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How Dawkins’ belief scale shows atheism is a belief, a position of faith

 
Ichthus77
 
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Ichthus77
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29 October 2010 04:35
 

Dawkins belief scale:  http://ichthus77.blogspot.com/2010/10/new-new-theism.html

Atheism and theism both are faith positions, as can be seen when the implications of Dawkins’ belief scale are fully carried out:

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.

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.”

[ Edited: 29 October 2010 04:38 by Ichthus77]
 
 
GAD
 
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GAD
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29 October 2010 06:24
 

That’s not Dawkins scale you changed it to suit your beliefs. At least you are consistent.

 
 
GAD
 
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GAD
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29 October 2010 06:34
 

Here is my version and my vote:

7. Strong atheist. ‘I know that human invented Gods are human inventions with as much certainty as I can know anything. The evidence provided for all human invented Gods clearly and conclusively shows that they are human inventions and no evidence independent of the human mind has been found for any god.

 
 
GAD
 
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29 October 2010 06:38
 
rpitchfo - 29 October 2010 04:26 AM

Have you read the book? Dawkins claims to be a 6.99999. You cannot be a 7, no one can claim with absolute certainty there is no god, only that the odds are stacked HEAVILY against the notion. Only the Theists occupy the position of 1 and absolutes. No contradiction.

That is the argument, but it is a poor one and one of the few that I have an issue with Dawkins on.

 
 
robbrownsyd
 
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robbrownsyd
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29 October 2010 09:15
 
Ichthus77 - 29 October 2010 02:35 AM

Dawkins belief scale:  http://ichthus77.blogspot.com/2010/10/new-new-theism.html

Atheism and theism both are faith positions, as can be seen when the implications of Dawkins’ belief scale are fully carried out:

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.

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.”

This is rubbish and does not at all reflect Dawkins’ position.

My atheistic position is not one of faith as you suggest. It is quite unlike the theistic position for which there is not a skerrick of evidence. Faith means belleiving something even without suppoting evidence or, as Dawkins puts it, even in the teeth of evidence against the position. There is much evidence that there are no gods. The universe looks exactly as we would expect it too look if there were no supernatural creator.

What evidence do you have for this god of yours?

[ Edited: 29 October 2010 09:18 by robbrownsyd]
 
Acupuncturist
 
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29 October 2010 09:19
 

“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.”

Thats me all right, just without the contradiction. You see I feel the same way about your God as you view Odin and his son Thor. There is no inherent contradiction when you don’t believe something exists, that is just a game of logic. You have come to a conclusion based on the evidence you see, it is really quite easy to do.

The obvious parallel is Santa Claus. Many people believe in him in their youth. He may or may not exist in reality. I see enough evidence to conclude that Santa is a myth. I don’t need to hold on to any doubts about it. I am comfortable with that rather harsh judgement. I can see that a believer in Santa Claus may be uncomfortable with my certainty and may want to try and find a way to suggest that it is somehow impossible for me to not believe with certainty. That is their own emotional reaction, not a logical objection based on evidence. It is understandable but not convincing.

I would be willing to concede that I am may be wrong about my certainty in the face of evidence to the contrary, but certainly not as a result of a trick of logic.

 
 
Jefe
 
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29 October 2010 11:34
 
Ichthus77 - 29 October 2010 02:35 AM

Dawkins belief scale:  http://ichthus77.blogspot.com/2010/10/new-new-theism.html

Atheism and theism both are faith positions, as can be seen when the implications of Dawkins’ belief scale are fully carried out:

Wrong again, Ichthus.

You have managed to misrepresent Dawkins’ scale in such a way as to manufacture a strawman to battle.

But at least you are consistent.

 
 
Ichthus77
 
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Ichthus77
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29 October 2010 12:07
 

Fascinating range of responses.

I didn’t change the scale—only carried out its full implications.  The only thing I really changed is that I let the “strong” options be number 2 and 6 instead of 1 and 7.

Interesting that a few folks are willing to claim omniscience, but it could just be sarcasm.  Hard to tell, and it shouldn’t be, in “Project Reason”.  Dawkins is right—no one can be absolutely certain, either way.  Only certain atheists/fideists who think all faith/belief (pistis) is blind would ever claim (wrongly) that theists are in the first spot or that atheists are in the last spot.  A popular conception of faith/belief happens to be wrong—the belief scale SHOWS that.  You could plug any other “ISM” into that scale.

I’ll just sit back and let you guys figure this one out.

rpitchfo—of course I’ve read the book.  I remember Dawkins claimed to be a six (he would still be a six on my version of his scale), I don’t remember that percentage you mentioned.  Most recently I’ve only had time to review the scale on page 73, and the version of it posted by Christopher Sisk.  Both are viewable here:  http://www.ichthus77.blogspot.com.

 
 
Jefe
 
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29 October 2010 12:17
 
Ichthus77 - 29 October 2010 10:07 AM

I didn’t change the scale…

Oh no.  Of course not.

Nor did you intentionally change Dawkin’s original language of probability to language of belief and then equate that artificial linguistic construct of ‘belief’ to ‘faith’.

Those (obvious) changes all just fell into place naturally.

 
 
Ichthus77
 
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Ichthus77
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29 October 2010 12:26
 

Do we not calculate probability based on available evidence, and then base our belief on that probability?

Gnosis is to knowledge as pistis is to belief/faith.

 
 
Jefe
 
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Jefe
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29 October 2010 12:31
 

Veering toward Fideism are you?

 
 
Ichthus77
 
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Ichthus77
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29 October 2010 12:42
 

You must be asking that of Acupuncturist and rpitchfo…I’m a 2.

 
 
Acupuncturist
 
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29 October 2010 14:45
 

ichthus, are you a six with respect to Santa?

 
 
goodgraydrab
 
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29 October 2010 15:44
 
Ichthus77 - 29 October 2010 02:35 AM

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.”

That’s cute, although you’re misapplying the term, omniscient. But I get the implication: Only God is omniscient, “therefore he is.” There is one thing I don’t know, however, how is it that you don’t feel embarrassed with yourself?

 
 
burt
 
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29 October 2010 15:48
 
Ichthus77 - 29 October 2010 10:26 AM

Do we not calculate probability based on available evidence, and then base our belief on that probability?
.

When I play poker I calculate probabilities based on available evidence and base my actions on that.  There is no belief in the sense you use the word involved, only a “we’ll see what happens.”  The only “belief” you might attribute is along the lines of “If I were in this situation a billion times and take action A then the odds are I will show a profit.”

 
eudemonia
 
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29 October 2010 16:49
 

So a ‘strong atheist’ leaves a 25% chance of God?

Hmmmmm….

 
 
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