and scientific theories and failing to make the process/product distinction. Laws describe, theories explain. It is theories we are talking about here.

Bryan - 30 January 2008 10:55 AM

I leave it to you to define supernatural if you can.  I think given your views as described, God would be natural if you spotted Him in the natural world.  He could make objects appear unpredictably out of thin air (all apparently “natural” objects, since you are able to detect them in the natural world), and you would apparently have no trouble at all incorporating Him into your worldview.

Ahhh yes? So? Anyway there is no evidence for god, to date, so there is not basis to chose any god. Anyway we are was talking about supernatural processes and explanations and god is only one candidate amongst many. 

Bryan - 30 January 2008 10:55 AM

(I do affirm that if “natural” keeps its customary meaning in terms of science {explicable in terms of law}, then something that is truly random appears to fall outside the bounds of the natural.  I know of no other term to apply to it than “supernatural,” but you can pick one if you like and we can use that)

This looks like your definition of “science {explicable in terms of law}” if so, I do not think you understand what science is.  Supernatural is nothing specifically to do with randomness.

faithlessgod - 30 January 2008 07:17 AM
Bryan - 28 January 2008 05:25 PM
faithlessgod - 28 January 2008 01:43 PM

Interesting. If it is truly random why would there be any need for a supernatural process?

That’s my point.  If naturalism can explain order and randomness in principle, then how is “supernatural” even understood?  I doubt you could define it under those conditions.

Supernatural is understood as a supernatural process that produces natural effects and as an explanation it is better than any natural explanation - even and especially so, if there is one.

It seems I already made my point re the process/product distinction in previous posts. Why don’t you try and understand this. If you cant then there is nothing to debate.

Bryan - 28 January 2008 05:25 PM

Is it just me or did you use the word itself in the explanation of the word?
I think if I know what a “supernatural process” is and how it differs from a “natural process” I will have a better handle on what you’re saying.

Duh! Above and beyond a natural explanation. Although most claims to date I would say are sub-natural, since they have been inferior to a natural explanation grin

Bryan - 28 January 2008 05:25 PM
faithlessgod - 28 January 2008 01:43 PM

Off the top of my head. Imagine if some form of telepathy could be reliably, independently repeated with acceptable scientific standards (and there are none to date, yet, this is hypothetical). Then one could use this reliable test and attempt to eliminate all the known physical forces as constituting part of an explanation. Let us assume the attempt is successful and all physical forces are eliminated and the phenomena is still there. This would indicate a hitherto undetected fifth force to explore and investigate. However successful that endeavor would be I do not think many would be in doubt that we had finally captured the results of a supernatural process. Yes as we understand it better and our knowledge increases this would become naturalized.

Your concluding sentence serves as a rather ponderous fly in the ointment, I should think.

Not at all. We have a better understanding of our world today than in the past and historical evidence indicates this is likely to continue. And you have completely avoided answering the hypothetical I just gave you, why is that? grin grin

Bryan - 28 January 2008 05:25 PM
faithlessgod - 28 January 2008 01:43 PM

Heres the rub. Nothing in the past prevented us discovering such supernatural processes and they too would have become naturalised. Instead what happened was that all these supernatural claims, to date, have been in error and other different natural processes were found to be the explanation. Now just because the accumulated evidence means it is unlikely, does not mean that this cannot occur in the future - it is still possible albeit implausible - and if so I just explained somewhat how it would work.

Well, no, I don’t think so (unless I’m misunderstanding your latter explanation).  Just as with telepathy, the original “supernatural” explanation would eventually be considered “natural”—it’s just that science would have self-corrected itself by eliminating what it had perceived as the more elegant explanation.

Yes so? It would still be the case that what today we consider supernatural and dismiss would no longer be considered that way. If you are not happy with that, that is your problem, that is the way it is.

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Posted: 30 January 2008 09:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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faithlessgod - 30 January 2008 05:55 PM
Bryan - 30 January 2008 10:55 AM

I suspect that if we chip away at the surface of your statement we’ll find that “non-random” means caused in a manner that is predictable in principle.  I’m suggesting that you’re probably offering me a sentence’s worth of oxymoron.  When something is predictable, science considers it explained naturally (predictable in principle=explicable in terms of natural law).

