Dawkins number

In religious classification, Dawkins number (DN), "Dawkins level" or "Dawkins scale number", is the numerical classification one's self-professed religious beliefs (see also: belief system) concerning the existence of God, on the Dawkins scale, a 1-10 verbalized range of beliefs scale, made famous by English evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, in his best-selling 2006 book The God Delusion. [1]

Noted examples
The following page lists a few representative examples (capitalization emphasis or de-emphasis has been left in the original format) :

Date
Person
#
Description






2006Richard Dawkins 75 Richard Dawkins (1941-)
English zoologist and evolutionary biologist
6-7 “I count myself in category 6, but leaning towards 7. I am agnostic only to the extent that I am agnostic about fairies at the bottom of the garden” (although in a 2008 interview on the Bill Maher show he says he might be a 6.9).[1]
[4]
2009Philip Moriarty 75Philip Moriarty (c.1968-)
Irish nanophysicist and thermal physicist
6“I am what Richard Dawkins would classify as a level 6 ‘agnostic’ - agnostic in the sense that although I cannot prove that there is or isn't a god, there are an infinite number of possibilities I can't definitively disprove. I was brought up in a very devout Catholic family and ‘kicked against’ religion from the age of nine (when I began to ask questions about the ludicrous concept of transubstantiation in Catholicism).” [2]
2009Thims 75 Libb Thims (c.1975-)
American electrochemical engineer and thermodynamicist
10“In the Dawkins scheme, I would be level 10, but I don’t like the word atheist (I like the word scientist better). I've read over 50 books on religion (currently practiced, and active (about 18 main varieties), mythology, Egyptology, etc., and I know very clearly as to the background of most of the 10,000+ gods to have come and gone as well as the active ones. In the future, I might do some modern clarification videos on these topics (e.g. is there a god, what happens when you die, good vs evil, etc.), but I am somewhat hesitant, as these get very emotional for many.” [2]
2010Georgi Gladyshev 75 Georgi Gladyshev (1936-)
Russian physical chemist
8-10 “I believe, like [Thims], I am closer to the 10 point range.” [2]
2010Adriaan de Lange 75 Adriaan de Lange (1945-)
South African chemical physicist
1-10 “As for the Dawkins scale and your modification of it, I probably belong to level 1. But I have to qualify it. Since my 1982-83 discovery, I have become extremely skeptical on how other believers model their knowledge of God. They use metaphors from many walks of life coming from the public knowledge of others. Thus they suppress their own personal knowledge. Because of this, you will probably have to place me in level 10 ([Thims] scale). Like St Paul writes, that which we see is but an image in a mirror, not the real thing.” [2]
2010Mark Janes 75 Mark Janes (1973-)
English biotechnologist
6-10“Regarding the Dawkins scale I cannot easily place myself because I don't believe in a super natural entity that designed and created the universe so I would be a strict 7. However my theory that there is a natural arrow of time driving increasing order in the universe to a point where life becomes God like or my appropriately very stable (Iron instability arrow of time). I do, however, still believe in the long term effect of the 2nd law. So in terms of the classical definition I am a strict 7. However I do think people are entitled to their belief as long as they are peaceful and respect others belief so perhaps that drops me to a < 6. I used to be a strong 10 for fifteen years, but the effect of belief on human evolution and its production of scientific logic gave it some limited justification. I am actually an atheist. My philosophy on God is as described by yourself a response to free energy, so called islands of negative entropy and a 'future' evolutionary level of human consciousness not some unsupportable metaphysical entity.[2]
2011Arieh Ben-Naim 75 Arieh Ben-Naim (1934-)
Israeli physical chemist
11-12+“I looked at the SCALE. I do not fit there, perhaps you should add me at number 11 or 12 or higher. When I was a boy I used to say that ‘I don't believe in god.’ Later, I realized that even that statement is not correct. Now, if someone asks me ‘Do you believe in god?’ I say I don't understand the question, and I ask: ‘What is god?’ I really do not know what people are talking about when they say ‘GOD’.”[2]
2011Richard Crant 75Richard Crant (1959-)
Newfoundland-born Canadian philosopher
1 “I would have to say I agree with C.G. Jung. So it must a 1. Although I cannot claim to understand God or what true form God exists in exactly, this does not make God any less real for me personally. Do you believe the Higgs boson exists (God Particle)?” [3]
2012Robert Doyle 75 Robert Doyle (1936-)
American physicist and philosopher
8+ “As to my Dawkins' scale, I consider myself "beyond atheism" [8+] as you describe it. I think religion is reinvented by every society because humans have a most developed foresight. We can anticipate our own death, unlike other animals. Consequently, we imagine the possibility of avoiding it by an afterlife, and invent supernatural beings already in this world beyond material molecules, as you might put it.

