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unicorn

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Atheists and Unicorns: Emotional Appeal

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.

Think about it, when you hear these phrases, what rational process goes on? There is no rational link between unicorns and theism. There is no reason to correlate the two.

Theists could just as easily use psychological appeals, but there is no need to do so. Such pejorative language doesn’t serve to foster discussion. It’s preaching to the choir. It is useful only for increasing dogmatism. So why do atheists use it so frequently?

Again, the key is to note that those who use this phrase are not doing so in the interest of academic honesty or discussion, but in the interest of psychologically weighting the discussion in their favor before it even begins. Rather than looking at the evidence, they dismiss it.

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.

SDG.

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