The Science of the Supernatural

If Darwinism fails then supernatural causes are back on the table and should be included in science.

I do not think there can be a science of the supernatural.

I do not think that if Darwinism fails that supernatural causes will become acceptable.

If the hope of ID is that supernatural causes will be allowed back into science if they can only just get rid of Darwinism, ID is doomed.

The tools and methods of ID cannot differentiate a supernatural cause from a natural cause anyways.

Thoughts?

1,433 thoughts on “The Science of the Supernatural

  1. fifthmonarchyman: If it’s not the potential for consciousness and our status as Imago Dei that makes humans special then what is it exactly?

    What makes humans special is that you and I firnly believe they are, and that this is as it should be. That suffices for me, but apparently you’d like to have some confirmation from a third party. Why the doubt?

    fifthmonarchyman: a Mannequin is more like us than a ham sandwich should that be taken as a strong indication that they, like us, possess an inner life?

    You believe that a Mannequin is just like us? You need to get out more, Fifth.

    fifthmonarchyman: If you are not willing to put up with some apparent surrealness you will never move past the small echo chamber of your own worldview.

    Absolutely true. Anyway, I enjoy a little surrealness from time to time.

  2. J-Mac: Yup! If 4 out of 100.000 of the the offspring in the population survive, how does one test that natural selection did it? This would be fascinating…

    I guess you could see why the 99,996 members did not survive to reproduce to start.

  3. fifthmonarchyman: I love to eat there is nothing conscious in my affections toward eating.

    If you are conscious of unpleasant feelings of hunger and conscious that food eliminates that unpleasant feeling, it seems like consciousness has something to do with your affection.

    Sometimes I wish I could consciously change my affections in this regard but I can’t usually.

    You could consciously learn to associate the consumption of food with a bad outcome.

  4. J-Mac: Yup! If 4 out of 100.000 of the the offspring in the population survive, how does one test that natural selection did it?

    You’re confused. “Natural selection” is the term we use to describe the phenomenon that some individuals are more reproductively successful than others.
    The observation, the test, has already been made. We SEE that some have more offspring than others. We then LABEL this phenomenon “natural selection”.

  5. Rumraket: You’re confused. “Natural selection” is the term we use to describe the phenomenon that some individuals are more reproductively successful than others.
    The observation, the test, has already been made. We SEE that some have more offspring than others. We then LABEL this phenomenon “natural selection”.

    You didn’t answer my question! How do you really know that natural selection was really the determining factor of the survival of the offspring of 4 out of 100,000 and not sheer, dumb luck, for example?
    ETA: if I label sheer dumb luck what you label natural selection, would it really change anything?

  6. newton: I guess you could see why the 99,996 members did not survive to reproduce to start.

    I bet that sheer dumb luck did it! How can I prove it wrong?

  7. J-Mac: I bet that sheer dumb luck did it! How can I prove it wrong?

    That is why they call it an experiment, you gather the data. See where it leads. If it is just luck that should produce a random pattern,correct?

  8. petrushka:
    Sometimes vast swaths of species are wiped out via dumb luck.

    .

    Yep, but sometimes they are all wiped out by the same Instance of dumb luck.

  9. J-Mac: You didn’t answer my question! How do you really know that natural selection was really the determining factor of the survival of the offspring of 4 out of 100,000 and not sheer, dumb luck, for example?
    ETA: if I label sheer dumb luck what you label natural selection, would it really change anything?

    That question has been asked and answered a long time ago, J-Mac. Since you have had over a year to ponder the response, could you try to move the discussion forward? Using a bit less straw this time please?

  10. fifthmonarchyman: That is true only if you assume that the affects of personal choice are undetectable. I see no reason to make that assumption. Even if I’m wrong and consciousness is empirically undetectable that does not mean it does not exist.

    You might want to check out the conversation surrounding my “method”

    I did not closely follow that thread, but my guess is that it revolved around the distinction [random]-[algorithmic]-[choice] again, right? That discussion rapidly gets complicated by your premise that everything happens by divine choice.

    Did that dog pass that lamp post on the left by choice? Yes, but not the dog’s choice, but my choice, because I trained it to do that. But not really my choice but God’s choice because me training the dog to do that occurred by His choice. That sort of tangled discussion gives me headaches.

