“I don’t know”

Why is it that, when arguing aspects of religion and science, people are so afraid to admit that they do not know something. It’s like there’s this assumption that if you don’t know something or can’t explain it as it adheres to your perspective, that you automatically must default to the other side’s way of explaining it – which just isn’t true.

For example, science has not yet asserted any one theory as fact as to how life started on earth. Now, abiogenesis is very, very close to explaining such a phenomenon, but unfortunately there has been no experiment conducted in which the expected results that would prove such a thing possible have been attained. It does still reasonably and logically explain a way in which life could have started on this planet, and it hasn’t been proven by any means to be impossible especially since several experiments have produced results similar to what we expect to happen. Perhaps in the future we will have more information to produce such an experiment. However, since science hasn’t absolutely proven an alternative to creationism (or other differing viewpoints), does that mean that God is the only logical conclusion? No, it does not.

Theists tend to jump right into the argument that because science has certain gaps in knowledge, or that because science constantly changes and its predictions and theories are revised, they think that science can’t actually accurately explain the universe and that because their God offers absolute, seemingly unchanging answers to the questions, that this must be the right view. Also, because of strong indoctrination, they fail to consider the evolution of religion itself (evolution in the literal sense of the word, not in regards to the Theory of Evolution). However, what these people fail to realize is that science is not actually changing, only gathering more information than it had before, and because more information is gathered we sometimes have to discard old theories and replace them with new ones. And because science continues to gather information, it is steadily (over time) more able to accurately explain the universe. This has its disadvantages, because most scientific processes that explain the universe in terms of science vs. religion aren’t any more observable than what religion claims to be truth. However, it’s the evidence collected that sets such theories apart – evidence that grows each day, evidence which religion very much lacks. And some things are observable in reality, they just take time longer than that of a human lifespan (evolution for example), and because of the impatient nature of humans we have a hard time considering this. I also think there is a certain narcissism that comes with religion, that places such emphasis on human importance and value, that makes people think things such as evolution are false because any one person can’t observe them (on a macro scale) in their own lifetime, but this is not so much a logical conclusion as something to think about.

Now, does the issue that science hasn’t yet explained the first spark of life mean that what religion tells us is the logical conclusion? No, it only means that I don’t absolutely know yet. I still find it unreasonable to just assume that a God exists, it still doesn’t make any sense to me. It makes no sense to me reasonably to believe that just because I may not know what happened, to assume that a supernatural being is responsible.

So this leads me to pose a question: Where science fails (for now) to explain something to me, why should I automatically jump to God to explain these things?

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About thatcatkatie
I came to this site to discuss my beliefs, and yours too, and hopefully learn some things from my fellow human beings.

8 Responses to “I don’t know”

  1. Howie says:

    You have hit on something very important here – this is an extremely common mistake made by a lot of people.

  2. Getting theists to reply on such questions is something I find difficult to accomplish. They tend to stay in echo chamber blogs as far as I can tell.

    Nice post.

  3. Matthew Chiglinsky says:

    The question I still have yet to answer is what exactly the word “God” is supposed to mean. It’s hard to say whether something exists when I can’t even define it because every idiot on this planet has a different definition, which can sometimes be so abstract that the word completely loses all meaning.

    “God” is nothing.
    “God” is everything.
    “God” is something.

    I think I’m just going to live my life day by day and just ignore “God”.

  4. Gus Ravenwheel says:

    Katie…

    [This is Dan Trabue. For some reason, WordPress is blocking my name on all their blogs, it appears. Sorry for the alias…]

    Theists tend to jump right into the argument that because science has certain gaps in knowledge, or that because science constantly changes and its predictions and theories are revised, they think that science can’t actually accurately explain the universe

    To be fair, “SOME Theists…” or even, “MANY theists…” but not theists as a group.

    You may not come across them, but there are those of us out here who are more than glad to say, “I don’t know the answer,” and even, “We can’t know the answer definitively.”

    For instance, on our views about God and God’s existence, I don’t think we CAN know the answer. That is, we can’t prove the answer objectively.

    Similarly for our opinions about what God wants – ethics and morals and rules and laws – there are those of us willing to admit the obvious: We CAN’T know the answer in the sense that we can’t objectively prove the answer.

    There are some who think all gay behavior is sinful, even within the context of a loving marriage relationship. There are others of us who have formed an opposite opinion. We both are looking at the same text, both believe in God and believe in doing the right, and yet, we disagree. I will gladly admit that I can’t prove “the Bible says” marriage equity is good or that God has an opinion on it. The thing is, neither can they. The difference, of course, is that they won’t admit that they can prove it.

    All of that to say that there are those of us who will gladly admit we don’t know something factually when that is the case. Rather, we have faith based on the evidence as we understand it, we have convictions based on the evidence as we understand it. That’s really the most any of us can say about at least some of these issues.

    • thatcatkatie says:

      Generally as a rule (if you’ve read my other posts) when I say a group of people, I don’t mean to lump every single one of them together. I just forget to say so, but just so we’re both clear, it is not my view that ALL theists are like this.
      I am glad that there are people who would rather admit they don’t know than get into a bitter conversation with me throwing pseudo-facts around. I also made this post because it wasn’t that long ago that I just didn’t get this, and I’m not sure why not. At the end of the day, no matter how much what I think is real, all we have are our separate perceptions which will likely not change (they don’t usually).

  5. Hi there! I would say most Christians who are also scientists don’t do the ‘God of the gaps’ thing, they tend to see science as a means of answering different questions to the ones that faith answers. And I think that’s true; for example, it’s hard for science to answer a question like ‘why give aid to the poor’? or ‘why is there something rather than nothing’?

    However I’d also say that the tendency that you describe is not just applicable to theists. All people use their worldview to try to plug in gaps in knowledge. For example, although abiogenesis is not anywhere near to being explained by science, then people construct scientific explanations and treat them as fact rather than as a very tentative hypothesis. It’s just human nature, I think.

    Hope you’re well 🙂

    • thatcatkatie says:

      Yeah, but science would not aim to answer such questions – that’s the point. No one is saying that science would replace the philosophical teachings that religion offers – however those ethical and moral teachings need not exist only within religion. You can easily teach someone the same values you have without attaching God to the equation.
      I have already acknowledged, in several posts, that abiogenesis is not fact. I simply think that it makes sense logically, I know that it has not been accurately repeated in any lab yet. But, when I admit this and say that I don’t know for sure, theists seem to get excited about that because they think that means that I must accept their answer. That’s just not the case. My point is, it’s okay to not have the answers, it doesn’t mean you have to give in to the other side, as long as you can logically explain the gap in knowledge and still reasonably come to the same conclusion.

    • thatcatkatie says:

      Forgive my rudeness, so many hours later – I am great, and I hope you are, too!

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