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Thread: Artificial vs Nature

  1. #1 Artificial vs Nature 
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    Why do we associate man made objects such as building, dams, or even nuclear power plants as being artificial? If there was a beautiful photo of a bird nest resting on top of a tree, most people would call it a "snapshot" of nature, not a tree and a "artificially constructed shelter engineered by pigeons." If nature created humans, wouldn't anything man created be the byproduct of nature itself? Why do people call objects or products man has created as being "artificial", since a bird's nest an ant hole or a chicken's egg also does not exist in solely nature?

    In another perspective, what separates something from being natural and artificial? Even trees is not something natural. Consider this, before the presences of trees here on earth, trees are not "natural" in nature. Therefore, nothing must be natural since before it existed, it did not exist in nature therefore it can be said that after in appeared in nature it is an "artificial" object.


    Last edited by beamthegreat; March 19th, 2013 at 04:49 AM.
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  3. #2  
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    I normally avoid semantic arguments like the plague, but consider the words related to artificial.

    Artifice, artifact, art.

    All the dictionaries I've ever consulted refer to all these definitions as being made by human hand. Artificial now has additional connotations about lack of sincerity or authenticity or whatever, but the basics remain. Artifacts of human origin are not "natural" in the sense that a person, or many people, has made it.


    "Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen." Winston Churchill
    "nature is like a game of Jenga; you never know which brick you pull out will cause the whole stack to collapse" Lucy Cooke
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  4. #3  
    ▼▼ dn ʎɐʍ sıɥʇ ▼▼ RedPanda's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by beamthegreat View Post
    what separates something from being natural and artificial?
    We use 'artificial' and 'natural' to differentiate between the things we do from the things other animals do.
    This is because we have a long history of arrogance where we think we are not animals.
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  5. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedPanda View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by beamthegreat View Post
    what separates something from being natural and artificial?
    We use 'artificial' and 'natural' to differentiate between the things we do from the things other animals do.
    This is because we have a long history of arrogance where we think we are not animals.
    Agreed. The O.P. answered his own question.

    There is a long line of thinking that remains still in our language. Another example is "sunrise/sunset." Even though we know that the Earth goes around the Sun, we still call it SunRise.
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  6. #5  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neverfly
    Agreed. The O.P. answered his own question.

    There is a long line of thinking that remains still in our language. Another example is "sunrise/sunset." Even though we know that the Earth goes around the Sun, we still call it SunRise.
    I don't think that's a very good example, since, from our perspective, the sun actually does rise and set.

    I can only half-agree with the OP's premise. While we do tend to set ourselves apart as humans, we do also recognize the difference between artificial and natural habitats in nature. To the first, if we see ourselves as above nature in some sense, it is because we have found ways to remain "fit" that are many times more complex than anything we've seen from a non-human species. To the other, when most people differentiate between human constructs and the rest of nature, "artificial" is almost always used in a pejorative sense, as in a blight upon nature rather than a part of it. I think it's become something of a colloquialism in that sense.
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  7. #6  
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    I consider manmade structures to be natural because human beings are a part of nature, but I think differently than other people.
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    "artificial" is almost always used in a pejorative sense, as in a blight upon nature rather than a part of it.


    I think that depends how you define nature. Natural events can be destructive if not even more damaging that what man has done to the environment. I strongly disagree with most people's opinion that man is somehow destroying nature since nature can be a trillion times more aggressive or destructive that what mankind can ever be. Super-massive black holes are known to consume solar systems and convert them into useless energies (gamma rays) that cannot be collected or used ever again. When compared to the amount of energy mankind uses, or the destruction mankind has ever done to the environment, you will realize that it is completely insignificant.

    I consider manmade structures to be natural because human beings are a part of nature, but I think differently than other people.


    Sarcasm aside, I view all the infrastructure man has created as a byproduct of nature. This can also be applied to almost any object that exists here on earth. Nature does not "create" things but govern physical rules and laws that allows these stuff to happen.
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  9. #8  
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    [[QUOTE=beamthegreat;404655]


    Sarcasm aside, I view all the infrastructure man has created as a byproduct of nature. This can also be applied to almost any object that exists here on earth. Nature does not "create" things but govern physical rules and laws that allows these stuff to happen.
    Were you referring to my quote? I wasn't being sarcastic. Anyway, I agree with you. Our brains, eyes, hands, etc., which give us the desire and ability to create, are governed by physical laws, as are the physical things we create. (I would say that the non-physical things we create, like abstract concepts of justice and beauty, are also byproducts of nature.)

    By the way: https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/appeal-to-nature
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    Artificial things tend to be less expensive, therefore, for shlunka at least, they are superior.
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  11. #10  
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    Quote Originally Posted by shlunka View Post
    Artificial things tend to be less expensive, therefore, for shlunka at least, they are superior.
    Have fun grazing on that astroturf.
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by beamthegreat View Post
    "artificial" is almost always used in a pejorative sense, as in a blight upon nature rather than a part of it.
    I think that depends how you define nature. Natural events can be destructive if not even more damaging that what man has done to the environment. I strongly disagree with most people's opinion that man is somehow destroying nature since nature can be a trillion times more aggressive or destructive that what mankind can ever be. Super-massive black holes are known to consume solar systems and convert them into useless energies (gamma rays) that cannot be collected or used ever again. When compared to the amount of energy mankind uses, or the destruction mankind has ever done to the environment, you will realize that it is completely insignificant.


    The definition of "nature" in this context is localized to our world, and tends only to exclude human constructs and initiatives.

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