  11. Kantian Naturalist: That’s just false. Dennett doesn’t think that consciousness is an illusion.

    Given your contention that the law of noncontridiction is not universal I can only assume you mean by that that it’s true that Dennett thinks that consciousness is an illusion.

    Neil Rickert: his claim is not the obvious nonsense that you take it to be.

    I’m only talking about the headline grabber claim. Because that is what most folks deal with.

    I wish that folks would deal with Dembski and Behe on more than just that sort of surface level but that is not the world we live in.

    peace

  12. Alan Fox: As soon as anything is amenable to scientific observation and experiment, in my book it’s not “supernatural”, it’s a real phenomenon.

    What you say here is not amenable to scientific observation and experiment so I will just chalk it up to your own imagination.

    Alan Fox: That seems to be an insurmountable paradox.

    Oh it definitely is and you seem oblivious to the implications to your own position despite my repeatedly pointing them out to you.

    Why is that?

    peace

  13. Alan Fox: Why? What does my agreement matter?

    It does not matter to me. But it might help you to get past your own blindspot.

    Alan Fox: how can I tell you what something proves without seeing it?

    I’m not asking you to tell me what something proves. I’m asking you to tell me what empirical evidence would prove your premise to be incorrect.

    Because if nothing will then you premise is not real and should be treated as nothing but your own imagination.

    peace

  14. Corneel: Only conscious beings can love to do something.

    Oh I agree.

    The problem is in distinguishing love from lust or craving

    Corneel: To love, to hate, to have urges, to have aversions, to feel affections,to feel inclinations all require the ability to consciously perceive things.

    There is a huge difference between merely having urges and inclinations and consciously feeling urges and inclinations.

    peace

  15. newton: If you are conscious of unpleasant feelings of hunger and conscious that food eliminates that unpleasant feeling, it seems like consciousness has something to do with your affection.

    Consciousness has to do with my personal feelings of affection. I could certainly have affections and not be conscious of them at all.

    Zombies have an affection for human flesh after all

    newton: You could consciously learn to associate the consumption of food with a bad outcome.

    You could but you don’t have too.

    On the other hand you could unconsciously avoid certain foods because they are associated certain bad outcomes.

    peace

    peace

  16. Corneel: That discussion rapidly gets complicated by your premise that everything happens by divine choice.

    Not sure why that would be. There is a difference between direct choice and choice carried out intermediate means that may or mat not act by their own volition.

    Corneel: That sort of tangled discussion gives me headaches.

    Any subject can be like that.

    Did that meteor strike here because it was influenced by earth’s gravity or because it was in the neighborhood due to interactions with Jupiter or because it was not cleared out by the effects of the solar wind or because of the excess matter created at the birth of the solar system or because of the founding quirks present at the birth of the galaxy or because of natural law.

    It’s quite a headache

    That’s why it’s better to break things into smaller chunks look at one component at a time before you move up a level in the causal chain

    peace

  17. fifthmonarchyman: I wish that folks would deal with Dembski and Behe on more than just that sort of surface level but that is not the world we live in.

    I’m not sure what that even means.

    Dembski and Behe are entitled to believe whatever they want. It’s not up to use to “deal with them”. However, they present faulty arguments, we we deal with those arguments.

  18. fifthmonarchyman: Consciousness has to do with my personal feelings of affection. I could certainly have affections and not be conscious of them at all.

    Zombies have an affection for human flesh after all

    Ah, there it is. I was wondering why we were talking past each other. You are dismissing perceptions that we have no focal awareness of.

    Can you really not get your head around the fact that one still needs to have some level of consciousness to be able to have sensations you are not acutely aware of?

  19. fifthmonarchyman: 3) This hypothesis is in principle testable

    How do you recommend we test this? (I really want to know, because I’ve got $50 bucks that says you’re wrong. In fact, I have reason to believe “your wife” has been successfully replaced each morning since you’ve known “her.”)

  20. fifthmonarchyman: I’m only talking about the headline grabber claim. Because that is what most folks deal with.

    So you’re basically saying that it’s Ok for you to dismiss a claim that you falsely attribute to Dennett because that’s all “most folks” deal with anyway? That’s a pretty shocking apology for laziness.

