God of the Gaps?

Discussion about scientific issues as they relate to God and Christianity including archaeology, origins of life, the universe, intelligent design, evolution, etc.
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eth132
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God of the Gaps?

#1

Post by eth132 » Wed Mar 02, 2011 2:46 pm

I've heard this term "god of the gaps" multiple times and I have never really found a clear definition, but I have come up with my own, and i was just wondering if it is the correct definition. Ok, here it goes.

God of the Gaps - Humans have a natural sense of the need to explain everything. From the most basic pagan religions with many "spirits" in every individual thing, gradually clumping those spirits together, claiming the old ways were wrong and creating gods for everything (IE. going from spirit of THIS wall to spirit/god of ALL walls). then out of that we had polytheistic religions and before you know it people claimed all of those previous religions false and they had polytheistic views (greek mythology). THEN, after all that, greek mythology was claimed false, and now we have judeochristian beliefs. then came along a book roughly 200 years later recounting events from the past.

Now lets break that down even further. at first humans didnt know much about science or how the world worked, so they gave it spirits to explain why things acted the way they did (the wall gods made this wall strong vs. this wall was built well). that way of thinking continued until the polytheistic religions came around and then people decided that the old ways were wrong and there were fewer gods, such as gods of: truth, love, the heavens, earth, etc. Then there came a time that people decided that that was wrong, and now there was only one god who controlled the heavens and earth etc, (well, technically two if you really think about it) but they attributed everything that they didnt know to that one god. For example, the bubonic plague. When the plague hit south eastern Europe at first people thought that sinning caused the sickness, and the church backed it. Then it spread to the next town, people still thought god was smiting the people of the whole village. As the plague spread and spread to wipe out over half of the worlds population the church kept saying that god was punishing the sinners, but eventually people started to think. People started to think about why god would smite and kill off so many people when he promised he would never do that again. People started to think that the church lied to them, and in fact it did. People eventually discovered that it was not god that was smiting anybody. God actually had nothing to do with it. It was just a sickness that spread by unsanitary conditions. Moral of the story is that back then people didnt know what it was, so they blamed it on god. God was their answer for everything that that didnt know, and it isnt too much different now. People still look at god for things they dont know. For example, nobody REALLY knows how the universe was created (although there are plenty that believe very strongly that is was created one way or another), and we might not ever really know. It's just a matter of being able to swallow your pride and say I dont know instead. The only difference between the plague and how the world came to be, other than the seriousness of the matter, is that how the world came to be is modern, it's the same philosophical problem.

Is that an accurate definition of God of the Gaps?

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Re: God of the Gaps?

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Post by Canuckster1127 » Thu Mar 03, 2011 1:23 am

You've pretty much hit it.

A God of the Gaps argument is basically the logical fallacy that the absence of evidence is evidence of absence. It states that because an answer is not presently discernable from what is known about something that means there must be no answer from physical evidence and therefore on the presence of God and His work behind the scenes can explain it.

An example of this in a more modern context would be what was in place scientifically before the introduction of natural selection as an examply of why certain species succeed and survive and others don't. Before Natural Selection was posited by Darwin and others, the only explanation seen by some was that this was evidence of God's handiwork and they applied the definition of that handiwork as to why things were the way they were as God's direct will at work.

The problem with a God of the Gaps argument in any context is that you create the assumption that if and when that argument is refuted by an explanation then it begs the question and corresponding assumption that in the absence of a need for God to explain the unknown that this means that God is therefore a fabrication and unecessary.

That is it's own fallacy. The presence of an "natural explanation" simply speak to means and not necessarily ultimate or first cause. That by definition can never be completely solved. It can be pushed back further but with the explanation of any first cause it simply changes position and the cause of the original unknown first cause itself then assumes that position.

So, that behooves to some degree those arguing for the presence and work of God to not draw conclusions based upon the absence of evidence without being very careful to consider the response when and if an explanation comes forth, no matter how unlikely that may seem at present.
Dogmatism is the comfortable intellectual framework of self-righteousness. Self-righteousness is more decadent than the worst sexual sin. ~ Dan Allender

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Re: God of the Gaps?

