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An argument from Ignorance: The Atheism of the Gaps


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Initial post: Jan 14, 2013 9:19:37 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 15, 2013 10:36:58 AM PST
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Posted on Jan 14, 2013 9:46:43 AM PST
I'm not even going to bother to un-hide the OP.

The "God of the Gaps" argument is one with a long history. In essence, it is a logical fallacy known as "Appeal To Ignorance" (http://www.fallacyfiles.org/ignorant.html).

Let's say that one sees lighting and hears thunder... and has no explanation for those phenomena. Someone walks up and asks "Can you explain that?" You say "No", whereupon they respond "Well, then it must be Thor." The gap in one's understanding is the gap in which the deity, in this case Thor, is said to be "hiding." That gap in understanding provides the theist with the opportunity to assert that the phenomena encompassed by that gap is caused by their deity.

Unfortunately for that theist, when a naturalistic explanation *is* found, the gap disappears, and with it the opportunity to claim divine action.

Throughout history, people have offered up such theistic explanations for the phenomena we observe, and, over and over again, naturalistic explanations were found.

Today, there are two major gaps which are still appealed to when it comes to this fallacy: our lack of current understanding as to how the universe began, and our lack of current understanding as to how life first arose.

Of the two, the latter is the one for which we have the most "puzzle pieces" in place, though we lack a full-fledged theory of abiogenesis. That said, nothing we know about biology, chemistry, physics or information theory gives us cause to argue that life coud *not* have arisen via purely naturalistic means alone. Meanwhile, we *can* and do observe various precursors of life - amino acids, peptides, RNA precursors - self-assembling under plausible natural conditions. Couple this with the observation that life is, in essence, complex chemistry, and there is good reason to believe that a fully naturalistic candidate explanation for abiogenesis will be found.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 14, 2013 9:52:19 AM PST
Christopher Haynes: Us Creationists we say this:
God, He Made the whole world.

Rachel: Fine. Where is the evidence for this assertion?

CH: Them Atheists they said the universe was eternal, infinite, and steady state.

RRR: Which atheists? Name them.

CH: it was an Argument from Ignorance

RRR: If you don't mind, or even if you do, we'll add "argument from ignorance" to everything else you don't understand.

Posted on Jan 14, 2013 10:15:02 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 14, 2013 10:41:40 AM PST
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In reply to an earlier post on Jan 14, 2013 2:17:52 PM PST
"Three strikes" is a cultural convention, not a scientific one.

Posted on Jan 14, 2013 11:30:52 PM PST
Jenn D. says:
Christopher Haynes wrote, "Ahem, Throughout history, people have offered up such ATHEISTIC explanations ... And over and over again, THEY WERE PROVED FALSE."

Well you nailed it on the head! The beauty of how science works. Propose an idea, test it out, see what is factual and what is false, and revise the idea. Instead of trying to desperately hang on to the original concept, science prides itself on constantly looking for the ways in which it is wrong and fixing those flaws.

By the way, this also means that all you have to do to prove your creationist idea is show some evidence. Good Luck with that.

Posted on Jan 15, 2013 5:35:04 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 15, 2013 5:35:36 AM PST
Brian Curtis says:
Science has gotten some wrong answers.

It's also the only endeavor that has ever come up with any RIGHT answers. In fact, the only way to check the accuracy of other systems' claims (such as religion's)... is with science, the gold standard of truth.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2013 6:40:03 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 15, 2013 6:44:02 AM PST
David A. says:
Michael: Unfortunately for that theist, when a naturalistic explanation *is* found, the gap disappears, and with it the opportunity to claim divine action.

David:...which is another fallacy.
It only displaces creationist (i.e. "watchmaker") premises.
But not all theists are creationists, nor do all "believers" accept the premise that God is the silicon that holds together what science allegedly cannot.

Do you believe that natural phenomena are inherently spontaneous just because they are natural?
Fine. You may be right, but you cannot possibly provide evidence that it is.

Posted on Jan 15, 2013 6:42:49 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 15, 2013 6:43:46 AM PST
Unlike religion, science is not bounded by, founded or dependent on dogma.

Science is permitted to change if it gets something wrong.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2013 6:46:44 AM PST
David A. says:
But why stop at religion?
Is everythign either science or religion?
What about philosophy, literature, history, politics, economics--things that are not truly empirical?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2013 6:51:07 AM PST
Only religion depends on dogma.....

.....and ignorance.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2013 6:52:49 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 15, 2013 6:53:58 AM PST
David A. says:
You have far more faith than you realize.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2013 6:54:00 AM PST
goblue says:
<<Buck Buckaw says:Unlike religion science, is not founded or bounded or dependent on dogma.>>

Incorrect - its bounded by the assumption of philosophical naturalism - dont you atheists always claim science cannot go beyond the natural and cannot make statements about the supernatural?
Its bound by the biases and presuppositions and beliefs of the scientists who practice it.

<<Science is permitted to change if it gets something wrong.>>

Science does not change - its SCIENTISTS that do the change - but they have to WANT to change.

Posted on Jan 15, 2013 6:59:03 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 15, 2013 10:07:11 AM PST
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In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2013 7:02:32 AM PST
goblue says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2013 7:06:29 AM PST
David A. says:
"Only religion depends on dogma"

Your evidence?

Posted on Jan 15, 2013 7:34:03 AM PST
David A. says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2013 7:36:03 AM PST
Brian Curtis says:
"Uknown" is not the same as "unknowable," David.

Plenty of things are unknown; the conclusion that they are therefore unknowable is an unsupported assumption.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2013 7:39:06 AM PST
goblue says:
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Posted on Jan 15, 2013 7:47:19 AM PST
Palladin55 says:
goblue says :This is not exactly true - there is plenty of evidence for the the universe begining and that it began supernaturally. "

What is the evidence it 'began supernaturally?'

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2013 7:48:25 AM PST
David A. says:
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In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2013 7:49:49 AM PST
David A. says:
goblue:This is not exactly true - there is plenty of evidence for the the universe begining and that it began supernaturally.

David: but is it empirical?

Posted on Jan 15, 2013 7:53:57 AM PST
Palladin55 says:
"Can you tell me, for example, what could empirically prove God's existence,"

A big hand coming down from the sky might convince me. Why is he hiding David?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2013 7:58:11 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Jan 15, 2013 7:59:37 AM PST
goblue says:
<<David: but is it empirical?>>

What do you mean by "empirical' evidence?

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2013 7:59:16 AM PST
goblue says:
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Discussion in:  Religion forum
Participants:  17
Total posts:  134
Initial post:  Jan 14, 2013
Latest post:  Jan 23, 2013

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