  21. walto: How do you recommend we test this? (I really want to know, because I’ve got $50 bucks that says you’re wrong. In fact, I have reason to believe “your wife” has been successfully replaced each morning since you’ve known “her.”)

    Sure, he has been discussing for days with me while the original Corneel has been off to the Azores for the last two weeks.

  22. fifthmonarchyman: What you say here is not amenable to scientific observation and experiment so I will just chalk it up to your own imagination.

    Well, I disagree. But I’m not the one making “modest proposals for detecting design”. That would be you. All I’ve said is I’m sceptical but that you should go ahead and demonstrate it if you think you can do it or drop the pretence if you can’t.

    Just looking at the list of OPs you’ve produced:

    Working Definitions for the Design Detection Game/Tool
    Shared Abductive Inference as a proxy Turing Test
    Poker as a Proxy Turing Test
    A Practical Exercise in Design Detection
    Max’s Demon, a Design Detection Riddle

    None of these have shown the least promise.

    What’s the point?

  23. fifthmonarchyman: I’m not asking you to tell me what something proves. I’m asking you to tell me what empirical evidence would prove your premise to be incorrect.

    What premise? I just keep pointing out the paradox that you can’t have something that is both “supernatural” and “detectable”.

  24. Alan Fox: What premise? I just keep pointing out the paradox that you can’t have something that is both “supernatural” and “detectable”.

    LOL ——That right there is your premise. You have made a bold claim yet it’s validity is not in any way detectable. There is no empirical or scientific way to know if it’s correct or not.

    You act as if this premise is valid but by your own criteria it’s validity is not real it’s imaginary.

    Do you get it now finally???

    peace

  25. Alan Fox: None of these have shown the least promise.

    What’s the point?

    A good part of the point is to have a good laugh like I just did at your obliviousness to what is going on.

    Besides that I do enjoy bouncing my ideas off of folks with a worldview that I would not encounter on a daily basis. I do like to hear legitimate criticism from folks with a different view point who sort of understand what I’m getting at and often I get that here from some folks.

    peace

  26. walto: How do you recommend we test this?

    You need to ask Alan he is the one who has said that creating an exact physical replica of a loved one is not logically impossible. I’m just running with his lead.

    peace

  27. Kantian Naturalist: you’re basically saying that it’s Ok for you to dismiss a claim that you falsely attribute to Dennett because that’s all “most folks” deal with anyway?

    No I’m saying that it’s OK to dismiss a video from Dennett entitled the illusion of consciousness because that idea is poppycock

    https://www.ted.com/talks/dan_dennett_on_our_consciousness?language=en

    I’m also saying that if you read in Scientific American that Dennett believes that

    ” that consciousness is so insignificant, especially compared to our exalted notions of it, that it might as well not exist.”

    You can dismiss that thought because it’s Poppycock

    I’m also saying that if you take the time to read Dennett’s Consciousness Explained and come to the conclusion that he thinks that consciousness can eventually be explained by empirical science. You can dismiss that because it’s poppycock.

    Finally I’m saying that when you hear Dennett say explicitly that

    “[consciousness]It’s the brain’s ‘user illusion’ of itself,”

    You can dismiss that as Poppycock

    Kantian Naturalist: That’s a pretty shocking apology for laziness.

    It’s not about laziness.

    I’ve read quite a bit of Dennett not as much as you I’m sure but more that most folks and I find him to be a hack.

    Life is just too short to continue to read stuff that seems so goofy.

    If you want to briefly summarize how I’m wrong or point me to where he acknowledges that consciousness exists and is important even though it is not empirically detectable I’ll be happy to listen or read up.

    peace

  28. Corneel: Can you really not get your head around the fact that one still needs to have some level of consciousness to be able to have sensations you are not acutely aware of?

    conscious and aware are synonyms

    If you are acutely aware of an affection you are acutely conscious of it.

    If you are somewhat conscious of an affection you are somewhat aware of it.

    If you are not at all aware of an affection you are not conscious of it at all.

    Therefore having affections says nothing whatsoever about whether you are conscious.

    This should go with out saying

    peace

  29. fifthmonarchyman: Given your contention that the law of noncontridiction is not universal I can only assume you mean by that that it’s true that Dennett thinks that consciousness is an illusion.

