A probabilistic approach to theism / atheism

It is a very nerdy approach, but the idea is to try and quantify your beliefs as probabilities. Expressing them as such I find is often useful as it shows your ideas are not based on faith, but that you have actually asked yourself the questions, and rather than taking a guess at what is most likely you are assigning a probability to the answer.

The idea is simple, construct a probability tree with three questions in the order of the questions I have outlined below (more questions can always be added), the idea is to actually analyse the probabilities which you would assign to the chance of something, and through it be able to build up a better idea of where you stand in the regards to particular types of gods.

The questions:

1) Was the universe created? four possible answers (No, it occurred naturally, Yes by a god (initiated the big bang is included in this), Yes as the result of a physics experiment in a different universe, Yes it is a simulation on a computer in another universe)

2) Is there a god? three answers (Yes an abstract god, Yes a physical god, No)

3) Are we just complex molecules (Yes, No).

Things to keep in mind for question 2, a naturally formed universe could theoretically have god(s), one simulated on a computer could have simulated god(s). For question 3, when going down paths of the probability tree where god(s) exist, humans may still be complex molecules.

So to introduce this concept I'd like to ask people for their input, are there answers I missed?

I've tried to keep the answers broad and to encompass all possibilities, specialising the gods can be done by adding additional questions, they won't all be relevant to all branches. Currently as it stands I think think there are 18 "reasonable" answers from these three questions (excluding branches I gave 0% probabilities), but other people may have different opinions on this.

I'd also be interested to see how peoples results compare to mine, or to hear peoples opinion / criticisms on this method of looking at their beliefs.

From the result of doing this I got some of the following answers from the probabilities I put in:

91.8% chance we are complex molecules, 7% chance of not being complex molecules under the computer simulation answer (don't know what the programmers are doing), 1.2% under any other situation.

27% chance that a god(s) exists (10% of that is a simulated god(s)).

The situation most religious people believe (an abstract god which created the universe, and that we are not complex molecules) got a 0.9% chance.

The most likely answer for me was that the universe is natural and there is no god, and hence we are complex molecules (45%).

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Replies to This Discussion

I see infinitely more possibilities than you suggest.

Are those possibilities subsets? I had no intention of narrowing it down to specifics, or are there possibilities which aren't captured in the above answers?

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