Chemistry of The Gaps

A thought experiment:

Imagine a world in which there are people who hold to the belief in a system called “chemistry”. According to these people, the things we encounter as part of our world are made out of things called “elements” which are, themselves, made of “protons”, “electrons” and “neutrons”. These elements can be combined with each other to form what are called “molecules”, and these are the components that make up our world.

Problem is, this is the full extent of what adherents can say about this belief. They are not able to demonstrate the existence of any aspect of “chemistry” and have no model or account of how “elements” interact with each other to produce other “compounds”, though there is a very rich literature and set of traditions in which various factions within “chemistry” provide abstract philosophical accounts of how it might work.

One argument made in favour of “chemistry” goes as follows: Many people claim that life was created by God. However, no one has as yet been able to reproduce in a lab the process by which God did this, and God-believers are still very far from a detailed description of the process by which God could have created life.

“Chemistry” believers, then, argue that if “chemistry” is real, then life could have arisen thru “chemistry”, and not thru God. This, by itself, is very good reason to believe in the reality of “chemistry” and all the details associated with this belief.

Do people here think this would be a strong argument?

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I’m not sure you’re using the word “God” in the same way as I do. Your definition of God seems to be “the current gaps in our scientific knowledge”.

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No, “God” could be defined in any way one wishes, so long as we don’t have a complete molecule-by-molecule account of how he created life.

Then I don’t understand how the appeal to God has any bearing on the truthfulness of “chemistry”.

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It doesn’t. That’s the point.

People often make the reverse argument: If we can’t provide every single detail of how life arose thru chemistry, then that means the existence of God is plausible. It’s no less a non-sequitur than the argument in my OP, except when people make the argument for God they are trying to be serious.

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Where’s the model for the creation of first life? Where are the experiments that show the designer at work?

The designer just doesn’t seem to be around at all to create anything new. Instead we have to wait for the slow trickle of evolution to accumulate novel beneficial mutations and natural selection to sort among them. Every time we find a new gene or molecular machine we haven’t see before, it turns out on closer inspection it has evolved incrementally from other things such as transposons, non-coding DNA, fragments of other already existing genes, oligomerization of the same gene, duplication, and so on.

The designer has not popped any novel bacterial flagella or ATP synthases into existence in any of biology or chemistry experiments. Everything we see keeps having antecedents it evolved from incrementally.

For example all these genes in the human genome appear to have evolved incrementally from ancestral genes over many hundreds of millions of years: incremental evolution
I would like to thank @Gpuccio for this figure he made.

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As I said, the kind of a God that people appeal to in the face of gaps in scientific explanations is not the God of the Bible, but a lesser demiurge that is still ultimately subject to the laws of nature itself. I’m not surprised that you find that kind of God unsatisfying.

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I’m pretty sure if you ask these people they disagree and would tell you they are serious Bible-believing Christians.

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