steve hinrichs

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Read http://sites.google.com/site/s2hinrichs/spntid2.pdf


And discover the following    Conclusion

By use of the logical principle, Proof by Elimination (PE), this article presents a rationale for identifying supernatural intervention by requiring showing that the natural cannot successfully explain the event in question. This means that the event violates deterministic or indeterministic natural theories and cannot be explained by natural intelligence. Violation of deterministic principles present, a clear case that the supernatural has intervened. Violation of indeterministic is not necessarily definite. The strength of the argument depends upon how small the probability is for the best natural explanation. This probability should be determined by a conservative analysis.

Because of the strong desire humans have for purpose, it is natural to investigate if there is evidence that indicates if a supernatural intelligence has a purpose for humans. Religions typically claim there is, so the methodology provided in this article provides a rational basis to investigate their supernatural claims and others. If claims for the intervention of the supernatural can be shown to be successfully explained naturally, then there is no rational basis for claiming the supernatural has intervened.

The approach presented in this article uses PE a key logical principle used in science. The approach provides a basis to critic and potentially dismiss claims because it puts a priority on the natural explanation if it is successful and requires probability estimates to be conservative; thus, the approach is falsifiable; therefore, deserves being considered as scientific.

The strongest case from nature known by the author comes from the cosmological arguments in Section 4.3. The strongest case from religion known by the author comes from Section 4.1.2.

My webpage http://sites.google.com/site/s2hinrichs/home
« Last Edit: May 23, 2015, 09:19:48 am by steve hinrichs »

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theatheist

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Rational Methodology for Identifying Supernatural Intervention
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2007, 12:37:10 pm »
You might want to employ an editor to a) Sort out the typos and grammatical errors and b) make the piece readable.

What your paper seems to be saying, in a nutshell, is 'if something can be shown not to be caused by natural means then it must be caused by supernatural means'. It took you twenty pages of rather obtuse and pompous language to say that? I'm sorry if this sounds disrespectful and I can clearly see that you have exerted considerable effort and time on this but please you are actually saying nothing very much of any value to anyone. Or, am I missing something?




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steve hinrichs

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Rational Methodology for Identifying Supernatural Intervention
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2007, 04:37:41 pm »

All you did was state subjective adjectives such as, readable,  obtuse, pompous  and provided no rational criticism.  The reader of my article will obviously be aware that my approach is based on a key logical principal that science uses, proof by elimination.


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Drm970

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Rational Methodology for Identifying Supernatural Intervention
« Reply #3 on: September 09, 2007, 05:45:44 pm »
I found the article very interesting.

Taking a lot of pages to say something is usually a virtue of philosophy. As any experienced thinker knows, the obvious and simple are rarely very obvious or simple.


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Rational Methodology for Identifying Supernatural Intervention
« Reply #4 on: October 17, 2007, 04:34:39 pm »
Depending on your definition of "supernatural" the supernatural cannot possibly be rationally believed in.

Perhaps you could provide an example of something that cannot possibly be explained through natural means?
Do not forget that technology has now made possible what was thought impossible only decades ago.
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Drm970

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Rational Methodology for Identifying Supernatural Intervention
« Reply #5 on: October 17, 2007, 05:03:20 pm »
On what definition of rational?

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Rational Methodology for Identifying Supernatural Intervention
« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2007, 05:29:45 pm »
The definition I am using for rational is as follows:

Consistent with or based on reason; logical

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Drm970

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Rational Methodology for Identifying Supernatural Intervention
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2007, 05:52:39 pm »
So, what is the definition of supernatural that is inconsistent with that?

That definition has problems.

We know that light displays contradictory properties. Is it therefore irrational to believe in light?


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Rational Methodology for Identifying Supernatural Intervention
« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2007, 06:05:15 pm »
Drm970 wrote: So, what is the definition of supernatural that is inconsistent with that?

That definition has problems.

We know that light displays contradictory properties. Is it therefore irrational to believe in light?



It means it is irrational to hold that our model of light is an accurate reflection of reality.  It is logically impossible for something to have contradictory properties.  If both are simultaneously held it only proves that they do not indeed contradict.

The problem is that defaulting to a supernatural explanation will always be an argument from ignorance.

