Something Supernatural Exists (According To Logic)

I’m a Christian, but I’ll be clear that this is not a platform to “convert” anyone. The goal of this blog is to help people of all beliefs live better lives by thinking deeply. Being a philosopher and this being “The Thinking Blog,” it made sense to throw in a bit of philosophy!

A reader commented on a post yesterday saying that people believe in God even though “there’s hardly any good evidence for it.” I agree that evidence for an infinite being is challenging. And in order to consider God’s existence, we must consider if the framework of the concept is legitimate.

The concept of God is supernatural – it breaks the laws of nature and everything we understand. If it is deemed logical that something supernatural exists, our observations and logic about that something are rendered useless to understand how it works (otherwise it wouldn’t be supernatural). The good news is that we can approach the concept of the supernatural logically, as it is only when we arrive at the existence of the supernatural that we can no longer comprehend further.

The evidence for God’s possible existence starts with the basic question – does something supernatural exist? The answer is 100% yes. Again, this doesn’t prove God’s existence, it merely makes Him a viable option instead of “God is a fairy tale.”

Logic Time

Finite – has a beginning and end

Infinite – existence outside of time (no beginning/end)

Regardless of if the following is true or false, both sides point to something supernatural.

The universe is finite or infinite.

If infinite, the universe itself is a supernatural phenomenon because it cannot be explained logically. This is actually the best argument against God’s existence – that the universe is infinite and in no need of a creator. But I don’t know of any evidence that supports an infinite universe theory (do you?). There is solid finite universe evidence (laws of thermodynamics for one), but it isn’t 100% conclusive.

Either way, something supernatural exists.

If the universe is finite, then the following is the rational conclusion to draw. There is no way out of it unless you’re willing to lie to yourself.

Science tries to determine the age of the universe, but we’re still left with the question of what was first. What started our finite universe? The answer is very simple – something finite or something infinite.

Finite vs. Infinite

First, let me clarify that finite and infinite are mutually exclusive and there is no middle ground. You can’t be kind of finite or kind of infinite. It’s one or the other – black and white. Finite things have a beginning and end and infinite things have no beginning and no end (deliciously supernatural).

The problem with something finite being the beginning source is that it requires a beginning source itself in order to begin (and that keeps looping). If you think finite matter appeared out of nothingness without cause, not only do you believe in something supernatural, but you’re completely delusional about it. In a universe nothing of nothing, something can’t happen because there is no matter, air, space, video games or anything! There’s nothing and no catalyst to activate that nothing.

 

Desert Planet

If this Desert Planet came from nothing… well, it couldn’t have.

Natural law cannot produce a viable theory or even a long-shot concept that agrees with logic for the initial instance of matter – and our universe is very likely finite (again, disagree with this and you already believe in the supernatural). This is a problem that Naturalists will never resolve (logically).

The concept of something infinite existing is the only way to explain the beginning of the first finite system (our universe could even be the 9th system, created by preceding systems, for all we know). This makes sense because it’s the only option left after we just eliminated the possibility of an initial finite source.

Many hesitate to accept the “infinite thing” because we live with finite, tangible things. But if we broadly consider existence using logic, there is no other explanation. The first cause has to be independent of any other cause, and there must be a first cause because nothing can’t produce something.

Many have questioned what makes the first cause exempt from needing a cause, why the first cause exists, and so on. These questions have an unknowable supernatural answer, and this is where scientists turn around and run.

Why Scientists Fail To Answer The Big Question

We cannot understand anything supernatural. 

Scientists turn to irrational, unnecessarily complex theorems of the universe when this is SIMPLE. Something was first and it logically has to be infinite. They can’t accept that there is an easy answer because there is no chance of comprehending that answer.

We have all the information we need to know that something infinite exists. What we lack is concrete knowledge of what that infinite something is (I believe it is God, but that is belief and not fact).

Science, the supposed “God killer” in some eyes, can’t touch this. Science can’t, won’t, and shouldn’t consider the supernatural as it breaks the laws of nature, which is exactly what science observes. This is a philosophical question.

Infinity is outside of science’s scope, so of course most scientists aren’t going to like it. This is why I laugh when I see scientists arguing against the supernatural using their (admittedly impressive) knowledge of the natural. It’s nonsense to approach it from that angle. Ironically, it is just as wrong as Christians saying the Bible is true because the Bible says it’s true. The only angle you can approach it from is with logic.

Now, to not believe in something supernatural is rational suicide. It doesn’t have to be God. Arguing that only natural matter exists implies that it came from… nothing… with no catalyst… the ultimate supernatural event!

If the universe itself were infinite, it would create a lot of problematic questions such as…Why? What the crap? How? Logic would fail. When we ask the same questions about God, our logic fails in the same way. Logic brings us to the point of knowing something infinite exists, but it can’t help us once we arrive. But our incomprehension of the destination does not invalidate our logic to get there.

<assumingGodexists>God was smart to design things this way, because it is subtle enough that people can ignore it, but evident enough to make faith more than a wild shot in the dark. This gives us choice – as those who seek honestly will be faced with believing in the supernatural and probably find that God is the best answer to all of this “stuff.”</assumingGodexists>

If the universe were infinite… *mind explodes* But if it’s God… *mind explodes* Lesson: trying to consider what the infinite instigator could be and how it could exist infinitely will always cause a mental explosion.

What to take from this?

Believing in the concept of God takes faith, but believing in Naturalism is completely irrational. Believing in infinite abstract magic is more rational than Naturalism (i.e. the belief that the supernatural does not exist). I believe the infinite “thing” is God because it makes sense to me that our system of order, laws, and life was created rather than… randomly propagated by a mindless magic infinite thing.

Thoughts? Feel free to attack my argument (logically, please). Leave your shoes and emotions at the door. 🙂

EDIT: The comments are closed now. I think 17,000 words of debate is enough. At least, it is enough for me. I’m focused on writing new content now. 🙂 Thank you for understanding. And a huge thank you to everyone for being civil and mature in your responses to this very controversial topic. I have great appreciation and respect for that.

About the Author

I'm lazy, but you can call me Stephen. When you're as lazy as I am, you need superior strategies to live well. My strategies are so effective that I'm productive every single day. As the world tries to figure out how to always stay motivated, I create strategies that don't require it.

Dave

Holy deep thinking Batman!

I’ll be honest, I had to reread a couple sections due to the complexity of your thinking here. However, I like the points you make with understanding the supernatural. Scientists look to prove everything has a tangible existence. If it isn’t tangible and/or doesn’t have an origin then it cannot exist.

As a studier of Buddhist and Taoist philosophy, I agree with a lot of your thinking here. There are some things in this world we will never explain unless we embrace the spiritual or supernatural side of things. That is the line that tests everyones belief system.

Great post man, you conjured up quite a doozy here. Yeah, I said doozy. I think that’s the first time I’ve used that in 20 years.

Hugo Martins

Hey Stephen,

Einstein said the more he studied the universe the more he believed in the existence of a higher power. So there you have, one of the most brilliant scientists of all time saying that there might just exist a higher power.

If you read an article I published recently, I struggle with this problem. Faith is not my strongest suit and sometimes I find myself looking for proof for the finitude of all the things we see. I am still thinking and researching about the finitude/infinitude of the universe and the possible existence of a higher power.

I don’t believe in a God therefore I might be considered as an irrational naturalist 😛 but I tend to escape from that label because I am still searching for something that means and makes sense to me, maybe it is not God in the Christian way, maybe I will find out that I don’t really believe in a God after all, I don’t know.

After all this rambling of mine I just want to congratulate you for the good post and for the great use you are giving to your mind just for giving time to think and write about this.

Cheers!

Stephen Guise

Haha, dooooozy.

Thanks Dave, I’m glad you enjoyed this.

Philosophy is pretty fascinating. Yesterday in the shower, I started thinking about the fact that I existed and it didn’t make sense to me. I freaked out a little bit, haha. None of us should exist – it doesn’t make sense that we do (which is one reason why I believe a supernatural cause makes sense).

It’s really weird and abstract to think about the universe existing. I’m amazed at how we get used to it. I’m not used to it quite yet.

Stephen Guise

Hey Hugo,

The laws of thermodynamics (courtesy of Einstein) point strongly to a finite universe, which as I said in this article, points to the supernatural.

To consider God, it might help to drop all preconceived notions related to the term. God is not physical at all. God is much more abstract than we think because we try to attach an image (and a lot of other crap) to Him in order to define Him in our *finite* minds. Just like the concept of infinity, it is equally impossible to try to understand the concept of a God, which makes the whole thing very interesting but challenging in some ways (speaking as a believer here).

Also keep in mind that you could believe in something else supernatural besides God, but I have no idea what that might be. I do believe that Naturalism is 100% irrational though. Naturalism says, “this impossible situation (existence) is explained by easy-to-understand science.”

Don’t stop thinking about this though…because what you believe about our existence establishes the framework for how you live your life. Nietzsche believed in nihilism and committed suicide – and I admire him for “living” according to his beliefs (and that he had beliefs amidst the great unthinking mass of people). Believing something (even if it is atheism/agnosticism) helps to put your entire life into perspective and give you purpose.

Martyn Chamberlin

This is the best thing you’ve ever written, I think.

It took balls, congratulations.

And yes, the reasoning is deep. Atheists criticize Theists for being wimpy, illogical, and shallow. It’s nice to see someone get deep.

It’s getting deep around here.

Deep existence.

Stephen Guise

Thank you.

And excellent keyword density Martyn! Hahaha

I think faith is worthless without some logic behind it. I have faith that my house won’t flood tonight because it wouldn’t be very logical given the circumstances. I could have faith that it will flood, but that is stupid. 🙂

Vikk Simmons

Trying to get people today out of the shallows is a huge undertaking. Kudos to you. Deep thinking doesn’t seem to be prized by many anymore.

Stephen Guise

Hi Vikk!

Yes, you’re right. I’m trying to bring it back with this blog. I know that a lot of people out there are active, deep thinkers (and they’ve been joining the conversation here) while others are dormant deep thinkers waiting to be awakened – so I want to awaken them.

Ross

I see your argument – its deductive logic is certainly pretty bulletproof.
However, some of the premises get me a little.
I mean, obviously the universe is finite, as there was the big bang, and for the universe to infinite, there would have to be a subsequent infinite rate of expansion etc.

But the nature of matter and energy, i don’t think, is properly accounted for in this argument.
There is a constant amount of energy-matter in the universe, so it either has to have already been there for eternity (i believe energy-matter can be viewed as eternal), or it has to have been put there from somewhere else. It cannot simply be created.
Surely to assume that some supernatural entity magicked matter into existence is a bit of a logical band-aid, that doesn’t really answer any questions. To claim that there is a reason for our existence that cannot be explained, understood or observed just doesn’t seem satisfying, and certainly is different to anything observed in the universe.

Also, who is to say that matter and energy and the constant quantities of have not been here forever? The idea that everything has a direct, perfectly tracable, cause is arguably simply anthropomorphic. I mean, look at quantum physics: sometimes the effect occurs before the cause at a sub-atomic scale. Who’s to say that in the extreme state of existence before the big bang, causation was not necessarily applicable?

So, to summarise the ramble, is it necessary to posit the existence of an infinite entity to explain the universe, when science is providing a theory that seems both eternal and finite, and also makes us reconsider how the universe works?

There’s no malice in asking, i’m just curious.

Loren Gamble

With sufficient verbiage, one can “prove” nearly any philosophical or theological proposition. Ah, but the Devil is in the details, as the saying goes. Once one has talked (or written or read) himself into belief in a higher power, he next must choose from among myriad gods whom he will give his allegiance to. Most likely, the deity he opts for will reflect his own hopes and fears, his cultural biases, his upbringing. He will proceed to hew a god to his own heart. And his neighbor will murder him for his insolence.

Raymond van Velzen

Hi Stephen,

Good job with this post, but of course, I’m here to smack down this little rebellion of the supernatural :-).

As I mentioned before, Richard Dawkins has done a great job in his book The God Delusion explaining why there’s just no decent way to account for the “supernatural”. I’d like to say that the strong response to his book shows he wasn’t just talking thrash :-).

The real source of the entire discussion is the way people are thinking about it, and their lack of understanding that process. First of all, people seemlingly can’t just accept we all know *way* too little to ever come to a full understanding of “life, the universe and everything”. The post above is juggling philosophy to work around it, nice try, but give it up – we’re just a bunch of tiny creatures in a giant universe that we have explored and understood for less than 1%. No argument there, right.

That in itself should never be a reason to say, “so, there must be something supernatural!”. That’s cheap. Apparently, people love the Higher Power idea, probably because they don’t like the idea that a bunch of natural forces is tossing them around – but that only complicates things further; if, let’s say, the universe was “designed” by “something”, then we’re merely moving on to the next question, which is, what designed the designer? An even higher power? As Dawkins suggests, it seems much more likely that, just like the evolution, complex matters are the outcome of a process of natural selection. It is typical for the capacity of human understanding that while we can perfectly understand the evolution as it occurs on our planet, many fail to see how such a mechanism or a more complicated version of it could work on the universe as a whole, and resort to exotic explanations.

It is very interesting to zoom out in time and look back at how our ancestors were using bizarre religious constructs to explain all the stuff they didn’t know. Just think how 10 generations from now, people will look back on us and say, gosh, what a bunch of idiots; they just didn’t know any better. Simply put, more knowledge means less religion. That’s why almost nobody honestly believes today that some guy actually smacked together planet Earth in 7 days. I’m not gonna touch on the part of religion that has a function to comfort or unite people – that’s all fine, it has its role and it’s good to some extent – it’s just groundless.

Anyway, in my view, these developments clearly show how religion merely serves a purpose for explanations where better onces, based on evidence or probable theories, still lack. It shows just how much of a personal “tool” the whole god concept is when people say “Him”, with a capital even. You don’t really think there’s a *man* there, right? It is so obvious how people are just projecting some image of a very human, benevolent, powerful person on top of what is basically an Invisible Friend Deluxe. Just because billions of people are pretending there’s something, doesn’t make it any less ridiculous, as no-one has ever produced any decent evidence. People wildly underestimate the power of suggestion, which helps believers to focus on facts that support their ideas, while ignoring others – indeed, that’s how magicians get their job done!

Time and time again, when someone’s claiming there’s some supernatural stuff going on somewhere, it just can’t be proven. Never. It’s always suspiciously in just one country or city or building and not in many others. All those “mediums” that claim they can talk to the dead and all that – they never cooperate with scientific tests, because that will be the end of it, of course. Unfortunately, many people opt for a magical world where lots of Disney stuff is possible. In reality, there is practically no difference between a priest talking about what Jesus can do for you and Uri Gellar pretending he is bending spoons.

Really, in the end it’s all a matter of basic psychological needs of humans, plus the lack of a fuller understanding of what surrounds us, that feed religious beliefs. You may say, oh but science cannot prove there’s no higher power – no, not yet, but science is shining more and more light on what was previously in the domain of “don’t understand, must be supernatural”. That in itself should be enough to just get over with the whole religious circus and focus on the facts, instead of imagination.

Stephen Guise

Hey Ross, thanks for your comment! I’ll do my best to respond objectively and directly.

