The invisible Unicorn Argument

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The invisible Unicorn Argument

Postby buckobro » Fri Nov 13, 2009 8:17 pm

Atheist: I can be sure that God does not exist for the same reason I can be sure that invisible unicorns do not exist. Invisible unicorns do not exist because there is no evidence that they do. The same can be said of God; therefore, belief in God is just as unreasonable as belief in supernatural unicorns.

Objection: Although the conclusion is correct, the premise is not. Invisible unicorns do not exist NOT simply because of a lack of evidence but because such things are logically impossible, the same way a square circle is impossible. A unicorn, by definition, cannot be invisible. A unicorn has shape and form, a necessary quality for it to be called a unicorn, and something cannot have shape or form without being visible or detectable in some way. A unicorn has, for example, a single horn on its head. The only way I can call this creature a unicorn is if I were able to see (or detect) its horn. If I can't see that this entity has a horn, then I have no logical basis to call it a unicorn--or to construct such a weak premise to an atheist proof. God, on the contrary, when defined in simplest terms, has no shape or form (similar to the nature of consciousness); therefore, God need not be visible (or detectable) in order to logically exist. The invisible unicorn argument does not help the atheist's position. The lack of evidence argument does help, however. Please stop using the invisible unicorn, spaghetti monster, flying tea pot, et. al., arguments. They don't help any.
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Postby donnyton » Sun Nov 15, 2009 2:29 am

You are making a serious fallacy in your very first part.

Nobody says "Invisible unicorns do not exist because there is no evidence that they do."

The correct statement is "I do not believe invisible unicorns exist because there is no evidence that they do."

You've set up a straw man in the first two sentences, but your second sentence makes no sense in that respect:

Belief in God is still just as unreasonable as belief in unicorns. Whether we can say for sure that one exists or doesn't exist doesn't really matter.

--

You've also opened up the way for the Ontological argument by making a tautology out of your unicorn example:

The Ontological argument is as follows:

Imagine a perfect being, namely God.
"Perfection" must include existence, thus God must exist, because if he did not exist, he would not be perfect.

You have done the same thing with the unicorn by saying that because unicorns as defined as visible, any invisible unicorn would no longer be a unicorn.


By the say, I have to ask you then: why don't you believe REGULAR unicorns exist? Surely a horse with a horn on its head is not logically contradictory. What evidence do you have that unicorns don't exist?
"To say that it's not okay to believe in something that may or may not be true is ridiculous. Some people like to have that mystical fantasy in the world. It adds flavor."
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Re: The invisible Unicorn Argument

Postby DallasHeathen » Mon Nov 16, 2009 11:33 pm

buckobro wrote:Objection: Although the conclusion is correct, the premise is not. Invisible unicorns do not exist NOT simply because of a lack of evidence but because such things are logically impossible, the same way a square circle is impossible.


I agree with donnyton. The name "Invisible Pink Unicorn" is used just because it's so fantastical, but I don't see any reason that we couldn't be talking about a regular Pink Unicorn who has a Cloak of Invisibility.

Focusing on the minutiae of it misses the larger point.

The IPU is a great rhetorical device because there's no reason that someone who believes in God shouldn't also believe in the IPU.
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Postby donnyton » Tue Nov 17, 2009 3:10 am

And scientists HAVE already made rudimentary "invisibility cloaks".

http://www.usnews.com/science/articles/ ... cloak.html

So we could easily imagine a unicorn, or a regular horse in one of them.
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Postby GodBeLess » Tue Nov 17, 2009 2:00 pm

invisible =/= immaterial

Removing the sense of sight from detecting an object does not negate other senses. Obviously you could still "feel" the unicorn even if you can't see it.

By your logic and choice of words, it would (seemingly) be impossible for the blind to interact with the world as you've made out that objects require sight to be regarded as even logically possible to exist.
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Postby buckobro » Tue Nov 17, 2009 8:50 pm

To say that people who believe in God are "equally" illogical as those who believe in oxymoronic concepts such as the invisible pink unicorn is ridiculously hyperbolic. That's like saying people who believe in multiverses are "equally" illogical as those who believe in Santa Clause.

