A “Christian Agnostic”?

By Sean Pitman

Ervin Taylor

Ervin Taylor, Ph.D., is professor emeritus of anthropology at the University of California, Riverside. He is also a long-time supporter, executive publisher, and contributor to the “progressive” journal Adventist Today and is a fair representative of the face of “progressive” Adventism in general. As an ardent progressive Adventist, he has been a fairly active antagonist against some of the historic pillars of Adventism to include the efforts of this website to support and promote the stated goals and ideals of the Adventist church as an organization within our own schools – especially regarding the church’s position on origins.

It has never been a secret that Dr. Taylor is adamantly opposed to the Church’s position on a literal six-day creation week a few thousand years ago, promoting instead the mainstream evolutionary view of the origin of life over billions of years on this planet, or that he openly questions many of the other “fundamental” doctrinal positions of the Adventist Church.  At one of his lectures a few years back he was asked what he would tell his own granddaughter if she were to ask him for evidence of God’s existence, to which he replied, “I don’t know.”  Just yesterday he essentially repeated this very same agnostic perspective in one of his comments within this forum:

I have always been attracted to the position of Christian agnosticism. (Many, many years ago, at PUC I gave a talk with that title, as I recall, during a week of spiritual emphasis.) (Link)

What does it mean to be a “Christian agnostic”?  or an “Adventist in good and regular standing” when one believes in very few of the “fundamental” goals and ideals of the organized church?  And, perhaps more importantly, why would our own Adventists leadership invite a “Christian Agnostic” to come and regularly lecture our own young people, at schools like PUC and LSU, on the virtues of agnosticism?  to promote Christian ethics without promoting the promise and sold hope of Christ?  and the future reality of our world made new as it was originally intended to be (without the use of the evils of pain and death employed by natural selection or the ‘survival of the fittest’)?

Of course, when presented with specific questions regarding his various beliefs that directly undermine the fundamental positions of the church, Dr. Taylor, and others like him, argue that they believe in the “family model” of Adventism whereby one need not believe in or support the doctrinal positions of the church in order to be considered a good member or even an official representative of the church.  Evidently, one does not even need to be all to sure as to the evidence supporting God’s very existence to be a good “Adventist”.

Yet, when pressed, Dr. Taylor says, perhaps for political reasons in certain settings, that he does actually believe in God and in Jesus as the Son of God, born into this world from a virgin woman and raised from the dead after three days to ascend to heaven to intercede for us with the Father.  It seems strange to me, therefore, that Dr. Taylor and those like him seem so eager to accept the fantastic metaphysical claims of the Bible when it comes to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, but reject much of the rest of what the Bible claims regarding historical realities which seem to disagree with their own understanding of mainstream science.  How is the Bible remotely credible on the one hand while being so far off base on the other?

Dr. Taylor suggests that those who actually believe all of what the Bible claims about historical realities are living in Alice’s Wonderland.

If a belief in the what the Bible says about about the origin of life on this planet is like living in Alice’s Wonderland, then so is a belief in the far more fantastic metaphysical claims of the Bible regarding the origin of Jesus, born of God the Father to a virgin woman, raised from the dead after three days, and taken to Heaven to commence with the rest of the Plan of Salvation for those who claim to believe in such fairytale nonsense! – like Dr. Taylor!

Why do those like Dr. Taylor claim to live within one Wonderland, full of irrational baseless nonsense, but laugh at those who accept all of what the Wonderland Book has to say about the place?

I suggest that such individuals, as brilliant as they think they are, aren’t being consistent with themselves. They’re trying to fit within two “incommensurate worlds”. It simply doesn’t work… Mr. Hatter.


First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come… But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens existed and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed.

For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.

2 Peter 3:3-6; Isaiah 5:21; Proverbs 26:5; 1 Cor. 1:18

 

 

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701 thoughts on “A “Christian Agnostic”?

  1. @ken:

    I appreciate your comments. ‘Progressive’ Adventism is antithetical to conservative doctrine.

    “Progressive Adventism” is antithetical to itself. It is a self-defeating idea since the progressives, like Dr. Taylor, argue against everything that makes Adventism unique. They argue against all that separates Adventism from what already exists in non-denominational organizations that emphasize ethics while down playing the evidence for God’s existence, His detectable involvement in the universe and in one’s personal life, and the basis of Biblical credibility. In other words, they argue against everything that forms the very basis of our solid hope in the actually reality of the Gospel’s message of “Good News” for the future…

    In other words, if “progressives” are successful in their goals, within a couple generations there will be no more Adventist Church – progressive or otherwise. There will simply be more non-denominational organizations that emphasize popular ethics and mainstream science…

    What I’m saying here is that so-called ‘progressives’ within the church are indebted, for their very existence, to those Adventists who actually believe in and support the collectively unique doctrinal positions of the church.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  2. Dear Sheriff EE Droit

    I reckin’ you forgot about what I tole ya about the merit of Deputy Pitman tryin’ to hitch that reliable wagon of science to that mystery colt of faith? Does that seem like random ropin’ to ya’ all?

    Now ya’ll be careful about firin’ that ole silver bullet down that mixed metaphor mine of yours. You might find that place bigger than ya’ll thought and end up shootin’ some fine folks including that good ole girl Theresa.

    Hope I hit the target with that one pah’d, rather that just firin’ in the air.

    From the agnostic saloon
    Rawhide Ken

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  3. Hi Sean

    I’m not exactly sure what Erv believes. But in fairness what he sais was that he was ‘attracted’ to the position of Christian agnosticism and gave a talk on the subject, not that he necessarily was one.

    By the way I’d still love to see a live civil debate between you and Erv. I’d be very happy to moderate. Perhaps the question could be: Should FB# 6 be changed?

    As you know even though I am an agnostic, and not a Christian one, by the wikipedia defintion I have cited above, I am a defender and in favour of what you are attempting to do: prove faith with science. But I also think Erv is an honest man who sincerly believes what he does. And Bob, I think I can reassure you that the depth of my agnosticim runs as deep as you faith my friend. The existence and nature of reality , hence existence and nature of God, has been the chief occupation of my life. I hope you can take that on faith. In short I think honest people can believe different things and I always want to know why.

    I think the disparity in Adventist thought reperents a microcosm of the
    turmoil between faith and reason as a whole. And science iis the shiny, gleamng tool of ontological surgery. Over time it has sliced and diced many of my previously held phiolosophical concepts and laid them bare on coroner’s table of Reality. Do I think myself superior to those of Faith? No, in fact I am somewhat envious because I’d liike to rest from the constant enquiry. I venture Faith must be a great comfort but it is that very attraction that makes me wary as to whether it is a rose coloured prism to view reality. That is why I am so intrigued by your topic of intelligent design and whether it exists versus a universe formed randomly from a quantum fluctuation. Because the question will always remain why even though atheists consider it irrelevant.

    My father once said he learned far more from people he diaageed with than agreed with. I am very glad that you and Shane have seen fit to allow contributors of very different mind sets to post on Educate Truth, including Dr. Taylor. Like a great court case I think it is dialectical discourse where we will all get closer to the truth of reality. Yes, i know Dr. Kime, you plainly see the infantile Ken sitting on the Socratic knee, but we all got trained in some school of thought didn’t we?

    So on we go, and that is a good thing in a world where many do not care.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken
    How is the new baby my friend?

    Ken

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  4. Hi Bob

    What science did God employ to make the universe and living organisms?

    In fairness if you want to want to label evolution and an old earth as a fraud and a hoax it is incumbent upon you to come up with a tenable alternative. Isn’t that why the SDA set up the GRI? And the GRI has said there is no viable YEC model hasn’t it?

    I don’t mind your hyberbolic rhetoric about evolution.. The problem is if you do not rationally provide a viable altrnative, as Dr. Pitman is scientifically attempting to do, such dogmatic denial haa zero persuavive value on the ‘objective, candid reader’.

    So please Bob lay out your YEC model for our asessment.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

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  5. @Ken: • Hi pardna’,

    Test my theory that the grim Oxy-Christian Moron-Agnostic shoots to kill but the happy two-gun Knight Errant Agnostic just shoots? Start with Genesis 1? Again? Why do I think Genesis 1 accurate? Accurate of creation? Why? Creation as opposed to..no, not that again. Again? Don’t those questions prove my…? Must I spell it out? Res ipsa loquitur? Won’t people catch on to us great friends conspiring and scripting all this?

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  6. Yes, “Friend” is used in the bible by the way of sarcasm on several occasions. So, Jesus called Judas “friend” and the king asks, “Friend, how comest in here without a wedding garment.” No doubt other places may be found in this same context.

    How patronizing and “kind” of Ken to “turn the other cheek.”

    No true believer should be fooled by his duplicity. Nor his self proclaimed condecending attitude toward a Christian.

    Like Father Jim on the spectrum forum who assures all who will listen that his church is totally innocent of any and all the religious crimes of the past.

    And it is only bigoted Protestantism that would accuse his church of such terrible activities. And he receives many “amens” from more than a few deluded individuals who hold his same sentiment. Not a few claiming to be loyal bible believing SDA’s.

    No doubt the devil can project an attitude of love and good fellowship when it suits his purpose as he infilterates the Protestant community with an attitude of good will.

    But let me remind any and all who will listen and carefully consider what Jesus clearly said.

    “He who is not for me, is against me.”

    There is no neutral ground. There are no agnostic Christians. And agnostics are typical of the wishy-washy attitudes of unbelievers who project an air of open mindedness that is far from the reality.

    Rather, it is an excuse for unbelief with a self justifying attitude that if only someone could show them with undeniable evidence, they too would believe.

    I could consider Ken a “friend” in my neighborhood. A civil attitude based on civil righteousness. But he is no “friend” to my religion nor the bible.

    I have many “friends” who are not Christians. But they don’t come to my church expressing doubt, skepticism, and unbelief.

    I trust that at least some of you see and know the difference.

    Bill Sorensen

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  7. ken: Re Bill’s Quote”So I would say to Ken. Any agnostic is not my “friend” in any biblical discussion. And I doubt you are anyone’s “friend” who takes the bible seriously.”Hi BillWell Bill, that’s a shame. I guess I’ll just turn my other cheek and not hold that against you.~”This principle may be stated in various ways but they all amount to this: that it is wrong for a man to say that he is certain of the objective truth of any proposition unless he can produce evidence which logically justifies that certainty.”-Thomas HuxleyYour agnostic friendKen

    Huxley was an agnostic evolutionist. Why would we be interested in anything he had to say about “objective truth?”

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  8. ken: I appreciate your comments. ‘Progressive’ Adventism is antithetical to conservative doctrine. The question for Adventists is whether YEC or YLC is tenable in light of science. And, importantly, whose science?

    Given that the YEC model has the ONLY mechanism known to actual “science” that can create something from nothing or that can design and manufacture a complex system such as a computer – I see no problem with YEC and actual science.

    Letting the YEC model stand up against the blind-faith fictions of evolutionist who have no mechanism for creating or evolving life at all known to work in actual “science”, makes perfect sense (even given the rich history of hoax, fraud and deceit used to promote evolutionism over time.)

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  9. Dear Eddie

    Thank you very much! I was beginning to think that everyone saw me as a devil in a blue dress.

    Eddie, I have such a long way to go to even understand what it takes to be a good person but I believe the effort is worth while.

    Have a great Sabbath

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

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  10. ken: “Christian Agnostics (distinct from a Christian who is agnostic) practice a distinct form of agnosticism that applies only to the properties of God. They hold that it is difficult or impossible to be sure of anything beyond the basic tenets of the Christian faith. They believe that God exists, that Jesus has a special relationship with him and is in some way divine, that God should be worshiped and that humans should be compassionate toward one another. This belief system has deep roots in Judaism and the early days of the Church.[3]”

    Hi Ken:

    “Agnostic Christian” does not just appear to be an oxymoron, it genuinely is–one part of the expression negates the other.

    People nowadays seem to think that there are many ways to be saved. That isn’t Biblical; we don’t get to pick door #1, door #2, or door #3, etc. There is only ONE way to be saved and that is through Jesus Christ. He is the one who gave His life on the cross to be the remedy for sin. That is what salvation is all about. That is what it means to be a Christian–to follow Christ–to believe in Him. Agnostism is opposite of that. People who do not understand Christ or the Christian philosphy can write all the definitions they want, but that doesn’t make it the truth.

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  11. Re Bill’s Quote

    “So I would say to Ken. Any agnostic is not my “friend” in any biblical discussion. And I doubt you are anyone’s “friend” who takes the bible seriously.”

    Hi Bill

    Well Bill, that’s a shame. I guess I’ll just turn my other cheek and not hold that against you.

