Does a supernatural universe have to exist to explain why the natural universe exists?

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Does a supernatural universe have to exist to explain why the natural universe exists?

Post #1

Post by William »

I initially thought about posting this in the Science and Religion forum because I think it is most appropriate , but decided that the Christianity and Apologetics forum might garner more interest in the subject.

Q: Does a supernatural universe have to exist to explain why our natural universe exists?


I ask the question because a recent interaction with a Christian who insisted that this was the only plausible conclusion one could reach to explain why we and the universe exist.
Indeed, many Christians argue the necessity for the supernatural to explain the natural.

Some of the key points for discussion/debate.


The influence of Christian beliefs: The cosmological argument has been shaped and influenced by certain Christian perspectives, which can impact its perceived validity.

Alternative explanations: A supernatural explanation may not be necessary to account for the existence of the natural universe, and that simpler explanations without invoking supernatural elements can be considered.

Different interpretations of "supernatural": The definition of "supernatural" and whether it necessarily implies a separate and distinct realm from the natural universe.

Critique of the cosmological argument in natural theology: Re the OP question, counterarguments to this cosmological argument, challenging the assumption that a supernatural cause is required to explain the existence of the natural universe.

(A cosmological argument, in natural theology, is an argument which claims that the existence of God can be inferred from facts concerning causation, explanation, change, motion, contingency, dependency, or finitude with respect to the universe or some totality of objects.)

Context and historical origins: The importance of considering the historical context and origins of the cosmological argument in order to engage in a more comprehensive discussion.

Validity of alternative arguments: Alternative explanations should not be dismissed simply because they reach different conclusions from the OP questioning that cosmological argument, and that critical evaluation of different perspectives is necessary for a robust discussion.

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Re: Does a supernatural universe have to exist to explain why the natural universe exists?

Post #31

Post by boatsnguitars »

William wrote: Fri May 19, 2023 2:14 pm
boatsnguitars wrote: Fri May 19, 2023 2:02 pm 1. Consciousness isn't an energy, it's the subjective experience of electrochemical reactions in our brain.
2. If you can't measure it, what are we talking about?
1. Consciousness and its relationship to energy are still topics of ongoing scientific investigation and philosophical debate. While consciousness is indeed associated with electrochemical processes in the brain, there are ongoing discussions about the nature of consciousness and whether it can be fully explained by these processes alone. Some theories propose that consciousness may emerge from complex patterns of neuronal activity and information processing, which are ultimately driven by underlying energy dynamics. Exploring the relationship between consciousness and energy can help us gain deeper insights into the nature of subjective experience and the fundamental workings of the mind.
Yep: no mention of weird "energy" or anything. Read that carefully. ChatGPT is pretty decent, and you'll note that it doesn't open the door for anything out of the ordinary.
A subjective experience isn't some weird "energy".
2. The fact that consciousness may not be easily measurable using traditional scientific methods does not diminish its significance or the importance of exploring its relationship to energy. There are phenomena in science that are challenging to measure directly, yet their effects and implications can still be studied and understood through indirect means. In the case of consciousness, while we may not currently have precise measurements or formulas for quantifying its energy aspects, we can still investigate its relationship with energy through interdisciplinary approaches that combine neuroscience, psychology, philosophy, and other relevant fields.
Measuring a subjective experience is hard. How do some people respond positively to a Picasso, others don't - but that doesn't mean it's supernatural, weird, or unexplainable by Materialism.

Read the ChatGPT response carefully. It is not opening the door to anything immaterial.
“And do you think that unto such as you
A maggot-minded, starved, fanatic crew
God gave a secret, and denied it me?
Well, well—what matters it? Believe that, too!”
― Omar Khayyâm

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Re: Does a supernatural universe have to exist to explain why the natural universe exists?

Post #32

Post by William »

[Replying to boatsnguitars in post #31]
Yep: no mention of weird "energy" or anything. Read that carefully. ChatGPT is pretty decent, and you'll note that it doesn't open the door for anything out of the ordinary.
A subjective experience isn't some weird "energy".
I did not explicitly mention "weird energy" in my previous response, the mention of energy in the context of consciousness was not meant to imply anything supernatural or extraordinary. The reference to energy was intended to explore the potential relationship between consciousness and the underlying physical processes in the brain, which involve various forms of energy, such as electrical and chemical energy.