Nobody has the foggiest clue how the universe began (assuming it really did begin). Many smart people have imagined the energy that makes up the universe to be eternal and that our Big Bang was just one of an infinite number of big bangs that happen all the time. But these claims are merely figments of the imagination. No proof, only fantasy, just like God. So to say that one person's fantasy is more credible that another person's fantasy is like cheering for one's favorite sports team. It's silly and gets us no closer to the scientific truth. Hard atheism is intellectual laziness, because such hardliners think that because they can't figure out how the universe began, it must of come from an infinite regression of big bangs, or by some other unproven and unprovable cause. They are committing the same logical fallacies as theists and deists. While pink unicorns have no explanatory power to life's hardest unsolved mysteries, the God concept offers some, although small, hope. The multiverse argument, too, is explanatory. Until somebody offers concrete or logical evidence, then we all, atheists included, should consider all imaginatively possible and non self-contradictory answers. God is on the table. Multiverses are on the table. However, to be rhetorically even-handed, Santa Clause, Big Foot, and the pink unicorn belong in the crumpled up paper hamper. The best answer... the only answer is I DON"T KNOW: NEITHER DO YOU.
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Postby donnyton » Wed Nov 18, 2009 6:54 am

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/astrono ... l#evidence

Please, I beg you to at least do a little research on your subject matter before spouting nonsense. At least the discussion might get somewhere then.
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multiverse

Postby buckobro » Wed Nov 18, 2009 7:21 am

The Big Bang theory explains nothing about how the universe "began."
Although it is the best theory available for explaining how the universe expanded from a very small point, if you read a few more journals, you'll learn that the math breaks down beyond a certain fraction of time following the absolute beginning (if there was one). So if you really believe that science has adequately answered the question "Where did the universe come from?", you'll need to offer a more substantive paper than that to convince me that our universe emerged from a foam of multiverses. Remember, I'm casting doubt on the multiverse theory, not the BBT.
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Postby DallasHeathen » Wed Nov 18, 2009 6:15 pm

buckobro wrote:To say that people who believe in God are "equally" illogical as those who believe in oxymoronic concepts such as the invisible pink unicorn is ridiculously hyperbolic.
I think it's a pretty equivalent comparison, at least if you're talking about a theistic idea of God such as found in Christianity. What's the big difference?

Your following paragraph just talks about a deistic idea of a God, which is not something that the IPU is meant to counter.


Many smart people have imagined the energy that makes up the universe to be eternal and that our Big Bang was just one of an infinite number of big bangs that happen all the time. But these claims are merely figments of the imagination. No proof, only fantasy, just like God.
First, I don't know of anyone who claims to steadfastly believe that our Big Bang was just one of infinitely many. That's one idea, there are others, and I haven't heard of anyone being committed to any of them.

But it's ridiculously hyperbolic to claim that the idea of an all-powerful God creating everything is philosophically equivalent to a naturally occurring set of events. The explanation that "God did it" is not an explanation really, because then you're left with the much greater question of what caused God. It's a non-answer.

Sure, it's one of the options that everyone considers could be possible, but it's way down the list of plausibility.



Hard atheism is intellectual laziness
If I ever come across a hard atheist, I'll try to get a handle on his laziness level. So far, I haven't met one.
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Postby donnyton » Thu Nov 19, 2009 5:00 am

I mean, your very first post sets up a straw man, and you're only continuing it. It's not like skeptics are actually using the argument you brought up--perhaps some atheists are individually, but most skeptics would be against it as well.
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Postby dmc514 » Tue Dec 01, 2009 5:49 am

buckobro wrote: While pink unicorns have no explanatory power to life's hardest unsolved mysteries, the God concept offers some, although small, hope. The multiverse argument, too, is explanatory.


I think you've missed the point of the IPU. First it was never argued that an IPU explains anything. Second the explanatory power of the multiverse argument or the explanatory power/feeling of hope derived from a concept of god should have nothing to do with the reason why you believe something exists (or is true in the case of the multiverse theory). A concept that explains everything is not inherently more plausible than a concept that explains a single arbitrary event. Also, just because bears are not useful in explaining the origin of comets does not make them non existent. Similarly belief in an IPU should not be contingent on its ability to explain things or give people hope. Belief in the existence of something should rely on the evidence, on your senses, on good reasoning and on correct logic. The IPU is meant to reveal people's poor standards for belief in an object's existence.

But if you insist on the explanatory power of your concepts then the existence of an IPU is a good explanation for all of the invisible pink shit scattered across the cosmos. Voir la! the IPU is back "on the table".
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