Changing the Wording of Adventist Fundamental Belief #6 on Creation

by Sean Pitman

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The General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church has started the process of reviewing the wording of our statement of Fundamental Beliefs (FB) – all 28 of them (Link).  However, special emphasis is being placed on the wording, or re-wording, of FB#6 regarding the nature of the Genesis account of creation.  The current wording of this statement reads as follows:

6. Creation:
God is Creator of all things, and has revealed in Scripture the authentic account of His creative activity. In six days the Lord made “the heaven and the earth” and all living things upon the earth, and rested on the seventh day of that first week. Thus He established the Sabbath as a perpetual memorial of His completed creative work. The first man and woman were made in the image of God as the crowning work of Creation, given dominion over the world, and charged with responsibility to care for it. When the world was finished it was “very good,” declaring the glory of God. (Gen. 1; 2; Ex. 20:8-11; Ps. 19:1-6; 33:6, 9; 104; Heb. 11:3.)

 

While this may come as a surprise to some, this wording was carefully crafted, in 1980, by the “Committee of Twelve”, specifically by Dr. Lawrence Geraty, in an effort to be more “inclusive” of those in the church who favor the Darwinian notion that life has existed and evolved on this planet over the course of hundreds of millions of years.  According to Dr. Fritz Guy, this “more Biblical” wording allows for the interpretation that the “days” of creation may be figuratively understood and may be viewed as representing vast periods of time (The Framing of FB#6).

Of course, the historical position of the Adventist Church, as an organization, is that the Genesis account of creation was intended by its author to be taken literally – that the days of creation were intended to be descriptive of truly literal historical days, each consisting of an “evening and a morning” – the same as those we now experience. 

Even modern secular scholars of Hebrew are in general agreement that this is the most accurate interpretation of the language of Genesis.  Take, for example, the relevant comments of the late Dr. James Barr (well-known Oxford scholar of Hebrew):

Probably, so far as I know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any world-class university who does not believe that the writer(s) of Genesis 1–11 intended to convey to their readers the ideas that: (a) creation took place in a series of six days which were the same as the days of 24 hours we now experience. (b) the figures contained in the Genesis genealogies provided by simple addition a chronology from the beginning of the world up to later stages in the biblical story (c) Noah’s flood was understood to be world-wide and extinguish all human and animal life except for those in the ark. Or, to put it negatively, the apologetic arguments which suppose the “days” of creation to be long eras of time, the figures of years not to be chronological, and the flood to be a merely local Mesopotamian flood, are not taken seriously by any such professors, as far as I know.

Letter from Professor James Barr to David C.C. Watson of the UK, dated 23 April 1984.

 

It seems strange then that anyone in the Adventist Church would wish to allow for an interpretation of Genesis that is contrary to how the original author of Genesis obviously intended to be interpreted.  Yet, given the inroads that neo-Darwinian thinking has made, even within the Adventist Church, such concessions are deemed necessary, by some, to keep the peace – especially within the academic worlds of Adventism.

This was until the controversy over La Sierra University’s active promotion of neo-Darwinism as the true story of origins erupted back in 2009.  The fact that one of our own universities has long been undermining the historic position of the Adventist Church on a literal 6-day creation week came as a shock to many.  It was at this point that President Ted Wilson, as one of his first acts as a newly elected President, gave a talk at the 2010 General Conference session entitled, “Don’t go backwards to interpret Genesis as allegorical or symbolic” – followed by a proposal to modify the current wording of FB#6 to make the Adventist stand on a literal 6-day creation week absolutely unambiguous to all.

Although there was some opposition to this proposal from the floor, it was overwhelmingly approved and Elder Artur Stele, General Conference vice president, was tasked with chairing a committee to evaluate and determine changes to the current language of FB#6 – and/or any other changes to our statement of Fundamental Beliefs.  Stele was specifically tasked with incorporating the decision of the General Conference Executive Committee at the 2004 Annual Council regarding the topic of creation – such as the following statement:

We call on all boards and educators at Seventh-day Adventist institutions at all levels to continue upholding and advocating the church’s position on origins. We, along with Seventh-day Adventist parents, expect students to receive a thorough, balanced, and scientifically rigorous exposure to and affirmation of our historic belief in a literal, recent six-day creation, even as they are educated to understand and assess competing philosophies of origins that dominate scientific discussion in the contemporary world.

Read More…

 

Elder Stele specifically explained the importance of making the language of our beliefs regarding the Genesis account of creation unambiguously clear:

Fundamental Belief No. 6 is crucial, because the whole system of beliefs that we have as a Seventh-day Adventist Church is so interlinked. If you take one out, especially one as central as our belief in special creation, the whole building collapses. And No. 6 is one of the foundational beliefs that really undergird the entire structure of our beliefs. If you don’t believe in Creation, then you definitely will not believe in the biblical account of re-creation, the creation of new heavens and a new earth. If you don’t believe in Creation as described in the Bible, the Sabbath—of which it is the weekly memorial—quickly declines in significance. It’s vitally important that the language we choose to express our belief in Creation clearly articulates what we mean to express about what the Bible teaches.

Read More…

 

Of course, not everyone is happy about making the language of FB#6 less ambiguous.  For example, Dr. Charles Scriven, president of Kettering College and chair of the Adventist Forum board, is not at all happy about efforts to clearly define the Adventist position on origins as standing on a truly literal 6-day creation week.  He recently wrote an article expressing his displeasure entitled, “Uniformity Drift: Are Adventist Ideals at Risk?” – where he likens such attempts to clearly define the Adventist perspective on origins, and other “fundamentals”, to the evils of totalitarian dictatorships.  Dr. Scriven predictably goes on to reference the efforts of the early Adventist pioneers to avoid organization or standardized statements of belief as a basis for membership or paid representation.  However, as usual, Dr. Scriven fails to mention that as the early Adventist Church grew bigger and more diverse, the founding fathers (and mother) quickly realized a splintering of the movement toward anarchy and chaos.  It was soon found that some form of internal governmental structure with defined and internally maintained doctrinal standards was vital to the continued growth and health of the church.

As John Laughborough explained in his 1907 work, The Church, Its Organization, Order and Discipline:

      As our numbers increased, it was evident that without some form of organization, there would be great confusion, and the work could not be carried forward successfully. To provide for the support of the ministry, for carrying on the work in new fields, for protecting both the church and ministry from unworthy members, for holding church property, for the publication of the truth through the press, and for other objects, organization was indispensable.

 

Of course, those who did not accurately represent the views of the early Adventist Church did not receive “cards of commendation”.  And what was the attitude of such persons? according to Loughborough?

     Of course those who claimed “liberty to do as they pleased,” to “preach what they pleased,” and to “go when and where they pleased,” without “consultation with any one,” failed to get cards of commendation. They, with their sympathizers, drew off and commenced a warfare against those whom they claimed were “depriving them of their liberty.” Knowing that it was the Testimonies that had prompted us as a people to act, to establish “order,” these opponents soon turned their warfare against instruction from that source, claiming that “when they got that gift out of the way, the message would go unrestrained to its `loud cry.’ ”

One of the principal claims made by those who warred against organization was that it “abridged their liberty and independence, and that if one stood clear before the Lord that was all the organization needed,” etc… Upon this point, when church order was contested, we read: “Satan well knows that success only attend order and harmonious action. He well knows that everything connected with heaven is in perfect order, that subjection and thorough discipline mark the movements of the angelic host. . . .  He deceives even the professed people of God, and makes them believe that order and discipline are enemies to spirituality; that the only safety for them is to let each pursue his own course. . . .  All the efforts made to establish order are considered dangerous, a restriction of rightful liberty, and hence are feared as popery.”

When those who back in the “sixties” [1860s] witnessed the battle of establishing church order now hear persons, as conscientious no doubt as those back there, utter almost the identical words that were then used by those opposing order, it need not be wondered that they fear the result of such statements as the following: “Perfect unity means absolute independence, – each one knowing for himself. Why, we could not have outward disorganization if we all believed in the Lord. . . . This question of organization is a simple thing. All there is to it is for each individual to give himself to the Lord, and then the Lord will do with him just what he wants to, and that all the time. . . . Our only safety, under God, is to go back to the place where God is able to take a multitude of people and make them one, without parliamentary rules, without committee work, without legislation of any kind.” – General Conference Bulletin of 1899.

Superficially considered, this might seem to be a blessed state, a heaven indeed; but, as already noted on a preceding page, we read of heaven itself and its leadings that “the god of heaven is a god of order, and he requires all his followers to have rules and regulations to preserve order.”

 

Dr. Scriven, and many others of like mind, make the mistake of thinking that any internally enforced governmental structure is equivalent to the church taking on what Mrs. White refers to as “kingly power“.  This is not the case.  All viable organizations require the internal order and discipline of governmental structure, a certain degree of uniformity, where only those who would effectively represent the primary goals and ideals of the organization are actually hired to do so.

Where the early Christian Church stepped out of bounds is in thinking to take on civil powers of authority over all people regardless of their wish to be or not to be part of the church.   It is always wrong for any church organization to think to enforce its views on those outside of the church with the use of civil power – with true “Kingly Power”.   It is for this reason that the Adventist Church has always been a very strong supporter of our constitutional separation of Church and State.  All should be free to join or leave the Adventist Church, or any other church, free from any fear of any civil reprisals of any kind. However, this is not to say, therefore, that no internal governmental structure is required.  Such internal order and discipline is required for any large organization to avoid internal fragmentation, splintering, and eventual collapse into chaos and anarchy.  Such is not the will of God for His church.

If there are those who cannot support the Adventist perspective on origins, on the reality of a literal 6-day creation week, such are and should be perfectly free to express their opinions on this matter – but not as paid representatives of the Adventist Church.  If, on the other hand, the Adventist Church decides, as an organization, that the concept of a literal 6-day creation week really isn’t all that “fundamental” to the primary mission of the church, then it should make this new position crystal clear to all of its constituents.  The current state of deliberate ambiguity simply isn’t honest when it comes to people who think that the Adventist Church decidedly stands for one thing when it really doesn’t.  It isn’t fair to students and parents who often sacrifice a great deal to attend Adventist schools to obtain distinctly Adventist eduction, who expect active support of the literal 6-day creation week from the curriculum, to be given something fundamentally different instead; such as the promotion of neo-Darwinism once they show up.

Given such a scenario, as has been going on in some of our schools, like La Sierra University, for several decades now, one might rightly accuse the Adventist Church of false advertising. Our membership deserves more than this.  We all deserve to have such a historically important Adventist doctrine (such as the literal nature of the creation week) either clearly and actively supported by the Adventist Church or clearly and decidedly removed from our statement of Fundamental Beliefs – one or the other.  It can no longer be left in limbo – in the ambiguity that has existed since the unfortunate choice of language used by the Adventist Church since the 1980s.   Let’s decide to be brave and take a clear and unambiguous stand for or against Biblical creationism once and for all.  Let’s either be hot or cold here.  Let’s not stay lukewarm where no one knows what we really believe and stand for as a church (Revelation 3:16).

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157 thoughts on “Changing the Wording of Adventist Fundamental Belief #6 on Creation

  1. Indeed, hot or cold – fix it or we fail. If we can’t stand for truth and be kind, but firm, how will we stand in the testing time soon to come?




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  2. Once again an excellent & thought provoking article from Sean, keeping us updated on the noble struggle within in our church to prevent the secular drift from occurring.




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  3. It is most unfortunate that there are those in “high places” who place so little credence in a plain reading of Scripture and have influence on young minds.

    Would it not be appropriate to pray that such individuals, unless they accept the plainly stated Scriptures, be replaced by those who do?

    This should not be interpreted as a vendetta but an effort to insure that thought leaders in various leadership positions hold to Biblical doctrine.




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    • @GMF: Yes, it never ceases to amaze me how supposed “learned” men can buy into the evolution myth. However, it reminds me that the devil, though evil, is very good at what he does and we all best be aware through God’s grace at all times. Though evolution versus creation is no contest for me, what is the devil blinding me with???