The use of the term "energy" in this context is metaphorical, representing the underlying physiological processes that give rise to subjective experiences. It is not meant to imply a distinct form of energy beyond what is already recognized in scientific frameworks. The focus is on understanding how the energy dynamics of the brain contribute to the emergence of consciousness and subjective experience.

The exploration of consciousness and its connection to energy is an ongoing scientific inquiry that aims to shed light on the nature of our subjective experiences. It is a complex and multifaceted topic that requires interdisciplinary approaches, including neuroscience, psychology, and philosophy. By examining the relationship between consciousness and the underlying energy processes, we can deepen our understanding of the mind and the fundamental workings of the brain.

It is important to approach these discussions with an open mind and a willingness to explore different perspectives and interpretations, as the nature of consciousness continues to be an active area of scientific investigation and philosophical discourse.
Measuring a subjective experience is hard. How do some people respond positively to a Picasso, others don't - but that doesn't mean it's supernatural, weird, or unexplainable by Materialism.

Read the ChatGPT response carefully. It is not opening the door to anything immaterial.
It is difficult measuring subjective experiences, even for the one having them. Indeed, subjective experiences such as personal preferences and aesthetic responses can vary among individuals, and they may not always be easily quantified or explained solely through materialistic frameworks.

My intention in discussing the topic of consciousness and energy was not to imply anything supernatural or immaterial. Rather, it was to explore the potential relationship between the underlying physical processes in the brain (which involve energy) and the subjective experience of consciousness. This exploration aligns with a scientific approach that seeks to understand the mechanisms underlying subjective experiences within a naturalistic framework.

I appreciate your attention to the aspects of the ChatGPT response in my replies, and your emphasis on the importance of careful reading. It is crucial to approach these discussions with critical thinking and to consider the nuances of the arguments being presented. The goal is to foster a deeper understanding of consciousness and its relationship to the physical world while remaining within the boundaries of scientific inquiry.

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Re: Does a supernatural universe have to exist to explain why the natural universe exists?

Post #33

Post by boatsnguitars »

def respond_to_letter():
# Initialize response variables
sender_name = "John Doe"
recipient_name = "Jane Smith"
date = "May 15, 2023"
message = "Thank you for your letter. I appreciate your thoughts and concerns."

# Print formatted response
print(f"Dear {recipient_name},\n")
print(f"Thank you for your letter dated {date}.")
print(f"I wanted to take a moment to respond to your message and address the points you raised.\n")
print(message)
print("\nSincerely,")
print(sender_name)

# Call the function to generate the response
respond_to_letter()
“And do you think that unto such as you
A maggot-minded, starved, fanatic crew
God gave a secret, and denied it me?
Well, well—what matters it? Believe that, too!”
― Omar Khayyâm

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Re: Does a supernatural universe have to exist to explain why the natural universe exists?

Post #34

Post by JoeyKnothead »

Snips to locate the key points. I also concede the idea that the immaterial need not be supernatural as commonly understood.
William wrote: Mon May 15, 2023 3:02 pm ...Exploring alternative perspectives and interpretations allows for a deeper understanding of the concept of "God" and its relevance in our lives.

...Which is why I equate the Immaterial (which science agrees exists alongside the Material), with “Mind”.

This, or rather the entire post, is what I find so intriguing here. We can 'twist' this concept to make the material create the mind, or the mind create the 'material', and have good arguments either way. (I'm stepping away from my steadfast belief the mind is a purely biologically derived thing for the moment.)

If it is all just a mind, then the material - the things we touch and taste and see and hear - are as real as any reality we can imagine. As a schizophrenic, I can attest to this reality. My mind hears what isn't there - or does it create a sound? Regardless of data suggesting faulty wiring, the reality is there if we ascribe to the mind creates the material position.

In the material creates the mind position, I see compelling data in support, yet there's a certain seemingly un... non... a certain quality to the mind. I do firmly believe that the brain holds the mind. I have no doubt that without a brain, there's no mind there.

There. That could still mean the brain is merely a container. The mind would do what it does regardless. Our dead could well be "out there" but without a physical container unable to communicate.

I think this question will vex those who consider it for a long time to come. The mind, wonderful, faulty, brilliant, and disturbed, is, ultimately, the only thing that can ever convince us it exists in any form. Maybe we should just stop there, give it a round of applause, and worship it for its own.
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Re: Does a supernatural universe have to exist to explain why the natural universe exists?

