What are you on the Dawkins scale?

Despite my appreciation for Dawkins as a writer and scholar, I don’t this scale gives the appropriate option for me. I selected “de facto atheist” instead of “strong atheist” as 100% certainty is indicative of a leap of faith in the direction of atheism. However, my atheism is a bit stronger than the definition of “de facto atheist” in the poll.

Specifically, I rely upon two concepts, the legal concept of burden of proof, and the logical concept of Ockham’s Razor to form the belief that there is no god. I’m not just skeptical or operating under an “assumption”; I also do not have a 100% certain conviction that is no God. Instead, I have a belief that there is no worthwhile evidence that there is a God, and that I can logically conclude that there is no God.

First, the burden of proof lies upon the party holding the affirmative of a position. This is an ancient and well established principle in the Anglo-American legal system. So the people asserting that “there is a God” hold the burden of proof. And I’ve never seen any remotely subsantial evidence of the existence of God or gods, much less an aggregation of evidence sufficient to make a prima fascia case (the existence of God is more probable than not). And even beyond that I have not seen any evidence that stands up to logic or sciencen that refutes the arguments against the existence of God (theodicy and Incompetent Design). So legally speaking, the parties asserting the existence of God have miserably failed to meet their burden of proof and thus I conclude that their assertion is invalid.

Second, the assertion of God does not pass the logical test of Ockham’s Razor. As popularly understood, Ockham’s principle is “the simplest solution is usually the correct one”. However in the original Latin, the principle was stated thusly: “entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity” (entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem). In other words, if a problem can be solved without introducing additional terms or entities, then the solution with the least terms is most likely to be correct. Specifically, if you have the opinion that the universe and the human species can be explained as emergent results of the action of the laws of physics and nature over time, then that explanation (sans any Deity) is most likely to be correct.

Therefore, I have no belief thatthere is a God. The corollary is that I thusly believe that there is no God, which I do, but I am not fanatically certain of it. If substantial evidence of the existence of God were introduced or if a theory that included God made more sense than the simpler explanation of the emergent properties of physical laws, then I would change my opinion. However, since in thousands of years of human debate about religion, I have never seen any remotely credible evidence, I sincerely doubt that such evidence will suddenly be produced.

But, I am open minded. If, for example, high end physics experiments were to show that the fundamental structure of the universe was designed rather than emergent, I would have to review the evidence, and if warranted, change my position. But that seems so unlikely as to be nigh-impossible.

PS - I wrote this before I read the more succinct replies above. I could summarize my position as: I’m a 6.9.

Sharpe, always more verbose than necessary!

I’ve decided that I’m not going to read Sharpe’s book.

What if I believe that the entirety of reality was carved from the corpse of its architect by the unthinking clockwork the architect set into motion before sacrificing itself on the altar of creation?

I think I’ll go with a 5.

Fucking miracles.

But I don’t have a book! Or is that a cute way to say “tl:dr”? If so, weak!

Damn comedians.

I like to think of myself as an agnostic, but on this scale I’m probably more a weak atheist (5).

Tough call. On the one hand, I have never in my life encountered credible evidence of the existence of god. On the other hand, fucking magnets. How do they work?

In America, calling yourself an agnostic is going to generate much less controversy than saying you are an atheist. I believe a lot of American “agnostics” are actually closeted atheists in the 5 to 6 range, because they fear discrimination and/or generating conflict if they say they are atheists. Agnostic is the safe, inoffensive way to wuss out.

I chose “special snowflake” because my response is militant agnostic: “I don’t know and neither do you.” I don’t believe there’s an old man in the sky that loves me so much he’ll burn me in hell forever if I don’t kill adulterers with rocks, but I believe there is too much of the universe not understood and unexplored to rule out any possibility, including the Flying Spaghetti Monster and intelligent reality shows.

Magnets work based on the scientific principle of magnetism, which has produced testable hypotheses, and repeated experiments have supported the principle of magnetism over centuries of testing. Therefore, magnetism meets its burden of proof, there no substantial evidence refuting, and you should conclude that magnetism is a legitimate principle of physical law.

So, unless you are willing to throw out the basic principles of science, and the amazing technological results that science has achieved, then your comparison is invalid.

Show me a huge quantity of testable, repeatable evidence of the existence of God that can overcome the refuting theories, and I will say belief in God is equivalent to belief in magnetism.

Yeah, both are things you can’t see with your naked eye. But that’s why we have science: to figure out things beyond our direct observation.

WTF is a “gallot”? I always thought it was “I’ve got rhymes galore”. Then again, I thought he said “move to Barbados”, but listening again it sounds a lot more like “Luke to Darth Vader” :).

Also: potatoes.

You’re gettin’ me pissed.

Rainbow fucker!

Rainbows after it rains? Miracle!

[Psst. That’s a joke based on an Insane Clown Posse song. If anyone’s actually interested, magnets work due to electron spin and alignment of the fields, very roughly. It’s complicated, but not as complex as I’ve just made it sound. ]

Never going to happen. Even in an infinite, expanding universe.

Rainbows after it rains: explained by the science of optics and atmospherics, well established after centuries of experimentation. Thus: well explained, and reasonable to believe.

Ghosts: no credible evidence in favor of, plenty of theories providing alternate explanations for claims of ghost sightings (hallucination, wish fulfillment and on and on). Thus: not reasonable to believe in.

UFOs: again, no credible evidence in favor of, plenty of theories providing alternate explanations of claimed sightings (atmospheric reflection, military jets, ball lightning). Thus: not reasonable to believe in.

Keep in mind I’m not stating anything here with 100% certainty. But there are things it makes sense to believe in, and things that do not support reasonable belief. Just because something cannot be “proven 100%” does not make it false.

6 is closest, since I don’t see a functional difference between a universe in which there’s no god, and one in which there is a god but he/she/it hides from us.

I’m just going to go with plain old 6, even though I’m sympathetic to the people who want to add some extra decimal beyond that. The phrase “I cannot know for certain” is acceptable to me, because I don’t want to get into any philosophical debates that would only spiral inexorably into solipsistic nonsense. And IMHO, “very improbable” can mean just about whatever degree of unlikeliness floats your boat.

Extarbags, why am I pissing you off? I’m just using basic logic and the principles of science.

Also, I do not mean to challenge anyone’s personal beliefs. Religious belief is just that: it is religious in nature, not based on science or logic. You can believe what you like, as long as your public behavior is based on reality, and as long as you don’t impose your beliefs on others. If you personally hold beliefs that I personally find illogical and unsupported, it is your Constitutional right to do so, so long as you do not use the power of the state to impose it on anyone else.