    None of that means you are correct.

  30. newton: None of that means you are correct.

    Never said it did, it only means that acouriding to KN I can be correct and not correct at the same time and in the same respect

    peace

  31. fifthmonarchyman: Never said it did, it only means that acouriding to KN I can be correct and not correct at the same time

    peace

    Never said you did, rather than being a smart ass perhaps you should have asked kn what Dennet’s position was. Or read up on his position. That is if you wanted to be sure your position was fully informed.

    Claiming the law of contradiction is not universal for all possible situations is not the same it is not valid and useful for the vast majority.

    Did kn provide logic to back up his position, could you accurately provide a summary? Is it possible you are mistaken?

    Remember Newton laws were not valid in a specific instance, yet it was sufficient to land people on the moon.

  32. fifthmonarchyman: You need to ask Alan he is the one who has said that creating an exact physical replica of a loved one is not logically impossible. I’m just running with his lead.

    Is there a difference between exact and perfect?

  33. newton: rather than being a smart ass perhaps you should have asked kn what Dennet’s position was.

    I think I know what Dennett’s position is. I’ve provided evidence that I’m right.

    If KN disagrees he should set me strait rather than just decree from on high that my statement was false.

    newton: Claiming the law of contradiction is not universal for all possible situations is not the same it is not valid and useful for the vast majority.

    Actually it means that there is absolutely no way of knowing that the law applies anywhere or at anytime.

    If it does not apply in all places how could we ever know that this is not one of those places where it does not apply

    newton: Did kn provide logic to back up his position

    It is impossible to provide logic to back up a contention that logic is not universal!!! That is the point. It’s an all or nothing deal if the law of non-contradiction is not universal and eternal it’s worthless.

    newton: rather than being a smart ass

    KN almost never interacts with me here but puts himself forward as some sort of authority dismissing things like presuppositionalism that he has very little understanding of

    I’m sorry if I came across as a little snarky but sometimes you need to tell the emperor that he has no clothes

    peace

  34. newton: Remember Newton laws were not valid in a specific instance, yet it was sufficient to land people on the moon.

    Newton is just a man. They are not his laws they are merely his best attempt to expound natural laws.

    The laws that Newton observed are valid everywhere and at all times. What he wrote in the Principia are not the laws themselves but only an imperfect approximation.

    peace

  35. Kantian Naturalist: from my knowledge of Cornelius Van Til and Greg Bahnsen

    So professor, Do you think that Van Til and Bahnsen are all there is to Presuppositionalism?

    Kantian Naturalist: you don’t understand presuppositional apologetics nearly well enough.

    I suppose you mean by this that I understand presuppositionalism perfectly.

    😉

    peace

  36. Kantian Naturalist: I ignore you because you’re uneducable.

    Yet there you were correcting me when I dared to denigrate an atheist saint. Go figure.

    I guess once you reject the universality of the law of non-contradiction all bets are off. 😉

    peace

  37. fifthmonarchyman: Yet there you were correcting me when I dared to denigrate an atheist saint. Go figure.

    You weren’t “denigrating an atheist saint”. You were attributing to him a view that he does not actually hold. Saying that Dennett believes that consciousness is an illusion is like saying that Aristotle thinks that virtue consists in pleasure. What you are saying is simply not true.

  38. Kantian Naturalist: What you are saying is simply not true.

    How about you prove it.
    Not with name dropping and pronouncements from on high but with his own unequivocal words.

    peace

  39. the rest of you if you want to make up your own mind might be interested in this

    https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2017/03/09/is-consciousness-an-illusion-dennett-evolution/

    or this

    https://newhumanist.org.uk/articles/5243/book-review-from-bacteria-to-bach-and-back

    or this

    https://www.the-tls.co.uk/articles/public/competence-without-comprehension-dennett/

    from that last one:

    Taking consciousness to be real, says Dennett, is like taking the icons on your computer screen to be genuine folders.

    end quote;
    peace

  40. quote:

    To put it as clearly as I can: in his book, Consciousness Explained, Dennett denies the existence of consciousness. He continues to use the word, but he means something different by it. For him, it refers only to third-person phenomena, not to the first-person conscious feelings and experiences we all have. For Dennett there is no difference between us humans and complex zombies who lack any inner feelings, because we are all just complex zombies. …I regard his view as self-refuting because it denies the existence of the data which a theory of consciousness is supposed to explain…Here is the paradox of this exchange: I am a conscious reviewer consciously answering the objections of an author who gives every indication of being consciously and puzzlingly angry. I do this for a readership that I assume is conscious. How then can I take seriously his claim that consciousness does not really exist?

    end quote:

    John Searle

    Don’t you think that demands more than a simple “not true cause KN said so”?

    peace

  41. fifthmonarchyman: How about you prove it.
    Not with name dropping and pronouncements from on high but with his own unequivocal words.

    From “Why and How Does Consciousness Seem The Way It Seems?

    ————————————————————————
    “People are often baffled by my theory of consciousness, which seems to them to be summed up neatly in the paradoxical claim that consciousness is an illusion. How could that be? Whose illusion? And would it not be a conscious illusion? What a hopeless view! In a better world, the principle of charity would set in and they would realise that I probably had something rather less daft in mind, but life is short, and we’ll have one less difficult and counterintuitive theory to worry about if we just dismiss Dennett’s as the swiftly self-refuting claim that consciousness is an illusion.”

    “The arrival of photons on the retina is transduced thanks to rhodopsin in the rods and cones, to yield spike trains in the optic nerve (I’m simplifying, of course). The arrival of pressure waves at the hair cells in the ear are similarly transduced into spike trains in the auditory nerve, heat and pressure are transduced into yet more spike trains by subcutaneous receptors, and the presence of complex molecules in the air we breathe into our noses is transduced by a host of different transducer molecules in the nasal epithelium. The common medium of spike trains in neuronal axons is well understood, but used to be regarded as a baffling puzzle: how could spike trains that were so alike in their physical properties and patterning underlie such “phenomenally” different phenomena as sight, hearing, touch, and smell? (see Dennett 1978,
    for an exposure of the puzzle.) It is still extremely tempting to imagine that vision is like television, and that those spike trains get transduced “back into subjective color and sound” and so forth, but we know better, don’t we? We don’t have to strike up the little band in the brain to play the music we hear in our minds, and we don’t have to waft molecules through the cortex to be the grounds for our savoring the aroma of bacon or strawberries. There is no second transduction. And if there were, there would have to be a third transduction, back into spike trains, to account for our ability to judge and act on the basis of our subjective experiences. There might have been such triple transductions, and then there would have been a Cartesian Theater Deluxe, like the wonderful control room in the film Men in Black. But biology has been thrifty in us: it’s all done through the medium of spike trains in neurons.”

    “So there just is no home in the brain for qualia as traditionally conceived. My point can be clarified by a simple comparison between two well-understood media: cinema film and digital media. First imagine showing some stone-age hunter-gatherers a movie using a portable Super-8 film projector. Amazing, they would think, but when they were then shown the frames of film up close, they would readily understand— I daresay—that this was not magic, because there were little blobs of color on each frame. (The soundtrack might still be baffling,
    but perhaps they would hold the film up to their ears and decide, eventually, that the sounds were just too faint for them to hear with their naked ears.) Then show them a film on a portable DVD player, and demonstrate the powers of the removable, interchangeable disks, and let them ponder the question of how such a disk managed to store all the sounds and colors they just observed on the screen. It would probably be tempting for them to declare that it must be magic—dualism, in other words. But with a little instruction, they could no doubt catch on to the idea that you don’t have to represent color with color, sound with sound. You can transduce color, sound—anything, really— into a system of patterns of differences (0s and 1s, spike trains, …) and then transduce the elements of that system back into color and sound with playback equipment. This could lay magic to rest.

