Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Atheism of the gaps

Darwinians habitually brand intelligent design theory as a “God-of-the-gaps” argument. On that characterization, we can already explain most things naturalistically. Intelligent design theory tries to find room for God in the residual blanks that have yet to be explained naturalistically.

Of course, that way of casting the issue tries to shift the burden of proof onto the intelligent design theory. Compared to the Darwinian naturalist, the intelligent design theorist labors under a handicap.

Yet remember Richard Dawkins’ now-classic, naturalistic definition of biology:

Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.    The Blind Watchmaker  (1996)  p.1

But in that event, it’s the Darwinian naturalist who operates at a disadvantage. He must overcome the prima facie appearance of design. The onus lies on him to surmount the presumption of purpose. So it’s actually the theory of naturalistic evolution that’s laboring to create or exploit gaps in the phenomenal telos of nature to make room for purely naturalistic explanations. 


  1. Intelligent design folks are partly to blame however.

    Secular naturalists love to aggressively target those things intelligent design folks are least likely able to address, yet intelligent design folks often let secular naturalists off the hook in similar circumstances.

    Yes it's good to ask questions like: "How does something arise out of nothing? but that's not the only tough question out there.

    For example, science which is based upon repeatable testability should be held accountable for the scientific observation that "Living things only seems to arise from living things".

    I've personally never seen a live cat come from a pair of dead ones. In fact I've never seen anything living come from something dead, so that's both repeatable and testable, yet the secular naturalist posts that "Life arises from non-life (at some point)". How?

    Similarly, there is the observations that "The rational only ever arises from the rational (never the irrational)", and this too is repeatable and testable, yet again, the secular naturalists argues that "The rational arise from the irrational". How? What happened to "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof?"

    The intelligent design community is allowing this battle to be fought on the secular naturalist's turf, giving the secular naturalist home-field advantage.

    If the universe strives for maximum entropy "How are biological systems producing order from disorder?" The single cell is a great example of unbelievable complexity (the cell itself is arguably as complex if not more than the body itself), yet how did organic order arise from inorganic chaos?

    The whole "God of the gaps" argument is really a secular naturalist's argument of luxury provided, in part, by the intelligent design community.

  2. I'd also add the following: Ceding that evolved = "undesigned" is a big mistake. The assertion on the part of many Darwinists that 'if it evolved, it wasn't designed' is not scientifically demonstrable - it's metaphysics and a mantra, but too many people refuse to call them on it. Or worse, buy into the idea.