    ~

    “This principle may be stated in various ways but they all amount to this: that it is wrong for a man to say that he is certain of the objective truth of any proposition unless he can produce evidence which logically justifies that certainty.”

    -Thomas Huxley

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

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  12. In other words, if “progressives” are successful in their goals, within a couple generations there will be no more Adventist Church – progressive or otherwise. Sean Pitmanhttp://www.DetectingDesign.com

    Ryan Bell, Pastor of the Hollywood Adventist Church, on a podcast about two years ago, implied that the way progressives would take over the SDA Church is for the conservative members and leaders to either retire or die off, giving the younger, more modern progressives the opportunity to take over the SDA Church.

    However, as we see today, the growth of the SDA Church in Third World countries is putting a “monkey wrench” in Bell’s plans. Newer members tend to be actually more conservative, making Bell’s progressive group smaller and smaller. I wonder what Ryan’s new philosophy will be to counter this trend?

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  13. Dear Wes

    You got me right in the ticker with your best bullet yet.

    Yes I’ll be joining you in personam, otherwise betrayal would be res ipsa loquiter.

    “Wherefore art thou come”? Judas didn’t answer did he?

    Wes, if you will forgive me I need a little time to compose my personal post because I owe you full disclosure. I started last night but my draft was too self indulgent, egocentric, vain, sycophantic. etc. So I stopped and reread your post countless times to understand the privilege and wisdom you have afforded me. I know that did not come easy. The wrong reply will not only abuse and betray you but every other friend I have here. And from that there will be salvation, especially from the grim face in the mirror.

    I know I have to earn your trust and I hope you have a smidgen of faith that I will do so.

    Your grateful agnostic friend
    Ken

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  14. Ken: Hi Bob
    What science did God employ to make the universe and living organisms?

    How fun it would be to “be God” and figure that one out.

    So sad – we can’t “be God”.

    But we can “observe” that the making of complex systems (and books, and works of art and science) is done by “creators” every day – observable, repeatable, testable. A mechanism proven to work.

    But the evolutionist has only the “imaginary mechanism” whereby static genomes (in terms of coding genes) for eukaryote systems magically “acquire” new coding genes – despite our “observations in nature” to the contary.

    In fairness if you want to want to label evolution and an old earth as a fraud and a hoax it is incumbent upon you to come up with a tenable alternative.

    1. I keep offering the alternative to “making stuff up” when I point to proven success in observing that “creators create stuff that would not just happen on its own”. Observable, repeatable, testable.

    This is not the hard part.

    2. Fraud is a “bad thing” as it turns out – even if I were asleep or on vacation instead of posting on this thread.

    Here again – the “easy part”.

    So that means that Othaniel Marsh’s horse fraud printed by Simpson and on display in the Smithsonian to this very day – over 100 years later – is not “the best science” we can do.

    Here again – “this is the easy part”.

    But that “horse fraud” was one of many essential pieces needed to raise the religion of evolutionism to the level of blind-faith orthodoxy at the national academy of sciences.

    So far – I only state the obvious. More complex offerings await a cogent reply.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  15. Here is “another poster” on this board that Erv Taylor and Ken have found to fit their views of the Bible and of creation.

    A few years ago a poster calling himself “Bravus” came here from the clubadventist area and posted that he was SDA and yet felt free to declare Ellen White wrong when she reported what God told her in 3SG90-91, that the SDA church is wrong in its view of creation, that the doctrinal statements could be bent to serve the usages of evolutionism and that he was not saying this as an evolutionist but as an SDA.

    Over the years he finally did admit that he is speaking as an evolutionist.

    Recently Bravus posted this statement below – stating that he is no longer SDA – and listing the doctrinal areas where his views are in conflict with SDA doctrine.

    http://www.clubadventist.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/491719/Re_Why_I_am_a_former_SDA.html#Post491719

    At last after all these years he finally allows his outward profession of religious affiliation match his outward arguments against the Bible on creation and against the SDA church on a number of doctrinal points.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  16. @Sean Pitman:

    Talk about convergence. Sean is it just me or are your contributions here becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish from those from BobRyan?

    The passage you cite was from Jerry Fodor’s essay not from me. The reason I cited it was that you should be aware that questioning mechanism in no way questions the underlying basic premise, a point completely missed by those who would cite Fodor as evidence that scientist are increasingly rejecting evolution and orgin by common descent.

    I do think the evidence for descent from common ancestors is compelling but I have probably looked at some part of that evidence from the perspective of a practicing scientist who does not think science is the Devils work.

    In good faith I accept that the current scientific explanation of origins is likely to be a reasonable approximation of truth but is by no means exhaustive and will be questioned and refined as has happened for the last 200 years. You can call that story telling if you wish but do not be surprised if as a Pharyngula you are considered ignorant, and an “obtuse” creationist or merely a “body mechanic” lacking scientific credentials.

    In a remarkable desplay of projection You go on to say

    “Upon what basis is this effort motivated? Certainly it isn’t a scientific basis. Rather, it seems to me to be much more philosophically or religiously motivated. You seem to have a need, for some strange reason, to exclude God, or any kind of deliberate intelligent input, a priori from any possible involvement with the origin of life or its amazing functional complexity and diversity. That’s not science. That’s philosophy…”

    No the history of science over the last 300 years has been to try to explain the natural world by natural mechanism and natural law. Like Phillip Johnson you appear to want to overturn this tradition and return to a position of selectively filling in any gaps in knowledge with the metaphysical and a religious “God did it I believe it”.

    As a practitioner of science I accept the premise of methodological naturalism but unlike you I do not make any distinction between origins and any other area of science. In contrast you and many Adventists would happily accept methodological naturalism in embracing evidence based medicine but quarantine any understanding of the biology and origins of species from any naturalistic explanation. This at least to me seems capricious. To me you should really reject naturalistic medicine on the basis of the clear word of scripture.

    For you, God must be an all powerful God who can create with his voice but are happy to erode that understanding of an omnipotent God by recourse to natural explanation for disease in direct contradiction to Matt 17.

    For me God does not exist in our ignorance to fill the voids in our understanding but He exists at the centre of our lives as we accept citizenship in his Kingdom with his politic and ethic. Jesus was the very incarnation of God and the Christian ethic Grace and Love he communicated is the locus of Gods activity. I do not need to search for inadequacies in others or their philosophy to bolster my acceptance of God. He was in the revelation of God in Jesus.

    Like many others I have found I can with all intellectual honesty and without cognitive dissonance be both a disciple of Jesus and a scientist who practices methodological naturalism.

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  17. There is an element out there in cyber space sooo convinced that “God did not do what He said He did” that they do not want to hear anything God might have said about their own claims in that regard.

    No wonder we get they let out such a sour response to each reference to what God said in the 4th commandment, or Genesis 2:1-4 or 3SG 90-91 when it comes to the 7 day creation week.

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  18. Hello Sean and Pauluc

    The debate between yourselves has been marvellous. Both of you are making strong points and getting at the crux of the matter. We who are observing are getting an excellent education.

    There is far more than just science at play here, there is the philosophy of science and whether faith can play any part in it whatsoever. If science by its very definition excludes an exploration of intelligent design does science become a closed system? If a theory such as evolution does not yet have all the answers [exact mechanisms of molecular chemistry and genetics that connect fill in all the gaps on the tree of life] should it be branded as a fraud, a hoax, an atheistic conspiracy or a just so story? Does the ongoing credibility of Adventism require the empirical blend of faith and science or will such blend be toxic in light of the findings of main stream, peer reviewed science? Is Adventism going through the same process that all religions invariably go through when there is ideological disparities? Is a schism inevitable or even predisposed in light of a remnant philosophy?

    Interesting questions.

    It is oh so human to attempt to marginalize idealogues when there are ideological battles for the hearts, minds and souls of followers. Unfortunately I see a lot of that on the site. Yet I see honesty, humility, respect and yes …. Love as well.

    After careful consideration, even though to date I think evolution proposes the only viable scientific theory for the origins of life, I am prepared to lobby for, support and advance the discipline of intelligent design. I think it deserves a fair hearing and is a worthwhile pursuit.

    Pauluc, I hope you and others that present cogent arguments and science in support of evolution keep posting. Needless to say Dr. Pittman’s contributions to the discipline, if I may call it that, of intelligent design are invaluable for the betrothal of science and faith. As Dr. Kime has alluded, there may be some rich tapestry here that is being woven or perhaps it may all unravel into disparate threads.

    Time, as it always does, will tell.

    Live long and well.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

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  19. pauluc: Like many others I have found I can with all intellectual honesty and without cognitive dissonance be both a disciple of Jesus and a scientist who practices methodological naturalism

    That was the song and dance Bravus offerred up to us a few years ago – before he finally “came to terms with himself” and admitted to the obvious.

    http://www.clubadventist.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/topics/491719/Re_Why_I_am_a_former_SDA.html#Post491719

    good luck with that – however as P.Z Meyers pointed out – time will eventually “out you”.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  20. @Pauluc:

    It is, in short, one thing to wonder whether evolution happens; it’s quite another thing to wonder whether adaptation is the mechanism by which evolution happens. Well, evolution happens; the evidence that it does is overwhelming. I blush to have to say that so late in the day; but these are bitter times.”

    Now, was that so hard? Really? Thank you for finally admitting what I’ve been saying all along…

    Why is it always so difficult to get most evolutionists to admit, right upfront, that they have absolutely no idea how or by what mechanism evolution happens beyond low levels of functional complexity? As you’ve just highlighted, evolutionists are always very adamant that, because of shared similarities between all living things in a hierarchical pattern (aka: the Tree of Life) and their interpretations of the fossil record, common descent happened; that all life originated from a very simple common ancestor to produce all the diversity and complexity of life that we see today – all without the need for any intelligent input along the way. But, when it comes to actually demonstrating a viable mindless mechanism with such creative powers, powers to produce the high level functional differences found within living things (or even computer software programs), they’re completely at a loss. They have absolutely no idea (beyond fanciful just-so story telling that is).

    How can this be? If the reality of evolution is so clearly understood as a real “science”, then how can it be that there is no known mindless mechanism that has the power to explain the existence of very high levels of functional complexity?

    You guys simply assume that it happened. You tell your just-so stories about this morphing into that over vast periods of time by mindless mechanisms when you have no viable mechanism. No mechanism! How does this fact not cause you guys to take a step back? How are you so sure that the amazing functional complexities of living things must have been the result of a mindless process? – completely undirected by any form of outside intelligence? You simply don’t know beyond a great deal of bluster, smoke, and mirrors as far as I can tell. You’re just making it up as you go along telling just-so stories about how the mechanism must have been mindless. How can you tell these stories knowing, as you evidently do, that you have nothing, absolutely nothing, to back up your stories beyond statistically untenable extrapolations from very low levels of functional complexity?

    I’m sorry, but this isn’t what science is all about. Science produces testable hypotheses and theories that give rise to useful statistically-based degrees of predictive value. Where is the measurable predictive value to your assertion that a mindless mechanism did the job? Where is your science my friend?

    Unfortunately that is no explanatory model that could compete with a naturalistic models based on mutation, contingency/selection and stochastic processes [regarding the “organization of beta defensins”].

    You’re talking about the origin of patterns here without any consideration of the functionality of the systems themselves. When you start considering the origin of the actual functionality of systems within living things, at higher and higher-levels of functional complexity, your models based on “mutation, contingency/selection, and stochastic processes” are helpless beyond bluster and just-so story telling devoid of testable predictions. Where is your predictive value? Where is the demonstration of such evolution in action or even relevant statistical analysis for any of your suggested mindless mechanisms? Where is the science?

    What you’re trying to do is suggest that certain types of patterns are more consistent with a mindless naturalistic origin than with any kind of deliberate design. And, I would agree that various mindless mechanisms are indeed able to produce certain patterns that are evident in living things – to include the nested hierarchical patterns that are generally found throughout the “Tree of Life”. However, such patterns are not outside of the creative realm of deliberate design (as evidenced by various NHPs within computer systems such as object oriented programming and the like). How then does one tell the difference regarding the origin if these features in living things? If you actually had a viable mechanism that could explain not only the pattern of similarities evident in living things, but the existence of high-level functional differences, there would be no useful way to tell the difference and the most rational default would be in favor of mindless mechanisms producing the whole thing. However, the catch is that there is no known mindless mechanism that remotely comes close to producing higher-level functional systems. The only known creative force that is predictably able to produce such high-level functional systems in a reasonable amount of time is driven by deliberate intelligence – period. End of story.

