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. When the Son of man comes will He find faith on the earth? – Luke 18:8

    From: A Christian believer. Imagine that, a Christian who believes the entire Bible. I know we are not in Kansas yet but we will be going to even a better place!

    Ron




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  2. @Professor Kent:

    The beginning and endpoint for what constitutes Sean’s imagined “1000 fsaar threshold” cannot be precisely stated. How many fsaars would comprise the origin of several novel venom proteins, for example? If three new 400 aa proteins evolve, resulting in a potent venom comprised of a sum of 1200 new aa that function unlike any prior venom enzymes, would this exceed the threshold (i.e., the problem of summation)? If a complex structure that served one function became modified at, say, 12 aa per generation until it began to function very differently 100 generations later, was this a 1200 fsaar change (i.e., the problem of accumulation)? If a protein dependent on three genes, each coding for 400 aa subunits, acquired a new function after gene duplication and tinkering, would this qualify as exceeding the threshold (the problem of gene duplication)?

    You still don’t seem to understand the basic concepts of specificity or functional complexity – despite the fact that these concepts have been well defined in mainstream literature.

    As I’ve already explained to you, at least a couple times now, a protein-based venom comprised of three different proteins, each 400aa in size, does not equal a system that requires a minimum of 1200 specifically arranged aa residues in 3D space. Rather, what you are describing is a system of three separately acting proteins where no specific 3D orientation between the proteins themselves is required to achieve the particular type of function in question to a beneficial degree of activity. Such a system, as with the enzymatic cascades described above, is not significantly more functionally complex than the most complex single protein within the system which does require a specific 3D arrangement of a given minimum number of aa residues.

    As far as complex systems which clearly require far more than 1000 specifically arranged residues, but which are currently used for malevolent purposes, such as stingers on scorpions, etc., they certainly did not evolve from less complex systems. They were either designed by some intelligent designer (not necessarily God) or they devolved from some higher-level system as in the case of the TTSS toxin injector system in bacteria which devolved from the more complex flagellar motility system.

    In any case, can you cite any example of evolution in action that actually produces such a higher level system by any mindless mechanism? As far as I’m aware, there simply are no such examples in literature.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  3. Hi Wes

    Sorry if I misunderstood the betrayal lesson – a little too elliptical for me I’m afraid. In any case I appreciate your explanation.

    No amount of cynicism, paranoia or enmity is going to prevent me from offering friendship to anyone here. If some choose to reject it, I will not retract the offer. It is what it is and will remain so. If only one person feels that friendship I will feel grateful. Moreover that friendship has been graciously returned to me, notwithstanding my apostate ways. There lies grace.

    Yes I think the proposed chair should be endowed and I will be happy to make the first contribution and fund raise.

    Hope that helps.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  4. @Pauluc:

    Its time you put up if you want to attain any scientific credibility. As for me you know who I am perhaps if you want to critique my molecular genetics publications you should start with our papers on chimp and human MHC and the trans species hypothesis and propose some experiments to explain that by an ID paradigm.

    I’m sorry, but you seem to be confusing topics. Remember, the particular topic under discussion here is the creative potential of the evolutionary mechanism of RM/NS beyond very low levels of functional complexity. Is this assumption based on real science? – or is it nothing more than just-so story telling devoid of any testability or useful predictive value?

    You seem to be arguing for a theory of common descent via some mechanism other than ID. That’s not quite the same thing as arguing for the scientific credibility of RM/NS producing anything beyond very low levels of functional complexity – not even close as far as I can tell.

    Why not just admit the fact that you have no idea how RM/NS works at higher levels of functional complexity? – that you simply assume it did the job because you having nothing better? – not because your conclusions for the abilities of RM/NS are actually based on real testable science that produces useful predictive value?

    Again, I agree with you that certain patterns indicate a common origin of some kind. Similarities are very easy to explain via mindless mechanisms over time. I just don’t agree with your assumption that the mechanism of RM/NS is remotely capable of producing qualitatively novel functional differences beyond very low levels – even over billions of years.

    As far as I can tell, you have yet to substantively address this particular question regarding the assumed creative potential of your proposed mechanism beyond just-so story telling. It is a common response to simply dismiss my questions as “unpublished” when one really has no clue how to answer them. This is nothing but a debating tactic used to try to divert attention from the fact that there is no good answer to the questions being asked – at least not that you are personally aware (and you’re in very good company by the way).

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  5. @ken:

    Perhaps or perhaps not. The work of science will continue and conjecture will fill in the gaps in the interim.

    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.

    How long do you think scientists would actually “conjecture” before the vast majority would suggest the obvious discovery of a true artifact? – i.e., an intelligently produced phenomenon? Do you not think that such a find would hit the front page of every newspaper in the world?

    You see, while science should indeed progress and continue to search for additional evidence and explanations, this doesn’t mean that science never helps one come to conclusions that make the most sense given the evidence that is currently in hand.

    That’s what science is all about – making conclusions as to what is most likely true based on the limited information that is currently available.

    Could a scientific conclusion be wrong? Absolutely. If one had perfect knowledge, science wouldn’t be needed. It is only when information is limited that science is useful. Yet, science wouldn’t be useful at all if one refused to make decisions or act because of the potential for error.

    This is one of the reasons why I think agnosticism is kind of a cop out to be honest. Agnosticism seems to me to be an effort to avoid risk or the taking of sides on an controversial topic – an effort to avoid any chance at potential error. Now, I do agree with you that no one can be absolutely certain about the truth of anything that exists outside of the mind – about the true nature of anything in the universe in which we live. However, this doesn’t mean that we have absolutely no valid or reasonable ideas as to what is most likely true regarding the meaning of certain observations within the universe given the information that is currently in hand – as limited as it may be. The information that we do have and do think we understand says something to us about what is most likely true. Could we be wrong? Sure, but that doesn’t mean we should say that we don’t have any rational basis for making choices where there is still a potential for error.

    Specifically, we can have at least some idea as to the likelihood of God’s existence. We can have a very good idea with very high predictive power – much much higher than the predictive power of the intelligent design hypothesis for the polished granite cube mentioned above…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  6. @Pauluc:

    I do indeed think you are wrong but you have introduced so many caveats and defined so closely and narrowly what you are looking for that it becomes futile and meaningless to offer any specific response.

    I don’t get your objections here? Are you suggesting that it is impossible to tell the difference in functional complexity between different types of systems? – like the difference between a protein-based function that requires a single protein of just 10 specifically arranged amino acid residues vs. one that requires a minimum of 10,000 specifically arranged residues within 50 different specifically arranged proteins? Can one not tell the difference here? – as to which one is more functionally complex?

    Do you really not understand that some things are more functionally complex than other things? What is so hard to understand about this simple very basic concept?

    If a system requires more specifically arranged parts to work to produce a given type of function is it not clear that this type of function is at a higher level of complexity compared to a different type of function that requires fewer parts or less specificity of the arrangement of parts?

    This isn’t rocket science you know. These simple concepts have been described in published mainstream literature. Also, the nature of sequence space, to include the exponential decline in viable vs. non-viable sequences for sequence spaces that contain systems at higher and higher levels of functional complexity has also been described in literature.

    Not to mention our private emails concerning your low view of scientists, dating and ice cores initiated after you censored my post on this site.

    I never censored your posts on this site to the best of my knowledge. Perhaps Shane inadvertently deleted some of your posts?

    In any case, back to the topic actually at hand, all I’ve asked you to do is to present any example of evolution in action producing any novel system of function beyond very low levels of functional complexity – i.e., a system that requires a minimum of more than 1000 specifically arranged amino acid residues.

    It’s a very simple concept. Why act like you don’t know what I’m talking about?

    What I find particularly disappointing in this thread is first that you attack a Erwin a scientist who has rigorously and actively tried to understand dating methods and attempt to reconcile this with his understanding of the Gospel but secondly that you now wish to set yourself up as the arbiter of what is real science and yet be so unwilling to propose and test your hypotheses in the only arena that matters the peer reviewed literature.

    If you can’t answer my very simple question, just say so. Otherwise, you know as well as I do that mainstream literature is not unbiased with respect to what it will and will not publish on this topic in particular. Just ask Richard Sternberg or Stephen Meyer what happens (Link).

    Beyond this, the relevant information regarding the creative powers of RM/NS beyond very low levels of functional complexity has already been published, as already noted for you.

    As far as Erv Taylor is concerned, he goes around attacking the most basic goals and ideals of the Seventh-day Adventist Church regarding the literal 6-day creation week in particular, suggesting that those who believe in such fairytale nonsense are either completely ignorant or in some other way self-deluded to the point of living in Alice’s Wonderland (his own words). Yet, he himself is even more inconsistent in his acceptance of the existence of God and of Jesus as the Son of God, born of a virgin woman, and raised from the dead after three days to go back to Heaven to intercede with the Father on our behalf.

    I’m simply pointing out the rather obvious inconsistencies of Dr. Taylor’s position here – which seems to be lost on you since you have also been fooled into believing that mindless mechanism can somehow build men out of mud given enough time and raw undirected energy.

    If you don’t see the difference between just-so story telling and science, if you don’t see the need for real scientific hypotheses to be based on measurable predictive value (i.e., some form of statistical odds analysis), then you simply don’t understand how science really works – and neither does Erv Taylor.

    Concerning your fixation with the numerology I can use R and bioconductor probably better than the average biologist but like lawyer jokes the adage about “lies, damn lies and statistics” resonates because it has some basis in reality. Biologists use statistics to decide what is the likely among the possible processes and hypotheses. Statistics and mathematics are tool in biology not the reality. Particularly annoying I find the abuse of post hoc probabilities which are largely meaningless and depend on the rigor of your definition of the dependent variables proposed as precedent to the outcome. Bayes and the savy gambler understood the real purpose of statistics.

    I know you don’t like statistics and think statistical analyses of hypotheses are all suspect and subject to manipulation for various agendas, but if you don’t have some sort of backing to produce some kind of predictive value to support your hypothesis as superior to competing hypotheses, you’re not doing science.

    And, we aren’t talking post-hoc probabilities here. We are talking about making meaningful predictions of the creative potential of the mechanism of RM/NS at various levels of functional complexity. The concept of functional complexity has been well defined in literature. I’m not simply making up my own definitions here. Different levels of functional complexity occupy different types of sequence space. The sequences spaces that contain higher-level systems have an exponential reduction in the ratio of potentially viable (and beneficial) protein sequences. This produces a statistical effect on the odds of evolvability of functionally novel protein-based systems which can be used to make scientifically valid predictions as to the effectiveness of RM/NS at a given level of functional complexity over a given span of time. These predictions can be tested and potentially falsified – as with any valid scientific hypothesis.

    Such is not true for your just-so stories about how RM/NS must have done the job in the past even though you have no observable higher level examples nor do you have any statistical basis for your stories that can actually be used to produced useful predictive value for your assumed mechanism. Therefore, in what sense of the word are your just-so stories for the creative powers of RM/NS beyond very low levels of functional complexity “scientific”?

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  7. Hi Sean

    Thanks for your comments.

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

    Then again a rainbow looks like a divine work of art until one knows the physics that created it. The same idea could be applied to snowflakes, crystals, the universe – don’t they at first blush appear to be designed instead of occurring vis a vis nature?

