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January 7, 2014 / compassioninpolitics

God of the Gaps is often a Strawperson

First, a theist who proves their argument by God of the Gaps isn’t necessarily exclusively relying on a God of the Gaps argument for their entire faith. They probably have multiple overlapping reasons they have faith–which all point to a central thesis.

Second, in some cases it is a cop out or rather a straw person attack on a more in depth argument. Because almost no argument is as simple. Plus the acknowledgement that science hasn’t figured something out…..might just be an important one. (i.e. that its set of tools or hammers might not be fully capable to coming to an answer—at least with the current philosophical approach that is common in what we as society label as science)

A God of the Gaps argument isn’t per se true or false in scientific terms. Its more something to be aware of. It doesn’t take out the force of the argument–it might however mitigate its absolute force.

Moreover, we would be smart to remember the entirety of what an accussation of God of the Gaps argument really is saying. It also has to say:
1) that scientific understanding in this particular area is expanding
2) and will continue to expand to solve this specific problem
3) AND that science is the only and best way of understanding this problem
When in fact, its likely the case that science isn’t the exclusive or best way to solve our problems of meaning, purpose, or philosophy. It seems meaningless to look to science to find out how I should view art or how most people view art (which is probably what science could tell us more about). Its a uniquely subjective experience–that while science can inform (ie perhaps tell us some heuristics about design–which are often violated yielding “positive” results). As such, using science in those cases is kind of a category mistake or a toolbox one (its like asking an uninformed individual to comment intelligently on engineering, physics, or the ballet).

And the accusation of God of the Gaps in some ways seems equally circular in nature. If science can’t explain it….then the unbeliever can always shield themself and their beliefs with it. It itself is a conversation stopper.

Its confusing because unbelievers will in one breadth admit that science has nothing to say about God and admit that science doesn’t (and will probably never) have answers to the why question (in the big sense). That science is fundamentally limited to mostly how questions.

It prevents and stifles the possibility of a great deal of potentially useful and interesting dialog and conversation on the issue.

———————-
First, a theist who proves their argument by God of the Gaps isn’t necessarily exclusively relying on a God of the Gaps argument for their entire faith. They probably have multiple overlapping reasons they have faith–which all point to a central thesis.

Second, in some cases it is a cop out or rather a straw person attack on a more in depth argument. Because almost no argument is as simple. Plus the acknowledgement that science hasn’t figured something out…..might just be an important one. (i.e. that its set of tools or hammers might not be fully capable to coming to an answer—at least with the current philosophical approach that is common in what we as society label as science)

A God of the Gaps argument isn’t per se true or false in scientific terms. Its more something to be aware of. It doesn’t take out the force of the argument–it may perhaps mitigate it.

And the accusation of God of the Gaps in some ways seems equally circular in nature. If science can’t explain it….then the unbeliever can always shield themself and their beliefs with it. It itself is a conversation stopper.

Its confusing because unbelievers will in one breadth admit that science has nothing to say about God and admit that science doesn’t (and will probably never) have answers to the why question (in the big sense). That science is fundamentally limited to mostly how questions.

It prevents and stifles the possibility of a great deal of potentially useful and interesting dialog and conversation on the issue.

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