No non-random just means there is a pattern to it, one that is predictable to some degree - whether possible in fact certainly in principle - but still in need of an explanation.

Is there a typo in your reply (“whether possible in fact (or?) certainly in principle”)?  It looks like you’re agreeing with me that non-random is indicative of something being predictable in principle.  Do I read you correctly?

It is the quest for an explanation and whether a natural one is forthcoming that is the challenge. Of course scientist will assume so - it would be illogical to assume otherwise and contrary to the historical evidence to do otherwise - but still it depends what they find (or do not).

Technically, it is illogical for the “scientist to assume so” to the extent that he commits a fallacy in so doing (unless he merely assumes for the sake of argument).  The assumption of metaphysical naturalism is pragmatic, not strictly logical.

Bryan - 30 January 2008 10:55 AM

I suppose the next question I should ask you is:  How do you determine that something is non-random?

There are plenty of methods to do this ask any statistician.

Do scientists likewise turn to statisticians to answer the question?
You could just say you don’t know.  But if you knew, you’d be allowed to sketch the answer, I’m sure.

Hmmm.  On my first try I think I rang up the last reference you’d have wanted me to find.
http://www.cs.utep.edu/vladik/2007/tr07-39.pdf

In any case, I was looking to prompt you toward an admission that non-randomness involves predictability in principle.  You may have already done that.

No I did not. I was making a quite standard process/product distinction.

If that’s what you were attempting then you appear to have screwed up.
To illustrate, suppose the angel Gabriel makes a birthday candle appear formed as a number chosen truly at random, and the timing of the appearance and the location are both truly random.  According to what you wrote (“If a supernatural process has natural effects, they would be non-random, otherwise there would be no way of detecting these natural effects”), the situation I describe should be impossible.  It is explicitly random (x3) yet has a natural effect (a candle featuring a random number in the natural world).
It seems incumbent on you to explain why the scenario I describe is either impossible or representative of non-random effects.

You insist on confusing the explanation of the event with the event to be explained (the process/product distinction) it is you who is pulling the switcheroo - I have been quite consistent - and you who is lost in a quagmire of words.

For example?  Where did I commit the alleged confusion?

Bryan - 30 January 2008 10:55 AM
faithlessgod - 30 January 2008 07:17 AM

Randomness does not mean uncaused and is neither necessary nor sufficent evidence of a supernatural process.

As to the first clause, you should explain that to scientists who appear to claim otherwise; it is precisely the randomness that leads them to call quantum particle formation “uncaused,” for where there is no manner of predicting the event there is no room for an functionally accurate scientific prediction.

Really? Then how come quantum mechanics is the most accurate theory we have ever developed??? grin grin

AFAICT, you’re answering a serious point with a joke.  I’d prefer some acknowledgment of the point one way or the other.

Nothing is explicable in terms of law. It is explicable in term of a theory should one be forthcoming that explains the law. You seem to be confusing scientific laws and scientific theories and failing to make the process/product distinction. Laws describe, theories explain. It is theories we are talking about here.

No, I’m not talking about theories, I’m talking about metaphysical naturalism, which posits lawful explanations for absolutely all phenomena.  I don’t think I’m committing the confusion you think you detect.  Offer an example, please.

Bryan - 30 January 2008 10:55 AM

I leave it to you to define supernatural if you can.  I think given your views as described, God would be natural if you spotted Him in the natural world.  He could make objects appear unpredictably out of thin air (all apparently “natural” objects, since you are able to detect them in the natural world), and you would apparently have no trouble at all incorporating Him into your worldview.

Ahhh yes? So? Anyway there is no evidence for god, to date, so there is not basis to chose any god. Anyway we are was talking about supernatural processes and explanations and god is only one candidate amongst many.

I’d like to see you do other than evade the point.  Do you agree that god would fit the into the view you described as a natural phenomena? 

Bryan - 30 January 2008 10:55 AM

(I do affirm that if “natural” keeps its customary meaning in terms of science {explicable in terms of law}, ...

This looks like your definition of “science {explicable in terms of law}” if so, I do not think you understand what science is.  Supernatural is nothing specifically to do with randomness.

It’s not my definition of science.  It was my definition of “natural” (maintaining the caveat above) in terms of science.  That should be pretty easy to see in the context.

