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Can someone explain the God of the Gaps arg

Varrack
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8/15/2015 11:14:57 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/15/2015 10:56:11 PM, UtherPenguin wrote:
title explains itself.

arg is short for argument (couldn't fit the whole word in the title)

Certain arguments for God (fine-tuned universe, cosmological, etc) fails because it assumes that God was the cause and rejects the notion of something else being the cause.

This is possible to avoid depending on how you word your argument and how you define God.
RuvDraba
Posts: 6,033
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8/15/2015 11:45:05 PM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/15/2015 10:56:11 PM, UtherPenguin wrote:
title explains itself.

We are only ever capable of a finite number of observations. The question then remains, what happens outside the observations?

If observations show there is no magic, no miracles, no intervention by metaphysical agencies, then perhaps all that happens when we're not looking?

The retreat of magical belief from observation, while reasserting itself just outside the boundaries of the observed, is sometimes called God of the Gaps. However it's not just a property of religion. All magical beliefs use it, as do all forms of pseudoscience, like homeopathy and astrology.

Magical thinking requires ignoring (or selectively applying) evidence, obscuring transparency in mechanisms, and evading accountability for ignorance and error. A God of the Gaps approach serves all three because:

* Without observation, there's no direct, conflicting evidence;
* Without data, the claimant feels no obligation to propose or support a mechanism for efficacy; and
* Shifting ground from failed predictions to predictions about the unobserved lets the claimant try to avoid accountability for past ignorance and error.

Essentially, God of the Gaps is an argument from ignorance: an attempt to claim authority without meeting a burden of proof, while making the burden of proof as onerous as possible for anyone seeking to contest the authority.

A simple refutation to a God of the Gaps position is to point out that lacking evidence, transparency or accountability, there is no authority... that such claims are ignorant, unethical, unconstructive, and deserve no recognition at all. And shifting the claim using the same methodology on unchanged data does nothing to acknowledge or correct the obvious methodological problems revealed by past failures, so it's disingenuous and lacking integrity too.

I hope that may be useful.
UtherPenguin
Posts: 3,682
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8/16/2015 1:15:21 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/15/2015 11:45:05 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 8/15/2015 10:56:11 PM, UtherPenguin wrote:
title explains itself.

We are only ever capable of a finite number of observations. The question then remains, what happens outside the observations?

If observations show there is no magic, no miracles, no intervention by metaphysical agencies, then perhaps all that happens when we're not looking?

The retreat of magical belief from observation, while reasserting itself just outside the boundaries of the observed, is sometimes called God of the Gaps. However it's not just a property of religion. All magical beliefs use it, as do all forms of pseudoscience, like homeopathy and astrology.

Magical thinking requires ignoring (or selectively applying) evidence, obscuring transparency in mechanisms, and evading accountability for ignorance and error. A God of the Gaps approach serves all three because:

* Without observation, there's no direct, conflicting evidence;
* Without data, the claimant feels no obligation to propose or support a mechanism for efficacy; and
* Shifting ground from failed predictions to predictions about the unobserved lets the claimant try to avoid accountability for past ignorance and error.

Essentially, God of the Gaps is an argument from ignorance: an attempt to claim authority without meeting a burden of proof, while making the burden of proof as onerous as possible for anyone seeking to contest the authority.

A simple refutation to a God of the Gaps position is to point out that lacking evidence, transparency or accountability, there is no authority... that such claims are ignorant, unethical, unconstructive, and deserve no recognition at all. And shifting the claim using the same methodology on unchanged data does nothing to acknowledge or correct the obvious methodological problems revealed by past failures, so it's disingenuous and lacking integrity too.

I hope that may be useful.

Thanks, very helpful
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RuvDraba
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8/16/2015 1:32:03 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/16/2015 12:46:46 AM, Alpha3141 wrote:
Anyone have an example of what would be under the "God of the Gaps" category?

A common one is the retreat of Christian genesis mythology:

1. God created the earth at the centre of the universe, and man entire in six days, 6,000 years ago
2. Okay, the earth isn't the centre of the universe, but God still created it and man in six days, 6,000 years ago.
3. Okay, it was much longer than 6,000 years ago, but it was still created entire
4. Okay, it went through a bunch of catastrophes requiring new acts of creation, but it was still 6,000 years ago and man was still created entire.
5. Okay, the earth is more than 6,000 years old, but it was still created in six days, and man was created entire.
6. Okay, the earth wasn't really created in six literal days, and it's not really 6,000 years old, but man was created entire.
7. Okay, so the earth is not the centre of the universe, it wasn't created in six literal days, it's not really 6,000 years old, and man was not created entire, but you can't prove to me that the Universe wasn't somehow created by God, and that God didn't somehow have a finger in the evolution of life on earth!

