Theory isn't the right word because my "theory" is nothing but an idea that works for me that would take forever to explain. Actually, explaining my "theory" is exactly why I need the word :) Since the subject is creation, I don't want to call my "theory" that word because it's completely non-scientific, hardly salt to the Theory of Evolution's pepper.

Belief isn't the right word either. Again, my thing doesn't rise to that level. I believe in global warming, evolution, apple pie and that Jon Snow will live until (maybe even THROUGH) the end! I don't believe in God in any sense that I've ever heard preached or that I've read. Faith doesn't work either. The word "faith" fits better to the Jon Snow reference above.

My degree of certainty that my "theory" is correct is kind of nil. I guess I can describe it as something my scientific psyche can accept and that makes me feel warm and fuzzy. I'd like to think my thingy is right.

So, what can I call it?

  • 1
    Possibly your world view.
    – Lawrence
    Commented Oct 14, 2017 at 12:45
  • 1
    "my understanding"
    – Mark E K
    Commented Oct 14, 2017 at 12:55
  • 1
    "appraisal"? and please explain your ... thingy!
    – Mark E K
    Commented Oct 14, 2017 at 13:02
  • 2
    Perhaps it's just an "idea"?
    – Laurel
    Commented Oct 14, 2017 at 14:12
  • 1
    “Notion” might work Commented Oct 15, 2017 at 12:25

16 Answers 16



If there is no scientific evidence for something; and if there is no faith, which can 'see' the matter with spiritual eyes in a way of faith, then that would be a conjecture.


an opinion or conclusion formed on the basis of incomplete information

  • 1
    Many scientific theories start out as conjectures, and as evidence is collected later, then it becomes a theory. However, it must be noted that the scientific method itself is also a faith that rests on axioms - beliefs with no evidence. Examples are: "all physical laws are the same throughout the universe" and "we do not observe the universe from a special vantage point".
    – Chloe
    Commented Oct 15, 2017 at 19:45
  • 4
    It should be noted that axioms are not blindly accepted by science, and they are tested - many axioms have been broken and/or reduced
    – HorusKol
    Commented Oct 15, 2017 at 22:16
  • Einstein assumed, in both Special Relativity and General Relativity that c , the speed of light, is constant. He did not prove it. And thereby lies a problem.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Oct 15, 2017 at 22:21
  • 2
    Therein lies a problem. Commented Oct 15, 2017 at 22:44
  • @Chloe: Agree with everything you say, but then we need to disambiguate between a scientific and a normal context, as words like "theory" have vastly different definitions between these contexts.
    – Flater
    Commented Oct 16, 2017 at 15:39


"my thing doesn't rise to that level"

If something is not a scientific fact which can be demonstrated by experiment; and it is not a matter of real faith - which believes matters which are spiritual and not subject to scientific experiment - then that would be a notion.

"True religion's more than notion . . ."

(From the hymns of Joseph Hart)

  • If I choose a homey tone, notion could certainly work. Thanks +1 Commented Oct 14, 2017 at 23:57
  • 1
    A “homey” tone? What does that even mean? Commented Oct 15, 2017 at 12:26


See The Cambridge Dictionary

An idea or explanation for something that is based on known facts but has not yet been proved

This word is often used for an idea that seems reasonable, given what is known, but isn't really good enough to be a theory yet.

  • Please spell out what CED actually says. Link-only answers are not what is required on ELU. Commented May 6, 2018 at 21:47
  • @EdwinAshworth done.
    – Simon B
    Commented May 6, 2018 at 22:28


… describes your own view of the world that is subjective, unqualified, proportional, and not bound to or by limitations imposed by others.

a particular way of considering something:

Cambridge Dictionary


An idea could be a better way to say something lesser than a theory

  • This is the best answer imho
    – KPM
    Commented Oct 15, 2017 at 10:44

Back in the 60s and 70s the critic Morse Peckham employed the term orientation as “the most general and undemanding word we can use” to designate “the pattern in the mind, the Gestalt, the neural path [...] with which we organize” the data reported to us from the “public world”. He employed this term to embrace every sort of pattern—scientific theory, existential posture, social role—which we apply to interpreting the reality we encounter in order to perceive reality as orderly and meaningful—as you put it, to make you “feel warm and fuzzy”.



in·tu·i·tion /ˌint(y)o͞oˈiSH(ə)n/ noun

the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning.

a thing that one knows or considers likely from instinctive feeling rather than conscious reasoning.


If what you feel to be right was not indoctrinated into you, this is what your intuition tells you.

Here's more information than you want to know: When Intuition Misfires. The context is eerily relevant and you probably won't feel so warm and fuzzy afterwards (it's a link to the American Psychological Association - it talks about gambling and our need to find connections with the world).

