December 6, 2011

Supernatural Before It’s Natural

If you were to travel back 500 years and tell people then that we can light up a room by flipping a switch on a wall, what would they think? They’d probably think it’s magic. They’d probably try to burn you for being a witch. Or they’d probably think you’re lying, that it’s impossible. They’d probably think lighting a room by a simple switch on a wall rather than lighting a candle or lantern is just some supernatural, science fiction idea.

But now, we have long since harnessed electricity and made it light our rooms as well as do a zillion other things. It’s not some crazy supernatural idea anymore. It’s not something only perhaps some divine power can do. It’s something that through many discoveries we’ve found how to do ourselves, that such a power already exists in the natural world.

Then there’s the electromagnetic spectrum. We can only see visible light, but of course the spectrum is a hell of a lot bigger than that, with all the microwaves and infrared, and on the other side ultraviolet and ionizing radiation. But we have little to no way of knowing these invisible wavelengths are there without special technology. Before such a thing was known, if the idea of undetectable waves flying around were suggested, you’d seem crazy, like you’re believing in things you can’t prove. Although, as we now know, more accurately that statement would be “things you can’t prove YET”. Up until that point, the idea of such invisible energy was perhaps… a supernatural concept.

All that said, I do tire of religious people using “there’s so much in the universe we can’t explain” to essentially mean “so there must be a God!” Um, no shit there’s so much we can’t explain. Earth is the only part of the universe we know all that well and can live on (as of right now anyway), and even here on our own planet there’s so much undiscovered. Even as far as we’ve come, we’ve barely even left tiny scratches in the surface of all there is. But that doesn’t translate to “God did it”. It translates to “we just haven’t discovered it yet”.

But with that said now, hey, they might be right in a way. God and souls and afterlife and all that jazz could just be more stuff we haven’t discovered yet, even if vastly different from how we imagine it. They don’t violate the laws of physics but rather exist in some area yet undiscovered in it, such that, based on what we know now, it seems supernatural and impossible.

And that’s our instinct, isn’t it? That what is yet unreachable is divine. The Greek gods lived atop then-unscalable Mt. Olympus. Some gods live in or are the sun. We humans see uncharted territory, places we cannot go, and wonder there is something amazing there. We imagine alien races far out in outer space. So we pay NASA billions to check that shit out! What was once some nocturnal chick named Selene who likes to rape sleeping shepherds we now know to be a big orbiting rock on which we’ve walked and into which we’ve stuck our flag.

It’s Chief Wiggum saying “What IS your fascination with my forbidden closet of mysteries?”

It’s like Mt. Olympus could have been called Schrodinger’s mountain. Until anyone got to the top to see what’s actually up there, it could house the gods, right? 😛

Of course, while it’s incredibly silly to assume we know all the universal forces there are or know the only forms they can take, it’s also incredibly silly to pretend we know anything specific about any forces yet undiscovered, such as, say, how these forces expect us to live our lives. Might there be some personal God-like being that cares about us individually? Sure. But lacking any tangible evidence to go by, this knowledge or theory is really only any good as a personal feeling, nothing that really, well, involves anyone other than yourself nor is a very stable thing into which to put any faith.

It’s why I’m not an atheist. Though mainly it’s because of my way of thinking, that supernatural just means “not discovered yet” and that everything has a scientific mechanism. I read the Harry Potter books and find myself wondering the underlying scientific basis of their magic spells, despite the fact that it being “magic” implies there isn’t one. Despite the fact that for the spells to work a certain way, there must be! Gah, confusing!

My theism comes from acknowledging that God, like all other theorized but not proven concepts, most likely does exist in some form, mostly since, as said, we only know a tiny tiny tiny bit about the universe and what’s even more ignorant than believing in things that don’t exist is insisting there is nothing more than we know. There will be shit in 500 years that we can’t even imagine now, that if suggested now would seem utterly ridiculous. Hey, who knows how long before we can travel through dimensions, discover warp speed, and bust our way into heaven and God/Buddha/Vishnu/Zeus/Galen/whatever will be like “finally!” Or not. But what now is only hypothesized or assumed to be a delusion might be in some way real. We just haven’t found it yet. We probably will. Along with lots of other neat stuff!

Including Flying Spaghetti Monster, of course! 🙂


  1. The first part of this was “this is why I’m an atheist” and then you actually say “this is why I’m NOT an atheist” and then I’m going “wait…wut?” and then the rest of the article is this:

    Comment by Lord Galen — December 25, 2011 @ 2:43 am

  2. Well of course you aren’t an atheist! You believe in your LORD GOD Lord Galen.

    Comment by Joseph Baker — December 25, 2011 @ 2:44 am

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