Mind the Gap

Mind the Gap sign on the edge of a London Underground Tube station's platform

I can’t help it – something inside of me cringes when I hear well-meaning Christian believers acting out as aggressive anti-evolution apologists. After all – come on! How insulting for the poor guy or girl, trying to do their Science job and understand how stuff works…only to get blasted by an un-called for, anti-evolutionary rant? I noticed a tweet from Professor Brian Cox once who expressed exasperation at being on the sharp end of a “Christian apologist” rant. I groan with Brian!

One reason people go into Science is because we love finding out how things work, and we love to understand things better. Right? I speak as a Computer Scientist, by the way, so I feel somewhat qualified to make the previous statement (even if my field might be regarded as particularly geeky!)

 

There’s something else that makes me cringe. It’s when I hear well-meaning believers in the theory of Darwinian Evolution (Common Descent and Natural Selection acting upon Random Biological Mutations) speak as if Darwin’s theory is as unassailable as the truth that our planet orbits the Sun. I mean…really?

We have empirical evidence about how the Universe works – we observe how it works. And we know a little bit about what holds it together. And we are starting to realize there’s a lot we don’t yet know. But does the Earth orbit the sun? Yes – sure – we can empirically prove it – much to the chagrin of the 17th century church!

But the same cannot be said of Darwinian Evolution. The media does a great job of presenting evolution as a done + proven deal. But behind closed doors – away from the foot lights and the spin doctors – the truth is quite different. Scientists committed to this Theory are still scouring the fabric of our planet for the evidence in the fossil record that Darwin assumed would prove his origin of life theory. But they are coming up short.

Don’t believe me? Just Google the phrase – “Cambrian Explosion”. Life didn’t appear in gradual increments. Life exploded onto the surface of our planet at a number of certain specific points in Earth’s history.  And I can say that with confidence because it’s what the fossil record has recorded. That’s our  empirical evidence. If we are talking about what is provable – rather than what we would like to believe (evolution) – then the evidence suggests that life just appeared. Fully formed – and with incredible amounts of information and complexity. And it all just appeared – delivered to planet earth – right out of the box with an amazing ability to adapt in minor ways to its current surroundings

 

Ah – and it’s this point that the well-meaning scientist (who doesn’t happen to believe in God) sighs and shakes their head.

You Christians – you are such God of the Gaps people! What do I mean by ‘God of the Gaps’? I mean that – Science studies something amazing (life) to learn about it. But people of faith aren’t hard workers – they are lazy. Rather than trying hard to find a natural explanation for the appearance of life – you just glibly blurt out “God did it”. That’s intellectually lazy.  

 

And the scientist who DOES believe in God responds.

I’m sorry – but you are mistaken. It is not laziness that points me to God. Rather – it is intellectual honesty and hard work and good Science. It is a willingness to accept a cause that goes beyond the hard-wired, natural forces of our closed universe.

  • The pre-programmed laws of physics create a perfect swirl of water as I empty my bathtub. They also create the wonder of snowflakes. There is natural, material beauty and artistry in creation.
  • But what we find in the building blocks of life is of a completely different order. The specified complexity and carefully crafted information processing systems we find in every tiny biological cell are mindbogglingly complex. Biological computers, if you will.

I don’t believe in a God of the Gaps. I believe in a God whose creative skill is becoming more and more evident as we learn more and more about our planet and the creatures that inhabit it. I see more evidence for God in each scientific discovery – not less evidence.

 

John Lennox, Professor of Mathematics at Oxford, and a Christian thinker has taken the response of the Christian a bit further. He says:

“Postulating an unobserved Designer is no more unscientific than postulating unobserved macro-evolutionary steps. It is surely very evident that ‘evolution of the gaps’ is at least as widespread as ‘God of the gaps’.”  — John C. Lennox

In other words – I’m a Christian. But I don’t believe in a God of the Gaps, mate. Ironically though, when you cling to Darwin’s Theory of Evolution…in spite of the current lack of empirical evidence…then you are evidently clinging to an Evolution of the Gaps!

 

Okay – I’m one of the faith filled Scientists. Yes – I believe in a Designer. I’m a Christian – so it makes perfect sense for me to ascribe the role of Designer to God. But don’t accuse me of wanting to stop Science. No way! What would be the point in that?

 

Just because smart guys designed computer architectures doesn’t mean I don’t have to work hard to understand what they came up with. That’s my job. And frankly – I get enjoyment and fulfillment out of doing it (sad I know).

In a similar way – just because God designed the cosmos and the life that lives in it – by means we currently don’t understand – doesn’t mean all Science should stop. Quite the opposite – lets enrich life by learning all we can using the minds he’s given us.

 

I don’t believe in a God of the Gaps. I don’t recommend you should either. I also don’t recommend you should believe in an Evolution of the Gaps!

Advertisements

Published by

stuartgrayuk

I live in the UK, I'm married to Janet and I'm passionate about proposing a case for the historic Christian faith. You can find me on Twitter at @stuhgray.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s