Share This Article:

A Refinement of Bertrand Russell’s Celestial Teacup Analogy and Richard Dawkins’ “Spectrum of Theistic Probabilities”

Full-Text HTML XML Download Download as PDF (Size:266KB) PP. 493-502
DOI: 10.4236/ojpp.2019.94030    122 Downloads   325 Views


In this paper the theological views of both Richard Dawkins and Bertrand Russell are refined to make them more precise and consistent. Russell points famously to an example of a celestial teacup as an analogy for the existence of God. More specifically the analogy is used to argue against attempts to shift the burden of proof against the sceptic. In his book The God Delusion, Dawkins picks up on this example and uses it as a foundation to argue against agnosticism. While Dawkins’ larger framework for considering the existence of God may or may not be appropriate, it is important that the refinements are emphasized to make the arguments clear. In short his Spectrum of Theistic Probabilities, as introduced in his book The God Delusion, is adapted to include the consideration of infinite sets. This consideration makes Dawkins’ own expressions of his viewpoint, and the teacup analogy more consistent—as Dawkins’ categorization of his own views seem to push the use of the spectrum to its limit. For example, he claims his views don’t fall precisely onto one of the 7 milestones of his spectrum. The author offers a correction of this by categorizing Dawkins’ own views neatly onto one of the refined milestones.

Cite this paper

Burchett, P. (2019) A Refinement of Bertrand Russell’s Celestial Teacup Analogy and Richard Dawkins’ “Spectrum of Theistic Probabilities”. Open Journal of Philosophy, 9, 493-502. doi: 10.4236/ojpp.2019.94030.

Copyright © 2020 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.