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I just got baptized - Yea!
23yrold3yrold
Member #1,134
March 2001
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But its hard to say when you continue to evade even a civilized rational discussion.

I'm evading the discussion, period. Are you getting this yet?

--
Software Development == Church Development
Step 1. Build it.
Step 2. Pray.

Thomas Fjellstrom
Member #476
June 2000
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Are you getting this yet?

Long time ago. Which just seems silly, why haven't you stopped posting in it yet? Instead of posing what sounds like condescending, "holier than thou" type responses?

--
Thomas Fjellstrom - [website] - [email] - [Allegro Wiki] - [Allegro TODO]
"If you can't think of a better solution, don't try to make a better solution." -- weapon_S
"The less evidence we have for what we believe is certain, the more violently we defend beliefs against those who don't agree" -- https://twitter.com/neiltyson/status/592870205409353730

Matthew Leverton
Supreme Loser
January 1999
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Evert, what "natural" based process would you use to prove something like instantly turning water into wine happened on a single occasion?

23yrold3yrold
Member #1,134
March 2001
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I haven't heard anything even remotely resembling an acceptance of my answer yet. My answers probably seem "holier than thou" because this is (intentionally, I suspect) painting you as incredibly stupid. :) If all you're doing is trolling, then fine. I'm done with you. Both you and Evert can perceive that as you like.

--
Software Development == Church Development
Step 1. Build it.
Step 2. Pray.

Evert
Member #794
November 2000
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I was responding to Evert in kind.

You're really not, you know.

I've pointed out why I think you come across as simply saying "you don't disagree with me, you just don't understand" without providing clarification or elaborating your statement. I've explained why I disagree, and all I get from you is "you don't understand what I'm saying".
But when I point this out, all I get from you is the accusation that I'm being condescending. Geez, thanks. No, I wasn't, and I won't raise to the bait here.

We don't have to agree to have a good enlightening discussion.

It's as though your mind is already made up about what I have to say and why I say it, and nothing I say or do will change that perception. And if that's true, then that's also a shame. And if it's not true, it's even more of a shame for coming across that way.

EDIT:

Evert, what "natural" based process would you use to prove something like instantly turning water into wine happened on a single occasion?

First, let me counter that with a reverse question: what process would you use to prove something like instantly turning water into wine happened on a single occasion? (Note the lack of a qualifier to the nature (/sic/) of the process there.)
It's a straw-man argument, to an extent, because nowhere did I say anything about proving whether specific events mentioned in the Bible (or any other religious text) are true or not. It's orthogonal to the general argument of whether "supernatural" things, in general, could be shown to be true or not and whether in so doing they're still "supernatural".

More later.

Thomas Fjellstrom
Member #476
June 2000
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My answers probably seem "holier than thou" because this is painting you as incredibly stupid.

Quote:

If all you're doing is trolling, then fine. I'm done with you. Both you and Evert can perceive that as you like.

See? Yet more of your attitude.

Did I even imply you were stupid? I sure didn't intend to. Yet you pretty much just directly called me stupid. I don't get it. This is the kind of behavior I expect from a typical born again Christian. I really didn't think you were one. Ah well, I'm always open to being proven wrong.

append: Also I'm not sure why you're lumping me and Evert together. But hey, to each his own amiright?

--
Thomas Fjellstrom - [website] - [email] - [Allegro Wiki] - [Allegro TODO]
"If you can't think of a better solution, don't try to make a better solution." -- weapon_S
"The less evidence we have for what we believe is certain, the more violently we defend beliefs against those who don't agree" -- https://twitter.com/neiltyson/status/592870205409353730

Striker
Member #10,701
February 2009
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Sorry to interrupt the other discussion again, i believe you can live with it

Jonatan Hedborg said:

I'd love to see some sources on that.

Now i have found one source. This thing is mentioned in the story of Ajamila in Shrimad Bhagavatam (6.1-6.3). Ajamila is going to die, servants of Yama are going to catch him to bring him to some kind of hell. Then he speaks the name "Narayana" to call his son, who had this name. But it is a name of god too, and some servants of Vishnu appear to bring him to a kind of heaven:

"When Ajamila was 88 years of age, his health started failing him. He lay in bed most of the time. He was resting one morning, when he saw three fierce-looking Yamadutas (agents of Lord Yama) approaching him. They had twisted faces and hairy bodies. They carried the feared noose to tie his jiva in the subtle body and take to afterlife. Ajamila was scared, he wanted to be helped. Narayana was playing with his toys a little far away, Ajamila called out for him, ā€œNarayana! Narayana! Come here!ā€

Suddenly, four agents of Lord Vishnu appeared there. They were pleasant-looking, had eyes as beautiful as lotus petals, wore yellow silk and a crown on their heads, wore ear-rings and flower garlands. They had four arms and carried a bow, a quiver, a sword, a mace, a conch, a chakra-disc and a lotus flower. They came because they had heard Ajamila cry out for Narayana, which is a name of Lord Vishnu. They asked the Yamadutas to release the jiva of Ajamila.