    So, the evidence that is actually available strongly suggests that high levels of functional complexity only arise with the outside aid of deliberate intelligent design. Therefore, where is the science for your bald assertions to the contrary? Do you and other evolutionists simply have a need to remove life and its high levels of functional complexity from all possibility of having an intelligent origin? Upon what basis is this effort motivated? Certainly it isn’t a scientific basis. Rather, it seems to me to be much more philosophically or religiously motivated. You seem to have a need, for some strange reason, to exclude God, or any kind of deliberate intelligent input, a priori from any possible involvement with the origin of life or its amazing functional complexity and diversity. That’s not science. That’s philosophy…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  21. pauluc: No the history of science over the last 300 years has been to try to explain the natural world by natural mechanism and natural law. Like Phillip Johnson you appear to want to overturn this tradition and return to a position of selectively filling in any gaps in knowledge with the metaphysical and a religious “God did it I believe it”.

    ============ hmm where have we seen THAT one before?? —

    oh wait! I know —

    Collin Patterson – Paleontologist British Museum of Natural history speaking at the American Museum of Natural History in 1981 – said:

    Patterson – quotes Gillespie’s arguing that Christians
    “‘…holding creationist ideas could plead ignorance of the means and affirm only the fact,'”

    Patterson countered, “That seems to summarize the feeling I get in talking to evolutionists today. They plead ignorance of the means of transformation, but affirm only the fact: ‘Yes it has…we know it has taken place.'”

    “…Now I think that many people in this room would acknowledge that during the last few years, if you had thought about it at all, you’ve experienced a shift from evolution as knowledge to evolution as faith. I know that’s true of me, and I think it’s true of a good many of you in here…

    “…,Evolution not only conveys no knowledge, but seems somehow to convey anti-knowledge , apparent knowledge which is actually harmful to systematics…”

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  22. @Sean Pitman:

    Sean

    After castigating me for not “remotely reflecting the Adventist position” in the 3 short sentences of my precis and having “not much background in Adventism” you go on in 5 paragraphs to expound a view that I cannot see is any different to mine. Where precisely do I have the Adventist position in error?

    Perhaps my suggestion that a memory of our “soul” remains in the mind of God was a little too cryptic and went beyond the basics of the belief? But how else do you envisage the recreation of a person after cremation and scattering of the body in ashes on the sea?

    I know you do have a monolithic view of truth and that anyone that disagrees must therefore be wrong in all points but I do think it is OK at some point to agree.

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  23. @Ken: May I join you, friend, if but for a moment, in your familiar and established role of umpire-observer-judge-critic, this time of the current Pittman-Pauluc exchange? You have become known, and mostly beloved, on these pages as always the cheerful optimist, expecting that just a little more conversation surely must lead to a meeting of two sharp and well-informed minds, to convergence and identity of positions, once crystalline rarefied objectivity is allowed to take over, or imposed. I do not. I trust and hope not. Rather, the current P-P dialog, exceptionally and refreshingly clearly expressed on both sides (huzzah!), puts the finger on the refractoriness and irreducibility of the differences between the two positions, and vive la différence! So now I’m the optimist.

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  24. Ken: If a theory such as evolution does not yet have all the answers [exact mechanisms of molecular chemistry and genetics that connect fill in all the gaps on the tree of life] should it be branded as a fraud, a hoax, an atheistic conspiracy or a just so story?

    Classic revisionist history – taking us back to Ken on Educate Truth – day 1, hour 1, minute 1.

    But since that year we have pointed out that the hoax and fraud rich history of evolutionism includes frauds admitted by even atheist evolutionists themselves.

    Not merely Piltdown man – a great 40 year fraud – lasting from 1912 to 1953.

    But we also have the “over 50 year” long fraud of the pathetic horse series still on display at the Smithsonian – declared to be at one time “the BEST evidence of evolution” known to man and then later “a positive embarrassment” that never happened in nature”. Indeed this was a case of Othaniel Marsh simply “arranging fossils” to fit a story INSTEAD of showing us in what order fossils are actually found in the geologic column itself. So while it was presented as findings – it was in fact mere “story telling”.

    When Ernst Heckle was accused of “mere story telling” after his decades long fraud was exposed – his response was that he would feel bad about it except “everyone is doing it”.

    How right he was..

    And yet all this (and much more) is just “so many details to be ignored” in Ken’s dismissal of actual fact to claim that all we have is a case of “Evolutionists not yet having all the answers”.

    How sad that we have to continually circle back to year 1, hour 1, minute 1 as if none of this discussion over the intervening years had ever happened.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  25. @Nic Samojluk:

    I think that Bob’s answer was superb, yet ten bloggers voted his comments down. Is the voting system rigged somehow?

    The voting is not rigged. It is just that people tend to vote from the hip for or against a comment, before actually reading it, based only on who wrote it – not what was actually said in the particular comment at hand.

    This also happens on Talk.Origins – and pretty much all discussion forums. I did an experiment once where I re-posted a comment from a well-known evolutionist under my own name (on Talk.Origins). There was no end to the ridicule against the comment based simply on the assumption that I had actually written it. When I pointed out that I had not actually written the comment, that it was written by one of their own, the attempts at back-peddling were quite hilarious 😉

    I’m sure the same thing would happen here as well. That is why the allowance of “voting” for comments is really only a curiosity feature “just for fun” and really has little meaning aside, perhaps, from keeping track of how many people from opposing camps are actually following a particular thread.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  26. Hi Wes

    Vive le well articulated difference indeed ole friend! Whereto to know but to examine both positions with alacrity rather than ad hominem attack. Should that be the Christian fair minded way or do some have an exclusive franchise in that regard?

    Onwards in cheerful fashion, rich human tapestry indeed. 🙂

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

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  27. Hello Pauluc

    Thank you for very much for your insightful comments.

    Some on this site think I disparage faith. i do not. I find much to be admired in Adventism especially the advocation of a healthy lifestyle. In a world of obesity and addiction. Also I am a great admirer of the Christian faith regarding the espousal of unselfish love for one’s fellow man. In a predator/ prey world that principle militates against our biological nature and, when practiced, gives us grace.

    The ‘problem’ with any philosophy, system of thought, is that it is going to be challenged. I happen to think that is healthy and leads to positive change.

    Religion is especially interesting because change often comes through charismatics – messengers or prophets. Each religion jealously guards its own. Religion and free will clash becuase the indoctrination, vs the
    objective inquiry of same, happens at a young age. I remember, and do not resent, my Sunday school days very well! The cultural pressures on a child to accept the religious beliefs of their parents at a young age are enormous. I remember how my Catholic buddies all went to seperate schools ( in Canada) while the rest of us of myriad faiths or non faith were lumped into the public school system.

    That is why when it comes to Adventism,or any system of belief, I am so interested in a person’s background, especially their childhood, because it sets the stage for everything a person believes thereafter. That is why, at Dr. Kime’s prompting, I shared my own childhood and religious experiences so you can analyse likewise. No doubt being raised in a liberal household where I was encouragred to challenge belief and read voraciously set the tone for my burgeoning agnosticism. That is why I was fascinated to read about Dr. Kime’s childhood and big tent moment at a young age. Once a belief is in place, just like my agnosticism!, it is very, very difficult to change. With respect, I suspect that if Dr. Pitman was raised by a pastor that experience is likelynthe chief formative one in his life. Pauluc, I don’t know if you were raised as an Adventist or not and if so whether you were raised with fundamenatal or progressive theology. I’m interested though if you cafe to share.

    So when it comes to then investigation of empirical reality where does that leave all us childhood relativists as free thinkers? With the objective scapel of Science which cuts away relatavism and pre existing beliefs.

    This is why I asked Dr. Kime the question, and i put it respestfully to yourself as well: when you examine reality which has leads the way: Faith or Science? And in fairness to our friends on Educate Truth, is Adventism that allows for theistic evolution a new faith impossible tomreconcile with exisitng doctrine?

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

    So where does that leave all us ‘relative’ folks

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  28. @pauluc:

    The reason I cited it was that you should be aware that questioning mechanism in no way questions the underlying basic premise…

    What? Questioning the creative potential of the Darwinian mechanism in no way challenges the core belief that some as yet unknown mindless mechanism really did do the job? You do realize that Darwin would never have become famous if he had not presented a mindless mechanism as the engine of origins that seemed feasible to many scientists of his day and even of our day? If one undermines the Darwinian mechanism, or in any other way successfully challenges all known mindless mechanisms as far as their ability to produce higher levels of functional complexity, one seriously undermines the modern theory of evolution as well. That’s why so many evolutionists are so ardently opposed to Stephen Meyer’s excellent new book, Signature in the Cell.

    Remember now that Meyer, like you, believes in common descent (as do some other IDers like Behe, etc.). Meyer, like Behe and others, just believes that some form of intelligence must have been involved with the process of descent over time when it comes to explaining the origin of functional systems and meaningful information at higher levels of functional complexity. I see that as a clear step in the right direction…

    In any case, most evolutionists realize the problem that a lack of a viable mindless mechanism brings to evolutionism in general (not you of course). It is for this reason most hang onto the Darwinian mechanism of RM/NS so ardently despite its many fundamental flaws and very clear statistical limitations beyond very low levels of functional complexity – because they don’t know of any other option and because they are as devoted to the mistaken definitions of “methodological naturalism” that you are evidently using.

    Let me as you a simple question: How can you be so sure that a highly symmetrical polished granite cube had to have been deliberately designed, that no as yet unknown mindless mechanism is likely to be found that could do the job, while a rotary flagellar motility system in a bacterium was clearly produced by some as yet unknown mindless process over vast periods of time?

    Let’s look a bit at your appeal to your belief in “methodological naturalism” as a basis of science. Let’s assume that you’re correct; that methodological naturalism really is the basis of science. I ask you, where does methodological naturalism exclude the scientist’s ability to detect the need to invoke intelligent design to explain a given phenomenon? like a polished granite cube? or an arrowhead? or a murder victim? or a narrow band radio signal tagged with “the first 50 terms of the Fibonacci series”? You see, we are talking about ‘natural’ levels of intelligence here. After all, humans are both “natural” and “intelligent” and we have no problem detecting certain human activities vs. the mindless process of nature despite the fact that the ID hypothesis is being used. Even higher levels of intelligence beyond that currently attained by humans can theoretically be detected by science you know (just ask the anthropic scientists).

    One of your problems, when it comes to living things in particular, is that you continually confuse arguments for common descent with arguments for a mindless mechanism as the source of all forms of functional complexity. That’s not a valid scientific assumption. Demonstrating evidence for common descent isn’t the same thing as demonstrating that a mindless mechanism did the job. This notion is not an automatic scientific default nor is it testable or potentially falsifiable. If you don’t have a valid mindless mechanism to explain a given feature in nature, a feature that is known to be within the realm of deliberate design, why do you default toward believing that an as yet unknown mindless mechanism probably did the job? Where is the scientific justification for this conclusion?

    I ask, yet again, where is the science here? Where is the predictive value for this a priori assumption of mindless mechanism? – beyond just-so story telling and/or personal religious or philosophical preferences? Where is the evidence for the notion that any mindless mechanism can come remotely close to doing the job in what anyone would call a reasonable amount of time (i.e., something less than a trillion years)?

    One final thought. You cite your belief in Jesus as the Son of God, yet Jesus believed in the literal Genesis account of origins. He believed in a literal creation week, that all mankind descended from Adam and Eve who were created directly by God Himself. Jesus also claimed to have knowledge of His own pre-existence, to include direct personal knowledge of Abraham as well as Lucifer’s fall from Heaven – “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.” (Luke 10:18). Here we have something of a quandary. On the one hand we have Jesus, whom you yourself claim to be God, saying that He has direct knowledge of events that you, being just a human being, claim to have never taken place. How is it rational to believe in Jesus as God, yet, at the same time, believe that many of His claims to historical knowledge were absolutely false? Does this not make Him out to be a liar? Or, was he just overly affected by his human condition and surroundings? – a product of His times? – not truly having access to such privileged information as He seemed to claim?

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  29. Re Pauluc’s Quote

    “Apropos of your suggestion that childhood experience is an important determinant of ones later beliefs there have been a few papers over recent years (mostly cited in the paper below) in the area of psychology that have addressed aspects of ID.
    One of the most interesting has just been published in “Plos One” a Public library of science free online journal.

    Tracy JL, Hart J, Martens JP. Death and science: the existential underpinnings of belief in intelligent design and discomfort with evolution. PLoS ONE 2011;6(3):e17349.”

    Thanks very much Pauluc, I’ll be sure to read it and comment.

