The god of the gaps is the god of the anti-creationists

Answers to deep Bible questions:
Creationism: God of the gaps?

“Creationists” are generally known as the Christians that believe that God created the world the way the Bible says he did, as told in the book of Genesis, when it is read in a “straightforward” mode. This note will show that those who throw the phrase at evidence for creationism are using exactly the same logical fallacy they are accusing creationists of.

That’s just their way of saying that creationism is just a simple way of using God to fill in the gaps in knowledge. In the context of informal exchanges on the subject, it saves them from actually addressing the actual evidence that supports the Biblical account of creation.

There is a reason I use the word “straightforward” as the best way to read the Creation account in Genesis and indeed the whole Bible. I picked up the phrase from Russ Humphrey’s book, “Starlight and Time” which was his first book on the subject of how science can account for both the red shift observed in the stars and even their distances according to the calculations that imply a universe that is billions of years old, and the straightforward reading of a six-day creation as described in Genesis One.

For many in my experience in the debates over origins, it is just a lazy way to either (1) reject “supernatural” explanations or (2) avoid the positive evidence, or (3) avoid accepting that there might really be such a God of Creation.

But let’s take apart the argument of the gaps. The closest definition of “gap” for this purpose is “an empty space or interval; interruption in continuity; hiatus”. The phrase appears in objections to the long list of natural phenomena that cannot be explained by ideas from Darwinism or the secular views on the origins of the universe. They accuse the creationist scientists in such cases of simply accounting for gaps in knowledge by imagining a “god of the gaps”.

But when creationist scientists talk about such issues, they are not merely saying that we don’t know something, therefore God did it, as goes the accusation. It may be applicable for one or another phenomenon inside an appropriate context, but its misleading.

Because the mere use of the phrase “god of the gaps” in the context of the science of origins (of life, speciation, and the universe), carries with it a presupposition, a premise, that itself presumes that there are naturalistic explanations that wait for discovery, and therefore there is no “need” to consider any intelligent or intentional design in the Creation.

This is known as “metaphysical materialism”, because it rejects a priori that the universe has a Creator of any kind, or embodies any intelligent design. The intellectually honest believer in such materialism will admit that it is the belief that there is no God as a positive statement, because whenever they encounter evidence from either scientific experience and experimentation, or from a creation scientist, they quickly file it under the “god of the gaps” column.

Therefore those who caricature creation science with “god of the gaps” are themselves guilty of making an a priori assumption that rejects Creation without having to consider anything as evidence.

To be sure, there are a great many scientists, historians, archaeologists, philosophers, both now and historically, that do consider the evidence, and who have concluded that there is an intelligent design in the universe, in life. The late Andrew Flew is an example. He was the most renowned champion of atheism among academics in the world, often engaging in moderated debates with believers. At a late age, he finally considered the evidence in the details of the science of DNA and concluded (to abbreviate his argument) that it was the clincher for showing there is a God in a book.

One cannot accuse him of an irrational episode based on his advanced age, because he still did not accept a personal God or a heaven or hell. Who knows where he may have gone if he had lived longer, though?

The metaphysical materialist assumes that all gaps and all phenomena will be explained by naturalistic explanations, naturally occurring matter and energy acting within physical laws as agents. The universe created itself without intervention from some pre-existing entity without any intelligent agency. That is what they presume to know, and work within that framework, that assumption, that scientific paradigm.

That is the way they can know that all gaps that cannot be explained based on the current prevailing theories are only gaps in the current knowledge to be filled in without considering the “elephant in the room”, which is the design in natural phenomena that in every other context we know of, implies intelligent design.

Sure, evidence of “intelligent design” is accepted in all kinds of science, and is the only basis for some entire specializations in science today. But some of the most foremost in these fields are the most dogmatic believers in the “metaphysical materialism of the gaps”, or the “atheism in the gaps” if you like. Atheism in those gaps, because “we cannot allow a divine foot in the door”, and God is not allowed by them.

That is a contradiction. Reminds me of the Queen’s quote in Alice’s Wonderland: “Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

Find the irony in this one. There was, or is, a serialized television program called “Bones”. Some of the “science” used by the characters in it was more like “science fiction’. The central character was a forensic anthropologist. That’s somebody who works in the study of corpses “in advanced stages of decomposition”. Of course skeletal remains are the most advanced stage, hence the “Bones”.

A quick online search shows there are many other areas of forensics science. Forensics anthropology is one, computer forensics another, pathology, biology. The “Bones” story was based on the life of a real-life forensic anthropologist, Kathy Reich, who surely approved the atheism in the character Temperance Brennan in the series.

In the series, almost every episode is related to finding out (1) whether there is evidence of a murder, and (2) if there was a murder, using the science to help find the killer.

Therein lies the irony. They value the use of scientific evidence to determine whether there is enough evidence to say there was an (1) intentional act by (2) an intelligent actor. Twofer: two for one: (1) evidence of intelligent design in the death of the human being that is now the corpse or cadaver.

There is another whose expertise is “bugs and slime”, and another whose expertise is “forensic pathology”, and another who analyzes DNA and runs other tasks on a computer relating to the cases they take. Probability calculations often make an appearance in the conversations.

All of these things are applicable to the “bigger sciences”. They already deal with physics, chemistry, biology, meteorology, materials science, geology, geography, and cultural anthropology even makes an appearance, in trying to determine whether there was an intelligent (human) actor involved in the details.

Space science even came into the story for one episode involving an astronaut,with aeronautics.

That brings us to SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence. They look for intelligent design in radio signals that reach us from interstellar space.

So intelligent design, far from being different from any other scientific research, involves applying the science of physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, astrophysics, biochemistry, geology, paleontology, using the same scientific approach as does SETI. Anti-creationists have no problem looking for aliens “out there”, even when it’s the entities with godlike powers that appear in Carl Sagan’s “Contact”. But they object when the same scientific principles are applied to looking for the one extraterrestrial intelligence they refuse to accept: the one that manifests in science the way the Biblical God does.

And the fact is that for open minds there is an abundance of evidence that points to the hand of an intelligence that is bigger than all the universe, with the power to set physical constants to the most infinitesimal precision, and configured the universe as we see it. There is a long and growing list also of facts in scientific knowledge that fit the Biblical Creation narrative from Genesis.

The details are for elsewhere but a quick appetizer to whet the curiosity concludes this writing.

Open minds will be able to see through the materialistic and anti-creationist replies to the facts in this list as missing a direct answer to it from science. Yelling about “gaps” or “religion” will expose itself as self-contradictory, because it is a simplistic and vacuous (empty) rebuttal.

…the anthropic principle
…the mathematical calculations in the probabilities, based on the biochemistry, against natural selection as sufficient to explain the variety of life
…Irreducible complexity in biochemistry
…the symbolic digital computerized language and infrastructure embedded in the DNA, with only four “letters” of an “alphabet” being sufficient blueprint for all life
…the arbitrariness of unscientific Drake’s formula, which forms the rationale for the SETI program
…the bacterial evolution experiment in a lab

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