    For me, agnosticism is the optimal state of inquiry precisely because we can’t know the exact, empirical truth about the divine. Take evolution for example. I don’t look at it with a faith or non faith bias. In my mind it is irrevelant to the existence or non existence of God. Have the vast majority of evolutionary biologists been duped, fooled or coerced into thinking it is correct? Unlikely but possibly. Could the theory be wrong? Possibly. Can the burgeoning discipline of Intelliegent Design punch holes in it. Maybe, and wouldn’that be nice! That remains to be seen by the majority of scientists, not that the majority is always right!

    As to God, it is not merely the existence but the nature of God that agnostics concern themselves with. History, faith, philosophy and science all factor into the nature equation. The nature of God appears to be a moving target. Just look at religious schisms, or the very nature of this Adventist debate to appreciate that.

    Respectfully, rather than a copout, I submit agnosticism is the pinnacle of rationalism when it comes to considering all the evidence as to a temporal understanding of the divine.

    What about that chair at LSU?

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  8. Sean&#032Pitman: 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.

    How long do you think scientists would actually “conjecture” before the vast majority would suggest the obvious discovery of a true artifact? – i.e., an intelligently produced phenomenon?

    Let us now say that those scientists had a religious conviction that “there are no Martians” no other intelligent life anywhere but earth.

    So when they see something like that on Mars they begin to “play with the probability” they begin go imagine some very improbable never-observed volcanic activity that would create buildings, and art work on the walls, in a long sequence of “just so” stories.

    They then go looking for patterns in the sand that in some ways resemble a door, or a swirl on the art work, or a rock sorta in the shape of a door hinge.

    Then they say that after billions and billions of years – these odd little happenings all get together in a cluster of odd happening – volcanic reactions to create those “buildings” with “art” on the wall.

    Then when they figure out that the odds against all of this are against they by 1×10^120 – they say “well if we had an almost infinite number of other universes then the odds of this happening on ONE planet in ONE of those universes is not so bad”.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  9. There are those who would argue that liberals are tolerant of everyone – but conservatives.

    Its an idea that seems to have merit at times.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  10. Nic&#032Samojluk: I think that Bob’s answer was superb, yet ten bloggers voted his comments down. Is the voting system rigged somehow?

    Sean&#032Pitman: 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

    Michelle: Do you not notice that even the ET supporters give you thumbs down? I can’t beleive your still allowed to post

    I sure do enjoy it when critical thinking is used notice discrepancies and then form conclusions.

    What wonderful illustrations of how life works!

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  11. Oops meant to say Intelligent Design versus Intelligent Science but maybe that was a Freudian slip and the two are the same! 🙂 God works in mysterious ways even with the feeble minds of agnostics!!!




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  12. To my wise friend Wes

    No wielder of clumsy mallet
    Is artist of scapel and palette
    To grand design or not
    Be sublimely sought
    In Krebs Cycle by our Hamlet

    Your grateful friend
    Ken




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  13. ken: On reflection, perhaps the best course of action is to be tolerant

    hmm… so then not this?

    Michelle: I can’t beleive your still allowed to post

    Are you sure you want to come out against what Michelle is saying?

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  14. An infinite amount of grace and tolerance, especially for the most conservative. 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂




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  15. Re the Nature of Agnosticism

    My previous quote in response to Sean

    “ken November 16, 2011 at 12:32 pm

    Re Sean’s Quote

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

    Hi Sean

    That is a fair point. Still there is a difference between atheism (no God), and agnosticism (may be a God that has not been detected yet). Perhaps you have created a new category on the spectrum of belief/non belief: athnosticism 🙂 ”

    Excerpt from a Time interview with Stephen Hawkings:

    “If God doesn’t exist, why did the concept of his existence become almost universal? —Basanta Borah, BASEL, SWITZERLAND
    I don’t claim that God doesn’t exist. God is the name people give to the reason we are here. But I think that reason is the laws of physics rather than someone with whom one can have a personal relationship. An impersonal God.”

    Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2029483,00.html#ixzz1f7Ch1uti

    Hello Sean

    I thought would find the above comments by Hawkings interesting apropos our discussion over the nature of my agnosticism. Based on Hawkings comments I consider him an agnostic not an atheist. He does not deny God but rather challenges the nature of God. Interesting stuff.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  16. Ken is to be commended for that suggestion. Just what does God think of direct opposition to error? We need to all think about that one.

    Certainly Romans 1 says “they are without excuse” who pretend to ignore the “invisible attributes of God — clearly seen in the things that have been made”.

    There we get a clue as to where the divine is on such subjects as Intelligent Design – seen by all of mankind – even those with no inclination toward God at all.

    Speaking of divine inspiration and how God views the issue of dragging/defending/indifference-to error in the camp.

    I think both sides of this issue would all agree that it is very likely that SDA Creationists posting here actually read and accept the “Testimonies to the Church” and other books as being inspired writing.

    So then – what are those creationist folks finding when they open those books and read?

    The testimony of the True Witness is not a smooth message. The Lord does not say to them, You are about right; you have borne chastisement and reproof that you never deserved; you have been unnecessarily discouraged by severity; you are not guilty of the wrongs and sins for which you have been reproved.” {3T 257.2}

    “If God abhors one sin above another, of which His people are guilty, it is doing nothing in case of an emergency. Indifference and neutrality in a religious crisis is regarded of God as a grievous crime, and equal to the very worst type of hostility against God” (3T 281

    “Those who have been nearly all their lives controlled by a spirit as foreign to the Spirit of God as was Achan’s will be very passive when the time comes for decided action on the part of all. They will not claim to be on either side. The power of Satan has so long held them that they seem blinded and have no inclination to stand in defense of right. If they do not take a determined course on the wrong side, it is not because they have a clear sense of the right , but because they dare not.” {3T 271.2}

    Skepticism and unbelief are not humility. Implicit belief in Christ’s word is true humility, true self-surrender” (DA 535).

    “Elijah was declared to be a troubler of Israel, Jeremiah a traitor, Paul a polluter of the temple.

    From that day to this, those who would be loyal to truth have been denounced as seditious, heretical, or schismatic. Multitudes who are too unbelieving to accept the sure word of prophecy, will receive with unquestioning credulity an accusation against those who dare to reprove fashionable sins. This spirit will increase more and more. And the Bible plainly teaches that a time is approaching when the laws of the State shall so conflict with the law of God that whoever would obey all the divine precepts must brave reproach and punishment as an evil-doer.” {GC88 458.2}

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  17. Michelle: Bob, your like a broken record. You say the same things over and over. And what you say is nothing more than mean spirited put down after put down. Do you not notice that even the ET supporters give you thumbs down? I can’t beleive your still allowed to post here.

    Are you saying Shane and Sean should “ban” Bob as they did Dr. Stone? For what? Speaking his opinion, as Dr. Stone did? Or, are they going to blame negative public opinion on Bob also, instead of on their own comments?




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  18. Michelle: Bob, your like a broken record. You say the same things over and over. And what you say is nothing more than mean spirited put down after put down. Do you not notice that even the ET supporters give you thumbs down? I can’t beleive your still allowed to post here.

    Michelle, How do you know that “ET supporters” are giving Bob “thumbs downs?” And, why would that effect what Bob has to say?




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  19. “The question is … given the number of Q&A sessions you (as an agnostic) have actually had on this board – what would Hawking’s understanding have been by now having had access to those same answers?”

    That’s a good question my friend, upon which I can only speculate as I can’t read minds. But from the answers I have seen I think Hawking’s view would be that Adventism is a faith construct trying to justify itself with pseudo science. That the Advenitist biblical concept of God cannot accord with the observable laws of empirical science.

    But this is only my guess based on the obvious bias of creation science versus objective scientific inquiry. Many adventists recognize the obvious disparities in this regard and believe in literal creation notwithstanding. Others see that old ideas of Adventism must be adapted to the realities of sound science or it will become anachronistic mythology( like the Greek gods). Others use collateral methods (Intelligent Science, cherry picked attacks on evolution, etc. to direct attention away from the subjectivity of creation science. I presume that Hawkings, being far intelligent than myself, would make these observations quite easily.

    I hope that answers your question.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  20. I appreciate the dedication in the efforts of atheist evolutionists to marry their faith in the doctrine “there is no god” to science in such a way that they need to bend-and-wrench science and extend their imaginations about a “Multiverse” in order to avoid the conclusion in favor of an intelligent designer.

    At least Martin Reese and Stanford’s Leonard Susskind are upfront and honest about that. (Too bad the biologists at LSU refuse to step up to that level).

    But that still leaves the totally self-conflicted positions of TEs who try to embrace the atheist’s doctrine of origins and marry it to the Bible.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  21. @Ken:

    PREEMINENCE

    There was a kindly old agnostic of Gilamesh
    Who when asked which takes preeminence,
    QUESTION
    Or ANSWER,
    Answered QUESTION, no question, dear friend Wes.




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  22. When I find the weak point in the evolutionist argument – for which they have no answer – and I find that even atheist evolutionists themselves (Patterson, Darwin, Meyers, Provine, Reese, Susskind) agree with certain points in that regard, I also find that it is “predictable” that the TE evolutionist would want this point not to surface time and time again.

    Notice that not one evolutionist was able to substantively respond to Martin Reese’s observations “in nature” pointing to an intelligent designer NOR to the comments by Leonard Susskind that devoted evolutionists simply refused to accept those observations in nature. So our evolutionist friends simply run away from the point and argue that it is mean spirited to remind them of it.

    Some find that inexplicable – but in my view it is simply predictable.

    Hence – I prefer the points where they have no answer. I am fine with them fleeing the point and whining that it is mean spirited to bring up points where they do not have substantive responses.

    I also I like the mystical notion that those posting against creationism can tell what thumbs up/down is posted by what person or exactly who is reading what as if they had an all-knowing IP address monitor on this web site. (BTW – That is a curious element in discussions on evolutionism that I find a great many places. It is as if they enjoy telling themselves the story that they know who is reading and who is voting what…)

    All in all – very instructive for the objective unbiased reader that chooses to embrace critical thinking.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  23. Re Pauluc’s Quote

    “For me I cannot read the gospel account and the ethic He described and to which He called His disciples to see that in that grace beauty and transcendence is all I need to be a disciple. I accept that the characteristics of the community of Faith is love and that the just shall indeed live by faith.”

    Dear Pauluc

    This is eloquent and goes to the very essense of all that is good about Christianity. Grace will always rise above doctrine. This is why I do.not disparage Christian faith.

    I understand and appreciate what Drs Pitman and Kime are trying to do: marry literal faith to science. But they have a very tough row to hoe because the modern educated mind will leave no stone unturned in critically examining such claims. Can the biological diversity we see today, apart from acquatic animals, really have stemmed from the ark? Can this rehashed Epic of Gilamesh really be considered to be empirically superior to the theory of evolution?! This is why I asked both Drs. Kime and Pitman, extremely intelligent men, to consider what is preeminent for them in examining reality: faith or science?

    Moreover how can science hope to empirically test claims such as the Investigative Judgement a doctrine unique to Adventists based upon on a disappointed man’s vision?

