From the creator of Video Skepdude

Taking the “super” out of supernatural

We often hear the word supernatural being thrown around. There’s even a television show, a pretty bad television show, by that same title. But what does supernatural mean? In laymen terms it means outside of nature, something which cannot be explained, cannot be touched by our senses, cannot be felt, smelled. In other words is not comprehensible, something we cannot and should not try to understand or explain.

It is a lame excuse for our ignorance.

See, the word itself does not have any meaning. If something exists, especially if this something can interact with our natural world, it must itself be natural, for we have defined natural as everything that exists. Trees and mountains are natural, the stars and the galaxies are natural, dark matter and dark energy is natural. Everything we know exists is natural. There is nothing supernatural about anything which really is there.

There are natural things which we cannot explain. Our knowledge and science is limited at this point in our existence. So there are things we have yet to discover and the more we discover, through the scientific method, the less will be left to the supernatural. Just like God, the supernatural also has been shrinking and shrinking with every advance of Science. And it will continue to do so as Science advances, but it probably will never die out completely as the nature we live in is full of mysteries, full of things for us to discover. Until we do, they will be branded as supernatural.

Defaulting to a supernatural explanation is anti scientific. Appealing to an unexplained phenomenon as a solution to another unexplained phenomenon is a useless exercise and a science stopper. In this prism, Intelligent Design is a science stopper to the contrary of its proponents claims. Inferring the existence of an Intelligent Designer, without plotting out what this Intelligent Designer should look like or behave like, is childish and scientifically dishonest. ID is the ultimate argument from Ignorance. Defaulting to an explanation which cannot be tested by science, simply because they’re not smart enough to come up with a natural solution, is pseudo-science, I don’t care how many PhDs you may have! A PhD means nothing if you cannot tell the difference between a scientific argument and a philosophical one.

Why are people so scared to admit that they don’t know? Why must they have an answer, even if it is wrong? Why is having a wrong answer better than having no answer? I don’t know, but for a lot of people this seems to be the case. When you’re arguing religion with a believer you will inevitably hear the argument that religion brings comfort to millions of people, as if that has anything to do with it veracity. A lie that makes people feel good is still a lie, and whoever propagates such lies is a liar, and that behavior cannot be justified by the results. The end does not always justify the means.

The supernatural explanation is lame. It is anti scientific. It epitomizes surrender, giving up. It’s message is clear: “Stop doing your science. Stop trying to explain things. The explanation is beyond you, beyond anyone. Stop! Stop! Stop!”. What good can come of that? Would we be here today, as a society, if people had obeyed this order in the past? The never ending quest for excellence, for improvement, for knowledge are the building blocks of Science. Dogma is the building block of the Supernatural. The choice is a no brainer really. Unfortunately lots of people seem to be willing to make the wrong choice.

May 30, 2008 Posted by | Critical Thinking, Logic, Science, Thinking Out Loud | , , , | 2 Comments