It is said that three agents of Lord Yama came, because Ajamila had sinned with his body, mind and speech; and four agents of Lord Vishnu came because there are four letters in the word Narayana."

The whole story is here:

http://dcindia.blogspot.com/2007/10/redemption-of-ajamila.html

Arthur Kalliokoski
Second in Command
February 2005
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Actually, saying "OMG!" or the equivalent would be like a habit that had originally started by sincerely asking for help from the divine being at a time of trouble. It just became automatic, and other people who didn't even believe in this God would say this in a case of "monkey see, monkey do". Or would that be like the three wise monkeys since speech was involved?

The only way Trump is going to be involved in a landslide is if the land surrounding the White House collapses into the Earth's core. -- bamccaig

Matthew Leverton
Supreme Loser
January 1999
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Evert said:

First, let me counter that with a reverse question: what process would you use to prove something like instantly turning water into wine happened on a single occasion

To know whether or not it actually happened, I'd have to be there, see them put an empty jar down a water well, and have it come up filled with wine.

But I could just as easily doubt it, calling it a trick or illusion. So I'd ask somebody to give me proof. And by that, I mean a scientific explanation of how one could accomplish such a thing.

And such an explanation is impossible. There is no way now or in the future to instantly turn water into wine. There definitely wasn't a way in the first century. So either it was a supernatural event that superseded natural laws, or it was an illusion.

I don't see how it's a tangent... But of course it is hypothetical. I don't expect a rational person to believe that water was turned into wine because a 2000 year old book says it was. I'm not trying to prove that any such event existed.

I'm simply asking, "what if?" If your answer is "it must be a trick" (given that the event occurred) because it obviously breaks natural laws, then you (most likely) categorically do not believe in the supernatural.

The very definition of supernatural is "unexplainable by natural law or phenomena." So if you're saying something (like God) can be proved to exist by natural law, then he is not supernatural by definition. I don't understand how that can even be up for discussion, so evidently I am missing something...

Arthur Kalliokoski
Second in Command
February 2005
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The very definition of supernatural is "unexplainable by natural law or phenomena."

That makes it sound like gravity was supernatural before Isaac Newton came along.

The only way Trump is going to be involved in a landslide is if the land surrounding the White House collapses into the Earth's core. -- bamccaig

Thomas Fjellstrom
Member #476
June 2000
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That makes it sound like gravity was supernatural before Isaac Newton came along.

It was. "God Did It".

--
Thomas Fjellstrom - [website] - [email] - [Allegro Wiki] - [Allegro TODO]
"If you can't think of a better solution, don't try to make a better solution." -- weapon_S
"The less evidence we have for what we believe is certain, the more violently we defend beliefs against those who don't agree" -- https://twitter.com/neiltyson/status/592870205409353730

Neil Black
Member #7,867
October 2006
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That makes it sound like gravity was supernatural before Isaac Newton came along.

There is a difference between not knowing the explanation, and the explanation not existing.

Matthew Leverton
Supreme Loser
January 1999
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That makes it sound like gravity was supernatural before Isaac Newton came along.

I knew somebody would reply with that. ::)

The natural law is eternal, whether known at the time or not. Of course one could always use the argument "that we just don't understand yet," which again tells me that one simply categorically does not believe in the supernatural.

This is why I picked a specific event as my example that obviously breaks natural laws. And to claim there might be a process that would explain it is more ridiculous than believing in the supernatural.

Arthur Kalliokoski
Second in Command
February 2005
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Not knowing the explanation means somebody knows, but you don't.
An explanation not existing means nobody knows.

The only way Trump is going to be involved in a landslide is if the land surrounding the White House collapses into the Earth's core. -- bamccaig

Neil Black
Member #7,867
October 2006
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Not knowing the explanation means somebody knows, but you don't.
An explanation not existing means nobody knows.

I don't see how you can say that. Unless you're proposing that science is purely subjective? In which case, I disagree entirely.

Arthur Kalliokoski
Second in Command
February 2005
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This is why I picked a specific event as my example that obviously breaks natural laws.

