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August 27, 2011

Iron Unicorn: Or, Why I'm Atheist, not Agnostic

Suppose you were asked whether or not you believe in unicorns. Chances are, you'd say that you don't. Maybe the question would seem so absurd that you'd want to clarify the question, and a dialogue similar to the following might occur:

"What do you mean, 'believe in unicorns'?"
"I mean, do you think they exist?"
"Of course not!"
"So, you're saying that you believe they don't exist?"
"Of course they don't, you nitwit."

Sadly, I've run into a few "new age" types in my life who believe in all kinds of ridiculous things: chi, chakras, healing with magnets, etc., and it wouldn't surprise me to get a, "Sure, I believe in unicorns!", out of one of them. So, let's modify the question a little. Imagine an ordinary clothes iron. Imagine it with a little unicorn horn on its head, a pair of little unicorn wings on its sides, and imagine that it holds its power cord in back up like a horses tail. We'll call that an "iron unicorn". Now let's modify the question:

"Do you believe that there are iron unicorns living in a tropical rainforest in an unexplored area of New Guinea, flying around, mating, and having little baby iron unicorns?"

Who is going to answer that question with "Yes!"? Almost everyone is going to say that such things don't exist. (Bear in mind that there are unexplored areas in New Guinea. It's a part of the world where the forests are so dense that it's commonly said that if dinosaurs still live on the planet anywhere, that's where, because so much of it has not been penetrated by modern man, so we just don't know.)

The point is that people are not agnostic about such things. We could make the same argument for the existence of iron unicorns that agnostics tend to want to make for the existence of God, but who would do that? The idea is patently ridiculous.

Well, the idea of God is far more ridiculous than the idea of iron unicorns. After all, we've actually seen irons. We've seen animals with wings and horns, too. We've seen nothing of supernatural ability, such as a god. However absurd iron unicorns are, a belief in God is fantastically much more absurd. (That, of course, is the reason for the emphasis on faith in religion.)

So why do some people (agnostics) not go ahead and deny the existence of God? Do they think they're being "open minded"? If so, they've allowed themselves to be so open minded that their intelligence has fallen out. Are they trying to avoid controversy? It's a mystery.

Posted by Jeff at 05:56 PM | Comments (1)

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