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  4. It saddens me to no end to see leadership in the Adventist Church who place their own opinions above the plain, unambiguous statements in God’s Word. Anyone who does not believe any of the 28 Fundamentals should be removed from membership immediately and not allowed to work at any Adventist Institution. They are of course welcome to attend church unless they still insist upon openly teaching lies.

    Jesus spoke of two classes of church members in the parable of the wheat and tares in Matthew 13–tares being the plants of Satan, “but the tares are the children of the wicked one,”(Matt.13:38)and the good seed, the children of the kingdom.

    Tares are simply professing church members who are unconverted and in various ways act as agents of Satan within the church to destroy God’s Word driving many away from Christ and salvation. They are themselves deceived.

    It will worsen until the Sunday law comes–then all of them will accept the mark of the beast.

    “Satan will work his miracles to deceive; he will set up his power as supreme. The church may appear as about to fall, but it does not fall. It remains, while the sinners in Zion will be sifted out–the chaff separated from the precious wheat. This is a terrible ordeal, but nevertheless it must take place. None but those who have been overcoming by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony will be found with the loyal and true, without spot or stain of sin, without guile in their mouths. . . . The remnant that purify their souls by obeying the truth gather strength from the trying process, exhibiting the beauty of holiness amid the surrounding apostasy” (Letter 55, 1886). {7BC 911.6.




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  5. After reading the statement on creation by the church, and then the rest of the chapter that explains the statement, I don’t see how there could be any mis-understanding of the church position on the matter.

    I suppose if you make a definitive enough statement, then there would be no need for any commentary on it.

    So, I am not sure any “re-statement” is even necessary. The commentary makes it plain what the statement means.

    Bill Sorensen




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    • @Bill Sorensen:

      There’s no point in giving anyone any excuse, however minor it may seem, to see any ambiguity in our stand on a literal 6-day creation week. Knowing the history of how the current wording of FB#6 was framed, very deliberately to allow for ambiguity, to allow for neo-Darwinism to be promoted in our churches and schools, such supposed ambiguity should be definitively addressed and resolved.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  6. The literal six day creation week is the basis of the whole Bible. If you kick that out, you might as well abolish the entire Bible!

    How can you read the prophecies of Daniel and study the accuracy of those prophecies and not believe in a literal six day creation?! What about the prophecies of Isaiah? It makes me think that some of our leaders are walking with God’s light behind them instead of in front of them. They choose their own paths to follow, form their own thoughts, cling to the world instead of the Word and then try to feed it to our children whom we have entrusted to them for a Christian Education.

    God will surly sort out the tares from the wheat.




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  7. “If, on the other hand, the Adventist Church decides, as an organization, that the concept of a literal 6-day creation week really isn’t all that “fundamental” to the primary mission of the church, then it should make this new position crystal clear to all of its constituents.” – Sean Pitman

    I’m sorry, Sean, but I don’t think there should even be another “hand”. If there is, then we leave ourselves open to people like Fritz Guy and Lawrence Geraty to make our rules for us–the very thing you (and I) are opposed to. The SDA church was founded on God-given truths and there should be no allowance made for a vote by members of the church to change even one of our beliefs. To do so would be to destroy our church from within…the very thing Satan is trying to do.

    This should be considered sacred ground and there should not be allowed even a hint of the possibility that this could happen.

    There are certainly things that can come under a voting process–but not the fundamental beliefs of the church. Anyone who doesn’t believe them should find another church, not destroy ours.




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    • @Faith:

      The SDA Church, as an organization, can do anything it wants. This is a free country after all – as it should be.

      My argument is that we church members deserve to know, at minimum, what the church we think we are supporting with our time, money, prayers, sweat and tears actually stands for. If the church decides to revoke one of its historical fundamental beliefs, as is technically possible, it has every right to do so. However, I certainly would see myself clear to leave the church at that point to join or start another church that is more in line with my own personal fundamental beliefs, goals and ideals (i.e., more in line with historical Adventism).

      Ambiguity has its advantages and disadvantages and clarity also has its consequences. The church has to pick its poison.

      My statement that the church needs to be either hot or cold is largely tongue-in-cheek, largely rhetorical of course. Obviously my own preference and sincere desire is that the church choose to be hot for spreading the truth that God has revealed to us. However, even a definitively cold church, a church that is clearly and actively opposed to God’s truth, is far better than the pathetic apathy of a lukewarm church…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • @Sean Pitman:

        Actually, Sean, in most points I agree with you. Of course we live in free countries and, technically, the church could vote out any and all of our fundamental beliefs–if God allowed it–which I don’t believe He ever will. We have been told in SOP that the church will go through to the end, and I know that without God’s protecting hand over it, it would have fallen long ere this. I simply don’t want to even countenance such a possibility. To me, to voice it gives the possibility credence. It’s like opening Pandora’s box, which should be kept firmly closed. Perhaps you think I am being silly, but that is the way I feel.

        Sean Pitman: My statement that the church needs to be either hot or cold is largely tongue-in-cheek, largely rhetorical of course.

        Well, Sean, I totally agree with the statement that the church should be either hot or cold–Christ himself said that–whether rhetorical or not. Of course, hopefully the church will be hot rather than cold. In my opinion, we collectively need to wake up and quit being so politically correct; we need to know what we believe and stand firmly and openly for it. If we weren’t waffling in the wind so much, maybe we could actually get the work done and go Home.

        The main problem seems to be that so many of us have our sights set on the world. If Heaven is our Home, then we need to set our sights much higher, don’t you think? We need to quit striving for the world’s acceptance and worry more about God’s acceptance.

        In a nut shell, that is the problem with the LSU profs. They are thirsting for worldly acceptance. They are now so hardened in their thought processes, that they don’t seem to care a fig for what God wants, they just want to fit in with the world. They are now apparently convinced that the world is teaching truth and God is teaching a lie. That is the fruit of chasing after the world. The SDA educational system should be firmly founded on God and His Word–instead the more highly educated ones, who should be the shepherds to the flock, are leading the lambs astray. That is so sad.

        I applaud your site for bringing this to the attention of the average SDA. It is absolutely appalling, and the situation calls for much prayer as well as much faith and action. While most of us are powerless to do anything to change this situation, God is not. He will act at His appointed time. In the meantime, we need to continue to sound the alarm and continue to plead with God on behalf of our beloved church.

        God Bless you, Sean, as well as all the rest of you on this site who are standing for truth.

        Have a good day.




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  8. Sean, I would just change wording in one place to eliminate baggage some words carry for people (associated with political and other movements – some saying Satan was the first to claim things as not “fair”).

    In the next to the last paragraph I would change the word(s) “fair” to “truthful” or “honest.”




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    • “… start another church that is more in line with my own personal fundamental beliefs, goals and ideals”.

      That doesn’t impress me, but I think I know what you are trying to say. However perhaps you could express it better by saying, start another church that more fully teaches the fundamental truths of the Word of God. After all that is the source of our spiritual authority, not the mere conjecture of “men”.




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      • @Paul Spencer Richardson:

        Yes, that was what I was trying to say. It is just that different people are on different points on the path toward an understanding of Truth. Because not everyone is at the same level of understanding, my own opinions as to what really is the revealed will of God regarding various Biblical truths may differ from someone else who is at a different point on the path toward understanding Truth… and my not yet be ready to join the church organization that I would be ready to join…

        Sean Pitman
        http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  9. I cannot believe what I read in this article! Why is the General Conference tolerating such non-Biblical thinking to creep into our Fundamental Beliefs? We used to take pride in believing what the Bible presented in plain sight but we have let the “scholars” throw in their own ideas and change it all. If people do not like our beliefs let them create their own church and stop messing with ours!!! Are we so greedy for their monies that we will change what God has said just to please them and keep them in the church? A single person (pope) or a group of people (General Conference “Scholars”) cannot rewrite what God has said. All of you who think you must add your disagreements with plain Biblical teachings–LOVE THEM OR LEAVE!!! Romans 1:22 comes to mind




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  10. Sean said…..

    “There’s no point in giving anyone any excuse, however minor it may seem, to see any ambiguity in our stand on a literal 6-day creation week.”

    I agree, Sean. But skeptics and unbelievers have a way of twisting and obscuring the obvious no matter how well you explain it.

    So, I have no real objection to a re-explanation by way of a new statement. But I still think if you read the commentary, there is no possible way to misunderstand the original statement.

    I also agree, the church has a right to define itself and even change its teaching and doctrines. But, if they do this, we want them to honestly admit it so members can respond accordingly.

    Adventism was not built on obscurity and/or Pluralism. But on plain and clear definitive bible teachings so any and all could make an intelligent decision about what the church teaches, both within the church, and without.

    A false gospel has been introduced that advocates an obscure and non-definitive theology for several reasons, which I won’t go into now.

    Bill Sorensen




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    • @Bill Sorensen:

      It is very hard to misinterpret the phrase, “a literal 6-day creation week consisting of evenings and mornings, the same as we now experience.”

      Those opposed to this kind of re-wording understand what it will mean to the neo-Darwinists among us. That’s why they are so passionately opposed to such clear wording of our position on creation. It will also aid in helping the church leadership to understand and act on this issue.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  11. FB 6 must be reworded forthwith, rightly, and tightly. And to achieve that degree of certainty, look no further than the proven team of California lawyers that crafted those religious stipulations for LSU’s construction bonds, iron-clad against all ifs, ands, or rebuts. But then Phillip Brantley would need to explain to Chuck Scriven that it’s only boilerplate, no cause for raised hackles, please.




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  12. One comment of interest to those who think “the church” has official teaching. We don’t.

    If you read the introduction to our book on the fundamental beliefs, you will find a dis-claimer of any of the beliefs expressed as being “offical church doctrine”.

    The church has always been a loose knit group of believers who joined together on basic points of agreement and formulated a name to represent the group.

    In fact, the name is official. But the doctrines are not. The doctrines are always subject to change. But not the name.

    In which case, if and when the doctrines change enough so that you and the church do not agree, there must necessarily be a seperation. For the sake of both parties.

    Of course, leaders can be voted out of office if the majority feel they are misrepresenting the church. But if the church leaders can convince the laity that they have no authority or say so in church matters, then they can advocate their own authority without challenge.

    Some of these issues are not so easily determined as it has always been assumed that the majority in leadership would always be true and loyal to bible Adventism and support the historic faith.

    But now we are confronted with, what if the majority do not remain loyal to historic bible Adventism? It is a different scenario than most had opted for. So few are prepared to even consider such a possibility.

    But I think it is time to at least consider this possibility and begin to consider what the options are and what is God’s will if and when such an eventuality becomes reality.

    Bill Sorensen




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  13. The very idea of having “fundamental” beliefs is that they, at least in the SDA Church, are supported by the Bible.

    Anyone can have a belief, and it may be “fundamental” but not based on anything except what one WANTS to believe.

    Sure, the Church could vote out all the beliefs, but why would it do so? Also, changing the wording will do nothing to change the argument about evolution or anything else. Those that want to believe something else besides what the Bible states will continue to do so.




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  14. Holly said…..

    “….changing the wording will do nothing to change the argument about evolution or anything else. Those that want to believe something else besides what the Bible states will continue to do so.”

    That’s right, Holly. Some feel the need to qualify what has been published so it will be more definitive. I have no objection to doing this, but have little confidence that it will really make any difference in the future.

    If they will not discipline apostacy now, a re-definition and clarification of the issue will not make it any easier to do so in the future.

    Bill Sorensen




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  15. My opinion on this hasn’t changed in the last couple of years. It may be that some who were on the committee 30 years ago wanted to draft a statement of belief about creation with wiggle room, but they didn’t succeed. They were overruled by the Holy Spirit.

