The Instigator
CaptainScarlet
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Rami
Con (against)
Winning
3 Points

Supernaturalism is impossible.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Rami
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/29/2016 Category: Religion
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 387 times Debate No: 87397
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (4)
Votes (1)

 

CaptainScarlet

Pro

To rule in the supernatural, we need a transcendent knowledge base precisely because our knowledge is limited to begin with. And since supernatural effects can only be deduced if one has no limits of knowledge, then naturalism is absolute. We can express both lines of evidence in this way:

P1) Supernaturalism is only meaningful in that it is a negation of material causes.
P2) Negation of material causes would only be possible if one had no limit of knowledge.
P3) Human knowledge is limited.
C1) Supernaturalism is impossible. (from P1, P2 and P3)
C2) Naturalism is an absolute. (from C1)

P1) through P2)

Human knowledge is limited. Naturalism and naturalistic causes are assumed in each and every example of human experience, through a process of induction and an appeal to the simplest possible explanation. Supernatural explanations are always more complex as they invoke mysterious, un-knowable, mystical agents. There is a 3 step approach we can consider:

Step 1) if we see a potentially supernatural event we first question of the validity of the observation, equipment, method and approach. If this completely rules out a natural explanation we go to step 2)
Step 2) we question as to whether a new area of science has opened up and look to establish repeatable observations, and assess them through an explanatory natural framework. If we can rule out this possibility we go to step 3)
Step 3) we are left in a meaningless position because of we can only rule in a supernatural explanation, anything could be happening to our sense and reasoning and there is no way to determine truth

To overturn this and rule in the supernatural, we need a transcendent knowledge base precisely because our knowledge is limited to begin with. And since supernatural effects can only be deduced if one has no limits of knowledge, then naturalism is absolute. We can express both lines of evidence in this way:

P1) Supernaturalism is only meaningful in that it is a negation of material causes.
P2) Negation of material causes would only be possible if one had no limit of knowledge.
P3) Human knowledge is limited.
C1) Supernaturalism is impossible. (from 1, 2 and 3)
C2) Naturalism is an absolute. (from 4)
Rami

Con

Well, congratulations on proving it is not meaningful. However, you didn't prove it was impossible. Just we have no way to detect it. You did not affirm the resolution.
Debate Round No. 1
CaptainScarlet

Pro

Thank you for your response.

If supernaturalism is only meaningful in the context of negating natural causes and it is impossible for us to know that natural causes have been negated. It follows that supernaturalism is impossible and therefore false. A theist could take the defence of stating that the supernatural is meaningless and therefore not even false, but whilst that may be open to the theist position it hardly seems to improve it.

Apologies if that was not clear from the premises. Is it clear now or do you believe I have missed a step here? P1 is probably the premise to attack.
Rami

Con

Still, this did not rule out the possibility of supernatural existence. It just showed it was not possible to prove definitely. You said it yourself. We have limits to our knowledge. We can not rule out anything as impossible. We can say on is more likely, but not impossible.
Debate Round No. 2
CaptainScarlet

Pro

But I would argue it does. If the supernatural is either impossible or meaningless, it cannot exist. If it is impossible then it is impossible. But what does it mean to say "the supernatural exists" if one accepts it's meaningless? It means nothing. Thus as it means nothing the supernatural lacks any possibility of being true.

Yes we have limits on our knowledge, but one would need unlimited knowledge to make an appeal to magic when confronted by seemingly inexplicable events. It is an argument stemming from our lack of knowledge. A reversal of the theist claim that I would need to be omniscient to rule out the supernatural.
Rami

Con

Precisely since it stems from our ignorance is why it can't be disproven. If this debate was if I it was impossible that I am holding up four fingers, then you would lose. You need to prove 100% that it is impossible. You have yet to show that it is impossible. Meaningfulness has nothing to do with this debate.
Debate Round No. 3
CaptainScarlet

Pro

Yes of course I see your point. But I struggle to make sense out of your analysis of this.

