Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The "God vs. science" false dichotomy

There seems to be a rather curious deeply-ingrained notion among many of the most fundamentalist Christians and creationists that whatever science cannot explain, God is somehow automatically a valid default answer.

Many of them will spend countless hours trying to discredit science and find holes in it, belittling it, denigrating it and mocking it. Once they find a hole that science cannot currently explain, or the explanation is too esoteric for the average layman to understand, they will cling to it like rabid dogs.

Somehow they have this notion that they can fill these gaps with God. In fact, they often talk like God would be somehow automatically the default valid, and only, alternative. Therefore, if you succeed in "disproving" some aspect of science, you have (they think) automatically proven the existence of God.

This is just an outright false dichotomy. Even if there is something that science can't explain, even if it's something that science will never be able to explain (for example because of our limited resources and the fact that we are bound by physical laws), that doesn't somehow automatically give credence to the existence of a god. It simply means that we don't know, and that's it.

And this isn't even going into the fact that even if we entertained the god hypothesis, we would still know absolutely nothing about this god. These Christians always jump from "the god explanation" to "the God of Christianity", as if that would be a completely sensible and valid thing to do.

This can be really blatant sometimes. I was once engaged in an online conversation with a Christian, and the subject was precisely this. When I asked how can we know anything about this hypothetical god, he literally started quoting the Bible, as if that were the completely natural and logical thing to do.

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