“There is a constant amount of energy-matter in the universe, so it either has to have already been there for eternity (i believe energy-matter can be viewed as eternal), or it has to have been put there from somewhere else. It cannot simply be created.

Surely to assume that some supernatural entity magicked matter into existence is a bit of a logical band-aid, that doesn’t really answer any questions. To claim that there is a reason for our existence that cannot be explained, understood or observed just doesn’t seem satisfying, and certainly is different to anything observed in the universe.

Why couldn’t it be created/placed by a supernatural being/force/whatever? This argument assumes natural law is all we have and is circular logic (again, it’s like the Bible saying the Bible is true). The only reason you see it as a logical band-aid is because you don’t believe it. Is not reasonable to say it has always existed without cause without conceding that it is supernatural. And if you concede that, you open the floodgates and reject naturalism.

“Extreme state of existence before the big bang”

I have to ask you what might produce this “extreme state of existence?” Natural science has no answer, because I’ll ask again when you give me the cause of that. It will simply go on forever until you can come up with an infinite source that has always existed and birthed our finite system.

“I mean, look at quantum physics: sometimes the effect occurs before the cause at a sub-atomic scale.”

1. They could definitely be wrong about that.
2. If they are right, then what does that say about science as a whole which rests in large part on observing cause and effect?
3. I trust my own intuition and logic over a single sub-atomic study, but that’s just my choice. We are free to believe anything we want. While you mentioned that, I still wonder if you really believe in the “effect, cause” order of things. Natural law doesn’t seem to agree with that, for one. If it agrees with both that and cause/effect (hence dividing itself and failing), then the entire cause/effect area of science is officially bogus. So that is a bold card to play to support Naturalism.

Thoughts?

Stephen Guise

Hi Loren,

I did not mean to use excessive verbiage. I mainly spoke of the finite and infinite, which I thought were pretty straight-forward.

Hi Loren,

Personally (can’t speak for others), I didn’t talk myself into believing in a supernatural cause. It is simply the most logical reason we exist. It is either that or natural explanations for a supernatural existence. Your choice, but logic > science.

As for the multitude of religious varieties, that is interesting, but I just want to clarify that it carries no weight at all as an argument (it would be 100% emotion-based). If you were just saying it as an off-topic observation, that’s fine and I agree it’s ridiculous what false religions and legalistic views have done to the world.

Stephen Guise

Hey Raymond, thanks for your response.

How does Dawson’s book compare to sales of the Bible? There is no point to mentioning book sales. It does nothing to boost credibility. Neither does the name. The only thing that matters is the content of the argument.

I’m fine with the idea of natural forces tossing me around – but what caused them?

“Resort to exotic explanations” ???

What is more exotic than trying to explain existence only using the observable natural laws present inside of it and being completely closed-minded to any other options. According to your (and Mr. Dawkin’s) mindset, if you saw cow’s milk but did not know of the cow’s existence, you would then study the milk intently in order to know the source. You would refuse to believe that the source could possibly have different properties than the milk. That’s what you’re doing with the universe, and it’s irrational.

Your response from “it is very interesting” to the end of the comment is emotional and groundless. All you said is that religion is based on things other than reason (without giving a universal proof). Would you like for me to also pick out idiots that believe in Naturalism and use them to label all Naturalists? I can replace the word “religion” with “Naturalism” in your argument and the difference would be indiscernible because you didn’t back up anything you said.

Ross’ comment was logical and had basis. He wasn’t ranting about religion, which has nothing to do with this article.

Dzugavili

“The concept of God is supernatural – it breaks the laws of nature and everything we understand.”
The concept of God is anatural. It doesn’t belong in nature, nor is it reflected in it. That doesn’t make it supernatural, except that’s the term we use for it. Because anatural sounds a lot more hostile.

“The evidence for God’s possible existence starts with the basic question – does something supernatural exist? The answer is 100% yes. Again, this doesn’t prove God’s existence, it merely makes Him a viable option instead of “God is a fairy tale.””
I can’t wait to see you explain where you got this from.

“If infinite, the universe itself is a supernatural phenomenon because it cannot be explained logically. This is actually the best argument against God’s existence – that the universe is infinite and in no need of a creator. But I don’t know of any evidence that supports an infinite universe theory (do you?). There is solid finite universe evidence (laws of thermodynamics for one), but it isn’t 100% conclusive.

Either way, something supernatural exists.”
Where the hell did you pull this one from?

Just because something is infinite does not mean it cannot be explained logically.
In fact, often infinite things are much easier to explain logically. Like numbers. Numbers are infinite. There’s just one more on top of each one. But they are incredibly logical.

Besides this, the finiteness or infiniteness of the universe is irrelevant to existence of the supernatural.

“You can’t be kind of finite or kind of infinite.”
I disagree.

If the outer bounds of the universe are retreating from us at the speed of light as predicted by the Big Bang, then the size of the universe is a finite number described by the speed of light and the time since the big bang.
However, due to the whole relativity thing, it would be impossible for me to catch up with the edge of the universe; no object can travel faster than light, as far as we currently understand.
Thus, the universe is finite in size, but infinite to us.

“Finite things have a beginning and end and infinite things have no beginning and no end (deliciously supernatural).”
Why?
There are infinite numbers between 0 and 1. But the numbers 0 and 1 are definitely the beginning and end of the infinite series.

Therefore, infinite things can have bounds.

“Natural law cannot produce a viable theory or even a long-shot concept that agrees with logic for the initial instance of matter”
What is this supposed to mean?
If you want to argue God of the Gaps, why doesn’t the Bible describe super-conduction?

“We cannot understand anything supernatural.”
Tautology, means nothing. This isn’t a logical statement. The only thing that you can actually say is “I do not understand anything supernatural”. Maybe the rest of us understand it and you’re clueless. I don’t know. I don’t understand gods.

“If the universe itself were infinite, it would create a lot of problematic questions such as…Why?”
Ever heard the man-swer “why not?”
Not everything has a reason. Somethings, things just are.

Justin Harmon

Hey Stephen,

In response to an infinite source that birthed our finite source, or system.
I think you should look into the wisdom of Kabbalah and I don’t mean the celebrity brand that sells red strings and holy water. There are more and more scientists agreeing with the methods that Kabbalah teaches. If you are not familiar with the wisdom and when I say wisdom I mean it is a science of the structure of creation, why we are here, the purpose and how we got here. It is not a religion. Everything it teaches, you test and experiment with it yourself. There is no just believing it or not. It is truly an eye opener. Not everyone is ready to accept it yet and I am risking my reputation even talking about it but felt like I needed to mention it here. As a mutual deep thinker, I thought it might interest you. If not, no worries.

Stephen Guise

Hey Dzugavili, thank you for your comment.

First, just a couple of definitions to make it clear what I was referencing in the article.

“Supernatural – Of or relating to an order of existence beyond the visible observable universe; especially : of or relating to God or a god, demigod, spirit, or devil” (merriam-webster)

“Supernatural – Attributed to some force beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature.” (google dictionary)

“Infinity – unlimited extent of time, space, or quantity.” (merriam-webster) (this is not observable or explained by natural law)

“I can’t wait to explain where you got this from.”
The remainder of the article explained this. It was not an argument, but an initial claim to be supported.

“Just because something is infinite does not mean it cannot be explained logically.”
Ok, I’m not sure if my “because” argument is sound. Still, I could have just clipped it off at “phenomenon” because infinity and the supernatural are inextricably linked by definition (see above).

“Thus, the universe is finite in size, but infinite to us.”
You just collapsed your argument right there. Who cares if it is “infinite to us” if it is finite in size? Its finiteness is factual and we have nothing to do with it. The definition that I go by above very plainly states the definition in absolute terms (do you use something else?)

“There are infinite numbers between 0 and 1. But the numbers 0 and 1 are definitely the beginning and end of the infinite series. Therefore, infinite things can have bounds.
You just said that there are infinite numbers, which by definition are unlimited and boundless. If 1 and 0 bind them in any way, it is not in the way that they are infinite (or else they would fail to be infinite). I was referring to time, anyways.

“What is this supposed to mean? If you want to argue God of the Gaps, why doesn’t the Bible describe super-conduction?”
The point is that there is and never will be an explanation because the answer to the question of the initial instance of matter is supernatural. I didn’t mention God or the Bible. There is no “gap” here – natural law is in complete disagreement with the concept.

“Tautology, means nothing. This isn’t a logical statement. The only thing that you can actually say is “I do not understand anything supernatural”. Maybe the rest of us understand it and you’re clueless. I don’t know. I don’t understand gods.”
I suppose I should have worded it, “finite human minds cannot comprehend the supernatural because it exceeds our perspective and mental capacity.” It wasn’t a groundless statement of my perspective. If you want to directly challenge that statement, I welcome it. Explain how a finite mind could conceptually level with something supernatural.

Not everything has a reason. Somethings, things just are.
“Things just are”…According to science, things are not just there – they have a cause. So when you confront something without a cause and say that some “things just are” – in doing so, you imply the supernatural by definition – Attributed to some force beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature. Nice.

Tom

Hi Stephen,
We do not understand infinity or the universe but it is a dangerous game to simply explain them as supernatural . That is attempting to explain something we don’t understand with something else we can’t explain (supernatural) which is irrational circular logic.

Imagine where we would be if our ancestors had accepted everything they could not explain as supernatural.

Great post by the way, I had to read it a couple of times.

Regards,
Tom

Stephen Guise

Hi Tom,

I appreciate your precise argument. My perspective is that logic rules out a finite first source for existence – that leaves an infinite source by deduction (and this fits logically with the first cause problem). The infinite source cannot ever be congruent with natural law (this is a matter of logic, not evidence), and by definition that makes it supernatural.

Supernatural – Attributed to some force beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature.” (google dictionary)
Infinity – unlimited extent of time, space, or quantity. (merriam-webster)

These concepts are linked. An infinite universe or being is beyond scientific understanding and the laws of nature. I don’t see it as explaining one unknown with another, but logic taking us to a single conclusion that we cannot comprehend further.

I believe that more than half of these discussions end up as semantic dancing. Our words are not precise enough. “Infinite” has 4 definitions in m-w and the one I used mentions three sub-categories. And yet…we just use the one word for it all. Language isn’t good enough sometimes.

Dzugavili

““Infinity – unlimited extent of time, space, or quantity.” (merriam-webster) (this is not observable or explained by natural law)”
No, but this is a pure concept, not an object. Natural law ignores concepts, because they aren’t real; as in, they aren’t in existence at all.

“The remainder of the article explained this. It was not an argument, but an initial claim to be supported.”
It was a rhetoric device.

“You just collapsed your argument right there. Who cares if it is “infinite to us” if it is finite in size? Its finiteness is factual and we have nothing to do with it.”
When I meant us, I meant physics us.
The opinions of two hairless apes has nothing to do with the physics. We’re talking about a generic object.
To all objects, space is infinite.
Space is however finite.
The point is the duality in infinite in which there are bounds, even if they aren’t clearly seen.

“You just said that there are infinite numbers, which by definition are unlimited and boundless. If 1 and 0 bind them in any way, it is not in the way that they are infinite (or else they would fail to be infinite). I was referring to time, anyways.”
There are infinite numbers, which by no definition means they are boundless. There are literally infinite numbers between 0 and 1. 0.001, 0.002, etc, in every single possible variation.
The point here is that your idea of infinite is not logical. It’s loaded. And so it’s not appropriate to use it push a ‘logical’ vehicle.

“The point is that there is and never will be an explanation because the answer to the question of the initial instance of matter is supernatural.”
By definition, no, because the supernatural don’t exist in nature. That’s the meaning of the word. There’s no reflection of them in nature. There’s no definitive signs. Because they aren’t there, perhaps.
But it’s clear that it’s been set up that way. Kind of handy if you by definition can never see what others try to disprove.

“finite human minds cannot comprehend the supernatural because it exceeds our perspective and mental capacity.”
The problem with this statement is that you’re talking about human minds like it means something.

Your ancestors were nothing compared to you. To claim that their mysteries will be our mysteries forever is to give them reverence that they don’t deserve.

“According to science, things are not just there – they have a cause.”
Yes, and that’s how, not why. Science and logic don’t care ‘why’, they deal with ‘how’. ‘Why’ is for philosophers, who don’t actually have a say in the reality of things.

Stephen Guise

That was a great, well-constructed response. Thank you. It definitely cleared some things up about the semantics of the discussion.

““Infinity – unlimited extent of time, space, or quantity.” (merriam-webster) (this is not observable or explained by natural law)”
No, but this is a pure concept, not an object. Natural law ignores concepts, because they aren’t real; as in, they aren’t in existence at all.

Adjective: Limitless or endless in space, extent, or size; impossible to measure or calculate. “Infinite” can describe an object in adjective form with the same meaning, and natural law does not ignore objects (and yet, a timeless object cannot be observed or explained).

There are infinite numbers, which by no definition means they are boundless. There are literally infinite numbers between 0 and 1. 0.001, 0.002, etc, in every single possible variation.
The point here is that your idea of infinite is not logical. It’s loaded. And so it’s not appropriate to use it push a ‘logical’ vehicle.

Oh, now I understand what you are saying. The problem is that you are the one who put an artificial limit on something boundless. The infinite series of numbers is not bound by one and two. All you did was point out a section in an infinite line going in both directions. None of the individual numbers mentioned are themselves infinite (even if you decide to label them as such) – the series is infinite and has no boundaries.

By definition, no, because the supernatural don’t exist in nature. That’s the meaning of the word. There’s no reflection of them in nature. There’s no definitive signs. Because they aren’t there, perhaps.
But it’s clear that it’s been set up that way. Kind of handy if you by definition can never see what others try to disprove.

Of course the supernatural is not in nature – we agree on that. This is exactly why it is the only first cause that could allow a finite system to come into being. It isn’t natural itself – it caused nature.

“finite human minds cannot comprehend the supernatural because it exceeds our perspective and mental capacity.”
The problem with this statement is that you’re talking about human minds like it means something.

Your ancestors were nothing compared to you. To claim that their mysteries will be our mysteries forever is to give them reverence that they don’t deserve.

“According to science, things are not just there – they have a cause.”
Yes, and that’s how, not why. Science and logic don’t care ‘why’, they deal with ‘how’. ‘Why’ is for philosophers, who don’t actually have a say in the reality of things.

We are using human minds, so I figured it meant something, lol. I don’t see how reverence for our ancestors means anything.

philosophers consider the meaning of things, that’s true. But logic is not left behind in this and it does enter into the why equation. If science (and seemingly you by association) does not care for the why we exist and does not (and will never) know how we exist, then why does it (and you) still try to get involved in the discussion? It seems like it is best left up to the philosophers who are willing to think outside of the natural box that has none of the “big” answers.

Science has the problem of not accepting logic that exists outside of natural law. It says it doesn’t exist by nature of its own rules (rather than by logic’s rules). Thus, to only focus on science to explain something that exists and yet defies science is irrational.

What exists and defies science? The universe as a whole.

