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PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Natural" doesn't mean "created." It means part of nature. Are angels subject to the laws of nature? I thought they were basically spirits. I also thought angels were supposed to be in Heaven. Sure, they can visit, or get kicked out, but Heaven is their home, right? Or do they live on some planet? Or in space?

I realize my alien scenarios sound quasi-religious. But this is one of the reasons why I think there is enough wonder in this world (or this universe) to make spirituality, religion, Heaven, and God redundant and ad hoc. The fact that we can construct the wildest fantasies imaginable from the stuff of this world implies that we might be looking for "gods" in the wrong place.

The fact that matter can form conscious beings is the key to understanding the universe. It's the single most important fact of reality. There is absolutely nothing about rocks, dirt, water, etc. that would make you think, "Yep, one day that stuff will be doing mathematics, philosophy, and physics. Not to mention love and hate." It's easy to forget how amazing it is, living in the eye of the paradox.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 3:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

+JMJ+

Zarathustra wrote:
"Natural" doesn't mean "created." It means part of nature. …


Earlier, you'd said that "[t]his difference is natural vs supernatural."

In response, I said that angels are, most certainly, not supernatural. Because … well … they're not. Any Catholic theologian who said the contradictory would find himself in a world-of-hurt real quick.

Now, what you do with that info after that is up to you. But maybe it indicates that many of your views are largely based on caricature. Cuz I know that I very rarely recognize my faith in many of the comments you make about it, even though I often find myself resonating with many of the things you say.

Just a thought. Smile
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fisty:
I'd say that if you don't think your big toe is part of your sentience/mind, and "you" are all in your head...that would be mistaken.

peter: we've barely begun to look...and most of what we "know" are signs of intelligent life we can't measure/see very far out. Also, intelligent life takes time [from the one example we are aware of] in a [relatively] safe space. Remember that MOST of what we see out there isn't there and isn't now...it's ancient. We know precisely nothing about the current life status of anything anywhere outside a very limited local space.

Wos: there are no known, or really even hinted at, natural laws or circumstances that give rise to angels as described and interpreted from the Biblical and associated literature.
Therefore they are supernatural no matter how the Catholic or other Christian or other religious frames want to discuss/explain them.
I suppose it's possible life could evolve into [or manufacture itself into] semi-bodied or non-embodied beings of vast intellect and magical-seeming powers, and then be natural. But that is not the existence/origin of angels.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Angels are not supernatural? As Z said, don't they hang out in a place outside our reality? That, alone, makes them supernatural. But also, when they are hanging out here, don't they do things outside, or in violation, of the natural laws of this reality?
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Vraith wrote:
Fisty:
I'd say that if you don't think your big toe is part of your sentience/mind, and "you" are all in your head...that would be mistaken.
How so? I would have my mind if I lose my toe tomorrow. I would have my mind if I had been born without the toe in the first place. If some bizarre thing happened so that no human was ever again born with big toes, the species would still be sentient. Mess with the physical brain, and sentience will almost certainly change. Maybe "only" a definite, noticable change in personality. Maybe a loss in one or more cognitive functions (loss of memories or the ability to form new ones; loss of ability to do simple arithmetic; loss of speech...). Maybe a total loss of sentience.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 6:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

+JMJ+

Fist and Faith wrote:
Angels are not supernatural? As Z said, don't they hang out in a place outside our reality? That, alone, makes them supernatural. But also, when they are hanging out here, don't they do things outside, or in violation, of the natural laws of this reality?


By that definition of "our reality", that which is principally in question on this thread (i.e. Z's nonreductive narrative of consciousness, intellect, the "mental principle", the immaterial, etc.) would also have to fall outside of that selfsame "our reality".

We really are caught on the horns of a dilemma, here.

Either we accept a reductively material explanation of "our reality/nature" and, therefore, exclude an immaterial consciousness/intellect/etc. as being "outside" of that reality. (In which case, therefore, that for which Z is arguing would have to be considered as "supernatural".)

