jerickson314 wrote: What about things that will be explained in the future? Do they change from non-natural to natural? No.
Of course not, they change from unexplained to explained.
It's a very simple position. And there were many examples in the past of unexplained that became explained (motion of planets, origin of wind, etc). Even more, all scientific phenomena were more or less converted from unexplained (apparently non-natural) into natural.
jerickson314 wrote: The Believer says that unexplained things can be natural or supernatural, and would assert that we do not know which for many things. This is much like saying it's just "unexplained". It seems you go a step further and say that not only do we not know which is true, but neither is true or false until an explanation is found. This doesn't really make any sense.
I am not sure I understand you here.
However, I have an example about my position: if I look at the statement "Mr. A and Mr. B are able to communicate each other by telepathy", I can say it is unexplained.
Your position seems to me that this might be either a supernatural or a natural phenomenon.
My position is that this is just unexplained, and nothing more. Not natural, not supernatural. If anyone will be able to scientifically show and explain this phenomenon, then I will call it natural.
jerickson314 wrote: Just because you don't know enough to call it "supernatural" doesn't mean it isn't.
In principle, yes.
But, because I don't know enough, I don't dare to call it natural or supernatural.
Having accepted your sentence, I can even "reverse" it and you should accept this one on your turn:
Because you don't know enough about it, you cannot call it supernatural.
Alien wrote:It's very much different.
Nevertheless, the real point here is a slightly different one:
1. We all agree that there are unexplained things.
2. We all agree that unexplained things should be explained (humans are curious).
3. We don't all agree that there are natural and supernatural explanations.
Item 3 means that I don't personally consider supernatural as an explanation, because, as said in another thread, this is not objective and therefore not universally valid.
No, it's quite objective and universally valid. What if God did create the world using supernatural means? This would be true for all people at all times living in all places, whether they had any way to ascertain so or not. It just might not be universally provable
. There's a huge difference.
I disagree here.
What is supernatural cannot be objective by definition. And the proof is that I don't share this opinion!
For example, I know a lot of Christians who have different opinions (I would say different faiths) about supernatural facts like the virginity of Jesus' mother, or his resurrection, and so on. These are supernatural for some Christian and not supernatural for others. Even, there are facts more supernatural than others.
I therefore understand these phenomena as subjective and not objective.
The statement "God created the world using supernatural means" to me is unexplained.
Same as the one "God created the world using natural means". Unexplained. Not natural and not supernatural.
Alien wrote:I also agree, but only to the first parts. The last sentence has no meaning for me (where are these large number of events? They are part of the unexplained, and therefore, for me they are neither natural nor supernatural).
The events that were supernaturally caused. Whether we can know if they are supernatural or not, they are supernaturally caused.
If they were supernaturally caused, they would be supernatural by definition.
jerickson314 wrote: Supernatural may be an act of faith, but here it can be the act of faith that leads to the objectively correct results. Then again, we do have evidence for the Christian faith that is objective, such as the Resurrection and fulfilled prophesy. Thus, if we can believe the Bible, supernatural explanations must be true in certain cases by inference. This is only partially an act of faith; it is not completely ungrounded in reason.
I can't see evidences for acts of faith. If there are evidences, then a fact is scientifically explained and it becomes natural. Science, by its own definition, deals only with natural phenomena.
Felgar wrote: I meant to say that I am of the position that there may be unexplained things that are not natural. You are living your life under the opposite assumption that there is nothing supernatural (You don't claim to be, but you are - I'll adress this in a bit). I'm just trying to show you how this is a position of faith, whether you would like it to be or not.
At a first look, what you say might seem logical.
However, I honestly don't like the attribute you are giving to the concept of "faith". Our disagreement here is uniquely focused on the meaning of "faith". Therefore, by using this different meaning for the concept of faith, you can say that I am doing an act of faith.
But, in my meaning, I can show you that I am not doing it.
I mean, "faith" is not a concept that can be used symmetrically in positive and negative fields. It is an absolute concept. Like the absolute algebraic concept, it has no sign.
You can have faith in something only in a positive way, and not in a negative way. You can believe that something exists, or existed (happens or happened), but you cannot have faith in something non existing or not happening. I see it as a nonsense.
As an example: I think you don't believe that Zeus and the other greek gods exist.
You have no faith in greek gods. Right.
Therefore, I cannot say that you have faith in their non-existence. The fact that you have no faith is not an act of faith!
Felgar wrote: Jerickson dealt with the rest of the post effectively, I think. His general point that beliefs and knowledge are independent of actual truth is quite true.
I don't dispute that.
I am saying that the scientific method can better approach the actual understanding of the world, than beliefs.
Felgar wrote: So having to admit that science cannot hope to explain everything, you are left clinging to a semantic definition as "unexplained, and not supernatural." Tell me what is the difference between something that cannot be scientifically explained and something that is supernatural?
