Re: Speaking of "Gaps" ...

Howard J. Van Till (
Wed, 14 Apr 1999 09:01:31 -0400

A brief comment re the "gaps" discussion:

A "gap" is formed by the absence of something in the context of a prevalent
pattern. So, when we define what we mean by the term 'gap' in this
discussion, perhaps we should begin by identifying what sort of thing is

An "epistemic gap" is caused by missing knowledge, something that could in
principle be filled in by further investigation. I am aware of several such
gaps in my knowledge regarding the character of the Creation and its
formational and operational economies (and, to be sure, in my knowledge of
nearly anything:).

A "gap in the Creation's formational economy" (the sort of gap to which I
have recently referred) is caused by the absence of some particular
formational capability within the Creation's formational economy. The
presence of this sort of "ontological gap" is implied or assumed whenever a
proponent of some form of episodic creationism says, in effect, that
"macroevolution is impossible."

The assertion of "impossible" is equivalent to saying that "the requisite
capabilities are not present in the Creation's formational economy." (And
if they are not there, of course, the implication is that God purposefully
chose not to gift the Creation with those particular capabilities. Thus,
there are implications regarding the will of the Creator, implications that
need to be given careful theological consideration.)

The question, then, comes down to this, How can a person be certain that
the requisite capabilities are not present? To simply say that "Given my
(incomplete) knowledge about the Creation's formational capabilities, I
cannot now imagine any way in which system X could be formed by the action
of creaturely capabilities alone," does not at all settle the issue. It
could be just one more epistemic gap. The weakness of the "argument from
ignorance" is extremely difficult to avoid. And, to be very candid, I do
not think that the proponents of ID have in fact been able to avoid it.


Howard Van Till