Or else we, in accord with Z's suggestion, define "our reality/nature" to include the immateriality of consciousness/intellect/etc. (In which case, the principle of angelic being is back on the table as falling within the realm of the "natural".)
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 29, 2017 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I understand what you're saying. But it would seem the mind's immaterial nature is based on, and subject to the laws of, the material. Otherwise, it would exist without the physical brain, which it does not; and would not be changed with physical changes to, and alterations to chemicals in, the brain, which it is. We just need to learn more about things to better understand the immaterial aspects of nature. Assuming we don't come to realize the mind is material in ways we simply aren't yet aware of.

Otoh, and correct me if I'm wrong, angels are able to ignore, and operate in violation of, ALL natural laws. What I mean is, nobody who believes in angels believes we will ever learn enough about natural law to find the limits of what angels can do. Because their limits are God's will, which is infinite, and cannot be subject to any limits.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wosbald wrote:

By that definition of "our reality", that which is principally in question on this thread (i.e. Z's nonreductive narrative of consciousness, intellect, the "mental principle", the immaterial, etc.) would also have to fall outside of that selfsame "our reality".
Reality is in question in this thread? Well, regardless, minds and consciousness are clearly not outside of this reality. And while I don't think current science or even reductive materialism accounts for consciousness, I don't think it violates the laws of nature. I think we just don't understand those laws.

Wosbald wrote:

We really are caught on the horns of a dilemma, here.

Either we accept a reductively material explanation of "our reality/nature" and, therefore, exclude an immaterial consciousness/intellect/etc. as being "outside" of that reality. (In which case, therefore, that for which Z is arguing would have to be considered as "supernatural".) Or else we, in accord with Z's suggestion, define "our reality/nature" to include the immateriality of consciousness/intellect/etc. (In which case, the principle of angelic being is back on the table as falling within the realm of the "natural".)
No. We've gotten so used to reductive materialism being the paradigm of "natural" that we have come think of them as synonymous. But deciding that the former is wrong doesn't mean that nature becomes supernatural. We just need another metaphysics or paradigm to characterize it. You can still have laws of science without assuming that they all collapse into physics. The hierarchal structure of physics > chemistry > biology > anthropology > etc. is a product of this metaphysics, reductive materialism. But they could be considered in isolation, meaning that physical reality is essentially distinct at the various levels. Holism, not reductionism.

None of this implies that angels are natural.

Wosbald wrote:

Earlier, you'd said that "[t]his difference is natural vs supernatural."

In response, I said that angels are, most certainly, not supernatural. Because _ well _ they're not. Any Catholic theologian who said the contradictory would find himself in a world-of-hurt real quick.

Now, what you do with that info after that is up to you. But maybe it indicates that many of your views are largely based on caricature. Cuz I know that I very rarely recognize my faith in many of the comments you make about it, even though I often find myself resonating with many of the things you say.
I think you're the only one here who thinks "angels" means "the Catholic idea of angels." The rest of us don't think your particular sect of Christianity has a monopoly on the concept.

Anything that pops into existence through an act of magic (or "creation") is supernatural, in my opinion. That would include pulling a rabbit out of a hat which has no rabbits in it ... even if the rabbit and the hat are made of matter. This concept of supernatural most certainly includes ghostly immortal beings (i.e. angels) created by a supernatural deity, however you characterize them. I think most people understand the terms this way.
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Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fist and Faith wrote:
Vraith wrote:
Fisty:
I'd say that if you don't think your big toe is part of your sentience/mind, and "you" are all in your head...that would be mistaken.
How so? I would have my mind if I lose my toe tomorrow. I would have my mind if I had been born without the toe in the first place. If some bizarre thing happened so that no human was ever again born with big toes, the species would still be sentient. Mess with the physical brain, and sentience will almost certainly change. Maybe "only" a definite, noticable change in personality. Maybe a loss in one or more cognitive functions (loss of memories or the ability to form new ones; loss of ability to do simple arithmetic; loss of speech...). Maybe a total loss of sentience.