    I recently had an online debate with Chuck Scriven about this, and he lost; he was not able to show me where there was any real ambiguity in the current phrasing. Only by reading words like “days” as non-literal—contrary to the Sabbath doctrine, the Spirit of Prophecy, and well known Adventist belief and history—can one find wiggle room. But that sort of misconstruction involves a level of dishonesty and moral turpitude that would itself preclude the misconstrue-er from being employed by the church.

    Bill is right. If the church is unwilling to discipline unbelief and apostasy on the part of church employees now (and they are obviously and painfully unwilling to do so), then they will still be unwilling to discipline after the statement of belief is re-worded. It’s a pointless exercise.




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    • @David Read:

      This proposal and effort to unambiguously clarify the wording of FB#6, with the addition of the phrase “a literal 6-day creation week”, is not at all a pointless exercise.

      Consider, for a moment, that this effort highlights what has been happening in the Adventist church when it comes to undermining our position on origins, especially in certain Adventist schools, for a very long time. It reaffirms our historic belief in a truly literal 6-day creation week, and it puts additional pressure on the Church leadership to actually uphold this fundamental doctrine, this basic pillar of our church, as truly fundamental to the Seventh-day Adventist movement and message to the world.

      While it is a symbolic gesture in a certain sense, symbolism is not without importance or real consequences. The liberal elements opposed to the fundamentals of our church, specifically those who favor neo-Darwinism, understand this quite clearly. It is for this reason that they are so strongly and passionately opposed to any and all efforts to reword and definitively clarify the Adventist position on origins, especially in the wording of our Fundamental Beliefs, as standing on the truly literal historical nature of the 6-day creation week. They are very upset about this – and rightly so. That should clue you guys in as to its importance – the fact that it is being so strongly opposed.

      In short, this effort is an important step in the right direction and I truly do not understand the negative attitude of several contributing to this forum who are otherwise in support of the Adventist perspective on origins. I’m sorry, but you all are playing right into the hands of those most opposed to this effort. You should be supporting the current church leadership in this particular regard while still encouraging even further action to uphold and affirm the primary goals and mission of our church…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • @Sean Pitman: Re-wording a statement of belief that is already clear beyond cavil just makes us look impotent. Everyone understands what the Adventist position on origins is. Anyone who claims that the current statement allows room for theistic evolution is a liar, to put it bluntly. Fire them for lying or for being a Darwinist, but rewording the statement of belief will not help anything unless it is also accompanied by discipline.




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        • @David Read:

          Many Christians in various denominations see the word “day” as being open to interpretation; as being open to being symbolic or representing vast periods of time – as in a “day is like a thousand years” (2 Peter 3:8). This is a fairly common belief among many many Christians given the almost universal acceptance of some form of Darwinism – an acceptance of the notion that life has existed and evolved over vast periods of time on this planet.

          That is why it can only help to highlight the Adventist position on a literal 6-day creation week – to clarify that we reject the popular non-literal interpretations of Genesis. Emphasizing the literal nature of our belief in a literal 6-day creation week becomes ever more relevant, and unique, in this age of neo-Darwinism.

          Now, I do agree that unless this position is more fully supported, beyond just a more clearly worded official statement of belief, that it’s not going to help much. However, putting something into very clear and unambiguous language often does have an effect – which is why the Darwinists among us are so upset with this proposal. Their opposition to this proposal only serves to highlight their rational for promoting neo-Darwinism while on the church’s dime. It helps to clarify people’s understanding as to the importance of the literal nature of the 6-day creation week to the Adventist view of the Gospel message.

          Why then don’t you simply support the efforts of the leadership in this particular regard while also striving for even further support for our primary goals and ideals as a church?

          This is a move in the right direction even if it may not be all that one might desire for our church…

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  16. I’ve already said, Sean, that I don’t oppose the re-wording to a more definitive articulation of the biblical teaching embraced by most church members.

    Of course the liberals don’t like it. But in the end, they hold the “bully pulpit” on other issues and control the church for the most part.

    It can only be helpful and bring about a positive conclusion, if and when the majority of the laity realize that this issue is only the tip of the iceberg and demand some accounting on other issues as well. I don’t think this will happen. More likely, people will say, “All is well, our church leaders are taking care of issues and we can sleep on.” [edit – off topic]

    How this is all going to work out, no one knows but God. We know more than a few will beg for compromise of some sort. So, unless our position is this, “Show us from the bible our error, or we are not moving” we will be swept along into perdition.

    We see less and less respect for the bible and this evolution/creation fiasco is simply typical of this reality.

    Bill Sorensen




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  17. Denying the literal 6 day creation process is a back-handed way of challenging God’s omnipotence. We either beleive God has unlimited power to create and accelerate life at a pace beyond or scope to measure..or we don’t. If we can’t (or won’t) believe in the 6 day creation how can we beleive in an equally swift resurrection and transforming of the saved?




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  18. David Read: I recently had an online debate with Chuck Scriven about this, and he lost; he was not able to show me where there was any real ambiguity in the current phrasing. Only by reading words like “days” as non-literal—contrary to the Sabbath doctrine, the Spirit of Prophecy, and well known Adventist belief and history—can one find wiggle room. But that sort of misconstruction involves a level of dishonesty and moral turpitude that would itself preclude the misconstrue-er from being employed by the church.

    David makes a good point here that needs to be addressed. Those who are determined to wrench-and-bend the Bible – the Word of God — will be even MORE inclined to wrench and bend statements that we make in our own 28 Fundamental beliefs.

    Free will being what it is — they will continue to imagine that “6 days do not mean 6 days” no not even in legal code like we find in Exodus 20:8-11. Being of that sort — all they do next is argue that our FB#6 is “unbiblical”.

    An idea that will appeal to the less-than-informed T.E. among us – but few others.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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    • @BobRyan:

      This isn’t about those who are dead set against the Adventist perspective on origins. This is about those who wish to support our pillars of faith and the steps that need to be taken to effectively do this.

      Clarifying the wording of FB#6 so as to remove any ambiguity, however minor it may seem, is a positive step forward in this regard.

      We need not always dwell on what those who are opposed to our efforts will do or say. Sometimes, it is good to focus on the positive efforts of those who are trying to clearly and unambiguously promote the pillars of our faith.

      Others may argue that Adventist perspectives on a lot of issues are “unbiblical”. Most Christians believe that Sunday observance is actually Bible-based. Most Christians believe that people go straight to Heaven or Hell when they die and that this belief is Bible-based. It is one thing to make the claim that a literal 6-day creation is unbiblical. It is another thing entirely to convincingly support that notion from the Bible itself…

      Just the fact that we take such a clear and unambiguous stand on the literal nature of the 6-day creation week highlights our stand on the credibility of the Bible and on the reliability of interpreting the Bible as its authors intended for it to be interpreted.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  19. Again, thank you to Sean and the other contributors to this website. Thank you for your dedication, research, and continual efforts to keep an intelligent and informing light upon all the ins/outs and various issues wrapped up in this controversy. These matters are SO important and historical! Something is going down big time. And I pray that the truth of God, His book, and Historical Adventism only go up! Let’s hold onto the faith and contend for that which was once and for all delivered to the saints. Blessings and prayers!! Yes, let’s be clear in our FB#6, etc. statements about what the Bible itself is also crystal clear about. Unfortunately, there are those who seek to “twist” the real meaning of Scripture “to their own destruction” (2 Pet. 3:16). For this very reason, our church-approved instructors and organizational entities must stand the testing of even more crystal clear airtight language that makes abundantly clear our church’s position, belief, and expression of what the Bible is actually teaching. Those who would twist Scripture, probably might tend to twist other things as well, but we can make it harder for them for sure!!! They’ll have to be an outright liar or raving lunatic to deny or twist the clear language we ought to be using to express our Biblical views. Which of course needs to be grounds for expulsion from the church’s ranks of approved instructors.




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  20. Sean, it is possible that those who support the true SDA position may feel more secure in a re-wording and more definitive statement.

    Some of us have doubts that it will make any difference, since we believe the original is more than adequate to explain our position.

    Only the future will reveal the outcome and value of any re-statement. I am personally hopeful that it will create a more clear and unifying effect, and that some adequate discipline will follow.

    But like David, I tend to be a bit skeptical that a new statement will have any real significant influence on future actions. Simply because the present statement is clear enough in and of itself.

    I would like to see the whole church get involved in this as well as other important issues confronting the church today.

    Bill Sorensen




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  21. I agree with Sean, we need the rewording. You will never convince anyone who does not want to be convinced that the six-day creation came to pass on six literal days if they don’t want to be convinced. This exercise is to make our church’s stand absolutely clear. The truth should be stated and the chips can fall where they may.

    Frankly, like Sean, I don’t see why anyone would oppose the rewording unless it foils their attempts to marry truth with error.

    And, yes, David, I think the original wording was clear enough for anyone who wants to believe the truth about Creation; however, making it even more iron-clad won’t hurt any honest soul.

    Just my two-bits’ worth.




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  22. Faith, I don’t know if we could consider this illustration and exact parallel or not. But I would consider the re-wording comparable to something like this.

    Suppose I tell someone I am traveling to New York from L.A. And then I tell them I am only driving during the day and not at night.

    So they say, “I am not sure I understand what you are saying, are you driving during the night?”

    Is what I said clear enough for any rational person, or, must I now say, “I am not driving at night, I am only driving during the day?”

    Now, if the person is not too bright, or doesn’t really understand English, I may feel the need to be more condecending and patronizing because of the circumstances.

    But if it is their deliberate attempt to convolute and confuse what I said to advance their own agenda of rebellion, I may feel less patronizing in my response.

    Kind of like a lawyer who keeps questioning on and on an obvious statement to try to confuse the issue.

    I am not sure God would re-state the ten commandments in a different way when what He has said is abundantly clear at the outset. Rebels choose to mis-understand because they don’t want to understand.

    But, having said that, if the church feels the need to “make it clearer”, OK.

    Bill Sorensen




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  23. One of the nice things about rewording it is that it focuses many people’s attention on the issue. It is often true that in communication resaying what you just heard cements the idea in your mind as well as making sure you understood what he/she just said.
    -Shining




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  24. “If there are those who cannot support the Adventist perspective on origins, on the reality of a literal 6-day creation week, such are and should be perfectly free to express their opinions on this matter – but not as paid representatives of the Adventist Church. If, on the other hand, the Adventist Church decides, as an organization, that the concept of a literal 6-day creation week really isn’t all that “fundamental” to the primary mission of the church, then it should make this new position crystal clear to all of its constituents.”

    This quote demonstrates the cynicism and hypocrisy of the church over the issue of origins. How is the church going to have an honest and open discussion about whether the “6-day creation week really isn’t “fundamental” if you make it an a priory decision that anyone that argues the point must be removed from the church?




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  25. Mainly for the joy of crafting figures of speech, I’ve wanted to drop a couple onto this thread dealing with re-re-rewording our FB#6 – #6 got fritzed and our ever-bigger tent guy-wired – but that wouldn’t go over too well with anybody, even, I don’t suppose, Sean. And rightly so. I’d be rather lonely. Anyway, it isn’t what needs to be said.

    What I needed to say is that, Like Sean, I have been a tad surprised, at least upon first reading, at the lack of enthusiasm, by EduTruth’s sympathizers, for rewriting #6. Sean seems to be rather alone around here. So I wanted to assure him he isn’t. I for one stand with him, no ifs, ands, buts, or synecdoches. Rewrite #6 (even if that sounds like a bumper stocker).

    That said, I’ll have to say that, upon second reading, I can understand the loyal objections, and sympathize. (I can also apprehend instantly the expected disloyal objections and shall dismiss them without ado.) Rewriting #6 to the same degree of granite-hard certainty as the tables of stone upon which God’s own finger etched His commandments as clearly as anything ever written on anything, or even as clearly as LSU’s new construction bonds constructed of concrete, would hardly slow down those hellbent upon hermeneuticizing the starch out of it, or for that matter all the rest, 27 I believe, so why bother?

