Monday, July 4, 2011

The God of the gaps theory

One of the many errors committed by Christianity that in my mind I think blatantly goes against the scientific method, is that they first start with a conclusion and seek the evidence to support it. For instance, in all of the more traditional arguments in defense of a belief in the biblical God or any god for that matter, they state with certainty that God created the universe and everything in it. The most famous and popular of all of their ridiculous arguments is the argument from design. Basically the argument from design falls back on the complexity of life and the universe and concludes that there had to be a designer. Their most popular analogy is that of someone wandering around in a beach and finding a watch, upon examination the watch has many cogs and mechanisms that obviously indicate that there was a designer and that it was designed for a particular purpose. Theists then take this analogy and try to make it applicable to life and the universe and all that that may entail.

The scientific method on the other hand has four steps
1. Observation and description of a phenomenon or group of phenomena.
2. Formulation of an hypothesis to explain the phenomena. In physics, the hypothesis often takes the form of a causal mechanism or a mathematical relation.
3. Use of the hypothesis to predict the existence of other phenomena, or to predict quantitatively the results of new observations.
4. Performance of experimental tests of the predictions by several independent experimenters and properly performed experiments.

Once you have reached your conclusions you are to report your findings in details so that they may be reproduced, confirmed, or denied by your peers. In other words, other scientists should be able by following your instructions to come up with the same conclusions as you have. In some cases they may find that the tests were not fair or inadequate and your hypothesis is either scrapped or expanded upon.

Now the one element in my view that tips the scale in favor of the theists is faith. Faith is what I have called many times in my blogs, articles, and videos the ultimate equalizer in any and all arguments. The one thing that faith has going for it is that it does not require any evidence whatsoever and anyone can use it to support any argument. This reminds me of the fundie Christians that state with vigor when referring to the scriptures and its many ridiculous assertions: “God said it, I believe it, that settles it!”

Christians in particular have found many creative ways to use faith in all arguments in defense of their beliefs. The most popular to date is the God of the gaps theory. What this fallacy states is that basically any gap in our knowledge, specifically scientific knowledge has only one explanation: God did it! Let me demonstrate their greatest flaw when arguing from the God of the gaps theory combined with the argument from design. They first put down the premise that anything that is caused to exist must have an initial cause because it is impossible for there to exist an uncaused cause.

They later then go on to declare that it is also impossible for there to exist an infinite regress of causes therefore there must be a prime mover, an initiator of all the causes in existence. Can you guess what that initiator is? Of course, God! Now here is where it gets dicey, God is an uncaused cause therefore based on the initial premises of this argument the argument itself breaks down.

Thanks to faith the breakdown of this argument does not faze Christians one bit because faith does not require evidence and so god being the prime mover and not needing a cause for his existence does not apply. The bible actually has an explanation that concords with the Christians conclusions based on this argument.

8 'I am the Alpha and the Omega,' says the Lord God, who is, who was, and who is to come, the Almighty. Revelations 1:8 (NJB).

We don’t know for sure what started the Big Bang, or how exactly man came to have such a developed brain and intellect but we are content in the knowledge that we don’t know. We may never know but that does not mean that that gives us the right to fall back on ancient beliefs and superstitions and tout them as truth beyond all knowledge because of faith and so called divine revelation. Even if you are a theists who does not accept the bible and its deity as the prime mover you are still falling back on superstitions by clinging to an untenable belief that whatever did create the universe is a god of some kind or other.

Maybe whatever created the universe was an impersonal force and creation was just a random unintentional effect of this unknown force. Calling it God does not make the search for it any easier, nor does looking for supernatural causes. At least in my mind a random universe created by some unknown force unintentionally makes a lot more sense to me than to state that some fictional creation myth of man did it. God did it just doesn’t cut it for me and I would rather wallow in my ignorance than fall asleep in some false bliss.


Introduction to the scientific method. (n.d.). Retrieved July 4, 2011, from

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