Stephen Guise

Hey Justin,

Thanks for bringing that up. I researched it a little and I’m not sure what to think. It seems to be extremely complex so my brief view was not enough to grasp all of it. It is interesting – especially that it was exclusive for a long period of time. Thank you for your input.

Tom

I agree there are things beyond our comprehension and my point is it is shallow to simply accept them as incomprehensible.

Stephen Guise

I understand your point now. Ironically, I don’t understand the incomprehensible enough to agree or disagree (or it’s because I’ve been awake for 20 hours). So call me a comprehension agnostic. 😛

Dzugavili

“Adjective: Limitless or endless in space, extent, or size; impossible to measure or calculate. “Infinite” can describe an object in adjective form with the same meaning, and natural law does not ignore objects”
No, there’s no such thing as an infinite object in space.
And before you go there, the universe isn’t an object, it’s a space.

Infinity is a concept, period.

“(and yet, a timeless object cannot be observed or explained)”
Seriously, can you stop with these nonsense phrases? A timeless object is not an object of the universe, there are no examples; in all the infinity of the universe, it is still impossible, as there are bounds.

“None of the individual numbers mentioned are themselves infinite (even if you decide to label them as such) – the series is infinite and has no boundaries.”
On the contrary, the series is finite, the numbers are not. Can you see how this analogy could be made to a universe? We live in an infinite universe within a bound.

“This is exactly why it is the only first cause that could allow a finite system to come into being.”
No, this is why I find the argument of first causes absurd. You’ve named [i]something[/i] god and magically set it apart from everything else, and then decided that it is the only source, who doesn’t need a cause because he’s “infinite, in such a way that our puny little human minds can never understand”.
It’s a cop-out.

“We are using human minds, so I figured it meant something, lol. I don’t see how reverence for our ancestors means anything.”
I really wish we had alien life around here so the term “human mind” would fall out of use.

“But logic is not left behind in this and it does enter into the why equation.”
Yes. It does. It enters the “why” equation when you ask “is this really a plausible explanation”.

Can you explain to me why your belief that there has to be a god is actually any more probably than the apparent reality that there are no gods? Honestly, I need an answer to this one, because I see NOTHING.

“Science has the problem of not accepting logic that exists outside of natural law.”
Because they disagree with the existence of gods, yes.
Sorry, I’m waiting for you to cite something. You can’t make a statement like “science has a problem” without listing the problem. Unless you watch a lot of Fox News.

“It seems like it is best left up to the philosophers who are willing to think outside of the natural box that has none of the “big” answers.”
And children daydream, but they aren’t solving economic crises.
If all your thought is not a reflection of reality, a system of equations with actual logic, as opposed to constant “what if”‘s, then all your thoughts are still wrong, no matter how logically sound they might seem to be.

“What exists and defies science? The universe as a whole.”
You might get the warm and fuzzies off reading that closer, but honestly, who do you think is falling for that one?
Cite it. What about the universe is actually impossible? Why couldn’t it just pop into existence, as a result of two rocks being banged together by spontanious chance?

Until you can rule that out, you can’t rule in the supernatural. You actually have to eliminate all the other options before you can start going after the wild answers.

Stephen Guise

We’re working off of a completely different (and rigid) framework here. This comes down to you will only consider natural law (and therefore it cannot be overruled in your mind) and I consider the supernatural as a required explanation for our supernatural existence that contradicts natural law.

You keep asking for evidence of supernatural things, and we both know that’s impossible. We can only arrive at that using conceptual logic, which you clearly reject and I clearly accept.

“Seriously, can you stop with these nonsense phrases? A timeless object is not an object of the universe, there are no examples”
Object (philosophy) – a thing, being or concept… I was using this philosophical meaning, most of which I know is auto-rejected by you. Again, a different framework will mean futile arguing of details. That said, my argument was invalid.

“On the contrary, the series is finite, the numbers are not. Can you see how this analogy could be made to a universe? We live in an infinite universe within a bound.”
1. Why are you talking about a concept here and not other places? Math is composed of logical concepts.
2. How many numbers are in an infinite series of numbers?
3. No, what you’re saying doesn’t make sense to me (i.e. #2).

“Sorry, I’m waiting for you to cite something. You can’t make a statement like “science has a problem” without listing the problem. Unless you watch a lot of Fox News.”
I cited that the problem is science is limited in scope and you don’t see that as a problem. Once again, different framework. I don’t watch any news and that is an irrelevant stereotype attempt (you seem to like to “box things in” so that you can understand them. Humans are more complex than, “Oh this person believes in God, therefore he watches Fox news because I think Fox news is full of religious dogma.”

Can you explain to me why your belief that there has to be a god is actually any more probably than the apparent reality that there are no gods? Honestly, I need an answer to this one, because I see NOTHING.

It is not anything you can perceive inside the box of natural law (it is conceptual logic, which you reject…except with math). You said the universe is finite, and you believe it appeared out of nothingness with no catalyst as opposed to being created by something. I never argued that something was God. I believe it is, but that is a belief. I’m arguing for the case of the supernatural.

If all your thought is not a reflection of reality, a system of equations with actual logic, as opposed to constant “what if”‘s, then all your thoughts are still wrong, no matter how logically sound they might seem to be.

Reality in your eyes is artificially constrained by natural law. According to your logic and view of existence – If you saw some cow milk and didn’t know cows existed, you would study the milk endlessly, assuming that it was all there was and that it could not have a source with different properties. Just like you look at the universe and reject a source of it that has different properties. The cow’s milk didn’t create itself and neither did our universe.

Why couldn’t it just pop into existence, as a result of two rocks being banged together by spontanious chance?

Any finite options are logically eliminated because… “what created the rocks?” You say that saying supernatural is a “cop-out”, but it is the only other option on the table. Finite matter is ruled out and an infinite object(s) are all that’s left. It’s so simple.

Can you provide any possible theory for how the universe could exist under natural law? No, because the missing ingredient is a first cause (something timeless). Of course you reject that using circular natural law logic that says that can’t exist – and it can’t exist because it breaks the laws of natural law.

Again, I know that was philosophy. If you’re not willing to consider concepts, then we shouldn’t continue this discussion because no ground will be gained. That said, thanks for discussing this civilly.

Evan

I’m not sure the infinite has to be supernatural and the view that the natural is composed of finite laws I don’t think is the case. I’m saying that these definitions of natural and supernatural don’t hold.

There is a big question about what counts as evidence. If only what is replicable in a laboratory counts then much that we experience will be eliminated. If only what is verifiable by our five senses counts then much can’t be established ( Hume showed long ago that a cause isn’t observable).

I think there are experiences which people call ‘god’ or ‘spirit’ or ‘supernatural’. I think it is important and possible to speak of these experiences. Often they are felt to have a personal element which the argument lies well outside the argument from first cause

Stephen Guise

Thanks for your input Evan!

I think by definition it is, because science can’t measure or observe it.

There is a big question about what counts as evidence. If only what is replicable in a laboratory counts then much that we experience will be eliminated. If only what is verifiable by our five senses counts then much can’t be established ( Hume showed long ago that a cause isn’t observable).

I think there are experiences which people call ‘god’ or ‘spirit’ or ‘supernatural’. I think it is important and possible to speak of these experiences. Often they are felt to have a personal element which the argument lies well outside the argument from first cause

Great thoughts there. I believe experience is valuable for understanding our world. But personal experience as an argument is weak because anyone could say anything. That said, it shouldn’t be ignored completely.

I think this is much simpler logically than people make it out to be. It gets convoluted with science when it is a concept outside of science. Science will never know how it all began.

By that, I don’t mean the big bang, I mean whatever might have caused the original matter to exist. Evidence is meaningless for that question because it can’t trace back to an original source. That’s not to prove the point of my article, but to suggest that this is a philosophical matter rather than a scientific one.

Evan

As to lack of evidence. Yes science can’t talk about the purpose of science scientifically. You haven’t shown that science can’t deal with origins, only asserted this.

You are presuming that logic is a guide to truth. This involves considering premises and what counts as evidence.

It may be that personal experience is not only individual – there are many individuals having this exchange.

Ashvini

Hi Stephan,
Nice post!!!
Let me be clear :). Even though my parents are practicing Hindus, I am not for all the religious theories about God.
Let me also be clear that I really do not believe in creationism and the God concept(from any religion).
I hope your head is not heavy, still :).
In Hinduism , there is a complicated concept called as “Maya”. It says maya is devised by God. Maya creates all the unreal things around us( our friends, our family, our car, our dog) and the purpose of Maya is to keep you grounded in earthly activities. Maya is also about greed, dissatisfaction, fear and every other emotion.
There are two parts of nature, Prakriti and Purush, while Prakriti is the unreal nature, Purusha is the actual conciousness.
You may read about them here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samkhya
And these are interchangeable. What you consider matter today may be transferred into energy and energy may be converted back to matter and that there is nothing more than that.
Even though this is all religious , it can be understood in the realm of Physics as true. Both are present around us in both forms all the time .
A human being is part of the universe, that mean what is in the universe ( Water, air, space, fire and Life) is also present in human ( logic is still holding true). Also the fact that even plants have life is proven that means they also possess what we possess.
I do not think then that the infinite cannot be mixed with finite. Matter is finite(can be experienced) while energy is infinite(cannot be experienced) and the universe is really a mish mash of these two. In fact E = mc squared clearly indicate that mass can be converted into energy under right condition and vice versa. There is nothing beyond that because we have reached a physical barrier beyond which God may exist or may not exist. We do not know. Science does not claim anything beyond it and so can any religion.
In my opinion the phenomenon is such that a physical barrier exists in all our knowledge beyond which nothing is possible. It is just like how much we or God try we cannot fly by developing wings. We are not designed or evolved to make it happen.
According to Hinduism , every object starts from lower organism like cockroach and ascends to human being (quite consistent with evolution) after which it becomes energy. It takes a lot of births before it can do that. I am not sure about the re-birth concept but it seems logical that we all for e.g. evolved from bacteria and then fish after rounds of evolution.
I believe though that fundamentalist on both sides are wrong and we need to respect the opinion of each other. There are believers and non-believers but then they can be friends despite the argument.

Stephen Guise

But how could I show that science can’t deal with origins? With science? Anyone who believes science is the ultimate truth guide will reject anything I say on that basis (Dzugavili and I up above is a good example. We work off of different premises – which as you mentioned are crucial – and so we can’t find common ground).

If someone accepts my premises of logic, then I have believe I have shown science can’t deal with origins by its very nature. So maybe the discussions should be about the premises, but from what premise can we argue that?

This is why these discussions are so difficult to find common ground on. We all make underlying assumptions and then try to argue that point of view with derived details.

That’s true about individuals, but in argument mass experience is never definitive truth (again, it should still be considered).

Stephen Guise

Hey Ashvini,

I’ll just say that it is draining to think and debate this much, hahaha.

You opened up a lot of new ideas in this discussion. I’ll just comment on what I can understand from what you said.

“what is in the universe ( Water, air, space, fire and Life) is also present in human”
How/where is fire present in humans?

“the fact that even plants have life is proven that means they also possess what we possess.”
Plants do not possess hearts, minds, souls, brains, etc?

“energy is infinite(cannot be experienced)”
I don’t know of a definition that meets that criteria. I use this one. “Infinite – unlimited extent of time, space, or quantity. (merriam-webster)”

“every object starts from lower organism like cockroach and ascends to human being (quite consistent with evolution) after which it becomes energy”
I don’t believe in macro-evolution, but I’d rather not start that massive sub-debate when the current one is heavy enough, ya know? 🙂

Thanks for your thoughts Ashvini! Do you believe Hinduism? You were explaining Hindu concepts, but said “even though my parents are practicing Hindus, I am not for all the religious theories about God.”

I believe though that fundamentalist on both sides are wrong and we need to respect the opinion of each other. There are believers and non-believers but then they can be friends despite the argument.

I agree! Well said.

Ashvini

Yep I agree and I don’t wish to continue this… Infact I think its not productive to have this debate 🙂 and any sub-debate.

I don’t practice Hinduism. I don’t think it is a religion at all. It is just a confluence of thoughts ( even very negative too sometimes). In fact the beauty is that no one has to follow it, if they don’t want. I don’t go to temples, don’t follow any ritual. I know the concepts because I was exposed to them in my early years.

However I find its few aspects fascinating . There are some really practical stories. For e.g. if you really want to learn frailties of humanity read “Mahabharata”. It has got nothing to do with religion just the facts how fragile individual ethics are . It is extremely long literature( 100000 verses).
There are a thousands on interpretations of individual behavior in this epic.Even you can develop your own interpretation. It is a massive story book and extremely entertaining.

Stephen Guise

I agree that much of these debates are not productive. If they are productive, it usually isn’t worth the mind-melting involved. I used to debate on forums all the time and it is no mystery why I stopped.

Two different minds will see the world in two different ways. Regardless of who is right, the wrong one will never see it in that way. So why do we do it? I guess we do it because we think there is the outside chance that an agreement will be reached.

I see. That book is crazy long (1.8 million words according to wiki)! I’m sure it would be an interesting read, but I can’t read it with the book backlog I have. Plus, it would take me forever to finish it! Have you read it? Part of it?

Ashvini

Hi Stephan,

Totally agreed!! When I met you at your blog,neither you nor I asked about our religion. I liked your thoughts and that is why I am here and I think it is same with you. So I think it does not matter.
I don’t think you have to read it full . That would be awesome if you did. You would be famous here in India hahha!!! I guess even in India only a few would have read it full.
See if you can get short stories or condensed version. But do read it when you have time. You will love the plot, sub plot and everything in there.

Ashvini

There is a TV series and a Hollywood production also but I think reading book is more fun than TV series 🙂

Stephen Guise

I don’t doubt that it’s very good. I just doubt that I’ll ever get around to it. Maybe I’ll watch the TV show. 😛

digital world

Nice points, I believe in god and always will no matter what happens. No need to scientifically prove god’s existence. Btw the comments to this post are bigger than the article itself lol:D

Stephen Guise

Well, science and God are in two different realms, so they aren’t very compatible.
🙂 Science is the study of what God created.

And yes…the comments were worth about 5 blog posts I think, haha.

Milind

Hi Stephen
Your site is attractive, sometimes difficult to understand and informative, all in one.

Scientists have a limitation, once they accept a concept they have to answer a million questions and that too with some underlying theory, which obviously they don’t have. The best way for them is to negate whatever is thrown to them. For example, in 1970 they kept a dying man in a glass enclosure and weighed. Once he died, the weight reduced by 60 grams. Though the headlines flashed “spirit weighs 60 grams” the scientists not being able to see, were among the first to negate. Even the broken glass enclosure did not elicit any proper response.

Another classic example would be the failure of NASA’s scientists evaluating river Ganges’ water: irrespective whether you store in open, closed, sealed container its quality never deteriorates for years together. They attributed to some antibodies and kept quiet.

A Guru when proceeding towards Maha-Samadhi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahasamadhi) was quizzed by his disciple for the need. The Guru replied thus “this body has finite size, and some limitations. Until I squeeze myself to miniscule size, I cannot serve millions of my followers” I believe this is quite a scientific reasoning.