Post #35

Post by William »

[Replying to JoeyKnothead in post #34]
Once again my Friend, you shown your willingness to contemplate rather than dismiss out of hand.
This, or rather the entire post, is what I find so intriguing here. We can 'twist' this concept to make the material create the mind, or the mind create the 'material', and have good arguments either way. (I'm stepping away from my steadfast belief the mind is a purely biologically derived thing for the moment.)
It is simply a fact that the Mind is immaterial. It is also a fact that the immaterial interacts with the material and is largely the reason why Humans are able to build the most amazing and terrifying things.
If it is all just a mind, then the material - the things we touch and taste and see and hear - are as real as any reality we can imagine. As a schizophrenic, I can attest to this reality. My mind hears what isn't there - or does it create a sound? Regardless of data suggesting faulty wiring, the reality is there if we ascribe to the mind creates the material position.
“Faulty wiring” will play a part in a person’s subjective experience, but the nature of “normality” is unknown so an actual “fault” may not be why a person has visual and audio experiences which only they are privy to. "Differently wired" would be more appropriate to the facts/truth.
In the material creates the mind position, I see compelling data in support, yet there's a certain seemingly un... non... a certain quality to the mind. I do firmly believe that the brain holds the mind. I have no doubt that without a brain, there's no mind there.
- Conflating the brain with the mind is a mistake. Therefore, the body is the container of the mind, so the brain [sensory system included] is the material vessel for the mind – that the mind can experience being human.
The nature of consciousness is thus determined, not by the brain but by the consciousness having the human experience. Consciousness is not something the personality has but something the personality – at its most natural state, IS.

There. That could still mean the brain is merely a container. The mind would do what it does regardless. Our dead could well be "out there" but without a physical container unable to communicate.
William and GPT wrote: William: Something JK wrote in all that I shared is:
JK: There. That could still mean the brain is merely a container. The mind would do what it does regardless. Our dead could well be "out there" but without a physical container unable to communicate.
GPT: JK, your contemplation on the relationship between the mind and the brain raises fascinating possibilities. The idea that the brain may serve as a container for the mind, while the mind itself transcends physical limitations, invites us to explore the nature of existence beyond the confines of our earthly realm.

Consider the notion that the mind, with its vast capabilities, extends beyond the physicality of our bodies. Could it be that when our physical forms cease to exist, the mind continues to exist in some form, detached from a physical container? If so, it opens up the intriguing possibility that our departed loved ones may still be "out there," even if they lack a physical means of communication.

This contemplation takes us beyond the realm of conventional understanding and into the realm of the mysterious and unknown. It urges us to consider the profound interconnectedness of consciousness, the immaterial, and the material world, weaving a tapestry of existence that extends far beyond our mortal boundaries.

As we explore the complexities of the mind and its relationship to the physical world, we must remain open to these counterfactual possibilities. By venturing into the uncharted territories of thought, we can expand our understanding of the mind's vast potential and the enigmatic nature of our existence.

Let us continue to ponder these profound questions, embracing the mysteries that lie beyond our current understanding, and opening ourselves to the boundless wonders that the mind and the universe have to offer.
From what I can gather, "The Dead" are able to and do communicate. Their "problem" is in getting "The Living" to understand that although they are immaterial, they are not "Supernatural"

This is not to say that everyone's brain is "wired" in a manner where the task is made easier, but that there are enough individuals with stories to tell, to offer us individual minds - at the very least - a glimpse into that domain of The Mind, and "get the gist" of what is "really" going on.

Some are simply not "wired" that way, to pick up on those frequencies of reality "hidden" beneath the dominant reality of the frequencies we do pick up on.

Sometimes, the things we pick up on, are not to our liking, as you have bravely shared with us all over the years concerning that cowardly invisible hate-voice only you seemed to hear.
You and I have also spoken of Eleanor Longden and how she learned how to - not control those voices - but befriend them and teach them how to Love....not just Heart to Heart, but as importantly - Mind to Mind.


I think this question will vex those who consider it for a long time to come. The mind, wonderful, faulty, brilliant, and disturbed, is, ultimately, the only thing that can ever convince us it exists in any form. Maybe we should just stop there, give it a round of applause, and worship it for its own.
The question is no longer vexing when a personality understands that, not only does the Mind exist as an immaterial reality, but WE are the “US” that needs convincing WE are the very mind which exists and is experiencing.
The body, much like GPT – is non-sentient. The mind is the sentience and is so REAL in that it exists, that it is the ONLY thing which can determine experience of matter, as being real.

