Back to Square One…

By Sean Pitman

The recently published Adventist Review article on the proposal of six LSU science professors regarding the teaching of origins is very disturbing to me, especially where the leaders of our church seem to happily accept the proposal of the LSU professors to continue to do what they’ve been doing all along – teaching mainstream evolutionism as the only valid “science” or empirically-based position on origins while biblical creationism is defined for their students as a “faith-only” position without any meaningful or rational backing by science or empirical evidence of any kind.

The LSU science professors who signed the document, especially Professors Grismer and Greer, are the very same ones who have been the most ardent in promoting mainstream evolutionary theories as the true story of origins while telling their students that the Biblical account is hopelessly out of touch with reality – at least without the input of enormous amounts of incredibly blind faith.  Greer and Grismer, in particular, certainly don’t believe in a literal six day creation week during which all life was created on this planet just a few thousand years ago nor do they believe in a worldwide Noachian-style Flood.  They’ve taught their students and have made many public statements that the only empirically-rational interpretation of the currently available evidence overwhelmingly favors the mainstream evolutionary model of origins.  They’ve explained, over and over again, that the Biblical model simply isn’t rationally tenable from their own perspectives and that they personally do not and cannot support such a model in their own classrooms.   Clearly then, such professors would be more than happy to sign a document that claims that the Biblical perspective on origins has absolutely no meaningful support from science or empirical evidence and is, rather, completely within the realm of empirically-blind faith and historical Adventist tradition.

Why then are  Elders Dan Jackson, Richardo Graham, and Larry Blackmer, high-ranking leaders within our Seventh-day Adventist Church, so excited about this proposal for LSU science professors to keep doing what they’ve always been doing? – promoting evolutionism as the only empirically-rational scientific conclusion on origins while Biblical creationism is presented as being completely out of touch with empirical reality?  a faith-only relic of Adventism and outdated Christianity in general?  Do they not realize that faith is meaningless without at least some support from empirical evidence? that even scientific conclusions, theories, and notions of reality are based on leaps of faith to one degree or another?  that modern evolutionary ‘science’ is no less faith-based than is Biblical creationism? that the greater the available evidence the greater the faith of those sincerely looking for truth?  Did the faith of Jesus’ disciples increased or decrease after empirical evidence was given to them of the Resurrection?

Therefore, for our church leaders to go along with the notion that the Biblical account of origins has no basis in rational empirical evidence that goes beyond empirically-blind faith is a huge step backward in the church’s understanding of faith and its relationship to evidence. Is this the message that we really want to give to our young people?  that there is no rational or otherwise substantive empirically-based reason to believe the Genesis account of origins?  that the Genesis account of origins must be taken on blind faith alone in the face of otherwise overwhelming empirical evidence to the contrary?  Or, is this more about politics within the church than it is about upholding the supposedly “fundamental” positions of the church as something incredibly valuable to present to the world as a basis of a solid hope in the Gospel message?

Back to square one we go…

Sean Pitman
http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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115 thoughts on “Back to Square One…

  1. Far be it from us to fall asleep at the helm and let some of them steal SDA tithe and tuition dollars to be used in their efforts to undermine the SDA denomination.in Christ,Bob

    You are so correct, Bob. Three of the worst examples are Jared Wright (SECC), Ryan Bell (Hollywood SDA Church), and Alexander Carpenter. How these guys ever got the positions they have while getting paid by our SDA Church is a total embarrassment, and reveals a complete lack of any responsibility by our Pacific Union Conference “head in the sand” leadership.

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  2. I agree with this piece of what Sean Pitman wrote: “even scientific conclusions, theories, and notions of reality are based on leaps of faith to one degree or another.” However, let’s not overlook the importance of viewing science as a system of thought that produces results. The arguments of Intelligent Design proponents are fine for elementary school students, but real innovative scientific thought has to prove itself applicable by producing powerful results in the physical world.

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  3. Good morning Grace

    Ironically I was just talking about grace several hours ago. Coinincidence?

    I enjoyed your comments. It made me think about the term leap of faith. See the link below.

    I respectfully disagree with Dr. Pitman on his semantics regarding the application of this term to science. Rather I think science theorizes and conjectures then attempts to prove its theories empirically. That is different than faith which implies belief without fact.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leap_of_faith

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

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  4. Certainly powerful results are seen in actual science – where we can “observe” the results in nature. For example we see “intelligent designers” creating complex results that gas, dust and rocks will never achieve on their own – each time we see book written, a rocket built, a computer program running.

    The “mechanism” claimed for creation is seen every day – and it is known to work.

    By contrast the “mechanism” for taking a eukaryote amoeba from phyla to phyla until it is transformed into the horse – has never been observed in nature.

    There are no “powerful results” in blind-faith evolutionism. At least not according to the more objective atheist evolutionists themselves.