Next, I want you to think “why none of our Saints ever got injured in any accident?” Is it just a coincidence, or something never reported or hidden covertly behind some rituals or smart talk? I am neither a disciple nor follow Hinduism in any exact sense, yet me and my hundreds of clients give accidents a miss (we cannot prevent accidents entering our lives though) daily. I tried contacting many religious sites/organizations but either my questions were moderated or just did not elicit any response. Finally I made a commercial site and donate 20% to charity.

I always wonder why scientists never question our origin? Till date, using synthetic chemicals, even one living cell could not be manufactured. Because “life” is something totally beyond any logic, understanding, theory or whatever. Till the scientists are able to produce life, I think we should not subscribe to their reasoning.

digital world

who said scientists never question our origin. Search for Abiogenesis in wikipedia and you will see:D “In modern, still somewhat limited understanding, the first living things on Earth are thought to be single cell prokaryotes (which lack a cell nucleus), perhaps evolved from protobionts (organic molecules surrounded by a membrane-like structure)”

Stephen Guise

Hey Milind,

Thanks for your comment. I appreciate the site compliment. 🙂

What you mentioned really is a problem with science. As it progresses, it corrects itself. And yet, it is always fiercely defended in the present. That’s what happens when something is based upon human performance – we make mistakes and don’t have all of the information.

A Guru when proceeding towards Maha-Samadhi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahasamadhi) was quizzed by his disciple for the need. The Guru replied thus “this body has finite size, and some limitations. Until I squeeze myself to miniscule size, I cannot serve millions of my followers” I believe this is quite a scientific reasoning.

I don’t see how that is scientific reasoning. His body being finite and having limitations, yes…but not the second part.

Next, I want you to think “why none of our Saints ever got injured in any accident?” Is it just a coincidence, or something never reported or hidden covertly behind some rituals or smart talk? I am neither a disciple nor follow Hinduism in any exact sense, yet me and my hundreds of clients give accidents a miss (we cannot prevent accidents entering our lives though) daily. I tried contacting many religious sites/organizations but either my questions were moderated or just did not elicit any response. Finally I made a commercial site and donate 20% to charity.

I’ll allow this endorsement, but be careful. 🙂

Stephen Guise

I would respond to that, but I fear more sub-debates. I’m ready to move on to another topic. 😀

Milind

First, thanks for your comments.
I don’t know whether you know Yoga (not the kind we read in books, though). Indian Saints often took the mahasamadhi and could concentrate their Prana or spirit in their heads, so physically all body motions ceased to exist, whereas the mind remained alert. In a documented text, Saint Gajanan Maharaj’s disciples put butter on his forehead and it started melting, almost after a couple of days of His attaining the samadhi.
What I try to elucidate here is that after attaining samadhi, body is almost not existing, his brain is independent of bodily limitations. Moreover the liberated spirit is capable of doing miracles.
Yoga Science is different and hidden for most. But it being so difficult, no one dared to learn, (that is another story).

These concepts work just because of Mantras that exist only in Sanskrit, and I think many of your readers must be aware of them. Out of the millions known mantras, I can suggest only the famous two: Gayatri mantra, which propagates maximum vibrations when chanted properly, and the Mahamrityunjaya mantra, capable of bringing life “back” to an about to die person.

Now I want to put another topic: if accident prevention is possible, why Indians can’t escape them?

The problem is we Indians love anything foreign. If this had been a foreign concept, we would have lapped it up in no time. Everything exists here, better than what the world has, yet there is no dearth of criticizers. Only after the multinationals and foreign countries adapted medicines like Turmeric, it is now gaining popularity.

Stephen Guise

Hey Milind,

I do very much enjoy Yoga, but I’m speaking of the exercise form rather than the spiritual form which I believe you’re referencing.

Overall, that was interesting, but over my head. I have no idea how to respond to that. The concepts and topics you laid out are just foreign to me. I’m sorry I can’t add anything to the discussion, but I appreciate your comment.

Dzugavili

“You keep asking for evidence of supernatural things, and we both know that’s impossible.”
No, you say it’s impossible, I say even entertaining the possibility is absurd.
However, given that I’m not the one claiming there’s a magical sky fairy, the onus is on you to prove it. And I mean prove it.
Suggestion is not fact. Never was, never will be, and thus is not logical unless both possibilities lead to the exact same outcome.

“I was using this philosophical meaning, most of which I know is auto-rejected by you.”
I reject it because philosophical and logical are not mutual. Philosophical arguments do not require reality to agree in order to have weight as a mere possibility, but reality has to agree for it to be actually true.
And since the title of this is “Something Supernatural Exists (According To Logic)”, where exists is a definitive statement that it does exist, then philosophical arguments will never be enough to validate that statement.

“1. Why are you talking about a concept here and not other places? Math is composed of logical concepts.
2. How many numbers are in an infinite series of numbers?
3. No, what you’re saying doesn’t make sense to me (i.e. #2).”
1. Math is the logical language of all things real.
2. Infinite. A finite series can also be infinite (as in, infinite members within a bound), which is just a pain, I know, but math is complex because reality is complex.
3. I noticed. The problem is that you use the literary term “infinite” and “timeless”, which don’t actually mean anything to logic or physics.

“I cited that the problem is science is limited in scope and you don’t see that as a problem.”
Limited in that since it can’t see God, it doesn’t try to include him? That seems fairly rational, ignoring things that don’t appear to exist.

Anyway, the Fox News reference is mostly in reference to their constant epithet “some people say”. When you don’t say who or what the statement is coming from, then the statement is pointless.

“Reality in your eyes is artificially constrained by natural law.”
No, reality is naturally constrained by natural law. Hence natural law.

“Any finite options are logically eliminated because… “what created the rocks?””
Then what created God?
The problem is that you can’t magically place him outside. He needs a cause too; saying he’s timeless is akin to saying he’s the world’s shortest giant, as it really doesn’t answer any questions.

Incidentally, physics is constantly throwing out arguments that time doesn’t exist at all, it’s just some trick. If time doesn’t actually exist, then every object would be timeless and the word ‘timeless’ loses even more of it’s already vague definition.

“Can you provide any possible theory for how the universe could exist under natural law?”
Right now?
Well, let’s think:

There’s basically 4 ways the universe could have come into existence and 4 continuing themes:
1. All Loving God – All loving God creates universe that wants to destroy us, so that we’ll love and worship him.
Inconsistencies: Why is the universe so hostile if he loves us? Why does he need us to love him?
2. All Hating God – All hating God creates universe that wants to destroy us, so he can consume or souls.
Inconsistencies: If the universe is a giant soul farm, then why isn’t it like our farms, where we fatten the animals up?
3. Aliens: Aliens made the universe, and probably don’t care about us at all. This could also be called deism, I suppose.
Inconsistencies: None, I suppose, except the lack of aliens.
4. Happy Accident
Inconsistencies: We all have to wonder why.

These are basically the four ways and the most logically sound are the last two, despite being rather confusing and purposeless. Logically, all of these are equally sound, but in terms of how the actual universe seems to be shaped, I’m looking at #4.

The key problem with your entire argument are your definitions of ‘timeless’ and ‘infinite’. You’re using English definitions, from a dictionary, which is incredibly subjective. Namely, you defined God as infinite without actually proving he has to be.

It is entirely possible that God killed himself to make the universe and no longer exists. I would like to see your argument against this theory.

Dzugavili

“If someone accepts my premises of logic, then I have believe I have shown science can’t deal with origins by its very nature. So maybe the discussions should be about the premises, but from what premise can we argue that?”
The problem is that accepting premises is not enough; you have to prove them. Accepting a premise makes it a possibility that has to be investigated further; the point of a logical theorem is to prove the premises right or wrong, not to continue to say “it could go either way”.

Namely, I can use the premise “the sky on Earth is usually red” to go on to prove a variety of things, but since premise is wrong, everything I proved is also wrong.
As such, using an unproven [unprovable] premise gives you unproven [unprovable] proofs, which as you might expect are completely pointless [and not worth bringing up when dealing with facts (see: logic)].

Dzugavili

“I always wonder why scientists never question our origin? Till date, using synthetic chemicals, even one living cell could not be manufactured.”
False: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_cell

The cell was primitive, but it’s a cell.

Dzugavili

Supplemental:
Yes, I know it’s Wikipedia, but I remember the article a few years back when he announced he managed to make artificial blood.

The fact that the technology is primitive is no surprise: we’ve known about DNA for less than 50 years, nanotechnology even shorter, so the fact that we hadn’t done it is no surprise.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703559004575256470152341984.html
This is the first artificial organism with DNA, as far as I am aware. Chang’s work is incredibly basic in comparison.

Stephen Guise

“However, given that I’m not the one claiming there’s a magical sky fairy, the onus is on you to prove it. And I mean prove it.
Suggestion is not fact. Never was, never will be, and thus is not logical unless both possibilities lead to the exact same outcome.”
Again, you can’t prove the cow exists by looking at the cow’s milk, you can only know that the milk is not eternal and got there somehow.

I reject it because philosophical and logical are not mutual. Philosophical arguments do not require reality to agree in order to have weight as a mere possibility, reality has to agree for it to be actually true.
And since the title of this is “Something Supernatural Exists (According To Logic)”, where exists is a definitive statement that it does exist, then philosophical arguments will never be enough to validate that statement.

Again, we’re arguing on two different premises here. Mine is that logical philosophy is a viable means of drawing conclusions about reality and yours is “what you see is what you get.” I would be interested in your response to the cow analogy I brought up.

It is futile to discuss the supernatural with you because you aren’t at the point where you will consider it. By its nature it breaks natural law, which is the only thing you believe in because it is all you know. In order to step outside of that, you’d have to consider the philosophical.

There’s basically 4 ways the universe could have come into existence and 4 continuing themes:
1. All Loving God – All loving God creates universe that wants to destroy us, so that we’ll love and worship him.
Inconsistencies: Why is the universe so hostile if he loves us? Why does he need us to love him?
2. All Hating God – All hating God creates universe that wants to destroy us, so he can consume or souls.
Inconsistencies: If the universe is a giant soul farm, then why isn’t it like our farms, where we fatten the animals up?
3. Aliens: Aliens made the universe, and probably don’t care about us at all. This could also be called deism, I suppose.
Inconsistencies: None, I suppose, except the lack of aliens.
4. Happy Accident
Inconsistencies: We all have to wonder why.

These are basically the four ways and the most logically sound are the last two, despite being rather confusing and purposeless. Logically, all of these are equally sound, but in terms of how the actual universe seems to be shaped, I’m looking at #4.

This is the entire argument right here. You have no basis other than possible emotional/ethical issues with “religion” to say that #4 is more likely. Number 3-4 are problematic because they create an infinite regression.

1-2 inconsistencies: You can’t use moral arguments to disprove a moral law giver, because in order to do that, you are saying “if He exists…” and if He exists, he created the moral law. Also, His ideas and our ideas of morality are likely very different. I know you won’t like this answer, but it is logical. Also, I’m not arguing for the Christian God (faith), but for the supernatural (logic).

You say who created God, but that isn’t my problem because I accept the supernatural. It is accepting an infinite regression theory that is problematic. You know it is irrational to do so, but you can’t accept the alternative. I’ll go ahead and ask you – do you believe infinite regression is a reasonable theory?

The key problem with your entire argument are your definitions of ‘timeless’ and ‘infinite’. You’re using English definitions, from a dictionary, which is incredibly subjective. Namely, you defined God as infinite without actually proving he has to be.

It is entirely possible that God killed himself to make the universe and no longer exists. I would like to see your argument against this theory.

I agree that language is extremely limiting for this. I’ll say that what I’ve been meaning by those the whole time is “beginningless and endless”…I think that is more descriptive. Again, I’m not really arguing for a God here…but that something *without beginning* started it all (and that is supernatural by the English definition – but it is the language I speak).

The question with that is…How can a metaphysical thing die? What kills a spirit? If you say an eternal being exists, death would have to be reasoned for since “life” (probably not an accurate term) is the default and endless state otherwise.

Stephen Guise

My premise is that “the supernatural is possible” and I support that with science and logic. To disagree with that premise that something is possible (and you do) makes discussing it meaningless. Again, it’s the cow’s milk and the cow…if we’re only considering the milk and not where it came from, then of course the cow seems unreasonable. You’re boxing yourself in and so you’re forced to accept infinite regression (which is not good… see: logic).

Stephen Guise

Wow, that is pretty incredible! Thanks for sharing that Dzugavili.

Dzugavili

“Again, you can’t prove the cow exists by looking at the cow’s milk, you can only know that the milk is not eternal and got there somehow.”
Yes, you can. The cow’s milk is different from any other kind of milk; by observing the milk, you can tell where it came from.
It’s a regularly recognized fact of physics and math that if you know enough information about the current state, you can generate prior states using *shock* natural law.
You can also generate future states, but probabilistically and not deterministically like the past.

“Mine is that logical philosophy is a viable means of drawing conclusions about reality and yours is “what you see is what you get.” I would be interested in your response to the cow analogy I brought up.”
And as I’ve stated, philosophical logic can be entirely valid, but still be entirely wrong. Reality, on the other hand, doesn’t suffer this issue; what is real is real.

“Number 3-4 are problematic because they create an infinite regression.”
Number 4 doesn’t necessarily, but I’ll give you that number 3 introduces more questions. And I admitted that, but the questions raised are more interesting and relevant.
However, I could just state that if the universe didn’t exist, nothing would and then all physics is moot and incredibly more confusing, since the universe seems to be a universal constant.

“The question with that is…How can a metaphysical thing die? What kills a spirit? If you say an eternal being exists, death would have to be reasoned for since “life” (probably not an accurate term) is the default and endless state otherwise.”
First off, I never said he had to be eternal, that was your requirement; I’ll address this below.
But I don’t actually have to answer that, in the same sense that for some reason, you don’t have to explain ‘timelessness’ or ‘infiniteness’ of God, you just have to suggest them as premises and start the logic rolling. Because we’re debating philosophy and not reality, we don’t have to produce systems that are entirely logically consistent before we start trying to prove them right.
But, I’ll assume God is omnipotent and could end his existence should he wish.

Your uneasiness on this is based on our differing requirements for God in the creation of the universe; I call God whatever made the universe and end my list of requisites right there. You include the demand that he must be eternal, which I don’t think has an logical bearing on the outcome; if God were an omnipotent, omniscient creature, then his eternalness is irrelevant as he could predict the outcomes of his non-existence before pulling the trigger.

Mind you, I think the argument that God killed himself to make the universe is a little silly, but the point is that it’s actually no less valid (possibly more valid, given less unprovable constraints) than your theory.
Namely, I can’t see any reason that God has to be eternal, especially since the universe has a logical rule set that would allow predictions to be made far, far in advance.

Dzugavili

“My premise is that “the supernatural is possible” and I support that with science and logic.”
You didn’t use a speck of science, you took some of science’s conclusions and twisted them around a God-stick, using English dictionary definitions instead of scientific terms.
Do not consider what you did science. Your ‘experiment’ into the supernatural is no more valid than the ancient Greeks who thought centrifugal force (the sensation that an object on the end of a rope is experiencing force perpendicular to its tangent) was a real force; they used logic to ‘prove’ it, but never actually swung the stone. Had they, they would have seen their argument fall apart.

