A deepity is a phrase that balances precariously between two interpretations. On one reading, the phrase is true, but trivially so. On the second reading, the phrase would be profound if it were true, but that second interpretation is actually false. Somehow, the truth of the first reading seems to rub off on the second one, making it seem profound and true.
Let's face it, most atheists think that God's existence is more likely false than true. What else could it possibly mean when they quote their wise sage, Carl Sagan, and tell believers that "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence"? To say that they lack belief is, in that case, trivially true. It's trivially true because failure of ascent to the claim "theism is more likely true than false" is entailed by (even mildly) holding the opposite belief.
But the phrase "atheists lack belief in God" can be also be interpreted as follows: atheists have no opinion on whether theism is true or false. Now if that's true, then there's a very profound implication that atheist's seem to love: they have no burden of proof.
Unfortunately, for atheists, it's false*.
Deepities are beguiling, but fallacious. Atheists, who normally take great pride in avoiding fallacies of reasoning, would do well to avoid this deepity and do something that should come easily to those who so strongly endorse rationality: they should take on the burden to defend exactly what they believe.
|Philosopher Dan Dennett|