Bryan - 28 January 2008 05:25 PM

Is it just me or did you use the word itself in the explanation of the word?
I think if I know what a “supernatural process” is and how it differs from a “natural process” I will have a better handle on what you’re saying.

Duh! Above and beyond a natural explanation. Although most claims to date I would say are sub-natural, since they have been inferior to a natural explanation grin

Why, in principle, is god not a natural explanation, assuming for the sake of argument that god exists?  Your answer above is too ambiguos because “natural” is not defined.

Bryan - 28 January 2008 05:25 PM

Your concluding sentence serves as a rather ponderous fly in the ointment, I should think.

Not at all. We have a better understanding of our world today than in the past and historical evidence indicates this is likely to continue.

I can’t believe I’m reading this.  You admitted at the end that your example of the supernatural because the natural with greater understanding.  Is that supposed to be the demarcation point between the natural and the supernatural?

And you have completely avoided answering the hypothetical I just gave you, why is that? grin

Didn’t notice, and I still don’t see what you appear to expect me to address.  I’m addressing the example of telepathy by noting your tacit admission that it failed (admitting that with greater understanding, telepathy would be thought natural even though telepathy itself didn’t change except in the degree it was understood).

Bryan - 28 January 2008 05:25 PM

Well, no, I don’t think so (unless I’m misunderstanding your latter explanation).  Just as with telepathy, the original “supernatural” explanation would eventually be considered “natural”—it’s just that science would have self-corrected itself by eliminating what it had perceived as the more elegant explanation.

Yes so?

So you’re seriously positing that the difference between natural and supernatural lies in whether or not it is understood?  That seems silly on its face.

It would still be the case that what today we consider supernatural and dismiss would no longer be considered that way. If you are not happy with that, that is your problem, that is the way it is.

It’s like arm-wrestling with somebody who lets you win right away.  There’s not much point nor much satisfaction.

(I’d have gone more in-depth but discovered the forum’s character limits)

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Posted: 31 January 2008 06:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Bryan - 30 January 2008 09:13 PM

Is there a typo in your reply (“whether possible in fact (or?) certainly in principle”)?  It looks like you’re agreeing with me that non-random is indicative of something being predictable in principle.  Do I read you correctly?

“whether possible in fact, certainly in principle”

Bryan - 30 January 2008 09:13 PM
faithlessgod - 30 January 2008 05:55 PM

It is the quest for an explanation and whether a natural one is forthcoming that is the challenge. Of course scientist will assume so - it would be illogical to assume otherwise and contrary to the historical evidence to do otherwise - but still it depends what they find (or do not).

Technically, it is illogical for the “scientist to assume so” to the extent that he commits a fallacy in so doing (unless he merely assumes for the sake of argument).  The assumption of metaphysical naturalism is pragmatic, not strictly logical.

We are not talking here about metaphysical naturalism but methodological naturalism. It is quite logical, what is the fallacy? (We are not talking about Humean arguments, of course).

Bryan - 30 January 2008 09:13 PM
faithlessgod - 30 January 2008 05:55 PM
Bryan - 30 January 2008 10:55 AM

I suppose the next question I should ask you is:  How do you determine that something is non-random?

There are plenty of methods to do this ask any statistician.

Do scientists likewise turn to statisticians to answer the question?
You could just say you don’t know.  But if you knew, you’d be allowed to sketch the answer, I’m sure.

Now you are getting silly. I do know and I, incidentally, have worked as a statistician, however it would be a complete diversion to explore further this here. If you reject this obvious fact here then it is clear you have no interest in a discussion but just want to dogmatically hold onto your beliefs.

Bryan - 30 January 2008 09:13 PM

In any case, I was looking to prompt you toward an admission that non-randomness involves predictability in principle.  You may have already done that.

Of course, why would I deny that?

Bryan - 30 January 2008 09:13 PM
faithlessgod - 30 January 2008 05:55 PM

No I did not. I was making a quite standard process/product distinction.

If that’s what you were attempting then you appear to have screwed up.
To illustrate, suppose the angel Gabriel makes a birthday candle appear formed as a number chosen truly at random, and the timing of the appearance and the location are both truly random.  According to what you wrote (“If a supernatural process has natural effects, they would be non-random, otherwise there would be no way of detecting these natural effects”), the situation I describe should be impossible.  It is explicitly random (x3) yet has a natural effect (a candle featuring a random number in the natural world).
It seems incumbent on you to explain why the scenario I describe is either impossible or representative of non-random effects.

