An explanation is a set of statements constructed to describe a set of facts which clarifies the causes, context, and consequences of those facts.
The requirement that an explanation actually clarify the phenomenon under consideration is an important one: simply stated, an explanation of a given phenomenon must be based on better understood phenomena, not less understood ones. An explanation based on known phenomena usually allows for it to be tested and potentially falsified.
God as an explanation
The lack of a clear human comprehension of God, including his nature, attributes and existence, is why God is not a sound explanation of anything. For example, to explain the origin of human beings with the account in Genesis is to assume many entities and occurrences that are poorly understood, cannot be investigated further and provides no testable predictions. A non-predictive explanation is irrelevant to human existence. On the other hand, biology and evolution is relatively well understood and provides an explanation that can make future predictions. Because an explanation is predictive, it is also potentially useful.
God as an explanation also suffers from infinite regress because the explanation is more mysterious than the original phenomena and therefore requires a further explanation. This is the basis for the ultimate 747 gambit.
If God is an acceptable explanation for any phenomena, then so is Thor, fairies and the Easter bunny.
"God is a too palpably clumsy answer; an answer which shows a lack of delicacy towards us thinkers—fundamentally, even a crude prohibition to us: you shall not think!"
Some explanations simply restate the problem they try to explain. Such explanations are not meaningfully helpful.
- "opium induces sleep by virtue of its soporific power"
Principle of sufficient reason
- Main Article: Principle of sufficient reason
It is often assumed that everything has an explanation, at least in principle. However, this is only an assertion and is not easy to demonstrate. It is possible that brute facts exist that have no explanation.