Disclaimer: The following may induce mild brain explosions.
Natural causes just don’t appear to work as explanations.
Therefore, unnatural causes work as explanataions? To me, if something is labeled “unnatural” it necessarily means that we can’t explain it. Example: Ghosts, God, etc. etc. An “unnatural explanation” seems to be an oxymoron. Perhaps I’m misunderstanding what you mean by “natural.”
If they do necessitate, then they rule out all other possibilities and so don’t act as explanations because there are no other possible things that could happen.
Ok. I don’t think we’re on the same page when it comes to “explanations.” Let’s say an event happens. It can be anything, doesn’t matter. Isn’t the explanation just a description of the relevant causes that led to the event? I can’t think of an explanation for something that doesn’t involve causes. Furthermore, I don’t see how one could give an explanation for something that hasn’t happened yet, which is what you appear to be looking for here. When would one ever try to explain something that hasn’t happened yet? Once something happens, then we explain it using the causes that led up to that event. There can be no other causes for an event that has already happened because the causes for that event have already happened. Likewise, there can be no single explanation for an event that hasn’t happened yet because it doesn’t have precisely known causes. And the inverse, if an event has multiple causes then it hasn’t yet occurred.
Let’s try and make it a little simpler. A girl dies and her body is still on the hospital bed. The explanation for this event is set already because the causes for it are in the past. Let’s say the explanation is that her organs failed, so she died. We can’t say that she died from a shotgun blast because that simply didn’t happen. We also have multiple explanations of where she is going to be buried since it hasn’t happened yet (if that doesn’t make any sense, try using ‘possibilities’ instead of ‘explanations’).
Now, when we talk of the universe we run into trouble because we don’t exactly know how the universe started or really what happened before the Big Bang, or really the exact details of the Big Bang. Since we don’t know how it came into existence or much of the context surrounding it, I don’t think we can comment very well on its cause or lack there of. We simply don’t know. If the creation of the universe had a cause then whatever caused it at some point must have just simply existed (this cause could range from aliens in another universe or erratic quantum mechanical fluctuations). If there was no cause than there is no explanation for it, it simply exists (“it” being the conditions that gave rise to the Big Bang). Either way, we end up with something that had no cause and therefore has no explanation, be it natural or unnatural. Maybe this is what you were going for, Stephen. Natural explanations don’t explain the existence of the universe because natural explanations deal with causes. But, I don’t think we can really say it is therefore “unnatural.” There just can’t be any causes, so there can’t be any explanation associated with it.
I suppose the other explanation is that we are the equivalent of ants trying to understand how a laptop works, but that explanation really just postpones the verdict, or at least transfers it to something that can understand the laptop.
In conclusion, what the hell was this topic about? I need another beer.
3) Or at this level none of us has the foggiest idea what the hell we’re talking about.
True. I now return to slowly spinning in the darkened corner of my room. Everything’s so spinny now.