After the debate, the Christian Post boasted that Dawkins is really agnostic and not an atheist, because he “admitted” is at a 6.9 on his scale of 1 to 7, as to whether or not God exists. One standing for absolutely sure God exists and seven standing for absolutely not sure God exists.
Dawkins revealed that he is in fact not an atheist as he is not 100 percent sure God doesn't exist.
The Christian Post appeared to not understand what Dawkins meant and apparently believes in “no true atheist”, but as a scientist, Dawkins cannot make absolutes, because he is open to new information. There are no absolutes in science.
If one is absolutely sure, they are no longer open to new information, the same goes for the grammar program on my Word program. It does not believe in absolutes, because it wants me to remove the word “absolutely”, but in this case, the word needs to stay to show a point concerning the Christian Post’s belief that Dawkins is actually agnostic and not an atheist.
The moderator, Sir Anthony Kenny, when opening the debate admitted he did not know if there is a God or not, which means he is probably between a four and a five on Dawkins’ scale.
However, Dawkins explained this before, on page 50 and 51 of his book, The God Delusion and in the movie Root of All Evil. This is a scale ranging from belief to disbelief, not a black and white deal, as so many Christians seem to prefer everything in life. Nothing is black and white and fortunately, in reality, there are many various shades of many various colours, much like the rainbow (not actually a reference to Dawkins’ book, Unweaving the Rainbow).
Dawkins’ scale concerning the existence of a god:
1. Strong theist: 100% probability of God. In the words of C. G. Jung, ‘I do not believe, I know.’
2. Very high probably, but short of 100%. 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%, 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%, but not very high. Completely impartial agnostic. ‘God’s existence and non-existence are exactly equitable.’
5. Lower than 50%, but not very low. Technically agnostic, but leaning towards atheism. ‘I don’t know whether God exists, but I’m inclined to be sceptical.’
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.’
To make things easier, imagine Dawkins scale, literally, on a scale:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Strong 50/50 Strong
Theist agnostic atheist
On Dawkins’ scale, I probably would land between ‘5’ and ‘7’. This is very much an agnostic atheist. I do not believe the god of any religion exists, because those are all human concepts, which makes me almost a ‘7’, but I am not beyond saying there might be something within the universe and us, that one might consider a god, but I do not know what IT is and I do not call it a god. This probably pushes me towards a ‘5’, but not quite a solid ‘5’. Thus, I would assume, I am lower than Dawkins on the scale, probably very close to a ‘6’, if not a ‘6’. Proving such a “pantheistic deity”, with the use of science, is necessary to find such a thing though and we may never find it, except via neurology.
Forgive me for using this video so many times, I love what Tyson says in this video and can hear quite well what he is saying.
Like Neil deGrasse Tyson, I am in awe with the universe, especially and including nature, but despite having the very same feelings theists have about their god, I do not call the universe “God”. This feeling of awe and wonder, whether it is concerning the universe or a human concept of a deity, is very much neurology in action. This is why Dawkins called Pantheism, “sexed up atheism”, because in a sense, it is, but I fall more into Tyson’s category, except he is an astrophysicist and I use my education and knowledge of psychology and neurology to come my conclusions.
Kenny quoted Dawkins as saying, “The laws of physics have created us” and Dawkins nodded.
Dawkins explains that if we do not know X, then we should not jump to the conclusion that it must be God, but instead we should stay agnostic about X, which Williams seemed to agree with.
Williams admitted that he has no idea what a soul is, but it does not simply cease upon death and he stated that he has a number of images of what a soul might look like, which, according to Williams, God does not terminate upon death.
"A soul is something that does not cease with death," said the archbishop. "What it is, I have no idea. A number of images, but no idea. More research is clearly needed here.”
Later, he admits this belief in a soul and hopes for an eternal life are all based on faith and not reason.
Dawkins stated, in the debate, that he is baffled concerning Williams statements about God, soul, freewill, origins of humans, and the afterlife.
“Why would you want to waste your time reinterpreting Genesis to make sense in the 21st century? Why not stick to 21st century science?”
To which Williams, as a true Anglican priest and Christian, fell back on the Bible and reserved the right to do so. He looks for basic information in the Bible, starting with the first book and the first chapter of the Bible.
"If I want to answer of 21st century scientific questions then I stick to 21st century science. If I want to understand my moral and spiritual position in the universe, I reserve the right to go back to Genesis."
Again, using Dawkins’ scale, Archbishop Williams would probably fall around two.
When Williams tried to pin Dawkins down and insisted Dawkins is really an agnostic, Dawkins once again attempted to explain his scale:
Williams: "You I think, Richard, believe you have a disproof of god."
Dawkins: No, I don't! You were wrong when you said that. I constructed in The God Delusion a 7-point scale, of which '1' was, 'I know god exists', '7' was 'I know god doesn't exist' and I called myself a '6'.
Not all atheists are 100% certain that there is absolutely no god, but some theists are absolutely sure, with 100% certainty that there is a god, yet they have no evidence. At least they do not possess any solid and scientific evidence that their god exists. Their absolute certainty comes from pure faith and not reason.
Christina, JT Eberhard’s co-blogger and friend on Freethought Blogs, explained it well when she said part of understanding science involves accepting current information provisionally and with probability, so that when new information does come along, we are open to consider it and potentially change our minds. Religious dogma does not allow for such things. The dogma of religion started many centuries ago and it remains the same, unchanging, despite the fact, it does not fit reality in the 21st century.
An atheist does not need absolute certainty that a god does not exist, but many Christians and Muslims seem to need absolute certainty, accepting that a god exists purely by faith, to be Christians or Muslims. The qualifications for disbelief are not as strenuous as that of religious belief. Atheists rely heavily on reason and science, instead of superstition, to form many of their beliefs.