    The thing about faith, as evidenced on this site is that everybody’s is at least a little different. If so how can faith ever have an objective empirical basis? That is why science, as opposed to faith or non faith bias, is the the objective, tool of enquiry for examining physical reality, including the origins of life on earth and in the universe.

    And if God, as the infinite first cause exists outside the sphere of scientific inquiry, faith still has its valid place in ontological enquiry, saith your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  24. ken: Thanks for the comments Sean. Frankly I don’t know the answer and it may well be multifactorial, as Sean pointed out. My point to Bob is I don’t see how it is the ‘obvious, observed’ mechanism in nature that allowed people to live 900 years.
    My main point is, even if Bob’s point is conjecture: magic fruit = adult production or activation of telomerase, I wouldn’t call it a hoax or a fraud, unless I could prove otherwise.

    My point is that we have a mechanism that can be “observed today” and the effect of that mechanism can be “observed”.

    My point is that enzymes are known to “come from food” or to be produced by the body in reaction to other proteins, other enzymes that “come from food”.

    My appeal is to know “observed mechanism”.

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

    yet it is the basis of blind faith belief in evolutionism.

    Thus we have known “observed” mechanism – vs much hoped for mechanism.

    The comparison is obvious.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  25. @BobRyan:

    BobRyan November 11 2011 at 6:11 pm

    In this case we are talking about complex houses not just a cube – complete with embedded nano-tech capable of self-repair – self-healing, auto-paint-updating etc.

    Something like this…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?
    v=GVqJdAqTD4Q&feature=related

    When your fellow atheists and agnostics view that in a moment of objectivity – they respond something like ABC News did when it reported on it…

    And in this case – those houses would be found all over Mars. 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.

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




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  26. Thumbs up or down?

    I wonder in which direction the divine thumb is pointed when individuals claim a franchise on absolute truth and blithely attack others as being hoaxes or frauds.

    Those that post as such do not advance the cause of Educate Truth only radicalize it to the point of of becoming a remnant of one.

    Your observing agnostic friend
    Ken




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  27. Bob, your like a broken record. You say the same things over and over. And what you say is nothing more than mean spirited put down after put down. Do you not notice that even the ET supporters give you thumbs down? I can’t beleive your still allowed to post here.




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  28. Sean summarizes Ken’s day 1 through “day now” position.

    Sean: You have what seem to be very clearly defined ideas regarding the detectable existence of a God or God-like being. You simply don’t believe in such a being at this point in time. Yet, if you one day see evidence for such a being, that you are actually able to understand and appreciate, you seem to be open to changing your mind. That’s good!”

    Indeed. That is the frozen state to which Ken has steadfastly clung – all through these years on this board – and all through the 100’s if not 1000’s of exchanges he has had on this board with you and others.

    Ken:

    That is totally correct my friend. That is where I am currently at but open to change if indeed I become convinced or decide to take a leap of faith towards Intelligent Design. As you know I’m intrigued by that idea and prepared to support further inquiries in that regard.

    And to his credit – Ken freely admits that this is right where he has dug in his heels during the years on this board.

    A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.

    Hence Ken does not pick up Sean’s suggestion about finding evidence of intelligence on Mars.

    He knows it would lead to an obvious conclusion. So… dance around it, albeit politely as “our agnostic friend”.

    Its ok – I believe in free will too.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  29. @ken: Establish a Chair of Intelligent Design? A crackerjack idea! Award-winning! Best thing since 9-9-9. There’s a crying need for it. Must happen – at Harvard. UC Berkeley?

    But at LSU? Friend, that’s like establishing the Debt-Tax-Abatement-Enhancement SuperCommittee at… — but wait! That’s too zingy, artful, insensitive, unfriendly, arguably sarcastic, in a word Kimesque. Apologies. Again. May I try again?




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  30. Re Sean’s Quotes

    Hello Sean

    “There you go. If I understand you correctly, you seem to believe that the Biblical God is nothing more than a human construct and that the real God, if he does exist, is no more empirically detectable than any other human construct or view of God – or garden fairies for that matter.

    Pardon me for saying so, but when it comes to a belief in the existence of a God that is rationally detectable, you seem to be much more atheistic than agnostic.

    In a lot of ways that’s a better position to be in compared to the position of “having no idea.” You have what seem to be very clearly defined ideas regarding the detectable existence of a God or God-like being. You simply don’t believe in such a being at this point in time. Yet, if you one day see evidence for such a being, that you are actually able to understand and appreciate, you seem to be open to changing your mind. That’s good!”

    That is totally correct my friend. That is where I am currently at but open to change if indeed I become convinced or decide to take a leap of faith towards Intelligent Design. As you know I’m intrigued by that idea and prepared to support further inquiries in that regard.

    ~

    “As I’ve tried to explain to you before, it is impossible for anyone, including you, to completely remove personal bias from one’s understanding or interpretation of the available empirical evidence. In fact the very process of science itself requires one to make leaps of faith beyond what can be absolutely or definitively proven. One cannot separate faith from science or give one supremacy over the other since they are intimately intertwined and dependent upon each other – as Dr. Kime has explained much more eloquently than I.”

    Sean, this is where I agree, but respectfully disagree as well. Let me explain further. As I stated in previous posts I think everyone has personal bias and sees things through their subjective, and sometimes subliminal personal lens (i.e. my father being a Deist- does this make me open or susceptible to ideas of Intelligent Design- quite possibly and I recognize it!) Epistomology 101 – are we all disconnected brains in jars hooked up to a computer thinking we are experiencing a reality that is but a dream? The Matrix movies-quite fascinating actually- are premised on this type of notion. So in this context I agree with you.

    But that is not the bias that I am talking about. The bias I am talking about is theism or atheism and I believe that an agnostic can be objective in that regard. I also think that scientists can do this if they can separate faith or non faith from their observations. In my opinion science is the objective barometer of reality that over time, over rules human subjectivity to the greatest degree possible. And I believe honest agnosticism is the most objective means to look through the lens of science without theistic or atheistic bias.

    Am I perfect or without personal bias? Goodness NO! Just ask my teenagers who catch me on every inconsistency or parental hypocrisy that I utter! 🙂 Can I look at the question of God, and more importantly the Nature of God, dispassionately and objectively? I think so but can only judge my view subjectively. Thus it up to unbiased others to rule on that. Oh where to find a jury of unbiased peers?

    I hope that distinction helps.

    “As far as I can tell though, you’re a good soul. I hope you don’t mind my questions as they are sincere and are not intended to be pejorative or personal in any way. I very much like and even envy your style and hope one day to get together. If you’re ever up in the Redding area, do look me up.”

    Thank you kindly. You have always treated me with the greatest of respect and I do hope I have done likewise. That fact is far more important than what you and I think about the Ultimate Reality. I have great admiration for your work and am prepared to support it in a number of ways. That is not just lip or blog service. Although this may not be the most appropriate venue (obvious to the more frequent attacks on my POV as of late!) I’d happy to correspond with you through private email. To that extent I give Shane my permission to provide same to you.

    I would love to meet with you alone, with you and Wes, with you, Wes and Erv, or any combination thereof, to discuss matters asundry. Erv, that applies to you as well. Could we all meet as gentleman, let our ideological hair done a bit and see if there is any room to advance the collective good of the Adventist faith? I’d gladly come to sunny California to do so 🙂

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  31. Ken: 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…. A watch? A Martian granite cube as you described? What natural physical processess could have randomly created same?

    In this case we are talking about complex houses not just a cube – complete with embedded nano-tech capable of self-repair – self-healing, auto-paint-updating etc.

    Something like this…

    When your fellow atheists and agnostics view that in a moment of objectivity – they respond something like ABC News did when it reported on it…

    And in this case – those houses would be found all over Mars. 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.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  32. I just noticed that Ken mentioned that he might be coming to sunny southern California in the near future. May I respond by saying that I’m sure that we would have many interesting things to talk about.I hope that Wes would be interested in getting together as well. Wes and I both have a good friend in common who lives in Glendale (CA). If either Ken or Wes would like to contact me directly, please feel free at erv.taylor@atoday.org




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  33. Bob Ryan has used his God-given reason to observe that “no one has seen macroevolution happen” (which of course can’t happen in the lifetime of one human), and labels believers in macroevolution as “blind-faith evolutionists”. By the same reasoning is Bob himself a “blind faith” believer in human parthenogenesis and reincarnation? Does he know someone who has seen these events happen?




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  34. Dear Editors

    You are moving towards one blogger who obviously knows the absolute truth.

    Perhaps that’s the remnant after all.

    Good luck!

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  35. @Ervin Taylor:

    May I suggest that Henry makes sense. The only exception is Sean who I have thought is a very interesting case study that would at least merit a footnote in a psychology or social psychology of religion book chapter on the personality types attracted to sect-type religious groups.

    Basic Christianity, an idea based on the incredible notion that Jesus is a living eternally-existent God who was born as a man on this Earth over 2000 years ago, who lived a holy life and then died to allow us salvation from our sins, and who was then raised from the dead to live forevermore as our representative in Heaven, who will one day return to take all the righteous, the living and dead whom he will raise to life, home with him to live forever, was also thought of as a ridiculous “sect-type religion” for quite some time before it eventually became popular in Western culture.

    Forget about Adventism for a minute, what is it that attracts you to the most basic, yet extraordinarily fantastic, claims of Christianity in general? What is it that causes you to even want to take on the label of “Christian” much less that of “Seventh-day Adventist Christian”? Why take on the label of an organization that you derisively label a “sect” in its official statements of belief? Do you really have an actual belief or faith in the reality of the empirical claims of Jesus to be the God-man that he claims to be? to have lived and died and been resurrected for our salvation? or, is yours simply an attraction to Christian culture and moral ideals in general without a real belief in the empirical realities claimed by Jesus and his followers? Why not respond, in a meaningful manner, to these simple questions?

    Perhaps a chapter needs to be written in your psychology of religion book on why some people feel the need to live with only one foot, or perhaps only one toe, in Wonderland? – 2 Timothy 3:5

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  36. Richard&#032Young: 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?

    Interesting wrench-and-bend of the points posted.

    What has been said is that the points not verifiable in science “The incarnation of Christ” – are still tested by the things that ARE verifiable “the historicity of the Christ and the NT accounts” as well as the fact that the Bible claims to “miracles” in the case of the incarnation – are without any opposition in science claiming that such things are common to nature and not miracles.

    You seek a point – and failing to find one in the positions posted – you merely invent a straw man and then applaud your own efforts.

    How was that supposed to be viewed as a compelling response on your part – to anyone that does not already take your view to start with?

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  37. Hi Wes

    By some strange, ontological twist of fate the initials ET are equally applicable to your old friend and this site.

    Just coincidence, or perhaps God ‘truly’ moves in a mysterious way….hmmmm.

    Your agnostic, not atheistic!, friend
    Ken




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  38. May I suggest that Henry makes sense. The only exception is Sean who I have thought is a very interesting case study that would at least merit a footnote in a psychology or social psychology of religion book chapter on the personality types attracted to sect-type religious groups.




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  39. Whether waggish or grumpy, ET’s visits here are always memorable, especially today’s.