Title for you new book: An Atheist's Intuition or Intuitions of an Atheist.



I would go with 'Cosmogony' or 'Cosmology.' Of course, these words are context-dependent, and I am not sure if you are looking for a general word, but there are many analogous words that would be suitable in different contexts.

Both pertain to the origin of the cosmos; cosmogony has more mythological overtones, while cosmology has more logical ones. Yet, cosmology is not exclusively a scientific world, and the word is often used to refer to pre- or non-scientific conceptions of the universe and its origins, i.e. 'The Cosmology of Anaximander.' In fact, When you google 'the cosmology of...' one of the first things to be suggested is 'the cosmology of the rig veda,' the ancient Indian mystico-religious tract. So, since cosmogony is a more obscure word, I would say you should feel perfectly free to call the idea your personal cosmology.


If you must have a general word, I would go with 'Conception.' Especially so because 'conception' has meaning rooted in birth and we are talking about the birth of the universe here. One's conception of time, conception of evil... the word expresses a breadth to the idea while being indifferent on the truth of the matter, and has an emphasis on the actual thought and the experience of thinking it.



A position that is held without basis in either genuine scientific proof or genuine spiritual apprehension of realities is just an opinion.

a view or judgement formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge




If you truly feel as you say you do, I think you should embrace this word. To try and validate your concept further by bending words around it would seem somewhat unfaithful. (This sentence typed, concept now has a nice and slightly less whimsical feel to it - worth considering).

An idea with no basis in reality.


You might try:


a tendency or urge to act or feel in a particular way; a disposition.


a preference or special liking for something, a bias in favor; a predisposition



A paradigm is a basic understanding or approach to a subject, a worldview.

One definition is:

A worldview underlying the theories and methodology of a particular scientific subject.

We could say:

An atheistic paradigm of Creation is that mind evolved from matter, and matter exists by chance.

How exactly this happened may be explained by various theories, but that it did happen is a paradigm, a basic understanding on which everything else is based.

A theistic paradigm of Creation is that everything that exists does so because of Mind, or Spirit or Word.

Which came first, mind or matter, is a question which affects and even defines one's paradigm.

  • I upvoted this early on because it's not a bad solution. Weird that my upvote was canceled out. I almost wish it still looked like it could be the answer I accept just because I'd kind of enjoy legitimately accepting a 0 score answer above eight answers with positive scores. Commented Oct 15, 2017 at 9:24


As in "this is my explanation for how such-and-such works."



See: R. M. Hare Reply to Flew.

A blik as described by R. M. Hare is an unfalsiable idea about the world. It differs from other believes in that the blik - being unfalsiable - is virtually inconsequential except for the worldview of the people that has it, and their behavior.

A person with a particular blik would gather the same evidence and reach the same conclusions that a person that does not have that blik. Yet, they may differ in explanations. There is also chance for argument between people with different bliks.

I have to point out that a blik is not simply a belief yet to be tested, but one that cannot. The original form of a blik described by R. M. Hare is that of something existing but not being physical, since that something is nonphysical, we cannot experiment to confirm or deny it. Although, I can see it working for cosmological arguments…. When you have multiple explanations for how the universe came to be, and they all seem equally possible, yet you prefer to believe in one, and the reason why is beyond scientific arguments[1]… then you have a blik.

A blik is similar to a theory is that it makes sense of the world. In differs in that it is not the result of experimentation. And it also differes from a hypothesis in that it cannot be tested.

Notice that Newton's flaming laser sword will cut any and all bliks. By nature of being beyond experimentation, bliks are outside the realm of the scientific method.

[1]: It could be tradition, repeated exposure, some warm feeling, sense of hope or purpose, or it may just seem about right or beautiful. We can - to some extend - rationalize why a person has a particular blik, but that does not make the blik scientific (hey, I found an oxymoron I did not know before: a scientific blik).


No love for Conviction ? More strongly held than an opinion, still implies that it's a personal belief and leaves room for the possibility that you may still be mistaken.

  1. a firmly held belief or opinion. "she takes pride in stating her political convictions" synonyms: belief, opinion, view, thought, persuasion, idea, position, stance; More (article of) faith, credo, creed, tenet, dogma "his deeply held political and religious convictions"

An off the wall suggestion, applied well outside its usual scope, but which I think fits quite well nonetheless: headcanon, from Wiktionary:

headcanon (countable and uncountable, plural headcanons)

(fandom slang) Elements and interpretations of a fictional universe accepted by an individual fan, but not necessarily found within or supported by the official canon.


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.