Edited the fourth option on my scale 2/17/11.
THE NEW, NEW THEISM (a bit of satire)
followed by three versions of Dawkins’ belief scale, the final version being mine
The theism of the New, New Theism is not a belief, but a lack of belief–a lack of belief in a world with no God–a lack of belief in the nonexistence of God–because, there is just
no evidence for the belief that there is no God. All the evidence (who? we dunno who…it couldn’t be atheists, because they don’t believe anything…) use to support the nonexistence of God is in fact irrational gibberish invented by spin doctors and regurgitated by the unthinking masses. Their strongest evidence–the argument from evil–contradicts itself when you consider that if there is not always a real good (God) to which moral truth always corresponds, then there is no real evil (and thus no real argument from evil). And it is answered by the reality that if God, like an evil dictator, did not allow us to choose evil, the choice of Golden Rule love-despite-circumstances would be impossible–and he promises a happy ending for all those who choose it (or, at least, do not reject it). Therefore, going with our intuition that there is a real good, we favor a theistic conclusion (there is no faith involved in this, but somehow, we are not quite certain, either), but really we just lack belief in the nonexistence of God. We don’t really believe anything.
Take and share this Facebook belief scale poll!
[ The above was previously posted on Rational Skepticism and Camels with Hammers. ]
Belief scale from Richard Dawkins’ “The God Delusion” p. 73:
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 equi-probable.’
5. Lower than 50 per cent but not very low. Technically agnostic but leaning towards atheism. ‘I don’t 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.’
Version of Dawkins’ belief scale from http://christophersisk.com/dawkins-belief-scale-images:
1. Strong Theist: I do not question the existence of God, I KNOW he exists.
2. De-facto Theist: I cannot know for certain but I strongly believe in God and I live my life on the assumption that he is there.
3. Weak Theist: I am very uncertain, but I am inclined to believe in God.
4. Pure Agnostic: God’s existence and non-existence are exactly equiprobable.
5. Weak Atheist: I do not know whether God exists but I’m inclined to be skeptical.
6. De-facto Atheist: I cannot know for certain but I think God is very improbable and I live my life under the assumption that he is not there.
7. Strong Atheist: I am 100% sure that there is no God.
My version of Dawkins’ belief scale:
Take and share this Facebook belief scale poll!
1. Omniscient Theist. 100% God, 0% no God. God’s existence is proven beyond a shadow of a doubt so that the believer is a knower with absolute certainty. Since absolute certainty is only possible for the omniscient, this amounts to “I know, therefore I AM.”
2. Strong Theist. 99-75% God, 24-1% no God. The believer believes the evidence for God’s existence far outweighs the evidence against it, and so believes s/he knows God exists. Lacking certainty, this is a position of faith (s/he is strongly pistic). S/he is only “gnostic” if God exists—if God does not exist, s/he misinterpreted the evidence.
3. Weak Theist. 74-51% God, 49-25% no God. The believer believes the evidence for God’s existence somewhat outweighs the evidence against it, and so believes God might exist. Lacking certainty, this is a position of faith (s/he is weakly pistic). S/he is only “gnostic” if God exists. If God does not exist, s/he misinterpreted the evidence.
4. Pure Agnostic/Apistic. 50% God, 50% no God***. The believer believes the evidence for God’s existence is as strong/weak as the evidence against it, and so claims to not know or believe that God does or does not exist. S/he lacks the belief of theists, and s/he lacks the belief of atheists, and so s/he is neither—s/he is apistic (having no faith, one way or the other). Since s/he makes no knowledge/belief claim, s/he cannot be gnostic, whether or not God exists. The evidence or her interpretation of it is not telling a true story, because God either exists, or he does not. [ It could be that any claim to be agnostic/apistic after one has examined the evidence is a claim made in bad faith, a choosing not to choose (Sartre), because either there is evidence of a demonstration of love from a good God (the only sort worthy of the title), or there isn’t going to be any. ]
5. Weak Atheist. 49-25% God, 74-51% no God. The believer believes the evidence against God’s existence somewhat outweighs the evidence for it, and so believes God might not exist. Lacking certainty, this is a position of faith (s/he is weakly pistic). S/he is only “gnostic” if God does not exist. If God does exist, s/he misinterpreted the evidence.