    It should be rewritten anyway. Sean’s reasons as presented in his lead essay and his rejoinders, and those of the GC resolution mandating the rewriting, are already diamond hard and crystal clear, gems that can stand alone, warranting only admiration and affirmation, not anticlimactic and necessarily inferior recapitulation.

    I need but add my amen – amen! – and, if I may, an appendix, to wit: So why FB#6 in the first place? Paul has the answer, again: Gal 3:19 ESV (one word paraphrased): “Why then the FB#6? It was added because of transgression.” And then of course Paul can’t resist a figure of speech (love his figures of speech): It is our teacher.

    Plus this: it wasn’t necessary, certainly not God’s ideal, that Israel have a king, but He agreed, and Israel got Saul, who had to be rewritten, and David, who wrote psalms replete with figures of speech (the Lord is my shepherd), whom God loved. In that spirit let the church rewrite #6, this time not as an toy balloon that can be blown big and let loose phritz-z-zing into the big tent, but as settled matter, like a rock, written correctly and accurately and unmistakably and purposefully, just as Dr. Pitman writes his pathology reports. No figures of speech but a lot of prayers, much praying and fasting (a figure of speech, if you must), praying and pleading for the Holy Spirit, more necessary than any committee’s re-word processor, and without which any rewriting, however solid, is a house built upon sand.

    But all this rewriting won’t be for my benefit. I didn’t even know FBs existed or that there was a moot #6, or how it had been rewritten, or why, until I learned of it here. I’m not an FB man (either Fundamental Belief or FaceBook). (I’ve never gone ballistically catechistic, may I say.) I’ve always gone to the source, to Genesis 1, or the Commandments, the KJV or (as I currently favor) the ESV, and EGW, which are clear enough and good enough for me, thanks not a little to their exquisite figures of speech.




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  26. There is no need of re writing. One cannot take one FB out from the remaining 27. If those who agree with this and have stated that they are all intertwined seem to ignore #20, “Joyful observance of this holy time from evening to evening, sunset to sunset, is a celebration of God’s creative and redemptive acts..”

    Yet this does not surprise me as #11 is strongly ignored “No longer do we live in …., fear of evil powers”

    The thing that is a surprise to some degree (or should it have been expected?), is in earlier posts/replies it was deemed the church has a hierarchy type of organization and that was part of the problem per say. Yet now the organization structure (the correct structure) is used to support the continued agenda. Talk about Lukewarm!!

    The site (and now its sister site) has and continues to operate independently of that structure and discipline is asserts to speak of. The comments of brother Jon L. to have liberty to do as they please and not have their independence abridged seems more conducive of the site(s) than those they oppose or seek to correct.

    Para or discordant independence is the question?

    Comments contained in this thread, as well as previous ones, make it clear. I would see clear to start my own church fails on several points. What would this new church do with the scriptural point of having the SOP? Would it do as others have done and steal it from the Seventh-day Adventist church and claim it as thier own?
    Would it claim to be a remnant of the remnant? That fails scripture in that the woman on the moon gives birth to ONE child, a man child and has no other offspring. If there is a claimed offspring from Adventism then that church as well as Adventism itself (whether historical, pioneered, modern, foundational, etc) is all not of the man child. The whole movement from its inception is false.

    The whole thing reminds me of these statements:

    “There are little companies continually arising who believe that God is only with the very few, the very scattered, and their influence is to tear down and scatter that which God’s servants build up. Restless minds who want to be seeing and believing something new continually, are constantly arising, some in one place and some in another, all doing a special work for the enemy, yet claiming to have the truth.They stand separate from the people whom God is leading out and prospering, and through whom He is to do His great work. They are continually expressing their fears that the body of Sabbathkeepers are becoming like the world; but there are scarcely two of these whose views are in harmony”. NL vol.1 pg 55

    “Let everyone who reads these words give them thorough consideration, for in the name of Jesus I would press them home upon every soul. When anyone arises, either among us or outside of us, who is burdened with a message which declares that the people of God are numbered with Babylon, and claims that the loud cry is a call to come out of her, you may know that he is not bearing the message of truth. Receive him not, nor bid him Godspeed; for God has not spoken by him, neither has He given a message to him, but he has run before he was sent.” GW pg 41




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  27. Sean, how did we get to this position? In particular, why after spending decades and millions of dollars has the official Church’s own pet organisation, the Geoscience Research Institute, done so little to disprove evolution?

    Why if it is all hogwash has it been thoroughly not been disproved over the last 150 years? Why do some 99% of scientists across a multitude of different fields (e.g. paleontologists, physicists, archaeologists, anthropologists, biologists, chemists, cosmologists, historians, cosmologists and geologists etc) all consider evolution to be the most plausible model?

    Why, if it is all rubbish, is there Adventist scientists and theologians who believe in evolution? Why would they risk their careers and standing in the Church to promote something they consider truth, given the huge pressure to just shut up, if they didn’t believe there was something in it?

    I really, really hope Christian scientists, especially Adventist ones, will disprove evolution some day. But to date, they have done a thoroughly poor job. If the SDA hierarchy wants someone to blame for all this, they should blame themselves. It has been their pet organisations that have so spectacularly failed to offer scientific arguments in favour of YEC. Ted Wilson must accept some of the blame onto himself – if not personally then on behalf of the hierachy he leads.




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    • @Stephen Ferguson:

      Compared to backing of mainstream science, our church has relatively little and has used what little it has in an ineffective manner.

      I don’t think that the Adventist Church, as an organization, has yet recognized the importance of addressing mainstream arguments regarding origins. This is a vital issue for the Adventist Church in this day and age. It isn’t that the evidence is truly weak for the Biblical perspective (contrary to your suggestions). It is just that the Church has put forth so little effort to train its theologians, professors, pastors, and general educators regarding the evidence that is already in hand…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • @Bill Taylor:
        You talking to me?

        I place my faith in God, and because I do, I believe in creation. I also believe Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a sin-free life, performed numerous miracles, experienced bodily resurrection, ascended to heaven, prepared a home especially for me, will return one day for me, loves me unconditionally, is eager to forgive me, has paid the penalty of my sins, and is omnipotent and omniscient.

        I know, I know…faith without foundation in empirical evidence is as useless as belief in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Yet I believe all these things about Jesus in spite of the utter absence of any falsifiable data to establish the validity of these attributes of Jesus. It’s tough to be a bAdventist.




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        • @Professor Kent:

          The fact is that you don’t seem to want there to be any evidence for the Christian faith, much less the weight of evidence. You do everything you can to undermine and destroy evidentiary support for faith – as if evidence were antithetical to faith. You act as if evidence, as a basis for faith, were something to be feared.

          Really, faith can be more than what my LDS friends refer to as a “burning in the bosom” – or wishful thinking. Christianity doesn’t have to be a Santa Claus religion that is opposed to rational consideration by intelligent well-educated minds. Just open your eyes. The evidence God has provided in support of His own existence and the Divine origin and nature of His word is very very strong for those who approach it honestly and candidly with a desire to know the truth…

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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        • @Sean Pitman:

          Thanks Sean, that is where I think I get really confused. There really does appear to be two type of YEC Creationists. There are those who just say, ‘forget the science, you should be believing the Bible, not that secular stuff’. Then there are those who say, ‘no science is good, because it is a form of divine revelation (i.e. lesser light) BUT science can prove the YEC hypothesis.’ It appears some YEC pick and choose which approach to take depending upon the circumstances.

          If I recall, Educate Truth had a fight with the Spectrum people about this very issue. It is all very confusing really.




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        • @Stephen Ferguson:

          That’s right. There are those who claim that faith should not be based on evidence, but strictly on a “thus saith the Lord”. This is not my position. I believe that science and faith must go hand-in-hand – that they are both gifts of God and that God intends us to use our minds and the empirical evidence He has given us to establish our confidence and faith in Him.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  28. How can we falsify something that is not falsifiable? It is outside the range of empirical science. This holds true for both evolution and creation. Years of state subsidized funding and major private endowments have not succeeded to prove evolution. Confuse not “simple” adaptation of a species, which is demonstrable, with that of “amoeba to man” evolution. Many scientists use the concept of micro-evolution as proof of macro-evolution. That is a leap of faith.
    GRI, its resources are miniscule compared to that of secular institutions. The SDA church has, in spite of that, withstood the onslaught of secular indoctrination on origins. Praise God.




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    • @John Johansson:

      But John, my understanding is that in the history of GRI, quite a few of the Church’s own pet scientists have ended up believing in evolution! Also, why do our own Church scientists and academics risk loss of career and Church standing by believing and discussing evolution, if it is all hogwash.

      The problem I have is I am no scientist. You can tell me a bunch of facts and figures one way, and the other side will tell me a bunch that will counter that. The concerning thing is that given two sets of facts, which I can’t in all honesty assess personally, that 99% of scientists come out in favour of evolution.

      I do believe in YEC by faith, but the 99% worries me greatly.




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      • @Stephen Ferguson:

        You forget that 99% of scientists have been trained since childhood that neo-Darwinism is as factual as gravity. There is also a great deal of pressure for secular scientists to support the neo-Darwinian position. You just won’t get a very good job as a secular scientist in any field of science if it is known that you don’t accept neo-Darwinism. It’s a philosophical or religious position that is vigorously defended against all possible intrusions. Many more scientists would come out with their questions and doubts regarding the validity of neo-Darwinism if it weren’t for the fact that they would be putting their jobs and reputations on the line.

        Sean Pitman
        http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  29. Sean another few questions given you seem to be closer to the higher workings of Church politics (or anyone else who is able to comment):

    1. What are the chances of the Committee actually changing FB#6 to make YEC explicit – or do you think it might still be watered down?

    2. What are the chances of a more refined YEC FB#6 getting endorsed at a General Conference Session?

    3. What would be the practical implications of a refined YEC FB#6 becoming official? For example, would the Church be able to, or even want to, or is likely to, engage in some sort of purge of its academics and theologians?




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    • @Stephen Ferguson:

      Under Ted Wilson, I think the odds are pretty good that FB#6 will be more clearly worded and that this wording will be ratified at the next GC session.

      As far as supporting this position within our school system, I have my doubts. The church leadership has, thus far, not been very emphatic about schools not hiring neo-Darwinists who wish to undermine the Adventist position on origins within our own schools. For example, LSU still maintains open neo-Darwinists on its payroll in both its science and religion departments.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  30. Bill Taylor:
    By faith you believe in creation and by faith you believe in evolution!!What do you want to place your faith in God or Man?

    You are completely correct. Who are we to believe? God? Man’s “wisdom?” Liberals and progressives believe in human wisdom over what God has said.

    We see that at La Sierra, very prominently, and they are PROUD of it!




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      • @Stephen Ferguson:

        I believe we are to use science, real God-given scientific reasoning. I think it is a big mistake to promote an empirically blind-faith religion. This makes no rational sense. Blind-faith religion asks people to turn off their God-given brains and trust just-so stories without offering evidentiary support. This is what many religions, like Mormonism, are based on. Blind-faith shouldn’t be the basis of Christianity. Christianity should be a thinking man’s religion.

        Sean Pitman
        http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  31. Heb. 11:3 “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.”

    Where does Paul appeal to science in his affirmation of how God created the worlds?

    Bill Sorensen




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  32. Stephen Ferguson: Sean, how did we get to this position? In particular, why after spending decades and millions of dollars has the official Church’s own pet organisation, the Geoscience Research Institute, done so little to disprove evolution?

    Why if it is all hogwash has it been thoroughly not been disproved over the last 150 years? Why do some 99% of scientists across a multitude of different fields (e.g. paleontologists, physicists, archaeologists, anthropologists, biologists, chemists, cosmologists, historians, cosmologists and geologists etc) all consider evolution to be the most plausible model?

    Maybe because the evidence for microevolution and speciation is overwhelming. And some evidence for megaevolution (e.g., sequence of fossils) and long geological ages can be perplexing to explain from the perspective of most (but not all) young life and young earth creationists.