Stephen Guise

Yes, you can. The cow’s milk is different from any other kind of milk; by observing the milk, you can tell where it came from.
It’s a regularly recognized fact of physics and math that if you know enough information about the current state, you can generate prior states using *shock* natural law.
You can also generate future states, but probabilistically and not deterministically like the past.

You believe that by studying milk *without prior knowledge of the existence of cows*…that you could reverse engineer the idea of a cow from its byproduct? I’m guessing that you misunderstood the question because I left out the lack of knowledge of cows in the analogy this time (to make it consistent with the universe/God comparison). Also, I just realized this analogy isn’t perfect because you could say you’d look at other milk-producing mammals…but that luxury would not be present.

And as I’ve stated, philosophical logic can be entirely valid, but still be entirely wrong. Reality, on the other hand, doesn’t suffer this issue; what is real is real.

Without philosophical logic, we cannot consider the existence of our universe. An example of philosophical logic being valid, yet wrong would be appreciated.

Number 4 doesn’t necessarily…However, I could just state that if the universe didn’t exist, nothing would and then all physics is moot and incredibly more confusing, since the universe seems to be a universal constant.

It does if it fails to provide a sourceless source.

So you’re saying that if the universe didn’t exist at some point, our basis for understanding it would collapse upon itself? That seems quite supernatural to me. I’m wondering what your conclusion is from your hypothetical.

First off, I never said he had to be eternal, that was your requirement; I’ll address this below.
But I don’t actually have to answer that, in the same sense that for some reason, you don’t have to explain ‘timelessness’ or ‘infiniteness’ of God, you just have to suggest them as premises and start the logic rolling. Because we’re debating philosophy and not reality, we don’t have to produce systems that are entirely logically consistent before we start trying to prove them right.
But, I’ll assume God is omnipotent and could end his existence should he wish.

Definitions I’m using: Having a cause = finite and not having a cause = infinite/eternal.

How could “god” could be finite? That would leave the infinite regression problem and is no better than “the universe came from nothing by nothing.” I’m wondering though, do you have a problem accepting “from nothing by nothing”? Before you answer, consider that it would be a supernatural event according to my English dictionary definition, lol. I am open to other languages/definitions, but keep in mind my entire argument is based upon this particular definition…I can’t cater to all definitions at once.

“I call God whatever made the universe and end my list of requisites right there. You include the demand that he must be eternal, which I don’t think has an logical bearing on the outcome; if God were an omnipotent, omniscient creature, then his eternalness is irrelevant as he could predict the outcomes of his non-existence before pulling the trigger.”

If he isn’t eternal, then we must ask “who created him?” He/it/something must be eternal to answer the problem of infinite regression. Anything that solves this dilemma by being eternal is unlike anything we know, understand, or observe (natural law), and therefore is supernatural.

I’m going to jump the gun and assume you’ll ask why something must resolve the infinite regression problem. Well, a string of finite “things” needs a causeless starter. It is beyond any science or logic if this is not resolved (meaning the answer is supernatural with or without regression being resolved).

I just want to remind you that I’m not arguing for God’s existence, but the existence of the supernatural. One step at a time.

Stephen Guise

I’m sure I used at least a speck – that’s a very small amount. 🙂 “Using science’s conclusions” is also known as “using science” in an argument. I still don’t get your issue with English dictionary definitions. Is it the wrong language? Unreliable definitions? Merriam-Webster has a strong reputation, but I suppose word meanings are not objectively concrete.

Still, I don’t know what you’d expect when we are debating in English.

You didn’t like the way I used science, but that is to be addressed on a case-by-case basis and not a vague blanket claim of “you didn’t use a speck.” I realize you were responding to me claiming use of science, so your response was fair in that regard, but I still want to clarify that.

You’re mostly right though, because science can’t go beyond the big bang and leaves us hanging. That isn’t to insult the practice science, it is just outside of what science does. It’s where we must put on our philosophical and logical hats.

Dzugavili

Your blog system has limitations, I’ll have to start a new thread:

“You believe that by studying milk *without prior knowledge of the existence of cows*…that you could reverse engineer the idea of a cow from its byproduct?”
Yes, you can. The proteins and contents of milk are incredibly unique, and without a doubt contain DNA and biological markers for a cow.
This is what science is; it’s not guesswork, it’s a logical regression.

“Without philosophical logic, we cannot consider the existence of our universe. An example of philosophical logic being valid, yet wrong would be appreciated.”
On what basis can we not consider the existence of our universe in purely scientific terms? The only person who seems to argue that philosophy is required are the philosophers, who would be out of a job.

“So you’re saying that if the universe didn’t exist at some point, our basis for understanding it would collapse upon itself?”
At the moment that the universe collapses in on itself, everything we understand about it will collapse with it.
We see the beginnings of this when we study blackholes, which don’t act like our normal everyday universe.

“That seems quite supernatural to me.”
Yes. To you. But to me, it’s science.

“Definitions I’m using: Having a cause = finite and not having a cause = infinite/eternal.”
And I’m arguing that your constraints and definitions are unnecessary and force you down a certain road of logic. I’ve argued this whole time that your definitions railroad your logic to auto-acceptance, but the problem is that your definitions are not compatible with the definitions used for observations you (we, the scientists, etc) make of the universe.
Namely, because philosophy and science are two different languages and you can’t overlap them because science is the study of reality, while philosophy is the study of mere possibility. The two deal with separate fields, where one of them is entirely in your head and the other doesn’t disappear when you close your eyes and pray.

“If he isn’t eternal, then we must ask “who created him?””
Only by your definitions do you demand that things must have both beginnings and ends. We don’t require this constraint to put forward the argument that God killed himself to make the universe — it’s no less problematic.

“I’m going to jump the gun and assume you’ll ask why something must resolve the infinite regression problem. Well, a string of finite “things” needs a causeless starter. It is beyond any science or logic if this is not resolved (meaning the answer is supernatural with or without regression being resolved).”
This is called the Cosmological Argument. It’s widely recognized as the most over-used argument.
If time is cyclical, there is no beginning and no end to anything. This puts an end to this; God kills himself and is reformed at the end of the universe, just like everyone else.
Infinite, within bounds.

“I just want to remind you that I’m not arguing for God’s existence, but the existence of the supernatural. One step at a time.”
Except your argument for the supernatural has been based on the need for an infinite powerful figure to create the universe, who would seem to be by all definitions a god.
If you want to argue for the supernatural, start with vampires, werewolves and leprechauns.

Stephen Guise

Sorry about the blog limit (wordpress allows 10 nested comments max)

Yes, you can. The proteins and contents of milk are incredibly unique, and without a doubt contain DNA and biological markers for a cow.
This is what science is; it’s not guesswork, it’s a logical regression.

I’m realizing this is a poor analogy. For one, you would actually be part of the milk, lol. You would not be able to study it from the outside to fully grasp it. Another is that a cow is empirical and God is not. Analogy fail on my part.

On what basis can we not consider the existence of our universe in purely scientific terms? The only person who seems to argue that philosophy is required are the philosophers, who would be out of a job.

What can science tell us about events prior to the big bang? Nothing. Or if something, what can it tell us about events prior to that? The infinite regression (an issue we agree on I hope) renders science useless for answers since it can’t explain an initial cause – which is required to resolve the infinite regress. An initial cause can’t be scientific because an initial cause must be eternal. It must be eternal or else it won’t resolve the infinite regress problem. And the infinite regress problem must be resolved to explain our existence.

“science is the study of reality, while philosophy is the study of mere possibility. ”
Exactly. They don’t need to overlap either. Science takes us to the edge of reality (origin of the universe) and then we can only ask “what is possible here?”

Only by your definitions do you demand that things must have both beginnings and ends. We don’t require this constraint to put forward the argument that God killed himself to make the universe — it’s no less problematic.

No less problematic? Something being there forever in *one* direction is a contradiction (infinity extends in both directions). This isn’t a matter of definition, but of logic. Saying that God killed himself to make the universe puts a timestamp on him. You can’t do that because he is infinite (both directions going outward at the same time). The reason that no definition exists for what you’re saying is because it is a completely self-contradicting theory. If God were to die, he would never have existed. It’s irrational.

This is called the Cosmological Argument. It’s widely recognized as the most over-used argument.
If time is cyclical, there is no beginning and no end to anything. This puts an end to this; God kills himself and is reformed at the end of the universe, just like everyone else.
Infinite, within bounds.

Bulletproof arguments are used very often.

1. Assuming time is cyclical is based on… ?
2. I explained why God could not kill Himself if he was infinite (and he or something else must be infinite – yes, that EXACT definition – to remove the infinite regression).
3. Who/what reforms him if he does not exist? (i.e. after He kills himself which is impossible because he couldn’t die unless he was finite in which case we would ask who created him? You stepped right back in to the infinite regression and the cosmological argument still stands.

Except your argument for the supernatural has been based on the need for an infinite powerful figure to create the universe, who would seem to be by all definitions a god.
If you want to argue for the supernatural, start with vampires, werewolves and leprechauns.

Other viable options (both supernatural):
1. Universe comes into existence from nothing with no catalyst
2. Anything else that is an infinite first cause

EDIT: Forgot one…

At the moment that the universe collapses in on itself, everything we understand about it will collapse with it.
We see the beginnings of this when we study blackholes, which don’t act like our normal everyday universe.

1. “normal everyday universe” doesn’t mean anything as black holes are inside the normal everyday universe.
2. The universe not existing at some point does nothing to hurt my argument, but demolishes yours because you won’t leave science behind to consider other options. My argument is not dependent on anything except the knowledge that there is a universe and that it started – which the big bang implies.

Dzugavili

“For one, you would actually be part of the milk, lol.”
I can’t even fathom where this came from; it’s either an incredibly subtle argument that people are much like milk, in that they contain the same basic components, or it’s an absolute non sequiter.
Either way, I’m not sure what to say about it.

“What can science tell us about events prior to the big bang? Nothing.”
http://www.universetoday.com/79750/penrose-wmap-shows-evidence-of-%E2%80%98activity%E2%80%99-before-big-bang/
http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/arxiv/26132/
Science is working on it.

“The infinite regression (an issue we agree on I hope) renders science useless for answers since it can’t explain an initial cause – which is required to resolve the infinite regress.”
No, the infinite regression is an issue that has to be solved; there has so far been no problem we are completely unable to solve, the issue so far has been timescale.
If time is effectively cyclical by the recycling of a Big Crunch into a Big Bang and the energy in the universe is a constant, then there is no problem.
Discussions of where this energy came from is pointless because we’re not at the stage to make that conjecture. Any points we raise during the process of discussion are meaningless, including our notions of the supernatural.

“Exactly. They don’t need to overlap either. Science takes us to the edge of reality (origin of the universe) and then we can only ask “what is possible here?””
Except that’s what science does. Because philosophers have absolutely no idea what’s possible in places that they don’t know exist. At all. To make conjectures based on no evidence is the complete inverse of logic.

“You can’t do that because he is infinite (both directions going outward at the same time).”
No, you say I can’t do that because you say he’s infinite.
I challenge that statement. There is absolutely no requirement for an infinite God, beyond your objections.

“1. Assuming time is cyclical is based on… ?”
Big Crunch recycling into Big Bang would effectively start time over again. What causes the singularity to destablize and form the universe is likely mathematical in nature, and complex math that I don’t think we’ll live to see, and is reflected in the constants of the universe as we see it.
But supernaturally complex? No.

“2. I explained why God could not kill Himself if he was infinite (and he or something else must be infinite – yes, that EXACT definition – to remove the infinite regression).”
So, you don’t think it’s reasonable that God used his own metaphysical body to make the universe, thus at least temporarily ending his own existence? This is a completely absurd idea?
Wow. That’s pretty much been the creation myth for every pre-Christian society, and then pretty much every world religion thereafter.

I suppose you also believe that multiple gods are completely unreasonable as well?

“Other viable options (both supernatural):
1. Universe comes into existence from nothing with no catalyst
2. Anything else that is an infinite first cause”
Neither of these is supernatural, they are merely not understood. I’m sure relativistic time dilation is considered supernatural under the Newtonian model of physics, but there’s a reason we don’t use that for anything other than basic, near Earth physics; it’s incomplete, but it is the approximation of what we understood.
The point is that your definition of supernatural is literally the God of the Gaps.

Dzugavili

““Using science’s conclusions” is also known as “using science” in an argument.”
No, it’s not. When you use science’s conclusions, then pair them with nonsense words like “timeless” and “infinity”, then you’re performing intellectual fraud, as you attempt to tie to concepts together with effectively absolute nothing.
If it’s not considered fraud, then it’s considered misleading.

“Merriam-Webster has a strong reputation, but I suppose word meanings are not objectively concrete.”
Merriam-Webster is completely irrelevant. It is actually a fallacy to consider them an authority; the Appeal to Authority is a logical fallacy that is frequently fallen into by people who use books.

“You’re mostly right though, because science can’t go beyond the big bang and leaves us hanging.”
Read my other bit, I addressed this, because it does.

Stephen Guise

Look, here is the deal. The supernatural is my explanation and “science is working on it” is yours.

You said yourself that science has no answer “yet” (it never will because of the nature of the question, but I’m sure you don’t buy that). I believe that the questions require a supernatural answer based on their nature – not because science can’t explain them (God of the gaps – which is not a “trump card” anyways).

“To make conjectures based on no evidence is the complete inverse of logic.”
To derive that empirical evidence is all there is to consider based solely on empirical evidence is the perfect definition of circular logic (invalid, as you know).

“Big Crunch recycling into Big Bang, etc…”
Whatever theory science holds, just wrap it all together and ask yourself where it came from. You say it might be cyclical – how did the cycle start? What part happened first? For that first part, where did that come from? If it all existed simultaneously, what caused it as a whole?

That is weak and doesn’t answer any meaningful questions. Cycles have causes – and that is a giant hole in such a promising escape route. Here we are at infinite regression again.

So, you don’t think it’s reasonable that God used his own metaphysical body to make the universe, thus at least temporarily ending his own existence? This is a completely absurd idea?
Wow. That’s pretty much been the creation myth for every pre-Christian society, and then pretty much every world religion thereafter.

You need to define what definition of “God” you’re talking about first. Yes, your idea is absurd if this God is infinite by that frustratingly precise definition (which is the only one that will EVER satisfy the infinite regression). If God is anything else but that definition – then there is no reason to talk about it because he wasn’t the initial cause.

And wow, careful about the genetic fallacy. There is only one atheist I’ve listened to in a debate that didn’t rely on the genetic fallacy (Slezak/Lane). You’ve done a great job at avoiding it until this point.

“I suppose you also believe that multiple gods are completely unreasonable as well?”
No, that isn’t unreasonable (as long as they are infinite – i.e. beginningless and endless).

Neither of these is supernatural, they are merely not understood. I’m sure relativistic time dilation is considered supernatural under the Newtonian model of physics, but there’s a reason we don’t use that for anything other than basic, near Earth physics; it’s incomplete, but it is the approximation of what we understood.
The point is that your definition of supernatural is literally the God of the Gaps.