    Re Sean’s Quotes

    “The biggest problem is that NOMA allows only certain kinds of religion. Nearly all of the religions around the world would have to give up crucial parts of their belief systems. Gould said it’s fine to believe that God created all creatures through the laws of science but this is basically deism, considered atheism in Isaac Newton’s day.” – (*Provine commenting on Gould, *my emphasis)

    This is the precisely the agnostic point I have tried to make may times. Evolution or the Big Bang does not rule out the concept of God. We get in trouble when we claim a self limiting franchise on defining God or lack thereof. An evangelistic atheist is still evangelist, right? However Science’s great value over time is that it can disabuse us of antiquated notions of a Creator. i.e. Does anyone still worship the Sun anymore as a God? Is polytheism relevant in Greece anymore or has it been commonly acknowledged as fascinating, entertaining mythology?

    The problem is polemics not concepts. Why paint evolution as atheistic or intelligent design as creationist? Why not examine both concepts objectively. As an agnostic I think that can be done objectively.

    What is important is not what people believe but why they believe it. Do we think Newton’s mathematical equations on gravity are biased by his religious beliefs or have they stood the test of empirical time? Why do some label Darwin an atheist because of his observations, are incongruent with a literal understanding of creation? Because whether they are creationists or atheists it suits their political agenda. Why not just look at these ideas, including intelligent design, neutrally without a faith or non faith bias? I think Science, and objective practitioners of same can do so.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

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  30. @Sean Pitman:

    Sean

    You repeately use the term belief in characterizing my position on scientific evidences. I would much prefer the term acceptance. There is a distinction that is important in this argument as the not unreasonable definitions offered by Wikipedia help illustrate.

    Belief is the psychological state in which an individual holds a proposition or premise to be true.
    Acceptance is a person’s agreement to experience a situation, to follow a process or condition (often a negative or uncomfortable situation) without attempting to change it, protest, or exit.

    I accept the current models of human ancestory with the appropriate caveats that any scientist would impose because of the tentative nature of all scientific knowledge.
    I accept methodological naturalism as the cornerstone of science. If you do not you must then concede validity to any instance in any culture in which there is a claim to a divine explanation for some aspect of reality
    I accept that the universe has a long history written in the structures of the distant universe
    I accept that the earth has a long history written in the ice layers, the varves, the coral reefs, the trees and the isotopes of the earths crust
    I accept that there is a history of life written in the organisms trapped in the layers of the earths crust
    I accept that there is a history of life written in the common forms of extant life on the earth
    I accept that there is a history of life written in the genomic organization of extant life.
    I accept that these relationships are best understood in terms of genetic relatedness through common descent.
    I accept that man is the most self aware of living creatures and has the emergent property of mind
    I accept that man because of his mind is the most self aware of living creatures and can contemplate ultimate meaning and the transcendant.

    In contrast;

    I believe that the physical structure of the universe is not all that there is.
    I believe that the acts and miracles of God were manifest in the person of Jesus Christ who I believe was the transcendant God incarnate.
    I believe he was both man and God; manifesting the Grace and Love of God but human and subject to the same frailty and imperfect knowledge as man.
    I believe that we are called to be disciples that can take the ethic manifest in his life and death to order our lives as His followers.
    I believe that Christian discipleship has teeth and as Yoder and Bonhoeffer have indicated there is both a politic to the Kingdom of Heaven and a cost to that discipleship.
    I believe that the message of Grace is just that a message from God that transcends the secular beliefs and structures of society.
    I believe that the gospel of Grace can be tranformative both personally and societally but it does not depend on the premises of specific society or subculture.

    I suspect that you and I might largely agree on beliefs but you valiantly fight a rearguard action against the things I would simply accept as probably true but ultimately unimportant natural phenomena.

    I have never used the term mindless mechansisms as I really dont know what that means as an explanatory term. As best I can see it means not emanating from the mind. In biology there is no concept of mind outside a highly developed brain. So effectively the term is just another term for natural with added spin related to some preconception of design and manufacture. In keeping with the Adventist tradition I understand mind as a function of the human body and its particular configuration of neurons that gives rise to entities with agency. I am not cartesian in my understanding of mind. What you talk about in terms of design and intelligence is really derivative of human understanding and human pattern recognition. Distinguishing beteen designed and natural is really conditioned by classification schemes of the human mind.

    What is different between your polished cube and a pyrite crystal? Would a person unfamiliar with crystal structure think there was any difference between gypsum, quartz or tesselated pavement and your granite cube and which would they really think was man made?

    Is the perfect inverted cone at the entrance to an ants nest designed with foresight with an understanding of geometry or purpose? Is the positioning of structures within the ant colony intelligent and designed? Do things like the specific positioning of the cemetery and trash heap and the priorities in the efficient use of food sources mindful?

    I am in no way denigrating the sense of awe and wonder and the beauty that I see in the world at every level from the macroscopic to microscopic but I do not think these issues have any evidentiary value in the process of understanding natural processes or in creating models of biological processes or origins.

    Like all the prophets before Him Jesus’ use of popular concepts and citation of the work of others does not constitute an endorsement of or elevation of the cited work to absolute truth in every detail. He cited the tower falling on in Siloam on 18 (Luke 13:4). Does this mean that it definitely occurred rather than a parable? He cited the Samaritan helping a Jew attacked on the way to Jericho (Luke 10:30). Does that mean this man definitely existed?
    Do we accept all of the book(s) of Enoch because Enoch is cited as a prophet in Jude 14?
    Was Matthew or Jesus wrong when He is recorded (Matt 10:23) as saying they would not travel through all the town of Israel of Judea before the coming of the Son of Man? Was Matthew or Jesus incorrect in indicating the destruction of Jerusalem was the same as the end of the world (Matt 24)?

    If you apply the same rigor and scrutiny to the understanding the text of scripture as you seem to apply to scientific literature I suspect you would formulate a more nuance view of revelation than the fundamentalist view of inerrancy that sees only absolutely truth or a God that is a liar.

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  31. @pauluc:

    What is different between your polished cube and a pyrite crystal? Would a person unfamiliar with crystal structure think there was any difference between gypsum, quartz or tesselated pavement and your granite cube and which would they really think was man made?

    As already explained, the scientific detection of design requires one to spend some time investigating the material in question as it relates to known mindless (without apparent deliberate thought or intelligence) processes of nature. One cannot simply look at something and determine that it was or was not most likely designed without such prior investigative experience. That is, after all, a fundamental aspect of real science – doing some actual investigative work.

    Why else do you think I use the material of granite, in particular, in the shape of a highly symmetrical polished cube to illustrate my point of design? Obviously, it is because those with even a little experience with the material of granite know that it is not formed into such a shape outside of the input of deliberate design.

    Is the perfect inverted cone at the entrance to an ants nest designed with foresight with an understanding of geometry or purpose? Is the positioning of structures within the ant colony intelligent and designed? Do things like the specific positioning of the cemetery and trash heap and the priorities in the efficient use of food sources mindful?

    Is a new car that was produced on an automated assembly line entirely by mindless computers and robots really the product of “nature” outside of any intelligent input or foresight? To whom or to what do you give the credit for the existence of the car you drive? – the mindless robots that directly made your car, or the very intelligent designer(s) who made the robots?

    You see, just because an ant may not itself have an intelligent mind (like my laptop computer) this does not mean that the abilities of the ant are therefore not themselves detectable as being the evident result of an intelligent mind. This is part of the problem with your understanding of “methodological naturalism”. Real scientific methodologies in no way prevent one, a priori, from detecting the need to invoke theories of intelligent design to explain various features of nature – to include certain features of living things.

    I am in no way denigrating the sense of awe and wonder and the beauty that I see in the world at every level from the macroscopic to microscopic but I do not think these issues have any evidentiary value in the process of understanding natural processes or in creating models of biological processes or origins.

    Tell me then, how are you able to tell that a highly symmetrical polished granite cube was clearly designed with deliberate foresight and intelligence? – even if happened to be found on an alien planet like Mars by one of our rovers?

    You simply aren’t being consistent here. The detection of intelligence behind certain features of the natural world is indeed within the realm of science. The scientific methods used to detect intelligence can be universally applied to all things within the natural world – to include living things. If certain features of living things meet the scientific basis of determining the intelligent origin of artifacts, then upon what basis are living things excluded from such a determination? – outside of non-scientific motivations of personal philosophy and/or religion?

    Like all the prophets before Him Jesus’ use of popular concepts and citation of the work of others does not constitute an endorsement of or elevation of the cited work to absolute truth in every detail. He cited the tower falling on in Siloam on 18 (Luke 13:4). Does this mean that it definitely occurred rather than a parable? He cited the Samaritan helping a Jew attacked on the way to Jericho (Luke 10:30). Does that mean this man definitely existed?

    As already noted for you, Jesus spoke in the language of personal experience – not just in quoting the works or words of others. He claimed to have pre-existence – to have personally witnessed far distant historical events. That, I would think, is a problem for your position.

    As an aside, yes, the historical events of the “Good Samaritan” or the accident in Siloam are believed to be real historical events well known to those to whom Jesus spoke. They were not parables nor where they intended to be taken as such.

    Was Matthew or Jesus wrong when He is recorded (Matt 10:23) as saying they would not travel through all the town of Israel of Judea before the coming of the Son of Man? Was Matthew or Jesus incorrect in indicating the destruction of Jerusalem was the same as the end of the world (Matt 24)?

    You are quoting prophetic statements here, not statements regarding historical facts. For many biblical prophecies there is a conditional element involved (beyond the potential error of interpreting prophecies to begin with – to include the fact that for the Jewish mind of that day the destruction of Jerusalem was equivalent to the end of the world. So, Jesus mercifully merged the two events into one account).

    “It was not the will of God that the coming of Christ should be thus delayed… But those to whom it was first preached, went not in ‘because of unbelief’ (Heb. 3:19). Their hearts were filled with murmuring, rebellion, and hatred, and He could not fulfill His covenant with them… [Otherwise] Christ would have come ere this to receive His people to their reward.” – White, SM, B1, p. 67-69.

    If you apply the same rigor and scrutiny to the understanding the text of scripture as you seem to apply to scientific literature I suspect you would formulate a more nuance view of revelation than the fundamentalist view of inerrancy that sees only absolutely truth or a God that is a liar.

    If someone directly claims to have pre-existence, to have seen various historical events, and those events are shown to be quite different from what was described, what does that naturally do to the credibility of the witness?

    I’m sorry, but it seems to me that your attitude here is very much in line with “fundamentalist” concepts of faith regardless of empirical evidence. Upon what basis do you believe that Jesus was in fact God incarnate? or that He will come again to take you to Heaven? – if much of what He said, claimed for himself, and evidently believed, was so clearly contrary to what you believe or “accept” that “science” is telling you? How can your God have been so far out of touch with reality and yet be trusted, in any sort of rational way, with regard to any of the other fantastic metaphysical claims that He made about your own future after this life?

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  32. @Sean Pitman:

    Sean PitmanNovember 15, 2011 at 7:01 am

    “@Nic Samojluk:

    I think that Bob’s answer was superb, yet ten bloggers voted his comments down. Is the voting system rigged somehow?

    The voting is not rigged. It is just that people tend to vote from the hip for or against a comment, before actually reading it, based only on who wrote it – not what was actually said in the particular comment at hand.

    This also happens on Talk.Origins – and pretty much all discussion forums. I did an experiment once where I re-posted a comment from a well-known evolutionist under my own name (on Talk.Origins). There was no end to the ridicule against the comment based simply on the assumption that I had actually written it. When I pointed out that I had not actually written the comment, that it was written by one of their own, the attempts at back-peddling were quite hilarious

    I’m sure the same thing would happen here as well. That is why the allowance of “voting” for comments is really only a curiosity feature “just for fun” and really has little meaning aside, perhaps, from keeping track of how many people from opposing camps are actually following a particular thread.”

    *********
    Thanks, Sean. You are so right! Perhaps I should pay less attention to the number of votes posted next to bloggers’ comments!

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  33. Ken:
    Hello Pauluc

    Regarding another topic raised by your comments I found the Adventist concept of’soul’ quite fascinating. Does this mean at rapture one keeps the body one has at that point in time?

    No. In 1Cor 15 (last half of chapter), and in 2Cor 5:1-8 we are told that the saints (even the living ones) are “changed” and that his corruptible must put on incorruption. This mortal must put in immortality.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  34. @pauluc:

    The Adventist View of the Soul and Death

    The loss of the breath or spark of life from the body results not in a disembodied soul seperate from the body going off to live forever but in nothingness. Perhaps one can conceive of the individual existing within the mind of God since adventists do conceive of a resurrection but there is certainly no dualism with a body and a independent and persisting soul seen in most of Christianity. In Adventism the soul or the mind is supervenient or an emergent property of the body.

    Note (11/14/11 at 1:18 pm): The following comments were based on my misunderstanding of Pauluc’s statement and true position, which is, I must say upon re-review, a correct description of the Adventist position on the state of the dead. My apologies to Pauluc for misreading him in this case. – sp

    You must not have much of a background in Adventism because your statements do not remotely reflect the position of the Adventist Church regarding the nature of the soul or the state of the dead. Also, most Christians within other denominations do indeed believe in some sort of conscious existence of the soul after the death of the body.

