Invisible Pink Unicorn

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A depiction of the Invisible Pink Unicorn, in the style of a heraldic animal springing.

The Invisible Pink Unicorn (IPU) is a parody goddess used to satirize theistic beliefs, in the form of a unicorn that is paradoxically both invisible and pink. This makes her a rhetorical illustration used by atheists and other religious skeptics.

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.[1] The mutually exclusive attributes of pinkness and invisibility coupled with the inability to disprove the IPU's existence is intended to satirize what IPU proponents claim are contradictions in properties that some theists attribute to a theistic deity.[2]


[edit] History

The Invisible Pink Unicorn logo used to depict atheism

The earliest known written reference to the IPU was on July 7, 1990[3] on the Usenet discussion group alt.atheism.

Later, Steve Eley wrote:

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 Unicorn 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.[4][5]

In 1996 a similar concept—a unicorn that no one can see—was adapted as a teaching device at Camp Quest, the first free-thought summer camp for kids established in the United States, by Dr. L. Wilson. As reported years later in the July 21, 2006 Cincinnati Enquirer, "Campers must try to prove that imaginary unicorns—as a metaphor for God—don't exist."[6] Richard Dawkins alluded to unicorns in this connection in his 2006 book The God Delusion, writing that "Russell's teapot, of course, stands for an infinite number of things whose existence is conceivable and cannot be disproved. [...] A philosophical favorite is the invisible, intangible, inaudible unicorn."[7]

By 2007, Niamh Wallace writes that the IPU had gained underground ubiquity as a symbol of atheism.[8]

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ Narciso, Dianna (2004-03-01). Like Rolling Uphill: Realizing the Honesty of Atheism. Media Creations. ISBN 1-932560-74-2. 
  2. ^ Maartens, Willie (2006-06-01). Mapping Reality: A Critical Perspective on Science and Religion. iUniverse. ISBN 0-595-40044-2. 
  3. ^ Gibson, Scott (1990-07-17). "'Proof' of God's Existence" (Usenet post). Retrieved on 2007-04-10. "how about refuting the existence of invisible pink unicorns?" 
  4. ^ Judson Poling, Garry Poole, MS Debra Poling (2003). Do Science and the Bible Conflict?. Zondervan. p. 20. ISBN 9780310245070. 
  5. ^ Jack Huberman (2006). The Quotable Atheist. Nation Books. p. 103. ISBN 1560259698.!#. 
  6. ^ Clark, Michael D. (2006-07-21). "Camp: "It's Beyond Belief"". The Enquirer. Retrieved on 2006-08-16. 
  7. ^ Dawkins, Richard (2006). "The God hypothesis: the poverty of agnosticism". The God Delusion (Trade paperback ed.). Kent: Bantam Press. pp. 52–53. ISBN 9780593058251. Retrieved on 2007-07-20. 
  8. ^ Wallace, Niamh. "Female Bonding". Phoenix New Times. Retrieved on 2008-04-23. 

[edit] External links

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