A religious apologist came after me in E-mail, claiming the usual "god of the gaps" argument and "science will eventually support God."
I wrote the following in reply:
If science were to detect something that were indicative of supernatural agency or force, it would A) not necessarily be -your- Agency and B) that agency would cease to be supernatural and become -science- and in that moment, faith would be irrelevant. That is the peril that all religious persons who try to prove their faith by science risk: they might get their wish.
And worse: it is not "faith" when you try to "prove" it using the tools of science, deduction, or anything else. It is hypocrisy. It is hypocritical to say "I have faith" and by all your works and words try to "prove" anything by it. Is your faith so imperilled that you have to provide a "proof" for it? Why should we follow hypocrisy, those of us who only seek to know what is true?
If your belief is true and you have faith, do not your faith and your works stand as evidence to their veracity?
And what is wrong with marvelling in the beauty and wonder of the Universe? Why does "something" have to precede it? Is it not big enough and marvelous enough for you?
Human beings love puzzles. Puzzles seem to be part of our make up: it is not enough to see a puzzle, we have a "need" to puzzle it out. The Universe is the Mother-of-all-Puzzles: by its definition of "all that is," it is quite likely we will never complete the puzzle. You buy a jigsaw puzzle of a thousand pieces, put it together, and that is all. It is no longer interesting.
Buy a Rubik's cube and figure out how that puzzle works, and the puzzle is no longer a puzzle, just a series of moves.
But a puzzle that goes on and on and ON? It is the ultimate challenge, the never-ending puzzle. The Puzzle itself might be a basis for a religion.
"We don't know, but we'll get back to you on that" is a perfectly acceptable answer in scientific endeavour. There is no shame in saying "I don't know" unless it is a religious idea. Religion must be certain, else it has no relevance.
When scientists in the Renaissance did not know something, that did not make it God. That made it unknown. Galileo discovering the large moons of Jupiter did not debunk God and remove the Earth from the centre of all things: they were never there to begin with. The moons were unknown.
"Dark matter" does not refer to some strange, magical, God-created thing: it refers to an unknown.
You argue for a God-of-the-Gaps, a poor substitute for faith. For when that unknown you fill with God becomes known, your god retreats a little further, into fewer and fewer gaps. That is not faith, that is desperation. The argument of "there is a gap in knowledge, I must fill it with God" is hypocrisy by your own religious teachings.
Since Christian religion is immutable and unchangeable (as is nearly all religion), as more and more information comes forth that refutes it, it becomes less and less relevant. That is why we no longer worship Roman or Greek gods (except Eris), they became irrelevant. If your religion cannot adapt, it will die, by the same rules as any other evolution. Ideas which do not evolve, die.
Science does not seek to "tear God out of the Heavens." Science seeks to understand what is true. The only folk that imperil the idea of God are those that say what "must be true" about God then have it shown to be false.
When this happens, again and again and again, the pile of "things shown not to be true claims" becomes overwhelming evidence against -any- claim. It is not science, or even atheists, that imperil your faith. If your faith were strong and boundless, nothing any scientist could show is true, not any statement of an atheist arguing for a rational explanation of the natural world could ever shake your faith.
It is you that does so, to yourself. And by coming and getting another after another dose of reason and scientific curiosity, it is you that sews the seeds of destruction of your faith, not us.
The god of the gaps business remains for me one of the most amusing arguments which the christers bring to the table, especially since those "gaps" are being filled in on a surprisingly regular basis.
As a result, what we see too often are stunts like William Lane Craig pulls frequently: a complete dismissal of the negation of his arguments, as though they never happened, which is sadly very little different from the fingers-in-ears, "LA-LA-LA-LA-I-CAN'T-HEAR-YOU!!!" routine, also frequently seen. Unfortunately, so long as Craig and his ilk have uninformed, confirmation-biased audiences who swallow their garbage whole, they will continue to thrive.
As Orson Scott Card said in his talk "Secular Humanist Revival," the more intelligent of their children will come home some day and say "Today I learned what evolution is really about, and you lied to me. And if you lied to me about that, did you also lie to me about Jesus? About sin and repentance and forgiveness and the resurrection? Was it all lies? Why should I ever believe you again?" He then followed up with "the best of your children will not follow you - you are the last generation."
It's too bad I'm living in the last decade of my life(I'm 70), as I'd love to see your undeniable truth come to be. My children were raised atheists and they are completely removed from any belief in a god. They say they're not alone among their friends. I think this is almost the last religious generation in America.