Tell Lord Kelvin about radioactivity again (seance perhaps?)

[edited Thomson to Kelvin]

[EDIT2]

relay01 said:

I don't believe anybody comes to Christ by bashing them in the head with a cross. (as the cartoon put it) In my case, which had similarities with Arthur's case somebody in much worse shape then I ever was had to explain how seemingly unanswered prayers is not a good excuse for believing in no god.

If prayers are deferred indefinitely, then you're back to the halting problem.

The only way Trump is going to be involved in a landslide is if the land surrounding the White House collapses into the Earth's core. -- bamccaig

Evert
Member #794
November 2000
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And by that, I mean a scientific explanation of how one could accomplish such a thing.

And such an explanation is impossible.

By the known laws of physics.

Quote:

There is no way now or in the future to instantly turn water into wine. There definitely wasn't a way in the first century. So either it was a supernatural event that superseded natural laws, or it was an illusion.

There's a much more simple explanation than that, and I'm surprised you didn't mention it: it just plain didn't happen. Perhaps that's what you mean by "it was an illusion", but that's not quite the same thing.

Quote:

I don't see how it's a tangent...

It's clouding the issue because I wasn't talking about specific events in the Chrsitian holy book, about Christianity in general, or even about "God" in particular.

Quote:

The very definition of supernatural is "unexplainable by natural law or phenomena." So if you're saying something (like God) can be proved to exist by natural law, then he is not supernatural by definition. I don't understand how that can even be up for discussion, so evidently I am missing something...

This post, perhaps: http://www.allegro.cc/forums/thread/605278/885580#target?
Clearly, if we don't agree on the meaning of the terms used, any discussion becomes a quagmire of misunderstanding (and in that case, the proper response is to clarify what you mean instead of tell people that "they don't get it"; this not directed at Matthew obviously).
I've also said (here: http://www.allegro.cc/forums/thread/605278/885571#target) that I don't think it's useful to arbitrarily assign labels and stick to their original meaning if our insights change.
As I said before,

Evert said:

it's only true if you arbitrarily and ab initio limit the meaning of your words so the statement becomes a truism.

But ok, I'll rephrase what I said. You say "X is supernatural" where "supernatural" means "completely outside the scope of the natural world, for now and for all time, independent of our understanding of that natural world." Then the statement "the supernatural cannot be shown to exist through nature" is a truism. I say that if a phenomenon that is called "supernatural", if it exists, is not supernatural (by your operative definition of the word), but only appears to be so because our knowledge of nature is incomplete. Hence my emphasis on "/known/ laws of physics".

So I'll turn the burden of proof around: show to me that God, if he exists, is not "natural" and can never be explained or understood, even in principle, by "nature". You are not allowed to ab initio stick a label on God that says he can't be, because then you're assuming your conclusion to be true from the beginning, leading to circular logic. Arguing semantics is not useful.

Ultimately, of course, it doesn't matter. A rose, by any other name, and so on.

Now, I don't think you can formulate an experiment that would irrevocably proof that God exists any more than you could devise a test that would proof that I am the best chess player in the world. But that has nothing to do with whether you call said "God" supernatural or not. It does have everything to do with why I don't think invoking "God" (or in general, the supernatural) is meaningful when trying to answer an empirical or scientific question, but that's a separate issue.

And, once again, this isn't about disproving anyone's beliefs.

Neil Black
Member #7,867
October 2006
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Evert said:

I say that if a phenomenon that is called "supernatural", if it exists, is not supernatural (by your operative definition of the word), but only appears to be so because our knowledge of nature is incomplete. Hence my emphasis on "/known/ laws of physics".

Which sounds like you're dismissing the possibility of anything supernatural existing right from the start.

Ultimately, though I can't really agree with the idea that the supernatural can never be explained or understood by nature. If the supernatural effects nature, then it stands to reason that we could study the effect it has on nature and, indirectly, study the supernatural phenomenon itself.

Of course, then we get to argue if the supernatural could effect nature without actually being natural.

Arthur Kalliokoski
Second in Command
February 2005
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I'd say that the original meaning of "supernatural" meant anything directed by a sentient being (evil or otherwise, whatever "evil" means) where this sentient being couldn't be fought or resisted with traditional weapons that are effective on the usual meatsacks.

The modern replacement is to denounce some product by saying "ZOMG!!!111 It's full of chemicals"

The only way Trump is going to be involved in a landslide is if the land surrounding the White House collapses into the Earth's core. -- bamccaig

Thomas Fjellstrom
Member #476
June 2000
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Of course, then we get to argue if the supernatural could effect nature without actually being natural.