    Stephen Ferguson: Why, if it is all rubbish, is there Adventist scientists and theologians who believe in evolution? Why would they risk their careers and standing in the Church to promote something they consider truth, given the huge pressure to just shut up, if they didn’t believe there was something in it?

    Maybe because they’re not as honest as some prominent supporters here. Or their faith is weaker. Or, perhaps, physicians and lawyers are simply better trained than scientists and theologians to evaluate scientific evidence.

    Stephen Ferguson: I really, really hope Christian scientists, especially Adventist ones, will disprove evolution some day.

    Me too.

    Stephen Ferguson: If the SDA hierarchy wants someone to blame for all this, they should blame themselves. It has been their pet organisations that have so spectacularly failed to offer scientific arguments in favour of YEC. Ted Wilson must accept some of the blame onto himself – if not personally then on behalf of the hierachy he leads.

    I wouldn’t blame anybody. But if they were to fire the current GRI staff, hire certain supporters here, and then move GRI from LLU to SAU or SWAU, I suspect a certain faction of the church would be happier.




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  33. Sean Pitman: The fact is that you don’t seem to want there to be any evidence for the Christian faith, much less the weight of evidence. You do everything you can to undermine and destroy evidentiary support for faith – as if evidence were antithetical to faith. You act as if evidence, as a basis for faith, were something to be feared.

    Wrong. I think there is ample evidence that God is real and who he claims to be. I totally disagree with your priority, however. And I’ve made my position clear on many occasions.

    If God says that an axehead can float after a stick has been tossed into the water, and all empirical evidence to date confirms this to be an impossibility, I’ll believe what God says.

    If God says that his son was born of a virgin woman, and all empirical evidence to date confirms this to be an impossibility, I’ll believe what God says.

    If God says that Jesus died and then came back to life 3 days later, and all empirical evidence to date confirms this to be an impossibility for human bodies, I’ll believe what God says.

    If God says volcanoes and earthquakes result from fires burning underground, and geologists provide substantial evidence to contradict this, I’ll believe what God says.

    You have insisted repeatedly that you would not believe God if the empirical evidence was contrary to his word, and you would abandon both Adventism and Christianity. Yet the fact is you continue to believe that an axehead can float, that Jesus was born of a virgin, and that Jesus died and then his body, days later, came back to life. You know as well as I do that all empirical evidence to date unmistakably contradicts these claims. You’re still an Adventist, and still a Christian.

    You’re not the least bit clever, genuine, or honest with your claim that evidence trumps faith. And you know it.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      Wrong. I think there is ample evidence that God is real and who he claims to be. I totally disagree with your priority, however. And I’ve made my position clear on many occasions.

      That’s my point. You think that faith can and should be able to stand on its own without any evidentiary support. That is why you go around constantly attacking and trying to undermine the evidentiary basis for faith. Your arguments are very similar to those arguing from an entirely secular perspective. The results of your position is that you undermine the faith of many people who do not yet have the background to understand the weight of evidence in favor of the Biblical perspective – who don’t know how to answer your attacks on evidence favoring the Biblical accounts. There aren’t very many people who are willing to accept the rational dissonance between “faith” and reason that you seem willing to accept.

      If God says that an axehead can float after a stick has been tossed into the water, and all empirical evidence to date confirms this to be an impossibility, I’ll believe what God says.

      Besides the fact that it would be very easy for a God to lift a little axehead to the surface of the water, how do you know that it was really God who inspired this story? How do you know it wasn’t a made up story? Yes, I know, the Bible has the power to change lives and it gives you a nice impression of the Divine. However, the same thing could be said of many moral fables and just-so stories…

      You have insisted repeatedly that you would not believe God if the empirical evidence was contrary to his word, and you would abandon both Adventism and Christianity. Yet the fact is you continue to believe that an axehead can float, that Jesus was born of a virgin, and that Jesus died and then his body, days later, came back to life. You know as well as I do that all empirical evidence to date unmistakably contradicts these claims. You’re still an Adventist, and still a Christian.

      The evidence that a God-like creative intelligence and power exists in this universe is overwhelming to me. Such a God could very easily cause an axehead to float, or resurrect a dead body. This is not at all inconsistent with the abilities of creative intelligence. In fact, it would be scientifically unreasonable for such things to exist without very very high levels of creative intelligence.

      Your argument is equivalent to saying that a chocolate cake is a miracle that conflicts with science. You are correct if you’re talking about the science of what mindless mechanisms can achieve. You’re wrong, however, when you start considering what deliberate intelligence can achieve…

      You’re not the least bit clever, genuine, or honest with your claim that evidence trumps faith. And you know it.

      Evidence does not trump faith and faith does not trump evidence. Each is dependent upon the other. Evidence and faith must go hand-in-hand for faith to be rational and for science to function. If there were no empirical evidence, outside of the Bible, for Jesus existence, if the credibility of those who wrote about Him could be substantively undermined, if the prophetic statements of the Bible regarding past history could be effectively falsified, if the Genesis account of origins could be disproved, then, yes, Christianity would become untenable…

      Fortunately, none of this has happened as far as I can tell. Your arguments that no one can rationally believe in miracles because miracles are opposed to science are misguided. They aren’t opposed to the science of intelligent design even if the level of creativity and intelligence is well beyond anything we humans can hope to achieve. The credibility that the miraculous stories described in the Bible are really true is based on empirical evidence regarding the credibility of those telling the stories… on those aspects of the stories that can actually be empirically investigated and tested in a potentially falsifiable manner. Otherwise, you’d be just as rational to choose the Book of Mormon as the true Word of God and believe that the American Indians were really the lost tribes of Israel… etc. Why the Bible among so many competing options?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  34. Sean Pitman: You think that faith can and should be able to stand on its own without any evidentiary support.

    In your dreams.

    Sean Pitman: The credibility that the miraculous stories described in the Bible are really true is based on empirical evidence regarding the credibility of those telling the stories… on those aspects of the stories that can actually be empirically investigated and tested in a potentially falsifiable manner. Otherwise, you’d be just as rational to choose the Book of Mormon as the true Word of God and believe that the American Indians were really the lost tribes of Israel… etc. Why the Bible among so many competing options?

    The Book of Mormon has true elements. A historical novel has true elements. The fact that a “story” has elements that can be empirically investigated and tested in a potentially falsifiable manner does not mean that all claims of the story are valid.

    For you, falsification only applies to that which you want it to apply. You conveniently pick and choose. A floating axehead, a child born of a virgin woman, and a deceased human body returning to life days later are as easily falsified as any claim made by Mormonism, including the ancestry of North American indians and the warm feeling one gets in gut while reading the Book of Mormon. God could just as readily cause a little warm feeling in the gut as he could float a little axehead. These claims in the Bible are, in fact, as falsifiable as any claim out there. Rather than concede this point, you turn things around and insist they actually comprise evidence that “a God-like creative intelligence and power exists in this universe.” Your silly argument about chocolate cake doesn’t apply here. The fact that God could cause a warm feeling in the gut, or raise a several days deceased body, because intelligence is the only means for these things to happen, doesn’t mean they could or did.

    You operate in your own delusional system in which you ignore these falsified claims because you pick and choose other evidence that supports your views. You then smugly claim to have a belief system–the Adventist version of Christianity–that is intellectually superior to all alternatives. Anyone could use your disingenious approach to claim their faith is backed by rational thinking and use of their God-given brains, and therefore is superior to that of others.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      Your silly argument about chocolate cake doesn’t apply here. The fact that God could cause a warm feeling in the gut, or raise a several days deceased body, because intelligence is the only means for these things to happen, doesn’t mean they could or did.

      If God exists, then He can produce all of these things. Your claim that they are scientifically “impossible” is just as nonsensical as the claim that a chocolate cake is scientifically impossible.

      Therefore, the question is not if a God-like being could do such things, the question is if God actually did such things?

      The answer to this question is dependent upon the credibility of the ones claiming that they actually saw God do such things. Are the witnesses credible? The answer to this question determines if one rationally accepts something like the Book of Mormon, the Qur’an, or the Bible as the true Word of God.

      Otherwise, if you’re not answering this question, you’re basing your decision on wishful thinking – on your own personal desire for what you want to be true. Such is the emotion-only basis for the religion of many people. However, this is not God’s ideal for us. God actually wants us to have an intelligent trust in His Word.

      “Ignorance may seek to support false views of God by appeals to science, but the book of nature and the written word shed light upon each other. We are thus led to adore the Creator and to have an intelligent trust in His word.”

      – Ellen White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 115

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  35. What ultimately matters is not why you believe, but whether you have a personal relationship with Jesus that will withstand all evidence that suggests your notions about him are wrong–including the very real evidence that Satan himself can use to deceive.

    It’s not about us–relying on our self-intelligence and knowledge about what constitutes potentially falsifiable evidence. It’s all about relying on God, who can speak to us through our conscience without any need to study and acquire knowledge that allows us to comprehend science–whether SDA-informed or falsely so-called (there are only two versions, right?).




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    • @Professor Kent:

      It’s not about us–relying on our self-intelligence and knowledge about what constitutes potentially falsifiable evidence. It’s all about relying on God, who can speak to us through our conscience without any need to study and acquire knowledge that allows us to comprehend science–whether SDA-informed or falsely so-called (there are only two versions, right?).

      This philosophy is the basis of the Spiritual Formation movement where the claim is that studying nature and the written Word to gain knowledge about God isn’t necessary. All one has to do is talk to God directly and God will directly speak to the individual, telling him/her all she/he needs to know. One doesn’t even really need to read the Bible or study any written text or any empirical form of evidence at all. One just needs to have this “experience” with God.

      The problem here is that many voices claim to be God – to include many spirit voices. How do you know to whom you are speaking? – or just who is speaking to you? Not all voices are really from God. Also, God specifically tells us to read the Bible and to study nature to gain knowledge about His nature and character. He simply does not directly speak to very many people as He occasionally speaks to prophets. We are not all so inspired. Yet, we are not left in the dark either.

      That is why God always uses evidence to support His own claims. The Bible is full of examples of God using evidence to demonstrate His claim to be God and the trustworthiness of His word. Never does the Bible argue that anyone should believe in the claims of the Bible, or in the voice of any spirit claiming to be God, without any supporting evidence… evidence that appeals to our God-given minds to add credibility to the one true Voice among many competing options.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

      P.S. This is not to say that knowledge is the basis of salvation. It isn’t. People can be saved without ever hearing the name of Jesus or reading a Bible – by living according to the Royal Law that is written upon the hearts of all. However, a closer relationship with God and a hope for the future while in this life is based on knowledge – knowledge that is gained through the study of nature and the Bible. Without this personal effort to learn and study what God has revealed to us in the way of evidence, a rational trust in the Bible as the true Word of God cannot be achieved.




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  36. Sean said…..

    “Evidence does not trump faith and faith does not trump evidence. Each is dependent upon the other.”

    And this is where at least some of us disagree, Sean. You can not present any “falsifiable” evidence that God created this world in six days and rested the seventh. And some of us fear you are backing yourself into a corner you can not get out of.

    Unlike evolution that claims they can “prove” by science what they believe, we as Christians make no such claim. And our basic argument against evolution is neither can they “prove” what they claim either.

    Their so-called evidence of proof is nothing but off the wall conjecture that can not be proven by any rational clear reasoning scientist. And those who are less prejudiced admit it.

    Neither do we play their game by claiming we can prove God created the world. The best evidence we can produce is bible prophecy, not science.

    So we can argue about the flood, or rocks and trees and a thousand other unreliable evidences of exactly how this world came into being and never prove any final conclusion.

    Our final argument is this, they can’t prove evolution and we don’t intend to try and prove the biblical account by science.

    In which case, it is a matter of faith no matter which side you want to stand on.

    We won’t play their game on their ground by their rules. This is what Eve did, and look where it got her and all the rest of us by way of Adam.

    Bill Sorensen




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    • This is 100% correct, and there is nothing more that can be added to this statement to make it any more clearer than how you stated it here in this post. It all basically comes down to who you give your allegiance and honor to.