I find an additional religious sensibility arising from the notion of a "creation" and a "providence." My own work on the origin of information structures - without which you and I could not exist and (perhaps more important to the concept of immortality) could not communicate with one another - hopes to identify the science behind creation to give us a purely materialistic explanation for the existence of immaterial information. Might it satisfy a few rational people as an explanation for this sensibility of a benevolent universe?” (17 Jan 2012)

Thims (vertical) Firstly, on Dawkins scale, I’ve read into page thirteen of your book and these pages tell a different story than what you say in email. I need a straight answer out of you, in your view: does God exist (yes or no)? You state, on page 13, there is a still-present divine “creator of the universe” with providence that is the source of good and evil. This would put you at DN=1. But you tell me in email that you are DN=8-10? Your underlying views on this matter underlies the entire structure of your book, of which the first dozen or so pages are replete with mention of “God” and “creation”. If you believe that God exists as the creative force of the universe, come out and say this. One thing I can’t stand is bush beaters.”

“The straight answer: there is no God in the form of a person-like creator of the universe, just like there is no Santa Claus. But I believe that my work has identified the cosmic creation process that religious thinkers have so often anthropomorphized into a Being. I hope that this is no small contribution to the advance of thought. I am no doubt guilty of overdramatizing this discovery of the proper physical (purely material, molecular in your terms) explanation for the non-material (informational in my terms, spiritual in theological terms) aspects of the world.

I don't mind if some religious persons anthropomorphize my explanation of the creation. There was a creation even if there was no Creator. And my work shows that humans are co-creators of the future. Discovering and explaining why humans have so often invented gods is my modest first step towards a purely rational explanation of the great archetypal myths and mysteries of conventional religion. Discovering an objective - and cosmic (and ultimately thermodynamic!) - source of good can replace "god-given" ideas of good and evil, right and wrong, with ideas based in physics, chemistry, and biology, is my second contribution. Otherwise, I am concerned that my work toward enlightenment and disenchantment would be attacked as "value-free."

Finally, developing the most plausible and practical scientific model for free will is not motivated by any religious considerations (you are quite right that most libertarians on free will are so motivated). Simply put, my two-stage model is not a metaphysical and supernatural free will, it is a purely natural and biophysical free will. It is based on the denial of an idealistic determinism, even pre-determinism, that grew out of a misplaced confidence in the time-reversible "primary laws" of nature" that did not appreciate the "secondary" statistical laws embodied in thermodynamics and statistical physics, as finally established by quantum mechanics. As I write on my I-Phi home pageExternal link icon (c):

Information philosophy explores some classical problems in philosophy with deeper and more fundamental insights than is possible with the logic and language approach of modern analytic philosophy. By exploring the origins of structure in the universe, information philosophy transcends humanity and even life itself, though it is not a mystical metaphysical transcendence. Information philosophy uncovers the providential creative processExternal link icon (c)working in the universe to which we owe our existence, and therefore perhaps our reverence.
It locates the fundamental source of all valuesExternal link icon (c)not in humanity ("man the measure"), not in bioethics ("life the ultimate good"), but in the origin and evolution of the cosmos.

Information philosophy is an idealistic philosophy, a process philosophy, and a systematic philosophy, the first in many decades. It provides important new insights into the Kantian transcendental problems of epistemologyExternal link icon (c), ethicsExternal link icon (c), freedom of the willExternal link icon (c), godExternal link icon (c), and immortalityExternal link icon (c), as well as the mind-body problemExternal link icon (c), consciousnessExternal link icon (c), and the problem of evilExternal link icon (c). In physics, information philosophy provides new insights into the problem of measurementExternal link icon (c), the paradox of Schrödinger's CatExternal link icon (c), the two paradoxes of microscopic reversibilityExternal link icon (c) and macroscopic recurrenceExternal link icon (c) that Josef LoschmidtExternal link icon (c) and Ernst ZermeloExternal link icon (c) used to criticize Ludwig Boltzmann'External link icon (c)s explanation of the entropy increaseExternal link icon (c) required by the second law of thermodynamics, and finally information provides a better understanding of the entanglement and nonlocalityExternal link icon (c) phenomena that are the basis for modern quantum cryptography and quantum computing...

Information Philosophy is an account of continuous information creation, a story about the origin and evolution of the universe, of life, and of intelligence from an original chaos that is still present in the microcosmos. More than anything else, it is the creation and maintenance of stable information structures that distinguishes biology from physics and chemistry. Living things maintain information in a memory of the past that they can use to shape the future.
Information Philosophy is a story about knowledgeExternal link icon (c) and ignorance, about goodExternal link icon (c) and evil, about freedomExternal link icon (c) and determinism. There is a great battle going on - between originary chaos and emergent cosmos. The struggle is between destructive chaotic processes that drive a microscopic underworld of random events versus constructive cosmic processes that create information structures with extraordinary emergent properties that include adequately determined scientific laws; despite, and in many cases making use of, the microscopic chaos.

