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Modern science is too primitive to validly discount unexplainable supernatural phenomena.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/9/2015 Category: Science
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 608 times Debate No: 77454
Debate Rounds (5)
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Modern science is too primitive, narrow -minded and solipsistic to validly discount unexplainable or supernatural phenomena. There is so much naturally occuring phenomena that modern science cannot explain that it is impossible for the field to accurately assert that claims of unexplainable or supernatural phenomena are not credible.


Modern science has been able to answer many questions about the world that were previously explained by religion and superstition, such as the revolution of the Earth around the sun, the stars in the sky, the moon, waves, and many other natural occurrences. I think this debate will be very interesting, but before continuing I would like some examples of what my opponent thinks science is too primitive to explain. I am of the position that science can answer anything, whether the technology is available yet or not. Still, to prove this I would need to know exactly what my opponent thinks cannot be explained and what supernatural things cannot be discounted validly.
Debate Round No. 1


I thank my opponent for accepting the debate.

The assertion states that modern science (accepted science to date) is too primitive to validly discount unexplainable supernatural phenomena. Will science one day 'evolve' to a point that it can explain what is now deemed unexplained or supernatural? Perhaps.

A few things modern science has yet to explain:
1. Yawning
2. Dreams
3. The placebo effect
4. Why birds migrate
5. Why humans need sleep
6. Gravity
7. Genetic memory of the monarch butterfly [1]

A few things considered to be supernatural:
1. telekinesis
2. telepathy
3. ESP
4. ghosts
5. miracles [1]


I want to thank my opponent for the examples given above. I would like to address a couple of those things to give proof that modern science is not too primitive to explain them. First, #6, gravity. Modern science is completely capable of explaining gravity. A small object in space, or on the Earth for that matter, is drawn into the gravitational field of a larger object. This is why the moon orbits the Earth, and why the Earth orbits the sun. True, we do not know where it directly comes from, but that is not due to the current science, just the lack of time and energy that has already been put into it.
Another thing mentioned was why humans need sleep. Unlike gravity, there are almost no questions here. Humans need sleep to refresh the mind, and to build up energy. We need to sleep to give our bodies the chance to rest and refill its energy stores so we can be active and awake the next day. I will address many of the other points later, but I will close by addressing #5, miracles. Miracles are a term for an event that is defined by religion. Therefore I don't count them as supernatural, and they should not be defined by science. If you are religious, then a miracle is proof of God's existence and of His power on Earth. If you are not religious, then miracles don't exist to you. For these reasons, miracles will never be defined by science, and do not apply to this debate topic.
Debate Round No. 2


I thank my opponent for his perspective. I will offer my take on his viewpoints.

"... True, we do not know where it directly comes from, but that is not due to the current science, just the lack of time and energy that has already been put into it...."

Again, I am not debating whether science will discover the answers to these unknowns in the future. I suppose the answers will be known eventually. Where there is a will, there is a way. Yet, gravity has been a part of modern science since Newton. If modern science could explain where gravity comes from, it would have.

"...Humans need sleep to refresh the mind, and to build up energy..."
As the mind remains active when people sleep, I do not think it is to refresh the mind. The body does lose suffer from some amount of fatigue during periods of sleep deprivation. However, not everyone requires the same amount of sleep to feel refreshed. The record for any person going without sleep is 11 days. On the eleventh day, he is quoted as saying, "I do not feel tired yet. There is a bit of adrenaline pumping around". [1]

"...Miracles are a term for an event that is defined by religion. Therefore I don't count them as supernatural, and they should not be defined by science..."
This is not completely true. A miracle is defined as:
mirace - n.
1. an effect or extraordinary event in the physical world that surpasses all known human or natural powers and is ascribed to a supernatural cause. [2]

One does not have to believe in God or have a religion to acknowledge a miracle. They would only have to acknowledge that an occurence surpasses known human capabilities and the known forces of nature. I say known because science cannot claim to understand or explain all human ability or natural events. God,by some, is defined as a Spirit.

spirit - n.
1. the principle of conscious life; the vital principle in humans, animating the body or mediating between body and soul.
2. the incorporeal part of humans
3. the soul regarded as separating from the body at death.
4. conscious, incorporeal being, as opposed to matter
16. an individual as characterized by a given attitude, disposition, character, action, etc
17. the dominant tendency or character of anything [3]

This brings us to another concept unknown to science. Where do people get their character or spirit? We are clearly born with it, as children display different characters from infancy. If spirit or character did not exist, then everyone would behave the same. Yes, nurture or nature affects this character, yet, these influences attempt to foster (or curb) traits that are already present. If this character were a result of biology, wouldn't twins behave exactly the same?