    Normally frolicsome, he’s usually merely entertained by the idea Genesis 1 can be science and by the Heroic Crusade in defense of such, as he himself proclaimed it, waggish proclamations being his wont.

    But today in a resolutely magisterial tone he’s over here proclaiming Genesis 1 Adventism, as personified by Dr. Pitman, sect-ist.

    But I’m so old I remember when Walter Martin (remember him?), more theologically than anthropologically oriented, regally adjudged and adjudicated Adventism NOT a sect. WHAT a relief that was! Amen.

    But seriously, of immediate concern is ET’s fretting over being so thumbed down over here. Amen.




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  40. Re Sean’s Quote

    “I’m sorry, but I still don’t understand…”

    Hi Sean

    I’m sorry that you don’t as well.

    You seem to be able to quite clearly see the the difference between a conservative and progressive adventist but not between an agnostic and atheist. If an agnostic is the same as an atheist, why even have separate definitions?

    Is there anything in the definition of a garden fairy that has anything to do with the beginning of the universe or has the attributes of an omnipotent creator of everything?

    If current science does not prove or disprove God, as I think is the case, this does this not logically eliminate the possibility of God. The issue is epistemological not normative and that is what you and Dawkins do not get. If God exists outside the realm of science, outside detection, God – as infinite first cause can exist, even if people do not think that has any value. Kind of like the integer 0. Even though it does not have any value it still exists doesn’t it?

    What I think science has been showing us is that the primitive notions of the nature of God(s) are mythological and sociological. That is why I do not have any problem with people who have faith believing in a God they cannot understand or science does not explain. I do not share that faith because I am an agnostic.

    To me what is not the nature of God is a stepping stone to what is the possible nature of God.

    Ummm, I’m getting hungry, time to summon up the ole flying spaghetti monster for some chow 🙂

    Sean, it does not matter that we differ, what matters is the rational method and humane manner by which we discourse. I’m learning lots and I hope you are gaining a better appreciation for agnosticism. notwithstanding the closed box of atheism.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  41. Re Sean’s Question

    “Forget about Adventism for a minute, what is it that attracts you to the most basic, yet extraordinarily fantastic, claims of Christianity in general? What is it that causes you to even want to take on the label of “Christian” much less that of “Seventh-day Adventist Christian”?”

    Hi Erv

    I think that is a far question.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  42. @Pauluc:

    Sean I am really confused now. You are on one hand arguing against a blind faith that would accept Christian faith as based on the revelation of Jesus. You seem to intimate that Christianity must instead be based on evidence and not blind faith but you now seem to be suggesting that the scientific literature in the life sciences is “nothing but blind faith and false extrapolations from very limited examples of evolution in action”.

    When it comes to evolution in action beyond very low levels of functional complexity, yes, there is nothing in scientific literature, beyond blind faith, to support the notion that the mechanism of RM/NS is remotely capable of doing the job – nothing. There is no demonstration and there are no relevant statistical models. There is simply no science to support the RM/NS conclusion at all for systems with minimum functional complexity requirements beyond the 1000aa level. There are only just-so stories. That’s it. It is simply assumed, blindly and without evidence to support the mechanism, that mindless mechanisms were somehow able to do the job.

    The currently available evidence strongly suggests that this belief in the magnificent creative powers of RM/NS is not only blind, but is completely irrational – directly contrary to everything that is known about protein sequence space and the distribution and exponentially increasing rarity of viable sequences at higher and higher levels of functional complexity.

    If you think I’m so obviously wrong, based on the little you’ve read of my ideas online, please do present just one example of evolution in action or a relevant statistical model where the mechanism of RM/NS is shown to likely to produce, in a predictable period of time, any qualitatively novel system of function in a given gene pool which requires a minimum of more than 1000 specifically arranged amino acid residues (to include multiprotein systems where the proteins must be specifically arranged in 3D space). If you find such an example, I’d be very very interested. So far, I’ve been unable to do so.

    The only thing you will find in literature in this regard are papers discussing the sequence or structural similarities of higher-level systems compared to the lower-level systems from which it is assumed they evolved. The problem with these papers is that they do not discuss the minimum structural differences required to evolve from one to the other. They do not discuss the statistical problems for RM/NS to produce these minimum structural differences in a reasonable amount of time. They simply assume, blindly, that it happened somehow because they know, from their interpretation of the fossil record, that it had to have happened. They do not, however, have any idea how RM/NS could actually have done what they believe it did in just a few billion years (a drop in the bucket compared to the time that would actually be needed to produce just one qualitatively novel system of function that requires a minimum of just 1000 specifically arranged aa residues (i.e., trillions of years wouldn’t be enough time).

    You further seem to have descended into a gnosticism that indicates that there is no need for Christians to do original research and publish and participate in science because all the evidence you need is already in the literature if you can only understand it right.

    Original research is great. I’ve published a few papers of my own. There is always and will always be more to learn and understand. However, the relevant concepts regarding levels of functional complexity for protein-based systems, and what happens to the distribution of viable sequences in sequence space at different levels of complexity, have already been published in literature.

    Simple basic questions.
    1] Do you believe in science as hypothesis testing and is this a route to understanding?

    Yes.

    2] Can Christians legitimately participate in this activity and publish their findings?

    Absolutely.

    3] Are biologists doing science in good faith or they all bewitched by the devil and deluded?

    I’m sure they are honest and sincere. This has nothing to do with the morality of a person or his/her standing before God. I think that evolutionary biologists are wrong and misguided. They may not understand that what they believe regarding the evolutionary mechanism isn’t really based on science. Regardless of the purity of their motivations however, they are painfully mistaken on this particular topic.

    4] How does a simple biologist know which are the just-so stories and which are true?

    Just-so stories have no backing by scientific methodologies. They have no testable predictive value since they have no basis in observation or relevant statistical analysis. You can’t actually measure or test the likelihood that a just-so story is more or less true compared to the opposing or null hypothesis.

    5] How do you decide which are the evidences that can legitimately be used to build faith and which are not?

    All evidences can be used to build faith. It is just that the “evidence” presented must actually have some valid testable, potentially falsifiable, predictive value that can actually be measured statistically vs. other competing options or hypotheses. In other words, there has to be some way to measure the likelihood that your story is more or less likely true compared to other competing stories or hypotheses. It must therefore be testable in a way that produces measurable predictive value.

    6] Is there such a thing as Mortons demon and how will I recognize it.

    Personal bias is always present and the best one can do is recognize that one’s own previously established biases will always come into play when analyzing new data (see my next post on dinosaurs evolving from birds). I’m not immune from personal bias and neither are you. No one is.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  43. Hi Sean

    I don’t know if the physicists are smarter than the biologists, but they are definitely smarter than the agnostics! 🙂

    Thank God for that.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  44. Hi Nic

    The books by Piccioni sound very interesting.

    Deism has been around for some time. The more it can be buttressed by science the more rational, as oppossd to philosophical or rellgious, it will become. Then the natural theological outcome will be which religion, if any, is more rational than the others. When it comes to comparing prophets this becomes problematic.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  45. @Sean Pitman:

    Sean Pitman November 6, 2011 at 12:52 am

    “Part of the problem, of course, is that biologists are far better at telling just-so stories than they are at math. It is much much easier to come up with imagined just-so stories about how things may have morphed over time than it is to actually do the relevant math or to understanding the statistical odds involved with crossing the growing non-beneficial gaps between functional systems at higher and higher levels of functional complexity.”

    *********
    I am reading a little book authored by Robert Piccioni, a physicist who took the time to calculate the chance of life being the result of an accident, and he concluded that such a chance occurrence is for all practical purposes almost equal to zero. The title of his book is “Can Life be Merely an Accident?”

    He is also the author of another book dealing with this issue. The title is “Everone’s Guide to Atoms Einstein and the Universe.” He is not an Adventist, but he is convinced that the universe was the result of the work of a designer.




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  46. Dinosaurs Evolved from Birds?

    As another fairly recent potential example of devolution compared to popular notions large scale evolution over time (in addition to the flagellum to the TTSS toxin injector example noted above), a number of mainstream scientists are starting to question the popular idea that birds evolved from dinosaurs. Rather, they are arguing that it went the other way around – that certain creatures that have been classified as theropod dinosaurs are actually flightless birds.

    “Raptors look quite a bit like dinosaurs but they have much more in common with birds than they do with other theropod dinosaurs such as Tyrannosaurus,” Ruben said. “We think the evidence is finally showing that these animals which are usually considered dinosaurs were actually descended from birds, not the other way around.”…

    The old theories were popular, had public appeal and “many people saw what they wanted to see” instead of carefully interpreting the data, [Ruben] said.

    ScienceDaily (Feb. 9, 2010)

    So, we have yet another example, if confirmed, of devolution in action – the same mechanism that produces flightless birds on windy islands or cavefish without eyes. This form of “change over time” is very easy to explain since it is far easier to break something via mindless mechanisms than it is to create a working complex system to begin with via any known mindless mechanism.

    Again, look as you might, you will not find an observed example in literature of evolution in action beyond very very low levels of functional complexity (i.e., beyond the level of 1000 specifically arranged aa residues), nor will you find a mathematical model that makes any useful predictions as to the success of the mechanism of RM/NS at various levels of functional complexity over a given period of time.

    In short, faith in the RM/NS mechanism as the primary source of creativity in evolutionary biology for the production of higher level systems of function within gene pools is nothing but fairytale wishful thinking – not science.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  47. @Sean Pitman:

    Sean

    Once again you have drawn me in with your egregious comment;

    “Part of the problem, of course, is that biologists are far better at telling just-so stories than they are at math. It is much much easier to come up with imagined just-so stories about how things may have morphed over time than it is to actually do the relevant math or to understanding the statistical odds involved with crossing the growing non-beneficial gaps between functional systems at higher and higher levels of functional complexity” – Sean Pitman

    I do not at all understand your hostility toward biologists that do experimental work and publish their work in peer reviewed journals. Why should you effectively call them liars simply because their conclusions do not agree with your unpublished and unscientific prejudices?

    Why the negativity? I know you might see the strength of your argument in nitpicking the argument of others as an approach that sees evidence for God resident in our ignorance has nowhere else to go but to concentrate on failure and inadequacy because the bigger the whole the more room for God. This whole article seems predicated on that idea. Why do you see your certitude vindicated in attacking an Adventist scientist who happens to have acknowledged thr lack of trite answers to some difficult questions and limited certainty in life.

    I note that the adequacy of your arguments about mathematical modelling was raised in a blog post about protein sequence space in 2009 and Drysen the author of the paper you critiqued suggested “..Sean Pitman who needs to stop being obsessed with computer-based numerology and do some reading and talk to some practical protein scientists.”

    I would go further and suggest you start doing scienc by proposing clear testable models for your understanding of origins. Test your model of protein evolution experimentally and report the results. That is the basis of real science. Until you publish your hypothesis driven research findings in the peer reviewed literature you have not effectively advanced your ideas beyond the mass of ignorance that is the blogosphere.

    Try one of the PLOS of BMC journals on evolution or biology. It will be much more helpful, creative and satisfying than attacking the ideas of others in blogs like pharyngula or talk origins or in the lay press.




