I don’t need to care whether unicorns exist on some far away planet. It is logically equal to say “Unicorns do not exist” vs “Unicorns do not exist on my planet” because we lack the ability to view other planets. Once we gain that ability, then we can say “Unicorns do not exist anywhere in the universe”.
My argument is that we are able to say that “Unicorns do not -effectively- exist for all practical purposes”. So therefore, we, here on earth, must live our lives in a unicorn-less universe. At least, right now we must.
I see no distinction between “unicorns do not exist” and “unicorns do not exist as far as we know.” Therefore I see no distinction between “gods do not exist” and “gods do not exist as far as we know.” To me its just semantics.
They could exist on this planet in a dimension that exists alongside us but is untouchable outside of the occasional acid trip.
They could exist in this dimension, on this planet, and be made of some sort of substance that is entirely undetectable and does not interfere with humans in the least. Like radio waves, only more so.
As to your point on practical / functional definitions - sure, I will agree to that. But to my mind, that is not equivalent to saying “I know unicorns don’t exist”. Maybe that’s a semantic intuition that makes strong atheism a bit difficult for me to understand, but I do care about the difference, however small. I don’t want my fun ruined, for the most part, or my possibilities limited.
Also, unicorns aren’t the best example because they do, technically, exist. At least they did when I was kid and went to the Ringling Brothers circus. I believe there were breeders who created several, actually.
How f-ing cute is that thing?! I think maybe I need one…
Being atheists does not mean we have to bind ourselves to false claims of knowledge. Isn’t that what makes theism so revolting?
You’re lumping non-viable, plainly fabricated claims in with others. This is the point of Sagan’s “The Dragon in My Garage”.
But gods take that one HUGE step further. Traditionally gods are defined as “otherworldly” in the sense that they’re not subject to being evident. The problem there is that means we can’t sense them, so we can’t know about them by definition, therefore claims about them must inherently be fabricated. Less traditional “gods” are simply intentional mislabelings—attaching the label “god” to other things, which serves no purpose but to confuse and obfuscate.
So the claim to know no gods exist is about the inherent problems with the concept, and it’s entirely reasonable to notice such things, even though it requires the rejection of a significant aspect of our socialization, which is where virtually all of the resistance to tolerating or genuinely considering atheism is derived.
Seems as if we’ve done this before ... eh?