Science does not acknowledge the existence of God or spirit because they cannot be seen with the naked eye or touched physically. We do not see or touch air yet we know it exists. For this reason, I assert that science is too primitive to validly discount such matters - or the lack of matter as unreal phenomena.

I await Con's response [1] [2] [3]



anime-arguments forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


mentalist forfeited this round.


This debate is about whether or not science is too primitive to explain supernatural phenomenon. Science is the opposite of primitive. We have lots of technology and experts in many different fields of science, exploring hundreds of different things in the world. My opponent said, "If modern science could explain where gravity comes from, it would have." This is completely untrue. We have been researching diseases and sicknesses for hundreds of years, yet we still discover new things about the topic each year. The same goes for gravity. The length of time that it's been around does not affect if it will ever be answered, and doesn't mean that something that has been studied for years will never be answered. About sleep, the example given is an anomaly. Nobody who's reading this, and certainly not my opponent, can go for 11 days without sleep. Though some people may be different, the majority of the population needs sleep to regenerate energy and continue to live.
Debate Round No. 4


I thank Con for rejoining the debate. I will first address the counterpoints my opponent mentioned.

Primitive is defined as:
2b. primitive - adj. crude, simple, rough, uncivilized, etc. [1]

"Science is the opposite of primitive. We have lots of technology..."
The existence or use of technology does not symbolize the opposite of primitive. In fact, advanced technology used in a deleterious manner can symbolize a primitive society. For example, the use of radiation or chemotherapy to treat cancer can be seen as primitive because there are known holistic treatments that have proven to be more effective and less toxic. Yet, as most know, in the pockets of the pharmaceudical industry there is no money in the cure - the money is in the treatment. In the future, I am sure current medical practices such as carcinogenic vaccines, radiation therapies and chemotherapy will be viewed as savage, crude or primitive.

"In 1986, the McGill Cancer Center scientists surveyed 118 oncologists who specialized in lung cancer. They were asked if they would take chemo if they developed lung cancer. Three-quarters replied they would not...Why is conventional chemotherapy still pushed by the vast majority of oncologists?...traditional oncologists are in a very difficult position because they've been trained to give these drugs. And they've devoted many years to reaching a very high level of expertise in the knowledge of poisonous, deadly compounds. They want to help the cancer patient, yet the tools they've been given don't work, he said." [2]

Also, due to the narrow mindedness and solipsism of modern science, the so cslled "savage or primitive" technologies developed in many ancient socities have yet to be explained. Examples would include:

the Pyramids of Giza - "...debate over how the pyramids were built is almost as ancient as the pyramids themselves. A 1956 article in the journal Archaeology describes how speculation about construction methods dates back to ancient Greece and continues unabated." [3]

THE ANTIKYTHERA MECHANISM " has been x-rayed many times using evermore advanced equipment.Working reconstructions have been made and entire research groups established to unlock the secrets of its manufacture and its purpose. Its existence has challenged many preconceived ideas regarding the technological abilities of the ancient civilisations." [4]

There are many other examples, yet, that is not the focus of this debate. Needless to say events such as Hiroshima, Nagasaki, 3 mile island, Chernobyl and Fukushima illustrate that knowledge of a technology does not necessarily mean a society is mature or advanced enough to wield the power it offers. The destructive use of certain technologies (i.e. geoenginering, fossilfuels etc.) has also been considered the cause of global warming and toxic pollution levels.

"...The same goes for gravity...does not affect if it will ever be answered...doesn't mean that something that has been studied for years will never be answered..."
Again, the assertion clearly refers to modern science (science to date). Developments that 'may' be developed at an indeterminable later date will have to be classified as future science.

"...About sleep, the example given is an anomaly..."
The example given does prove that everyone does not require a set period of sleep to regenerate or continue living. As for the experiment, "The young man involved recovered after a few days, during which he slept only somewhat more than normal, and seemed none the worse for wear." [5] Interestingly, sleep seems to contradit the survival assumption of evolution as "...animals are particularly vulnerable while sleeping, there must be advantages that outweigh this considerable disadvantage." [5]

I will use the remainder of this final rounf to address portions of the assertion that my opponent dismissed or overlooked"

1. Dreams - While my opponent partially explained the need for some amount of sleep, he has yet to provide modern science's explanation for dreams.