Don’t you see your hypocrisy here? You’re creating “science is working on it of the gaps”. Science will never know these things because they are outside of science.

I really don’t see much point in continuing this debate for the reasons stated, so maybe we should wrap it up? We understand each other’s point of view and simply disagree, which is fine.

Dzugavili

“(it never will because of the nature of the question, but I’m sure you don’t buy that)”
I don’t buy it because there’s absolutely nothing to suggest there is. Every single argument ever made for the existence of the supernatural has come crashing down on its head when asked to make a comment about the real world.

“To derive that empirical evidence is all there is to consider based solely on empirical evidence is the perfect definition of circular logic (invalid, as you know).”
We know it’s there due to cause and effect, the same chain you use to demand there’s a god.
If it happened, there is evidence of it happening.

“Whatever theory science holds, just wrap it all together and ask yourself where it came from.”
A universe without energy isn’t a universe at all.
Asking about universes without an energy is asking for square circles.

“Don’t you see your hypocrisy here? You’re creating “science is working on it of the gaps”. Science will never know these things because they are outside of science.”
That is exactly the God of the Gaps, all over again.

“And wow, careful about the genetic fallacy.”
The problem is that if tomorrow, we proved there was a God, I’d read the paper and be forced to accept the proof.
If we proved otherwise, you’d still be writing this blog.

I don’t base this observation on nothing. I base it on your pre-defined supernatural figure. He’s oddly familiar, given there’s no way he could be an all-hating god, despite…well, everything.

“If God is anything else but that definition – then there is no reason to talk about it because he wasn’t the initial cause.”
And there we go.

Stephen Guise

Science is not an exclusive member’s club and this isn’t science vs. God (like you would like it to be). I believe in science and I recognize its limits. You refuse to recognize any limit or fault in science.

I am free to combine any number of principles, arguments, etc. It’s just that you only believe that one of them is valid and can’t stand to see it paired with “false” ones (though you have ventured outside of it in discussion just to humor me I suppose).

I’ll tell you why M-W is very relevant – it’s because we started this out talking about math when that was irrelevant to the discussion. If we both say the same word and mean two different things, then what the heck is the point? Dictionaries/definitions help us to define what we’re talking about. If you have a different definition you’re working off of, then you need to let the other person know.

Stephen Guise

“I don’t buy it because there’s absolutely nothing to suggest there is. Every single argument ever made for the existence of the supernatural has come crashing down on its head when asked to make a comment about the real world.”
Supernatural = not inside the “real world” (which I understand as a more derogatory form of the more accurate term “empirical world”) and intermingled with science.

“We know it’s there due to cause and effect, the same chain you use to demand there’s a god.
If it happened, there is evidence of it happening.”
Key words in my statement were “all there is”… evidence seems awfully vague at this stage. I assume you mean empirical evidence, and thus excluding anything supernatural without consideration.

“A universe without energy isn’t a universe at all.
Asking about universes without an energy is asking for square circles.”
I’m not talking about universes excluding energy, I’m talking about the whole package.

“That is exactly the God of the Gaps, all over again.”
God isn’t only visible in the gaps. You just won’t see him elsewhere (or in the gaps, but there is a better chance of that). This supposed fallacy is hilarious because it says, “if science has no an answer (due to blatant conflict with its principles), no other explanation is valid until we find a way to twist this in Naturalism’s favor.” That is very convenient…oh, and illogical.

The problem is that if tomorrow, we proved there was a God, I’d read the paper and be forced to accept the proof.
If we proved otherwise, you’d still be writing this blog.

What is the scientific evidence you have for saying that? God will never be proven or dis-proven. I don’t know how you imagine that could happen either way. Your point isn’t grounded by anything except negative emotions towards the concept of God.

I don’t base this observation on nothing. I base it on your pre-defined supernatural figure. He’s oddly familiar, given there’s no way he could be an all-hating god, despite…well, everything.

“If God is anything else but that definition – then there is no reason to talk about it because he wasn’t the initial cause.”
And there we go.

You keep going back to my personal belief in God when I’ve said 2-3 times I’ve been trying to talk about the supernatural.

The moral argument against God is self-defeating, besides the fact that
I’m not talking about the Christian God or even a god at all. Either way, I’m sorry your view of the world is so negative that an all-hating God is even a possibility. I have a much more positive view of the world, despite the incredible evil in it (and you can’t believe in objective evil if you’re a naturalist…I bet that’s tough).

Farhan

Hi Stephen and Hugo,

Einstein used to believe in God when he was a child but when he went to college and found the disparity between his religious teachings and science he became an atheist. Its a myth he believed in God.

“I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it. ” – Albert Einstein, 1954

Secondly Einstein had little to do with the laws of Thermodynamics – virtually nothing. The laws of Thermodynamics were developed long before Einstein was born.

“….it makes sense to me that our system of order, laws, and life was created…”

This “order” and “laws” break apart in the atomic and sub atomic world. Nature is no longer ordered in that scale. It becomes chaotic. Laws turn into probabilities – into blind chance. Refer to Quantum Mechanics or Statistical Physics.

I’m sorry but this article wasn’t well researched and is much below the quality of your other articles – especially the ones that were hosted on Problogger.

Stephen Guise

Hi Farhan,

Just because you disagree with the article does not mean it is of low quality or poorly researched. I know that Einstein did not believe in a personal God (I did not say he did), but he was certainly not pantheist or athiest either. He did not believe in God on the basis of the suffering in the world.

“In view of such harmony in the cosmos which I, with my limited human mind, am able to recognize, there are yet people who say there is no God. But what really makes me angry is that they quote me for the support of such views.”

“I’m not an atheist and I don’t think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangements of the books, but doesn’t know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God.” (sources found here

~ Albert Einstein

I see I was mistaken about Einstein and thermodynamics (which is nice to know, thank you), but that fact is irrelevant to the argument.

This “order” and “laws” break apart in the atomic and sub atomic world. Nature is no longer ordered in that scale. It becomes chaotic. Laws turn into probabilities – into blind chance. Refer to Quantum Mechanics or Statistical Physics.

Regardless of what happens on the atomic scale, my statement still stands by fact of simple observation of the orderly world with orderly natural laws. You don’t need to look at sub-atomic structure to see a great number of systems working together. If they work via chaos underneath, that’s interesting but so what? What’s your big point there? The mechanics don’t determine the validity of established results.

I’m looking at the universe as a whole and you’re trying to get me to look at atoms when it isn’t relevant. Regardless of how an ice cream cone is formed, it remains an ice cream cone. Regardless of how orderly laws and systems are formed, they remain orderly on this level of observation (the one that actually means something).

Like Einstein implied, the subatomic world is just another set of languages. I have no problem with that. And your argument of “since it is made from chaos, it isn’t orderly” is completely ignoring the blatant order that you see every day in nature.

Ross

Hey Stephen, in reference to your earlier reply,

I’ve been thinking about this kind of thing for a while. The fact is, both sides are circular. Naturalism would argue that natural law is all we have and so the universe follows along those lines. Supernaturalism, however, argues that the supernatural caused the universe to come into being because it could not naturally create itself. So of course your underlying beliefs are what will dictate what you are convinced by. So to call my belief circular is really not proving anything. It reminds me of what a relativist philosopher argued, that much philosophical argument is pointless, as people are not really challenging their basic beliefs in discussion. They are not discussing the basis of their belief, just the products of said beliefs.
You argue that I fall into the trap of ‘ad infinitum’ with causation, that something has to cause something etc. I suppose you prove my point that people think in terms of direct causation. However, prove to me that the energy and matter has not always been there? Just because we cannot get our heads around it does not mean that it is not the case (see here: nature of god being apparently un-understandable). This is what I originally argued. Matter is potentially eternal without any need of the supernatural.
As for quantum physics, for a moment there I think you actually denied the existence of quantum mechanics. Whichever way, you do not understand it. As a quick outline, the universe seems to operate in two areas: atomic and larger, and sub-atomic. Now sub-atomic is really interesting, as it seems to follow a different set of rules to matter that is consisted of atoms. This realm exists. If you do not believe in it you are simply submitting to willful ignorance. And at the sub-atomic level, events seem to sometimes happen before they’re caused. Now what I am arguing, is that if the universe operates differently at these different levels, then who is to say that it would not potentially operate differently when it was a singularity or whatever? Science obviously does not always provide the answers, but it can ground theories and ideas in reality and make them more convincing. I know you cannot prove definitively a scientific theory, but you cannot definitively prove your hand is in front of your face, so you know.

Stephen Guise

Hi Ross,

First I want to say thank you for your reasonable response. Like you said, we’re still operating upon different assumptions, but other than those assumptions, I think we actually see logic in a similar way (even if I did make some science errors, it doesn’t mean I’m not logical). Rather, I am proud to admit my mistakes (coming up in this response) because never doing so means that you’re not reasonable – as everyone is incorrect sometimes.

I’ve been thinking about this kind of thing for a while. The fact is, both sides are circular. Naturalism would argue that natural law is all we have and so the universe follows along those lines. Supernaturalism, however, argues that the supernatural caused the universe to come into being because it could not naturally create itself. So of course your underlying beliefs are what will dictate what you are convinced by. So to call my belief circular is really not proving anything. It reminds me of what a relativist philosopher argued, that much philosophical argument is pointless, as people are not really challenging their basic beliefs in discussion. They are not discussing the basis of their belief, just the products of said beliefs.
You argue that I fall into the trap of ‘ad infinitum’ with causation, that something has to cause something etc. I suppose you prove my point that people think in terms of direct causation. However, prove to me that the energy and matter has not always been there?

I have to agree with you here that both sides are circular based on our initial assumptions. I prefer the supernatural side of things as it stems from the belief that our existence is not self-producing from nothing (a very reasonable view from my perspective that is based on all possibilities), whereas Naturalism rejects the supernatural as an option based upon its own ideas.

I do think and believe in direct causation – that’s all I see, experience, and it makes sense in my mind. I suppose that is another assumption of mine, but how could you experience it every day and believe the opposite?

Quantum physics is a different world and I don’t give as much weight to it as my perception/experience. Frankly, I trust myself more than other people doing things and claiming things. My beliefs don’t require a significant understanding of science (not why I chose them – see above).

If it is really is so different from the atomic level, how can physicists assume their methods are compatible with that environment? I’d like to hear your response to this.

Matter is potentially eternal without any need of the supernatural.

I simply reject that notion because I think outside of matter. I also think that eternal matter is supernatural by definition (can’t be measured or comprehended). You can’t prove it and I can’t disprove it.

Now what I am arguing, is that if the universe operates differently at these different levels, then who is to say that it would not potentially operate differently when it was a singularity or whatever?

First of all, I don’t accept all science as fact. I know that makes me an idiot in most eyes, but I don’t give a %#$@ about what the majority opinion is. Science is not truth. It has too poor a track record for me to accept it as a bundle.

That said, I do believe most of it. And that said, not all science is equal. How do you know that quantum physicists are being honest and have ZERO personal agenda? And if evolution were to be disproved tomorrow, can you imagine the billions of dollars that would cost? So many books would cease to be useful. To believe science is 100% objective and true all of the time is not rational.

In the case of quantum physics, I know little about it and do not grasp it fully (as you said). What happens at that level isn’t relevant based on my initial assumption which will not change just as yours won’t.

I know you cannot prove definitively a scientific theory, but you cannot definitively prove your hand is in front of your face, so you know.

You can prove your hand is in front of your face to someone who accepts visual evidence as 100% valid. In that case you would have the same terms and a foundation to work off of. The problem with Naturalists and Theists talking is that their premises are contradictory before they utter a single word.

I tried to write this article on what I thought would be a shared premise by naturalists (causal mindset). I honestly thought this was common sense and a universally shared view (as it is all we see happening in our lives – which means more to me than a physicists claim of what he thinks he saw under a microscope). It seems that I was wrong about that assumed premise. I still believe my logic is pretty airtight for anyone who accepts the cause/effect order of things – and that is enough for me.

Dzugavili

“Supernatural = not inside the “real world” (which I understand as a more derogatory form of the more accurate term “empirical world”) and intermingled with science.”
Meaningless. Outside the real world isn’t real, by definition.

What is not real is false. This is a logical statement, not an opinion. And I assumed we were trying to make a logical argument.

“I assume you mean empirical evidence, and thus excluding anything supernatural without consideration.”
No evidence of supernatural means there’s no consideration, only conjecture. Conjecture is not important to reality (as in, all that is real, within this universe or outside, I mean everything) until you draw conclusions and rigorously test them.

“God isn’t only visible in the gaps.”
The god of the gaps is a term invented by an Evangelist to describe trying to insert doctrine into the gaps in scientific knowledge; namely, saying something is indescribable in scientific terms. He was explicitly warning against trying to use logical arguments when dealing with gods. He was a wise man, for an Evangelist — I cannot for the life of me understand most of the behaviors of a “Charismatic” church, so it’s nice to see one who doesn’t seem to be a raving lunatic.
The problem is that it keeps happening: between Aztecs cutting out hearts, to Evangelists showing up in Africa expecting speaking in tongues to work out, there’s a long history of “supernatural” reasoning getting chucked out by the reality of the situation.
I’m merely demanding that reality-checks be made before making statements like “the supernatural exists”. It might, and that’s as valid as the argument gets at this point.

“What is the scientific evidence you have for saying that? God will never be proven or dis-proven.”
Various religions tend to have apocalyptic scenarios. Should one of those go down, I’m fairly certain God would be proved, in one way or the other.
If something cannot be proven or disproven, it’s not a logical statement, it’s just a logical theorem waiting for a solution, like all those other proofs we’ve been waiting on. Possibility never implies reality.

You yourself have stated that he can’t be proven right or wrong; thus you’d ignore the proof and continue to believe he might be there.
Meanwhile, I can provide a lengthy list of events that would be enough to persuade me. Problem is that we don’t live in the Biblical times when he apparently still did things.

“You keep going back to my personal belief in God when I’ve said 2-3 times I’ve been trying to talk about the supernatural.”
I have to. Your supernatural is purely a god figure and there’s really only one monotheist god out there.
Plus, the belief is only personal. No one else has that relationship with god but you (you see this as because god is some loving, super powerful creature who opts to commune with you for some unknown reason; I see the relationship as invented). There’s no outwards signs of it, despite the constant rhetoric to that effect.
I mean honestly, how can one talk about the supernatural and not bring up their own personal view on the gods? That’s pretty much the only thing in an argument with the supernatural, since we apparently can’t bring science into the mix, except to support some trivial notions of infinity and whatnot.

“The moral argument against God is self-defeating, besides the fact that I’m not talking about the Christian God or even a god at all.”
You demand the existence of the supernatural to create the universe; I really, really, really, really don’t see how we’re not talking about a god.

Anyway, the moral argument is merely to propose that there’s no explicit constraint against an evil god. It’s just an interesting twist on things.

“I have a much more positive view of the world, despite the incredible evil in it”
Well, I don’t know about that. I’m definitely more indifferent.

“and you can’t believe in objective evil if you’re a naturalist…I bet that’s tough”
Not…really? Shades of gray seem to be more consistent.
Besides that, I probably don’t have the same definition of evil as you.