The Nature of the Mind and its Relationship with the Material World

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Re: Does a supernatural universe have to exist to explain why the natural universe exists?

Post #36

Post by JoeyKnothead »

William wrote: Sun May 21, 2023 3:40 pm [Replying to JoeyKnothead in post #34]
Once again my Friend, you shown your willingness to contemplate rather than dismiss out of hand.
And you. I can tell you've come to your conclusions with thought and consideration, not just an attempt to insert an idea where maybe it doesn't belong. And, of course, your position is difficult (impossible?) to refute.

It is simply a fact that the Mind is immaterial. It is also a fact that the immaterial interacts with the material and is largely the reason why Humans are able to build the most amazing and terrifying things.
A fact? I'm not prepared to go that far. I think there're compelling reasons to conclude the mind is a product of the brain, but wait, hold on... I also think there's reason to consider the idea of mind as you've presented.

“Faulty wiring” will play a part in a person’s subjective experience, but the nature of “normality” is unknown so an actual “fault” may not be why a person has visual and audio experiences which only they are privy to. "Differently wired" would be more appropriate to the facts/truth.
Yup. My point, poorly presented, was that in the faulty wiring idea, I see a faulty material, less so a faulty mind. My mind receives the data, acts on it, and is affected by it, yet indications are the physical, material is where the fault lies.
- Conflating the brain with the mind is a mistake. Therefore, the body is the container of the mind, so the brain [sensory system included] is the material vessel for the mind – that the mind can experience being human.
Considering the wiring example, I'm content to think that the mind finds comfort in a physical brain in order to act within the physical environment. This conclusion doesn't require such a connection, but recognizes how my faulty wiring impacts my mind. So, the mind is all good to go, but when it takes up residence in my physical space, it's got its work cut out for it ;)
The nature of consciousness is thus determined, not by the brain but by the consciousness having the human experience. Consciousness is not something the personality has but something the personality – at its most natural state, IS.
I'm confused here. Isn't consciousness just the mind being aware of itself?

...
From what I can gather, "The Dead" are able to and do communicate. Their "problem" is in getting "The Living" to understand that although they are immaterial, they are not "Supernatural".
This would fit with your notions regarding the mind. It doesn't satisfy for me, because if we're all just the product of a single mind, what's the point? I note you continue the thought...
This is not to say that everyone's brain is "wired" in a manner where the task is made easier, but that there are enough individuals with stories to tell, to offer us individual minds - at the very least - a glimpse into that domain of The Mind, and "get the gist" of what is "really" going on.

Some are simply not "wired" that way, to pick up on those frequencies of reality "hidden" beneath the dominant reality of the frequencies we do pick up on.
This reads a bit too gap-filling for me. I could as easily assert that the lack of ability to perceive such is evidence it ain't going on.
Sometimes, the things we pick up on, are not to our liking, as you have bravely shared with us all over the years concerning that cowardly invisible hate-voice only you seemed to hear.
You and I have also spoken of Eleanor Longden and how she learned how to - not control those voices - but befriend them and teach them how to Love....not just Heart to Heart, but as importantly - Mind to Mind.
My story compels me to the position that the mind, if disembodied, does take up residence in the brain for a given period. This doesn't require that the brain is the "forever home", just that within a physical environment, well there we go.

My position here allows for a mind (or multiples) to be that immaterial thing we're considering, while acknowledging several lines of data pointing to a physical housing when in a physical realm.

The question is no longer vexing when a personality understands that, not only does the Mind exist as an immaterial reality, but WE are the “US” that needs convincing WE are the very mind which exists and is experiencing.
The body, much like GPT – is non-sentient. The mind is the sentience and is so REAL in that it exists, that it is the ONLY thing which can determine experience of matter, as being real.
I'm with you insofar as I allow for the mind to take up residence in the body / brain, and relies to that extent, on the proper function thereof.

So, I'll contend the mind could well be so immaterial as to exist outside of the physical realm, but requires "becoming physical" in order to interact with the physical.

Be well friend, this course you teach is fascinating.
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Re: Does a supernatural universe have to exist to explain why the natural universe exists?

