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If a supernatural event occurred, how would you tell?
#1
If a supernatural event occurred, how would you tell?
Suppose that what appears to be a supernatural event happens right in front of you. Say a glowing man with wings floats down to earth in front of hundreds of people, makes an accurate prediction of a future improbable event, maybe raises a few verifiably dead people for good measure, and then disappears in a great ball of light.

Even though such things appear to defy known science, and seems to be an instance of stereotypical miracles of religions happening before our eyes, could we conclusively say that it was a real supernatural event? Wouldn't the most probable explanation be that it was an alien trickster from an incredibly advanced alien civilization, perhaps one that discovered a way to see into the future, teleport, and "raise" the dead?

Consider: alien explanation versus supernatural explanation. Even though both are seemingly incredibly unlikely, I would think that the alien explanation is far better explanation than the supernatural explanation in any instance of an apparent miracle since given our scientific knowledge, there seems to be a good a chance of life developing on other planets in our universe.

What's that saying?... something like "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
My ignore list




"The lord doesn't work in mysterious ways, but in ways that are indistinguishable from his nonexistence."
-- George Yorgo Veenhuyzen quoted by John W. Loftus in The End of Christianity (p. 103).
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#2
RE: If a supernatural event occurred, how would you tell?
I'd proclaim myself as green ball of light man's ony prophet and charge everyone a 10% tithe.
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#3
RE: If a supernatural event occurred, how would you tell?
(August 28, 2012 at 1:31 pm)teaearlgreyhot Wrote: What's that saying?... something like "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

Or, "any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced".

Cool Shades
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#4
RE: If a supernatural event occurred, how would you tell?
Indistinguishable in practice, but not in principle. The difference between the two would be that there is at least a mechanism by which the alien explanation works..as opposed to throwing our hands in the air and claiming "magic".



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#5
RE: If a supernatural event occurred, how would you tell?
Supernatural is just science we don't understand yet. I'm sure volcanoes, earthquakes, lightning and fireflies were supernatural to cavemen a few thousand years ago. Heck, the first guy who picked up a burning stick and used it as a torch was probably considered some incredibly powerful magician with incredibly supernatural powers.
I live on facebook. Come see me there. http://www.facebook.com/tara.rizzatto

"If you cling to something as the absolute truth and you are caught in it, when the truth comes in person to knock on your door you will refuse to let it in." ~ Siddhartha Gautama
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#6
RE: If a supernatural event occurred, how would you tell?
The word "supernatural" makes no sense. Like saying there's a hypernatural beyond supernatural. The prefix is meaningless as the scope and context of nature has not been properly defined.

Its either "natural", "unnatural" (man-made), or quite simply does not exist.
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#7
RE: If a supernatural event occurred, how would you tell?
I don't even like 'man-made' and 'unnatural' being synonymous. A car is no more unnatural than a beehive, as beehives don't just happen by themselves.

So, of course, 'supernatural' is a totally nonsense word which should be synonymous with 'imaginary' or 'delusional'.

This does, of course, mean that 'natural' has no real meaning of its own, as it is really just a synonym for 'physical'.
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#8
RE: If a supernatural event occurred, how would you tell?
(August 28, 2012 at 3:22 pm)TaraJo Wrote: Supernatural is just science we don't understand yet. I'm sure volcanoes, earthquakes, lightning and fireflies were supernatural to cavemen a few thousand years ago. Heck, the first guy who picked up a burning stick and used it as a torch was probably considered some incredibly powerful magician with incredibly supernatural powers.

Supernature is one of those words which generally give much more use information aabout the person using it than about the phenomenon he is using it on. All of it unflattering.
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#9
RE: If a supernatural event occurred, how would you tell?
(August 28, 2012 at 4:35 pm)Ryantology Wrote: I don't even like 'man-made' and 'unnatural' being synonymous. A car is no more unnatural than a beehive, as beehives don't just happen by themselves.
An automobile manufactured by humans, a dam constructed by beavers, a mound built up by termites are all just that, easily identifiable, and therefore unnatural. It is the end product of living organisms changing and manipulating their environment. None of them occur naturally.

Why does the association of the two terms bother you?


Quote:This does, of course, mean that 'natural' has no real meaning of its own, as it is really just a synonym for 'physical'.
Depends in what context you mean and apply "natural" in. Of course it has a meaning that we've ascribed to it, but the limits and square-bounds of these labels, including 'physical' are often vague and not well established. Hence why silly misnomers like "supernatural" exist to start with.
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#10
RE: If a supernatural event occurred, how would you tell?
(August 28, 2012 at 4:58 pm)Welsh cake Wrote: An automobile manufactured by humans, a dam constructed by beavers, a mound built up by termites are all just that, easily identifiable, and therefore unnatural. It is the end product of living organisms changing and manipulating their environment. None of them occur naturally.

Why does the association of the two terms bother you?

Two reasons. One is that most people do not define the term as you do and classify as natural anything not made by people. The second is that the term 'unnatural' carries negative connotations, often without a good reason.


Quote:Depends in what context you mean and apply "natural" in. Of course it has a meaning that we've ascribed to it, but the limits and square-bounds of these labels, including 'physical' are often vague and not well established. Hence why silly misnomers like "supernatural" exist to start with.

"Physical" is not a totally clear term, either, but I do think it is harder to confuse, and there is no negative/positive paradigm between "physical" and "non-physical".
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