    I had better make my implicit claim explicit, at the risk of insulting some readers: if you think there has to be a medium in the brain (or in a dualistic mind) in which subjective colors, sounds, and aromas are rendered, you are making the stone-ager mistake. This, I have come to believe, is the stone wall separating my view from wider acceptance. People pay attention to my arguments, and then, confronted with the prospect that qualia, as traditionally conceived, are not needed to explain their subjectivity, they just dismiss the idea as extravagant. “OF COURSE there are qualia!” This thought experiment is meant to shock them: your confidence here, I am saying, is no better grounded than the imagined confidence of the stone-agers that there just have to be colors and sounds on the DVD for it to convey colors and sounds to the playback machine. A failure of imagination mistaken for an insight into necessity. “But when I have a tune running through my head, it has pitch and tempo, and the timbre of the instruments is there just as if I were listening to a live performance!” Yes, and for that to be nonmagically the case, there has to be a representation of the tune that progresses more or less in real time, and that specifies pitch and timbre,
    but that can all be accomplished without transduction, without further rendering, in the sequence of states of neural excitation in auditory cortex. Vision isn’t television, and audition isn’t radio. We are accustomed, now, to playback devices that do transduce the signals back into the colors and sounds from which they were transduced, but we need to take advantage of our twenty-first century sophistication and recognize that the second transduction is optional! The information is in the signal, and all that information can be processed, discriminated, translated, re-coded, simplified, embellished, categorized, tagged, adjusted, and used to guide behavior without ever being transduced back into colors and sounds (or “subjective” colors and sounds).”

  42. fifthmonarchyman: John Searle

    Don’t you think that demands more than a simple “not true cause KN said so”?

    Do you agree with Searle position on biological naturalism then?

    “”The fact that brain processes cause consciousness does not imply that only brains can be conscious. The brain is a biological machine, and we might build an artificial machine that was conscious; just as the heart is a machine, and we have built artificial hearts. Because we do not know exactly how the brain does it we are not yet in a position to know how to do it artificially.” (Biological Naturalism, 2004)”

  43. Here is a chapter from Dennett entitled Quining Qualia

    http://cogprints.org/254/

    In case you are wondering Qualia are conscious experiences and quining is “to deny resolutely the existence or importance of something real or significant.”

    peace

  44. Kantian Naturalist: “So there just is no home in the brain for qualia as traditionally conceived.

    So you are agreeing with me now?? It sure sounds like it from the verbose quote you posted.

    Perhaps you are playing along with my law of non-contradiction dig.

    I sure did not see any unequivocal statement denying thinking that consciousness was an illusion.

    peace

  45. newton: Do you agree with Searle position on biological naturalism then?

    Nope but he is a renowned philosopher of mind and he agrees with me against the great KN on the question of Dennett and consciousness

    peace

  46. fifthmonarchyman: Nope but he is a renowned philosopher of mind and he agrees with me against the great KN on the question of Dennett and consciousness

    I did as you asked and provided a direct quote from Dennett. Whether you are able to understand them is not my concern. I shall return to ignoring you now.

  47. newton: “”The fact that brain processes cause consciousness does not imply that only brains can be conscious. The brain is a biological machine, and we might build an artificial machine that was conscious; just as the heart is a machine, and we have built artificial hearts. Because we do not know exactly how the brain does it we are not yet in a position to know how to do it artificially.” (Biological Naturalism, 2004)”

    I find it difficult to understand why Searle’s views on consciousness and intentionality were taken seriously. His entire position turns out to be “somehow intentionality and consciousness are generated by the brain, but don’t ask me how — I’m not a neuroscientist, and it’s up to them to figure it out!”

  48. Kantian Naturalist: I did as you asked and provided a direct quote from Dennett.

    Here is a direct quote but unequivocal and explicit rather than obtuse and weaslely

    quote:
    Which idea of qualia am I trying to extirpate? Everything real has properties, and since I don’t deny the reality of conscious experience, I grant that conscious experience has properties. I grant moreover that each person’s states of consciousness have properties in virtue of which those states have the experiential content that they do. That is to say, whenever someone experiences something as being one way rather than another, this is true in virtue of some property of something happening in them at the time, but these properties are so unlike the properties traditionally imputed to consciousness that it would be grossly misleading to call any of them the long-sought qualia. Qualia are supposed to be special properties, in some hard-to-define way. My claim–which can only come into focus as we proceed–is that conscious experience has no properties that are special in any of the ways qualia have been supposed to be special.

    end quote:
    Dennett

    Kantian Naturalist: I shall return to ignoring you now.

    Perhaps that would be better than making unsupported pronouncements like a materialist prophet.

    peace

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.