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    • @Bill Sorensen:

      You can not present any “falsifiable” evidence that God created this world in six days and rested the seventh. And some of us fear you are backing yourself into a corner you can not get out of.

      Unlike evolution that claims they can “prove” by science what they believe, we as Christians make no such claim. And our basic argument against evolution is neither can they “prove” what they claim either.

      As I’ve explained to you before, this is about evidence with predictive value, not absolute proof – which is impossible in science.

      What Christians have is the weight of empirical evidence… which is required for a rational form of faith to exist. Otherwise, what you have isn’t faith – it’s wishful thinking.

      Neither do we play their game by claiming we can prove God created the world. The best evidence we can produce is bible prophecy, not science.

      Bible prophecy, as I’ve pointed out endless times for you, is based on science – on the historical science. Without the empirical evidence of the historical sciences, Biblical prophecy would be nothing but just-so story telling devoid of any predictive value for establishing the credibility of the Bible.

      Our final argument is this, they can’t prove evolution and we don’t intend to try and prove the biblical account by science.

      In which case, it is a matter of faith no matter which side you want to stand on.

      There is always a component of faith to science. That is why it is impossible to absolutely prove a scientific theory. A leap of faith, to one degree or another, is always required in science.

      It is for this reason that science does not trump faith and faith does not trump science. Both are required. They both must walk hand-in-hand before a rational religion can be realized.

      We won’t play their game on their ground by their rules. This is what Eve did, and look where it got her and all the rest of us by way of Adam.

      Not true. God provided Adam and Eve with plenty of evidence to support His claims – to include His own identity and His love for them. In comparison, Satan provided very very little evidence. It is for this reason that they really did sin against what they knew to be true… and started all of us off on the painful path we are currently walking. If they hadn’t been given enough evidence to truly know right from wrong, to truly know that they needed to trust God vs. the serpent, they would not have been guilty of sin (John 9:41).

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  37. Sean Pitman: The results of your position is that you undermine the faith of many people who do not yet have the background to understand the weight of evidence in favor of the Biblical perspective

    If these individuals would listen to the still voice in their heart, and commune daily with God while praying unceasingly, which are things we’ve been encouraged to do, then how could “science, human reason, and potentially falsifiable empirical evidence” become an issue?

    Why would they care whether fossil stromatolites support or refute the SDA model of origins if they know with full conviction from their daily walk with Jesus that he is real?

    You want to bolster faith? Tell people to get on their knees to talk to God rather than to count fossil shark teeth to test a potentially falsifiable hypothesis!

    People need to find God where he is at, not where we think he has been.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      God interacts with and answers the prayers of many people many different faiths – even non-Christian faiths. He will also save many different people of many different faiths (John 10:16).

      This has nothing to do with establishing the credibility of the Bible vs. other texts making the very same claim to be The Word of God. This has nothing to do with establishing the credibility of the Christian take on religion in particular (vs. that of other faiths) – especially with regard to what has happened in the past and what will happen in the future.

      A rational faith in the credibility of Christianity in particular, in the historic and futuristic statements of the Bible, requires a basis in some form of empirical evidence…

      One can be saved without such evidence or a solid knowledge of or hope in the future, but one cannot have a solid hope in this life without empirical evidence that is consciously understood and appreciated.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  38. Stephen, don’t despair. Be happy you are among the one percent. I think your numbers, however, are too pessimistic. I know of no-one leaving GRI as evolutionist. You can ask James Gibson or Timmothy Standish at the institute about that. They are all stalwart creationists. If you need scientific argument for creation and against evolution, I would recommend studying the concept of genetic entropi, which means genetic overload of destructive mutations accumulating from one generation to the next. Any constructive mutation that might exist would be swamped by all the destructive ones. So called living fossils should be gone long ago. Also study the sedimentary layers staring at us everywhere. Each layer, supposedly representing an eon, is distinctly separated from each other with no sign of significant erosion between them. Millions of years of exposure, before the next layer is formed, should surely have blurred/obliterated the line between the layers. Knowing that one meter of mountainous rock is eroded in a one thousand year period means that the Himalaya would be pulverized in less than 10 million years. These are just two examples that can justify doubt in the evolutionary theory even on scientific grounds.




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  39. Professor Kent: Why would they care whether fossil stromatolites support or refute the SDA model of origins if they know with full conviction from their daily walk with Jesus that he is real?

    Far more people leave Christianity because of questions regarding the pain and suffering they see around them, and because of the inconsistent behaviors and attitudes of fellow Christians, than because of doubt over the age of life.

    This website is about promoting the views and God-given intelligence of a handful of people fascinated with one narrow aspect of theological correctness. It’s not about convicting the world that Jesus is real.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      People leave Christianity for all kinds of reasons… not the least of which is because they find the claims of the Bible to be rationally untenable – similar to the claims of the Book of Mormon.

      After all, people leave Mormonism for the very same reasons you’ve described for those who leave Christianity. However, many a thinking person also leaves Mormonism, and Christianity, because of what they see as the non-credible nature of both texts.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  40. Sean Pitman: If God exists, then He can produce all of these things. Your claim that they are scientifically “impossible” is just as nonsensical as the claim that a chocolate cake is scientifically impossible.

    Of course God can produce miracles such as an axe floating on water, the virgin birth of Jesus, and the resurrection of a human body several days after death. I never said they were impossible, for God can perform miracles which defy all understanding and simply cannot be explained.

    If you want to insist that science can explain these claims from the Bible as readily as my claim that Mrs. Kent can make a chocolate cake, you’re not only delusional, but you have every one of your readers wincing about such a ridiculous claim.

    There’s no comparison between God’s remarkable miracles and the human accomplishment of making a cake. You are denigrating your creator.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      Of course God can produce miracles such as an axe floating on water, the virgin birth of Jesus, and the resurrection of a human body several days after death. I never said they were impossible, for God can perform miracles which defy all understanding and simply cannot be explained.

      God can also perform miracles that can be explained and understood – as easily as we can understand how to make a chocolate cake or a space ship. Such things might seem miraculous from the perspective of those who don’t know how to make such things – like striking a match in front of people living in the dark jungles of Africa.

      Miracles are a matter of perspective. What seems perfectly natural to God might seem quite amazing and miraculous to us. It’s only different in degree or level of knowledge and creative power – that’s all.

      That is why such miracles are not beyond the power of science to detect as requiring the input of very high levels of creative power and intelligent design.

      Even someone who can’t make a match or a chocolate cake knows that such things require creative intelligence to produce when they see them…

      If you want to insist that science can explain these claims from the Bible as readily as my claim that Mrs. Kent can make a chocolate cake, you’re not only delusional, but you have every one of your readers wincing about such a ridiculous claim.

      As I’ve explained many times, these things are all relative. I never said that they were all on the same level of creativity or design. What I said is that science can detect the need for intelligence, at various levels, to explain such things.

      Beyond this, the notion that these stories really happened as described, that they aren’t just “cleverly invented stories” (2 Peter 1:16), isn’t based on faith alone if you want your faith to be something more than mere wishful thinking. You need some kind of evidence to support the credibility of the story teller. A fantastic story demands fantastic evidence that God not only exists but that He really did act in the manner described.

      There’s no comparison between God’s remarkable miracles and the human accomplishment of making a cake. You are denigrating your creator.

      Hardly. I’m pointing out that God’s creations, while often vastly superior to our own, are detectable in nature and in the written Word (using scientific methodologies for detecting design on various levels of creative power) as requiring very very high levels of deliberate design and creative power.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  41. Sean Pitman: One can be saved without such evidence or a solid knowledge of or hope in the future, but one cannot have a solid hope in this life without empirical evidence that is consciously understood and appreciated.

    Now this is profound.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      Isn’t it though? You confuse the basis for morality, the basis for salvation, with the basis for a rational hope in the future. Salvation is based on motive while hope is based on evidence. One may be living without a conscious hope in a bright future in this life and yet still be on the road to salvation without knowing it. But how much better would life be if one knew of the Gospel message of hope, and the evidence in its support, while in this life? – that it isn’t just some fantastic fairytale for children?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  42. Bill Sorensen: And this is where at least some of us disagree, Sean. You can not present any “falsifiable” evidence that God created this world in six days and rested the seventh. And some of us fear you are backing yourself into a corner you can not get out of.

    Well stated, Bill. And I’d say you’ve been right to insist all along that Sean’s diminution of faith and miracles is insulting to those of us who subscribe to the Church’s theology and beliefs.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      I don’t diminish faith or miracles. My crime is that I don’t think claims of faith or miracles are all that helpful if they are not tied to some form of testable empirical evidence. People have “faith” in all kinds of silly things and people claim to have seen “miracles” where there really wasn’t any such thing.

      You have to be able to sort out the true from the false – even when it comes to faith. To claim that God speaks directly to you so that you don’t need to study nature or even the Bible for yourself to learn about what God has already revealed about Himself by such means is self-delusional.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  43. Sean, we must make a distinction between evidence to validate the bible specifically, and scientific evidence to prove God created the world.

    So, are you intent on “proving” by science that God created the world, or, are you endeavoring to give scientific evidence that the bible is true?

    Bible prophecy is validated by way of the historical process in light of on going time. Is this “falsifiable” evidence? I would think so.

    The Christian intent for a Protestant is to give all the evidence possible to validate scripture. In which case, scripture validates itself for what it teaches.

    But science doesn’t prove a nickels worth that God created anything. Science, like the “schoolmaster” in Galatians, leads us to seek some viable answer to creation. But science gives us no answer in and of itself. It gives us a problem with no answer within itself.

    Evolution claims science in and of itself can and will give us an answer as to origins. No way. And so I said, “Neither can science prove God created the world.”

    No evolutionist will ever look to the bible for an answer as long as they feel they can find the answer within science itself. And any effort to prove God created the world by way of science is an exercise in futility.

    So, I said, “We don’t play their game based on their rules.” But it seems like you think you can.

    So, my question to you is this, “Do you want to use science to point to the bible as the only answer, or do you think by way of science you can prove origins?”

    I don’t know if anyone has really been able to follow your thinking on this matter and there is still apparent confusion that leads to endless dialogue with little or no clarification.

    Bill Sorensen




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    • @Bill Sorensen: “I don’t know if anyone has really been able to follow your thinking…”

      A tad, a smidgeon, just slightly overstated maybe? Just a tad, just a smidgeon, at the cost of not a few dislikes? Well, I for one do follow it. And with great admiration. Great.




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    • @Bill Sorensen:

      Sean, we must make a distinction between evidence to validate the bible specifically, and scientific evidence to prove God created the world.

      Again, you keep using the word “prove” over and over again despite being constantly reminded that there is no such thing as absolute proof in science or anything else. There is only the weight of evidence – of predictive value, not proof.

      Beyond this, the evidence that God created the universe is based on the very same type of reasoning that can be used to support the contention that the Bible is the true Word of God without compare. Both can be presented as forms of scientific hypotheses that can be tested by the empirical evidence in a potentially falsifiable manner…

      So, are you intent on “proving” by science that God created the world, or, are you endeavoring to give scientific evidence that the bible is true?

      I’m saying that the weight of evidence strongly favors both ideas – that God created the universe and life on this Earth as the Bible describes and that the Bible itself is the true Word of God.

      Bible prophecy is validated by way of the historical process in light of on going time. Is this “falsifiable” evidence? I would think so.

      Yes, you’re right here. Biblical prophecy is indeed based on the evidence supporting the historical sciences. That is why Biblical claims to historically fulfilled prophecies can be investigated against known historical data, empirical data, in a potentially falsifiable manner.

      The Christian intent for a Protestant is to give all the evidence possible to validate scripture. In which case, scripture validates itself for what it teaches.

      By definition nothing can validate itself. That’s circular reasoning. Biblical prophecy doesn’t validate itself. It is not an automatic given that it is true. It must first be investigated and compared against an external source of validation – i.e., known history based on empirical evidence that is currently in hand. This is an external source for validating the internal claims of Biblical prophecy.