No I have not screwed up, you have. Gabriel caused this miracle and so it was due to a supernatural process, the product was the candle appearing as a number. How randomness or not fits in is due to the processes and products under consideration. Do not confuse these two separate issues. It was non-random in the sense that Gabriel intended to do it and it happened which is the only relevant sense in your example.

Bryan - 30 January 2008 09:13 PM
faithlessgod - 30 January 2008 05:55 PM

You insist on confusing the explanation of the event with the event to be explained (the process/product distinction) it is you who is pulling the switcheroo - I have been quite consistent - and you who is lost in a quagmire of words.


For example?  Where did I commit the alleged confusion?

You are getting silly again. If you just want to dogmatically hold onto your position, why not say and stop this silliness?

Bryan - 30 January 2008 09:13 PM
faithlessgod - 30 January 2008 05:55 PM
Bryan - 30 January 2008 10:55 AM

As to the first clause, you should explain that to scientists who appear to claim otherwise; it is precisely the randomness that leads them to call quantum particle formation “uncaused,” for where there is no manner of predicting the event there is no room for an functionally accurate scientific prediction.

Really? Then how come quantum mechanics is the most accurate theory we have ever developed??? grin grin

AFAICT, you’re answering a serious point with a joke.  I’d prefer some acknowledgment of the point one way or the other.

No the joke was on you and still is. That answer is a correct answer, you are just playing an avoidance game now aren’t you?

Bryan - 30 January 2008 09:13 PM
faithlessgod - 30 January 2008 05:55 PM

Nothing is explicable in terms of law. It is explicable in term of a theory should one be forthcoming that explains the law. You seem to be confusing scientific laws and scientific theories and failing to make the process/product distinction. Laws describe, theories explain. It is theories we are talking about here.

No, I’m not talking about theories, I’m talking about metaphysical naturalism, which posits lawful explanations for absolutely all phenomena.  I don’t think I’m committing the confusion you think you detect.  Offer an example, please.

No we are talking about methodological naturalism not metaphysical naturalism. And we are talking about theories not laws.

Bryan - 30 January 2008 09:13 PM
faithlessgod - 30 January 2008 05:55 PM
Bryan - 30 January 2008 10:55 AM

I leave it to you to define supernatural if you can.  I think given your views as described, God would be natural if you spotted Him in the natural world.  He could make objects appear unpredictably out of thin air (all apparently “natural” objects, since you are able to detect them in the natural world), and you would apparently have no trouble at all incorporating Him into your worldview.

Ahhh yes? So? Anyway there is no evidence for god, to date, so there is not basis to chose any god. Anyway we are was talking about supernatural processes and explanations and god is only one candidate amongst many.

I’d like to see you do other than evade the point.  Do you agree that god would fit the into the view you described as a natural phenomena? 

No, I am not evading the point, you are.  We are talking about the supernatural and god is only one type of solution. You keep on equivocating and I wont let you do that, sorry grin

Bryan - 30 January 2008 09:13 PM
faithlessgod - 30 January 2008 05:55 PM
Bryan - 30 January 2008 10:55 AM

(I do affirm that if “natural” keeps its customary meaning in terms of science {explicable in terms of law}, ...

This looks like your definition of “science {explicable in terms of law}” if so, I do not think you understand what science is.  Supernatural is nothing specifically to do with randomness.

It’s not my definition of science.  It was my definition of “natural” (maintaining the caveat above) in terms of science.  That should be pretty easy to see in the context.

Naturalism holds that everything we are and do is connected to the rest of the world and derived from conditions that precede us and surround us.  Metaphysical Naturalism holds that the natural world (including the universe) is all that exists, and therefore nothing supernatural exists. Methodological Naturalism makes no such metaphysical claim.

Bryan - 30 January 2008 09:13 PM
faithlessgod - 30 January 2008 05:55 PM
Bryan - 28 January 2008 05:25 PM

Is it just me or did you use the word itself in the explanation of the word?
I think if I know what a “supernatural process” is and how it differs from a “natural process” I will have a better handle on what you’re saying.