Impossibility would presuppose a zero chance of being possible. Being possible would presuppose a likelihood. A likelihood would presuppose there being something with attributes to be likely. But, meaninglessness entails that the attributes of something are without meaning, they/it mean nothing. If something means nothing it has no attributes that make it ikely in the first place, if it has no likelihood it has no possibility, and is therefore impossible. I suppose a simpler rejoinder is what does it mean to say "the supernatural is meaningless, but still possible"?
Rami

Con

Wait, I think we have a confusion. All we proved is that super-naturalism isn't a definitive cause. That doesn't show it's meaningless. It is in the sense that it is an unproven answer, but not that it serves no purpose.
Debate Round No. 4
CaptainScarlet

Pro

Hi,

Thanks for the debate.

I refer you to your responses in Round 1 (R1) and Round 4 (R4). You appear to contradict yourself in stating:
R1) "Well, congratulations on proving it is not meaningful. However, you didn't prove it was impossible...[snip]..."; then
R4) "...[snip]...All we proved is that super-naturalism isn't a definitive cause. That doesn't show it's meaningless...[snip]..."

To summarise the debate, I have tried to argue that the Supertnatural is impossible - because it is not possible for humans to ever know whether it applies. Humans are obliged to argue for naturalism as an absolute. The challenge presented in R1 - R3 was that one could argue that the argument only concludes the supernaturalism is meaningless, but still possible. I have to conclude that if the supernatural is meaningless, then in a sense it is in a worse position of being 'not even possible'.

Thanks again for the exchange.
Rami

Con

I thought that you meant meaningless as in it is impossible to prove, not that it is impossible. All Pro has done is prove that it is impossible to know if a cause was supernatural. How that translates into supernaturalism being impossible is a mystery. In fact, Pro's own reasoning is his own downfall. Since we don't know the cause, we can't rule out supernaturalism. Somehow, we are obliged to still say that naturalism has to be the answer. It may be the likely answer, but without proof either way, it remains a 50-50 chance.
Debate Round No. 5
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Rami 1 year ago
Rami
Be very careful about this in future debates. In more serious debate, judges will look down at you. Remember to quote!
Posted by CaptainScarlet 1 year ago
CaptainScarlet
Firstly apologies if a broke any generally accepted principles. I was not attempting to pass this off as my own personal argument. Infact I doubt that any/many deabates here or anywhere else feature genuiney unique arguments that can be passed off personslly. More of rehashes and angles. This argument is not particularly unique to my knowledge, as neither of its counters are. I did re use large parts from an atheist web site becuase it is reasonably well stated and consistent, so there did not appear much point in changing P1 to P2. I reformulated P3 becuase for me it was a little indirect. I also added the justification for P1 to P2 as without it it doesnt feel robust enough. But to be clear it is less of an atheist blog where unique arguments are presented, and more of a resource center where which can be used to help formulate thoughts on particular arguments. Infact that is explicitly encouraged. The same resource centre brings together a lot of rehashed strong atheist arguments, which are sometimes attributed, sometimes not. This is one argument that for me deserves a little more oxygen of debate, which I wanted to give it. I think moral indignation is a little strong tbh.
Posted by Rami 1 year ago
Rami
C'mon, you plagiarized? That is low.
Posted by dsjpk5 1 year ago
dsjpk5
If you are going to quote from an atheist blog, you should use quotation marks.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Stonehe4rt 1 year ago
Stonehe4rt
CaptainScarletRamiTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: As Pro used his assumptions he did try to prove that Supernatural was impossible however is assumption Human Knowledge is limited rules out the other assumptions due to their beings things we dont know. He could not prove that the Supernatural does not exist, he then tried to relate this to a God, however it was not even defined if God was Supernatural. Supernatural is defined as something outside of Scientific or logical bounds, hence how could limited human logic define it as impossible? Pro contradicted himself and proved nothing. Con didn't prove anything either, but thats what he was proving, is that you cant disprove Supernatural. Hence he won the debate.