      But science doesn’t prove a nickels worth that God created anything. Science, like the “schoolmaster” in Galatians, leads us to seek some viable answer to creation. But science gives us no answer in and of itself. It gives us a problem with no answer within itself.

      Not true. Science is able to lead those who study nature alone, those who have no knowledge of the Bible or any other witness about God, to detect His signature in nature – to recognize, at minimum, the existence of a higher creative Power that cannot readily be distinguished from that belonging to a God or God-like being. This recognition has the power to cause those who would like to know more of such a God to look harder to discover God – and God will not leave them empty handed.

      In fact, there have been numerous modern scientists, to include several Nobel Laureates, who have concluded, often against their own will and naturalistic bias, to admit that the existence of a God as the author of many features of our universe is rationally undeniable.

      Evolution claims science in and of itself can and will give us an answer as to origins. No way. And so I said, “Neither can science prove God created the world.”

      Again, you’re using the word “proof”. While it is true that science cannot definitively prove God’s existence it is also true that science cannot definitively prove anything.

      The power of science, or scientific reasoning, as already noted, is that it produces predictive power based on the weight of evidence. This weight of evidence does in fact strongly favor the hypothesis that a God of magnificent creative power and intelligence is responsible for creating our universe and life on this planet – and is the Source of the written Word, the Bible, as well.

      No evolutionist will ever look to the bible for an answer as long as they feel they can find the answer within science itself. And any effort to prove God created the world by way of science is an exercise in futility.

      Again, you’re mistaken. Many former evolutionists have and will continue to look at the Bible because of their study of the Book of Nature. The Book of Nature, the empirical world in which we live, was also written by the same Author as the primary Author of the Bible. The honest and sincere study of any book written by God will eventually lead cause one to recognize His signature in His other books and desire to read and study them as well…

      So, I said, “We don’t play their game based on their rules.” But it seems like you think you can.

      It seems like you don’t understand the rules. The rules of true scientific investigation and study were not invented by any human being. They were invented by God and given to us as a gift to be able to think and consider all of His works rationally and intelligently.

      You need to stop calling God’s gifts “their rules”. They are God’s rules of logical and rational thought…

      So, my question to you is this, “Do you want to use science to point to the bible as the only answer, or do you think by way of science you can prove origins?”

      By way of science, true God-given science and scientific reasoning, one can absolutely detect that the weight of empirical evidence strongly supports the Bible’s claim to be the only true written Word of God and to God’s signature written all over the natural world in which we live.

      Again, this is not “proof” mind you… since absolute “proof” is not part of science.

      I don’t know if anyone has really been able to follow your thinking on this matter and there is still apparent confusion that leads to endless dialogue with little or no clarification.

      Perhaps that’s because you and several others have yet to realize that the ability to think in a scientific manner is from God, not man? You seem fearful of science – perhaps because you think it is of man’s creation and is therefore inferior to God-given faith. Don’t you know that both faith and reason are God-given?

      Sure, many distort these gifts and use them against the Giver because of personal motives that are contrary to God’s will. However, their honest application and use are in harmony with God’s will that they go hand-in-hand without one trumping the other. God made them, science and faith, interdependent.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  44. Sean Pitman: You confuse the basis for morality, the basis for salvation, with the basis for a rational hope in the future.

    Oh really?

    Sean Pitman: But how much better would life be if one knew of the Gospel message of hope, and the evidence in its support, while in this life? – that it isn’t just some fantastic fairytale for children?

    Umm…38.4%? I dunno…you tell me.

    Are you suggesting that J. N. Loughborrow and J. N. Andrews would have had better lives if they had knowledge of fossil bird footprints in the Triassic sediments, reassuring them that their beliefs weren’t based on some big fairytale? That my deceased grandparents would have had better lives if only they had read Turtles All The Way Down when they were teenagers?




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  45. Sean Pitman: I don’t diminish faith or miracles. My crime is that I don’t think claims of faith or miracles are all that helpful if they are not tied to some form of testable empirical evidence.

    And this your problem. Science cannot investigate the supernatural claims of the Bible, of which there are many. Every one of your readers recognizes this. Yet you insist all Biblical claims (when interpreted from the SDA perspective) pass the test of science, giving evidence of creative intelligence and God’s existence, whereas all other claims fail to pass muster. You believe, for example, that Lazarus’ cold gut warmed back to life is testable, and can be shown not to be false, whereas a Mormon’s cold gut warmed upon reading the Book of Mormon is readily falsified. You defend the former as valid empirical evidence, and you deride the latter as wishful thinking.

    Sean Pitman: People have “faith” in all kinds of silly things and people claim to have seen “miracles” where there really wasn’t any such thing.

    And how would you know? Maybe their claims of “miracles” are real after all. I take it you’re no fan of Guideposts magazine, or He’s Alive (the SDA version of Guideposts), in which people joyfully share personal experiences they see as evidence of God’s love. Most everyone feels belittled by your superior attitude; I’m not the only one.

    Sean Pitman: To claim that God speaks directly to you so that you don’t need to study nature or even the Bible for yourself to learn about what God has already revealed about Himself by such means is self-delusional.

    Who is this comment directed to? Me? I haven’t made such a claim. But I’ll tell you this: There are many whom God has spoken to through their conscience who have little to no knowledge of either nature or scripture. Who are you to declare them self-delusional?

    The Bible has many instances in which God spoke directly to humans, regardless of their knowledge in Him. If Satan can speak through a snake, and God can speak through a donkey, then there is no reason to believe He can’t speak directly to me–even if I refuse to study Genesis or gymnosperm pollen.

    You sure have a knack for making radical proclamations.




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  46. Sean Pitman: Beyond this, the notion that these stories really happened as described, that they aren’t just “cleverly invented stories” (2 Peter 1:16), isn’t based on faith alone if you want your faith to be something more than mere wishful thinking. You need some kind of evidence to support the credibility of the story teller. A fantastic story demands fantastic evidence that God not only exists but that He really did act in the manner described.

    So tell me, which of the following three claims are better supported by evidence. Real evidence. Not evidence of something else, but falsifiable empirical evidence directly supporting the claim.

    1. Millions of people tell us today that life on this planet originated spontaneously.

    2. An ancient storyteller once told us that a piece of wood tossed into water can cause an axehead resting on the bottom of a stream to float to the water’s surface.

    3. Several ancient storytellers once told us that a human body can get up and walk three days after the heart stops beating and the brainwaves cease.

    Which, if any, of these three claims have direct empirical support. I want to believe only if there is true evidence!




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  47. Sean Pitman: Beyond this, the notion that these stories really happened as described, that they aren’t just “cleverly invented stories” (2 Peter 1:16), isn’t based on faith alone if you want your faith to be something more than mere wishful thinking. You need some kind of evidence to support the credibility of the story teller

    Oh wait a minute…looking again at what you wrote, it’s not really the claim itself, but credibility of the storyteller? We use science to test the storyteller rather than the claim? Seriously?

    So if my parents tell me all sorts of things about life on this planet, and they all prove true, I can then believe them well they tell me about Santa Claus? After all, I do have “some kind of evidence to support the credibility of the story teller.”




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    • @Professor Kent:

      Oh wait a minute…looking again at what you wrote, it’s not really the claim itself, but credibility of the storyteller? We use science to test the storyteller rather than the claim? Seriously?

      You’re finally catching on…

      So if my parents tell me all sorts of things about life on this planet, and they all prove true, I can then believe them well they tell me about Santa Claus? After all, I do have “some kind of evidence to support the credibility of the story teller.”

      That’s right… but what kind of evidence? Were your parents willing to put their lives on the line for their Santa Claus story? – to be crucified or burned alive for it? Did the testable elements of their Santa Claus story have the weight of empirical evidence? If so, why don’t you believe in Santa Claus?

      It is the evidence for the credibility of the story teller as well as the elements of the story itself which are open to testing and potential falsification that form the basis for a rational belief in the fantastic claims of the storyteller.

      For example, the LDS claim that the American Indians are really descendants from the lost tribes of Israel is a testable potentially falsifiable claim. If this claim is tested and shown to be false, as it has been, it reduces the credibility of the storyteller for anything else the storyteller has to say.

      The same would be true if falsifiable elements of the Biblical stories were shown to be false as well. Such demonstrations would lessen the credibility of the Biblical storytellers with regard to anything else they have to say…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  48. Sean Pitman: For example, the LDS claim that the American Indians are really descendants from the lost tribes of Israel is a testable potentially falsifiable claim. If this claim is tested and shown to be false, as it has been, it reduces the credibility of the story teller for anything else the story teller has to say.

    So a group of scientists led by Andrew Merriwether used molecular phylogeny (a method you have repeatedly insisted is not reliable) to show that the ancestors of North American Indians are of Asian rather than Jewish descent. Because the data fit your preconception of Joseph Smith, you decide the messenger of the Book of Mormon manufactured his claim. I agree.

    Sean Pitman: The same would be true if falsifiable elements of the Biblical stories were shown to be false as well. Such demonstrations would lessen the credibility of the Biblical story tellers with regard to anything else they have to say…

    I once did an experiment. I threw an axehead in my swimming pool. I then threw in a popsickle stick, then a palm tree branch, and finally the handle of the axe itself, and the axehead did not rise one millimeter. My test, based on empirical data, showed the claim was false. You could repeat it yourself, as you well know. But none of this is of any consequence to you. Because the data do not fit your preconception of the author of the book of Kings (perhaps Jeremiah), the results have no bearing on your opinion. You conveviently insist this test falsifies nothing, and continue to hold the authors of scripture in the highest esteem.

    Anyone can see through the hypocrisy.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      Phylogenetic evidence is able to demonstrate shared genetic features. It is not able to explain the origin or timing of novel functionally complex genetic differences beyond very very low levels of functional complexity.

      It is for this reason that the genetic evidence effectively falsifies the claims of the Book of Mormon regarding the origin of the American Indians. This results in a loss of credibility for all of the other claims of the book.

      The claim that God can create things and events which go beyond the inherent natural abilities of the materials themselves is no more surprising than the claim that humans can also do the same type of thing – by intelligent design. Humans can make metal appear to float by design. Humans can set broken bones that would not set themselves. Humans can make chocolate cake that does not make itself.

      Your argument seems to be that science has shown that mindless objects, acting alone, cannot do what the Bible says was done by intelligent design. I agree! This is obviously a true statement.

      The question, therefore, is not if very high level intelligence and creative power is able to manipulate non-intelligent objects beyond their own capabilities. The question is if such high level intelligent manipulation really happened as described?

      That is where the credibility of the storyteller comes into play – where the science of establishing credibility becomes useful…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  49. Sean Pitman: For example, the LDS claim that the American Indians are really descendants from the lost tribes of Israel is a testable potentially falsifiable claim. If this claim is tested and shown to be false, as it has been, it reduces the credibility of the story teller for anything else the story teller has to say.

    The same would be true if falsifiable elements of the Biblical stories were shown to be false as well. Such demonstrations would lessen the credibility of the Biblical story tellers with regard to anything else they have to say…

    The Bible makes multiple falsifiable prophecies about Nebuchadnezzar conquering Egypt, yet history never records it happening. Does this mean the Bible is effectively falsified? Here are the texts:

    Ezekiel 29:19-20: “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will give the land of Egypt unto Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon; and he shall take her multitude, and take her spoil, and take her prey; and it shall be the wages for his army. I have given him the land of Egypt for his labour wherewith he served against it, because they wrought for me, saith the Lord GOD.”

    Ezekiel 30:10-11: “Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will also make the multitude of Egypt to cease by the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon. He and his people with him, the terrible of the nations, shall be brought to destroy the land: and they shall draw their swords against Egypt, and fill the land with the slain.”

    Jeremiah 46:13: “The word that the LORD spake to Jeremiah the prophet, how Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon should come and smite the land of Egypt.”