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Post by Gman » Thu Mar 03, 2011 10:39 pm

Sorry to copy and paste this response..

"Many say that the belief in God is just an argument from ignorance, you can’t prove that it’s not true so it must be true. This is the classic God of the gaps argument. We don’t know how it works yet so we say God did it. But we see this true with Darwinism all the time also with the origin of life, the origin of the phyla, the decent of man, in other words we don’t know how it works yet, but we are going to say that evolution did it. So there is no difference between God of the gaps and evolution of the gaps. We say it’s not testable; clearly you can’t take bunch of non-living chemicals, expose it to the right conditions and get a cell to come out. It’s something that took place in the past, we can’t test this. We can’t take a reptile, and expose it to radiation or gama rays, and get it to grow feathers. Basically Design and Darwinian evolution are not technically testable. This is not science vs religion, this is a battle between two different fundamental philosophies. Two different world views. "
The heart cannot rejoice in what the mind rejects as false - Galileo

We learn from history that we do not learn from history - Georg Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. -Philippians 4:8

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Re: God of the Gaps?

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Post by Byblos » Fri Mar 04, 2011 8:34 am

Gman wrote:Sorry to copy and paste this response..

"Many say that the belief in God is just an argument from ignorance, you can’t prove that it’s not true so it must be true. This is the classic God of the gaps argument. We don’t know how it works yet so we say God did it. But we see this true with Darwinism all the time also with the origin of life, the origin of the phyla, the decent of man, in other words we don’t know how it works yet, but we are going to say that evolution did it. So there is no difference between God of the gaps and evolution of the gaps. We say it’s not testable; clearly you can’t take bunch of non-living chemicals, expose it to the right conditions and get a cell to come out. It’s something that took place in the past, we can’t test this. We can’t take a reptile, and expose it to radiation or gama rays, and get it to grow feathers. Basically Design and Darwinian evolution are not technically testable. This is not science vs religion, this is a battle between two different fundamental philosophies. Two different world views. "
Exactly what I started to write. Thanks G.
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Re: God of the Gaps?

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Post by Art Reform Tourist » Sun Mar 27, 2011 10:43 pm

Gman wrote:"Many say that the belief in God is just an argument from ignorance, you can’t prove that it’s not true so it must be true. "
HI YA ALL,

This kind type of argument if I may please borrow a term from the field called rhetoric is called an "ignoratio elenchi" or irrelevant conclusion/thesis.
The wiki article is a good place to start with any research on any topic and "ignorance of refutation" is a common mistake that many notable men make.
Whether of the past, present or future it is a MISTAKE of LOGIC since NON BELIEF is GOD is truly an argument from ignorance for to act is creation itself.
Propaganda is another example of ignoratio elenchi styles of rhetoric in that the term as originally coined meant "Board for the propagation of the faith"
When the members of the board are in error and that board is an educative authority the implications for future society are at stake along with the board.

Further to that point are these two wiki articles which have at the bottom links for further research since belief in logic, grammar and rhetoric is not trivial.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignoratio_elenchi
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_of_the_gaps
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trivium_(education)

LUV YA ART.

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Re: God of the Gaps?

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Post by Gman » Fri Apr 01, 2011 11:42 am

Art Reform Tourist wrote:
Further to that point are these two wiki articles which have at the bottom links for further research since belief in logic, grammar and rhetoric is not trivial.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignoratio_elenchi
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/God_of_the_gaps
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trivium_(education)

LUV YA ART.
Unfortunately there is no difference between the "God of the gaps" and the "Evolution of the gap's" arguments. Both systems are FAITH based... Choose your faith wisely. ;)

More here..