    In contrast, Aventists do not believe in a “independent and persisting soul” after death. Adventists believe that the soul only exists in combination with the body and the “breath” of God which gives life to the body. Only in combination of the body and the breath does the “soul” or “life” or “personhood” of the individual exist.

    To repeat, Adventists do not believe in consciousness after death or in an independent living eternal soul. When a person’s body dies, so dies the soul and any mental capacity that the person ever had in life. The person “sleeps” in an unconscious state in death until the resurrection day when God will re-create the body and put the breath of life back into it and the “soul” will then live again within the body – but not before. The thoughts of the person will start up, at the resurrection, where they ended just before death. In other words, death will be like time travel where there is no conscious appreciation of the passage of time between the time of death and the day of resurrection.

    The wages of sin is death. But God, who alone is immortal, will grant eternal life to His redeemed. Until that day death is an unconscious state for all people. When Christ, who is our life, appears, the resurrected righteous and the living righteous will be glorified and caught up to meet their Lord. The second resurrection, the resurrection of the unrighteous, will take place a thousand years later. (Rom. 6:23; 1 Tim. 6:15, 16; Eccl. 9:5, 6; Ps. 146:3, 4; John 11:11-14; Col. 3:4; 1 Cor. 15:51-54; 1 Thess. 4:13-17; John 5:28, 29; Rev. 20:1-10.)

    http://www.adventist.org/beliefs/fundamental/

    With respect to Ken’s question:

    Regarding another topic raised by your comments I found the Adventist concept of ‘soul’ quite fascinating. Does this mean at rapture one keeps the body one has at that point in time?

    Adventists do not believe in a “rapture” as other denominations present this concept. Rather Adventists believe that the righteous dead will remain dead until the second coming of Jesus, at which point they will be raised to life and taken together with the living righteous with God to Heaven. All the righteous will be given new “glorified” bodies.

    Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed — in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. – 1 Corinthians 15:51-52

    The living wicked will all be killed by the brightness of the coming of Jesus and will remain dead until the third coming of Jesus where judgement will be passed on the wicked and they will receive their reward – i.e., eternal death (not eternal torment as many denominations believe).

    After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. – 1 Thessalonians 4:17

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  35. The good doctor is entitled to his opinion but I just wish he wouldn’t call himself a SDA. Does anyone know whether the word “ADVENTIST” is trade-marked by the GC? If it is, “Adventist Today” should be asked to change its name. I know ” Seventh day Adventist” is.

    Chris. CHAN

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  36. Re Christian Agnosticism

    I must admit I was curious about this term which would seem to be a oxymoron. Below is what I found on Wikipedia on the subject. Hope it helps the discussion.

    “Christian Agnostics (distinct from a Christian who is agnostic) practice a distinct form of agnosticism that applies only to the properties of God. They hold that it is difficult or impossible to be sure of anything beyond the basic tenets of the Christian faith. They believe that God exists, that Jesus has a special relationship with him and is in some way divine, that God should be worshiped and that humans should be compassionate toward one another. This belief system has deep roots in Judaism and the early days of the Church.[3]”

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

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  37. Dear all

    All attacks on agnosticism are most welcome. We, or maybe only I, are the smallest remnant at Educate Truth, but an enthusiastic participant all the same.

    Frankly I’d be worried if agnosticism ever got put up upon an unassaible pedastel. Its own ability to doubt Itself will likely prevent it from reaching the status of Faith.

    By all means mock it, ridicule it and treat it with contempt. I likely won’t take my drink of cyber hemlock for a while though.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

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  38. Wayne said…..

    “The officials of the Adventist church from the top down, including the educational institutions will be responsible for any lost souls who learned from the people who are teaching them error.”

    That’s exactly right, Wayne. Our church leaders are far more culpable than the deceivers they allow to have influence and authority in the SDA church.

    If EGW was alive, she would kick their “spiritual butts” out of the church and oppose and expose the duplicity in no uncertain terms.

    Even when Dr. Kellogg was the White’s friend, it did not influence them to patronize his book “Living Temple” in the name of “academic freedom”. She expose his false doctrine and stated his name in doing so. And finally, Wayne, you are equally correct when you stated…..

    “When I came into the truth that the Adventist church taught back in the ’70′s, I made a committment to the truth in the Bible not the church, and I, today will stand on the truth of the scriptures, not what the “church” teaches, or any educational institution. One is to compare what the truth is by the scriptures…..”

    “There is NO fence sitting. Either you are on the side of Christ or the side of the devil. There is no middle ground.”

    When the gospel is not defined in its true biblical context, the result is exactly what we see in the church today.

    Keep the faith.

    Bill Sorensen

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  39. Ken: Ken October 24, 2011 at 7:53 am

    Dear all

    All attacks on agnosticism are most welcome. We, or maybe only I, are the smallest remnant at Educate Truth, but an enthusiastic participant all the same.

    You raise the question of honest up-front agnosticism (something you claim to hold to ) vs those who are trying to “have it both ways” in their so-called “Christian agnosticism”.

    There is no question but that true agnosticism would be an interesting topic to discuss.

    However I do not see that as the topic of this particular thread. At least not based on the opening post.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  40. While I’m at it, an idle comment: Is it just me, or does there seem to be more and more “negative” checks on the comments posted by the hyperorthodox of late on this site? Interesting.

    What is more interesting to me is that you “predicted” well over a year ago that ET would be DOA by now. Would you like to “recalculate” from your prophetic calendar?

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  41. pauluc: Like all the prophets before Him Jesus’ use of popular concepts and citation of the work of others does not constitute an endorsement of or elevation of the cited work to absolute truth in every detail. He cited the tower falling on in Siloam on 18 (Luke 13:4). Does this mean that it definitely occurred rather than a parable? He cited the Samaritan helping a Jew attacked on the way to Jericho (Luke 10:30). Does that mean this man definitely existed?

    Is this the part where we get to just “make stuff up”?

    Does the falling tower incident even make sense to the objective reader if not real?

    Why invent incongruent scenarios as if this was helping your “belief”?

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  42. @ken:

    I can say for myself I don’t feel the need to invoke life hereafter to give meaning to life. Procreation gives life meaning. When I go, part of me lives on in my children. Look how every species strives to propagate. Is there not great meaning in that beyond our own fear of personal mortality?

    Your offspring may live on for a while, in a very painful and even evil world. But, ultimately, without a hope of God or of a better life beyond this one for those who would love God, both you and your offspring will all die off – as will this universe in which we live. What’s the point if all life will ultimately end in oblivion without the hope of something eternal and good? – without God?

    Where is the ultimate meaning in that? – beyond living for today and what little joy you can take from the here and now? Where is the ultimate purpose when there is no eternity for you or for anything you care about?

    But when it comes to Mankind’s empirical examination of reality I think we need to rule out the desire for immortality – who do we think we are Gods 🙂 – to not colour our objectivity with prisms of fear or desire.

    If you have no desires of any kind, what’s the point? You’re not human if you have no desires… are you? I know that eastern religions paint human desires, even human thoughts and emotions, as something from which to be free (which, ironically, is itself a desire – a desire to do away with pain and suffering in one’s own personal experience). But, by this method, you also do away with essential elements of human existence.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  43. Re Sean’s Quote

    “Without the hope of God or an eternal life in a better place after we die in this life, upon what basis is there any real ultimate meaning or purpose to life?

    Sean Pitman”

    Hi Sean

    Sublimely stated. For each individual the existential answer will vary.

    I can say for myself I don’t feel the need to invoke life hereafter to give meaning to life. Procreation gives life meaning. When I go, part of me lives on in my children. Look how every species strives to propagate. Is there not great meaning in that beyond our own fear of personal mortality?

    But when it comes to Mankind’s empirical examination of reality I think we need to rule out the desire for immortality – who do we think we are Gods 🙂 – to not colour our objectivity with prisms of fear or desire.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

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  44. pauluc: ID is most interesting not because of its lack of conformation to the normal rules of science but because of the issues about the attraction it has for its adherents.

    I think ID is interesting because it is a science fully embraced by all true branches of “hard science” where observations in nature actually count for something – and is only excluded by blind-faith evolutionists.

    ID works for things like scanning radio bands for signs of a signal that would likely be a radio station vs a very strong static signal coming from a power line overhead.

    ID works for the example Sean gave – and modified/magnified by stating it as “houses found on Mars”.

    ID works for things like art, books, science experiments, writing software etc.

    The only place ID does not work – is in the religious halls of those who cling to the faith “there is no god – so no designer” as the atheist and world famous cosmologist Martin Reese pointed out for us and as the world renown physicist Leonard Susskind also pointed out. In their example they show how observations in nature that drive the truly determined atheist toward the conclusion for ID – are to be rejected out of hand.

    But then – you had to actually click on the link and look at their statements on their own video program to “get their point”.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  45. @ken:

    Ken
    some points
    1 If there was any lingering doubt about the religious nature of IDT after Behes testamony in the Dover court case I think the post here dispel it. IDT has to me only ever been a sophisticated God of the gaps an historically verifiable losing proposition
    2 What surprises me is the willingness to privege the new athiests with expertise on religion and the deference given to dawkins
    3 I am not sure Sean appreciates the difference between hope and meaning. Many in the presence of mortality salience find that some meaning is enough. Why and why me are questions asked in a medical and existential context snd in the former a naturalistic explanation is enough to give comfort. “At least we know”
    4 For myself I find meaning in the community of faith the body of Christ of which the Adventist community is part. The two books that have been most helpful in my appreciation of christian community are Bonhoeffers life together and yoders the politics of Jesus.
    They give me a perspective that allows me to see that it not about the way I am accepted by Faith Bob Ryan David Read Sean Kevin Peterson or Your Friend but how I treat them. How do I manifest the Grace of God.
    Family and progeny are of course important but the moments of transcendence to me comes through contemplatation of the Christ of Phillipans 2 and translating those moments of transcendence into some sort of reality
    I make no apology for the essentialky mystical nature of my religuous experience. Mystical I understand but as scientist I must can only accept the supernatural by faith.

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  46. @Ken:

    ID is most interesting not because of its lack of conformation to the normal rules of science but because of the issues about the attraction it has for its adherents.
    Apropos of your suggestion that childhood experience is an important determinant of ones later beliefs there have been a few papers over recent years (mostly cited in the paper below) in the area of psychology that have addressed aspects of ID.
    One of the most interesting has just been published in “Plos One” a Public library of science free online journal.

    Tracy JL, Hart J, Martens JP. Death and science: the existential underpinnings of belief in intelligent design and discomfort with evolution. PLoS ONE 2011;6(3):e17349.

    In this paper Tracy et al look at the relationship between changes in mortality salience and response to Evolutionary Theory ET or Intelligent Design Theory IDT. What they find is that increasing mortality salience is a driver to embracing theories that give life meaning and that IDT is attractive beyond the confines of religious belief because it it religion “neutral” and “scientific”. In the academe however where the creationist origins of IDT are recognized ET remains more attractive. . In contrast among students ET is more firmly embraced for its meaning in the face of increase in mortality salience. This nicely encapsulates the evangelical zeal I have increasingly seen acolytes of Richard Dawkins and the new atheists who embrace ET as a antidote to the nihlism that characterized the “old” atheists and gives meaning in the present of mortality salience. The most recent was a taxi drive who started an unprovoked discourse on the parlous state of the world, attributed it to christianity the source of all wars and preached the virtue of ralionality and atheism.

    This paper I think nicely encapsulates the tangential arguments on this site on death, the soul and Adventist belief. Clearly Adventist belief has from the beginning manifest a high degree of mortality salience which has been reinforced by its forms of evangelism and eschatology.

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  47. pauluc: 1 If there was any lingering doubt about the religious nature of IDT after Behes testamony in the Dover court case I think the post here dispel it. IDT has to me only ever been a sophisticated God of the gaps an historically verifiable losing proposition

    If there is any lingering doubt about the atheist nature of blind-faith-evolutionism after Dawkins, Provine and Meyers on camera statements to the world in Ben Stein’s interview with them – then it is only in the minds of those who refuse to look at the interview they provide to the entire world.

    In those cases their diehard refusal to believe those on camera statements is simply a case of “a man convinced against his will – of the same opinion still”.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  48. @ken:

    This is the precisely the agnostic point I have tried to make may times. Evolution or the Big Bang does not rule out the concept of God.

    You missed the part about agnosticism for the naturalist being a form of effective-atheism.