Dzugavili

“Quantum physics is a different world and I don’t give as much weight to it as my perception/experience. Frankly, I trust myself more than other people doing things and claiming things. My beliefs don’t require a significant understanding of science (not why I chose them – see above).”
I can’t see ignorance being a major component of a search for truth.
There’s a reason I read the Bible. It has some good ideas, but there’s nothing of substantial weight in there that isn’t ingrained in the common sense of society.

For the record, the Quran isn’t much better. It’s shorter and more concise, with less ridiculous analogy, but in terms of contradictions and bizarre half-logics, there’s an equal helping.
I’m not still not sure if they’re supposed to leave the infidels alone or kill them. It says both.

“If it is really is so different from the atomic level, how can physicists assume their methods are compatible with that environment? I’d like to hear your response to this.”
Quantum mechanics, relativity, string theory, etc. are all on different scales of reality.

“I simply reject that notion because I think outside of matter. I also think that eternal matter is supernatural by definition (can’t be measured or comprehended). You can’t prove it and I can’t disprove it.”
1. E = mc^2 describes the energy contained in matter.
2. Energy cannot be created or destroyed (and damn have we tried).
3. Matter can be made into energy, and vice versa.

Thinking outside of matter is another one of those meaningless phrases I love to bust you on. It’s just one state of energy.

“It has too poor a track record for me to accept it as a bundle.”
Cite this. I want examples.

“You can prove your hand is in front of your face to someone who accepts visual evidence as 100% valid. In that case you would have the same terms and a foundation to work off of. The problem with Naturalists and Theists talking is that their premises are contradictory before they utter a single word.”
Ha. I accept visual proof as valid for the sake of my view of the world, but I know I can’t prove that my hand is my hand. Hell, I can’t even prove that I exist to another person. They can see me, but I could just be a complex automaton.

That’s why I don’t like philosophy. You get these useless problems like trying to prove that you actually exist.

Dzugavili

“Quantum mechanics, relativity, string theory, etc. are all on different scales of reality.”
Sorry, there was supposed to be an additional:

For example, when engineering machines, we see a difference in the way the forces interact due to scale; namely because friction is cross-sectional and mass is volumetric.
What does this mean? Well, the mass, and thus the forces moving the machine, drop off to the cube as you scale down in size, while the resistance between components increases proportionally as the cross-sectional area only decreases to the square.

The result being that very large versions of machines do not act like small versions of machines; and so we need different laws to describe the interactions on that level. It’s curious.

But the interesting part is that effects on one level seem completely counterintuitive on the next level up. While we see matter as dense objects, most of it is empty space; we don’t even represent the electrons as being in one location, we represent them as being in many locations.

I know it’s not helpful to our everyday life. But it makes all the tools work.

And for the record, the computer is perhaps the closest we’ve ever come to magic. It really is an incredibly mind-blowing piece of technology; I would not be entirely surprised if we recovered it from an alien spacecraft.

Stephen Guise

Hey,

I really think we should end this because no progress will be made from here on out. I understand both of our views pretty well and I don’t see there being a meaningful shift. We are working off of different foundations. Period.

As for proof of the supernatural, I suppose it is only proof to those who share my premise. That goes for literally anything. You can’t objectively prove anything because someone somewhere could deny it. Majority opinion is meaningless for validity (which I’m sure you agree with given the % of religious folks).

In the end we’re just two humans exchanging beliefs and there is no ultimate judge on earth to say one is right over the other.

“Outside the real world isn’t real, by definition.”
Yes, by ONE of the dictionary definitions and by your only definition.

“rigorously test them”
That’s the problem in a nut shell. If you accepted that God could exist for one second, you would realize He cannot be tested.

“Should one of those go down, I’m fairly certain God would be proved, in one way or the other.”
Ok, so let’s wait until it happens? It’s irrelevant to a present day discussion.

“Problem is that we don’t live in the Biblical times when he apparently still did things.”
He does things – but not like He did back then. For the sake of this argument, just assume I’m deist.

I have to. Your supernatural is purely a god figure and there’s really only one monotheist god out there.
Plus, the belief is only personal. No one else has that relationship with god but you (you see this as because god is some loving, super powerful creature who opts to commune with you for some unknown reason; I see the relationship as invented). There’s no outwards signs of it, despite the constant rhetoric to that effect.
I mean honestly, how can one talk about the supernatural and not bring up their own personal view on the gods? That’s pretty much the only thing in an argument with the supernatural, since we apparently can’t bring science into the mix, except to support some trivial notions of infinity and whatnot.

That is just a list of assumptions and you wanting to “grill me” on believing in the Christian God. I don’t debate the existence of the Christian God because I cannot prove He exists. Personal experience and faith is not basis for argument in my opinion.

The purpose of my argument is that science isn’t enough – there is something more than empiricism. At that point, of course God enters into the mix – but to not believe in the supernatural and start arguing God is worthless. As I said, believing in infinite matter is another viable supernatural belief. That is by my English definition dictionary and you can’t really disagree with it. It’s just an argument of semantics!

“Anyway, the moral argument is merely to propose that there’s no explicit constraint against an evil god. ”
Of course an evil god is possible. I don’t believe it, but I recognize the possibility. It would be difficult to account for the good in the world with a purely evil god – why would he allow it?

“Not…really? Shades of gray seem to be more consistent.
Besides that, I probably don’t have the same definition of evil as you.”
I’m sure you don’t – but without an absolute moral judge, it’s one man’s view vs. another.

Stephen Guise

“I can’t see ignorance being a major component of a search for truth.
There’s a reason I read the Bible. It has some good ideas, but there’s nothing of substantial weight in there that isn’t ingrained in the common sense of society.”
Again, you can say that – but I trust my own intuition to a point. I don’t disregard science, but I observe it critically.

I believe the premise of the Muslim religion is absurd – not that I can prove my own beliefs or disprove theirs. Also, I’m not fond of them killing everyone who disagrees.

“Quantum mechanics, relativity, string theory, etc. are all on different scales of reality.”
That doesn’t prove anything. The supernatural is on another scale of reality. Though I assume you’re using your own definition of reality here, in which case the supernatural is not another scale of reality.

“1. E = mc^2 describes the energy contained in matter.
2. Energy cannot be created or destroyed (and damn have we tried).
3. Matter can be made into energy, and vice versa.”
#2 is a rule within a universe that exists for reasons and by methods we don’t know. Anyways, if matter cannot be created or destroyed…how did it get here? Anything eternal is supernatural and something must be eternal.

Ha. I accept visual proof as valid for the sake of my view of the world, but I know I can’t prove that my hand is my hand. Hell, I can’t even prove that I exist to another person. They can see me, but I could just be a complex automaton.

That’s why I don’t like philosophy. You get these useless problems like trying to prove that you actually exist.

You can’t prove any of that. 😛

Stephen Guise

“But the interesting part is that effects on one level seem completely counterintuitive on the next level up.”
This is a great argument for the supernatural. The supernatural is this, on a whole new level. I wonder in this sense if we could possibly agree apart from language about the supernatural – which I see as an advanced state of counter-intuitiveness (on a scientific level).

“And for the record, the computer is perhaps the closest we’ve ever come to magic. It really is an incredibly mind-blowing piece of technology; I would not be entirely surprised if we recovered it from an alien spacecraft.”
Agreed here. The computer is stupefying. I type on a wireless keyboard and it magically appears on the screen in real time and sends it to people very far away instantly? Technology in general is crazy.

Anyways Dzugavili (not your real name, right? But that’s fine if you want anonymity),

I’m trying to phase this topic out – as fascinating and interesting as it was. The main reason is that I need to get back to writing other blog posts! The comments here are well over 15,000 words by now (about 20 blog posts, lol). Also, these discussions are mentally exhausting because of their depth and complexity.

That said, I really enjoyed discussing this with you and appreciate your impressive knowledge and great mind. Above all of that, I appreciate your respectfulness and focus on the topic instead of worthless ad-hominem attacks which are common in these discussions. Of course you took a few cracks at religion, but I can understand that if you come from a position of thinking that people are seriously believing in a fairy tale.

Thanks man.

Farhan

If you are speaking about the laws of nature – then I showed you they break apart in the tiny scale.

If you are speaking about the universe as a whole – I still can’t see any order. What order there is in erruptng volcanoes, thunder – lightnings, earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides etc?

Stephen Guise

They break apart, yet are still orderly at this level.

I’m not sure what “type” of order you’re talking about, but all of those things are based on rules and systems interacting with each other.

I think the best argument of order is life and how it is supported, cycled, etc. There is plenty of order to the universe. I don’t walk outside to find objects popping up out of nowhere and others disappearing. I know exactly what to expect because the world isn’t chaos.

If the sub-atomic world is chaos, how are any conclusions drawn from studying it other than “this is chaos.” All of science is based on observing the order of the world/universe. Otherwise, there is nothing to study – no patterns to observe.

Stephen McCoy

I have read many of the books written by Stephen J. Gould, but I do not pretend to be competent to argue such points like he could. Your use of the concepts of finite and infinite as mutually exclusive is truly a textbook demonstration of logic.

The internet can be a blessing when our children can and do read the masterworks of philosophy and begin to understand the evolution of thought and logic. The internet can also be a curse when, as my son does, arguments are based on the musings of science fiction writers and their special case science that barely allow for simple physics.

Darwin himself, a favorite source for Gould, started his scientific quest with a clergyman’s reliance on God to provide the answers. It was only after years of pondering, soul searching, and and ever expanding collection of proofs that he came to doubt the existence of God. However, even after a lifetime of study, Darwin was honest enough to admit that nothing in the theory of Natural Selection precluded the existence of a supreme being in whatever form.

Your argument is sound, allows for possibilities we cannot understand and has helped me formulate some better explanations of natural phenomenon that will help my students in making up their own minds.

Stephen Guise

Thanks Stephen,

In my argument, I wanted to be as objective and logical as possible. Thus, I’m glad you found it to be sound. I truly believe that many don’t accept it because it perhaps leaves more questions than it resolves. It’s where the logic leads, though.

My understanding is that Darwin’s belief in God ended when his daughter died (an emotional decision, though he may have been leaning in that direction previously).

housewife

Wow this has kept me away from my other duties and tasks of the day for some 2+hours reading and re-reading sections to wrap my brain around it. your blog post indeed does make sense and I hope that others can see the simplicity that underlies it and indeed underlies all of the world we live in. Science cannot explain everything just as our minds cannot comprehend everything about everything. There is much of this world and of ourselves as humans which we will probably never know for sure how it all came about or works which justifies my belief in something outside of our realm of comprehension and knowledge.

Oh and please dont spend all your time debating with people who are too convinced of their own “wisdom” there are much better things to do with your intellect to benefit this world

Stephen Guise

Hi housewife!

Thanks for reading! I’m happy you found it engaging enough to spend that kind of time on it. I certainly spent more than 2 hours writing it. 🙂

I agree with you on debating, mostly. If both parties are completely open-minded, good things can happen. But that is extremely rare. I’ll even admit that I’m trying to “win” most of the time.

We try to win because we believe we’re right, so winning the debate seems like the right thing to do. It works best when both parties listen well and respect each other. Don’t worry though, I rarely debate these days. 🙂

Maq

Great write up Stephen! Mind stirring..thought provoking !

What made Einstein come up with the words “The more i study universe the more i believe in higher power” …knowing he has no religious upbringing is more elementary and amazing.
The order he saw in the universe ! and an inability to justify existence of life otherwise, the vastness of space and a co-relation of time with space propels the intellectual mind to accept supernatural or higher power or God what ever you wanna call it …
To believe, otherwise, is ignorance or a denial altogather…

Logically speaking, look at the animals and they are all born with complete knowledge..The Ant knows from birth what her purpose is, the sophistication it adheres to, the perfect queue it creates, How that animal knew from birth that cat is the enemy ? How that other one knew the eagle flying above his head for the very first time he saw, he leaps into his ground hole ? ..now look at a human baby who knows nothing at birth “A complete illiterate” … he is absolutely dependent on his parents.. until the brain gradually start learning…but for 4-5 years the baby is dependent like no other animal in the world is !
Yet humans are the best creation because of the ability of the mind to reason… so than what is demanded of us ? is an eternal struggle of mind ! and a reality one needs to ponder and to find an answer to …
If this life is not a mere co-incident ? or a result of a big bang ? and how can it be ? after all…the perfection of human body , the mind to reason, the heart , the arms, the legs, everything indeed with a perfect reason cant be a roll of dice ? to believe otherwise is ignorance…

Lets see another logic, the coming of a night and day , one after the other, the perfect placement of Sun in a circular pattern as well as the distance of Sun from the earth… For the science says, if Sun would be revolving just 1 KM further towards the earth ..we’d burn with heat… If a KM away from earth, we’d freeze to exist ! OK.. the speed with which it is revolving ? lets say the speed was doubled ? than the shift of 6 hrs day 6 hrs night and so one. Now how would you accomplish anything in 6 hours of day ? or a 6hours sleep at night only ? every routine is destroyed…but we see the perfect placement, the perfect speed, ….all for what ?

Now the Most Important Question of all… The Father of all Questions is the Question why God has kept this mystery of being “Unseen” ?
There ! i said it
Why not to make his presence “Seen” ?
–Quite simply put, what fun than would remain ? Imagine that you were to come up in front of the King of any Country..one to one, face to face, …really vision that sight ! first your legs would really shiver that you are really in front of the King who is all so powerful, with authority and he says .. Hey you Mr Z .. here is what i need of you, you Do task A the first day, the task B the second day , Task C the third day… and that be it, bring forth your result back to me on the fourth day and if you got what i ask you, you will be granted 100 Million $s however, if you fail to deliver, you will be tied up for the rest of your life … dont worry the tasks are quite easy , its just a matter of doing ir or choosing not to do !!! Now my fellows ? what does the person ought to do ? … Yes thats correct, he knows that for just this much, i am being granted 100 million.. why the heck not !! i would rather be king myself .. heck Ya i am your servant sir !!!

Did you catch the drift ? 😉

-Peace

Lamont

WOW!!, You guys are like the Illuminati, my mind as always been like this also, and people call me weird, I am glad to know that there are people in this world that thinks the same way I do.

Kate

“The Father of all Questions is the Question why God has kept this mystery of being “Unseen” ?
There ! i said it
Why not to make his presence “Seen” ?”

I once read a quote but I don’t know if it was from the Bible or the Exodus…“You cannot see my face; for no one may see Me and live.” so…here’s the anwser…

Maq

@Kate: Honey i didnt ask the question.. if you read further ahead i am answering to that question ! =)

christopher

Wow…… not to be an ass or anything but your debate with this guy was quite an eye opener, like your article. Haha but just to add another rant, is that “numbers” were man made, therefore making it illogical to compare with something unexplainable. To me that was as irrational as comparing a chicken to a eagle. Anyway thanks for the insightful article, and I hope in time, be it spiritually or through science, we will find out the answer to the big question of our existence

Jeff

You know ive studied alot of topics ranging from human evolution to religon even different ideas of universal and quantum experimentation the truth is professor or not only facts that are relavent but not released based on findings mean anything in this time and day soley on the purpose of advancement in technology and higher beings. If you research the unproven but accounted past endeavors of technology and its past and different cultures and unexplained but proven to point facts of evolution you would see that there are numerous equations not completed but only started or just those that remain hidden but known, look ive read all these articles and i have one comment on the universe its “An entire space filled with unknown matters and energys, substances and elements even beings for life to breed on one planet based on or molecular structure but none on any of the other thousands of galaxy’s is obsurde, you can not know that which is so great and mysterious only learn and develope understanding all things will be brought to light in time, einstein is a being that understood this an only anwsered with logical science and understanding of an open mind.”

