6 Replies to “Kirk Durston on science’s God of the Gaps

  1. 1
    Jorge says:

    Many years ago I was debating an Atheist and he brought up the old “God of the Gaps” argument against me. I pointed out to him that he had a *NATURE of the Gaps* where his Nature amounted to a “god” – his “god”. In fact, that is exactly what they do – substitute God with nature..

  2. 2
    Seversky says:

    In my view, the “God of the gaps” was more an observation than an argument. Basically, it noted that, as science was able to offer explanations of more and more of the natural world, so the gaps where God was the only available explanation got narrower and narrower. The implication was obviously that at eventually we would reach a point where we had no need of that hypothesis.

  3. 3
    jerry says:

    The God of the Gaps argument is a logical fallacy called begging the question. It basically eliminates an intelligence as an explanation. The intelligence should never be assumed but always considered as a possible explanation for certain natural phenomenon.

    so the gaps where God was the only available explanation got narrower and narrower

    Is this true? When did this happen? I was under the understanding that it has been getting wider in certain areas. Read Stephen Blume’s books.

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    Seversky, states that “as science was able to offer explanations of more and more of the natural world, so the gaps where God was the only available explanation got narrower and narrower.”

    Actually, the history of science is a bit more unflattering to Seversky’s version of things than Seversky would prefer to believe.

    David Hume, a philosopher in the 1700’s, infamously stated that miracles were a violation of the laws of Nature.

    “A miracle is a violation of the laws of nature; and because firm and unalterable experience has established these laws, the case against a miracle is—just because it is a miracle—as complete as any argument from experience can possibly be imagined to be.”
    – David Hume, An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding – 1748

    Yet, David Hume, as an atheist, simply had no right whatsoever to presuppose that the laws of nature were ‘natural’ with no need of God to explain their existence. In fact, I hold that Hume was basically a two-bit ‘philosophical’ thief who stole the ‘miraculous’ laws of nature away from the Christian founders of modern science who first discovered them.

    As C.S. Lewis stated, “Men became scientific because they expected law in nature, and they expected law in nature because they believed in a lawgiver.”

    When things just don’t fit: Science and the Easter faith – John Lennox – 13 April 2012
    Excerpt: Alfred North Whitehead’s view, as summarised by C.S. Lewis, was that: “Men became scientific because they expected law in nature, and they expected law in nature because they believed in a lawgiver.” It is no accident that Galileo, Kepler, Newton and Clerk-Maxwell were believers in God.
    https://www.abc.net.au/religion/when-things-just-dont-fit-science-and-the-easter-faith/10100632

    And unlike the Christian founders of modern science who, because of their Christian beliefs, presupposed and then found laws of nature, Atheists, with their random, bottom-up, materialistic explanations simply have no clue why there should even be laws of nature that govern the universe in the first place.

    “There cannot be, in principle, a naturalistic bottom-up explanation for immutable physical laws — which are themselves an ‘expression’ of top-down causation. A bottom-up explanation, from the level of e.g. bosons, should be expected to give rise to innumerable different ever-changing laws. By analogy, particles give rise to innumerable different conglomerations.
    Moreover a bottom-up process from bosons to physical laws is in need of constraints (laws) in order to produce a limited set of universal laws.
    Paul Davies: “Physical processes, however violent or complex, are thought to have absolutely no effect on the laws. There is thus a curious asymmetry: physical processes depend on laws but the laws do not depend on physical processes. Although this statement cannot be proved, it is widely accepted.”
    Saying that laws do not depend on physical processes, is another way of saying that laws cannot be explained by physical processes.”
    – Origenes – UD blogger

