Once again, I'm sharing a marvelous comment from "Appreciative Reader" on a recent post of mine.
I especially liked the Shadowfax part near the end. Shadowfax is an invisible unicorn impervious to detection by all means, yet lives in Appreciative Reader's spare garage.
Or at least, this is what Appreciative Reader claims.
Should other people assign Shadowfax a 50-50 probability of actually existing? Of course not. They should consider that perhaps one day there will be evidence of Shadowfax, since anything is possible.
But until that day arrives, there's no reason to believe in this invisible unicorn. Just as there's no reason to believe in God, since there's exactly as much demonstrable evidence of God's existence as there is of Shadowfax's existence.
The difference between them, of course, is that billions of people believe in God, while only Appreciative Reader believes in Shadowfax -- and only to make a point about the scientific approach to understanding reality.
Here's the comment.
"Can we agree that personal choices, personal logic may be our best effort to be scientific, but do not actually constitute actual objective science?"
.......Sure, Spence. But with the qualification that that personal choice isn't a free-for-all, but follows the broad guidelines of what I'd referred to as a scientific worldview.
That is, to describe that worldview as an agglomeration of essentially personal choices is to add precision to what I'd earlier on termed "scientific worldview", but is not to actually change what that actually amounts to.
In other words, to state that this is a personal worldview, is not to let open the floodgates to accepting whatever some individual person happens to find likely or reasonable, not unless they can rationally defend it with reference to the scientific method and per the terms we've already discussed.
With those qualifications, sure, absolutely, agreed to that much.
But I was hoping for broader agreement than just that much. Let me have one more go at trying to arrive at it.
Following on what I'd just said, in my comment above, Spence, let me quote, and comment on, what you'd said in your previous post:
"... to claim science hasn't proved God exists and therefore God doesn't exist is a false statement."
To recognize that science hasn't proved God exists, and therefore, for all practical purposes, to hold that God doesn't exist, is the rational worldview that is in keeping with a scientific outlook.
Happy now, with that rephrasing? And taken in conjunction with my last two comments addressed to you, do you, finally, agree with my larger point?
For perspective, let me introduce you to Shadowfax.
There is, beyond my front garden, a spare garage that now is a store (a dump, more like) for sundry gardening equipment and supplies.
I claim that that garage houses a unicorn. A real unicorn. His name is Shadowfax.
Except he is invisible, and impervious to detection by all means, all technology, that are thus far known to man. Might some means be invented to detect Shadowfax in future? One day, maybe, why not? But not so far.
So what are you to make of this unicorn? Your science has no means to return a clear resounding “No” when asked if this unicorn exists. And of course, a “Yes” answer is out of the question too.
So then will you spend your days honestly believing that perhaps in Appreciative Reader’s garden there lives a unicorn, maybe yes, maybe no, with more or less equal probability of either?
That’s patently ridiculous, that approach.
If in the years to come science does come up with some means to show you that that unicorn is in fact real, then you will certainly start believing in it. But until then, it makes sense to simply reject the claim of the existence of that unicorn.
That, in brief, is what soft atheism is all about. That is the sane approach to arriving at a scientific worldview.
Otherwise you’ll spend your days half-sure and half-unsure about the existence of Olympus and the gaggle of gods and half-gods of ancient Greece, and of Shangri-La and Tibetan mystics with what are effectively superpowers, and of the literal rendering of all the tall tales in the Bible, and of the Hindu pantheon, and the (Vajrayana) Buddhist deities, and the Yeti and the bigfoot, and the Loch Ness monster, the world as simulation, the world as projection of a brain in a vat, in fact any and every fanciful concoction of man’s fertile brain that hasn’t explicitly and directly been ruled out by science so far (and indeed even such things as science has actually rejected, because after all such rejection is tentative and may yet, in future, be reversed, given adequate evidence).
Shh, quiet now. Yes, Shadowfax? Oh, ok, I'll ask him.
Spence, Shadowfax instructs me to ask you if his refulgent being has impressed you with the splendor and the simplicity that is the scientific worldview.
(Which is the short form for "the personal worldview that is appropriate for the individual, arrived at basis regard for the scientific method as *the* most efficacious means devised thus far for arriving at the truth".)
What should I tell him?