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What Do You Mean By Supernatural?


Asimov
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I would like everyone to post immediately what they believe is meant by supernatural. I hope that you do not read other peoples replies until you have posted your own so that you get as unfiltered a response as possible. I also think you should post why you use this definition.

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something that cannot possibly be done through the work of human hands or methods or medicine - eg. incurable cancer disappearing in an instant, or a new tooth appearing in an adult (i remember vaguely hearing some stories about teeth appearing miraculously .. hmmm)

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Supernatural means not of the natural world; hence, out of the physical realm of mortal human beings. It is, therefore, imaginary.

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I would like everyone to post immediately what they believe is meant by supernatural. I hope that you do not read other peoples replies until you have posted your own so that you get as unfiltered a response as possible. I also think you should post why you use this definition.

 

Supernatural: Things above, beyond, or outside of the realm of the natural world. (The "natural" world being the observable universe in which we exist.)

 

I use this definition in particular because I took an assload of Latin and it's what the original root words mean (i.e., "super" and "naturalis").

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Okay.

 

When I think of the word "supernatural", I take it as referring to things that are not real, but that elict an emotional response. This word I associate strongly with fictional entertainment (vampires, werewolves, ghosts, X-men, Chestbursters). In real life, there is little context for it with the exception of the root words involved "super" and "natural". Awesome nature.....like the Northern Lights are Super Natural (note the space.....it's intended).

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I don't think that the categories of "natural" and "supernatural" are legitimate. The category of "supernatural" is where we dump things we've experienced or heard about which don't conform to our usual explanatory ideas. A piece of paper inexplicably floating, for instance, is something most people would classify as supernatural simply because it doesn't conform to our usual explanations of why things float--which generally involve some application of physics, whether the actual science or a "pop physics" model.

 

The problem arises when people take this category of unexplained things and claim that there is something metaphysically different or superior about them in contrast to the things we believe we understand. This is clearly an error.

 

Note, by the by, that by this reasoning, the category of the "natural" also collapses. I must conclude that neither the natural nor the supernatural exist. We merely have things we can currently explain, and things that we can't. I personally find it to be rather precipitate to completely deny the truth of things our current explanations don't account for. I've seen too many myself, and so have many of my friends.

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The undiscovered natural. :)

 

Now that I went back and read them...ditto to HadouKen24.

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It's an actual documented event or communication that can only have an explanation outside of natural law, e.g. the Sun (Earth) standing still for a day, dry bones being reincorporated with its original body and personality, finding a copy of the Wall Street Journal for a month from now. (Oh yeah, at least possibly, the Big Bang :HaHa:)

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When I hear the term supernatural, I consider what believers think, that being things that don't normally occur in nature, or which the laws of nature generally don't provide for. However, I think that nothing that occurs in nature could possibly be supernatural, simply by definition. Ergo, if it happens, it's natural; the term is a contradiction unto itself.

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Let me break the word up and reverse it...Natural...Super. Natural as in real tits and super as in really great tits.

 

Anyway on the real side I believe that supernatural means things people can not explain but want to believe in such as wives tails. Things that are past on from generation to generation. People have blamed the supernatural on many things for hundreds if not thousands of years. It is all just campfire stories past on for to long with no proof.

 

Douglas

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above and beyond natural laws, which in my viewpoint is yet to be observed

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I've always believed "supernatural" to refer to that which, when observed, seems to be inexplicable by our means and hence considered to be "above" or "outside" the natural world (which we can measure and understand).

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Well, I think there are a lot of differing definitions of what supernatural means.

 

It's split into three categories:

 

1) Unexplained by humans.

2) Above the laws of the universe.

3) Refers to fairy tale creatures and emotional ideas.

 

I would agree with the 2nd definition, but I think that it requires more specification.

 

Rather than above the laws of the universe, I would state that they directly violate the laws of physics.

 

Since naturalism is a philosophy that states that all things are a result of the laws of physics, it would be appropriate to think that supernatural events or occurances or beings would be those in violation of the laws of physics.

 

Any thoughts on that?

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What could we use to determine whether or not a law of physics has been violated; how can we tell the difference between an actual violation, and an apparent violation? Since the term Supernatural literally means above nature, or beyond it, that to me would imply that even events that had their origin outside of the natural universe become answerable in some way to natural laws at the point that they extend into the universe, whether or not we can explain it.

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Rather than above the laws of the universe, I would state that they directly violate the laws of physics.

 

I don't see the difference between the laws of the universe (natural law, that which is subject to scientific verification given the proper knowledge and equipment) and the laws of physics.

 

 

Since naturalism is a philosophy that states that all things are a result of the laws of physics, it would be appropriate to think that supernatural events or occurances or beings would be those in violation of the laws of physics.

 

The laws of physics, by definition, regard only the physical--matter, energy and the transmission of information. I would not say all things. Are beauty or justice or love or the will to choice between good and evil, the result of the laws of physics? Until we understand consciousness, I think we must set such things aside or above the laws of physics. It may or may not be supernatural, or maybe part of both.

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Rather than above the laws of the universe, I would state that they directly violate the laws of physics.

 

Since naturalism is a philosophy that states that all things are a result of the laws of physics, it would be appropriate to think that supernatural events or occurances or beings would be those in violation of the laws of physics.

 

Any thoughts on that?

Is it even possible to violate the laws of physics?

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Is it even possible to violate the laws of physics?

 

If there is a supernatural power, of course. It stands to reason, if God exists and created the universe with its natural laws, He could override or uncreate them.

 

Contrariwise, even if there is no creator/God, whatever brought natural reality to be, whatever force initiated the Big Bang, could retract it...I suppose. :scratch: We'd call it the Big Suck. Maybe black holes are the interface between the natural and the supernatural. Somebody stop me before I get in over my head.

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I would like everyone to post immediately what they believe is meant by supernatural. I hope that you do not read other peoples replies until you have posted your own so that you get as unfiltered a response as possible. I also think you should post why you use this definition.

Supernatural = Not occuring naturally. IMO, anything that occurs is natural, therefore the supernatural doesn't exist.

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