Probability & the Existence of God
When someone asks me if I think that God exists, is there anything wrong in responding with a probability? For example, suppose I say, "I think there's about a 15% chance that such a being exists." (Note: Talking here, of course, about the omni-being that philosophers talk about, not any particular religion's conception of God.) I feel much more comfortable and reasonable talking about it this way (at least regarding the debate as a whole), even though I may not be sure exactly why. I mean, I wouldn't want to respond to someone this way about a particular deductive argument concerning God's existence, like the Ontological Argument.
(1) Your probability claim isn't a good statistic or wasn't arrived at via reliable statistical analysis.
Sure, but I'm not claiming that it's good science or stats or anything. I'm just wondering if it's reasonable to respond with a probability. I'm just acknowledging my own epistemic limitations. I'm not making a metaphysical claim that God's existence is probabilistic. All I'm just saying is that, given the evidence I have acquired so far, I think that it's unlikely (or likely, if you respond with a greater probability), but not willing to make the claim that such a being does or does not exist for sure.
(2) That's just agnosticism.
Maybe if I claimed that the probability was 0.5. But even that doesn't strike me as agnosticism, exactly. Maybe it's a kind of jury-still-out agnosticism. I dunno.
(3) Are you saying God's existence is a matter of chance, like a lottery? 'Cause that's hella stupid.
I don't want to be committed to that, but maybe it seems to. As I've said, I just think that some (but not all) talk of God's existence can be taken as probabilistic. For example, many think that the Problem of Evil isn't a knock-down argument against God's existence, but that it renders it unlikely or counts against it to a certain degree. That is, it's an inductive, rather than a deductive argument.
(4) You hate freedom and bald eagles, you America-hating terrorist!
That only works on the O'Reilly Factor... c'mon. (My objectors are always bumbling fools... it makes my argument sound better.)
So, in conclusion, I don't know what I'm pushing for exactly. It's an idea. Comments, please.