But it's not just Genesis nor just Christianity. You can make the same running-retreat argument with anything: disease, catastrophes, repeatedly failed millenial prophecies, astrology, homeopathy, tarot-reading, grandiose conspiracy theories.

They all use God of the Gaps strategies to argue that all the really important evidence about the really incredible stuff is just over the next hill. Even though such claims have failed repeatedly in the past, and the new claims are made on the same methodology, and no better data.

Jam yesterday, jam tomorrow, but never jam today. :)
August_Burns_Red
Posts: 1,253
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8/16/2015 1:39:06 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/15/2015 11:45:05 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 8/15/2015 10:56:11 PM, UtherPenguin wrote:
title explains itself.

We are only ever capable of a finite number of observations. The question then remains, what happens outside the observations?

If observations show there is no magic, no miracles, no intervention by metaphysical agencies, then perhaps all that happens when we're not looking?

The retreat of magical belief from observation, while reasserting itself just outside the boundaries of the observed, is sometimes called God of the Gaps. However it's not just a property of religion. All magical beliefs use it, as do all forms of pseudoscience, like homeopathy and astrology.

Magical thinking requires ignoring (or selectively applying) evidence, obscuring transparency in mechanisms, and evading accountability for ignorance and error. A God of the Gaps approach serves all three because:

* Without observation, there's no direct, conflicting evidence;
* Without data, the claimant feels no obligation to propose or support a mechanism for efficacy; and
* Shifting ground from failed predictions to predictions about the unobserved lets the claimant try to avoid accountability for past ignorance and error.

Essentially, God of the Gaps is an argument from ignorance: an attempt to claim authority without meeting a burden of proof, while making the burden of proof as onerous as possible for anyone seeking to contest the authority.

A simple refutation to a God of the Gaps position is to point out that lacking evidence, transparency or accountability, there is no authority... that such claims are ignorant, unethical, unconstructive, and deserve no recognition at all. And shifting the claim using the same methodology on unchanged data does nothing to acknowledge or correct the obvious methodological problems revealed by past failures, so it's disingenuous and lacking integrity too.

I hope that may be useful.

a little too harsh on Believers, doc. at least I think so. I wouldnt call it magical thinking or ignorance to point out to atheist evolutionists where the holes are in their theories, and then speculate of a Divine but an as-yet un-measurable Source responsible for filling those holes. You cannot call something you cannot disprove a certain falsity, I dont think. you can call God an unlikely entity if you must, but the fact is we just don't know. Well, some of us don't know about God existing. Sconce like it or not has its limits, itis bound by its available tools of measurement. maybe like somebody who has to measure microns with a plain old school house ruler with only inches marked out on it. the microns indeed exist but the tools at hand are not sufficient for measuring. for detecting. I still dont believe in the randomness of the genetic mutations. to me this requires a bigger leap of faith that to believe in God. and please, doc, never forget that as if this minute you guys cant tell us how Life was first formed. this is to say the least a sticking point and lends at least a hint of something lrger behind it all. to call the belief in that "something larger" ignorance instead of insight I think is undulky harsh.
God Bless.
Tomorrow's forecast: God reigns and the Son shines!
Illegalcombatant
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8/16/2015 2:58:09 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/15/2015 10:56:11 PM, UtherPenguin wrote:
title explains itself.

arg is short for argument (couldn't fit the whole word in the title)

God of the gaps refers to where some information/answer/explantion is lacking (that's the gap) and God is used to plug that gap.

As soon as you hear something along the lines of hey atheists how do you explain or science can't explain there is a good bet a God of the gaps is coming your way.

The reason its a logical fallacy is because it's a type of argument from ignorance.
"Seems like another attempt to insert God into areas our knowledge has yet to penetrate. You figure God would be bigger than the gaps of our ignorance." Drafterman 19/5/12
dee-em
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8/16/2015 4:48:14 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/16/2015 1:39:06 AM, August_Burns_Red wrote:

a little too harsh on Believers, doc. at least I think so. I wouldnt call it magical thinking or ignorance to point out to atheist evolutionists where the holes are in their theories, and then speculate of a Divine but an as-yet un-measurable Source responsible for filling those holes. You cannot call something you cannot disprove a certain falsity, I dont think. you can call God an unlikely entity if you must, but the fact is we just don't know. Well, some of us don't know about God existing. Sconce like it or not has its limits, itis bound by its available tools of measurement. maybe like somebody who has to measure microns with a plain old school house ruler with only inches marked out on it. the microns indeed exist but the tools at hand are not sufficient for measuring. for detecting. I still dont believe in the randomness of the genetic mutations. to me this requires a bigger leap of faith that to believe in God. and please, doc, never forget that as if this minute you guys cant tell us how Life was first formed. this is to say the least a sticking point and lends at least a hint of something lrger behind it all. to call the belief in that "something larger" ignorance instead of insight I think is undulky harsh.

