Wednesday, September 9, 2015

“God of the Gaps” Fallacy

What is the “God of the Gaps” argument? Here is how explains it:         

  • God of the Gaps is a concept that comes from the fact that God is being squeezed into an ever smaller series of existential gaps… At one time, all the phenomena in the universe could be ascribed to God. The stars, the rain, the seasons etc. With time, and improved scientific explanations, the number of things for which "God did it" was a good explanation was reduced, and god was equally reduced to inhabiting ever smaller gaps in human knowledge… It should be remembered however, the fact that science has no present explanation in no way means that god (or Uranus, Zeus, Odin or any other god/goddess) exists or that the God/Gods of any other Mythology exist. Indeed, if we were never to answer these questions it still wouldn't mean that Allah created the Universe or that Thor causes it to thunder.
Through this incoherent thinking, atheists hope to demonstrate that any possible argument in favor of God is being pushed into the gaps or margins – those areas where science has not yet been able to provide an explanation. Once these areas have been scientifically explained, there will remain no further argument in favor of the existence of God.

However, there is a hidden and fallacious assumption here that has construed science to favor atheism – that scientific findings/understandings undermine the existence of God rather than validate the existence of God. It assumes that “God is being squeezed” out of consideration by science rather than being placed in stage-center.

The central question is this: “Who did it?” Do natural, undersigned laws account for scientific knowledge or do designed, purposeful laws account for them?

Of course, we cannot put God (ID) in a test tube. However, we are equally unable to put the concept of natural causation into a test tube. Both go beyond experimentation and replication. Instead, we have to examine them from a higher more philosophical perspective and ask:

  • Which theory best accounts for the findings: naturalism or supernaturalism (intelligence, ID)? 
Here are some considerations in favor of ID:

  1. There is no evidence that natural, unintelligent forces exist. Although we all agree that objects are subject to laws and respond in formulaic and predictable ways, there is no evidence whatsoever that these laws are natural and unintelligent in origin. Besides, natural causation cannot be invoked to explain them, since the natural hadn’t been in existence to cause the “natural” laws. It is more likely that they find their origin and unity in the single transcendent Mind of God. 
  1. Reason, logic, and the laws that govern this universe are unchanging. In an ever expanding universe of molecules-in-motion, naturalism can’t account for them. Only an omnipotent, immutable God can! Only a transcendent (outside-of-this universe) God is impervious to change. Only transcendent laws can effect phenomena in this universe in a universal and uniform way.
  1. Reason, logic, and the laws of science are uniform, wherever we look and in whatever historical period. However, for a force or law to be natural, it must have a location from which it exerts its influence. (At least, that’s our experience with the “natural.”) The sun attracts the earth because it is in proximity to the earth. We find that this gravitational influence diminishes as the distance increases. Likewise, I’ve found that I can’t pick up the WQXR radio signals, which beam from NYC, when I’m in Pennsylvania. However, the laws of science seem to operate uniformly and universally, transcending the material constraints of location, matter and energy. Naturalism can’t explain this, but supernaturalism can.
  1. The laws require an adequate cause. Naturalism is unable to postulate such a cause. And there are also so many other things that naturalism can’t adequately explain (life, DNA, fine-tuning of the universe, freewill, consciousness, moral absolutes, the unchanging physical laws). In order to theorize about the origins of these things, naturalism must make many desperate theoretical leaps into muliverses and the emergent properties of matter. This violates simplicity and Occam’s razor. In contrast, ID need only postulate the Creator to explain all. Only He is adequate.
  1. Our experience with causal agents informs us that the cause is always greater than the effect. If the effect was greater than the cause, it would suggest that some aspect(s) of the effect is uncaused - a scientific impossibility! However, the Creator is certainly greater than His creation.
  1. Naturalism cannot account to the elegance of the laws of science. Nor can it explain how the laws work harmoniously and do not destroy one another. However, ID can!
Perhaps, then, we should be thinking in terms of “naturalism of the gaps.”

No comments:

Post a Comment