Why must “god” always be the explanation for the unexplainable?
You may have heard recently about the birds and fish turning up dead around the world. If not, here’s an article about it from the Huffington Post.
Millions of dead fish surfaced in Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay in the U.S., Tuesday, while similar unexplained mass fish deaths occurred across the world in Brazil and New Zealand. On Wednesday, 50 birds were found dead on a street in Sweden. The news come after recents reports of mysterious massive bird and fish deaths days prior in Arkansas and Louisiana.
The Baltimore Sun reports that an estimated 2 million fish were found dead in the Chesapeake Bay, mostly adult spot with some juvenile croakers in the mix, as well. Maryland Department of the Environment spokesperson Dawn Stoltzfus says “cold-water stress” is believed to be the culprit. She told The Sun that similar large winter fish deaths were documented in 1976 and 1980.
Can we explain this yet? Nope. There are some good hypothesis. They aren’t all the same nor is there one explanation that ties them all together. But, the best explanation I heard was on a Christian poster the other day. He said, “This is clearly a sign from god of the end times!” Really? Ok, so it wasn’t the “best” explanation. All I could do was slap my own forehead in disbelief. But, it made me wonder… Why must “god” always be the explanation for the unexplainable.
Have you noticed that whenever we don’t have a solid answer for something found in life (natures, cosmos, human body, etc.) someone out there (typically lots of someones) will say it’s a mystery from the Lord and proof of god’s existence and design. Yet, almost always, a little while later in the evolution of human knowledge, we answer it with a completely rational scientific explanation. What do the believers do? Well, one of three things normally occurs.
1) They rationalize the new information and say either “Well, that’s god’s way of doing things,” or “That’s bad information and must be flawed science” (so they can go on believing their god-answer). We’ve see this with evolution especially. There really is no debate left about evolution as far as the explanation for the development of species over millions of years, but creationists still claim evolution as just a tool in god’s magical toolbox, or they claim it to all be rubbish. Either way, they are wrong, but can’t admit it.
2) Ignore it entirely. “What? Hmmm? What did you say? Sorry, I couldn’t hear you… my belief system was turned up to loud!”
3) Move on to another argument they feel is safer and harder to disprove. We’ve seen this with evolution too. As we answer nearly every aspect of life and existence, believers tend to move to other “bigger” questions that they feel we won’t be able to answer in our lifetimes (the science of morality / the exact moment of the big bang / existence of god, heaven, and hell, etc.). They figure science can’t answer it yet, so we’ll just keep going with the GOD ANSWER!
So why is this way of thinking so ridiculously flawed? Well, it doesn’t take into account the history of god claims. What I mean by this is that man used to answer all sorts of things with “GOD”. Why do volcanoes erupt? GOD! Why do earthquakes happen? GOD! Why do diseases kill people? GOD… and demons! What about floods, lightning, the sun, moon, stars, tornadoes, tsunamis, hurricanes, hail, snow, birth, death, and healing? GOG GOD GOD GOD GOD, blah blah blah. But, what did history prove to us? Those answers were ALL wrong. We now know how weather patterns emerge. We know how the cosmos expands and interacts in a planetary sense. We know the earth revolves around the sun and the moon does not emit it’s own light but merely reflect a portion of the sun based on its position in the cosmos as it orbits our planet. We know how fetuses grow from sperm and egg to newborn child. We know how bacteria and viruses attack the body and kill us… and how to stop many of them! We didn’t need GOD to explain any of it. Yet, so many people still cling to that answer… god must have done it!
Look at it this way. It’s like a horse race. If you watched 1,000 races and the same horse had won every single time, which horse would you bet on in the 1,001st race? The one that came in 2nd, 3rd, or last? Hell no you wouldn’t. your money would be on the horse that had just won 1,000 races in a row. Well, that’s science. Science has won every race for human understanding so far. God, although in the lead in many, came up short at the end of the race and lost to science. So, why is it that when a new race wins, millions of people assume god is still going to win? Faith. Ignorance. Forgetfulness. Yep, people like to forget when they are wrong. That’s why psychics are still making money. People forget the 20 wrong predictions as long as there is one sort-of-right one, or one that has yet to be disproven. It’s confirmation bias. We are all guilty of it, but not as bad as believers.
End time predictions are another great example of this. There have been numerous “rapture” dates put forth by people over the centuries of when they thought god was coming back to take his followers to heaven and end the earth once and for all. You can read an article I wrote about this here and see how we have yet another one coming up soon. Some of these were made by otherwise intelligent people. Jehovah’s Witnesses continue to do this, and continue to get it wrong… they just make less specific predictions anymore. But, do people think about all the wrong dates? No. They just go on with their belief that he is still coming eventually, and arrogantly, most believe it will happen in their lifetime… I guess all the people that died before them weren’t special enough to be graced by god, but they are.
Stop letting people get away with this. It isn’t healthy. Modern thought allows us to look at things rationally. We examine all the evidence and make a sound decision. If all the evidence isn’t in yet, it’s ok to say, “I don’t know”. That’s much better than just jumping to the GOD ANSWER every time something new happens that we don’t yet have an explanation for. Give it time, like everything else, our best minds will figure it out soon enough. We have a pretty good track record here. Why did birds fall out of the sky and fish turn up dead? could be poison, weather, global warming, shock, electric storm, power lines, fireworks, disease… or GOD! Where do you want to place your bets? My money is on a scientifically explainable, rational, natural answer.