2. The Pacebo Effect - This phenomenon has been well documented, yet, remains a mystery to modern science.

3. Why birds migrate - This phenomena seems to insinuate that birds developed the first GPS mechanism.

4. Genetic memory of the monarch butterfly - How do the children of monarch butterflies know how to migrate to the exact point where the parents departed from six months earlier?

5. Telekinesis, Telepathy and other forms of ESP - Science continues to deny the existence of these phenomena although many have claimed to experience them.


narrow-minded - adjective

1. having or showing a prejudiced mind, as persons or opinions; biased.

2.not receptive to new ideas; having a closed mind. [6]

Modern science, in my opinion, is very narrow minded and biased. Mental programming or training can be very hard to negate and thus modern scientists are usually willing to take their theories to the grave. I merely suggest or assert that, if we are to be honest, these programs or fields of study are just that - theories. "The reason one should be open-minded about hew theories should hardly need stating: Where else do new scientific discoveries, breakthroughs, developments come from, if not from those brave and clever enough to challenge the current orthodoxy? Open-mindedness is a prerequisite for creativity, the willingness to look for and construct new patterns of information from new types of associations between events. The creative scientist is open-minded, the uncreative narrow-minded. Scientific discoveries require an expansion of the mind to explore new possibilities, not a contraction to admit only that which has already been confirmed." [7] While I do not support the entire agenda of transhumanism, I agree with this analysis. I am not against modern science, yet, I am always on guard for attempts to limit or stifle the creative spark.


Solipsistic - adjective
of or characterized by solipsism, or the theory that only the self exists, or can be proved to exist: [8]

When I refer to modern science as being solipsistic, I am implying that moderrn science functions as if its theories or proofs are the only thing which have true meaning. In that modern scientist seem to espouse that their theories are the only things which exist or that can be proven to exist. The fact that several scientific theories once held as truths or constants have been disproved should illustrate the error in such types of thinking. Examples of superseded scientific theories include but are not limited to:
1. The earth is flat
2. The geocentric universe
3. The heliocentric universe
4. The Caloric theory [9]

I maintain that until science can quantify, explain and duplicate events and phenomena in the known universe it cannot validly discount unexplainable or supernatural phenomena. In my opinion, the universe (or multiverse) has too much congruity and order for its origin to have been coincidence or chaos. Modern science offers the Big Bang theory as evidence of the beginning, yet, cannot fully explain what caused t he Big Bang or what existed before that. As a theory, the Big Bang is uneventful. The congruity and order alone is proof that there was a consciousness involved in the creation of the universe (multiverse). For now, I suppose, this consciousness will remain unexplained and supernatural in the eyes of modern science.

I thank my opponent in advance for his participation. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]
Designer Evolution: A Transhumanist Manifesto, pg 102, Simon Young, 2005 [7] [8] [9]


anime-arguments forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by mentalist 2 years ago
@ anime...yup
Posted by anime-arguments 2 years ago
I don't know if you want to choose the person you debate, but I'm interested. Can I accept the challenge?
Posted by 18Karl 2 years ago
whatever you say, sire.
Posted by mentalist 2 years ago
@ 18Karl - I'm an equal opportunity debater. First come, first
Posted by mentalist 2 years ago
@ missmedic - Here is a definition of supernatural. It does not appear to include superstition.

supernatural - adjective
1. of, relating to, or being above or beyond what is natural; unexplainable by natural law or phenomena; abnormal. []

superstition- noun
1. a belief or notion, not based on reason or knowledge, in or of the ominous significance of a particular thing, circumstance, occurrence, proceeding, or the like. []

science - noun
5. knowledge, as of facts or principles; knowledge gained by systematic study. []

natural - adj.
13. consonant with the nature or character of. []

These are different terns with different meanings.

Modern science does not have the ability to determine what is natural. Science has yet to explain dreams or yawning, yet, they are natural occurrences.
Posted by 18Karl 2 years ago
I would do this, but give me three days to post.
Posted by missmedic 2 years ago
Science is used to explain and understand the natural world, not the supernatural world.
Science is based on intellectual honesty not superstition nonsense.
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