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One last complication, is that people sometimes use the idea of as natural to mean something occurring within normal expectations. Conversely, unnatural (though, not necessarily artificial) is used to mean unexpected, or outside of normal conduct. For example, one argument against homosexuality is that it is 'unnatural.' Of course, it is perfectly natural. However, it wasn't commonly acknowledged and so appeared to be stranger and outside of normal experience than it really was. As homosexuality has become more socially acceptable and depicted more frequently, such claims have become less and less common. Not an essential part of this discussion, but worth keeping in mind.

Yes, you are right. It is a different issue from the main one we have been talking about, but it is an important issue in itself. I think that is a case of a different use (or misuse) of the term "unnatural" by certain factions in our society (some extreme conservatives, for example). Cultural norms do not necessarily reflect what occurs in nature. I think that most reasonable people would agree that homosexuality is part of the "normal" human spectrum of sexuality. Homosexuality also occurs amongst animal populations. So, these things are natural, not unnatural.

As I said, I think that some cultural factions (conservatives) might misuse the term "unnatural', but this has to do with a cultural norm and not a reflection about what actually occurs in nature (including human nature). Fortunately much progress has been made in our society in recognizing that homosexuality is a normal part of human behavior.

Cultural norms from say the 1950s are much different than cultural norms in the early 21st Century today. The misuse of the term "unnatural' to describe normal human sexual behavior is, I think, not as common anymore. This even as some conservative parts of society begin to respect the human and civil rights of gay people.

More progress must be made, but we are certainly further along than we were since, say, the mid-20th Century. So, this misuse of the term "unnatural" is reflective of an old cultural norm that is hopefully dying out, and does not accurately reflect what actually occurs in "nature", human or otherwise.

[edits for spelling and readability]
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The problem is that these definitions have very fuzzy edges. For example, a space station is obviously artificial. I don't think anyone will disagree with you on this one. But humans can also build lakes, forests, and even rivers. This can lead to a situation where we have two ecosystems that are effectively identical, but one is artificial and the other natural. We can also look at this through the perspective of agriculture. We'd define agriculture as artificial right? Well plants are natural, and a few animals also practice agriculture. There are forms of farming that mimic parts of natural ecosystems, sometimes so closely that the two are difficult to distinguish at first glance. Large parts of the Amazon rainforest, including some soils, were built by humans, yet people often consider the jungle to be a 'pristine' environment. So are farms 'artificial' or not?

What about natural ecosystems which humans modify, either through logging, pollution, or through regulation? How much human interference is needed before a natural environment can be considered artificial? Do we consider maize to be natural, or artificial? It is a plant, purely biological, but can only propagate with human help. What about avocados, which also need humans to propagate effectively? Do we count these plants as artificial?

And how do we deal with the converse? What happens when an artificial environment becomes invaded by nature? Be it a backyard garden full of insects, or an apartment building that becomes a giant bird nest. Is there a point where something can switch from being 'artificial' to being 'natural'?

My ultimate points is, what is the foundation of your definitions? Not the definitions themselves, but the perspective you use to frame their scope. For example, is the distinction about an objects origins (artificial built by humans)? Is it about a particular relationship with humans, with human use and modification making something 'artificial'? Note also, that one of these definitions makes natural/artificial intrinsic, and the other conditional. Both also look at objects at different scopes. The first might be applied to individual objects, while the second might be best for ecosystems. Either can be very useful in certain circumstances, but as you might have guessed, have flaws. So, perhaps the best resolution would be to have several definitions for natural and artificial, and apply them to the situations where each would be best applied, while recognising that there will always be some fuzzy edges.

One last complication, is that people sometimes use the idea of as natural to mean something occurring within normal expectations. Conversely, unnatural (though, not necessarily artificial) is used to mean unexpected, or outside of normal conduct. For example, one argument against homosexuality is that it is 'unnatural.' Of course, it is perfectly natural. However, it wasn't commonly acknowledged and so appeared to be stranger and outside of normal experience than it really was. As homosexuality has become more socially acceptable and depicted more frequently, such claims have become less and less common. Not an essential part of this discussion, but worth keeping in mind.

[belated response, been busy]

This issue of human modified ecosystems is tricky. You are right that some definitions are fuzzy. I don't know if I have good answer to your post. Maybe a partial solution is looking at the difference between Nature and the Artificial as a continuum rather that two discrete categories with no overlap.

So, maybe a pristine ecosystem is more natural, whereas a human modified ecosystem is less natural, but not as artificial as an urban or built environment. An artificial lake is not as natural as a naturally occurring lake, but both are more natural that a pit filled with chemical or nuclear waste. So, a continuum. More natural to less natural to more artificial. I don't know if that description helps you, but it was what I could come up with.

Are farms natural? I think that they are natural systems that have been modified by human activity. So again, they are a mix of natural systems and human modified systems. A field full of solar panels is maybe less natural than a field full of corn. It might be a matter of degrees.

As far as artificial systems returning to a more natural state, such as birds nesting in a building or plants growing over some concrete, again, it might be helpful to think of the term natural having degrees or a continuum. An abandoned house that has turned into a den for feral cats is maybe more natural than an home that is free of wild animals. We actually have this sort of problem in my city, where run down or abandoned homes get taken over by nature and animals, birds, cats, mice, etc.. It is sort of about nature reclaiming parts of a city.

Your idea for using different definitions for different circumstances makes sense. I just sometimes get some cognitive dissonance when I have multiple definitions competing in my head. Your point about the difference between objects and ecosystems is well taken. I think the term "modified" is better than the term "artificial" for man-made lakes, farms, and other systems changed by human activities. They use natural things such as water, earth, and plants. Again, a field of corn might be a modified natural system, but is more natural than say a field of solar panels, or a landfill.
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Test Forum / Re: Just testing my sig
« Last post by Cosmos on Today at 12:05:17 pm »
I want to make sure my kiddos aren't clipping into each other or something lol

Wait, can we only reply by quote now?? Weird. I guess you can delete the quote from the post. shrugs
4
Test Forum / Just testing my sig
« Last post by Cosmos on Today at 12:03:47 pm »
I want to make sure my kiddos aren't clipping into each other or something lol
5
Health and Medicine / Re: Funky breath control
« Last post by SunflowerP on Yesterday at 08:55:02 pm »
16 Weekend

17 Bottles

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6
Theory and Practice of Magic / Re: 20 20 Vision years ahead
« Last post by sevensons on Yesterday at 08:23:34 pm »
17 Delivering
7
Health and Medicine / Re: Funky breath control
« Last post by sevensons on Yesterday at 08:20:57 pm »
17 Bottles
8
Miscellaneous Religious Discussions / Re: Technology, Civilization, and Paganism
« Last post by Klaw on Yesterday at 06:45:56 pm »
You grew up growing maize? Guess what, so did I. I do not ever recall one any maize growing wild from our plantings. Granted, it was a long time ago, so I looked this up. I couldn't find any information saying that maize could grow wild, outside of occasional circumstances. In fact, all the notes I found said the opposite, that it was extremely rare for maize to germinate without human help.

I am not going to argue this, all I know is what has gone on in the Midwest growing field corn my 44 years of life. Everything I have seen about it online says nothing about soaking or hand germination. I am sorry, but maybe you are talking about a different variety. The closest I could think of is the fields that are cross breeding seed corn to make hybrids of corn both resistant to disease and insects. When I was a kid we would have some fields where we walked beans and had to pull or chop down corn that had come up from the previous year. If for some reason you think I am lying I don't know what to tell you.
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Miscellaneous Religious Discussions / Re: Technology, Civilization, and Paganism
« Last post by Yei on Yesterday at 06:31:26 pm »
This isn't just fields I have witnessed. I grew on said farm, worked on farm and still have my father and uncle working fields. There is little I don't know about field corn.

Pollination is part of propagation. As far as germination is concerned, unless the seeds can be soaked and then redried for a planter it isn't happening. The left over corn found in soybean fields and ditches were defiantly not planted. I am just trying to understand where you got this information, or if it is about a fairly unsuccessful variety that came from the selective breeding. I know without doubt that both sweet corn and field corn do not need this intervention or farmers across America would be bankrupt.

You grew up growing maize? Guess what, so did I. I do not ever recall one any maize growing wild from our plantings. Granted, it was a long time ago, so I looked this up. I couldn't find any information saying that maize could grow wild, outside of occasional circumstances. In fact, all the notes I found said the opposite, that it was extremely rare for maize to germinate without human help.
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But they don't contradict the general rule that maize as a 'species' is dependent on humans.

There's also that maize ears are completely enclosed by a husk, unlike most other grains. That's bound to be an obstacle to seed dispersion without assistance.
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