How Atheism and Deism are mutually exclusive
Given the new push going on in the atheism community, which appears to have the goal of absorbing all forms of agnosticism (including Deism and Panendeism) into their unbelief, I feel the need to clearly define what Deism is and is not. I see a subtle agenda being pushed in many of the Deism communities, an agenda that attempts to twist Deism so that people perceive it to be as close as possible to Atheism. Given this new trend, I feel that a clear explanation of where atheism ends and Deism begins is in order.
Deism is very simple in it's stance on God. It's a stance with demonstrated interest on the possibility and plausibility of an existent God construct. Deism is God-positive or God-centric in it's approach and looks for evidence of a plausibly existent God. Thus, even fundamental forms of agnostic-atheism do not truly fit into the scope of Deism because they are null-centric or God-negative in their approach.
Where we cross this line into Deism, is where an agnostic-atheist might show a positive interest in finding evidence for a God construct or desire to positively discuss it. This can be considered a potentially transitional phase that might eventually end in the true Deism spectrum.
A Deist can have a number of possible outlooks on the likelihood of God existing. Many classical Deists feel that there is sufficient evidence to believe that God does exist. Modern deists often occupy the God-positive end of Agnosticism and consider the existence of God to be more likely than not. Other deists may be completely agnostic (God-neutral) and simply enjoy reviewing evidence for the possibility of God. Where a God-negative worldview begins, Deism ends.
So if you find yourself running into people who seem to enjoy pummeling you with null-hypothesis in its many flavors and incarnations, realize that they're just trolling and trying to re-label what Deism actually is. They're not Deists, in fact they're a sad, sorry example of Atheists. These are just people who have too much time on their hands and no respect for other plausible and possible belief systems or philosophies. It is the same mentality behind racism, elitism, and bigotry.
Now I have no issue with atheists whatsoever, nor do I think that it's impossible that they're right. However, since no one really knows the answer, no one has any honest calling pushing their view with the zealotry of a cultist.
Deism is not atheism.