Duh! Above and beyond a natural explanation. Although most claims to date I would say are sub-natural, since they have been inferior to a natural explanation grin

Why, in principle, is god not a natural explanation, assuming for the sake of argument that god exists?  Your answer above is too ambiguos because “natural” is not defined.

If god or any supernatural process did exist and had observable effects then as I have already stated it would become natural, that is just the way it is. However what would change is metaphysical naturalism, this might have the same name but would have different content as to what is contained in the natural world. And that is all that could change and it would be through methodological naturalism via science that this would happen.

Bryan - 30 January 2008 09:13 PM
faithlessgod - 30 January 2008 05:55 PM
Bryan - 28 January 2008 05:25 PM

Your concluding sentence serves as a rather ponderous fly in the ointment, I should think.

Not at all. We have a better understanding of our world today than in the past and historical evidence indicates this is likely to continue.

I can’t believe I’m reading this.  You admitted at the end that your example of the supernatural because the natural with greater understanding.  Is that supposed to be the demarcation point between the natural and the supernatural?

Is there a typo in what you just wrote, it does not make sense.

Bryan - 30 January 2008 09:13 PM
faithlessgod - 30 January 2008 05:55 PM

And you have completely avoided answering the hypothetical I just gave you, why is that? grin

Didn’t notice, and I still don’t see what you appear to expect me to address.  I’m addressing the example of telepathy by noting your tacit admission that it failed (admitting that with greater understanding, telepathy would be thought natural even though telepathy itself didn’t change except in the degree it was understood).

What failed? I clearly showed you how methodological naturalism could refute metaphysical naturalism as it is today, and this all one can do and there is nothing more one could reasonably demand.

Bryan - 30 January 2008 09:13 PM
faithlessgod - 30 January 2008 05:55 PM
Bryan - 28 January 2008 05:25 PM

Well, no, I don’t think so (unless I’m misunderstanding your latter explanation).  Just as with telepathy, the original “supernatural” explanation would eventually be considered “natural”—it’s just that science would have self-corrected itself by eliminating what it had perceived as the more elegant explanation.

Yes so?

So you’re seriously positing that the difference between natural and supernatural lies in whether or not it is understood?  That seems silly on its face.

No you are being silly again.  We are talking about new evidence that contradicts there being only four physical forces - in that hypothetical example, one could develop other hypotheticals such as evidence of disembodied consciousness and so on. Of course science is self-correcting, that is what it is designed to be.

Bryan - 30 January 2008 09:13 PM
faithlessgod - 30 January 2008 05:55 PM

It would still be the case that what today we consider supernatural and dismiss would no longer be considered that way. If you are not happy with that, that is your problem, that is the way it is.

It’s like arm-wrestling with somebody who lets you win right away.  There’s not much point nor much satisfaction.

Well if you want to go give up so easily, that is fine by me grin

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Posted: 31 January 2008 11:17 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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faithlessgod - 31 January 2008 06:36 AM

[quote author=Bryan]
Technically, it is illogical for the “scientist to assume so” to the extent that he commits a fallacy in so doing (unless he merely assumes for the sake of argument).  The assumption of metaphysical naturalism is pragmatic, not strictly logical.

We are not talking here about metaphysical naturalism but methodological naturalism.

You are not privileged to speak for me on that point.
I didn’t get the impression that Griggsy was referring to methodological naturalism.
http://www.centerforinquiry.net/forums/viewthread/3554/#32318

It is quite logical, what is the fallacy? (We are not talking about Humean arguments, of course).

Again, I don’t see that you’re privileged to speak for both of us.  As I specified in my reply to Griggsy, it would not be a fallacy to use the assumption of naturalism as a premise, as for the sake of argument.  It would represent a fallacy to make the assumption a conclusion or to use the assumption to, say, place the burden of proof on somebody else for demonstrating that the assumption of naturalism is incorrect.

Do scientists likewise turn to statisticians to answer the question?
You could just say you don’t know.  But if you knew, you’d be allowed to sketch the answer, I’m sure.

Now you are getting silly.

You’re the one who begged off on what should be a softball question (answerable by any statistician, supposedly).  Who’s being silly, again?

I do know and I, incidentally, have worked as a statistician, however it would be a complete diversion to explore further this here.

So I took your advice and asked a statistician and not even the statistician would answer!
I suppose you meant to say “Ask any statistician except for me.”

