What is the difference between supernatural cause and uncaused?

In summary: Supernatural effects are any unnaccounted for by physics as we know it. A causal explanation remains possible. Acausal effects, on the other hand, are priceless. We appear to reside in a universe where causality is law.In summary, the conversation discusses the concept of supernatural effects and whether they can be attributed to unknown causes or should be seen as acausal. It also delves into the idea that the assumption of a lack of causality can be equivalent to assuming a supernatural cause. The point is made that throughout history, people have tended to attribute unknown phenomena to the supernatural, hindering progress in understanding the natural world. The conversation also touches on the idea of entanglement and its potential classification as supernatural.
  • #1
ikos9lives
41
0
If it is not possible to tell the difference, then why should we conclude that something for which a cause is unknown is without a cause?
 
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  • #2
Supernatural effects are any unnaccounted for by physics as we know it. A causal explanation remains possible. Acausal effects, on the other hand, are . . . priceless. We appear to reside in a universe where causality is law.
 
  • #3
Chronos said:
We appear to reside in a universe where causality is law.
Including radioactive decay?
 
  • #4
Chronos said:
Supernatural effects are any unnaccounted for by physics as we know it.
Would the effects of dark matter and dark energy qualify as supernatural, or do we know the physics behind them? Personally, I don't agree that either of those statements is true.
 
  • #5
If tachyons can't be directly observed, but must necessarily exist so that the rest of a model works, are they supernatural? :3
 
  • #6
D H said:
Including radioactive decay?
Radioactive decay necessarily requires an unstable nuclei. It may not be sufficient, but it does seem to be necessary, so it seems more accurate to say that at least one cause of radioactive decay is an unstable nuclei.
 
  • #7
Shouldn't a distinction be made between uncaused and cause unknown?
 
  • #8
Redbelly98 said:
Would the effects of dark matter and dark energy qualify as supernatural, or do we know the physics behind them? Personally, I don't agree that either of those statements is true.

Exactly what he said.
 
  • #9
russ_watters said:
Shouldn't a distinction be made between uncaused and cause unknown?
Exactly.

And just because the cause of something is currently unknown does not mean that the first thing one should do is attribute the cause of that something to the supernatural.
 
  • #10
It can be said that supernatural cause is experienced by individual or a group , but cannot be proved in real life.

earthquakes, volcanoes, flooding even wars were considered supernatural events thousands of years ago.

That said we still do not know why should something like the universe exist ?
 
  • #11
Chronos said:
Supernatural effects are any unnaccounted for by physics ...
i think supernatural effects are unaccounted in all fields of science not only in physics including biology,geology etc
 
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  • #12
D H said:
Exactly.

And just because the cause of something is currently unknown does not mean that the first thing one should do is attribute the cause of that something to the supernatural.

In my view, the point is not that unknown causes should be contributed to the supernatural, it's that assuming a lack of causality (even in the case of atomic decay) is equivalent to assuming a supernatural cause.

In other words, the more productive assumption is that there is a physical mechanism behind seemingly random events.

That's not to say that implementing random models isn't productive, especially in the absence of knowledge of that mechanism, or when the results are equivalent, but then "random" doesn't necessarily mean lack of cause. That's more of a philosophical interpretation. The only rigorous definition of random pertains to the the expectation of a group of objects. If you roll a die, the result is approximately random (there's an equal probability of any of the six faces landing up) but this is a consequence of completely deterministic chaos.
 
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  • #13
ikos9lives said:
If it is not possible to tell the difference, then why should we conclude that something for which a cause is unknown is without a cause?


Note that you can turn this argument on its head and get:

Why should we assume that those things that appear to have a cause actually have a cause?

Personally I am more interested in what is demonstrably useful than any metaphysical or spiritual "reality". If assuming in one situation that quanta are ultimately without cause proves useful, I'll do that. However, if in another situation it proves more useful to assume they are causal, then I'll do that. It just depends upon the context and I what I am trying to accomplish.
 
  • #14
D H said:
And just because the cause of something is currently unknown does not mean that the first thing one should do is attribute the cause of that something to the supernatural.
That is precisely the point of Carl Sagan's "Demon Haunted World". His thesis is basically that throughout history, people have tended to assume that things they don't understand have a supernatural origin and as the realm of science has expanded, the realm of supernatural has shrunk. Prior to the scientific revolution, that belief stifled progress in understanding the natural world (if the cause is supernatural then there is nothing to investigate, so why bother investigating?). It isn't as much of a problem today, but still exists, mostly in laypeople making judgements about science based on ignorance (such as with YEC arguments).
 
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  • #15
Pythagorean said:
In my view, the point is not that unknown causes should be contributed to the supernatural, it's that assuming a lack of causality (even in the case of atomic decay) is equivalent to assuming a supernatural cause.

In other words, the more productive assumption is that there is a physical mechanism behind seemingly random events.
Why does it need to be that way? Why is it hard to accept that a particle just plain does not have an exact position/energy? And if that is really the way the natural world works, then it would be improper to call it supernatural.
 
  • #16
It seems to me that entanglement qualifies as being supernatural. However, I don't think the word has any meaning as it could be applied to any phenomenon that we don't understand.

While the results of an experiment pertaining to the EPR paradox are predicatable, we have no known mechanism of action. It seems to me as much magic as physics.

IIRC, the Stern–Gerlach experiment serves as an example here.
 
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  • #17
russ_watters said:
Why does it need to be that way? Why is it hard to accept that a particle just plain does not have an exact position/energy? And if that is really the way the natural world works, then it would be improper to call it supernatural.

That's not "hard to accept" at all and it's an observation, not an interpretation, so largely irrelevant... unless you have an interpretation that you're holding back.
 

Related to What is the difference between supernatural cause and uncaused?

1. What is a supernatural cause?

A supernatural cause is a cause that is believed to originate from a source outside of the natural world, such as a deity or other supernatural being. This cause is not able to be explained by scientific laws or principles.

2. What is an uncaused event?

An uncaused event is an event or phenomenon that occurs without being caused by any prior event or force. It is considered to be spontaneous and does not have a discernible cause or explanation.

3. What is the difference between a supernatural cause and an uncaused event?

The main difference between a supernatural cause and an uncaused event is that a supernatural cause is believed to originate from a source outside of the natural world, while an uncaused event is considered to be spontaneous and without a discernible cause. Additionally, a supernatural cause is often associated with a specific deity or supernatural being, whereas an uncaused event does not have a specific source or explanation.

4. Can a supernatural cause also be considered an uncaused event?

No, a supernatural cause and an uncaused event are two distinct concepts. A supernatural cause is believed to come from a source outside of the natural world, while an uncaused event is considered to be spontaneous and without a discernible cause. It is possible for a supernatural cause to trigger an uncaused event, but they are not interchangeable terms.

5. How do scientists approach the concept of supernatural causes and uncaused events?

As scientists, we approach the concept of supernatural causes and uncaused events with a focus on evidence and natural explanations. While we acknowledge that there may be phenomena that we cannot currently explain, we continue to use the scientific method to investigate and understand the natural world. Supernatural causes and uncaused events are not considered within the realm of science, as they are not able to be tested or observed using scientific methods.

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