    The idea that the origin of everything that exists in this universe can ultimately be explained without the need to invoke intelligence of any kind, much less a level of intelligence and creative power that would be considered God-like, rules out the possibility of detecting the rational need for God’s existence to explain anything. So, while a God might exist, his existence is undetectable from this perspective.

    What good is an undetectable God? – a God who doesn’t do anything that anyone could recognize as ultimately requiring anything more than the usual products of mindless natural interactions?

    You see, if the existence of God is no more detectable than the existence of little green men in the middle of the moon, then one might as well be an atheist rather than be agnostic with regard to the existence of God and little green men in middle of the moon…

    This is, in short, the point that Provine and Dawkins were trying to make. Deism and the agnosticism of scientists like Gould, is, for all practical purposes, effective atheism… something that Darwin himself understood perfectly well.

    You keep trying to maintain your claim that your agnosticism is actually a form of anti-bias – that it makes you neutral on the topic of faith and science. In reality, of course, it does no such thing since your form of agnosticism is also effective atheism. After all, for you the concept of God is no more real or useful than is the potential existence of garden fairies or little green men in the middle of the moon. Such a view has its own biases and faith-based assumptions or leaps of logic. There simply is no escaping the use of faith when one forms any opinion about anything regarding the world in which we live. Science itself requires leaps of faith to be taken beyond that which can be absolutely known or proven.

    Pauluc calls this a difference between “beliefs” and ideas that are just “accepted.” In reality, both his “beliefs” and his “acceptance” of certain theories as most likely true are both faith-based to one degree or another. The only real difference, of course, is the distance one feels one is jumping when coming to a particular conclusion regarding potential empirical reality in this or that field of thought.

    Now, I do agree with you that science may indeed be able to refine one’s view of God’s existence or non-existence over time. However, as with the highly symmetrical polished granite cube discussed above, additional scientific evidence may only serve to more firmly establish the need for an intelligent agent to adequately explain various features of the universe within which we live. Science may even have the power to further characterize certain features of this intelligent agent, such as a potential motives, character, habits, likes, dislikes, etc…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  49. Re Little Green Men

    Sean’s Question

    “Let me ask you a hypothetical question:

    Let’s say that one of our rovers on Mars happened to come across a highly symmetrical polished granite cube that measures 1 meter on each side. Let’s say that in the middle of each face on the cube there happened to be a geometric carving that measures 10 cm in diameter.”

    Ken’s Answer

    “I would think at first blush that someone had made the cube if such a cube wasn’t normally found in nature. ”

    Commentary on your agnostic friend

    “And the observing agnostic friend might be tempted to claim “well then complex houses of that sort must occur naturally in the rocks and sand of Mars — err… umm… somehow, because there are sooo many of them”.

    For the rest of us – it would be a sign of Martians – very smart ones.”

    Help, help the Martians are not only building granite cubes and houses but also implying the position of your agnostic friend! Man, who designed those little green fellas? God sure has a good sense of humour! 🙂

    I support ‘Green’ Agnosticism
    Ken

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  50. Sean&#032Pitman: What good is an undetectable God? – a God who doesn’t do anything that anyone could recognize as ultimately requiring anything more than the usual products of mindless natural interactions?

    Some atheists may agree with you here – while others may differ.

    But Christians who actually read the Bible will agree with your statement – because of what they find in Romans 1.

    Where Paul states that the “invisible attributes of God are CLEARLY SEEN in the THINGS that have been made”. – and he says that this is the case with “barbarians” in Romans 1 – meaning those with no access to the Christian Bible at all.

    How sad that the LSU biology department would pretend to be more clueless about what is “clearly seen in the things that have been made” (even for those with no Bible at all) – than God says the atheists are.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  51. pauluc: In good faith I accept that the current scientific explanation of origins is likely to be a reasonable approximation of truth but is by no means exhaustive and will be questioned and refined as has happened for the last 200 years. You can call that story telling if you wish but do not be surprised if as a Pharyngula you are considered ignorant, and an “obtuse” creationist or merely a “body mechanic” lacking scientific credentials

    Sounds like the standard “SNL tells me who to vote for” logic at work again.

    It is fascinating that you stoop to that level of discourse – arguing that the atheist run Pharyngula (P. Z. Meyers) is the standard for determining what is science fact while ignoring the on-camera interview that Meyers gives where he admits to the Christianity destroying effect of blind faith evolutionism.

    Since when is the howling and cackles of Pharyngula ever considered to be a reference or standard for objectivity when it comes to giving a fair hearing to views not in harmony with blind faith atheist evolutionism??

    You demonstrate a lack of objectivity in that is more transparent than you seem to imagine.

    Clearly – the atheist masters of blind faith evolutionism pursue the same course that 3SG90-91 claims is the true agenda of the TE POV.

    When will the evolutionist “friends and family” group be able to master an ounce of objectivity here?

    We are still waiting.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  52. To Sherriff Kime

    Still standing out here on Origins Street asking directions.

    However I looked down at my holsters and saw my six shooters were missin’. Was that you pah’d, or maybe Miss Lydian or Deputy Eddie, or the Universal Marshall? You fine folks have a way of disarmin’ a feller.

    Dang ole question marks anyway. Oh well guess I’ll try to make a lasso out of them and rope me some wily truth.

    Ken wearing the black Stetson

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  53. @ken: Re. yours of Oct 3, 12:05 AM, 4:29, 4:56 PM, re. http://www.metabolismo.biz/web/wp-content/uploads/Krebs-cycle.pdf, (“Evolution of the enzymes etc. etc.”) about which you besought our guidance.

    Friend, hast thou hung out with us so long and yet require guidance against every googley little http://evo/puff/puff/bulismo\risible.reducibility.//^\buzz//tweettweet.HTML.pdf.?

    But seriously, without the standard evolocutionary plug-ins (“During the origin and evolution of metabolism, in the first cells, when a need arises for a new pathway…”) encrusting the otherwise ever-expanding and ever-more glorious Cycle, what is needed is not guidance but exuberance.

    No wait! You already got guidance from Enrique Mele ́ndez-Hevia, Thomas G. Waddell, Marta Cascante, when they slipped this in — or slipped and let it in: “In this case, a chemical engineer who was looking for the best design of the process could not have found a better design than the cycle which works in living cells.” How did that get in there?

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  54. Hi Sean

    Thanks for your comments regarding evolving new genes with novel functions. That seemed to me be what the literature was saying in contrast to Bob’s point that this did not happen. It seems that coding genes do evolve in genomes, at least in fruit flies.

    I appreciate your caveat as to the limits of novel complexity that such phenomena will cause. This seems to be in line with Behe’s argument of irreducible complexity but I don’t want to put words in your mouth. Am I getting the gist of your argument?

    As a laymen I have no expertise in this area but I am keen to learn and will keep looking at the extant literature. Unfortunately with Bob I’m finding the discussion is devolving into polemics and mischaracterization of what is being said. Bob, rather than pointing fingers, I want apologize for my contribution to such methodology and ask for your forgiveness. However I don’t think I can rationally debate anything anymore with you so I’ll refrain from future comments on your posts. In that sense you have won my friend!

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

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  55. Sean&#032Pitman: Telemerase is not the only factor in aging or the “negligible senescence” that certain animals are able to achieve – not by a long shot

    My focus is specifically on the issue of human cells and the known mechanism of telomeres.

    Admittedly Nurse Sharks and other animals have various factors in play.

    But in the case of humans there is one clear mechanism “observed” to have a specific effect. Not saying it is the only one that the Tree of Life would provide.

    But I am saying that the presence and function of the enzyme telemerase is “a known” mechanism and the function is “a known one”.

    However – if you have a study showing the production of telermase in adults reseting telomeres has no effect on aging – I am all for reading about it.

    Ken asked about the 900 year “mechanism” – I am simply pointing to a “known mechanism” related to aging in humans.

    As they used to say – “just the facts ma’am”. I will take a better observed mechanism – every day.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  56. Hi Bob

    We are making good progress!

    Thanks for your admitting thaf we do not have Adam and Eve or their progeny under observation to do the study.

    Let’s look at the empirical results of your observation. There is no physical evidence that the progeny or descendants lived to 900 years, right? Thus there is no physical evidence that the tree of life provided longevity through the increased production or activation of telermerase right? I respectfully suggest that what you stated was an ‘obvious mechanism’ of longevity in Adam and Eve,( ‘clear they were producing it’ ) is not so clear to the objective non biased reader.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

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  57. My comment about “static genomes” is about the group level genome for a species — as in “the Human genome” etc. The catalog of coding genes for a given species does not change over time – with the gradual addition of new coding genes not previously present in nature – such that the eukaryote species itself is now updated having that additional coding gene added.

    If Dawkins or anyone else were able to produce such a thing on command they would regard this as true evolution 101 proof of their baseline “mechanism” for evolution.

    And who could blame them?

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  58. Hi Eddie

    Great question.

    In the summer of 2007 I was sitting on a park bench in Pugwash, Nova Scotia working on my laptop computer. A man came and sat beside me which I thought a bit strange because there were other benches in the area.

    We introduced ourselves. He was Ron Henderson an Adventist pastor who was attending the SDA camp on the Gulf shore. What followed was a great two hour conversation about life.

    I have a great interest in religions but knew nothing about the Adventism. Ron was very kind and patient to answer all my questions. Oddly I had been contemplating the topic of evolution and whether, contrary to conventional wisdom, there may be a design element to it. I actually was thinking of that as a literary theme and have incorporated it into a work of fiction I am writing.

    Of course when the topic turned to evolution Ron expounded on the Adventist position which I found absolutely fascinating. I could have sat on that bench for days with Ron, but my wife came along and I had to go. I gave Ron my business card and we agreed to stay in touch.

    When I got back to Alberta where I live and work, Ron started to send me materials on creationism and my inquiries began in earnest. Ron and I have spent hundreds of hours vigorously debating matters. Ron has been instrumental in my biblical and Adventist education and I owe him an extreme debt of gratitude. He is a very good man and I am proud to call him my friend.

    During one of my internet searches on a point that Ron and I were debating – I can’t recall what it was right now- I came across Educate Truth, and the rest as they say is history.

    Hope that helps.

    Once again thank you for your kindness, it means a great deal.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

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  59. Re Wes’s Quote

    “But considering the outburst your question marks unplugged (beware when you shoot off those things), you don’t want more, do you? ”

    Hi Wes

    In investigating the pathway of the WKOC (Wes/Ken Ontological Cycle) I want to investigate every single, enzyme of faith and science down to boson level. I want your best and I’ll give you mine: fully, civilized, humanely, without deceit and no holds barred.

    Do I want more? You bet. Maybe you can make an armchair physician out of me. I think you’ll find me a most willing student of all things.

    Now back the the similarities between the Krebs Cycle and the Gloxylate Cycle…. Why? Are both wheels of a more primitive cycle, or are they both independent, irreducibly complex, unicycles?

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

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  60. @ken:

    From Bob:

    “By contrast the “static genomes acquire new coding genes not previously present in nature over time” mechanism – has never been “observed”.”

    This is not quite accurate as stated. New genes with entirely novel functions can and do evolve all the time. The only caveat here is that they do not evolve novel functionality beyond very low levels of functional complexity.

    To be more specific, there are no examples of evolution in action in literature whereby a system of function is produced which requires at least 1000 specifically arranged amino acid residues.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  61. Ken, thanks for sharing your spiritual journey and, especially, your endorsement of “The Royal Law of Love.” Out of curiosity, how did you become acquainted with SDAs and this particular controversy?

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  62. To Dr. Kime, with the kind permission of the Editors

    Confession of an agnostic

    In the beginning the boy was born formless and empty….

    Shortly thereafter the boy was baptized as an Anglican being his mother’s faith. Every Sunday the boy attended Sunday school and sometimes the main service. The boy was confirmed at age 12 and thereafter partook of communion. Thereafter he participated in the youth Bible study group and began to ask questions.

    The boy enjoyed the services and the solemnity of the occasions. But even in the midst of ceremony, he recalls asking why it was necessary. Then he began to ask tough questions that the minister, who led the study group, could not answer. To the minister’s great credit, he did not chastise the boy but said that the boy would just have to have faith. The boy wondered what that meant.

    Shortly thereafter the boy advised his parents he no longer wanted to go to church as no one could answer his questions. The boy had Catholic and Baptist neighbourhood friends with who he played sports with everyday after school. One of his friends was the son of a Baptist minister. The Baptist Church had a gym. The boy and his friends were avid athletes so every afternoon and Saturday nights they would go to gym. The boy joined the Baptist youth group TYROS which met at the gym on Saturday nights. The boys played sports for an hour then met with the youth leader for Bible study and discussion. Again the youth leader was kind, tolerant but had difficulty answering the boy’s incessant questions. On Sundays the boy went to the the Baptist service and observed. He noted the differences between the Anglican and Baptist services and wanted to understand why. He continued going to church up to his first year university, enjoying his friends and chats with the Baptist minister on the nature of God.