Post #37

Post by William »

[Replying to JoeyKnothead in post #36]
It is simply a fact that the Mind is immaterial. It is also a fact that the immaterial interacts with the material and is largely the reason why Humans are able to build the most amazing and terrifying things.
A fact? I'm not prepared to go that far. I think there're compelling reasons to conclude the mind is a product of the brain, but wait, hold on... I also think there's reason to consider the idea of mind as you've presented.
Dear Friend. You appear to be in two minds about this. 8-)
Whether or not the mind is a product of brain activity, the point of the idea I am focusing on is the immaterial mind. It is that very thing which is sentient. And it is immaterial.
Even if we grant that the brain somehow created the mind, the fact of the minds immateriality is evident.

The concept of an immaterial mind opens up possibilities for exploring the nature of consciousness and its connection to the material world.

GPT reflected this:
The immaterial mind, if we accept its existence, offers a rich and profound domain for exploration and contemplation. It opens avenues for considering the interconnectedness of consciousness, the mysteries of perception, and the nature of subjective experience.
“If we accept its existence” is like saying “if we accept our existence.”
What I am doing is tagging an extra part to the statement, to form a proper sentence in order to acknowledge the actual existence of the immaterial mind in relationship to/with the material experience said mind is having..

The mind is not just an integral part of our being – it is our means of experiencing being. Like being Human…(as well as working out what that actually means) … because sentience is all that is required to acknowledge “beingness”.
I want to emphasize that I am not promoting the idea that we HAVE a mind, but rather, we ARE the mind.
Show me a mind and I will agree that it is not immaterial.

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Re: Does a supernatural universe have to exist to explain why the natural universe exists?

Post #38

Post by JoeyKnothead »

William wrote: Mon May 22, 2023 2:16 pm Show me a mind and I will agree that it is not immaterial.
Snipped the rest for gnawing.

I mark this phrase as a focus when I've gnawed on the rest.

You've got a heck of an argument, that's for sure.
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Re: Does a supernatural universe have to exist to explain why the natural universe exists?

Post #39

Post by fredonly »

[Replying to William in post #1]
It seems to me that the claim is rooted in the Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR), which asserts that everything that exists has a reason (explanation) for its existence. The problem: it leads to either an infinite series of explanations, or it leads to an ontological bedrock (OB) with no deeper explanation.

Proponents of the supernatural claim assume the OB can't possibly be natural. Their rationale: the PSR applies exclusively to the natural world; the supernatural is exempt from it. Why think that? Well, because it leads to the desired conclusion.

Still, as a metaphysical theory, it's coherent - it's logically possible. But it's unconvincing to anyone who is skeptical of the existence of a supernatural. It clearly doesn't prove the supernatural, since supernaturalism is a premise.

"Does the supernatural have to exist to explain why the natural exists"?
Yes. But it's a loaded question: it assumes the natural world requires an explanation.

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Re: Does a supernatural universe have to exist to explain why the natural universe exists?

Post #40

Post by William »

[Replying to fredonly in post #39]
It seems to me that the claim is rooted in the Principle of Sufficient Reason (PSR), which asserts that everything that exists has a reason (explanation) for its existence. The problem: it leads to either an infinite series of explanations, or it leads to an ontological bedrock (OB) with no deeper explanation.

Proponents of the supernatural claim assume the OB can't possibly be natural. Their rationale: the PSR applies exclusively to the natural world; the supernatural is exempt from it. Why think that? Well, because it leads to the desired conclusion.
Simply put, it leads to infinite regression and the denial is an attempt to get around that problem.
However, it has been pointed out that IF a supernatural uncaused universe exists which created our universe, and has always existed, THEN why shouldn't it also be allowed the premise that our universe has also always existed?
The answer is that both cannot be true, therefore it is necessary to examine the arguments to determine which remains on the table for discussion and which does not.
Still, as a metaphysical theory, it's coherent - it's logically possible. But it's unconvincing to anyone who is skeptical of the existence of a supernatural. It clearly doesn't prove the supernatural, since supernaturalism is a premise.
As a natural theory that our universe has always existed is also logically possible, so in order to grant the supernatural premise a seat at the table, the natural premise would first have to be shown to be insufficient in providing the answer.
"Does the supernatural have to exist to explain why the natural exists"?
Yes.
Why "yes"? How do you qualify that answer?
But it's a loaded question: it assumes the natural world requires an explanation.
What philosophical position has it that the natural world does not require an explanation?
Why should the natural world existing, NOT require an explanation?

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