This is so funny. ABR immediately resorts to a "God of the Gaps" argument in his attempted apologetics. How ironic. The funny part is that he is blissfully unaware of what he just did. Plus he throws in an argument from personal incredulity for good measure. You couldn't script this better if you were doing send-up comedy.
Skepticalone
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8/16/2015 6:26:14 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/16/2015 1:39:06 AM, August_Burns_Red wrote:
At 8/15/2015 11:45:05 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 8/15/2015 10:56:11 PM, UtherPenguin wrote:
title explains itself.

We are only ever capable of a finite number of observations. The question then remains, what happens outside the observations?

If observations show there is no magic, no miracles, no intervention by metaphysical agencies, then perhaps all that happens when we're not looking?

The retreat of magical belief from observation, while reasserting itself just outside the boundaries of the observed, is sometimes called God of the Gaps. However it's not just a property of religion. All magical beliefs use it, as do all forms of pseudoscience, like homeopathy and astrology.

Magical thinking requires ignoring (or selectively applying) evidence, obscuring transparency in mechanisms, and evading accountability for ignorance and error. A God of the Gaps approach serves all three because:

* Without observation, there's no direct, conflicting evidence;
* Without data, the claimant feels no obligation to propose or support a mechanism for efficacy; and
* Shifting ground from failed predictions to predictions about the unobserved lets the claimant try to avoid accountability for past ignorance and error.

Essentially, God of the Gaps is an argument from ignorance: an attempt to claim authority without meeting a burden of proof, while making the burden of proof as onerous as possible for anyone seeking to contest the authority.

A simple refutation to a God of the Gaps position is to point out that lacking evidence, transparency or accountability, there is no authority... that such claims are ignorant, unethical, unconstructive, and deserve no recognition at all. And shifting the claim using the same methodology on unchanged data does nothing to acknowledge or correct the obvious methodological problems revealed by past failures, so it's disingenuous and lacking integrity too.

I hope that may be useful.

a little too harsh on Believers, doc. at least I think so. I wouldnt call it magical thinking or ignorance to point out to atheist evolutionists where the holes are in their theories, and then speculate of a Divine but an as-yet un-measurable Source responsible for filling those holes.

Speculation is fine, but claiming certainty, based on what is undeniably ignorance, is not rational thinking.

You cannot call something you cannot disprove a certain falsity, I dont think.

Essentially, that statement advocates a lack of knowledge is knowledge. Arbitrary claims based on ignorance can be dismissed outright.

you can call God an unlikely entity if you must, but the fact is we just don't know.

Well, we don't know if Zeus, Odin, Thor, the FSM, or Russell's teapot exist either, but the fact that we have no evidence to confirm them is reason enough to disbelieve.

Well, some of us don't know about God existing. Sconce like it or not has its limits, itis bound by its available tools of measurement. maybe like somebody who has to measure microns with a plain old school house ruler with only inches marked out on it. the microns indeed exist but the tools at hand are not sufficient for measuring. for detecting. I still dont believe in the randomness of the genetic mutations. to me this requires a bigger leap of faith that to believe in God. and please, doc, never forget that as if this minute you guys cant tell us how Life was first formed.

Yes, Red, that is true - we don't know how life was first formed, but then again, neither do you!

this is to say the least a sticking point and lends at least a hint of something lrger behind it all. to call the belief in that "something larger" ignorance instead of insight I think is undulky harsh.

God Bless.
This thread is like eavesdropping on a conversation in a mental asylum. - Bulproof

You can call your invisible friends whatever you like. - Desmac

What the hell kind of coked up sideshow has this thread turned into. - Casten
PetersSmith
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8/16/2015 6:48:12 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/15/2015 10:56:11 PM, UtherPenguin wrote:
title explains itself.

arg is short for argument (couldn't fit the whole word in the title)

There's a lot of gaps in space, and because of that people argue that "god" encompasses all those gaps, but nothing else, which explains why no one has encountered the deity, why there is "evil", and disputes all the other arguments.
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Fly
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8/16/2015 6:53:46 AM
Posted: 1 year ago
At 8/15/2015 10:56:11 PM, UtherPenguin wrote:
title explains itself.

arg is short for argument (couldn't fit the whole word in the title)

Stated simply, where there are questions that the sum of human knowledge is unable to answer, those comprise the "gaps." Some apologists explain those gaps with god and use that explanation for the unknown as evidence for god.

Actually, some of the critics of this style of argument are theists. They will say that it is an argument in constant retreat because as the gaps narrow with increasing human knowledge, so does the the space to argue for god's existence in this manner.
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