6. Strong Atheist. 24-1% God, 99-75% no God. The believer believes the evidence against God’s existence far outweighs the evidence for it, and so believes s/he knows God does not exist. Lacking certainty, this is a position of faith (s/he is strongly pistic). S/he is only “gnostic” if God does not exist. If God does exist, s/he misinterpreted the evidence.
7. Omniscient Atheist. 0% God, 100% no God. God’s existence is disproven beyond a shadow of a doubt so that the believer is a knower with absolute certainty. Since only the omniscient can have absolute certainty, this option on the scale is contradictory, as it amounts to saying “I know, therefore I AM not.”
[ ***Note: since 100 and 0 are reserved for the polls, 50/50 ‘could’ be changed to 49/49 (requiring the other 49’s in the scale to go down to 48, and the 51’s up to 52), but that would just look weird. 50/50 symbolizes “equiprobable” moreso than 49/49, and one does not even need to know the exact number to know whether they are a weak/strong atheist/theist or agnostic. ]
Great discussion of this found here on Facebook’s Philosophers + Philosophy.
Also see: Replacing Agnosticism with Apisticism
If you don't mind my asking, where do we find “evidence” of God's existence?
without preconceived notions of religion or ideas of 'god', or without the necessary but impossible aims of science – what do we see and know?
im just curious…
Evidence of God's existence is a different topic than the one you are in. I have been needing to make a thread that links to my threads on evidence (not that those threads are 'exhaustive'). Once I do, I'll link you to it here. You don't have to wait for me, though–the evidence is available to everyone interested in examining it.
More to the topic, you ask, “without preconceived notions of religion or ideas of 'god', or without the necessary but impossible aims of science – what do we see and know?”
You sound like a skeptic about any theory. You probably base this on the feeling that we've found out we were wrong too many times to ever wager we are right. But, finding out we are wrong “requires” being right about something else. Check out my book discussion on Christopher Norris' “Epistemology” — he is, and I am, a critical realist. You can find it here: http://ichthus.yuku.com/forums/71/t/Epistemology-Norris-Book-Discussion.html
Here's the article I promised: http://www.examiner.com/apologetics-in-modesto/list-of-articles-on-evidence-for-god
I feel like your stating that the atheistic end of the spectrum are also positions of faith is incorrect, save the 100% atheist position. This is because atheism is defined as not having faith. It is a subtle concept, but it is due to the fact that theism is a positive claim, a belief, but atheism is the null hypothesis, or lack of claim. It is a very subtle difference and I don't deny that some people take atheism to the point of faith, especially since you can't prove a negative/null position. To be 'pretty sure, but not quite 100%, since you can't prove it' isn't so much faith as it is a well reasoned stance, which is open to change should evidence come to light. i.e. their belief does not infer things beyond evidence, which is what faith would entail.
Anonymous, thanks for replying. The point of my post is that atheism 'is' a belief, and your last statement confirms it: “their belief does not infer things beyond evidence”.
Genuine faith comes 'after' evidence. But it is one thing to know God and his promises exist; it is another thing to trust him and his promises. Some doubt, like Thomas did, even though he was daily in the presence of the miraculous before Jesus was crucified. Some all out reject him and everything he is about, as did most of the Pharisees in Jesus' day, who would rather claim his signs were demonic than change their worldview. So even in the presence of overwhelming evidence, faith can be lacking. Faith is more than just knowing, it is more than mere intellectual assent.
However–the faith I talk about in the original post…that is merely intellectual assent. One can be a very strong theist, and still lack the sort of faith I talk about in this reply.