I'm a huge fan of the comments "Appreciative Reader" leaves on my blog posts. Which means, I agree with almost everything this person says.
I only wish that I could express myself as clearly and reasonably as Appreciative Reader does. He writes so expertly, I enjoy sharing his top performing comments in a blog post.
That's what I've done here.
I don't mean to disparage the views expressed by other commenters. No doubt some other people would find their arguments more impressive than Appreciative Reader's -- because they resonate more with the mystical/religious worldview of some of the other commenters.
I just find Appreciative Reader's description below of how science looks upon the unknown to be right-on. Scientists absolutely love the unknown.
That's what powers science: a passion to find new knowledge by expanding the borders of the known.
But here's the thing. As Appreciative Reader argues, it isn't possible to specify what lies in unknown territory. If that could be done, some of the unknown would have become known.
We can speculate and hypothesize about what lies in the darkness beyond the light of knowledge.
However, until that light illuminates a previously unknown entity, which enables people to assess the evidence for that thing and possibly admit it into the realm of the known, it makes no sense to speak of what's unknown as if it were demonstrably real.
Sure, God could exist. Sure, consciousness could exist apart from the brain. Sure, life after death could be true. These and many other "could's" are speculations that can't be accepted as fact until there's good reason to do so.
That doesn't stop individuals from claiming to have an experience of something unknown. It just prevents science-minded people from accepting those claims as being anything other than a personal experience. People claim all sorts of things that are highly unlikely, like alien abductions.
Saying so doesn't make it so. Evidence makes it so. Here's Appreciative Reader's comment.
In your last two comments you quoted these words of mine, ""Until such time, as we do know such exists substantially, we'll treat is as not existing. Be it consciousness, or be it fairies."
And you started out your comments with these words, developing this theme further in the rest of your two comments addressed to me :
Quoting you this time: "That system of belief would put an end to all science. Science is based on exactly the opposite. That the unknown exist, and that to understand reality we must investigate and learn. Many things do exist that are unknown. Your statement is tantamount to claiming the unknown doesn't exist."
This is exactly the kind of apparent ignorance about the nature and the implications of the scientific method that I'd spoken of on the other thread, that one sometimes comes across from people one would certainly expect to know better.
Not only that, this entirely misrepresents my own words, part of which you'd yourself quoted, to attempt to argue against a blatantly strawman version of my comments. The whys and the wherefores of this I'd rather not get into, but the 'what' of it is incontrovertible.
The latter portion of what I've just now said, first, as that is so much easier to establish.
Here's what I'd said in my own comment, that you've quoted from (and I quote these extracts verbatim):
"This isn't in any way to shut oneself off from the possibility of what might be. Nor is it to shut oneself into unreasonable closed-minded certainty that nothing beyond what is known might ever be known. All the possibilities of Mystery, with a capital M, are acknowledged, and indeed honored. But not accepted, until one has reason to."
"Nor does it stop one from performing one's own researches. Into science, or into technology. Into fairies, on into mystic realities. Into whatever appears promising to one, into whatever appeals to one."
"I don't see we can do any more than accept things as they are. Which does not stop us from striving to find out more, in such ways as we are able and willing."
It is astonishing that you should apparently parse the above so as to conclude, as you do here, that "That system of belief would put an end to all science. ... Science is based on exactly the opposite. That the unknown exist, and that to understand reality we must investigate and learn. ... Many things do exist that are unknown. Your statement is tantamount to claiming the unknown doesn't exist." (etc)
You've read exactly the opposite of what I'd very clearly said in my post. I wonder why that is?
Moving beyond these I-said-you-said inconsequentialities, let us turn to the more consequential part of your comment, that betrays a confusion about the implications of the scientific method, that is surprising coming from you.
Cue, at this time, Carl Sagan: “It pays to keep an open mind, but not so open your brains fall out.” Because what you're advocating here is clearly the equivalent of having one's brains fall right out.
There are many things we don't know. The domain of what we don't know is far more vast, infinitely more vast, than what we do know. Further, what little we do know is tentative, and always subject to correction in future. But what are the implications of this?
It is reasonable to accept and treat as known what we do know thus far, no far how little and no far how tentative. The rest it is reasonable to reject.
And to reject something is neither to claim that it shall forever remain rejected, nor to turn away from exploration of it; to reject some hypothesis is no more than to not accept such at this time, and such rejection is always tentative and always subject to correction in future.
Like I'd said in the other thread, it is surprising that this obvious thing should need to be spelt out in this manner to those whom one would have expected would know better.
Let's take an actual example to make this clear.
There's this real-life hypothesis that our universe is a simulation. We don't know enough to incontrovertibly reject the hypothesis. Indeed there are actual physicists who are researching this very issue. But as far as actually accepting this claim, what is the reasonable stance?
The reasonable thing to do is to not accept this hypothesis, for now, to clearly reject this hypothesis, for now. Such rejection is not to say that one will not research this subject, nor to claim that one has shut oneself off from ever accepting this hypothesis; it is only to state that one does not have justification, at this time, to rationally accept this hypothesis.
For all practical everyday purposes, one rejects this hypothesis. (To emphasize again, that does not preclude people who are interested in the subject from exploring and researching it further.)
Thus with consciousness and mystical realities and the God question, which is clearly what this discussion is all about at bottom. Until the day we have reasonable rational grounds to accept such, we will not accept such. That is a perfectly sound position.
That does not stop us from speculating. Nor does that stop us from actually exploring and researching the issue. That also does not stop us from realizing the essentially tentative nature of our rejection --- which tentativeness is an intrinsic part of the scientific worldview --- and it does not stop us from promptly changing our mind in future should circumstances so warrant.
To see in this clearly stated position the antithesis of science, as you do, is to completely misunderstand one's clearly written words, as well as to profoundly misunderstand the nature of a scientific worldview.