Really? I'd say if you lost---or never had---that toe or any toes you would have A mind, still be sentient, but it would be a DIFFERENT mind, altered sentience.
Perhaps the difference would be almost unnoticeable---but that is highly unpredictable, in butterfly-effect territory. But sometimes totally predictable/noticeable. If Usain Bolt were born exactly as he is except missing his big toe, he would never have become the Usain Bolt that exists. His entire identity would be different.
Every cell in your body is inextricably part of your mind.
Hell, apparently even cells that AREN't part of your body are part of your mind...gut microbes, they tell me, change your mind.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 5:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with Vraith here. We are an embodied consciousness. I'm "in my toe" as much as "in my head." You would miss your toe if it was gone. And if someone tortured you through your toe, your consciousness would probably contain very little besides this pain. You would inhabit that toe like never before.
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Meaning is created internally by each individual in each specific life: any attempt at *meaning* which relies on some kind of external superstructure (God, Satan, the Creator, the Worm, whatever) for its substance misses the point (I mean the point of my story). -SRD

Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth ... Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away. Lead back to the earth the virtue that flew away, as I do-back to the body, back to life, that it may give the earth a meaning, a human meaning. -Nietzsche
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

+JMJ+

Fist and Faith wrote:
I understand what you're saying. But it would seem the mind's immaterial nature is based on, and subject to the laws of, the material. Otherwise, it would exist without the physical brain, which it does not; and would not be changed with physical changes to, and alterations to chemicals in, the brain, which it is. We just need to learn more about things to better understand the immaterial aspects of nature. Assuming we don't come to realize the mind is material in ways we simply aren't yet aware of.


I think it's problematic to say that the immaterial/mental/intellectual is "subject" to (determined by?) the laws of the material, any more than vice versa. It seems more accurate to say that they're codetermined, reciprocally implicated, mutually conditioned, etc.

As Z just said, "embodied consciousness" or, alternately, "ensouled or enspirited matter" seem to be apt expressions.

-------------------------------------------------------

Fist and Faith wrote:
Otoh, and correct me if I'm wrong, angels are able to ignore, and operate in violation of, ALL natural laws. What I mean is, nobody who believes in angels believes we will ever learn enough about natural law to find the limits of what angels can do. Because their limits are God's will, which is infinite, and cannot be subject to any limits.


Angels are not Omnipotent, Omniscient, or any of the other Omnis. Those are reserved for Supernature/God alone, though Nature can, through grace, "share" or "participate" (in a broadly Platonic sense) in the Omnis. Thus, angels are "powerful" in the same sense as men with faith the grain of a mustard seed moving mountains are "powerful". And so, the idea that angels (or men) can divinely act in a capricious and irrational manner only obtains if you hold that God can act in a capricious and irrational manner.

And this is where you, in emphasizing divine Power/Sovereignty, seem to be falling into a rather extreme, late mediaeval, voluntaristic cul-de-sac. Suffice it to say that this line of thinking, if logically pressed to a reductive extreme, would eventually lead one to a catholically-heretical position. An unqualified Voluntarism, when applied to God or Nature or whatnot, will always be out-of-bounds for Catholic thought.

All one has to do is to consult the intellectualistic Thomas Aquinas about the limits of God's Power — just what it is that God "can't do" — or to take note of all of the reductive conclusions which the voluntaristic Duns Scotus refuses to draw, in order to see this living Catholic principle in action.

And all one has to do is to trace the history of various catholically-heretical movements unduly emphasizing divine Power, in order to see the various dead-ends towards which a monomaniacal Voluntarism leads.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 30, 2017 6:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I may not be expressing myself all that clearly, but do you guys truly not know what I mean? The existence of our sentience does not depend on our toes.

Yes, the exact nature of my personality might be different if I lost my toe now, or was born without it. But I would still be sentient in either case.

Consider the difference in these two examples.

1 You could physically torture my toe. Or, you could manufacture signals of you physically torturing my toe, and feed those signals directly into my brain.

2 You could physically torture my brain. Or, you could manufacture signals of you physically torturing my brain, and feed those signals directly into my brain.

No difference between 1 & 2?
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 01, 2017 5:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't quite made it to the end of these posts, but before I forget, can I just post an observation as it comes to me; so much of this is down to definitions. If I define the supernatural as say 'the unexplained' as opposed to 'the unexplainable' it becomes a radically different thing. The universe appears 'as if by magic' out of nowhere: is it supernatural - no, we know, howmatter how hard it can be, we can one day explain how it happened. But we are back to that old thing of any science/tech so far in advance of our own being indistinguishable from magic - only perhaps the case is that the distinguishing line between them is irrelevant, or even non-existent. Like the line between the visible and non visible universe, it's significance is only pertinent to us from our much reduced and distant point of reference.
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 02, 2017 8:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fist and Faith wrote:
I may not be expressing myself all that clearly, but do you guys truly not know what I mean? The existence of our sentience does not depend on our toes.

