Spectrum of Theistic Probability

Richard 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. These milestones are:

1. Strong theist.
(100 per cent probability God exists.)
“I do not believe, I know.” – Carl Jung

2. De facto theist.
(Very high probability, but short of 100 per cent.)
“I don’t know for certain, but I strongly believe in God and live my life on the assumption that he is there.”

3. Leaning towards theism.
(Higher than 50 per cent, but not very high.)
“I am very uncertain, but I am inclined to believe in God.”

4. Completely impartial.
(Exactly 50 per cent.)
“God’s existence and non-existence are exactly equiprobable.”

5. Leaning towards Agnosticism.
(Lower than 50 per cent, but not very low.)
“I do not know whether God exists but I’m inclined to be sceptical.”

6. De facto atheist.
(Very low probability, but short of zero.)
“I don’t 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.
(100 per cent probability there is no God.)
“I know there is no God, with the same conviction as Jung knows there is one.”

Dawkins argues that while there appear to be plenty of theist individuals that would categorise themselves as ‘1’ due to the strictness of religious doctrine against doubt, most atheists do not consider themselves ‘7’ because atheism arises from a lack of evidence and evidence can always change a thinking person’s mind. Dawkins has identified himself as an atheist between a ‘6’ and a ‘6.9’.