God of the Gaps
I’ve used this phrase a lot in my review of Darwin’s Doubt.* Suffice to say that I was shocked in my very core when I read that Meyer has no idea what the “God of the Gaps” argument actually is.
From the so-called “Evolution News and Views” blog post by Meyer his own self.
Thus, my argument does not qualify as a God-of-the-gaps argument for the simple reason that the argument does not attempt to establish the existence of God.
The god of the gaps argument is an argument from ignorance. Meyer is basically saying “We don’t know how all these body plans came to be… therefore
god an intelligent designer did it.” In his previous book, Meyer says, “We don’t know how bacterial flagella evolved… therefore god an intelligent designer did it.”
That’s what the god of the gaps argument is. It’s saying that because we don’t understand something, then we can use that as evidence for a god, a designer, an ET, a global conspiracy, or anything else.
Whether or not Meyer talks about
god an intelligent designer, he is still using an argument from ignorance. This just happens to be a special case that is so common among fundamentalist Christian creationists that it came to be known as the God of the Gaps fallacy.
Here’s the issue that I have with this argument (I think I’ve established that Meyer’s entire book is one big argument from ignorance… his). Is Meyer willing to say, “I do not believe in
god an intelligent designer,” WHEN the process that shows the evolution of body plans in the Cambrian is found? Because, the fundamental question.
Michael Behe, in the Kitzmiller trial, said that the lack of evidence about the evolution of the immune system was evidence for an intelligent designer. This is a god of the gaps argument. Since evolution can’t explain the immune system, he thinks, then we must accept a designer. He was then presented with 53 papers and about two dozen books (click this for the list of publications used). A reasonable person at this point, would say, “Oh, my argument is wrong. I certainly can’t use this argument anymore and maybe it’s evidence that my ideas about a designer are wrong.”
But, no. Michael Behe, who hadn’t read any of the publications listed said “I certainly haven’t had time to look through these fifty articles, but I still am unaware of any that address my point that the immune system could arise or that present in a detailed rigorous fashion a scenario for the evolution by random mutation and natural selection of the immune system.”
So, without reading a stack of papers and another stack, Behe declared they still weren’t sufficient to overcome his ignorance. Meyer, so far, is doing the same thing in Darwin’s Doubt. He’s ignoring current research that disproves his point. He ignores the standard practices of science (as we shall see in the next installment) in many, may content areas.
Science is forever discovering things. When one uses a God of the Gaps/Argument from Igorance, one must accept that if the gap is filled with knowledge, then one’s argument is flawed, probably even totally wrong.
People like Behe and Meyer have no interest in developing valid arguments. They have no interest in learning about the world.** Their purpose is to promote a myth. Call it an intelligent designer, call it god, call it the Flying Spaghetti Monster for all I care, it’s still an argument from ignorance. Until positive supporting evidence of god, the designer, or the FSM is provided, then it’s still an argument from ignorance. And since ID proponents DO NOT think about who the designer actually is (wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more), then they are just wasting everyone’s time. Not their own of course, because they get a good salary for the crap they peddle.
Meyer does use the God of the Gaps. It’s an argument from ignorance and he hopes that people like me will shut up and stop doing the research that he didn’t.
Here’s a video of Neil deGrasse Tyson talking about the God of the gaps argument.
* As a history book talking about Darwin’s actual concerns and the scientific results that showed them to be correct, this would be a fascinating book. As a pro-ID tomb… well… not so much.
** Behe’s thoughts on doing actual research, also from the Kitzmiller trial.
Q. And I’m correct when I asked you, you would need to see a step-by-step description of how the immune system, vertebrate immune system developed?
A. Not only would I need a step-by-step, mutation by mutation analysis, I would also want to see relevant information such as what is the population size of the organism in which these mutations are occurring, what is the selective value for the mutation, are there any detrimental effects of the mutation, and many other such questions.
Q. And you haven’t undertaken to try and figure out those?
A. I am not confident that the immune system arose through Darwinian processes, and so I do not think that such a study would be fruitful.
Q. It would be a waste of time?
A. It would not be fruitful.