Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Terminology Tuesday: God-of-the-Gaps Argument

God-of-the-Gaps Argument: A type of argument that invokes God as an explanation for what cannot be explained naturally or scientifically. Critics of this style of argument claim that such a strategy will inevitably make God's role in the universe appear to diminish as scientific explanation advances. Critics of the intelligent design movement allege that the attempt to argue for an intelligent cause of biological order is a God-of-the-gaps argument, but proponents of intelligent design argue that there is positive empirical evidence for intelligence as the cause of complex systems in nature.1

1. C.Stephen Evans, Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics & Philosophy of Religion (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2002), p. 50.

See also this video by John Lennox on God-of-the-gaps arguments.


Unknown said...

Excellent explanation! Thank you for consistently posting great material!

John B. Moore said...

Another problem with "God of the Gaps" is that it can be used to justify anything. For example, "We don't know how life began; therefore the Flying Spaghetti Monster did it." Someone else might say, "You're wrong, it was Zeus who did it!" Really they're both wrong. It was my Aunt Sally who secretly did it last Thursday.

Ex N1hilo said...

When seeking to describe the world in which we find ourselves; to explain how it came to be; and to predict future outcomes, it makes precisely as much sense to say, "Undirected material processes did it!" as it does to attribute it to the FSM, Zeus, or Aunt Sally.

Undirected natural processes can be used to justify anything. A worldview grounded in the all-knowing, all-powerful, personal and transcendent God of the Bible has far more explanatory power than the others mentioned. This is why, historically, the God of the Bible is the presupposition on which science is founded.

James said...

Hmmm... one of these is nothing like the others:
God, FSM, Zeus, Aunt Sally.

Guess which one it is ? If you guessed "God", you get a cookie. Why is that ? Perhaps it's because FSM, Zeus, and Aunt Sally could all be described as temporal, physical beings that could not bring time, space, and matter into being.

Chad said...

Hello all,

I find that explaining and implementing the inference to the best explanation really takes the teeth out of the "God of the Gaps" objection.


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