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  48. Hello Sean and Wes

    I’ve been enjoying the posts and learning a lot from the discourse. I simply can’t match your knowledge or that of Pauluc when it comes to molecular evolution.

    As a layman though, it strikes me though that if novel coding genes arise all the time in genomes that given enough time macro evolution will occur. I like the idea of using mathematical models, among others to test this concept. Have you ever read about the Game of Life invented by the Cambridge mathemetician James Conway? The game illustrates that with a few simple rules ( far simpler than the physical laws of the universe) complex structures will evolve and even repeat themselves from random combinations. It appears as the structures were designed as compared to having been formed by random combinations of squares. Of course molecules are far more complex than two dimentional squares. But given enough time and potential for a vast number of random combinations to occur, driven by natural selection as evidenced by micro evolution, wouldn’t structures of functional complexity occur?

    Regarding Sean’s suggestion that the Krebs Cycle may have devolved to simpler metabolic processes in some organisms, this raises many questions. Are all life forms devolving to less and less complex organisms? Are organisms utlilizing components of the Kreb’s Cycle, younger in age than KC organisms? Will horses eventually devolve back down to amoebas? 🙂

    Wes, in light of Sean’s comments I’m interested in yours as to whether the Krebs Cycle is irreducibly complex or may have evolved from a series of enzymatic cascades?

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  49. @Ken:

    As a layman though, it strikes me though that if novel coding genes arise all the time in genomes that given enough time macro evolution will occur. I like the idea of using mathematical models, among others to test this concept. Have you ever read about the Game of Life invented by the Cambridge mathemetician James Conway? The game illustrates that with a few simple rules ( far simpler than the physical laws of the universe) complex structures will evolve and even repeat themselves from random combinations. It appears as the structures were designed as compared to having been formed by random combinations of squares. Of course molecules are far more complex than two dimentional squares. But given enough time and potential for a vast number of random combinations to occur, driven by natural selection as evidenced by micro evolution, wouldn’t structures of functional complexity occur?

    Various computer models have indeed generated what is often cited as “complexity”, via mindless mechanisms, but they have not generated novel functional complexity beyond very very low levels. The general understanding of complexity, as in greater degrees of non-predictability, is not the same thing is functional complexity. Functional complexity is a measure of the minimum structural threshold requirements needed to achieve a particular type of functionality. Beyond very low levels of functional complexity, nothing has been generated by any mindless mechanism, without the input of deliberate intelligent design, in biology or in computer simulations. After all, if one could figure out how to produce truly novel functional complexity without the need to use intelligent designers, one would make a fortune in computer programming without the need to pay human programmers.

    The reason why low level evolution can occur rather rapidly while levels of functional complexity just a little bit higher cannot be realized in a reasonable amount of time is because there is not a linear relationship between time and evolvability at higher and higher levels of functional complexity. Rather than linear, there is an exponential relationship so that as one considers systems of qualitatively novel functionality that have greater and greater minimum structural threshold requirements the average time required for any mindless mechanism to discover these systems in sequence space increases exponentially with each step up the ladder of functional complexity.

    So, while it might superfiecially seem reasonable that given enough time, “microevolution” will simply add up to produce “macroevolution”, this simply isn’t true when one stops to consider the statistical probabilities involved at higher and higher levels of functional complexity – again, its an exponentially increasing problem for RM/NS.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  50. No one will ever demonstrate to Sean Pitman’s satisfaction an exception to the 1000-fsaar threshold of the evolution of complexity for several reasons that come to my mind (and I’m sure there are others):

    1 – There is no practical way to identify the exact number of “fairly specified amino acid residues” (fsaars) for novel increases in functionality among metazoans (i.e., the problem of uncertainty). Sean can’t tell you, for example, exactly how many amino acid residues were involved for the evolution of the scorpion’s stinger, the evolution of its gland, or the evolution of its various venom components. Sean simply has no clue. But unless God created the deadly stinger to function as it does today, I can’t imagine its evolution requiring any fewer than 1000 amino acids.

    2 – The beginning and endpoint for what constitutes Sean’s imagined “1000 fsaar threshold” cannot be precisely stated. How many fsaars would comprise the origin of several novel venom proteins, for example? If three new 400 aa proteins evolve, resulting in a potent venom comprised of a sum of 1200 new aa that function unlike any prior venom enzymes, would this exceed the threshold (i.e., the problem of summation)? If a complex structure that served one function became modified at, say, 12 aa per generation until it began to function very differently 100 generations later, was this a 1200 fsaar change (i.e., the problem of accumulation)? If a protein dependent on three genes, each coding for 400 aa subunits, acquired a new function after gene duplication and tinkering, would this qualify as exceeding the threshold (the problem of gene duplication)?

    3 – Because Sean rejects any and all analyses based on phyogenetics, he will not allow any kind of historical reconstruction of traits to infer the evolution of a complex trait (i.e., the problem of constrained inference). The only possibility for demonstrating to Sean a 1000+ fsaar change is for something that might take place within a few centuries–the narrow window of time that detailed natural history observations have been available to give us a benchmark for change. Sean is typical of creationists in demanding a “show me an example of such change.” Of course, the evolutionists will tell you that the accumulation of change can take thousands or millions of years (i.e., generations), but Sean and other creationists demand that it happens within decades or centuries so that it can be “observed.”

    4 – Any example of change that introduces higher levels of functionality can be met with one simple objection: God made it that way (i.e., the problem of origin). One might consider clear-cut examples of predation or parasitism, but these are no less problematic. God could have created the scorpion with its stinger, venom gland, and venom, for example, to sting a succulent plant and thereby create a hole in the plant that provides the scorpion a home.

    My conclusion: it is not worthwhile to pursue this type of discussion with Sean. One simply cannot reason with these constraints to change. And who gives a monkey’s hairy behind, anyway.




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  51. Ken: As a layman though, it strikes me though that if novel coding genes arise all the time in genomes that given enough time macro evolution will occur.

    The coding genes do not simply “arise” as you imagine. The only examples you have given are of the “re-shuffle” variety taking their own “existing information” – and shuffling with a bit of “card damage” for good measure as they do so.

    When you were pressed about how this “reshuffle” mechanism would ever allow the genome of the amoeba to become the genome of the horse – you simply dodged the point claiming that you were never intending that your “reshuffle” idea was the mechanism by which that happens.

    Now we seem to want to “have it both ways”.

    Interesting.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  52. Hi Sean

    Sorry about that, I hit the submit button too soon.

    …. because none of those entities have any relevance to the issues of infinity, infinite regress, first cause or cosmic design. I do not accept the abridge treatment of these topics that all relate to the inquiry of Gid. I do not accept your categorization of agnostics being effective atheists anymore than fundamental adnentists being Treated the same as progressive adnentists.

    Does a flying spaghetti minster understand inanity? I’m sure Gid, 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.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  53. Henry: My suggestion to Ervin Taylor, Richard Young, Ron, and even Ken (a very likeable chap): just ignore this stuff, especially anything that Bully Bob writes. Let the defenders of “truth” argue among themselves. Save your time, energy and sanity for more productive things.

    Henry’s post illustrates the narrow view of our evolution-ist (or is it –ish?) contributors. Their little world revolves around who might want to disprove and refute their views. In that tiny model – they “think to themselves” that if they put their hands over their ears and shut their eyes opposing ideas to evolutionism do not exist.

    How sad that they entirely miss the whole point of the thread. The point of the web site is the appeal to the unbiased objective readers that are not posting in sacrifice-all for evolutionism fashion, if they are posting at all

    Devotees to blind faith evolutionism tend to imagine to themselves that they have secret knowledge – in fact an all-knowing comprehensive scan of IP access to this website. Thus they assure themselves that no one reads any post but theirs and if they just ‘talk to themselves” no one will notice that they merely circle the wagons when hard questions come up.

    Oh well – whether the evolutionists choose to accept the real world or not – the objective readers are there all the same.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  54. Eddie, I think you have it right. Satan wants us to trust our senses and he knows how to exploit them. I don’t understand this campaign Sean Pitman has against faith. All of the individuals Pitman has cited have made very clear that their faith is not empirically blind, with the exception perhaps of Erv Taylor. These individuals have made clear that much of what we believe can ONLY be accepted on faith because the only available evidence is clearly contradictory. This includes the virgin birth and resurrection of Jesus, neither of which Sean will EVER admit that ALL PHYSICAL EVIDENCE SO ABUNDANTLY CONTRADICTS. Again, Satan wants us to trust the evidence rather than the plainly spoken word to us.

    Pitman has obviously worn out many who tried to reason with him, so I don’t expect you’ll get any further.




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  55. Re Sean’s Quotes

    “Yes, but your understanding of science leads you to believe that God, if He does exist, is effectively undetectable in any sort of empirical rationally-understandable manner.”

    That depends on one’s definition of God. But regarding the biblical iteration of God, I’d say science demonstrates such deity is a human construct without empirical validity. Query: why couldn’t God be everything, a matrix of all matter, energy, time manifesting itself in innumerable forms over infinity? That broader, albeit theistic definition, would be more in line with current science than the Hebrew/Christian definition of same. As an agnostic I consider this as a possibility, even without empirical validity.

    ~

    “In other words, your view of God seems to place God in the same category as Santa Claus or the Flying Spaghetti Monster.”

    Nope, because seemingly by their definition they don’t proclaim to be the be the alpha and omega. But I would say that my view of the biblical God would place Him in the same category as the Greek gods, the Hindu gods, the Muslim God, etc. I don’t think there is any empirical basis for any of them based on the defrocking of mythology by science.

    Now, as a man of science think what an empirical stretch it is for you to validate your view of God based on Adventist theology. On what empirical basis can you say that EGW had visions of the truth? The investigative judgment comes to mind. As a scientist, if you can take off your faith hat for just a moment, can there be any empirical basis for such a belief?

    So Sean, I put it to you non pejoratively: is your understanding of God more guided by your faith than your science and can you objectively separate the two?

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  56. @Sean Pitman:

    “You seem to be arguing for a theory of common descent via some mechanism other than ID.”

    Indeed I am

    “That’s not quite the same thing as arguing for the scientific credibility of RM/NS producing anything beyond very low levels of functional complexity – not even close as far as I can tell.”

    And why would I argue for the simplistic model of random mutation and natural selection that as you do rightly appear to understand

    “…. Why not just admit the fact that you have no idea how RM/NS works at higher levels of functional complexity? – that you simply assume it did the job because you having nothing better? – not because your conclusions for the abilities of RM/NS are actually based on real testable science that produces useful predictive value?”

    On this I can do nothing but point you to the literature that does critiqued the simplistic random mutation/natural selection models that do not take account of the extensive work on variation and diversity within the many genomes now available. See for example the papers;
    Lynch The frailty of adaptive hypotheses for the origins of organismal complexity. PNAS 2007 104:8597
    Fernandez and Lynch Non-adaptive origins of interactome complexity Nature 2011 474:502

    Non-adaptive mechanisms of evolution and population genetics rather than RM/NS are being increasingly researched as the basis of complexity. I do not have any particular position on this debate. NS is undeniable but beyond that there are almost certainly significant non-adaptive .

