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Science and the Supernatural


Can Science consider and study Supernatural explanations?

This question is at the heart of the Creation / Evolution debate, because both sides answer the question differently. Since Evolution is based on absolute Naturalism, Evolutionists argue ether that the supernatural does not exist or that if it does it is outside the domain of science. So Evolutionist answer to this question is solidly no and they use their definition of science against all alternatives to Evolution. Creationists on the other hand would answer the question yes.

To answer the above question it is first necessary to define two terms Science, and Supernatural.


Science

  1. The act and embodiment of performing the Scientific method in order to discover empirically proven truth.
  2. The act and embodiment of constructing falsifiable theories which are not subsequently falsified.

Supernatural

  1. Of or relating to existence outside the natural world.
  2. Attributed to a power that seems to violate or go beyond natural forces.
  3. Of or relating to a deity.
  4. Of or relating to the immediate exercise of divine power; miraculous.
  5. Of or relating to the miraculous.
  • The American HeritageŽ Dictionary of the English Language:


Discussion

Science involves use of the Scientific method and the construction of falsifiable theories. Since there is nothing in the Scientific method requires Natural causes or explanations then the only real issue is falsifiability. In general a Supernatural theory can be falsified by objectively showing that there is a natural cause for a given phenomenon.

As the above definition shows the Supernatural is not necessarily a mysterious, indescribable, and unknowable thing. The primary definition would fit any thing from outside the natural world, that is outside the space-time of our universe. Since General relativity shows us that there is an outside to the universe, it is not unreasonable to consider that events can occur inside our universe, that are cause by something outside it. While the second definition shows that Supernatural phenomenon need not obey our natural laws, it does not mean that they are not governed by their own laws. As shown by the last three definitions the Supernatural may involve intelligent agents such as God, while intelligent agents are hard to deal with, they can not be eliminated since human being are intelligent agents and ignoring our influence in the natural would produce large theoretical errors.

The supernatural is not the same as magic. Real magic would be supernatural but that does not equate the two. Supernatural events could; in theory; be mechanistic or the actions of the an intelligent agent, they simply do not operate by the same laws natural events do. Now natural causes should be used where they suffice, but naturalism assumes that they always suffice. While a supernatural cause should not be jumped to out of hand, it is equally wrong to eliminate them out of hand.

So there is nothing in the definition of ether Science or Supernatural that eliminates the Supernatural from scientific consideration. The claim by Evolutionist that Science can not consider the Supernatural a purely philosophical and essentially atheistic position.


Objections


Conclusion

There is nothing in the definition of science that precludes a supernatural hypothesis . Furthermore a supernatural hypothesis can meet the qualifications of prediction and falsification. A supernatural hypothesis is not the same as superstition or magic, but are simply explanations that are from outside the universe and / or do not obey natural laws. Such explanations can but need not include God. The denial of the supernatural that is part of naturalism is a purely philosophical and essentially atheistic position. By excluding supernatural hypothesis from consideration it eliminates out of hand a large body of possible explanations for past, present and future phenomenon. In origins and historical research a total denial of the supernatural will cause grave error if indeed supernatural events have occurred, as such the supernatural needs be considered.


 

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