ForumsWEPREvaluate the Supernatural

19 2043
MageGrayWolf
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MageGrayWolf
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In science we take on a position of methodological naturalism. This is a statement that we have no method of evaluating any supernatural claims. As such we disregard them from the evaluation process. If you are one who does believe in supernatural claims, can you think of any means by which we could evaluate the validity of any such claims?

This would also lead into the question that if we can't come up with a proper method of evaluating supernatural claims, how would it be a reasonable position to take that something occurred as a result of supernatural forces rather than naturalistic ones?

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pangtongshu
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pangtongshu
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I think this might be related, but I imagine some "experts" in the supernatural might point to their devices they use when searching for the supernatural.

Would it be in accordance with this thread to discuss these items?

MageGrayWolf
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The point would be to discuss any method by which we could evaluate the supernatural.

Though with these devices they really aren't detecting the supernatural but rather physical reactions they then attribute to supernatural forces.

FishPreferred
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FishPreferred
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If you are one who does believe in supernatural claims, can you think of any means by which we could evaluate the validity of any such claims?


Problem: Anything which can be scientifically evaluated and explained cannot be supernatural. Also, because "super" implies something greater, "supernatural" would mean greater than all of the natural world. If you're referring to claims about ghosts or legendary monsters, these should be classified as &quotreternatural".
MattEmAngel
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Your entire premise is flawed, as FishPreferred pointed out. The supernatural is often invisible and scientifically impossible. They're based on faith and logic. You yourself said "we have no method of evaluating any supernatural claims." So why did you even ask "can you think of any means by which we could evaluate the validity of any such claims?"

Of course not. If we could scientifically evaluate supernatural existence and activity, it wouldn't be supernatural, would it?

This would also lead into the question that if we can't come up with a proper method of evaluating supernatural claims, how would it be a reasonable position to take that something occurred as a result of supernatural forces rather than naturalistic ones?


Because science can only measure natural circumstances. It is based on sight, followed by observation, hypothesis, trial, conclusion and eventually (if correct) law. The law of conservation of energy, the law of gravity, etc. Supernatural events break that system. Things that cannot happen by law do happen, in which case science must be disregarded as a means of proof.

You proved that by saying "Though with these devices they really aren't detecting the supernatural but rather physical reactions they then attribute to supernatural forces." Isn't that kind of self-explanatory? Physical reactions that cannot be proved with science are all the necessary proof. For something to be scientific, it must
1. Follow existing rules demonstrated through trial and error (i.e. scientific law)
2. Be possible to be re-created and observed.
3. Provide evidence of validity after repeated observation.

Can I safely make those three claims? Every science-related project I've participated in through 12 years of public school and four years of college have required those three basic principle. There are probably more but I have forgotten them.
HahiHa
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Things that cannot happen by law do happen, in which case science must be disregarded as a means of proof.

I disagree with that. Things that cannot be explained by our current theories are likely to be explained by an extension or revision of such theories based on new data. This is following the idea that just because we cannot explain it, doesn't mean there's no rational explanation. Thanks to the great property of scientifical theories which is that they're not dogmas and are always modifiable by new observations. Disregarding science in such a case would be like giving up; and history has showed that science does come up with rational explanations eventually.

Physical reactions that cannot be proved with science are all the necessary proof.

See above. No explanation =/= support for any supernatural claims. Only those physical reactions that are expected to occur by a supernatural cause, that are shown to be positively correlating with the supernatural explanation, might be evidence.
nichodemus
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I suppose one could start with an aspect that is less of a random occurrence, and track mediums and their activities? Surely by monitoring thousands of them properly, we could establish a foothold.

FishPreferred
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I suppose one could start with an aspect that is less of a random occurrence, and track mediums and their activities? Surely by monitoring thousands of them properly, we could establish a foothold.


In what way exactly?
Oh, and I'd still like to know what kind of preternatural things we're discussing here.
09philj
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We don't need to evaluate the supernatural, as it's all in the mind anyway.

MageGrayWolf
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Problem: Anything which can be scientifically evaluated and explained cannot be supernatural.


Yes I noted this in the OP that science relies on methodological naturalism. The question is that if one believes that supernatural events occur can they think of a mean to evaluate them?

If you're referring to claims about ghosts or legendary monsters, these should be classified as &quotreternatural".


Not necessarily, ghosts for instance are often described as not being bound by the laws of physics, which would have them classified as supernatural.