"Many skeptics believe that all arguments for the existence of God fall into the God of the gaps variety. According to this premise, one would expect these arguments to become fewer in number as scientists make more discoveries and learn more about our world. In reality, evidence continues to accumulate suggesting that the universe was designed by an intelligent agent. The evidence suggesting that the universe and its physical laws were designed continues to accumulate at a rapid rate. Although we are not certain about the degree to which the earth and solar system are specially designed, evidence to-date suggests that earth-like planets are rare in the universe.

Ten years ago, it was thought that neo-Darwinian evolution had eliminated all suggestion that living organisms were designed by an intelligent agent. However, recent studies in molecular biology and genetics have eliminated much of the supposed evidence that life exhibits numerous examples of poor design, including the presence of "junk DNA" (which does not exist) and pseudogenes. New genetic evidence suggests that mammalian DNA is optimally coded to reduce DNA size through overlapping transcripts. This encoding presents special problems to current Darwinian evolutionary models, since these mechanisms would be unable to produce these kinds of sequences through mutation and natural selection.

Origin of life studies continue to run into problems with uncooperative chemistry, and planetary science discoveries about the nature of early earth environments. Replicator-first models fail to establish mechanisms to produce even the basic chemical building blocks for an "RNA World", including a failure to produce homochiral sugars and amino acids. Beyond these problems, the assembly of rudimentary biological membranes under early earth environments is virtually impossible.

There Is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His MindIf evidence for the existence of God were truly a God of the gaps type, we would expect these gaps to be disappearing, instead of increasing in number. The evidence is so strong that long-time promoter of atheism, Antony Flew announced in 2004 that he had become a deist because he "had to go where the evidence leads."4 His new book, There Is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind explains how he came to the conclusion that God does exist."

http://www.godandscience.org/apologetic ... _gaps.html
The heart cannot rejoice in what the mind rejects as false - Galileo

We learn from history that we do not learn from history - Georg Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. -Philippians 4:8

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Re: God of the Gaps?

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Post by jlay » Fri Apr 01, 2011 2:46 pm

Ahhhhhhh. There's the Gman I know and love.
-“The Bible treated allegorically becomes putty in the hands of the exegete.” John Walvoord

"I'm not saying scientists don't overstate their results. They do. And it's understandable, too...If you spend years working toward a certain goal and make no progress, of course you are going to spin your results in a positive light." Ivellious

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Re: God of the Gaps?

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Post by Gman » Fri Apr 01, 2011 4:49 pm

jlay wrote:Ahhhhhhh. There's the Gman I know and love.

:P
The heart cannot rejoice in what the mind rejects as false - Galileo

We learn from history that we do not learn from history - Georg Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things. -Philippians 4:8

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Re: God of the Gaps?

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Post by jlay » Sat Apr 02, 2011 11:21 am

Has anyone seen the film 'Evolution: The Grand Experiment"? It was on the Hope channel last night. It really exposes a lot of bad science in the evolutionary science world. It showed how everything from speculation to imagination is being considered evidence. And how refuted ideas are still being held to. They interview scientists and visit schools and museums.
-“The Bible treated allegorically becomes putty in the hands of the exegete.” John Walvoord

"I'm not saying scientists don't overstate their results. They do. And it's understandable, too...If you spend years working toward a certain goal and make no progress, of course you are going to spin your results in a positive light." Ivellious

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Re: God of the Gaps?

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Post by DannyM » Mon Apr 04, 2011 6:11 am

jlay wrote:Has anyone seen the film 'Evolution: The Grand Experiment"? It was on the Hope channel last night. It really exposes a lot of bad science in the evolutionary science world. It showed how everything from speculation to imagination is being considered evidence. And how refuted ideas are still being held to. They interview scientists and visit schools and museums.
These refuted ideas/theories are still being taught and are still in biology textbooks. Take 'Java' man. Who can forget their schooling, where we were taught the 'fact' of man evolving from an ape-like creature... Turns out that this progressive cartoon is nothing more than a philosophical assumption on behalf of some obviously desperate people. Is it science, though? Nup. It is not science.
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