    To their credit, no one told the boy what to think or believe but encouraged him to read and think. He ate books like candy, reading the Iliad and the Odyssey in Grade 6 and 7. He started to compare the Greek deities to the God of the Bible and how the stories had come about. He dissected everything he read, like Dr Kime would a body, to understand why things were the way they were. Then he began to write and win academic awards.

    Fast forward to university … He majored in biology, excelling in genetics. But it was not his cup of a tea, something was missing, but he did not know what. He barely survived his first year, largely due to being a varsity athlete- his real passion! – and entered his second year with academic trepidation.

    Then his world changed. He took a introductory philosophy course and found meaning in the search for meaning. When he subsequently studied epistemology he began to understand how people thought. Now he began to study religions and their roots in earnest. He compared and examined the essence of faiths and how it led to principles and doctrines. He looked at them all dispassionately but with an appreciation for their history. To test his theories he talked to people of faith to understand why they believed what they did.

    Now, like his friend Dr. Kime, passion and intellect were fused at the metaphorical hip and the boy excelled at every course he took. And the lesson he learned was it was not so important what people thought as to why they thought it. Because there were always reasons why, and if one understood the reasons one could examine the reasoning behind the reasons. And if the reasons were truly empirical, without any faith or non faith bias, they would approximate objective truth. Which is the essence of science.

    But Faith should not be denigrated, because it is universal and illustrates the human yearning to connect and communicate with the divine. Noble. Its iterations are as diverse as life itself and shall continue – as evidenced by the differences of opinion expressed on this site.

    Now Wes, for the truly in personam, that which cannot by its definition betray, that which I try to live by – often in vain, that which surpasses all doctrinal differences and transcends intellect, that which was my mother’s greatest gift, that which causes me to try to reach out to all of you as friends, that which I have so often applauded Sean for on this forum: The Royal Law of Love.

    Love
    Ken

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  63. Re Bob’s Quote

    “By contrast the “static genomes acquire new coding genes not previously present in nature over time” mechanism – has never been “observed”.”

    Hi Bob

    I confess that I am not a molecular geneticist and I may not even understand the full import of your question. I did go online though and found an article that seems to suggest the opposite to what you are saying. Please see the link below.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

    http://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/origins-of-new-genes-and-pseudogenes-835

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  64. While it must be obvious that there can be no such thing as a ‘Christian agnostic’ (one who embraces the certainty of Christ, his atonement and his teachings, while at the same time holding that God is entirely unknowable), rigid, unintrospective dogmatism cannot be the only alternative.
    Saul of Tarsus was unwavering in his conviction that his bitter opposition to the Christian message was wielded in defense of the truth. That is, of course until he found out how mistaken he had been.
    Yet there is this eagerness to denounce any reexaminatio of our church’s cherished beliefs. Start questioning any of the doctrines we’ve been handed and be viewed as a Skeptic. But isn’t that the skepticism to which the Bible calls with Paul’s caveat (Romans 3:4), “…Let God be true, but every man a liar”? Just look at the rabid idiocy that’s out hre representing Christianity in the political arena.
    Sis. White herself cautioned, “The fact that there is no controversy or agitation among God’s people, should not be regarded as conclusive evidence that they are holding fast to sound doctrine. There is a reason to fear that they may not be clearly discriminating between truth and error. When no new questions are started by investigation of the Scriptures, when no difference of opinion arises which will set men to searching the Bible for themselves, to make sure that they have the truth, there will be many now, as in ancient times, who will hold to tradition, and worship they know not what.” (EGW, Counsels to Writers and Editors, p. 39)

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  65. Sean, I am only able to post occasionally, due to my rigorous schedule in medical school, but I want to affirm the last three postings you have made. This statement was especially meaningful: “In short, Biblical credibility, with regard to those claims that cannot be directly tested and potentially falsified, is dependent upon the credibility of those claims that can be directly tested and potentially falsified.” The main reason I still believe in God and the Bible as a SDA Christian is that I have directly tested and verified many of the Bible’s claims. This gives me reason to believe in the claims that cannot yet be verified.

    In addition, you are not undermining faith in the slightest. Such an accusation is the product of mental gymnastics, which assume that faith in God must have no basis in evidence. It becomes a clever guise for saying, “We can teach anything we want in a Christian school, because our faith needs no connection in reality.”

    If we applied this same principle to finance, we should all put our funds in Greek government bonds. Their government is failing, they may leave the euro, and they are not likely to pay back the money they borrow. But who cares? If our faith in God doesn’t need any supporting evidence, who says that our faith in each other needs evidence? What prevents us from having faith in Greece that we will be paid back, despite the evidence to the contrary? What prevents us from wasting our money in a worthless investment?

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  66. So then you ignored Martin Reese and Leonard Susskind on the cosmological evidence for a designer or you just “made stuff up”??

    Which way is your determined “I just want to claim I don’t see it” position going?

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  67. @ken:

    Does a flying spaghetti minster understand inanity? I’m sure God, as an all knowing, forever present, nilpotent force would. And I not only acknowledge the possibility of such a force/entity, I think it likely exists although I do not and perhaps cannot detect or understand Its existence.

    That, my friend is a far cry from imaginary
    Pasta coated inion cheese.

    I think we’re getting somewhere…

    You believe that a God of some kind is far more “likely to exist” compared to garden fairies and such. Yet, you have no evidence to support this belief. You write that, “I do not and perhaps cannot detect or understand Its existence.”

    Does this not mean that your statement that a God is “likely to exist” a statement of wishful thinking or blind faith? Otherwise, how can you have any rational idea that a God is any more or any less “likely” to exist than are garden fairies and such?

    Where is the cold hard objectivity behind such statements of belief? – as to why your belief in God’s likely existence is more rational than a belief in the likely existence of garden fairies and such? Where is the science or objectivity you often cite to support your claim to being more non-biased and objectively minded? vs. those who actually do believe that there is evidence of a God-like power at play in our universe? or even those who claim to believe in God based on faith alone? independent of any tangible empirical/scientific evidence?

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  68. However – credit where credit is due – Meyers, Provine, Darwin and Dawkins are all up front about the connection between evolutionism and atheist rejection of Christianity.

    If they know anything at all – they know full well atheism and evolutionism and they have a generally correct view of the overt claims of the Bible when it comes to the 7 days of creation week.

    Here I am merely stating the glaringly obvious – though in some cases “the obvious” is not pleasing to some readers.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  69. I wonder whether Sean would have written this had Erv happened to be his father, brother, or the best man in his wedding.

    Ken, I love your Christ-like attitude toward others. You remind me of the publican.

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  70. Hi Wes

    I’ve been thinking very seriously about yiour entertaining comments about the non purposeful agnostic gunslinger. Let’s test your theory my friend.

    Lat’s start with Genesis 1. Why do you think it is an accurate account of creation?

    Your engaged agnostic friend
    Ken

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  71. “And from that there will be salvation, especially from the grim face in the mirror.”

    Sorry I meant ‘no’ salvation.

    Oh and by the way that grim face in the mirror is by far the harshest judge I have ever known.

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  72. ken: Let’s move on to evolution. Micro evolution does not seem to be a problem for anyone. Life does adapt to its environment through genetic change. In my mind the issue becomes what happens over billions of years. After considering everything I have read to date I cannot honestly see an overwhelming case for a young earth. Moreover I have not read or heard anything yet that such a view can be scientifically supported by anyone without a biblical creationist bias. Given enough time great change will occur as evidenced by the vast diversity of life spread over every niche of our planet. Were there kangaroos on the Ark, or did they evolve in an isolated part of the world from whence they could not spread?

    I don’t think evolution is a fraud or a hoax

    1. You never stated that you have seen the “actual mechanism” for macro evolution – to ever work. Not one single example of a eukaryote genome “acquiring” new coding genes to create some novel new feature that did not exist in nature before.

    2. Then you argue that without the actual mechanism ever seen — well then maybe an amoeba does turn into an elephant “if we say billions and billions enough times” – so to speak.

    That is more that magic mantra – than science.

    3. You argue that blind faith evolutionism is not a hoax – even though we both know that for many many decades – the BEST arguments for evolutionism were actually hoaxes and that this situation continued UNTIL acceptance of evolution had reached “critical mass” and gained the status of “orthodoxy”. After which it simply propagates itself via the mechanism of self-interest – no need to actually “observe” the salient point mechanism to ever actually exist!

    Your response lacks some objectivity in that regard.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  73. ken: Thus one must ask: why would a good, compassionate God create a Universe, and sentient life, that suffers and dies? Age old problem, that in my estimation has been allegorically resolved through the Genesis narrative.

    You begin by admitting that the “fine tuning” of gravity, electromagnetism etc represent an argument for design. And of course the cosmological constant goes a trillion, trillion, trillion, trillion… times father along that “level of precision” than either gravity or electromagnetism.

    1. So that is welcome acceptance of fact.

    2. You then argue that God should either not allow intelligent beings to make dumb choices, or he should not make the second-death the penalty for those choices, or he should not allow a probationary time of life to re-think those choices IF that life will not be all roses and candy.

    You really need to read Story of Redemption for the SDA view on just how “glorious” life was after the fall of Adam. Where people lived for over 900 years (yes that is also in the Bible) and food was abundant on earth.

    You miss the bigger picture. Free will requires “compelling data” to motivate for right choices in such a way that sin is “guaranteed” to never rise again through all of eternity.

    The other thing you miss is God’s dedication to the principle of “free will”. Think of it – the all-knowing could easily have “tweeked Lucifer’s brain” just a tinge as he was contemplating his first foray into selfishness – such that Lucifer would never even have been aware of it himself – much less anyone who spoke with him.

    This would save God 1/3 of the Angels, the loss of mankind and His anguish in the death of His own Son on the cross to rescue mankind.

    But God “chose free will at all costs”.

    You have to “BE the Creator” to fully appreciate the scope of that concept.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  74. Hi Bob

    Thanks for taking the time and effort to reply. I appreciate it.

    I am really trying to understand your mindset. On one hand you say evolution is a hoax because no one has witnessed the actual mechanism of how macro evolution works. On the other hand you matter fact talk about people living for 900 years. Never seen anyone live that long, have you?

    I’m all for free will. What about the free will of the universe to unfold oblivious to the actions of the species of man. Because that it what modern astrophysics indicates is the case, objectively speaking.

    Are you saying Darwin’s observations were all hoaxes? I can understand you might disagree with them but are they hoaxes!

    Bob. I can see jeans but not genes in action 🙂 Perhaps if I was 900 years old I might have a bit more opportunity to observe evolution in play, but then again conventional wisdom seems to indicate it takes a bit longer.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

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  75. ken: I’m all for free will. What about the free will of the universe to unfold oblivious to the actions of the species of man. Because that it what modern astrophysics indicates is the case, objectively speaking.

    1. That is a claim not an observation.

    2. The universe proper is not a person.

    3. The “free will of the murderer” is often cut short by “law”. I am sure we both agree.

    There is no indication at all that beyond earth – people are being murdered “because of the will of the universe”.

    More facts – less smoke and mirrors.

    Are you saying Darwin’s observations were all hoaxes? I can understand you might disagree with them but are they hoaxes!

    Bob. I can see jeans but not genes in action 🙂 Perhaps if I was 900 years old I might have a bit more opportunity to observe evolution in play, but then again conventional wisdom seems to indicate it takes a bit longer.

    Darwin observed that dominant finch beak characteristic expression in phenotype changes in response to environmental pressures.

    I am all for that “observation in nature”.

    If he were simply satisified to “stick with the facts” rather than engaging in Lamarkian fictions due to his prior study – all would have been well.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  76. I meant to say:” …. It is not obvious to me the properties thereof altered the operation of an enzyme”

    Sorry about that, didn’t have enough caffeine from the magic pot. 🙂

    Hapy Sabbath everyone
    Ken

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  77. Dale: “Professing to be wise, they became fools” –Romans 1:22,NKJV

    Dale, who is it who is professing to be wise here? Isn’t it Faith, and Bob, and Sean who believe they, and only they know not only what the Bible says, but what it actually means? You are quoting the Bible, but applying it to the wrong people.

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  78. ken: Bob. I can see jeans but not genes in action 🙂 Perhaps if I was 900 years old I might have a bit more opportunity to observe evolution in play, but then again conventional wisdom seems to indicate it takes a bit longer.

    So because you “imagine” that saying the word “billions” a few more times would have uncovered the much imagined, much hoped for “mechanism” so necessary to evolutionism – you now want to place your “imagination” as a valid substitute for observed fact?

