Posts Tagged ‘observable regularities’

Nature of the Gaps

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted here, and I hope anyone who has come recently hoping to find a new blog hasn’t been too disappointed and left my blog entirely. The holiday season has been a crazy one, to be sure. But life keeps on chugging, so hopefully I’ll be able to get back on here more frequently and talk about some of things God has been doing in my life, as well as some of the things He continues to show me.

This blog is courtesy of Systematic Theology, Volume 2 by Norman Geisler. In his chapter titled “The Sustenance of Creation,” he makes an interesting argument about the differences between origin science and operation science.

Before I get into his points, let me back up and explain to anyone not familiar with the term “God of the gaps.” This is a term that has a rather negative connotation to theists. In a sense, non-theists state that theists will use God to explain anything that doesn’t have an already-determined explanation for its cause. This is used of anything that may not have a foolproof naturalistic explanation as to its cause; although the answer may not be there, it’s not right to insert God as the answer for what we don’t know.

This is where the arguments of origin science vs. operation science begin to take place. Operation science is much of what we consider modern science today. Operation science is rooted in observable regularities, meaning something that we can see taking place, and that can be repeated and deemed as a process. The scientific method is based off of these basic principles, taking something scientific to be observable, measurable and repeatable. Anything that can be deemed an observable regularity is considered to be part of operation science (examples: the metamorphosis of a butterfly, the 3 changeable states of water). If it is something that can be seen as part of a natural process and repeated, it is operation science. It is true that God of the gaps has no business in operation science, and we can all agree.

The counter-argument to that is the idea of “nature of the gaps.” Just like God of the gaps, nature of the gaps is the misconception that whatever we don’t know, we should insert the belief that a natural cause is responsible. This is applicable to origin science, which is based upon unobservable singularities. This is an event that happens only once, therefore it cannot be repeated, which means modern science cannot hope to measure it, study the process of it, and therefore determine its cause. The ultimate conclusion is this: God of the gaps has no place in operation science, and nature of the gaps has no place in origin science.

Perhaps when I get home and can get to the book I will edit this post and let Geisler put it more eloquently than I just did. But I think it’s safe to say that to be too presumptuous about any area of science we don’t completely understand is a tenuous position to hold, and we ought to step back and consider what place our argument really has weight. When we fully realize we are not as smart as we think we are, only then are we truly in a position to understand and learn.