It is inconceivable that (fill in the blank) could have originated
naturally. Therefore, it must have been created.
This argument, also known as the argument from ignorance or "god of the
gaps," is implicit in a very many different creationist arguments. In
particular, it is behind all arguments against abiogenesis and any and all
claims of intelligent design.
- Really, the claim is "I can't conceive that (fill in the blank)."
Others might be able to find a natural explanation; in many cases, they
already have. Nobody knows everything, so it is unreasonable to
conclude that something is impossible just because you do not know it.
Even a noted antievolutionist acknowledges this point: "The peril of
negative arguments is that they may rest on our lack of knowledge,
rather than on positive results" (Behe 2003).
- The argument from incredulity creates a god of the gaps. Gods were
responsible for lightning until we determined natural causes for
lightning, for infectious diseases until we found bacteria and viruses,
for mental illness until we found biochemical causes for them. God is
confined only to those parts of the universe we do not know about, and
that keeps shrinking.
Drummond, Henry. 1904. The Lowell Lectures on the Ascent of Man,
Glasgow: Robert Maclehose and Co. Ltd., ch. 10.
Van Till, Howard J. 2002. Is the Creation a 'right stuff' universe?
Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 54(4): 232.
created 2001-2-18, modified 2003-9-2