Quote of the Day By Mattapult, On Gaps to Gods Arguments

I've been thinking a lot about god-of-the-gaps and method.

Science has a lot of tools as part if its method: modeling, hypothesis, falsifiability, null hypothesis, testing, peer review, and so on. We've learned over the centuries, that these are the best methods to prevent ourselves from fooling ourselves. The standard of proof in science is fairly high, and even then, we often call the findings "provisionally true".

A god-of-the-gaps argument starts with the assumption that the best methods have failed; that no matter how hard we've tried to reach the standard of proof required, it is impossible to reach the standard of proof.

So let's punt to Authority and Revelation.

The CEO of Google is probably a pretty good authority on the next product Google will produce. But if he claims to knows what dark matter is, then we should demand evidence as expected of any scientist.

By the same standard, if you have a hypothesis of "God", then by all means, follow the same standards of science to test and validate your claims. You don't get a free pass based on authority to get around the level of proof. Model your god, hypothesize, test, and peer review. Oh, and please have at least one Hindu, Muslim, Jew, and Christian on the peer review panel.

What of the "method" of revelation? Revelation is nothing more than intuition, guesses, dreams, or the output of any other creative process. The number of revelations throughout time are uncountable, people had revelations ranging from where th eir lost car keys are to when it's right to start a war. How many of those are truly a divine inspiration? Answer: model, hypothesis, test, and peer review. It's important to set your pass/fail criteria in advance--another lesson from science.

For the sake of example, let's say there is a divinely inspired revelation out there somewhere. How do you know which one it is? There is no method to find it or identify it. Perhaps ask an authority, but that just substitutes one failed method for another.

God-of-the-gaps will never be a valid argument because there is no method to fall back on when the best methods have failed.