    I can really do nothing better than to echo the words of Jerry Fodor in his essay “Against Darwinism”.available on his web site on the deficiency of the neo-Darwinian construct as you have formulated above and which you ask me to defend.

    “If a kind of creature flourishes in a kind of situation, then there must be something about such creatures, (or about such situations, or about both) in virtue of which it does so. Well, of course there must. Even Creationists agree with that. None of this should, however, lighten the heart of anybody in Kansas; not even a little. In particular, I’ve provided not the slightest reason to doubt the central Darwinist theses of the common origin and mutability of species. Nor have I offered the slightest reason to doubt that we and chimpanzees had (relatively) recent common ancestors. Nor I do suppose that the intentions of a designer, intelligent or otherwise, are among the causally sufficient conditions that good historical narratives would appeal to in order to explain why a certain kind of creature has the phenotypic traits it does (saving, of course, cases like Granny and her zinnias.) 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.”

    Unfortunately when it comes down to it your only argument is against the common view as was illustrated in your response to questions on the organization of the beta defensins in earlier posts. Your response was that this gene family organization was perfectly intelligible in terms of design but we just are not smart enough to know the design parameters. Unfortunately that is no explanatory model that could compete with a naturalistic models based on mutation, contingency/selection and stochastic processes.




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  57. Ervin&#032Taylor: it is only commented on as a current topic in popular discourse and then the class moves for the rest of the quarter talking about science.

    Thus, it would seem that the topic is already given an appropriate amount of time in a science class.

    No die-hard atheist could have said it better Erv – well represented.

    Meanwhile your own atheist cosmologist fellow believers – have admitted to far more than you are willing to admit to – in “actual science”.

    http://video.google.com.au/videoplay?docid=4773590301316220374#docid=-7044753105944203252

    Why not step up to the plate and at least find the objectivity to join them in that level of honest discourse? Why do you find that so difficult?

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  58. @ken:

    That depends on one’s definition of God. But regarding the biblical iteration of God, I’d say science demonstrates such deity is a human construct without empirical validity.

    There you go. If I understand you correctly, you seem to believe that the Biblical God is nothing more than a human construct and that the real God, if he does exist, is no more empirically detectable than any other human construct or view of God – or garden fairies for that matter.

    Pardon me for saying so, but when it comes to a belief in the existence of a God that is rationally detectable, you seem to be much more atheistic than agnostic.

    In a lot of ways that’s a better position to be in compared to the position of “having no idea.” You have what seem to be very clearly defined ideas regarding the detectable existence of a God or God-like being. You simply don’t believe in such a being at this point in time. Yet, if you one day see evidence for such a being, that you are actually able to understand and appreciate, you seem to be open to changing your mind. That’s good!

    Query: why couldn’t God be everything, a matrix of all matter, energy, time manifesting itself in innumerable forms over infinity? That broader, albeit theistic definition, would be more in line with current science than the Hebrew/Christian definition of same. As an agnostic I consider this as a possibility, even without empirical validity.

    Something that can be anything and everything is not testable or falsifiable and is therefore not more in line with current science than is the Judeo Christian view of God – a view which is far more subject to testing with the potential of falsification.

    If God is ever to be rationally/empirically detectable by us humans, he must present himself in a way that we can recognize as requiring the existence of intelligence and power that cannot readily be distinguished by us from an entity with access to what we would term God-like powers and abilities.

    “In other words, your view of God seems to place God in the same category as Santa Claus or the Flying Spaghetti Monster.” – Sean Pitman

    Nope, because seemingly by their definition they don’t proclaim to be the be the alpha and omega. But I would say that my view of the biblical God would place Him in the same category as the Greek gods, the Hindu gods, the Muslim God, etc. I don’t think there is any empirical basis for any of them based on the defrocking of mythology by science.

    We are talking about detectable existence here. What I hear you saying is that you recognize no empirical evidence to support the existence of any entity that you would classify as a God of any kind. In fact, you argue that you recognize no empirical support for any non-human intelligence of any kind – God-like or otherwise. So, when it comes to detectable existence, you do in fact place God in the same category as garden fairies or the Flying Spaghetti Monster – i.e., you see no positive empirical evidence for their existence even though you cannot absolutely prove their non-existence.

    I therefore ask you the same question again: Are you agnostic with respect to garden fairies, Santa Claus, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster? I’m quite curious to see your response to this classic Dawkins’ retort.

    Now, as a man of science think what an empirical stretch it is for you to validate your view of God based on Adventist theology. On what empirical basis can you say that EGW had visions of the truth? The investigative judgment comes to mind. As a scientist, if you can take off your faith hat for just a moment, can there be any empirical basis for such a belief?

    It’s the same empirical basis for establishing Biblical credibility – i.e., do those elements that can be tested in a potentially falsifiable manner stand up to testing? Are they consistent with apparent empirical reality? If so, the metaphysical claims of the Bible gain credibility as well. If not, they lose rational/scientific credibility or “predictive value”.

    It’s very much in line with establishing the credibility of a witness in a court case. The predictive value of the non-testable or non-verifiable claims of a witness increase or decrease based on if certain testable elements of the testimony of the witness can be shown to be true or false.

    So Sean, I put it to you non pejoratively: is your understanding of God more guided by your faith than your science and can you objectively separate the two?

    As I’ve tried to explain to you before, it is impossible for anyone, including you, to completely remove personal bias from one’s understanding or interpretation of the available empirical evidence. In fact the very process of science itself requires one to make leaps of faith beyond what can be absolutely or definitively proven. One cannot separate faith from science or give one supremacy over the other since they are intimately intertwined and dependent upon each other – as Dr. Kime has explained much more eloquently than I.

    I know you like to fancy yourself as much more objective, not so much blinded by leaps of faith, compared to those who claim to believe in God or those who claim that God doesn’t exist, but you are just fooling yourself. You are no more inherently objective about these things than are the rest of us. Your opinions are just as colored by your past history and experience and mental capabilities as mine are. For me, the best I can do is to admit that I have my own biases and at least be aware of the fact that I am biased as is everyone else.

    That’s why everyone needs to make up his or her own mind with regard to the meaning of the evidence as he/she understands it before God. This is also the reason why only God can accurately judge the heart of a person because only God knows what a particular individual really knows and understands.

    As far as I can tell though, you’re a good soul. I hope you don’t mind my questions as they are sincere and are not intended to be pejorative or personal in any way. I very much like and even envy your style and hope one day to get together. If you’re ever up in the Redding area, do look me up.

    Your friend,

    Sean




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  59. ken: Is there not room to explore ID from a multi – disciplinary perspective without undermining the teaching of evolution at LSU?

    Richard Dawkins does offer some help along those lines. Suggesting a number of areas where science that does not fit blind-faith evolutionism might be allowed in a university as long as it is not in the science classroom.

    You are right to seek help from Erv Taylor as one who is well in line with “our agnostic friend” – and with some of our more “up front” atheist friends. You all appear to be wearing the same arm bands.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  60. But of course — if those buildings were found all over Mars – under about 2 feet of sand – the “there is no Martian” religionists would then say “well apparently these are normally found in nature on Mars – so nothing new here”.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  61. Sean

    With characteristic certainty you claim

    “I never censored your posts on this site to the best of my knowledge. Perhaps Shane inadvertently deleted some of your posts?”.

    Yet digging through my emails I find this correspondence once again addressing my concern about your low view of science and lack of conformation to the standard practices of science which is methodological naturalism. Thu, 9 Sep 2010 07:52:14

    Hi Paul,

    I deleted your post because it used needlessly inflammatory and pejorative words and phrases and is not remotely accurate. I have a high regard for science and scientists in general. While there are some who deliberately set out to support a naturalistic philosophy at all costs, most scientists are not in this category. Most scientists do indeed honestly believe that their experiments and conclusions are performed in “good faith”. The very same thing is true of our ideas and conclusions. Just because we might disagree with most mainstream scientists on certain particulars does not mean that we aren’t being scientific or that either of us is acting outside of “good faith”.

    If you wish to modify your post to remove at least the pejorative elements, feel free to do so for reconsideration.

    Sincerely yours,

    Sean

    @Ricky Kim:
    I admire your sanguine spirit but I’m afraid you fundamentally mis-understand this site. You approach truth in a totally flawed way and seem to be interpreting science as an endeavour done in good faith. The protagonists for this site do not understand the process of arriving at truth in this same way but believe that science is not something we can accept in good faith but is just another faith endeavour where observations are constructed and interpreted with a hidden agenda ie it is the work of the Devil and reflects the desire of scientists themselves to support their own naturalistic philosophy that has at its core a deep desire to deny God.

    In other contexts this would be called projection. Once you understand this mindset you will quickly understand that argument using conventional logic is a futile exercise as many of us with more hope than good sense have found to out chagrin.




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  62. @Sean Pitman:

    Sean PitmanNovember 23, 2011 at 8:57 am

    “How do you know? You said that you considered God’s existence to be “likely”. Isn’t the word “likely” a statistical/scientific term based on at least some ability to actually demonstrate the odds of a hypothesis being correct?

    This is my problem here. How can you say that something is “likely” when, at the same time, you say that you have no empirical evidence for what you say is “likely to exist”? – no more evidence than you have for mythological fairytales?

    You see, it is your use of the phrase, “likely to exist” that doesn’t make sense to me since it appears, at least to me, that you’re being inconsistent with yourself.

    If you have no positive evidence for God’s existence, and if everything that you do know appears to you to have a mindless natural cause, how then can you say, one way or the other, that the “first cause” was “likely” an intelligent God-like being vs. some other mindless natural process? Upon what basis do you make this claim?”

    *********
    Sean,

    Thanks for this impeccable logic. I appreciate the clearness with which you demonstrate the role evidence plays in providing support for our faith.

    Faith without evidence places us at risk of becoming victims of charlatans and those who have been deceived by the Devil.

    Sure, there is evidence for and against a belief in God and Creation, but the weight of evidence favors the biblical teaching that God is the one who created everything that exists.

    We do owe our existence to him alone and he is entitled to our worship. The moment we credit Nature for our existence, we fall prey to the artful deceptions of the one determined to destroy our faith.




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  63. Erv Taylor::

    May I suggest that Henry makes sense. The only exception is Sean who I have thought is a very interesting case study that would at least merit a footnote in a psychology or social psychology of religion book chapter on the personality types attracted to sect-type religious groups.

    BobRyan:
    Is it possible that Erv is trying to tell us something about himself?

    Erv – care to share?

    (Of course some may not want Erv to share the reasons he views Adventism so negatively – but for those who would like to hear him out on this one…)

    Ervin&#032Taylor: 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

    It appears that ET has outed himself much more on his true disdain for the voted positions of the SDA denomination than he appears to have at first imagined.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  64. “ET call home.”

    “Hello . . . Hello . . . Is anyone there?”

    “I’m sorry sir, you’ll have to deposit more coins in the Faith Phone, this is a very long distance call”

    Your metaphysical operator




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  65. @Ken:

    I’m afraid you are getting stuck in defintions of your own making if you cannot dististiguish agnostics into atheists, my friend.