An example definition of "supernatural" that I have found many agree with is:
That which cannot be analyzed, measured, or observed.

Any supernatural happening by the above definition would automatically be impossible to verify empirically, or provide any evidence for whatsoever.
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Drm970

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Rational Methodology for Identifying Supernatural Intervention
« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2007, 06:18:36 pm »
Of course, all of the non-deductive theistic arguments take their premises to be evidence for the conclusion of the existence of the supernatural. Barring a refutation of all of those arguments, I think you're being a bit blustery in saying there could be no evidence for the supernatural.

However, it seems what you really mean is that the existence of God cannot be empirically verified. Nor can God be "measured" and such is fairly obviously true. I think that definition of the supernatural is a bit silly, however. Supernatural literally means above nature. Thus, I think the better definition is "That which preceeds(temporally, logically, or causally) nature," or "that which nature is dependent upon for its existence," or "that which transcends nature." You also seem to be implicitly assuming some empirical or verificationist form of rationality, which is self-referentially problematic. The principle itself would not satisfy its own criterion and would end up being rational to believe in.

I agree with your comments on the nature of light. However, the point is that currently light seems to have obviously contradictory properties. I don't hold it as rational to believe something really does have logically contradictory properties, far from it. I think that's the height of irrationality. However, what it does show is that it's not always irrational to believe in something, even if that something appears to have logically contradictory properties. We are free to hold onto such beliefs in certain circumstances and hold out for an explanation which removes the apparent contradiction.


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Drm970

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Rational Methodology for Identifying Supernatural Intervention
« Reply #10 on: October 17, 2007, 06:20:21 pm »
I meant to say "irrational to believe in" in the paragraph about empirical and verificationist rationality.

We need to start a petition for an edit button.


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Rational Methodology for Identifying Supernatural Intervention
« Reply #11 on: October 17, 2007, 09:46:52 pm »
The reason why the supernatural cannot have applicable evidence is because it (at least by my definition) deals with ultimate cause... or at least unverifiable cause.

While your definition is technically accurate, nature could be taken as just a subset of the supernatural, which could cause confusion.

I would prefer to differentiate the two.  Would you agree that anything which can be observed, currently or hypothetically, is natural?
Supernatural would just be that which is, excluding all that is natural.

By these definitions, even claimed miracles would be natural.  For example, the resurrection of Jesus Christ would be an observable event that did or did not occur.  His brain, heart, and other organs ceased functioning, which could have been observed and measured at the time, and supposedly they began functioning again.

What caused the return of bodily function?  Perhaps a timely electrical stimulation.  That could be observed and measured.  What Caused the electrical stimulation?  Perhaps the direct action of a supernatural agent.  This could not possibly be measured or observed.
Would you agree that introducing additional cause where it is not necessary is irrational?  If so, then anywhere a natural explanation exists (or even potentially exists) a theist cannot assume a deity.

My question then is, can an argument from ignorance ever be valid?

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Drm970

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Rational Methodology for Identifying Supernatural Intervention
« Reply #12 on: October 17, 2007, 11:16:35 pm »
Taking the natural as subset of the supernatural would strike me as semantic trickery. The computer program depends upon the medium upon which it exists, but the computer program is not the medium upon which it exists. It is a bit tricky to separate the supernatural from the natural. The idea is that there are things other than nature as we know it. Such an idea isn't terribly astonishing. We countenance entities in modern physics which would've been taken as supernatural in previous stages of scientific development. However, just because we can take the supernatural and remain it to the "natural" doesn't imply much of anything. I can call a Ford a Lamborghini if I want to. It doesn't change much about what it really is.

Would you agree that introducing additional cause where it is not necessary is irrational?


No. I know of no form of rationality on which this would be irrational. Introducing entities which are unnecessary is contrary to Occam's razor. But, Occam's razor is a very sharp instrument, and must be wielded with care. As we know, solipsism would be the best hypothesis according to a careless use of Occam's razor. But clearly there is something insane about solipsism.

My question then is, can an argument from ignorance ever be valid?


No, I don't think so. However, I don't know of many theistic arguments which are actually arguments from ignorance. An argument from ignorance would take the form "If we don't know the explanation for X, then the explanation must be Y." Even the worst theistic arguments generally do not take a form at all like that. Instead, they take the valid form of "No class of explanations C will do in explaining X, therefore, the explanation of X must be of another class of explanations." Such arguments are only bad because they are trivial. They amount to: If not A, then not A. Which isn't terribly interesting.