You yourself said "we have no method of evaluating any supernatural claims." So why did you even ask "can you think of any means by which we could evaluate the validity of any such claims?"


That's just the reason why I asked. Also there have been those recently in other circles to berate science as being flawed for not being able to evaluate the supernatural. While this is true this leaves the question of how one would go about doing so.

We don't need to evaluate the supernatural, as it's all in the mind anyway.


Though that's not the claim. The claim is that the supernatural is real and that science can't evaluate it, which science can't. This would mean coming up with a means by which we can.
FishPreferred
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Though that's not the claim. The claim is that the supernatural is real and that science can't evaluate it, which science can't. This would mean coming up with a means by which we can.


Well, science is the application of logic to observations, so if we've established that the claims can't be evaluated scientifically, it suggests that the supposed means of evaluation are unscientific and therefore illogical and/or not based on any real observations. While this may be enough for some highly credulous individuals, it is rather unsatisfying for a skeptic.
MattEmAngel
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Though that's not the claim. The claim is that the supernatural is real and that science can't evaluate it, which science can't. This would mean coming up with a means by which we can.


It's an interesting topic. I'm amused by the idea of people on an Internet forum solving a problem that modern science has yet to resolve, especially since users in WEPRE can't agree which way a slice of bread should be placed in the toast. But hey, you never know.

I personally believe one should place a slice of bread in a toaster vertically with one of the flat edges facing downwards.

Sorry for insulting everyone.
FishPreferred
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Science does not need to resolve problems. That is not its purpose. Besides, it depends entirely on the model of toaster you're using.

MageGrayWolf
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Well, science is the application of logic to observations, so if we've established that the claims can't be evaluated scientifically, it suggests that the supposed means of evaluation are unscientific and therefore illogical and/or not based on any real observations. While this may be enough for some highly credulous individuals, it is rather unsatisfying for a skeptic.


You make an interesting point on the application of logic here. Without a means of evaluation it does leave supernatural claims to not be illogical.

It's an interesting topic. I'm amused by the idea of people on an Internet forum solving a problem that modern science has yet to resolve, especially since users in WEPRE can't agree which way a slice of bread should be placed in the toast. But hey, you never know.


I was hoping to get the take from those who do believe in supernatural things. I mean if someone believes it exists wouldn't it be reasonable to do so with some grounds of being able to reasonably evaluate it?

I ask here because I've seen this group come up with some rather interesting ideas and takes on such matters.

The idea for the topic came about from someone pointing out an argument some use to berate science along the lines of "Science can't evaluate the supernatural." and pointing out that not even a bad proposal by which the supernatural can be evaluated is made. As such I though it would be interesting to ask just that.

Finally, the sliced bread is clearly best done horizontally in a toaster oven. Unless you want to be a manly man in which case you want to use a military grade flame thrower.
MattEmAngel
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The idea for the topic came about from someone pointing out an argument some use to berate science along the lines of "Science can't evaluate the supernatural." and pointing out that not even a bad proposal by which the supernatural can be evaluated is made. As such I though it would be interesting to ask just that.


It only takes one ignorant person to start a fire war, regardless of whose side they are on. I'm a Christian (aka, a deist, which means I believe in the supernatural), and deists often end up with a bad rap as being illogical and arrogant thanks to a few people that do a terrible job of representing us. I once saw a very interesting article called "Seven things Christians and Atheists have to agree on." To my surprise, it was correct.

It's on Cracked and, although the text is way too small, it's worth a read. I suggest reading through this before debating too heavily. It'll keep everyone a lot more mature.
MageGrayWolf
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It only takes one ignorant person to start a fire war, regardless of whose side they are on. I'm a Christian (aka, a deist, which means I believe in the supernatural), and deists often end up with a bad rap as being illogical and arrogant thanks to a few people that do a terrible job of representing us. I once saw a very interesting article called "Seven things Christians and Atheists have to agree on." To my surprise, it was correct.


Okay then I suppose I should ask how you solve this issue for yourself? I mean you're believing that it does exist but since we current;y have no means to evaluate any supernatural claim it doesn't seem you really can say that X was because of this supernatural force.

As for the link I could take it over to the Atheist vs. Theist thread for review. Though not sure when I will get to it given today might have been my one free day this week. I'm trying to keep this a bit more general than just focusing on theistic claims of the supernatural.
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