"In order to recognize an explanation as the best, you don't have to have an explanation of the explanation"

March 30 · 3 mins read

“Honestly, most of the stuff I find is better than the stuff I write, so why not pass it on?” — Derek Rishmawy (from the comments section of “Is Christianity Individualistic or Collectivist? “Yes” – C.S. Lewis and J. Gresham Machen”)


“Philosophers of science recognize that in order to recognize an explanation as the best, you don’t have to have an explanation of the explanation.”

That’s from William Lane Craig.

“In order to recognize an explanation as the best, you don’t have to have an explanation of the explanation.”

Said another way,

“You don’t have to have an explanation of the explanation in order to recognize that an explanation is the best.”

This kind of explanation was hinted by Greg Bahnsen in his debate with Gordon Stein:

For Dr. Stein to say, “well, these aren’t answers” doesn’t convince me at all. He says there aren’t going to be answers unless I include how it took place. What is God’s method, and why did he do it? Well, I don’t accept those standards. I don’t accept that this is a requirement for an explanation at all. And he doesn’t give us a good reason except that he’s not going to [be] satisfied or it’s unhelpful to him. — Greg Bahnsen

Examples:

“Suppose archeologists digging in the earth were to come across artifacts looking like arrowheads and pottery shards… it would obviously be justifiable to infer that these artifacts were the product of some lost tribe of people even if the archeologists have no idea whatsoever who these people were or how they came to be there.” —

“If astronauts were to discover pile of machinery on the back side of the moon, they would be justified in inferring that these were the products of intelligent design, even if they had no idea whatsoever where these machinery came from or who put it there.”

“In order to recognize that intelligent design is the best explanation of biological complexity, you don’t need to be able to explain the designer. That can be left an open question for future inquiry.”


“In order to recognize that explanation(x) is the best, you don’t need an explanation for explanation(x)”

“You don’t need an explanation of explanation(x) in order to realize that explanation(x) is the best”