16 January 2013

God is as strong as a unicorn (You can't prove a negative)

"God ... is as strong as a unicorn." Numbers 23:22

Believers (and many skeptics) often say that you can't disprove the existence of God because you can't prove a negative.

But if that is true for God, isn't it also true for unicorns?

How do we know that unicorns don't exist?

(How could God be stronger than a nonexistent being?)

For these and other important questions, see Stephen Law's post, "You Can't Prove a Negative".


Hausdorff said...

I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that unicorns in the bible are referring to single horned a rhinoceros as opposed to a 2 horned rhinoceros.

Stephen said...

Yes, and maybe the "behemoth" is a dinosaur! (Job 40:15-16)
So god must be real!! ;-)
Steve Weeks

Hausdorff said...

I was more thinking that there are plenty of ridiculous things in the bible. If there is a good explanation for the unicorn thing why focus on it?

Steve Wells said...

Believers have "good explanations" for all of the ridiculous things in the bible, Hausdorff. Cockatrices, satyrs, leviathans, fiery flying serpents, talking serpents and donkeys - and unicorns. All of these mythical creature were considered real at the time they were written and believed to be real until modern science showed they were not. Since then, believers have come up with "good explanations" to explain away the more obvious bullshit that they previously believed.

Sabio Lantz said...

My post today talks about a pragmatic atheism. Sure, skepticism my reach down deeply. Sure, disproving anything is hard, if not impossible. But I can have enough counter evidence to practically (pragmatically) decide to act as if I am certain of something which I can not disprove. The question is, where we draw that line and why.

The Unicorn always is a handy critter for these sorts of conversations.

Hausdorff said...

You may be right, but given that the latin name for the indian rhinocerous is Rhinoceros unicornis, it seems to lend credence to the idea that the unicorns in the bible were referring to them. Is that what was really meant? I don't know, but for myself, I prefer to focus on the other mythical creatures that you mentioned.

Steve Wells said...

I understand, Hausdorff. And you may be right - although I don't think the species name for the Indian Rhinoceros provides much evidence.

And I suppose if God exists, he may well be as strong as a unicorn, whether mythical or real. Heck, I bet he's even stronger than a unicorn!

Anonymous said...

King James's translators may have slipped up on the whole unicorn thing, but every other word in the Bible is exactly as God wanted it. Except for the parts about infanticide. Oh, and the two creation myths that don't match. But that's it! Oh, and the lifespans of Adam through Noah, God was just blowing smoke on those. But the rest is all 100% absolutely true...ish.