Monday, September 9, 2013

Lingering Questions

“God of the gaps” is a type of theological perspective in which gaps in scientific knowledge are taken to be evidence or proof of God's existence. (from Wikipedia) History has shown us that many gaps can and have been filled as scientific knowledge grows. So much so, in fact, that it is perfectly reasonable to assume that there is a natural explanation for our remaining gaps. Theists tend not to come to this conclusion, for obvious reasons, but I wonder how long this conclusion may be avoided. I wonder how much longer this theological perspective will have any semblance of relevancy.

The best example of a closed gap is Darwin’s shutdown of the argument from design. Of course, I realize there are still fringe individuals and backward denominations that dismiss evolution as a valid explainer of the world’s biological complexity, but if the slow-to-come-around Catholic Church is on board, it’s safe to say that the others are simply in denial. From most of my interactions with honest theists, their main beef with “evolution” is that it is incomplete--meaning that it doesn’t take into account life’s ultimate origin. We should recognize this for what it is: a misunderstanding of the Theory of Evolution’s scope, a moving of the goal post from the argument of design to entirely different argument, and a detour from a closed gap to another open gap.
via the great Jesus and Mo
Darwin closing one of the biggest gaps unintentionally converted many theists across the world. Atheist favorite, Richard Dawkins, wrote that he would still be swayed by life’s apparent design if not for the Theory of Evolution. However, explaining the complexity of life doesn’t explain the existence of life. Our biological origin is still an open gap. Science calls it abiogenesis. We have some ideas how it could have happened, but no reproducible experiments to prove which hypothesis is correct. Like the other gap of note, the ultimate origin of the universe, we are unsure. Whether you’re in the quantum foam, the violation of causality camp, or any of the other camps that could all be possible from what we see at the quantum level, there’s no smoking gun...yet.

My question to theists is this: would settling your lingering questions finally allow you to let go of God? Humanity is crazy smart. I used to think some answers would be forever beyond our grasp, but now that I have a clearer sense of where science is going, I wouldn’t take anything off the table. My advice? Don’t take atheism off the table. It’s already the most reasonable worldview, and it’s getting more reasonable everyday.


  1. I agree we don’t have an exact ultimate origin of the universe, but the difference is we have models (proofs) that could explain it. This is way better than theism which has a wish that a god exists, but no proof for a god.

  2. Part of my leaving religion was realizing that much of current day science would have been attributed to God a thousand years ago. Then I thought about what a person from a thousand years in the future would think of my God belief.