Tim

Hey Stephen,
I am a ruthlessly logical atheist. I would like to argue. Before I go into what you wrote any deeper I’d like to start with this:
You said ” does something supernatural exist? The answer is 100% yes.”

So, basically, everything you write after that point is based on that assumption. In which you are simply logically wrong. What logic did you use to arrive at that? Its a pretty bold statement which you treat like common knowledge…

The reason that it is false is this:
Definition of supernatural:
“of, pertaining to, or being above or beyond what is natural; unexplainable by natural law or phenomena; abnormal.”
Yes the theories scientist currently have about the universe, multiverse etc.. is unexplained at this time by natural law. But that does not mean further down the line we will not be able to explain it. Or that even if we ever know. Even the idea of whatever natural law is doesn’t mean we will ever know it through any amount of research… meaning that we don’t need to know what the “natural law” for it to exist. To sum up, there is nothing supernatural… only things we have yet to explain.. a better word would be unexplained.

So think it over let me know what you think and I will continue with my ruthless logic further.

Stephen Guise

Hey Tim,

Thanks for your response.

“So, basically, everything you write after that point is based on that assumption.”

That sentence itself is an incorrect assumption. The content of the article is what pointed to that conclusion, and not the other way around.

Definition of supernatural:
“of, pertaining to, or being above or beyond what is natural; unexplainable by natural law or phenomena; abnormal.”
Yes the theories scientist currently have about the universe, multiverse etc.. is unexplained at this time by natural law. But that does not mean further down the line we will not be able to explain it. Or that even if we ever know. Even the idea of whatever natural law is doesn’t mean we will ever know it through any amount of research… meaning that we don’t need to know what the “natural law” for it to exist. To sum up, there is nothing supernatural… only things we have yet to explain.. a better word would be unexplained.

You say a better word is unexplained? That is, by the definition you gave, supernatural… “Unexplainable by natural law or phenomena.”

If you’re saying “unexplained” rather than unexplainable because you have hope that one day it will be explained…It isn’t possible. As I discussed in the article, anything infinite is supernatural by definition. So the only natural case is somehow a finite start, but then you have a something from nothing problem – which is also supernatural by definition.

There is nothing to refute unless you disagree with the dictionary. In that case we’re arguing semantics.

Ragnarok

To me the real issue is that while there might be something supernatural which serves as the first cause in the Aristotlean sense, it seems to have no influence on ordinary cause and effect. The natural world we are living in is one which seems to be governed entirely by the physical laws of nature and not affected by the supernatural.

I think it’s pretty common place for most people to associate the operation of the mind/personality/soul with or correlated to organic brain functioning, the less functional the brain is, the less mind/personality/soul seems to manifest itself.

Since at death it is undeniable brain activity ceases, what happens to the mind/personality/soul?

Stephen Guise

Our world in which we live in does seem to be governed by natural law, and that is why the concept of the supernatural is so difficult for some to digest. But our perspective is limited, and the question of natural or supernatural is really a philosophical one, not a scientific one. Science can’t reach that far.

As for the last question – the only answers are faith-based. I believe in God and an eternal soul, but there is no way to undoubtedly prove it to myself or anyone else.

Derek

You need to get with the 18th century. That’s how far behind you are with the times, and I’m just talking about philosophy. Presupposition after presupposition, that’s what you have. You start out saying that the universe is either finite or infinite, which is a logical fallacy. Logically, it can’t be finite and not finite, which is completely different than saying it is either finite or infinite. Not finite is not the same as infinite, even if I can’t develop a third possibility. In short, it is a false dichotomy, or a fallacy of exclusion.

The real short answer is no one knows the extent or scope of the universe, and therefore, does not have a complete manifestation by which to define the universe. It’s an umbrella term: everything we can or cannot perceive. In essence, it’s a word that was invented to catch everything; therefore, you need a reason to go beyond.

For a piece titled “Logic Time,” you seem to not understand exactly what logic is since you mangle it with all sorts of logical fallacies. You have the ones stated above (exclusion/dichotomy), an argument from ignorance, appeal to belief, question begging, lack of burden of proof, and special pleading. There could be more if I wanted to do more analyses, but I think this should suffice. I’ll give a couple more examples of where these are located.
1. Does something supernatural exist? The answer is 100% yes. This is a perfect example of question begging. You make an assertion, not a logical proof.
2. Natural law cannot produce a viable theory or even a long-shot concept that agrees with logic for the initial instance of matter – and our universe is very likely finite. This is a perfect example of an argument from ignorance.
3. The concept of something infinite is the only way to explain the beginning of the first finite system. This is an assertion and a fallacy of exclusion and ignorance.
4. There must be a first cause because nothing can’t produce something. This is special pleading because this “infinite” being or entity breaks the original premise. According to you there is something that can come from nothing: God. Additionally, you make an appeal to belief when you say that you believe this infinite thing is god.
This should probably suffice as it completely demolishes the entire structure of your “argument.” I wouldn’t say something with so many blatant fallacies was an argument, just compete stupidity.

Rodolfo

Your approach, with all due respect is quite illogic and mostly not objective at all. Correct me if I’m wrong, you and the readers but I could just sense how you were apparently subconsciously guided towards the God idea, you were not by any means impartial, in fact you contradicted yourself several times.
I was raised a Roman Catholic and ever since I was a child I clashed against most religious ideas of any kind, often being compared to the devil or bad people. It’s what you get when you’re surrounded by religious aunts and mom. Back then I didn’t why but I just couldn’t go along with all this religious nonsense, nowadays I figured out what was it, and I like to label myself an skeptical. I won’t go as far as saying I’m an atheist, I live open option to the existence of a superior being, wether it’s a conscious entity or not.
Here’s how I see things, supernatural it’s nothing but a word used to describe “something I don’t understand yet”. Sure I could have gone back to the 1500 and make things levitate with magnets, and then I’d be labeled supernatural but we both know there’s nothing supernatural in that. Science has never failed my friend, we might not quite understand something just yet but that doesn’t mean we won’t understand it later and based on historical facts I’d bet on the waiting part rather than attributing all this mystical qualities to a fairy. Sounds more logic.
Everything in the universe functions through basic physics laws and 4 basic forces and I assure that if there is a god he is no supernatural fairy, he is no spiritual being, and there’s no “spiritual plane with no matter”, if there’s a god the guy is the greatest scientists ever and he and everything he does functions the same way gravity does. According to your premise there’s this entire universe so big that it takes light billions of years to go from a corner to another, it functions based of set laws of physics, everything in existence works through this laws… So then god is a little ghost that lives in the spiritual plane so he made all this laws just to what, mess with us ? I doubt it. If he exists these laws were stablished because it is what worked. And if such a thing as an spiritual plane existed I can bet my life that if would be based on the physics laws that rule everything, but we just haven’t figured it out yet, and excuse me but that sounds more logic than saying a “supernatural magical things lives there and it’s made of happy thoughts”.
If god created everything as you say, including both our material plane and the spiritual plane they both must be ruled by laws, laws that can be learned and understood thereof turning the term “supernatural” into what I said before, something I don’t quite understand yet. But that doesnt mean I should attribute it to fairies.
I won’t rule out the existence of a god, that would be too extremist. But I will assure you one thing, a complex machine comes from a complex designer, basic rule, and the universe is quite complex, so I assure god is nothing like any religion has pictured him. And that includes christianism.
So from where I see it god would be the greatest scientist of all times, he created everything, every law that makes this universe work, and what scientist try to do is understand this laws an it’s secrets. So I think if there’s a god Stephen hawking is closer to him than the pope or your local bishop.
So long story short, I leave one option open to a god, although Im completely positive god is nothing like what religion has told us, I assure you that so I invite you to expand your frontiers. If gods exists there’s a high chance it’s not a rational/ conscious entity, kind of like the way Einstein described god. And even if god was fully aware of everything and created all there is for a reason I can assure my friend we are nit his little pals, he’s not looking after us and listening to our prayers. It would be awesome if the most powerful being ever was really looking after me always but giving the complexity of our universe that highly unlikely. We are most likely just a tiny little screw in a much much and I emphasize much bigger machine, we are just so arrogant that we like to think that God almighty has nothing better to do than look at us play.
I highlihht this, it would be amazing if God was constantly looking after us, but it’s highly unlikely. Logic as you said. I remind you I’m what you could call a skeptical, I believe in the scientific method rather than smoke and mirrors but this doesn’t make me a bad person, I have a code ethics with higher standards than most people I know, I help others, I support freedom of thinking, so in a few words, I’m not the devil as many religious people would say.
It was fun reading your article and answering back, I could go on for days but I’m on my phone and I’m afraid it’ll crash soon. Always up for a good debate though.
Remember, expand your frontiers to reason, a complex machine has a complex designer. I’m not saying “don’t believe in god” I’m saying dontnbelive in everything some old man in a lady’s robe says and make your own conclusions through logical thinking. Cheers my friend !

Maq

Rodolfo, Brother, a Complex Machine doesn’t have a complex designer…
who created complex cars, computers, industries, robots… by a very SIMPLE human…! we are not complex… ! For a monkey, a computer or a robot will seem complex so he will think a designer is complex, but we know we are quite simple, we have knowledge and it was an easy task to create such a machine…
Hence the Designer of this complex universe that seems to u as a Complex being is indeed Quite Simply a God ( for whom this is quite simple to create)

Everything in our body defines a purpose. We have 5 fingers and 2 hands cos thats how we can perfectly manage it. One heart and not 2 ! cos we need only 1.. etc etc…

When billions of years ago a big Explosion occurred and out of all the universally spreading bodies, only earth was on a perfect position from Sun and Moon and stars and a perfect place for habitat …the possibility statistically for everything (perfect place, distance, gravity, laws, nature) makes it impossible for it to be a work of COINCIDENCE as William Lane craig puts it…. Although, William Lane Craigs ideology is great in explaining this, though i still pity for him for a slight mistake he is in ! and that can only be changed at the time of day of judgement when he finds out that God has no son .. .:) he is Alone and Unique…anyways, not a topic of discussion here..

So this entire Universe was created for human beings , so they can Think of their existence and not take it for granted. It has a Purpose !
In Quran (Please read entire Quranic transalation in English.. it may help u ponder) it says “On that Day a human will say, Oh man ! i was on earth for just a half a day ?” this is not literal but symbolic.. In another place it says “When a man will say i was on earth for a blink of an eye only” ..
all pointing to What Einstein also discovered (Time/ Space) …For such a Phenomenal Entity, it is quite easy to make 90 years life of earth only 1 or 2 hours on that Space, where the day of Judgement and Justice will resides !!!…
Quran is Free from Error. Not a single Error can be pointed out Cos its divinely….. Compiled 1400 years ago it states the size and face of a fetus in a mother womb accurately so, that a science , today is astonished…
It tells also “A Disbeliever says how he can be raised from dead, Take Heed, When i raise u, on that day, u check the fingerprint on ur fingers ..Even that will be exactly the same u use to have on Earth” …this is a VERY ALLURING FACT.. Notice, that until 100 years ago it was not clear that we have a unique finger print…It was discovered just in 19th century when QUran is telling about it 1400 years ago !!! ….Even this Ayat was not clear untill now cos this was written for the man of This Century…. THIS IS NO MIRACLE PLEASE.. We are not here by a Chance or Luck…

Finally, the purpose is pretty straightforward and logical, (remember according to that space/time the iife here is only like a blink of an eye ) … Human Being is created above all creations, cos he is able to have Faith of unseen like none other.. So what is expected of him is how he LIVES his Life, when power is given to him, what he does !, how he shows mercy to the needy ones, how he rules his house, family, children, what he teaches them… In Essence, all the good deeds which are hard to do, But Devilish deeds which are easy to do… All in ALL, this is a TEST, an Exam…at the end the scores will be given that decides the everlasting fate, everlasting life…

The Treasures of Heaven are so big so big and yet for God it is not even like a drop of water in a ocean.. as it says, that in Heaven, once u start demanding ur wishes, and i grant it, and u keep demanding for ages and ages… than once ur minds capacity is finish of Asking, than i will start giving what u couldn’t even ASK … After that is done to every single person, the treasures given to u are not even equal to the water that attaches to that needle which u dip in a ocean and take out..

At the end, brother, the deeds u send forward will be accounted for and given back to u… It will so crystal clear that u would be able to read ur lifebook and decide ur fate urself, and wont feel the need to ask The God ..

Jared

I think it’s useful to consider the difference between infinity and eternity. I believe you have defined them incorrectly in your article. Infinity is unlimimted duration, whether that is of length or time, etc. Eternity, however, is transcendent of time and space. It is beyond both, while infinity encompasses both.

Katie

I thought the article was mind-blowing enough…but then to try and read through some of these debates? I’m gonna need to lie down a bit.

All these arguments about the definitions of the words and the existence of God blah blah blah… they’re all ignoring a lot of what your whole post mentioned. First, you weren’t arguing the existence of God. Second, explaining the infinite/eternal/supernatural/whatever-you-want-to-call-it with natural laws is failing logic.

And there’s a bunch of other arguments going around that I gave up trying to sort through. The point is, I believe this is a beautifully written article (though I discovered it quite a while after it was *ahem* created) and the only arguments that try to go against it are based on natural laws and finite-thinking.

Thanks for taking the time to sort all this out into a legible, relatively comprehensible article for us. I appreciate it! It helped me put some thoughts in order. 🙂

Josh Wiltin

Your logic works, but I think there are some issues with definitions. How do you define “supernatural”? Does it refer to something immaterial, a spiritual reality? Something on another plane of existence beyond physics? If so then I see no basis for it. Your logic, “something cannot come from nothing”, is sound, however, there is no such thing as nothing. Since something exists and something cannot come from nothing, then there could never have been a state of nothing. Something is eternal, but that says nothing for a god theory, and it says nothing for anything “supernatural”. We are so far from fully understanding physics, that assumptions of anything beyond physics are pointless and distracting. We are consistently proven wrong every time we try to explain reality with superstitions. The most sensible approach is to fully explore physics first and then see if anything is left unexplained before we start invoking supernatural theories.

Stephen Guise

Hi everyone,

Thanks for your responses. I read every comment and I’ll think about them. There are about 17,000 words of comments. I mean, that’s like 25 blog posts, haha. I’m afraid I’m just burnt out on this subject. I believe I’ve said everything I have to say from my point of view (in the original article and the previous comments).

So I’m going to close the comments, but rest assured, you were heard. I just can’t start up any more debates or lead any people into thinking I’m going to respond to their thoughts individually. Thank you all for your courtesy and respectfulness on such a controversial topic.

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