Wednesday, November 23, 2005

It's a bird! No it's a plane! No it's Supernatural! Err.. what?

I do not believe in ghosts, spirits, gods, demons, heaven, hell, among others. The reason for this is, people characterize these concepts as belonging to a category called "supernatural". But what exactly is the "supernatural"?

I did a research. And I was surprised with what I found. Supernatural has no definition. If it has no definition, then it is meaningless. If it is meaningless then it is ontologically bankrupt. Let me explain.

When a person is asked what is "supernatural", the person can only answer something along the lines: "Anything that isn't natural", "Something that is opposite natural", "something contra natural", "beyond natural", "an immaterial thing" - these are all negative terms. In other words they can only say what it is not NOT what it is. To define is to say what something is. Let's say someone asked me: "Could you define dog to me?" and to that I replied "something that is not an elephantt", you can see here that I haven't provided the asking person any information on what a dog is. I only told him what is it not, which is ontologically useless. An ontology is a specification of a conceptualization. But if I provide no specifications, how can anyone understand what a dog is?

"Supernatural is something that is beyond understanding" - another negative description. But how could we classify anything that is not natural? If we do not understand something (hence beyond our understanding) should we automatically consider it as "supernatural"? Before, schizophrenia was believed by many as demon posession - a supernatural occurence. But now, we all know that there is nothing about schizophrenia that is beyond our undertanding. So considering anything we do not understand as "supernatural" is a poor determinant of the "supernaturalistic-ness" of something. Besides, in order for one to say something is supernatural, one must first know all the natural laws operating in this universe before he can sensically say that none of the natural laws account for this particular occurence and is therefore supernatural. But since no one knows all the natural laws operative in the universe, it is then irrational to jump into conclusion that something utterly unproven extra world, called the "supernatural" which violates logic, science, and reason itself must be the answer to those occurences that we cannot understand. Therefore it is impossible for one to be justified if he declares anything as "supernatural". The only way he could be justified is for him to know all the natural laws extant in the universe. Until he can accomplish that feat, no one should take him seriously.

I like the way wikipedia puts it, "If a bush suddenly burst out in flames, and the fire would not consume it, a scientist would not call it supernatural, nor would he deny that this is happening, but he would curiously examine it."

Again, supernatural is "anything that isn't natural", "something that is opposite natural", "something contra-natural", "something beyond natural", "something beyond human understanding", "anything that is immaterial", "something that is above logic, reason, and scientific inquiry". Not only are these negative terms, but there is also non-sensical about this definitions. These definitions commit the stolen concept fallacy. They have to steal a natural concept which, by supernaturalism's own admission, supernatural is in contradistinction with. Let me explain.

Notice the word "anything" and "something" in the above definitions? Let's focus on the "supernatural is anything that is immaterial" statement. But to say immaterial is a "thing" (from the word "anything"), is oxymoronic. A thing is an object that exists in space, matter, and time. "Thing" is a concept that only makes sense in the natural world. It is a concept that naturalism owns. "Thing" is a natural thing. Hence to declare "something" is supernatural is self-defeating.

Not natural, contra natural, not material - these are all terms antagonistic with everything natural. Anything then in this natural world should and cannot be applied on this supernatural realm. You cannot use natural terms to describe their antithesis. No natural term can be applied to something defined as "beyond natural".

Again I ask what is supernatural? Could anyone make supernatural ontologically sensical and coherent to me? But then again, since supernatural stands in contrast with anything natural, sensicality and coherence may not be an attribute of the supernatural at all. Logic does not matter in the supernatural realm since it stands in opposition with everything in the natural world. And logicalness is a descriptive attribute of the universe.

Supernatural then is a realm of illogic - an illogical concept. The concept of supernatural is not difficult to defend - it is, in principle, not defendable. That is, there is no sequence of experiments, logical reasoning, and workable definitions to support such a concept. Therefore we are in no way obliged to accept it - we can just reject it.


At 5:11 PM, Blogger Vamsi said...

Very Interesting, check my blog, im an atheist too, but i look at it the other way.

At 5:39 PM, Blogger The Atheist Seeker said...

What do you mean by "you look at it the other way"? You mean different approach? I will check your blog...

At 10:19 PM, Blogger Vamsi said...

So, did u get, what i meant saying "Looking at the other way ? "

Anyways, real nice blog, will frequent this from now on, keep updating.

At 10:34 AM, Blogger hastydevil said...

yep. i work in the IT industry - particularly in software development.

as i've said in my previous comment, i truly admire what you are doing.

keep it up. :)


At 12:44 PM, Blogger breakerslion said...

You should submit this to God or Not Carnival, if you have not already done so. As usual (for you anyway), nice work!

At 3:57 PM, Blogger The Atheist Seeker said...

The God or Not Carnival? Sounds familiar. Got the link?


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