This scale is really interesting so I thought I'd share it with you in case you live under a rock like I do. Dawkins says that the existence of God is a scientific hypothesis. Is it? I thought a hypothesis was an idea that could be tested. How can we test for a god? Anyway, here is a spectrum of probabilities between two extremes of certainty which are represented by seven milestones along the way.
Here are the seven milestones.
- Strong theist. 100 per cent probability of God. In the words of C.G. Jung: "I do not believe, I know."
- De facto theist. Very high probability but short of 100 per cent. "I cannot know for certain, but I strongly believe in God and live my life on the assumption that he is there."
- Agnostic leaning towards theism. 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."
- Completely impartial agnostic. Exactly 50 per cent. "God's existence and non-existence are exactly equiprobable."
- Agnostic leaning towards atheism. 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."
- De facto atheist. Very low probability, but short of zero. "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."
- Strong atheist. "I know there is no God, with the same conviction as Jung 'knows' there is one."
I think, like Dawkins, if you are an atheist who values evidence, you would avoid labeling yourself a 7. Dawkins considers himself to be a 6 and I am comfortable with calling myself a De facto atheist as well.
Because, after all, I am an atheist based on lack of evidence of gods. If there were verifiable, repeatable evidence from a god (and I could prove it wasn't hallucinations, delusions, insanity, etc), and everyone saw God, well, it would have to be pretty substantial, but if there were extraordinary evidence that was repeatable and verifiable, then I guess I'd have to change my mind.
Where do you fall on the scale? Why? And what would it take for you to change your mind?