    Colin Patterson (Senior paleontologist at the British Natural History Museum and author of the Museum’s general text on evolution) in a talk given at the American Museum of Natural History 1981

    ——————— Patterson said –

    “Can you tell me anything you know about evolution, any one thing…that is true?

    I tried that question on the geology staff at the Field Museum of Natural history and the only answer I got was silence. I tried it on the members of the Evolutionary Morphology seminar in the University of Chicago, and all I got there was silence for a long time and eventually one person said “I know one thing – it ought not to be taught in high school”

    “…I’m speaking on two subjects, evolutionism and creationism, and I believe it’s true to say that I know nothing whatever about either…One of the reasons I started taking this anti-evolutionary view, well, let’s call it non-evolutionary , was last year I had a sudden realization.

    “For over twenty years I had thought that I was working on evolution in some way. One morning I woke up, and something had happened in the night, and it struck me that I had been working on this stuff for twenty years, and there was not one thing I knew about it. “That was quite a shock that one could be misled for so long…

    It does seem that the level of knowledge about evolution is remarkably shallow. We know it ought not to be taught in high school, and perhaps that’s all we know about it…

    about eighteen months ago…I woke up and I realized that all my life I had been duped into taking evolutionism as revealed truth in some way.”

    When will the entrenched few in charge of LSU’s biology program be ready to “step up” that level of objectivity – already attained by one of their atheist evolutionist peers — such as Patterson?

    That is the question we must ask – (for those willing to ask the hard questions).

    Not all may be ready for that level of objectivity.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  5. Some have asked why I quote well known experts in evolutionary theory such as Darwin, Dawkins, Provine, Meyers, Reese, Susskind.

    I do so because the less than insightful blind faith evolutionist discussion board response to actual science is usually “I just don’t see it”. Or in other words “I do not feel as you do”.

    Rather than arguing that they “must see it” or “must feel” some certain way… (a losing game by all accounts) I simply point to the more well known evolutionists – and what they DO “see” and “Admit”.

    Let those who want to continually claim “they do not see” choose as they will and rightly so for we all believe in “free will”.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  6. I respectfully disagree with Dr. Pitman on his semantics regarding the application of this term to science. Rather I think science theorizes and conjectures then attempts to prove its theories empirically. That is different than faith which implies belief without fact.

    Dear Ken,

    It looks like I must disagree with both of you. I believe that Albert Einstein expressed a true understanding of the meaning of science. Essentially, a scientific theory can never be proven true. It can only be demonstrated to be false.

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  7. Dear Grace

    Thanks for your further comments, with which I agree.

    Interestingly partticle physicists at Cern think they have found a particle that travels faster than the speed of light that would jeopardize Einstein’s theory of special relativity. They will need empirical evidence to do so, not a leap of faith.

    My issue is semantics, the use of the term faith when in comes to scientific conjecture, hypothesse or theories. Please see below the definition of faith:
    faith  (fth)
    n.
    1. Confident belief in the truth, value, or trustworthiness of a person, idea, or thing.
    2. Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence. See Synonyms at belief, trust.
    3. Loyalty to a person or thing; allegiance: keeping faith with one’s supporters.
    4. often Faith Christianity The theological virtue defined as secure belief in God and a trusting acceptance of God’s will.
    5. The body of dogma of a religion: the Muslim faith.
    6. A set of principles or beliefs.
    Idiom:
    in faith
    Indeed; truly.
    [Middle English, from Anglo-Norman fed, from Latin fids; see bheidh- in Indo-European roots.]

    I think the operative definition that the context of Dr. Pitman’s article refers to is 2. That by its own definiton rules out its application to science.

    Thus when when a particular friend of ours refers to atheistic blind faith evolution he is incorrect. Faith or non faith has nothing to do with the theory of evolution. Is the theory potentially falsifiable. Certainly like all scientific theories.

    But Faith and Science remain different modalities when examining
    reality. If science demonstrates that natural cause and effect can explain all that has happened and is in our universe then the inquiry for God lies elsewhere: religion or philosophy. And logic and reason are certainly subsets of both. Science cannot, as of yet explain infinity or first cause. That is why as an agnostic I reason there may be a God or unifying force or principle that explains everything. I have no idea as to the nature of that force and if science cannot detect it concede it could be supernatural. Is it a concious being or is that Man anthropomorphizing a force it cannot understand? Sorry Wes, always more questions without faith eh!

    Grace, I hope that further elaborates my point while not disparaging your faith.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

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  8. Interestingly partticle physicists at Cern think they have found a particle that travels faster than the speed of light that would jeopardize Einstein’s theory of special relativity. They will need empirical evidence to do so, not a leap of faith.