If you reject this obvious fact here then it is clear you have no interest in a discussion but just want to dogmatically hold onto your beliefs.

What “obvious fact” do you imagine I am rejecting?
It seems to me that you must be committing some sort of fallacy if you extrapolate from my question as to how one determines non-randomness an assertion that amounts to my rejection of an obvious fact.

Of course, why would I deny that?

I’ve no idea, but I’d have been willing to listen to the explanation if you had denied it.

No I have not screwed up, you have.

We’ll see.

Gabriel caused this miracle and so it was due to a supernatural process, the product was the candle appearing as a number. How randomness or not fits in is due to the processes and products under consideration. Do not confuse these two separate issues.

I don’t think I have, and you have yet to specify my error.  I imagine that you made the erroneous assumption that the following was a rhetorical question rather than an attempt to get you to be more specific:
“Where do you draw the line between a supernatural process and its natural effects?”

I don’t think you’re allowed to judge correlation between Gabriel’s intent and the outcome, here.  It could just as easily have been random terms of causation in addition to random in terms of perception of the event in the “natural” (whatever that’s supposed to mean) world.

It was non-random in the sense that Gabriel intended to do it and it happened which is the only relevant sense in your example.

Unless you detect Gabriel (and apparently thus classify him as “natural”) there is no way for you to know whether it was non-random or otherwise.  By your own argument (AFAICT), you have to judge the randomness or non-randomness by the product.  And the product is random x3.  Via observation, it might be said to have “miraculously appeared.”

The significance of Gabriel in the example is to make the cause unequivocally supernatural as the term is normally understood.  Your response tentatively affirmed my suspicion that you would have difficulty making the distinction between “natural” and “supernatural.”

You are getting silly again. If you just want to dogmatically hold onto your position, why not say and stop this silliness?

I suppose it would be silly of me to ask what was silly about asking you to specify what confusion I had committed?

Bryan - 30 January 2008 09:13 PM

AFAICT, you’re answering a serious point with a joke.  I’d prefer some acknowledgment of the point one way or the other.

No the joke was on you and still is. That answer is a correct answer, you are just playing an avoidance game now aren’t you?

Could be.  What do you think I’m avoiding, or is that a silly question, too?

Bryan - 30 January 2008 09:13 PM

No we are talking about methodological naturalism not metaphysical naturalism.

I suppose it would be silly of me to suppose that I have some say in what I’m talking about ...

And we are talking about theories not laws.

... and no doubt it’s silly of me to keep saying “laws” when you insist I must mean “theories.”

Consider that I could treat you as you’re treating me by insisting that we have been talking about metaphysical naturalism and laws from the start (when you say “theory” you really mean “law.”).  If I did so, then I think you could rightly consider me a waste of time.

Bryan - 30 January 2008 09:13 PM

I’d like to see you do other than evade the point.  Do you agree that god would fit the into the view you described as a natural phenomena? 

No, I am not evading the point, you are.

If I’m the one evading my point then why didn’t you answer the question?

We are talking about the supernatural and god is only one type of solution. You keep on equivocating and I wont let you do that, sorry grin

Your zeal is misguided.

Bryan - 30 January 2008 09:13 PM

Naturalism holds that everything we are and do is connected to the rest of the world and derived from conditions that precede us and surround us.

Thus if God is considered part of the “world” (what definition of “world” do you employ, here?), then He is accommodated by naturalism.

Metaphysical Naturalism holds that the natural world (including the universe) is all that exists, and therefore nothing supernatural exists.

Thus if God existed He would be part of the natural world?  Or would metaphysical naturalism be, in effect, falsified?

Methodological Naturalism makes no such metaphysical claim.

... and of course “we” (at your insistence) are only talking about metaphysical naturalism.

If god or any supernatural process did exist and had observable effects then as I have already stated it would become natural, that is just the way it is.

There’s the golden quotation.  I’m framing that one.

However what would change is metaphysical naturalism, this might have the same name but would have different content as to what is contained in the natural world.

That really depends on how “natural” and supernatural” are defined.  The way you talk about it, it looks like rather than “supernatural” referring to a certain class of entity that may or may not exist, it actually refers (by implication) specifically to things that do not exist.  Triangles with only two sides would be a form of the supernatural, as it were.  That point is driven home by your willingness to describe classically “supernatural” entities as “natural” (which emphasizes the importance of defining the terms, I might add).