    And as Paul Davies stated in 2007, “All science proceeds on the assumption that nature is ordered in a rational and intelligible way. You couldn’t be a scientist if you thought the universe was a meaningless jumble of odds and ends haphazardly juxtaposed.,,,
    Over the years I have often asked my physicist colleagues why the laws of physics are what they are. The answers vary from “that’s not a scientific question” to “nobody knows.” The favorite reply is, “There is no reason they are what they are — they just are.” The idea that the laws exist reasonlessly is deeply anti-rational. After all, the very essence of a scientific explanation of some phenomenon is that the world is ordered logically and that there are reasons things are as they are. If one traces these reasons all the way down to the bedrock of reality — the laws of physics — only to find that reason then deserts us, it makes a mockery of science.,,,,
    ,,, the very notion of physical law is a theological one in the first place, a fact that makes many scientists squirm. Isaac Newton first got the idea of absolute, universal, perfect, immutable laws from the Christian doctrine that God created the world and ordered it in a rational way. Christians envisage God as upholding the natural order from beyond the universe,”

    Taking Science on Faith – By PAUL DAVIES – NOV. 24, 2007
    Excerpt: The problem with this neat separation into “non-overlapping magisteria,” as Stephen Jay Gould described science and religion, is that science has its own faith-based belief system. All science proceeds on the assumption that nature is ordered in a rational and intelligible way. You couldn’t be a scientist if you thought the universe was a meaningless jumble of odds and ends haphazardly juxtaposed. When physicists probe to a deeper level of subatomic structure, or astronomers extend the reach of their instruments, they expect to encounter additional elegant mathematical order. And so far this faith has been justified.
    The most refined expression of the rational intelligibility of the cosmos is found in the laws of physics, the fundamental rules on which nature runs. The laws of gravitation and electromagnetism, the laws that regulate the world within the atom, the laws of motion — all are expressed as tidy mathematical relationships. But where do these laws come from? And why do they have the form that they do?
    When I was a student, the laws of physics were regarded as completely off limits. The job of the scientist, we were told, is to discover the laws and apply them, not inquire into their provenance. The laws were treated as “given” — imprinted on the universe like a maker’s mark at the moment of cosmic birth — and fixed forevermore. Therefore, to be a scientist, you had to have faith that the universe is governed by dependable, immutable, absolute, universal, mathematical laws of an unspecified origin. You’ve got to believe that these laws won’t fail, that we won’t wake up tomorrow to find heat flowing from cold to hot, or the speed of light changing by the hour.
    Over the years I have often asked my physicist colleagues why the laws of physics are what they are. The answers vary from “that’s not a scientific question” to “nobody knows.” The favorite reply is, “There is no reason they are what they are — they just are.” The idea that the laws exist reasonlessly is deeply anti-rational. After all, the very essence of a scientific explanation of some phenomenon is that the world is ordered logically and that there are reasons things are as they are. If one traces these reasons all the way down to the bedrock of reality — the laws of physics — only to find that reason then deserts us, it makes a mockery of science.
    Can the mighty edifice of physical order we perceive in the world about us ultimately be rooted in reasonless absurdity? If so, then nature is a fiendishly clever bit of trickery: meaninglessness and absurdity somehow masquerading as ingenious order and rationality.
    Although scientists have long had an inclination to shrug aside such questions concerning the source of the laws of physics, the mood has now shifted considerably. Part of the reason is the growing acceptance that the emergence of life in the universe, and hence the existence of observers like ourselves, depends rather sensitively on the form of the laws. If the laws of physics were just any old ragbag of rules, life would almost certainly not exist.,,,
    ,,, the very notion of physical law is a theological one in the first place, a fact that makes many scientists squirm. Isaac Newton first got the idea of absolute, universal, perfect, immutable laws from the Christian doctrine that God created the world and ordered it in a rational way. Christians envisage God as upholding the natural order from beyond the universe, while physicists think of their laws as inhabiting an abstract transcendent realm of perfect mathematical relationships.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11.....avies.html

    So again, David Hume was basically a two-bit philosophical thief who stole away the ‘miraculous’ laws of nature away from the Christian founders of modern science, who, because of their Christian beliefs,
    first discovered them, i.e. In spite of the fact that naturalistic presupposition had nothing whatsoever to do with the discovery of the laws of nature, Hume falsely claimed that the laws of nature were ‘natural’.

    David Hume simply had no right whatsoever to presuppose that the ”miraculous’ laws of nature were ‘natural’. As Jorge pointed out in post 1, atheists have a very long history of disingenuously putting Nature in place of God. i.e. it has actually been a *NATURE of the Gaps* argument all along, not a “God of the gaps” argument as atheists have erroneously claimed.

