[Mike wrote: No one makes a God of the gaps argument. I've never heard a scientist say that. If you have, give me the reference.]
Gladly. David Snoke, a physicist from the University of Pittsburgh, a Fellow of the American Physical Society and a licensed preacher in the Presbyterian Church in America, wrote an article entitled In Favor of God-of-the-Gaps Reasoning. It begins thus:
"For more than fifteen years, I have read the ASA journal and participated in discussions of science and Christianity. During this time, I have found that while ASA members disagree over many things, certain unquestioned points of agreement flow through all of our dis cus sions. In particular, I have found that no matter what the topic, one common premise seems to reign supreme. This is the universal condem nation of God-of-the-gaps arguments. A person might present all manner of impressive reasoning about something, but if his opponent says “that is a God-of-the-gaps argument,” even the stoutest evidentialist wavers. Why is this so? In this communication, I wish to take a heretical position"
within the ASA and argue in favor of God-of-the-gaps arguments.
Your own Discovery colleague Jay Richards agrees that Newton applied God-of-the-gaps argument in regards to the motion of planets in the solar system.
It's truly mind-boggling that you are unaware of these.
This is really funny. Snopes is right that there is probably no inference in science more passionately rejected by High Science today than the God of the gaps argument. It is everywhere excoriated. It is proposed to be a tremendous threat to science.
Yet there is no inherent contradiction between the belief that God is the First Cause of nature and the belief that the Second Causes are worth investigating. In fact, this inference is the most common inference in Western science, held by nearly all great scientists from the 13th century to the early 20th, when atheism became the vogue in elite circles. Obviously the inference that 'God did it' is no hinderance to 'let's understand it'.
Oleg cites Newton's invocation of the God of the gaps argument. Newton believed that the matrix of space itself was a manifestation of God's mind, and that God maintained all planetary motion by supernatural intervention to overcome 'viscosity' and 'friction'.
Here was Newton's take on atheism:
Opposition to godliness is atheism in profession and idolatry in practice. Atheism is so senseless and odious to mankind that it never had many professors.
Newton was a smart man. And if he used a God of the gaps argument, I'll still take him on the Christian side of the scientific ledger.
Now oleg quotes physicist David Snoke as a proponent of God of the gaps. Snoke is a highly accomplished physicist: he is professor at the University of Pittsburgh in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society for his work on optical processes in semiconductor systems.
Oleg isn't clear on the damage Snoke has caused to science by his invocation of the God of the gaps argument.
Perhaps it is as profound as the damage Newton caused to science.