Created information structures range from galaxies, stars, and planets, to molecules, atoms, and subatomic particles. They are the structures of terrestrial life from viruses and bacteria to sensible and intelligent beings. And they are the constructed ideal world of thought, of intellect, of spirit, including the laws of nature, in which we humans play a role as co-creator.

I believe that information philosophy can shed light on the common-sense intuition of a cosmic creative process often anthropomorphized as a God or divine ProvidenceExternal link icon (c); the problem of evilExternal link icon (c)(chaotic entropic forces are the devil incarnate); the mind-body problemExternal link icon (c)(the mind can be seen as the realm of information in its free thoughts, the body a biological system creating and maintaining information); and the "hard problem" of consciousnessExternal link icon (c)(agents responding to their environment, and originating new causal chains, based on information processing).

Please read a bit in chapter 30 on the cosmic creation process. I very much appreciate your taking the time to criticize my work. I am getting quite old now. I perhaps have taken too long to formulate my ideas and get them published. You, on the other hand, are quite young and likely will have a great influence on future thought. Thank you for including my informational approach to philosophy and science in your websites and future books. It gives me a little bit of what I call "information immortality".” (18 Jan 2012)

Thims (vertical)Robert, your answer, however, is still affixed with a modifier: "there is no God (in the form of a person-like creator of the universe)", but there is a "cosmic creation process" that "that religious thinkers have anthropomorphized into a Being." This is all verbal camouflage. You did not answer: there is not God. You answered: there is a God in the form of a cosmic creation process. In short, you believe that God does exist? Is this not correct?

Libb, there is no God (or gods). There is a process of cosmic creation that manages to evade the second law in some sense. The universe began in equilibrium with minimal information. It is now in a state far from equilibrium, with vast amounts of free energy flying around. Information philosophy starts with an explanation of this cosmic creation process. It then tries to identify the increase of information (or negative entropy, or free energy) as an objective cosmic good. My work attempts to show that there is indeed something going on that many religions think needs a god or gods, viz., providing a beneficial environment. There are no gods. But we should appreciate and even show something like reverence for the providence that science finds in our universe. (24 Jan 2012)

2012Sean Dickinson 75Sean Dickinson (c.1988-)
Hmolpedia member
0 “My Dawkin's number is ... "0" . Not that that means I think I'm god, more akin to my a way of defying the whole number system to unmask the question to derail the rating system, as 8 to 10+ augments / defy Dawkins original 1 to 7 so my "0" rating is much like the famed atheist quip about "believing in just one less god", I am one less category, no-category. At the lowest rank 1, I take away 1 = 0, at the "highest rank" of 10, I conceptually take away again a 1, this time being the 1 coming in front of the 0 which is 10 = 0 closing the loop and defying the need for categorization, again akin to the 8 to 10 answer to Dawkins original rating system, I defy the rating system all together because to rate along it is still "Posing an answer to a question about god". Thus "nothing" being the answer, the question is undone, meaningless, as is the higher conceptual categorizations 8 to 10+ which asks "What do you mean by GOD?" / "The question doesn't make sense?". It makes enough sense to know it doesn't make sense and thus be ranked and that I defy, hence an answer of 0. I refute categorization. So even if I choose not to decide, I have made a choice, that choices closes approximation on the rating system is 0.”

Other
The following Dawkins numbers are either polled via email by Libb Thims or estimated based on historically documented views, such as were discerned during Napoleon's polling of the religious views of the leading scientists of France (see: Napoleon Laplace Anecdote):

William Jensen (1948-) (DN=7) American chemistry historian (polled)
Robert Ulanowicz (1943-) (DN=2-3) American chemical engineer and theoretical ecologist (polled)
Charles Hansen (1943-) (DN =1) American systems analyst, economics consultant, and engineer

Joseph Lagrange (1736-1813) (DN=5-7) Italian mathematician (estimated)
Gaspard Monge (1746-1818) (DN =7) French mathematician (estimated)
Pierre Laplace (1749-1827) (DN =7.5) French mathematician, physicist, and astronomer (estimated)
Claude Berthollet (1748-1822) (DN =7) French chemist (estimated)

References
1. Dawkins, Richard. (2006). The God Delusion (pgs. 50-51, pg. 102). Houghton Mifflin Harcout.
2. Communication to Libb Thims (at date cited).
3. Re: Crant and C=ea2 (2011) – Hmolpedia thread.
4. Maher, Bill. (2008). “Interview: Richard Dawkins”, Apr 11, YouTube.

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