The Christian theist is often accused of arguing for the “God of the Gaps” when invoking God as an explanation. It’s important to understand that this is actually a complete misrepresentation of what the theist should be arguing. Theists such as William Lane Craig and Stephen Meyer argue by using a method that scientists and philosophers call “inference to the best explanation,” also known as the method of competing hypothesis. Briefly summarizing, this is when competing explanations are weighted and the one that best explains the relevant data is considered to be the correct one. One of the main reasons I prefer arguing for the best explanation is preciously because I believe it helps eliminate gap-type arguments. For more on inference to the best explanation, see here.
However, as of late, it seems that in my reading, personal discussions and blogging, I have experienced another gap-type argument that I have dubbed “The Magic Wand of Evolution.” This is when a challenge is brought before a skeptic or atheist and they simply reply “evolution” or “I believe evolution created….” And POOF! Somehow, in their minds, they have magically provided a satisfying explanation to the problem at hand. How do you explain the existence of objective moral values? Why, evolution of course. How do you explain how we got life from non-life?  Evolution my good man! How do you account for the vast complexity we find in living things? Evolution! Ta-Da!  From my recent experiences, it seems that proponents of neo-Darwinian evolution find this to be a fulfilling answer to such difficult questions. It’s just that easy friend.
In reality, this is no type of explanation at all. This is merely an assertion and an assertion does not equal an argument. It seems that the atheist cries foul whenever the theist defends God as an explanation for a known body of data or problem; however, many of them [not all] are quick to assert "The Magic Wand of Evolution" as an explanation and seem to be under the impression that this somehow provides an adequate, intellectually satisfying answer.
In closing, I believe it’s important for the wizards who wield their wands to understand that in invoking the "The Magic Wand of Evolution" they have explained nothing and until they provide an actual argument for their proposed explanation we theists are under no obligation to take their assertion seriously.
Courage and Godspeed,
1. I realize that this is the process of abiogenesis; however, this was an explanation offered to me in a conversation with an atheist. When I asked how he believed we got the first life, he responded by attempting to describe an evolutionary type process.
2. A perfect example of this is in Richard Dawkins’ book, The God Delusion.