Defining science. Part 3

In the comments of ‘The last nail in God’s coffin. Part 3’ Nathanael says “I’m interested in what a shared definition of God of the Gaps actually is, given Lennox explicitly states he’s against a lazy God of the Gaps thinking on page 34.”

Let’s have a look at the quote in question:
Now one can understand why such an approach [naturalism] is attractive. In the first place it makes for a clear distinction between good science and superstition, between astronomy and astrology or between chemistry and alchemy, for instance. It also helps avoid lazy ‘God of the gaps’ thinking that says of some phenomenon, ‘I can’t understand it therefore God or the gods did it.’
However, there is at least one serious down-side… Now, of course, this is only a down-side if naturalism is false as a philosophy (34).

Lennox begins by showing the merits of naturalism. Avoiding ‘God of the gaps’ thinking is such a plus of naturalism that it gets its own sentence and a short explanation in case the reader is unaware of its meaning. But IIRC Lennox has been no friend to naturalism. The previous couple of pages have been devoted to showing that science shouldn’t be closed to supernatural explanations, supernatural explanations aren’t necessarily non-rational, and natural doesn’t mean rational. Yet here he is extolling its virtues.

The promotion of naturalism doesn’t last very long, for he tells us that there is a serious down-side to it. But the down-side is only a problem if naturalism is false. I can’t say for sure which way Lennox is ultimately going to go with this pro-naturalism or anti-naturalism swinging, but based on what I’ve read so far I reckon that he’ll be out to discredit naturalism. But when he does so, when he shows that naturalism is false and there’s a serious down-side to it, it will be interesting to see if he can admit supernatural intervention into science but still avoid lazy ‘God of the gaps’ thinking.

Alright, I know he doesn’t avoid it. Actually I know that Chris knows he doesn’t, and that’s good enough for me. But reading the actual justifications will still be a great how-to for rhetorical bait-and-switch.

3 thoughts on “Defining science. Part 3

  1. Nathanael Small

    Look forward to seeing your outlining of how being lazy is not avoided and how you measurably define lazy rhetorically.

      1. Nathanael Small

        I think Chris may have covered it in saying Chapters 7-9 are where the evidence lies, if you agree with him, lets see what happens when we get their (unless Marco’s covered it all).


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