Understanding in the Gaps

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Science and religion, depending on the perspective, enjoy a beautiful (or contentious) marriage or have been the victors (or victims) of a bitter divorce in the modern world.  Debates on science and religion dot the Internet, providing plenty of food for fodder no matter which side of the family one might identify with.

One such debate involves Richard Dawkins, the famous atheist and author from Oxford and his Oxford fellow, John Lennox, the mathematician and philosopher of science. Both men are marvelously well spoken and present their competing views eloquently and  convincingly, though they cannot both be right in their ultimate positions.

The debate, which uses Dawkin’s book, the God Delusion, as the subject matter,  is quite long, not the usual fare in the MTV age of tweets and soundbites, but well worth taking the time to listen and watch. They begin with biographical information and early influences that inform their worldviews. The meat of the debate uses statements from Dawkins’ book as the outline.

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Filling in the Gaps: God or the Multiverse?

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Photo by Larry Betag

Theists are accused of committing a “God of the gaps” fallacy, which is to assume (insert) God (into the gaps in our understanding). Atheists say that this assumption (faith) is irrational and wholly unsupportable by science or reason. They say they would rather rely on science and reason, and conclude there is no scientific or rational support of the proposition that God exists.

Atheists tend to be materialists, meaning that they believe that the “world” (all that exists) is material, only. They tend not to accept that anything other than the material world exists.

An exploration of these contentions will show that the material world is not all that exists and that atheists who subscribe to the modern view of the multiverse, which is used to explain problems for which science has no answers if only one universe exists, is a resort to the same kind of fallacious thinking pinned on theists. The God of the gaps argument against faith and belief in God conflates science and reason, and a materialist worldview conflates scientific knowledge with all possible knowledge of the world.

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