Friday, June 24, 2011

The unicorn argument

*Note: This topic is covered in more detail in the post The unicorn argument revisited. 

I'm so glad Brian Auten (Apologetics 315) shared the link to "Atheists and Unicorns: Emotional Appeal," by J.W. Wartick because I think all theists grow tired of the "you can simply use the word unicorn instead of God for that argument" argument. I've read a lot of atheist comments using the unicorn argument. I'm not trying to be a jerk when I say this, but it seems it is used only when the skeptic/atheist is out of ammo. Maybe I'm wrong about that. Anyway, here is an excerpt from the blog post:

"You may have heard it before. “I’m an a-unicornist, just like I’m an atheist.” “I don’t believe in unicorns, nor do I believe in God.” “There’s as much evidence for unicorns as for God.”

What are these statements supposed to show?

Whether intended or not, these kinds of statements are simply emotional appeals. The atheist is attempting to psychologically discredit Christianity without ever engaging any kind of logical reasoning."

I agree. He then goes on to write:

"But what about another common use of the unicorn within atheism? Namely “I can’t prove there is no God, just like I can’t prove there are no unicorns.”

While this initially seems plausible, it only remains plausible if one assumes positivism. We can actually prove there is no God. If the Christian’s account of God was found to be incoherent, then God would not exist. It would, in fact, be impossible for God to exist were his nature contradictory.

So even in this use of the phrase we find that the atheist is committed to a dogmatic assumption of positivism. By assuming that God can only be disproven by empirical evidence, they uncritically advance a philosophical enterprise which has largely been abandoned within modern philosophy.

A word of advice: focus on the arguments at hand, not pejorative language."

Positivism has been abandoned with modern philosophy. For example, positivism fails to prove there are not abstract ideas, principles, and laws beyond our sense perception or that we can even know of them. There are also other, better developed, refutations of positivism; one by William Lane Craig can be found here.

Be sure to read the full article by Wartick by clicking here.

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