YEC, ID and the God of the Gaps

Atheist Fairytales

The ‘God of the Gaps’ idea (hereafter abbreviated as gotg) is commonly used as a disparaging epithet against anyone who denies that only natural causes have been in effect in the universe’s history. Wikipedia defines it as:

a view of God as existing in the “gaps” or aspects of reality that are currently unexplained by scientific knowledge, or that otherwise lack a plausible natural explanation….a tendency to postulate acts of God to explain phenomena for which science has yet to give a satisfactory account.[Emphasis added]

I will ignore the non-sequitur logical fallacy of the gotg argument that, just because you can imagine a plausible natural explanation for an event in the past doesn’t mean that it actually occurred that way. Instead I want to focus on it’s common application to the two worldviews of Young Earth Creationism (YEC) and the Intelligent Design movement (ID).

It seems to me that the idea of filling the explanatory gaps in the naturalist theory of origins with ‘god did it’ is most applicable to ID. To explain why this is so, a brief explanation of what ID is, is necessary. Wikipedia defines ID as the:

proposition that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.

This means that ID basically accepts every single part of the atheistic model of evolutionary origins, except where atheistic evolution fails to explain how something happened, like the commonly cite bacterial flagellum. So whenever naturalism fails to provide a plausible explanation of how something could have occurred naturally, ID says “god did it” (or to be more accurate: “a designer did it”). So we see that the definition of what ID is, inherently includes the essential logic of the ‘God of the Gaps’ idea.

YEC on the other hand, rejects all forms of evolution (be it atheistic, theistic, deistic etc) totally and utterly. YEC has a totally different model for the origin of life. It completely rejects the idea that all life has commonly descent from bacteria via any form of evolution. YEC rejects the theory that all life has a common ancestry as merely a figment of the imagination, and as a false interpretation of the empirical data that the earth’s rocks provide.

I would consider YEC immune from the gotg allegation, as opposed to ID (or any other variation of theistic naturalism), because YEC doesn’t actually attempt to insert supernaturalism in the gaps of the atheistic framework, but inserts supernaturalism in place of the whole atheistic framework itself!

Thus, if the YEC theory rejects the actual whole fractured framework of evolution, than any accusation that the YEC theory is a gotg type theory is inapplicable since the YEC model rejects the actual framework and thus the gaps that gotg thinking is employed to plug.

Because of this rejection of the atheistic evolution of all species, and the rejection of the corollary gaps in the model that ID tries to fill, YEC is free to interpret nature through supernatural means, immune to the gotg epithet.

It is for this reason that YEC avoids the whole gotg trap that ID inherently falls head-first into.


About theoldwiseman

I have a ravenous hunger for knowledge, thus my library has a large range of literature, from modern history to modern social issues, science to religion, and almost everything in between. The only genre that I don’t read is fiction, I can’t help but think there is too much knowledge out there to be learnt to waste time reading fictional stories
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One Response to YEC, ID and the God of the Gaps

  1. Udaybhanu Chitrakar says:

    God of the gaps

    I will begin this article with two postulates: 1) God has created this universe; 2) He has brought man in this universe with some purpose.
    I am not claiming here that these two postulates are true, or that I can prove them to be true. But I want to show here that if these two postulates are true, then God will always be the God of the gaps. Anyone who will be reading this article should not forget that there is an “if” clause in the last sentence.
    Now I will begin with the supposition that God has created this universe. If God has created this universe, then He could have created it in four different ways: 1) He created it in such a way that there was no necessity for Him to intervene in it after creation, 2) After creation He intervened in it, but these interventions were a bare minimum, that is, He intervened only when these were absolutely necessary. In order to clarify my point here, I will say that He intervened only when He found that without His intervention the universe would come to a standstill, 3) He created the universe in such a way that in order to keep it going He had to make very frequent interventions in it, 4) God’s total intervention after creation.
    If it was the purpose of God to keep mankind crippled in every possible way, then He would have adopted either the third or the fourth way while creating the universe. This is because in these two cases man, in spite of his having sufficient intelligence and reasoning power, will fail to unveil the secrets of nature, because in almost every phenomenon of nature that he will decide to study he will ultimately find that there always remains an unknown factor, for which he will have no explanation. For him the book of nature will thus remain closed for ever. But if it were God’s purpose that man be master of His creation, then it is quite natural for Him that He would try to keep the book of nature as much open to him as possible, so that with the little intelligence he has been endowed with man will be able to decipher the language of nature, and with that acquired knowledge he will also be able to improve the material conditions of his life. In that case God will try to adopt the policy of maximum withdrawal from His creation. He will create the universe in such a way that without His intervention the created world will be able to unfold itself. However that does not mean that He will never intervene. He will definitely intervene when without His intervention the created world would become stagnant. In such a scenario man will be able to give an explanation of almost all physical events in scientific language. But in those cases where God has actually intervened, he will fail to do so.
    So I think there is no reason for us to be ashamed of the “God of the gaps” hypothesis. Yes, if God has created the universe, and if God’s purpose was that man be master of His creation, then He would try to keep as little gap in His creation as possible. But the minimum gap that would be ultimately left can never be bridged by any sort of scientific explanation. God will also reside in that gap. Why should we be ashamed of that?
    The whole matter can be seen from another angle. Those who strongly believe that God has created this universe also believe that He has created it alone. Now is it believable that a God, who is capable of creating such a vast universe alone, is not capable enough to keep a proof of His existence in the created world? So I think it is more reasonable to believe that while creating the universe God has also kept a proof of His existence in something created. This proof is open to us all, but we have not found it, because we have not searched for it. So even if it is the case that God has never intervened in the created world after its creation, still then there will be a gap in this natural world, purposefully left by God, for which science will find no explanation. This will be the ultimate gap that can only be filled up by invoking God.
    Therefore, I can conclude this article in this way: If God created this universe, and if God wanted man to be the master of His creation, then God would willingly choose to be the “God of the gaps”.
    So it is quite logical that a God who will create man with some purpose will always prefer to be the God of the gaps.

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