Date registered: Nov 2005
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Quoted: 204 Post(s)
Spectrum of theistic probability
Richard Dawkins devised the following so that people may more easily define their position.
Dawkins posits that "the existence of God is a scientific hypothesis like any other." He goes on to propose a continuous "spectrum of probabilities" between two extremes of opposite certainty, which can be represented by seven "milestones". Dawkins suggests definitive statements to summarize one's place along the spectrum of theistic probability. These "milestones" are:
1) Strong theist. 100 per cent probability of God. In the words of C.G. Jung, 'I do not believe, I know.'
2) Very high probability but short of 100 per cent. De facto theist. 'I cannot know for certain, but I strongly believe in God and live my life on the assumption that he is there.'
3) Higher than 50 per cent but not very high. Technically agnostic but leaning towards theism. 'I am very uncertain, but I am inclined to believe in God.'
4) Exactly 50 per cent. Completely impartial agnostic. 'God's existence and non-existence are exactly equiprobable.'
5) Lower than 50 per cent but not very low. Technically agnostic but leaning towards atheism. 'I do not know whether God exists but I'm inclined to be skeptical.'
6) Very low probability, but short of zero. De facto atheist. 'I cannot know for certain but I think God is very improbable, and I live my life on the assumption that he is not there.'
7) Strong atheist. 'I know there is no God, with the same conviction as Jung "knows" there is one.'
Dawkins notes that he would be "surprised to meet many people in category 7." Dawkins calls himself "about a 6,* but leaning towards 7 - I am agnostic only to the extent that I am agnostic about fairies at the bottom of the garden."
* This is a mistake in Wiki- it should read '6.8'.
For the sake of argument, I would (not surprisingly) put myself in the same category as Dawkins. Whether that would be a 6.4 or a 6.9 is splitting hairs.
From the comments in the various related threads past and current, it would be interesting to see where people position themselves.
If anyone can be bothered to construct it, an anonymous poll would I'm sure be an interesting addition.
"Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful"