Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Miracles and the Supernatural

There are lots of questions that may never have an answer.  There are lots of things that cannot be explained.  Ever since I started learning about philosophy, I've seen the world in a new light, though it was a pretty dim one.  I found that there are simply things that I can never know the answer to, somethings of which I can't even ask.  When I first learned of this technique, I admit, I was impressed.  It sounded so clever and it seemed plausible at the time that philosophy was dead and there was no way back.  But that has happened several times before, e.g., Descartes, Kant, Wittgenstein, etc.  Then a Briefer History of Time found me and then I was introduced to quantum theory.  Quantum theory simply puts an element of unknowing into science.  You can get down to such a granular level that measurement is not possible without contaminating the results.  The margin of error is too large for the measurements to be of any use.  This does not mean that on the macro level all of Newton's world still functions as expected.  But it is that uncertainty that keeps us from ever knowing the whole truth.  I believe the same is with philosophy.  I believe Wittgenstein, Hume, Kierkegaard, etc. all overshot the idea of the possibility of miracles, as did I.  I thought that anything that happened in nature, anything that is restricted to the laws of nature...not anything, but everything...is simply defined as natural and by definition, supernatural events cannot occur because it implies that something occurs that is unrestricted the laws of our world and it just can't happen...and I'm not talking about black swans, but if someone came to earth and could shoot lightning from their fingers then they are a God...wait Tesla already did that, but he was of another world already.  But here is my argument....what if life was impossible?  Let's say, what if by some event, Mars and Earth switched places.  It would be easy to imagine that all life on earth would end.  How about life on Mars then.  Would life just spontaneously create itself on the planet that now occupies Earth's orbit?  Give the new Earth/Mars a billion years.  Would life evolve?  Can life come from not life?  I dunno, but if it cannot then life itself is a miracle and life itself is supernatural.  It doesn't necessarily mean there is a God or a god or an afterlife or a before-life, but it would mean that supernatural events do occur and that the Pre-Socratics were better philosophers than anyone since.  So next time anyone ask me if I think miracles are possible, I'll tell them, "You're looking at one."

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