The Tentative Apologist
4/28/10 at 11:14 PM 0 Comments

Belief in God vs. belief in pink unicorns. Yawn.

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I have been asked by TheOtherSorcero to finish what I started in "Keeping an Open Mind about what exists". Being a congenial fellow, I agreed to revisit this aging post (now four weeks old which is positively ancient in blogosphere terms).

But what to respond to exactly? Hmm. Well here's what AcesLucky posted (apparently quoting some bloke named "Steve Eley" who refers to the "Invisible Pink Unicorn" and compares it to God):

"The IPU is used to argue that supernatural beliefs are arbitrary by, for example, replacing the word God in any theistic statement with Invisible Pink Unicorn. The mutually exclusive attributes of pinkness and invisibility, coupled with the inability to disprove the IPU's existence, satirize properties that some theists attribute to a theistic deity."

"Invisible Pink Unicorns are beings of great spiritual power. We know this because they are capable of being invisible and pink at the same time. Like all religions, the Faith of the Invisible Pink Unicorns is based upon both logic and faith. We have faith that they are pink; we logically know that they are invisible because we can't see them."

Yawn. Sorry, I don't mean to be overly dismissive but .... Okay, I guess I do. But before I indulge in the theologian's dismissiveness of this trite and ignorant comparison of pink unicorns to God, let's consider AcesLucky's comment on the point of these machinations over this pink unicorn: "Some of these debates are quite elaborate and tortuous, satirizing the disputatiousness and intricacy of many religions' theological debates."

That's the point of course. Satire. Satirize belief in God by pointing out that you can substitute a pink unicorn for God in scholastic debates.

(The only problem is that you can't, and "Steve Eley" apparently doesn't know enough about theology to understand this.)

Now fastforward for a moment to the present day and TheOtherSorcero's recent comment on my little article "Believe propositions p and q and thou shall be saved." There he asks me: "Do you also believe, based on the evidence, in the Flying Spaghetti Monster and that the lack of pirates is the cause of global warming?"

Pink unicorns. Flying spaghetti monsters. Is there a common theme here? Yes there is. Let's respond with one point. Then, if I'm still in a good mood in a couple days, I might share my second point.

So here's the first point which will be highlighted with italics to showcase its profundity: Invisible pink unicorns and flying spaghetti monsters are absurd because they are arbitrary relative to the data sets available to all known epistemic communities. Sorry my atheist friends but a "duh" is in order here. Don't you get that?

"That's it?"

Yes. That's it. It really is that simple. There are no known epistemic communities who hold to data sets relative to which pink unicorns and flying spaghetti monsters are plausible explanations for the ultimate metaphysical ground of existence.

When atheists compare God to pink unicorns they make themselves look silly and ignorant. (Mind you, there are many atheists who would never do this. Like Noam Chomsky. This seems to be a distinctly Richard Dawkins brand of atheist that makes these embarassingly trite comparisons.)  It's kinda like scientists mocking art as paint arbitrarily spattered on a canvas. (Well maybe that isn't that silly where Jackson Pollock is concerned, but Reubens?)

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