Yes, the exact nature of my personality might be different if I lost my toe now, or was born without it. But I would still be sentient in either case.

Consider the difference in these two examples.

1 You could physically torture my toe. Or, you could manufacture signals of you physically torturing my toe, and feed those signals directly into my brain.

2 You could physically torture my brain. Or, you could manufacture signals of you physically torturing my brain, and feed those signals directly into my brain.

No difference between 1 & 2?

Actually, I believe you CAN't physically torture the brain, that it has no pain sensors. [and maybe no other sensory nerve endings either]. That's just a little thing, though...

Your brain could not be input-ed with toe-pain signals UNLESS it had at some point had a toe-to-brain path.
True of every stimulus/input. There literally cannot be any simulated/artificial/substituted events without the preexistence of a path/method/structure to deal with real ones.

Your current sentience is not only related to your current toe-status, the entire evolutionary history of your sentience is bound inextricably with the entire evolutionary history of your toe-ness.
I can't meaningfully interrupt and alter your current and future being by hacking you with "Saturday Night Beaver" unless all the apparatus and expectations of streaming "Saturday Night Fever" exist.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 02, 2017 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So putting a bullet through my toe will have the same effect on my sentience as putting a bullet through my brain. It even has the same likelihood of destroying my sentience entirely.

There are people born without toes, and people born without brains. Or at least with big parts of the brain missing. It happens. These days, we know it's going to happen months before birth. And you are saying being born without a toe will as likely eliminate the possibility of sentience as being born without a brain.

Both of those things are false.

You can do the exact same things to a brain that you can do to a toe. Say it's not torture, because there is no perceived physical pain, if you wish. The point is, you don't have to torture it too much before the person dies. Torture it less, in the right spots, and the person will be in a vegetative state. It's not difficult to achieve either. It is difficult to achieve a person's death or put them in a vegetative state by torturing their toe.
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 11, 2017 6:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

peter wrote:
I haven't quite made it to the end of these posts, but before I forget, can I just post an observation as it comes to me; so much of this is down to definitions. If I define the supernatural as say 'the unexplained' as opposed to 'the unexplainable' it becomes a radically different thing. The universe appears 'as if by magic' out of nowhere: is it supernatural - no, we know, howmatter how hard it can be, we can one day explain how it happened. But we are back to that old thing of any science/tech so far in advance of our own being indistinguishable from magic - only perhaps the case is that the distinguishing line between them is irrelevant, or even non-existent. Like the line between the visible and non visible universe, it's significance is only pertinent to us from our much reduced and distant point of reference.


Peter your observations resonate with me .. I can understand your meaning. I have lost the sentience/toe point .. though .. not sure where that is heading.

I can understand what makes sense - to my arguably limited understanding "sentience" (thanks to google lol) being diversely understood. Some view sentience as a subjective capability to think, feel, perceive. Or others that it is a distinction between thought and feeling. And to others it is a metaphysical quality possessed by all living things. So it is the latter view that is being run with here is it?

Thats more airy fairy and harder to demonstrate though isn't it? Hence the separation of the toe not affecting sentience? But the brain - the centre of thought, perception that gives rise to feeling?

mmm ... kinda Star Trek where sentience is a quality viewed in some living things that possess it but not all living things. That it is of the highest imperative to preserve and safeguard.

ok so what does this have to do with angels? aliens?

Reality vs super-realities? Is there more than you can see, taste, feel? More than reality? Can we say mortality? But using a term like mortality doesn't that imply an immortality? Thats were I stumble.

Perhaps from my personally jaded belief in such things I no longer accept the existence of gods, heavens, angels, spirits etc.

But I am open to challenging that currently held position.

Are we really getting any closer to understanding more?
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 26, 2019 11:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm with Leonard Susskind on this one. I believe that about 13 billion years ago (give or take) there was a density fluctuation in a primordial super-heavy vacuum.
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