Yogi Berra and the God-of-the-Gaps

Logan Paul Gage

“Predicting is very difficult, especially when it is about the future,” Yogi Berra is reported to have said. Phillip Johnson, writing in May’s Touchstone, says

I think of the great Yogi’s maxim whenever I hear theistic evolutionists warn intelligent design theorists against committing what they call the “God of the gaps” fallacy. Their point is that it is futile to rely on “gaps” that the theory of evolution has not yet explained as places where divine acts might be necessary, because those gaps will inevitably be filled as science progresses. Eventually, God will be squeezed out of these spaces, with consequent embarrassment to the cause of religion.

But why think that these “gaps” will ever be filled? As Johnson muses, “I presume that even the most advanced science of the future will not discover things that do not exist, provided that science remains open to the free expression of dissent and criticism.” In other words, this sort of Darwin-of-the-Gaps argument depends more upon commitment to naturalism (even a theological naturalism, as Cornelius George Hunter would remind us).
Johnson goes on to wonder why many Christian theistic evolutionists think God is a poor designer if he has to get his hands dirty and do something directly. See the rest of his article here. But for a thoughtful and more in-depth treatment of “God-of-the-gaps” reasoning, see physicist David Snoke’s “In Favor of God-of-the-Gaps Reasoning.”

Logan Paul Gage

Logan Paul Gage is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Franciscan University of Steubenville. Dr. Gage received his B.A. in history, philosophy, and American studies from Whitworth College (2004) and his M.A. (2011) and Ph.D. (2014) in philosophy from Baylor University. His dissertation, written under the supervision of Trent Dougherty, was a defense of the phenomenal conception of evidence and conservative principles in epistemology.