    I don’t think you’re a real agnostic my friend. Real agnostics don’t go around saying that God’s existence is “likely”. They go around saying that they don’t know if God’s existence is or is not likely…

    As has been pointed out to you you are stuck in an empirical paradigm when it comes to understanding God soley by evidence. Logically God can exist without any ability of humans to detect God whatsoever.

    Exactly… just like garden fairies.

    That may be the case if the creative force for our universe exists outside our universe and the physical laws of nature have governed everything from the big bang.

    Indeed… and the same could be said of some non-intelligent creative force. Why then do you propose that an intelligent God “likely” exists over the possibility of a non-intelligent creative force as the ultimate origin of everything?

    Yes I think that a God, a grand design, a first cause, the meaning for everything is logically and philosophically likely because of the lack of any explantion or understanding of how it all came about.

    How does a lack of an explanation, by itself, make the existence of an intelligent God more likely than a non-intelligent creative force?

    Not enough to say oh well we don’t know how it all started so it just must have spontaneously occurred.

    I agree, but how it this enough to conclude that an intelligent God is therefore more likely to have been responsible?

    Is there a design to life, this universe, the collective metaverse, or is it all a random crapshoot we will never understand? Don’t know, but It seems plausible to me, as I duck the flying spaghetti and look into the causal soup, that there is an ultimate answer that would make sense of it all.

    Again, saying that something is possible or “plausible” isn’t the same thing as saying that something is “likely”. One could also argue that it is just as plausible that a mindless mechanism was ultimately responsible for everything… which is the argument of Dawkins and Hawking. Upon what basis do you suggest that the existence of an intelligent creative power or “God” is more likely to have been ultimately responsible? – not just a potential existence, but a likely existence?

    “How does an atheist explain first cause, infinity or infinite regress on a rational basis?”

    Based on what I like to call the “Turtles all the way down” argument (from on a story in Hawking’s book, A Brief History of Time and the title of my own little book on intelligent design and ultimate origins). In short, the argument is that if something that is known to exist can be explained by some mindless mechanism, and that mechanism can itself be explained by some underlying mindless mechanism, and so on as far as one has so far been able to search, then, most likely, as far as one is able to tell given the information that is currently in hand, the same sort of result will continue “all the way down” even if one has yet to reach the “bottom turtle” – so to speak.

    Of course, the same argument can be turned around to suggest that if certain features cannot be explained without the input of an outside source of higher level information, and that source cannot itself be explained without an even higher level source of outside information, and so on as far as one is able to investigate, then, logically, it stands to reason that ultimately it is “Turtles all the way up”. In other words, the ultimate source of everything, the “top turtle” so to speak, likely has access to infinitely great informational complexity, intelligence, and creative power.

    In short, if you can’t tell which way the turtles are going at all, there is no rational way to say what kind of turtle is at the end of the line (an intelligent one or a mindless one).

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  66. @Sean Pitman:

    You seem to be moving into some very dangerous territory with your desire to prove the historicity and veracity of the claims of Christ by empirical evidence.

    You make a statement I really cannot believe a pathologist would make.

    Let’s say that the engine in your car “dies”. It is fatally damaged and your car simply won’t run anymore – for the past 3 days now! Is it outside of the realm of science to effectively demonstrate that your car cannot be “resurrected” via any known mindless mechanism? How about with the effort of a very skilled mechanic? That changes the scientific likelihood of car “resurrection” quite substantially – doesn’t it?

    Why argue at all for resurrection rather then recreation. How much viable tissue is present in a body left for three days in the middle east where daytime temperatures are likely 20-30oC. As you well know a body is by no means an inanimate object like a car that is essentially intact while nonfunctioning. The analogy is completely unhelpful A body 3 days old and stinking is dead and gone. You must start again and make a facsimile but there is no neuronal substrate for mind and no metabolic function remaining.

    In your desire to avoid blind faith You are now in the troubling position of asking where is the evidence that such miracle happened and at the the same time perform the feat of objective verification without recourse to hearsay or toi that same blind faith. One solution to the disconnect between pathological reality and the account is to ask “did it really objectively happen this way or was it reported to happen, mostly by those with a vested interest in the account. When you start appealing to the empirical evidence you will likely end up in higher criticism and arrive at the position of theologians like Albert Schweitzer who in his search for the historical Jesus ended up believing only in the sanctity of life. Nothing else of the ethic or life of Christ could be objectively demonstrated.

    You then ask Erv

    “Do you really have an actual belief or faith in the reality of the empirical claims of Jesus to be the God-man that he claims to be? to have lived and died and been resurrected for our salvation? or, is yours simply an attraction to Christian culture and moral ideals in general without a real belief in the empirical realities claimed by Jesus and his followers? Why not respond, in a meaningful manner, to these simple questions?”

    I assume you have answers to these questions which Erv Taylor does not.

    Simpler to say as a neo-orthodox believer would that Jesus is the revelation of God and we accept that by the leap of faith. There is nothing else. At core that is what a Christian is; a believer in Christ as God and as a man who lived among us. That is enough for me.

    We can argue at the periphery of whether Christ existed as the historical figure that the new testament almost alone describes or if the account of Christ as we know it is largely a product of the community of faith. That distinction is largely irrelevant as the Pauline doctrine of the church as the body of Christ allows for the continual revelation of God.

    For me I cannot read the gospel account and the ethic He described and to which He called His disciples to see that in that grace beauty and transcendence is all I need to be a disciple. I accept that the characteristics of the community of Faith is love and that the just shall indeed live by faith.

    To believe a life of faith can be based on a requirement for empirical evidence I consider a a blasphemous confusion of empirical reality with a transcendent reality of faith.




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  67. Ervin&#032Taylor: May I suggest that Henry makes sense. The only exception is Sean who I have thought is a very interesting case study that would at least merit a footnote in a psychology or social psychology of religion book chapter on the personality types attracted to sect-type religious groups.

    Is it possible that Erv is trying to tell us something about himself?

    Erv – care to share?

    (Of course some may not want Erv to share the reasons he views Adventism so negatively – but for those who would like to hear him out on this one…)

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  68. Morning Bob

    So in the case of the 900 yeard old folks what caused the telemorase to act in the way in did? And what caused it to change. What was observed,?

    Don’t get me wrong I love the story about the magic fruit from the tree of life. Wonderful stuff. But from a scientific point of view it is not obvious thr properties thereof alter the operation of an enzyme. But I’m reluctant to call that a hoax or a fiction or pray tell a Ryanian scientific theory until I give you a full opportunity to explain the empirical basis for your claim.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  69. “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.”

    ===========================================

    I would suggest that such individuals are some of the most brilliant that the world has to offer. The employer they really work for remains hidden as does their true agenda. They know their mission exactly and are executing it with all due dilligence.

    In so doing, they fulfill prophecy.




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  70. Re Sean’s Quote

    “Where then is the effective difference between your perspective and that of well-known atheists like Dawkins and Provine?”

    Hi Sean

    The difference is I don’t need to see the evidence to concede there may be a God that is not yet detectable. That is different than an atheist that says there is no God unless it is proven. Subtle distinction but definitely different.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  71. @pauluc:

    You’re right. I originally understood your comment as suggesting that Adventists believe in the existence of a conscious soul independent of the body. Now that I re-read your comment, I misunderstood what you actually said. My apologies.

    Sean




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  72. Re Wes’s Quote

    “Why do I think Genesis 1 accurate? Accurate of creation? ”

    Hi Wes

    That’s the question if you care to answer it.

    Remember it was you that called out the simple agnostic without a target. Well here I am Wes standing in Origins Street, not hiding, ducking, evading, dodging or taking potshots at the Great Defender of Genesis 1. You’ve have got my full attention and perhaps that’s what you wanted all along? Well done if so.

    Now if you want to comment that there is no purpose in me being here that is your choice. But I respectfully submit my rational agnosticism is as deep as your faith and has just as great a purpose.

    So let me start. Since your conversion, at age 10 I think, did you ever question Genesis 1 as to its literal merits? Notwithstanding your submission of the mutual marriage of faith and science, which spouse holds the upper hand when there is conflict?

    Let’s engage!

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  73. An agnostic is nothing but a skeptic at best. Like John Alfke on the liberal forums, I could only wonder why an agnostic whould have any voice on a conservative SDA discussion on any doctrine?

    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.

    Bill Sorensen




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  74. Hi Sean

    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?

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  75. Pastor Cook said…..

    ” I know we are not in Kansas yet but we will be going to even a better place!”

    Well……I hope so, I am in Kansas now. Actually, it is about as good as you can get in this old world…..So….I like me here, until the Lord will take me there.

    Are you still in Colorado, Hub?

    Bill




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  76. It is no wonder our “church” is in the condition it is in. It is a crying shame that someone of Mr. Taylor’s “status” should be allowed to teach or even lecture at any place but a secular school. But as I have stated over the years that this website has been in existence, if it weren’t for the compromise of accreditation in our schools, not to mention accepting government funding and tuition aid, and the church in general had not broken away from the “blueprint” we would not be having these discussions. As “Uncle Arthur” said in Volume I of the Bible Story “Sad, Bad Days”! “As the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” Matt. 24:37. “Take heed that no man deceive you.” Matt 24:4

    Mr. Taylor apparently has the “form of godliness, but denying the power thereof” 2 Tim. 3:5 “From such turn away.” 2 Tim 3:5

    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.

    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 not the scriptures by what some “scientist” says. Because it is all “science so-called”. If not “they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” 2 Tim. 4:4.

    May God have mercy on those who are teaching such things and may they become converted and accept eternal life. There is NO fence sitting. Either you are on the side of Christ or the side of the devil. There is no middle ground.




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  77. Thank you Sean for providing us more evidence for why Dr. Taylor is an absolute fraud as a true Seventh-day Adventist, especially with regards to his “member in good standing” status at the Loma Linda University SDA Church.

    I also agree with Craigo as to why any legitimate SDA organization would give Dr. Taylor a platform to spew his anti-SDA sentiments.

    Also, when was the last time Dr. Taylor was invited to speak at PUC? I’ll email them to document. Perhaps he’s on their next Week of Prayer schedule?




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  78. Collin Patterson – Paleontologist British Museum of Natural history – 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…

    “…,strong>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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  79. I would add to that cyclist – list

    ABC news apparently admits to the obvious in that regard.

    I give you the work of the greatest designer, greatest artist, greatest scientist ever discovered




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  80. Ok – then – continuing our review of the “incredibly obvious” such that even our atheist evolutionist non-SDA friends get much more of “the point” than those inside the SDA church devoted to 3SG 90-91 “disguised infidelity”.

    The first example – atheist evolutionist Collin Patterson – senior paleontologist British museum of Natural History.

    The second example – the case of world renown atheist cosmologist Martin Reese and also world renown atheist and theoretical physicist Leonard Susskind talking about the issue of “statistical improbability” in an example where they objectively admit to the problem rather than junk-science evolutionist methods of turning a blind eye to the problem.

    All of which is “just more bad news” for the die-hard (sacrifice-all on the altar of evolutionism) – 3SG 90-91 disguised guys.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  81. Dear Sean

    Thanks for the further comments on our friend Dr. Taylor.