    The origin of the actual phrase “God of the gaps” can be traced back to atheist Friedrich Nietzsche and to theistic evolutionist Henry Drummond.

    God of the gaps – Origins of the term
    From the 1880s, Friedrich Nietzsche’s Thus Spoke Zarathustra, Part Two, “On Priests”, said “… into every gap they put their delusion, their stopgap, which they called God.”.[3] The concept, although not the exact wording, goes back to Henry Drummond, a 19th-century evangelist lecturer, from his Lowell Lectures on The Ascent of Man(1904) . He chastises those Christians who point to the things that science cannot yet explain—”gaps which they will fill up with God”—and urges them to embrace all nature as God’s, as the work of “an immanent God, which is the God of Evolution, is infinitely grander than the occasional wonder-worker, who is the God of an old theology.”[4][5]
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_of_the_gaps#Origins_of_the_term

    Nietzsche’s claim, “into every gap they put their delusion, their stopgap, which they called God”, was a very interesting claim for Nietzsche to make.

    The reason why it is very interesting is that if God is not real, but is merely a delusion as atheists hold, then everything else becomes a delusion for the atheist.

    Basically, because of reductive materialism (and/or methodological naturalism), the atheistic materialist (who believes Darwinian evolution to be true) is forced to claim that he is merely a ‘neuronal illusion’ (Coyne, Dennett, etc..), who has the illusion of free will (Harris), who has unreliable, (i.e. illusory), beliefs about reality (Plantinga), who has illusory perceptions of reality (Hoffman), who, since he has no real time empirical evidence substantiating his grandiose claims, must make up illusory “just so stories” with the illusory, and impotent, ‘designer substitute’ of natural selection (Behe, Gould, Sternberg), so as to ‘explain away’ the appearance (i.e. the illusion) of design (Crick, Dawkins), and who also must make up illusory meanings and purposes for his life since the hopelessness of the nihilism inherent in his atheistic worldview is simply too much for him to bear (Weikart), and who must also hold morality to be subjective and illusory since he has rejected God (Craig, Kreeft). Who, since beauty cannot be grounded within his materialistic worldview, must also hold beauty itself to be illusory (Darwin).
    Bottom line, nothing is truly real in the atheist’s worldview, least of all, beauty, morality, meaning and purposes for life.,,,
    April 2021 – Detailed Defense of each claim
    https://uncommondescent.com/philosophy/philosopher-mary-midgeley-1919-2018-on-scientism/#comment-728595
    https://uncommondescent.com/evolution/from-philip-cunningham-the-human-eye-like-the-human-brain-is-a-wonder/#comment-727327

    Thus, although the Darwinian Atheist and/or Methodological Naturalist may firmly believe that he is on the terra firma of science (in his appeal, even demand, for naturalistic explanations over and above God as a viable explanation), the fact of the matter is that, when examining the details of his materialistic/naturalistic worldview, it is found that Darwinists/Atheists themselves are adrift in an ocean of fantasy and imagination with no discernible anchor for reality to grab on to.

    It would be hard to fathom a worldview more antagonistic to modern science, indeed more antagonistic to reality itself, than Atheistic materialism and/or methodological naturalism have turned out to be.

    In short, directly contrary to what Nietzsche believed, it is not belief in God that is a delusion, but it is the atheist’s belief that ‘nature’ can be substituted for God that is a delusion.

    To rephrase Nietzsche’s ‘God of the gaps’ quote to more properly reflect what empirical science itself has now revealed to us, “into every gap atheists put their delusion, their stopgap, which they called “methodological naturalism”.

    2 Corinthians 10:5
    Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

  5. 5
    ET says:

    seversky:

    In my view, the “God of the gaps” was more an observation than an argument.

    In our view you are very biased and don’t seem to know much of anything. Arguments for Intelligent Design are based on our KNOWLEDGE of cause-and-effect relationships in accordance with science. The gaps are with naturalism.

  6. 6
    kairosfocus says:

    Sev, ET is right. And BA77 has a serious point. KF

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