It’s not 50/50

Another point. To resume with page 51 (which is where we stopped yesterday) – farther down Dawkins points out that

it is a common error, which we shall meet again, to leap from the premise that the question of God’s existence is in principle unanswerable to the conclusion that [its] existence and [its] non-existence are equiprobable.

This is obvious, he goes on, with more unfamiliar and absurd assertions whose non-existence also can’t be proved, such as Russell’s orbiting teapot or the FSM; Russell’s teapot ‘stands for an infinite number of things whose existence is conceivable and cannot be disproved.’ The fact that we can’t disprove them does not mean that the matter is 50/50.

The point of all these way-out examples is that they are undisprovable; yet nobody thinks the hypothesis of their existence is on an even footing with the hypothesis of their non-existence.

And it’s the same with the God hypothesis.

That’s probably one reason so many people are claiming so crossly and repetitively that Dawkins is dogmatic. But that’s not dogmatic. Given the knowledge we have and the evidence we have, there are myriad reasons to think God doesn’t exist and few reasons to think it does. It could be that God does exist and has been carefully hiding the evidence all this time – but we remain exactly where we were: there is no good reason to think so. It’s not dogmatic to think that or to say it; it’s just using the faculties we have. What else are we supposed to do – use faculties we don’t have?

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