Strictly speaking, the answer to your question cannot be other than "None". There is no difference between "cannot be scientifically explained" and "supernatural".
But, I would not say that science cannot explain something. I would say that science does not explain something. Here there is a big difference, perhaps not immediately visible. I have never been in New Zealand. This does not mean that I am not able to go to New Zealand, but simply that I have not done it.
Felgar wrote: And why are you willing to preempt seeking real truth in lieu of a weak are arbitrary classification of those things that we cannot explain? How has your life been enriched by this philospohy?
I simply look for scientific explanations, for everything. And, as I said in my first posts here, I am trying to understand how it is possible (looking at the title of this site) to mix science with faith. The two concepts are foreign each other.
jeff wrote: People often tend to use the standard of "scientific evidence" as the only viable evidence in existence. If this were the case then virtually nothing in the realm of history could ever be determined because these events are not repeatable. The events described in the Bible (or any other book claiming to be history) fall into this category and claim to be written (for most part) by witnesses (or by those talking to the witnesses) to these events. As with all such records you have to test the credibility of the people involved and determine if they seem to be reliable or not. If they seem to be credible in the areas that you can confirm then it is not logical to automatically reject their reports about those things that cannot be validated (such as the miraculous). To do so is an a priori judgement based on an individuals personal feelings and is not the "scientific" thing to do. The Bible doe indeed provide the explanation for the miraculous. Someone may not like the explanation but that is not to say it is not a valid one. That is not to say that all reports of the miraculous throughout human history are authentic but because some have been proven false is not to say that this proves all reports are false. Each has to be taken individually.
Science does not apply only to unrepeatable events. I am born, 51 years ago, and this is surely unrepeatable. The fact that I am here, gives me almost 100% confidence that I was somehow born. Other facts can be scientifically supported by 99% or even 70% confidence or something like that (for example, I might have had a different father, and so on).
As said, science will never give absolute 100%, but I prefer a 90% confidence in something than unexplained or unsupported. And a book like the Bible does not give me a high level of scientific confidence. As you said, there are explanations in the Bible, and someone may like them or not: my point is that these explanations are not scientific, and therefore they are not objective (I can invent any book similar to the Bible). And if they are not objective, they are not really explanations. You have to accept them, as an act of faith, or to reject them.
As an example, the described Sodoma and Gomorrha destruction can be associated to at least three explanations:
1. the one given by the Bible itself (God intervention)
2. the one associated to a nuclear weapon explosion
3. the one associated to a metaphorical image written by a human author
These are all explanations, at a first approximation. They can be called theories.
Theory #1 is supernatural because it does not use any scientific explanation
Theory #2 and #3 are both natural. But, whilst theory #2 needs to explain many other uncertainties, theory #3 has a better level of confidence.
If you accept #1, you make an act of faith
If you accept #2, you are left with unexplained parts
If you accept #3, you are moving at the highest level of scientific confidence
jeff wrote: Science has been very good at explaining very much. It can tell us how the universe operates under certain rules but cannot tell us where those rules came from and why they are the way they are so that life can exist. It can tell us how life operates but cannot tell us how it came to exist. In fact the most current findings in the area of the origin of life point away from a naturalistic origin. It can probe the mind and how it works but cannot explain how consciousness and personality came from purely inanimate compounds. It cannot even tell us how if "survival of the fitess" was the normal mode of survival where the concept of good and evil came from. There is much that science is good at but it is not the be-all and end-all of evidences.
Science itself uses the discipline of adduction, or the use of past experiences to recognize whether something is more likely to be a product of a purely naturalistic process or one of intelligent design. The SETI program is a perfect example. It is assumed that if a repeating pattern of signals is found coming from space that it would come from an intelligent source. Why is that? Because we know that nature does not produce such signals.
Science can explain what are the rules of the universe, but certainly not "why" there are these rules and not others.
But, to me it is of little (if not null) importance the question "why?" compared to the "how?". Simply because a universe MUST have rules in order to evolve. If I imagine a universe without rules, then this would not evolve at all. We would not be here enjoying discussions.
This is totally sufficient. I want to get answers to "how?" and not to "why?". And science, as said, can give me answers, even if partial, about how life started or evolved.
I disagree to your considerations about the SETI example.
Science does not distinguish between products of naturalistic processes and products of intelligent design, simply because there is no need for the concept of intelligent design. What might seem as intelligent design to your eyes (as perhaps my posts here, or an airplane, or a software program) is still the product of natural processes. Human mind is natural, therefore also its products are natural.
What distinguishes an intelligent design from an unintelligent design? What is a design?
A SETI signal might be produced by a quasar, or excited atoms, or by alien minds, or whatever. But, also alien minds would be natural and therefore the signal would be naturally produced in this universe.
Therefore, ANY SETI signal is natural ( whether it is 1001001011011100011110101... or 101001000100001...). The point is to know and understand HOW it was produced, not whether it is natural or intelligent, that is a useless and even misleading distinction!