    What great courage he must have to have such faith where he thinks the evidence points in a different direction. In the latter part of her life Mother Teresa thought God had stopped taliking to her and she expressed much private doubt. But on she went with her great work for the poor. And on Dr Taylor goes, perhaps seeking to redefine Adventism because of his misgivings of a litreal Genesis. And on you go valiantly attempting to prove the literal word of the bible with science notwithstanding fideists in the adventist ranks.

    I think you three are all great Christians of different doctrinal bent. Now can you all love and respect each other as Christ would want?

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  82. @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.

    Indeed. Which, I suppose, is why Dr. Taylor claims to believe in God and in Jesus as the Son of God. However, when asked, Dr. Taylor also says that he knows of no good evidence to support his belief in even the basic existence of God that he could honestly share with his own granddaughter. In this sense, his form of agnosticism goes a bit deeper than what you’ve referenced here.

    Also, the idea that one can accept the fantastic claims of the Bible about Jesus’ divine origin, life, death, and resurrection, but reject other Biblical statements on the origin of life on this planet is just a bit inconsistent… which was the main point of my essay.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  83. 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?

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  84. @Ken:

    ken

    You say

    “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?”

    It is fascinating to see the strands in Adventist belief that are discordant with the current ascendancy of fundamentalism.

    Adventist in terms of their doctrine of life after death very much reject a cartesian dualism. Adventist doctrine sees the breath of life resident within the body as producing a living soul. 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.

    Flowing from this belief in the soul as a function of a physical body is an understanding of the “body temple” and the Adventist health messages and the critical role of life style in the life of the believer.

    Improvement of the body/mind of the believer is the substrate by which God communicates with man. This physicalist understanding of the soul has resulted in two predominant themes in Adventist. The critical role of education and of the medical ministry of the Church.

    This however is where the fault line and conflict in the church today can be seen. On one hand both education and orthopathic medicine have been embraced by the church such that we now have naturalistic evidence based medicine at almost all adventist health care institutions and a cadre of well educated staff. Educational institutions have adopted similar scientific perspectives pari passu with the medical institutions.

    Evidence based medicine and education in the sciences based as they are on methodological naturalism however cannot help but erode the fundamentalist perspective that priveliges a plain reading of scripture as supreme and sees knowledge as immutable and fixed.

    What we witness on this site is a microcosm of this conflict between those who would seek to make Christianity relevant in a secular world where natural cause rather than divine intervention is seen as predominant and those who cling to a God of the gaps who prospers and is best justified on a substrate of ignorance. Conditions not favoured by emphasis on education and evidence based medicine.

    As you say time will tell.




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  85. @pauluc:

    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.

    Since when does Richard Dawkins find ultimate meaning in life? – beyond what can be self-generated or enjoyed for the here and the now? or for however long one’s offspring may live in the terminal universe? – a universe with a limited life span? As far as I’m aware he is right in line with the likes of William Provine who wrote:

    One can have a religious view that is compatible with evolution only if the religious view is indistinguishable from atheism. – No Free Will (1999) p.123

    Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent.

    Evolution is the greatest engine of atheism ever invented.

    “Evolution: Free will and punishment and meaning in life” 1998 Darwin Day Keynote Address

    And, speaking from the perspective of Darwinism, I think that the modern atheists, like Dawkins and Provine, are right on the money here. Also of interest, and worthy of consideration in this particular discussion, Provine went on to write:

    I obviously agree with Gould about intelligent design in organisms, but I think also that a real disagreement exists… 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.

    Gould described his own personal view as “agnostic,” appropriately conciliatory in pursuit of NOMA. Did he treat his own scientific theories in a similarly agnostic way? Did he say he is an agnostic about the concept of punctuated equilibria, one of his favorite theories? … Gould, Thomas Henry Huxley (inventor of the term), and Charles Darwin all billed themselves as agnostics, although they somehow avoid being agnostic about natural selection. Gould appeared to be saying that religion is fine as long as it can’t be distinguished from atheism in the natural world.

    Darwinism, Design and Public Education (2003) p.507-8

    To summarize, it was Richard Dawkins who said:

    I have a certain niggling sympathy for the creationists, because I think, in a way, the writing is on the wall for the religious view that says it’s fully compatible with evolution. I think there’s a kind of incompatibility, which the creationists see clearly.

    – Adventures in Democracy March 8 2010 2.20

    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
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  86. Hi Wes

    Could you please answer my previous inquiry? Thiis goes towards the issue of whether the perception of design is empirical or influenced by faith. I want to understand why your view of the Kebs Cycle as a sacrosanct design influences your faith in Genesis 1. As I said to you earlier the quid pro quo is that I will answer any of your questions pertaining to my agnosticism.

    “Wes, in light of Sean’s comments I’m interested in yours as to whether
    the Krebs Cycle is irreducibly complex or may have evolved from a series of enzymatic cascades?”

    Thanks
    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

    Thanks
    Your agnostic Ken




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  87. Ken, what do agnostics believe regarding the origin of matter and energy in the universe? I assume an agnostic would simply answer “I don’t know,” but maybe I’m being naive. Did energy and matter always exist or did they have a beginning? If they had a beginning, which the Big Bang posits, did they spontaneously appear out of nothing following natural laws, or did an intelligent power design and create them? I’d love to know your thoughts on the issue.




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  88. Re Sean’s Quote

    “So, while it might superfiecially seem reasonable that given enough time, “microevolution” will simply add up to produce “macroevolution”, this simply isn’t true when one stops to consider the statistical probabilities involved at higher and higher levels of functional complexity – again, its an exponentially increasing problem for RM/NS.”

    Could you please direct us to the links towards these studies? I’m interested in whether they contemplated modular vs. linear molecular evolution.

    Thanks
    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  89. BobRyan: Notice how the “world” in the review of the evidence above on ABC news was NOT so quick to “deny all” and turn a blind eye.

    So how is it that such non Christian sources are more open to objectivity and fact – than some of our diehard agnostics and TE’s here?

    Note that the end of that ABC News review – suggests that this information is actually a big plus in terms of getting objective unbiased open-minded viewers to be interested in biology.

    How sad some of the all-for-darwin readers stopping by here – view it as a “bad thing”.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  90. BobRyan: I would add to that cyclist – list

    ABC news apparently admits to the obvious in that regard.

    I give you the work of the greatest designer, greatest artist, greatest scientist ever discovered

    Hey – mentioning the ABC news link above – gets even more negative responses from our “sacrifice all for evolutionism” readership.

    How is that happening?

    Do those readers now consider ABC News to be evil?!!

    Fascinating!

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  91. Ok – starting with the case from Cosmology first – since our “deny all” guys are so used to ignoring whatever well known atheist evolutionist admit to being problems with evolutionism.

    We will just watch 7 minutes of this video to “get the point” (more viewing allowed of course if your deny-all for disguised infidelity mindset will tolerate it).

    http://video.google.com.au/videoplay?docid=4773590301316220374#docid=-7044753105944203252

    Starting at the 15 minute point and viewing until the 21 minute point.

    BOTH cosmologists and physicists admit to the problem of “fine tuning” in the universe and appear willing to ignore the problem “hoping” that a 1 in 100 chance of all tuning variables being “just so” can be ignored for the truly “devoted” religion of ‘there is no god’.

    But then in this video they are confronted with a relatively NEW tuning factor – one that is 1×10^120 !!! This is fine tuning at a level far beyond 1 in 100. It is at level where even THEY admit they cannot turn a blind eye and so must “make something up” out of thin air hoping to avoid the problem.

    (Yet of course evolutionary biologists turn a blind eye to that sort of improbability every day in their devotion to junk-science religion)

    The question for anyone allowing themselves to “look” at the problem – is how is it that the “disguised infidelity” guise would ever be convinced by an argument from “probability” when they are already engaged in ignoring evidence EVEN the cases where world leaders in evolution and atheism are admitting to a problem??!!

    The Bible “predicts” that those who turn from MORE light – will be MORE blind than those outside the church living in darkness.

    How interesting that it proves to be true.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  92. Re Bob’s Quote

    “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.”

    Hi Bob

    Thanks for your comments.

    This may surprise you but I’m actually intrigued by the design argument. My Dad is a Deist although I’m not of that bent, at least not yet! The laws of nature, i.e. gravity, that even allow the universe to exist are pretty marvelous. Did they arise as a result of a random quantum fluctuation or was their Grand Designer behind it all. If so what is or was the nature of such designer based on what we empirically observe about our universe?

    The problem I have with intelligent design within our universe and especially regarding life on earth is theodicy. I do understand how the concept of original biblical sin accounts for the loss of perfection, but I have a very tough time understanding why a God would cause such destruction of his creation based on the disobedience of the literal eating of an apple. I just can’t rationally fathom how the eventual and natural demise of our solar system can be based on Man’s fall. Empirically, through science we can now view the death, and birth, of stars. Was this all caused by eating forbidden fruit?

    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.

    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. Too many educated people of faith believe and accept it for it to be an atheist conspiracy. Have their been mistakes made and will they continue to be made? Are there dishonest scientists? Certainly. They are fallible humans, just like you and I, after all. But the issue is what does the weight of all the multidisciplinary evidence indicate?

    Hope that helps

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  93. ken:: Let’s continue shall we. You posit that Adam and Eve were producing telomerase as adults as a result of eating fruit from the tree of life. Would you agree that the production of adult telomerase was a direct result of the environment or did the gene(s) affecting production of the a enzyme as adults mutate in their progeny?

    1. I never stated whether the fruit from the Tree of Life provided the telemerase enzyme or simply provided a trigger enzyme/protein that caused Adam and Eve to produce Telemerase. Either way the end result was the same.

    2. The salient point is that we have a known mechanism that affects the aging of cells starting with new borns.

    This is simply “observation in nature” given in response to your question about an observed mechanism in humans for the 900 year life span the Bible mentions.

    BobRyan:
    It is hard to “do the study” without having them under observation.

    1. But it is not hard to see the gradual decline in ages over time.

    2. It is not hard to see the Bible declare that access to the Tree of Life was the determining factor.

    3. It is not hard to see that even in humans today – the ability remains for us to produce telemerase – but we quickly lose that ability.

    4. It is not hard to see what effect that has on the telomeres of infants.

    The list of knowns for this mechanism are far more impressive than the “I imagine a mechanism whereby static genomes acquire new coding genes not already present and functioning in nature and that this happens for billions of years”.

    Ken: Hi BobWe 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.

    My pleasure.

    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?

    There is evidence that a mechanism does exist whereby access to an enzyme would in fact affect the aging process of human cells.

    That mechanism is observed in nature to be related to the enzyme Telemerase.

    There is a ton of evidence that food contains enzymes and proteins and that the human body can produce enzymes in response to the presence of trigger proteins and enzymes.

    It is irrefutably true that humans still today produce telemerase in the case of infants just before birth. Impossible to deny it – though you seem to want to go down that dead end road.

    You asked about the “mechanism” that can be observed today that would account for long ages of life recorded in the Bible.

    You now seem to be pulling the classic “bait and switch” asking for the video of the people living for long ages before the flood.

    Nice try —

    As I said before – your method is along the lines of grasping at straws in a true “any ol’ exuse will do” fashion.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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