Why God is a Poor Scientific Explanation

You’d think the “god of the gaps” argument would be self refuting, but apparently it’s not.

I get so many people making these sorts of claims, that I just have to do a video about it. Now I can just refer people to this video rather than repeating myself over and over and over.

So, this is the simplest way I can explain why “maybe god did it” is a poor explanation.


About Rodibidably

Jeff Randall is a frequent volunteer for free-thought organizations, including the Center For Inquiry – DC. Having been blogging since January 2008, he decided that a community of bloggers would be an interesting new experience (or at the very least a fun way to annoy his friends into reading his posts more frequently). Since finding out about about the existence of, and then joining, the atheist/skeptic community in 2007 he has been committed to community activism, critical thinking in all aspects of life, science, reason, and a fostering a secular society.
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2 Responses to Why God is a Poor Scientific Explanation

  1. moot.point says:

    Good job on the video. It’s been forever since I responded to anything.

    I understand that that “God/gaps” theory is often the equivalent of intellectual laziness. However it’s not always such an unreasonable hypothesis (at least for the one making it).

    Just as you said there is room for speculation as to the reason for one chemical reaction when you find a similar one a person who already feels that they have evidence for God can similarly speculate on His involvement in a related area.

    Certainly God of the Gaps does not work as a proof. But the point that one cannot prove a negative is well established. However for a believer who accounts for God in their hypothesis a God of the Gaps isn’t anymore unreasonable than a “Science of the Gaps”.

    God/Gaps obviously won’t satisfy an atheist (nor should it) but it is fair game for a believer.

    • Jeff Randall says:

      Welcome back. It’s been a while.

      The problem I see with the god of the gaps ideas is that it typically shuts down inquiry. Once the answer is “god did it”, any attempts to explain the phenomena through natural processes becomes heresy.

      When you have a scientific theory to explain something, the theory can be altered over time as new evidence or new experiments comes to light.

      As one example, look at the idea of a heliocentric solar system vs a geocentric solar system. When Copernicus first pushed the idea that the earth went around the sun the idea was shot down, not because it did not fit the evidence, but because “of course god would make us the center of everything”. The Copernican model did a better job of explaining what was clearly evident about the movements of objects in the sky, but it was rejected because of dogma. When later Galileo pushed the same idea he was branded as a heretic and punished for his “blasphemy”.

      Now compare that to the idea of gravity. Issac Newton created a great theory of gravity that stood for generations. However there were a few things that when using math based on his model the answers did not correspond to what was observed. Einstein came along and said Newton was wrong. He was not branded a heretic, in fact quite the opposite. He was hailed as a hero of science for improving upon our knowledge of the universe.

      In my view, this is not just isolated examples, but this is the obvious end result of using god as an explanation vs striving to use science.

      There is no question that has ever been answered with “god did it” that has stood the test of time. There is no question where it was answered “god did it” where it has ever been shown to be the correct answer. If god is real, and it also that hard to pin down, then let’s leave him out of science, until there is unequivocal evidence to use him as an explanation.

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