Wednesday, 27 February 2013

The God of the Gaps

The 'god of the gaps', is a term used by Atheists to describe a god, who in the mind of the believer, is compatible with science. These people are just one step away from being rational thinkers, and ultimately, Atheists.

The 'god of the gaps' in its essence can be summarized as - "we don't know, therefore it must be god".
Some examples are:
- "Science is unsure how the universe started, therefore it must be god".
- "Evolution can't be proved, therefore god must have created man".
This type of thought, while illogical and wrong, is not the worst of it.
Sometimes, the 'god of the gaps' extends to people's own knowledge:
- "I am unsure how evolution works, therefore it must be wrong and god is the creator"
- "I am unsure about radiometric dating works and it's accuracy, therefore it is unreliable and can't be used as evidence"

This kind of thinking is not only stupid, but dangerous. As a society, if we allow people to justify their beliefs for god and actions based on faulty logic and misinterpreted evidence, this foolish way of thinking can creep into other aspects of life.

The first group of people are quite close to being rational thinkers. All they have to say is "science doesn't know, but I have faith they will figure it out, based on the fact they have a pretty good track record at figuring stuff out."

The second group are a few more steps away. These people are actually unaware that what they're saying is illogical. They really think that what they're saying is a legitimate justification for their belief. The problem with this group of people, fundamentally, is that they don't understand logic. Imagine, just for a moment, that you didn't intuitively understand logic (it's hard right). You wouldn't see the difference between the two arguments, and you wouldn't be able to understand any rebuttal.

I think that a good starting place for these sorts of people would be metaphor, and patience, lots and lots of fucking patience. Very simple metaphors, perhaps taking two or three steps to get to the final argument, when said without attitude or judgement, can be quite effective at communicating with these people.

The god of the gaps is an elusive fucker. God changes with every scientific revision. Soon, or at some point in the future, there will be no more gaps for God to hide in. I hope I'm still here to see that day.
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