Which is why the "supernatural" is just a label people use for things they don't understand. Just because you don't understand it doesn't mean it won't ever be understood.

--
Thomas Fjellstrom - [website] - [email] - [Allegro Wiki] - [Allegro TODO]
"If you can't think of a better solution, don't try to make a better solution." -- weapon_S
"The less evidence we have for what we believe is certain, the more violently we defend beliefs against those who don't agree" -- https://twitter.com/neiltyson/status/592870205409353730

Matthew Leverton
Supreme Loser
January 1999
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Evert said:

There's a much more simple explanation than that, and I'm surprised you didn't mention it: it just plain didn't happen.

It "plain didn't happen" directly contradicts my qualifying it with "given it happened"... I'm not trying to prove it happened or any such event happened. I'm just trying to get to the point that you would never give the supernatural any credibility, and as such, isn't it just simpler to just say this and avoid the discussion altogether?:

"I don't believe in the supernatural, and if you insist that God exists in the realm of supernatural things, then I don't believe in him either. If he did exist, then he'd be bound by the same natural laws that we are, and as such, be discoverable in some literal sense within the universe."

I'm well aware that many things once were considered supernatural by the general population have been shown to be perfectly natural. But to me that doesn't have much to do with the general concept of whether or not any supernatural things exist, particularly a supreme deity.

Quote:

I say that if a phenomenon that is called "supernatural", if it exists, is not supernatural (by your operative definition of the word), but only appears to be so because our knowledge of nature is incomplete.

And that's perfectly reasonable thing to say, and is a subset of what my above fictional quote is getting at. The place I disagree is at your ultimate conclusion: that proving God exists "has nothing to do with whether you call said 'God' supernatural or not."

If somebody's god is supernatural by definition (i.e., he can break the natural laws in the literal sense), then he obviously cannot be proved to exist to you because you don't believe in the supernatural. To say that one could still prove that same god exists by using so-called natural laws would be asking them to change the very thing they are trying to prove. And as such, they wouldn't have proved that he exists.

So to me, a Christian saying that he cannot prove that God exists because he is supernatural is not simply a convenient excuse, but something that is very true by its own definition given your lack of belief in the supernatural. But obviously, I do not believe that reasoning makes God's existence any more credible.

Arthur Kalliokoski
Second in Command
February 2005
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god is supernatural by definition (i.e., he can break the natural laws in the literal sense)

So if we come up with some definition of a "natural law", for example the speed of light, and someone can exceed this speed, he's supernatural? Suppose we find out how he did it? It's a cop-out to say "we can't find out" by fiat. It seems to me to be obvious there's a method to exceed the speed of light, since this god did it, and perhaps some clever Einstein can deduce it.

The only way Trump is going to be involved in a landslide is if the land surrounding the White House collapses into the Earth's core. -- bamccaig

Neil Black
Member #7,867
October 2006
avatar

So if we come up with some definition of a "natural law", for example the speed of light, and someone can exceed this speed, he's supernatural? Suppose we find out how he did it? It's a cop-out to say "we can't find out" by fiat. It seems to me to be obvious there's a method to exceed the speed of light, since this god did it, and perhaps some clever Einstein can deduce it.

I think you're presupposing here that natural laws can explain everything and anything that happens. You're assuming that simply happening proves that something isn't supernatural, and so you dismiss the possibility that anything supernatural can ever happen.

Arthur Kalliokoski
Second in Command
February 2005
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Circular logic is circular -- Circular Man

The only way Trump is going to be involved in a landslide is if the land surrounding the White House collapses into the Earth's core. -- bamccaig

Matthew Leverton
Supreme Loser
January 1999
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So if we come up with some definition of a "natural law", for example the speed of light, and someone can exceed this speed, he's supernatural?

As I've already stated, the natural laws as I'm calling them are eternally true. I'm not speaking of our modern understanding of them.

In response to the generics of your question, either our understanding is inadequate or that thing is supernatural. And if you don't believe in the supernatural, then obviously the only explanation is that our understanding is not sufficient.

If you care to read through the Bible, you'll find that the Christian God goes far beyond stretching our understanding of the natural world... Considering the totality of what he supposedly can do, it's much much more than trying to define the speed of light. There is no rational person who could try to defend the Christian God by saying that everything he does can be explained by science. He is most definitely either supernatural or completely made up.

And, sorry, but I'll have to refrain from answering any questions from people other than Evert, as he's apparently the only person who can both remember what has already been said and respond in a meaningful way.



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