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Deepity is a term employed by Daniel Dennett in his 2009 speech to the American Atheists Institution conference, coined by the teenage daughter of one of his friends. The term refers to a statement that is apparently profound but actually asserts a triviality on one level and something meaningless on another. Generally, a deepity has (at least) two meanings; one that is true but trivial, and another that sounds profound, but is essentially false or meaningless and would be "earth-shattering" if true.
The example Dennett uses to illustrate a deepity is the phrase "love is just a word". On one level the statement is perfectly true (i.e., 'love' is a four letter word) but the deeper meaning of the phrase is false; love is many things - a feeling, an emotion, a condition and not simply a word.
- You learn about nothing from philosophy
The first reading is that the study of philosophy can teach about the concept of nothingness, which is true, but trivial. The second interpretation, which is implicit, is that philosophy is useless i.e. "You learn nothing by studying philosophy". This second sense would have profound implications if true.
- Good without God becomes "o"
This is a deepity constructed from a Use/Mention error combined with a confusion of the letter "o" with the number 0 which are both represented by similar symbols. In the first reading, we have the trivial but true statement that the word "Good" without the three letters "God" becomes the letter "o". The second reading, in which we consider the meanings of the words, implies that any good that is done without God is worth nothing/zero, which is false but plays on your acceptance of the evident truth of the trivial first sense to misdirect or confuse. If taken to be true, the second reading would have important implications.
- The theory of Gravity is only a theory
In the first reading, the meaning is that the "theory of Gravity" is a "theory" which is true, but trivial. This usage assumes the scientific sense of the word "theory" as a well-established scientific explanation. However, since there is another sense of "theory" as a word which means a hypothesis or an unsubstantiated guess, this is exploited by the second reading which brings to mind the idea that objects will no longer feel the gravitational force since gravity is not a real phenomenon, just an abstract idea.
- A human zygote is a human
In the first reading, this statement is true, but trivial; the zygote is the earliest developmental stage of the human embryo. In the second reading, the statement could be interpreted to mean the zygote is a human person; this is false, but would be profound if true. The statement is obviously false because a person cannot be a single-celled organism anymore than he or she could be a paper shredder. The statement would be profound if true because a large percentage of zygotes fail to implant in the uterus, and thus die. The deaths from this would far exceed deaths from such maladies as breast cancer or childhood leukemia, and thus would mandate society to immediately divert massive government funds to stop the crisis. Certainly any problem killing a massive percentage of children deserves a large percentage of NIH funding. If true, the statement may also justify killing abortion doctors, since one could argue that killing a zygote is no different than killing a six-year old. If one could use lethal force against a school shooter about to kill a 6 year old, one could also be justified in killing an abortion doctor who would kill an embryo.
 Extension to theology
As well as a criticism of bad prose and poetry, the term "deepity" can refer to many religious sentiments and some of the more meaningless rhetoric. Dennett argues that theology is full of deepities, and noting that the sophisticated theological statement "God is no being at all" is equivalent to "no being at all is God". Other deepities he refers to are "God is Being itself" and "God is the God beyond God".
The concept is not without its critics, however. Some believe that Dennett is attacking the right of people to use metaphorical language. Other critics claim that the universe and physics already exhibit "deepities" that don't bother atheists, so they shouldn't complain about religions using them.