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Natural To Me Refers To Nature

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Posted by Richard Ruquist on August 7, 2003 16:52:39 UTC

Most everybody has an understanding in common of what is called nature. Natural things are products of nature, rather than being manmade- artificial. I do not think that natural "must mean that which we can explain using our physical notions of conservation, symmetry, action, etc. If we can't, then it's supernatural, in which case we can't explain it using physics."

I think it should mean what most people think it means- something devine. Webster has as a first meaning (i)something outside the experience of man and as a second meaning (ii)something outside of the laws of nature. Nothing about it not being explainable. Even superconductors are outside the ordinary laws of nature. They are extraordinary, yet explainable.

I think your definition of the term supernatural as everything that cannot potentially be explained by physical notions would be acceptable to me if the set of supernatural things included superconductors and superfluids. They are not found in nature, at least on earth. They are man made and then in some sense unnatural. But they are explainable.

So if supernatural refers only to things that could never be explained by the notions you list, then I think nothing exists that is supernatural. That makes it a wasted word.



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