    Ken, my agnostic friend,

    I don’t believe that you have correctly discerned the true meaning of the story. Most of what I see there is just shameless hoopla. I’ll never get over the tremendous amount of propaganda and unspecified conjectures that physicists allow being inserted in their reporting of frivolous news in physics. Specifically, I see the story as a probably irrelevant discrepancy in an extraordinarily difficult measurement that is off by a mere 2/1000 of 1%. The expectation is that the neutrinos should be traveling at the speed of light or just a little bit slower. The scandal is that physicists are extrapolating the easily disputed measurements into the unfounded conclusion that time-travel might be possible. http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/faster-than-the-speed-of-light/

    The real lesson therefore is that you should consider the possibility that evolutionists are also perpetuating a scientific fraud for the purpose of maintaining a religious belief as well as an economic self-interest.

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  9. I like to affirming our evolutionist friends on those occasions where there is some element of truth in something they have said. So in that spirit –

    We find that Collin Patterson joins Ken in lamenting the idea that evolutionist science should contain such a strong element of religious faith. Patterson is especially disheartened to see blind faith devotees to evolutionism corrupting what he views as “real science” with blind faith affirmations of evolutionism.

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

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

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

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

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

    How nice it would be if the few in LSU biology leadership would embrace that level of objective clarity on the subject of faith in evolutionism.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  10. When evolutionists themselves begin debating various alternatives to Darwin’s storytelling – it is interesting how many gaps, holes, contradictions they are willing to reveal in the classic story of evolutionism.

    Count the number of gaps these guys are willing to admit to – as they try and present their alternate form of evolutionism.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8v7RhgjOOjU&feature=player_embedded&list=PL185AF67E4EE42478

    And just as Reese and Susskind admit – they do not want to talk about these problems “outloud” for fear that creationists might find out and that all would not be so well for evolutionist storytelling.

    But when various camps are competing for their own flavor of evolutionism – well then they ARE willing to talk about the gaps and problems.

    How “unscientific” of them to only admit to the gaps in those situations.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  11. Hello Grace

    Thanks for your interesting comments.

    I agree that empirical proof is required to demonstrate that neutrinos do in fact travel faster than light and science should not take a leap of faith in that regard. That is why there is much skepticism surrounding the initial results.

    Regarding evolutionists what religion were you alluding to that is being fraudulently maintained: Catholics, Methodists, Anglicans, Episcopalians, Sothern Baptists, Presbyterians, Progressive Adventists… and those are just the Christian denominations. You see if evolution is a blind face atheistic conspiracy why are all these Christian groups incorporating it? The reality is that the theory has become accepted across a broad stripe of faith and non faith beliefs to the objective non biased reader.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

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  12. Regarding evolutionists what religion were you alluding to that is being fraudulently maintained:

    I had in mind the religion that is best characterized as the grand universal belief that is most persuasive in terms of mediocre reasoning and superficiality.

    if evolution is a blind face atheistic conspiracy why are all these Christian groups incorporating it?

    Their choice is a consequence of rejecting strenuous work, conflicts and faith in favor of following the minimal principle that Ellen White talked about.

    “Popery is the religion of human nature, and the mass of humanity love a doctrine that permits them to commit sin, and yet frees them from its consequences. People must have some form of religion, and this religion, formed by human device, and yet claiming divine authority, suits the carnal mind. Men who think themselves wise and intelligent turn away in pride from the standard of righteousness, the ten commandments, and do not think it is in harmony with their dignity to inquire into the ways of God. Therefore they go into false ways, into forbidden paths, become self-sufficient, self inflated, after the pattern of the pope, not after the pattern of Jesus Christ. They must have the form of religion that has the least requirement of spirituality and self-denial, and as unsanctified human wisdom will not lead them to loathe popery, they are naturally drawn toward its provisions and doctrines. They do not want to walk in the ways of the Lord. They are altogether too much enlightened to seek God prayerfully and humbly, with an intelligent knowledge of his word. Not caring to know the ways of the Lord, their minds are all open to delusions, all ready to accept and believe a lie. They are willing to have the most unreasonable, most inconsistent falsehoods palmed off upon them as truth.” ST February 19, 1894.

    “A prayerful study of the Bible would show Protestants the real character of the papacy and would cause them to abhor and to shun it; but many are so wise in their own conceit that they feel no need of humbly seeking God that they may be led into the truth. Although priding themselves on their enlightenment, they are ignorant both of the Scriptures and of the power of God. They must have some means of quieting their consciences, and they seek that which is least spiritual and humiliating. What they desire is a method of forgetting God which shall pass as a method of remembering Him. The papacy is well adapted to meet the wants of all these. It is prepared for two classes of mankind, embracing nearly the whole world—those who would be saved by their merits, and those who would be saved in their sins. Here is the secret of its power.” The Great Controversy, page 572.

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  13. In this post – we find Patterson lamenting the religious faith of the evolutionist so determined to present his religion on origins to the world as though it were “revealed truth”.

    http://www.educatetruth.com/featured/back-to-square-one/comment-page-2/#comment-35676

    Of course – it is merely an inconvenient detail “much to be avoided” by those who find those statements by Patterson a bit “too revealing”.

    Clearly free will is alive and well.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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