    That is not science.

    If we just stick to “observations in nature” then blind faith evolutionism is stuck with a by-faith-alone belief in a “mechanism” never actually seen in nature.

    That my friend – is religion. Without the mechanism – it is at a dead end.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  79. ken: Thanks for taking the time and effort to reply. I appreciate it.

    I am really trying to understand your mindset. On one hand you say evolution is a hoax because no one has witnessed the actual mechanism of how macro evolution works. On the other hand you matter fact talk about people living for 900 years. Never seen anyone live that long, have you?

    Here again you are simply using an “any old excuse will do” come back rather than thinking it through.

    In the “Live 900 years” issue the “mechanism” is the telomere and the enzyme, telomerase reverse transcriptase. Infants have it.

    Obviously one of the effects of eating the fruit from the tree of life must have allowed for production or availability of that enzyme beyond birth.

    So – do we “observe the mechanism” that is at the root of that phenomena “in nature” ?? Obviously we do.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  80. @ken: My engaging friend! First, apologies – I went one metaphor too far. Second, submission to your protocol. OK, let us get personal, and you’d like me to start? Will you be joining in?

    You remember! But I wasn’t automatically converted at age 10, just baptized. The two aren’t necessarily, or very often, concurrent. Anyway, it happened in a Big Tent, rather different from the Commodious Tent now being advocated, the message was not the contemporary syndicated powerpointed otherwise powerless and pointless celebration, and there really was a sawdust floor. It was in North Hollywood, of all places. I don’t remember being raptured. The part I remember, the last thing I remember as I went under, was seeing the tent canvas sort of flapping and the pole-to-pole diagram of Daniel 2. Then, splash. At 83 I believe, going by faith plus evidence, I’m at last converted. It takes a lifetime. Longer. (Don’t despair, friend.)

    As to Genesis 1, admittedly and unabashedly I was converted, submitted to (if you must), compelled by evidence, multidisciplinary and multifaceted and multivectored and criss-crossing, cross-linked, cascading. When? It started at age 13 or 14, I think; in the 7th grade. Back then we didn’t have gender-sensitivity class, we had physiology. The textbook was not appropriate to the grade. That was before committees, and now the State, decide on texts. But for some reason (I’ve always wondered) the textbook given us 7th graders was a college text, as I found later, perusing the shelves at Occidental College (I was there before Obama). Marvelously detailed. I was besides myself with excitement. (Got an A+) Never been as excited by school since, but almost, in medical school. It was the late 1930s and I submitted to it like the 60s submitted to the Beatles. But I never thought to connect physiology with Genesis 1 until the 1960s, when the likes of Erv Taylor (we go way back) began to question it, question, question, bang bang bang. That awoke me. (I believe I, and officially this site, have duly thanked Dr. Taylor for his heroic crusade that misfired and roused us instead.)

    I can’t say I ever sat down and suffered through a crisis – that would be too tidy a story. But somehow for every carbon-dated fossil that shouted at me, the Krebs Circle shouted louder.

    As to which holds the upper hand in Genesis 1, and everything else, faith or science (I like “evidence” in all contexts), I’ve never thought to ask the question. Never occurred to me, would you believe? (to slip in a question for you.) Just like the centipede never thought about how he manages all those legs at once, all those perfect little legs fluttering in programmed sequence like peristalsis, until somebody asked him. So, rather flustered at the idea of having to say one or the other, I say both, sometimes the front batch of legs bearing more weight than the middle batch, and then the back batch kicks in.

    Adventists, at least in my day, were famously expected to witness at any street corner, knock on doors, regale seatmates in planes. Personally (you get confessions as a bonus) I never cared to. Not my style. And I don’t care to on this blog, either. I prefer parable to proselytics, rhetorical devices to rhetoric. By your leave I’ll leave in-depth and in-detail exposition of Genesis 1 to Dr. Pitman. He’s young and feisty, up to it and up on it. I’m too old for writing pugilistic polemics. I’ve written my share, footnotes and all. But somehow acclaiming my own empiric evolution, though not in the disputationally academic format you wanted, is exciting. Thanks for finally, after a couple of years, goading me into it. Next question? But considering the outburst your question marks unplugged (beware when you shoot off those things), you don’t want more, do you?

    Gratefully, W

    PS: For the record, anent the twist in the current thread, Jesus greeted Judas as “friend” even as Judas was betraying Him. And – anent our own thread – having Himself prophesied repeatedly exactly that this would happen, Jesus, as was his wont, greeted Judus with a rhetorical and consummately purposeful question: “Wherefore art thou come?” Matthew 26:50. An answer was not forthcoming, only clubs and a crown of thorns, and salvation.

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  81. Re Sean’s Quote

    “It is impossible to detect the need to invoke deliberate design vs. the non-deliberate products of an apparently mindless nature without having prior experience with the material in question as it relates to various mindless forces of nature. That’s why the detecting of design is a science that requires some investigative work. The more investigation that is done, the more confident one can be in one’s design hypothesis.”

    Hi Sean

    More reflections of the insomniac agnostic.

    I agree with much but not all of this. Why not start from a neutral point and ask whether any object found in nature can be created randomly by nature or requires intelligent design. Obviously first appearences can be deceiving. I’m pretty sure that if I was ancient [feels like that some days 🙂 ] , without the benefit of modern astrophysics and biology, I’d conclude the universe and life were designed. But science seems to be progressively dispelling notions of design in nature as cause and effect mechanisms are uncovered. Crystals and snowflakes have pretty intricate designs, but were they designed or formed by the laws of physics and chemistry? A watch? A Martian granite cube as you described? What natural physical processess could have randomly created same?

    Let’s continue with life forms on earth. We all seem to agree on micro evolution, right? Hence life forms we see today have changed from their original state. Hence current forms of life could not be the original design [don’t see any Ryanesqe telomerasian 900 year olds walking around today 🙂 ]. Hence if the design is always changing -unlike a static object like a found watch or Martian cube obvious to the non biased objective reader 🙂 – what was the inaugural design? Does irreducible complexity stop at the Krebs Cycle or earlier enzymatic cascades, or earlier…? If science, and I admit it is a huge task with gap work to be done, continually traces life back to earlier forms, what empirically was the original design? Life created 6000 years ago? – Michael Behe doesn’t think so- or anthropic stardust soup? And how did the natural ingredients in the turbulent kitchen without a Master Chef’s Hand cause the soup to change?

    The same logic can be applied to the universe. If things are changing the existing state is not the current design. What then, according to science was the original design? Was the big bang a spark from the snap of the Divine fingers, caused by collidng membranes or a spontaneous quantum fluctuation? Theories abound and science will continue to inexorably peck away at the fabric of myth with its empirical beak.

    Designed or not, I see the sun rising and so shall on this wonderful world.

    Enjoy life and its myriad, diverse contemplations.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

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  82. Hi Sean

    I’m afraid you are not understanding my epistomological point. Let me try again. How does an atheist explain first cause, infinity or infinite regress on a rational basis? As far as I know those concepts don’t relate to winged linguini or Irush mythology.

    You see I don’t absolutely rule out the supernatural when it comes to First Cause. Was thebig bang the first cause or the latest fo a Swiss of cosmic creation events that stretches back and forward on a time or non time arrow?

    Tuis no dinner at
    Adios or fairy tale my friend no matter how you try to fit me into these Dawkins boxes.

    The agnostic possibilities for God remain open.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

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  83. Up to this point, my understanding was that science makes abundantly clear that no human can be born of a virgin, and that no human body can come back to life days after it has deceased. Yet Sean Pitman wants us to believe that:

    1. we must use our God-given brains to assess this evidence
    2. we must not turn off our brains as we consider this evidence
    3. we must reject this evidence, instead accepting what the Bible says
    4. we must accept the Bible’s claims because we use our God-given brains
    5. Satan does not want us to contemplate this evidence with our God-given brains
    6. Satan wants us to act contrary to what our reason tells us
    7. if we accept the virgin birth and resurrection on faith in spite of the overwhelming evidence against them, we are exercsing “blind faith”
    8. if we accept what science informs us on these two issues, we likewise do so only using “blind faith”

    Further, Ellen White reminds us: “Science opens new wonders to our view; she soars high, and explores new depths; but she brings nothing from her research that conflicts with divine revelation. Ignorance may seek to support false views of God by appeals to science, but the book of nature and the written word shed light upon each other.”

    So…the science that bears on the virgin birth and resurrection from the dead can only be consistent with what scripture tells us. There can be NO contradiction, as Ellen White pointed out. Evidently, there must be some science proving that the virgin birth and resurrection are possible. After all, THERE CAN BE NO CONTRADICTION. I’d like to see this evidence for myself, but for now I’ll simply trust that Sean Pitman must be right. He has been right on so many other things, which means we can trust him to be right about this.

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  84. Ken, you’ve sniffed out the truth about “truth”. I split a side this evening reading the “truth” and love the entertainment. Of course, the editors fully support this blogger’s “truth”, however hilarious the “critical thinking” comes across…so may our critical thinker blog on.

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  85. A Servant said this statement from Sean Pitman was especially meaningful: “In short, Biblical credibility, with regard to those claims that cannot be directly tested and potentially falsified, is dependent upon the credibility of those claims that can be directly tested and potentially falsified.”

    Are you, or Sean, suggesting that science cannot falsify the claims of a virgin birth and the resurrection of a 3 day old dead body? Surely you are not serious! This is like saying that one cannot falsify natural selection producing a structure more complex than 1000 amino acids (which Sean Pitman claims is absolutely falsifiable). The odds, by the way, of either the virgin birth or resurrrection happening MUST one in many, many billions (maybe more than one in a trillion, as there have likely been more than one trillion births). And the odds of BOTH events happening to the SAME person? Surely one in trillions upon trillions…which Sean Pitman assures us is IMPOSSIBLE according to scientific evidence based on probabilities that we are told we must trust.

    Clearly, we must SUSPEND so-called “reason” and EXERCISE FAITH to believe what the Bible claims regarding Jesus’ virgin birth and resurrection? Why is this such an evil and “upside down” thing to concede? What is wrong with you people?

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  86. A&#032Servant: Sean, I am only able to post occasionally, due to my rigorous schedule in medical school, but I want to affirm the last three postings you have made. This statement was especially meaningful: “In short, Biblical credibility, with regard to those claims that cannot be directly tested and potentially falsified, is dependent upon the credibility of those claims that can be directly tested and potentially falsified.” The main reason I still believe in God and the Bible as a SDA Christian is that I have directly tested and verified many of the Bible’s claims. This gives me reason to believe in the claims that cannot yet be verified.

    In addition, you are not undermining faith in the slightest

    Well said.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  87. @Eddie:

    Sean, what is the basis of your belief in the SDA view of the state of the dead? Many people who have had near-death experiences have accurately described objects they couldn’t have seen in the operating room. Many find the empirical evidence for a living soul departing the body at death very, very compelling. Should they trust the evidence they can see–or what the Bible teaches?

    Rational belief is based on the weight of available evidence that one is able to comprehend using one’s God-given reasoning abilities. If the weight of empirical evidence, from a given perspective, happened to strongly suggest that the spirit lives on after the body dies how could anyone be faulted for such a belief? – if that is in fact the best evidence that happened to be available? Would God actually fault someone for following what their God-given minds and reasoning capabilities were telling them about the nature of reality? I think not.

    The reason I believe the Bible, rather than certain examples of empirical evidence that may appear in isolation to be in conflict with the claims of the Bible, is because I see the weight of evidence, empirical evidence that is currently available and that I currently understand, as strongly supporting the credibility of the Bible regarding its claim to be the Word of God. Many other people and books also make this claim, but the Bible is the only one, among them all, that effectively backs up this claim with the strong weight of empirical evidence that is calculated to appeal to the rational intelligent candid mind in search of truth – as far as I can tell anyway.

    If the weight of available empirical evidence that I could comprehend happened to disagree with the claims of the Bible, the Bible’s credibility regarding it’s claim to be the Word of God would decline in my mind.

    In short, Biblical credibility, with regard to those claims that cannot be directly tested and potentially falsified, is dependent upon the credibility of those claims that can be directly tested and potentially falsified.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  88. Mr. Young asks “What is wrong with these people?” This is an excellent question. May I suggest that one thing that is wrong with the true believers on the EducateTruth(sic) site is that they know they are absolutely right all the time and everyone else is absolutely wrong all the time no matter what the topic happens to be.

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  89. @Wesley Kime: “… digging around or at that mine to undermine it, discovering only DUNG…”? Better put: Discovering only old BONES. Very large fossilized bones. Very large fossilized bones datable to the nearest million years. Very large fossilized 400 million year old bones well chewed.

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