And that is all that could change and it would be through methodological naturalism via science that this would happen.

I suspect that not everyone on this discussion board will care for the idea of angel science. wink

Bryan - 30 January 2008 09:13 PM
faithlessgod - 30 January 2008 05:55 PM
Bryan - 28 January 2008 05:25 PM

Your concluding sentence serves as a rather ponderous fly in the ointment, I should think.

Not at all. We have a better understanding of our world today than in the past and historical evidence indicates this is likely to continue.

I can’t believe I’m reading this.  You admitted at the end that your example of the supernatural became the natural with greater understanding.  Is that supposed to be the demarcation point between the natural and the supernatural?

Is there a typo in what you just wrote, it does not make sense.

There was, thanks.  See correction in bold.  I hope you’ll answer the question now that the meaning is (hopefully) clear.

Bryan - 30 January 2008 09:13 PM
faithlessgod - 30 January 2008 05:55 PM

And you have completely avoided answering the hypothetical I just gave you, why is that? grin

Didn’t notice, and I still don’t see what you appear to expect me to address.  I’m addressing the example of telepathy by noting your tacit admission that it failed (admitting that with greater understanding, telepathy would be thought natural even though telepathy itself didn’t change except in the degree it was understood).

What failed? I clearly showed you how methodological naturalism could refute metaphysical naturalism as it is today, and this all one can do and there is nothing more one could reasonably demand.

I think most metaphysical naturalists consider the doctrine to encompass that which is comprehensible in terms of lawful behavior in principle.  I think they would say that anything that is eventually explained in terms of laws serves to help confirm the truth of metaphysical naturalism.  Your telepathy example was always explainable in principle in terms of apparently natural processes (I say apparently because I remain somewhat unsure of where your line falls between “natural” and “supernatural”), barring some change in the process that you neglected to mention.

Bryan - 30 January 2008 09:13 PM
faithlessgod - 30 January 2008 05:55 PM
Bryan - 28 January 2008 05:25 PM

Well, no, I don’t think so (unless I’m misunderstanding your latter explanation).  Just as with telepathy, the original “supernatural” explanation would eventually be considered “natural”—it’s just that science would have self-corrected itself by eliminating what it had perceived as the more elegant explanation.

Yes so?

So you’re seriously positing that the difference between natural and supernatural lies in whether or not it is understood?  That seems silly on its face.

No you are being silly again.  We are talking about new evidence that contradicts there being only four physical forces - in that hypothetical example, one could develop other hypotheticals such as evidence of disembodied consciousness and so on. Of course science is self-correcting, that is what it is designed to be.

I don’t see how it is silly to ask you to confirm what it appeared you had said.  Perhaps you’ll explain that one day (or maybe you’ll just call me silly for saying so).

It appears to me that your explanation belies your apparent denial that the demarcation point between supernatural and natural rests on our level of understanding (“We are talking about new evidence that contradicts there being only four physical forces”).  Why is the perception of new evidence and consideration of a fifth force (along with contradiction of the old understanding) not considered an increase in understanding?

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Posted: 31 January 2008 11:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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I can’t be bothered to reply to another long-winded post of yours where you keep on changing the subject and ignore answers I give. The only question I have been debating here with you is “Can methodological naturalism refute metaphysical naturalism?” The only mistake I made was creating an unnecessarily extreme hypothetical, it is much simpler than that. If anyone claims to be a metaphysical naturalist today they would deny the supernatural exists. If you asked for examples they would give some list like the following:- telepathy, telekinesis , precognition, astrology, spiritual healing, the power of prayer, astral travel (OBEs), ghosts, remote viewing and so on and so forth. Well first methodological naturalism has investigated all these and more and to date the consensus is t hat there is no evidence to support these supernatural phenomena. Now it does not matter what you, I or anyone else thinks might happen, what is important that methodological naturalism could  reliably, independently demonstrate one or more of these phenomena, there is nothing in principle that can prevent this. If it did that then anyone who is a metaphysical naturalist today would have to change their position, however they did that, including now incorporating this as natural. But that is all that is required to refute metaphysical naturalism today.  So if methodological naturalism does succeed in one of the above noted areas or similar then metaphysical naturalism would be refuted . QED

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