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Rational Methodology for Identifying Supernatural Intervention
« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2007, 06:17:56 pm »
Drm970 wrote: Taking the natural as subset of the supernatural would strike me as semantic trickery. The computer program depends upon the medium upon which it exists, but the computer program is not the medium upon which it exists. It is a bit tricky to separate the supernatural from the natural. The idea is that there are things other than nature as we know it. Such an idea isn't terribly astonishing. We countenance entities in modern physics which would've been taken as supernatural in previous stages of scientific development. However, just because we can take the supernatural and remain it to the "natural" doesn't imply much of anything. I can call a Ford a Lamborghini if I want to. It doesn't change much about what it really is.



What word would you prefer, then, to designate any supernatural entities or agents which are not natural?


Drm970 wrote:
No. I know of no form of rationality on which this would be irrational. Introducing entities which are unnecessary is contrary to Occam's razor. But, Occam's razor is a very sharp instrument, and must be wielded with care. As we know, solipsism would be the best hypothesis according to a careless use of Occam's razor. But clearly there is something insane about solipsism.



Insane?  Utterly impractical, yes... but I wouldn't be so quick to call it insane.  Perhaps this also needs further clarification.
When I say an "unnecessary cause" I am meaning one which adds no explanatory power.  For example, a great deal of chemistry can be explained by understanding the various subatomic particles.  The predictions the model makes can be verified or falsified.  These particles are responsible for a great deal of behavior we witness.
This is not an unnecessary cause.
However, one could posit that the reason the subatomic particles behave thus is because undetectable gnomes enjoy manipulating subatomic particles.
Without any supporting empirical evidence, could one rationally hold such a model to be true?  This is what I was trying to get at by "unnecessary cause".



No, I don't think so. However, I don't know of many theistic arguments which are actually arguments from ignorance. An argument from ignorance would take the form "If we don't know the explanation for X, then the explanation must be Y." Even the worst theistic arguments generally do not take a form at all like that. Instead, they take the valid form of "No class of explanations C will do in explaining X, therefore, the explanation of X must be of another class of explanations." Such arguments are only bad because they are trivial. They amount to: If not A, then not A. Which isn't terribly interesting.



Oh?  I could be mistaken, but I seem to hear quite often arguments along the lines of "abiogenesis is far too unlikely to have occurred naturally, so it must have been intelligently instigated", "Life is far too complex and designed-looking to be explained by evolution", "fine-tuned constants show that our universe was intentionally created for human life by a designer-God" and so forth.
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Drm970

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Rational Methodology for Identifying Supernatural Intervention
« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2007, 07:42:50 pm »
Insane?  Utterly impractical, yes... but I wouldn't be so quick to call it insane.


No, I would stick to "insane."

Nothing adds explanatory power over solipsism.

What word would you prefer, then, to designate any supernatural entities or agents which are not natural?


Supernatural?

Oh?  I could be mistaken, but I seem to hear quite often arguments along the lines of "abiogenesis is far too unlikely to have occurred naturally, so it must have been intelligently instigated", "Life is far too complex and designed-looking to be explained by evolution", "fine-tuned constants show that our universe was intentionally created for human life by a designer-God" and so forth.


All of these arguments are of the aforementioned form and are thus not examples of arguments from ignorance. An argument from ignorance would look like this: We know of no natural explanation for the existence of life, so the explanation must be supernatural. However "Natural processes could not produce life, therefore the processes that produced life must be non-natural" is not an instance of an argument from ignorance. It's just a bare fact that if no natural process could produce X, and X was produced, it must have been a non-natural process that produced X. However, the reason why the argument from ignorance is a fallacy is because just because we don't know how X was produced by natural processes, it doesn't mean that it wasn't. The argument from ignorance is actually incredibly rare in all of philosophy. It is VERY common in the "paranormal" field of studies. I was considering this recently after watching one of those "ghost" shows on television. Their general modus operandi is to say "X is unexplained, therefore it is paranormal" and that is an argument from ignorance, but not one typically used in even the worst creationist literature.