Over at his blog, atheist activist Jerry Coyne explains his atheism:
Seriously, if God wanted us to accept Him, why can’t he just come down to Earth and do a few irrefutable miracles that can be witnessed, photographed, and so on?
And then adds:
But all it would take is ONE BIG MIRACLE, of the type I describe in Faith Versus Fact (p. 119)—a miracle that was taped and documented worldwide—to make me believe in a divine being—provisionally, of course, as it might be due to space aliens or some trick. Why can’t we at least have that?
Let’s think this through. Dr. Coyne says he would “accept God” if only He would do some “irrefutable miracles.” Or, it could be “ONE BIG MIRACLE.” Yet we must ask one simple question – WHY? Why would Dr. Coyne “accept Him” because of a miracle? Why would he believe because of a miracle? What’s the connection? How does a miracle purchase God belief?
Note, in both cases it has to be a miracle. In other words, if it was an event that could be explained by natural law or chance, it would not count. Because then it would not be a miracle.
Of course, there is another term for miracle that is common used by atheists. It’s called a gap.
That is, a miracle presents itself as a gap in our knowledge. If we can’t explain it with science, natural law, or chance, then this gap in knowledge is called a miracle. That’s the very connection Coyne is assuming. In other words, for any miracle to be evidence of God, it depends on us acknowledging that Gaps are evidence of God’s existence. If Gaps are not evidence of God’s existence, why does Coyne demand miracles (and nothing less counts)?
Since Coyne’s position depends on Gaps being evidence for God, then Coyne’s very atheism is dependent on the God of the Gaps Argument. Yet the tremendous irony is that Coyne, and countless other atheists, insist (in other contexts) that the God of the Gaps Argument is fundamentally flawed and Gaps are NOT evidence for God’s existence.
So out of one side of Coyne’s mouth, he demands Gaps. Yet the other side of his mouth insists Gaps are useless. Heads I win, tails you lose.
What is most remarkable is that Coyne, and so many other atheists out there, are completely oblivious to this fatal flaw.
There are also many other aspects of his God of the Gaps approach that strike me as noteworthy. Let me briefly mention one before I get distracted by something else.
When demanding his Super Duper, Mind Blowing, Sensational Miracle, Coyne asks, “Why can’t we at least have that?”
Yet I was left wondering, “Why bother?” Y’see, Coyne admits that even after the Super Duper, Mind Blowing, Sensational Miracle, he’ll believe in a “divine being” (Waldo) “provisionally, of course, as it might be due to space aliens or some trick.” And, of course, “provisionally” could easily mean he’ll believe in the “divine being” for 30 seconds and then join Dawkins in arguing it’s more likely an alien did the Big Miracle.
So once again, why bother?