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Is it the case that anything that is possible is also natural?

Asked by: Yarowold
  • Cause and effect.

    In other words, I think anything that is artificially created by self-aware agents - such as us humans - is natural. We can create, say, an android, and call it artificial. However, since we humans are an assortment of physical matter that obeys certain physical laws of nature, all of our actions are also determined by the laws of physics. If one builds an android, then that too is just an effect of a previous, albeit complex, cause. This is similar to how organisms came to be what they are - by being acted upon by the physical laws.

    Nonetheless, the devil might be in the definition of what is "artificial" or "unnatural" and what is "natural". It's a social construction that helps us differentiate between what is man-made and what is not, among other things. So, there is that part of the argument. But aside from that, I think anything that is physically possible - no matter through which means it was created - is natural.

  • We are not the end result of evolution

    Humans are large brained, upright-walking apes. Anything we create is within the laws of nature and therefore natural. We have bred Thanksgiving turkeys with breasts so large they cannot mount each other and, as a result, cannot reproduce on their own. They must be artificially inseminated. Seems unnatural right? I would argue that ANYTHING humans create, be it a flying machine, complex chemical, or space age plastic, is created naturally. We achieve these marvels of modern science through nothing more than our intelligence, creativity, and perseverance.

    There seems to be a valid and logical concern rooted deep within this question, however. Should we do these things? Is it right, moral, advisable? God gave us brains to use but are we living the way He intended? Do we even understand our brains to the degree we are using them? Can we be expected to know the implications of the actions we take with these dangerous tools? The creation of the terms "man made", "artificial", or "unnatural" seem to rebel at the thought of how we are applying our gifts of intelligence, creativity, and perseverance.

    Humans seem to tell themselves the following story: "We are the pinnacle of evolution. The Earth was made for us to rule. If we could only complete our mastery over it we could stop destroying it."

    From this arise all manner of problems. We control our food source through agriculture because we believe we are meant to. We plant food on every square inch of land we possibly can and as a result our population skyrockets. In order to feed this burgeoning population we must plant more food. This cycle of overpopulation is slowly choking the life out of our planet.

    I have to go to class but maybe i'll come back and finish this...

  • Why do people differentiate our actions from nature...

    I can't seem to relate to that because we are being created from nature follow the laws of nature and everything that comes from us a natural because it is in this universe and not against the laws of nature...It's semantics...All is natural but we like to call things that are man made unnatural in a sense that it is a "bad" thing....It's not ..It is what it is..Not good or bad...It occurs within the laws...

  • No by definition

    No that is not the criteria of something being natural. Something that can occur in nature without interference is what is considered natural. Human beings occurred naturally but what we create is not natural because it is made by our means and not the building blocks of nature. Cause and effect does not apply in this case at all.

  • What is natural?

    Ad agencies might try to sell us on "all-natural whole grain goodness," "natural homeopathic remedies," or "non-toxic, all-natural household cleansers" — but what does natural really mean? In everyday language, the word natural is often used to describe goods that are wholesome or not made by humans, but in the language of science, natural has a much broader meaning. Within science, the term natural refers to any element of the physical universe — whether made by humans or not. This includes matter, the forces that act on matter, energy, the constituents of the biological world, humans, human society, and the products of that society. So even though we might not think of them as "natural" (in the everyday sense of the word), science can study things like the human smile, human decision-making, artificial sweetener, and learning algorithms for robots because they are part of the physical universe around us.

    In practice, what's natural is often identified by testability. Natural things behave in predictable ways — though we may not yet fully understand them — which have observable outcomes. This predictability means that we can test hypotheses about natural entities by making observations. Ghosts, for example, are supernatural entities without a basis in the physical universe and so are not subject to the laws of that universe. Hence, ghosts are outside the purview of science, and we cannot study their existence (or lack thereof) with the tools of science. If, however, we hypothesize ghosts to be natural entities, made up of matter and energy and bound by the laws of the universe, then we can study them with the tools of science — and must accept the outcome if the tests we perform suggest that ghosts do not exist as natural entities.

  • We do not know what our nature permits us to be.

    The meaning and importance of various understandings and concepts of "nature" has been a persistent topic of discussion historically in both science and philosophy. In Ancient Greece, "the laws of nature were regarded not [simply] as generalized descriptions of what actually happens in the natural world… but rather as norms that people ought to follow… Thus the appeal to nature tended to mean an appeal to the nature of man treated as a source for norms of conduct. To Greeks this… represented a conscious probing and exploration into an area wherein, according to their whole tradition of thought, lay the true source for norms of conduct."

    In modern times, philosophers have challenged the notion that human beings' status as natural beings should determine or dictate their normative being. For example, Rousseau famously suggested that "We do not know what our nature permits us to be." More recently, Nikolas Kompridis has applied Rousseau's axiom to debates about genetic intervention (or other kinds of intervention) into the biological basis of human life, writing:

    [T]here is a domain of human freedom not dictated by our biological nature, but [this] is somewhat unnerving because it leaves uncomfortably open what kind of beings human beings could become… Put another way: What are we prepared to permit our nature to be? And on what basis should we give our permission?

    Kompridis writes that the naturalistic view of living things, articulated by one scientist as that of "machines whose components are biochemicals" (Rodney Brooks), threatens to make a single normative understanding of human being the only possible understanding. He writes, "When we regard ourselves as 'machines whose components are biochemicals,' we not only presume to know what our nature permits us to be, but also that this knowledge permits us to answer the question of what is to become of us… This is not a question we were meant to answer, but, rather, a question to which we must remain answerable."

    Philosophers such as Jacques Derrida, Bruno Latour and others have also questioned inherited understandings of nature in their work


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