    Jeremiah 46:25-26: “The LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, saith; Behold, I will punish the multitude of No, and Pharaoh, and Egypt, with their gods, and their kings; even Pharaoh, and all them that trust in him: And I will deliver them into the hand of those that seek their lives, and into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of his servants: and afterward it shall be inhabited, as in the days of old, saith the LORD.”




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    • @SDA Bio Prof:

      Egyptians had a strong tendency not to record their losses… only their victories. However, the historical reality of Nebuchadnezzar conquering Egypt is documented outside of Egyptian records.

      “Following the pacification of Tyre, Nebuchadnezzar turned again to Egypt. A clay tablet, now in the British Museum, states: “In the 37th year of Nebuchadnezzar, king of the country of Babylon, he went to Mitzraim (Egypt) to wage war. Amasis, king of Egypt, collected [his army], and marched and spread abroad.” Having completed the subjugation of Phoenicia, and a campaign against Egypt, Nebuchadnezzar set himself to rebuild and adorn the city of Babylon, and constructed canals, aqueducts, temples and reservoirs.” (Link)

      There are many Biblical stories that were not verified for hundreds or even thousands of years. The very existence of Nebuchadnezzar was thought to be fable since no extra-Biblical verification for his existence was found until fairly recently. However, once this evidence was found it highlighted the accuracy of the Bible as a trustworthy historical document – it increased Biblical credibility.

      Consider also that a falsifiable statement isn’t something that can only be verified while not being subject to potential falsification this side of eternity. For example, the hypothesis that a feathered dinosaur would be found given the assumption that dinosaurs and birds share a common ancestor is a potentially verifiable hypothesis, but it is not falsifiable. If a feathered dinosaur had never been found it wouldn’t mean that it didn’t exist – right? It could always one day be discovered. Therefore, this hypothesis is verifiable, but not really falsifiable.

      In contrast, the statement that the American Indians are descendants of the lost tribes of Israel is a directly testable and potentially falsifiable statement – which has been effectively falsified by phylogenetic analysis.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  50. Sean Pitman: Humans can make metal appear to float by design.

    You’ve tried to slip this disingenious explanation past us before. You just can’t bring yourself to admit that YOUR gold criterion of truth–science–fails to explain at the most elemental level what God can do.

    Admit it: metal is denser than water, and therefore it sinks. Can you not grasp simple physics?

    God’s existence–His power, His might, and His spoken word–goes far beyond your insistence that we can put God to the test of human reason and understanding.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      You’ve tried to slip this disingenious explanation past us before. You just can’t bring yourself to admit that YOUR gold criterion of truth–science–fails to explain at the most elemental level what God can do.

      The science of detecting the need for intelligent design behind certain phenomena holds for floating axeheads and the like. If you saw an axehead floating, as described in the Biblical story, even you would immediately know that high level deliberate intelligence was required to explain what you’re seeing. It is for this reason that such things are recognizable as “miracles” of design and creative power rather than simply another “natural” phenomenon.

      The other question, of course, is, “Did this fantastic story really happen as described?” Again, one can only rationally answer “Yes” to this question if one can establish a very high level of credibility for the story teller. This is also based on scientific methodologies which are subject to testing and potential falsification… not just non-testable empirically-blind faith.

      Admit it: metal is denser than water, and therefore it sinks. Can you not grasp simple physics?

      Your point?

      It is because I can and do grasp simple physics that I would recognize the design behind a floating axehead if I were to ever see such a demonstration… as described by the Bible storyteller. I would recognize it as non-natural outside of deliberate design and creative power.

      You would no doubt come to the same conclusion if you saw something similar happen in front of your own eyes. For example, say you do your experiment with your own axehead. You throw your various kinds of sticks in your pool and nothing happens – the axehead stays at the bottom of your pool. Then, say, I happen to walk up and toss a stick of my own in your pool and, surprise surprise, the axehead starts “floating” up to the surface. What would you think? You may not know how I did this “trick”, but you’d know one thing – it was done by deliberate design which required high-level intelligence and creative power…

      And, by the way, just watch a few hidden video shows on TV and you’ll see deliberately designed set-ups very similar to this done all the time. This is not saying that all of God’s miracles can be copied (not remotely true). However, I can certainly visualize how the floating axehead scenario might be produced by human-level design…

      God’s existence–His power, His might, and His spoken word–goes far beyond your insistence that we can put God to the test of human reason and understanding.

      We wouldn’t be able to detect the fact that God’s power, might, intelligence, or spoken word go far beyond human capabilities if we were not able to reason empirically/scientifically from cause to effect or from effect to likely cause – if we were not able to detect a need to invoke such high-level intelligence and creative power that cannot be distinguished, from our perspective, from that belonging to a God or God-like entity.

      Therefore, it is precisely science, or a form of scientific reasoning based on empirical evidence, that allows us to detect the amazing signature of God in all of His works – to include nature and the Bible.

      How is this not an intuitive concept? How is it that anyone can argue that the signature of a Designer cannot be rationally detected from the study of His own handiwork? How is it rational to claim that empirically-blind faith alone is able to detect God? – via a form of faith that is not easily distinguished from wishful thinking?

      You’re also being inconsistent. You’re claiming that you recognize that the Bible is the Word of God by faith alone, yet you reject what the Bible says about our God-given ability to recognize God’s signature through the study of nature and in empirical evidences supporting the validity of the written Word (such as historically-fulfilled prophecies and other empirically-testable claims)…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  51. Sean Pitman: You’re also being inconsistent. You’re claiming that you recognize that the Bible is the Word of God by faith alone, yet you reject what the Bible says about our God-given ability to recognize God’s signature through the study of nature and in empirical evidences supporting the validity of the written Word (such as historically-fulfilled prophecies and other empirically-testable claims)…

    Pure, unadulterated, 100% baloney. Statements like this completely destroy YOUR credibility as a storyteller, Sean, when for three years I’ve made abundantly clear my position.

    In a nutshell (readers can Google more detailed comments at ET on what I personally believe), Professor Kent believes there is ample evidence from Scripture, from fulfilled prophecy, from nature (yes, I see exactly what Paul wrote of in Romans 1:20), from the disciples’ convictions unto death, from the evidence of changed lives, from the evidence in my personal life, that God is real, and that Scripture is God’s word. From there, I am willing to accept as real many of the claims that neither I nor science can explain, including those of Genesis (which I personally believe in, regardless of the evidence that, to an honest scientist, often cannot be easily resolved).

    There’s no question that nature witnesses of God’s creation. However, no matter how intelligent or brilliant Dr. Pitman may be, we must humbly concede that we cannot falsify many of the claims of God’s word. And there is no need to. While science is a powerful tool to understand natural phenomena, it’s not our place to subject all of God’s claims to our simplistic tests of science and reasoning, when he is supernatural and transcends all science and reasoning. We can’t fully understand the supernatural by our constrained study of the natural. Many of Scripture’s claims go beyond the purvey of science. It’s okay to say, “I don’t understand, but if God says so, then I believe.” And we should NEVER be belittled for our humility.

    When we place our faith in what other people, like Sean Pitman, tell us how to think about science and origins, we’ve made a huge mistake. We don’t believe God is real because science magically supports all of the SDA interpretations of origins. We don’t give up our faith when we encounter difficulties or apparent contradictions between the evidence and God’s word. Instead, we commit our hearts and minds to trust God and His word no matter what the evidence of dust and DNA tells us through our faulty intelligence and human reasoning.

    If in using Sean Pitman’s superintellectual approach, you find there is some piece of evidence that can’t be resolved with Scripture, and you therefore give up your beliefs in God and Adventism (as Sean Pitman has insisted repeatedly he would do), then I have learned one obvious thing about you: you simply don’t know Jesus. Your faith was based on what dust and DNA have to say to you–and not in what Jesus has to say to you!

    Don’t put your faith in so-called evidence that the Genesis story is real (again, even I think it is real). Instead, put your faith in a personal relationship with Jesus. NOTHING should convince you more that God is real than the time spent on your knees in prayer, or between the covers of His Holy Word.

    Sadly, I am belittled because I accept the Genesis account on faith. Imagine that! A faithful Seventh-day Adventist is told his faith is as useless as belief in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster, because he believes that God’s word alone suffices to accept the Genesis account as real!

    I am not out to destroy your faith, as Sean would have you believe; I’m simply encouraging you to put your faith in the right place, where it belongs: in the wide open arms of Jesus.

    Until the whole world hears,
    Professor Kent




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    • @Professor Kent:

      While science is a powerful tool to understand natural phenomena, it’s not our place to subject all of God’s claims to our simplistic tests of science and reasoning, when he is supernatural and transcends all science and reasoning.

      Of course there are many non-testable / non-falsifiable claims in the Bible (like the virgin birth, life after death, the resurrection of Christ, etc). However, the credibility of these claims is based on those elements of the Bible that are testable in a potentially falsifiable manner…

      We can’t fully understand the supernatural by our constrained study of the natural. Many of Scripture’s claims go beyond the purvey of science. It’s okay to say, “I don’t understand, but if God says so, then I believe.”

      Of course this is true. But, you’re completely missing my point. The question I’m asking is, “How do you know it is God speaking to you?” The Bible itself advises, “Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” – 1 John 4:1

      As I’ve been arguing all along, there has to be some rational basis to accept the Bible as the real Word of God when there are so many competing options making the very same claim. This rational basis is a form of scientific reasoning that is subject to testing and potential falsification of those elements of the claims of the storyteller(s) that are actually subject to empirical investigation.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  52. Sean Pitman: The other question, of course, is, “Did this fantastic story [about the axehead floating in water] really happen as described?” Again, one can only rationally answer “Yes” to this question if one can establish a very high level of credibility for the story teller.

    Ahh…so it’s okay if the storyteller told a story that was empirically false, so long as the majority of other stories are empirically true? We know it’s true if 99% of the other stories are empirically supported? What is your guide to truth now: empirical reality, or the “majority of the story is empirically correct?”

    So if the story of the floating axehead is effectively proven impossible (and you KNOW that it is), then the question becomes, “which other stories might be fiction as well?” Let’s see: the vigin birth? The resurrection of Lazarus? The resurrection of Jesus? Again, these fail the test of science. Badly.

    So where do we put our faith: in what science tells us is possible, or what God tells us happened?

    Out of curiousity, would a book with 99% empirically verifiable claims be rubbish if just one single claim–like North American indians were derived from Jews–was proven to be empirically wrong? After all, you’ve basically said that the Book of Mormon is all rubbish because this one claim alone fails your holy grail of truth–science.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      So if the story of the floating axehead is effectively proven impossible (and you KNOW that it is), then the question becomes, “which other stories might be fiction as well?” Let’s see: the vigin birth? The resurrection of Lazarus? The resurrection of Jesus? Again, these fail the test of science. Badly.

      You can’t have it both ways. You can’t say something is beyond science and then say that science has falsified it. If something is actually testable in a falsifiable manner, that means that it is within the realm of scientific investigation.

      As I’ve explained many many times now, to you in particular, there are many stories in the Bible that are not directly testable in a falsifiable manner, or even reproducible – to include the Virgin Birth, the resurrection of Lazarus or Jesus, or many of the other by-design miracles described in the Bible.

      While the floating axehead story is not directly testable in a falsifiable manner (no historical account of a unique event is), it is at least reproducible in that metal can be made to appear to float by human-level intelligent design. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. But, many of the other miracles described in the Bible do indeed go well beyond modern human level intelligence and creative power.

      Their credibility, therefore, is based on the credibility of the storyteller regarding those things that are actually subject to testing and potential falsification.

      So where do we put our faith: in what science tells us is possible, or what God tells us happened?

      Science doesn’t tell us that these things are impossible – given the existence of high enough levels of intelligence and creative power. All science tells us is that some of these miracles of intelligent design were obviously well beyond human-level intelligence and intelligent design of the day. That is why we know it required a God or God-like power to produce these miracles of design.

      It is also for this reason that we also know that a God or God-like intelligence was responsible for many features of the universe and for living things. Science does not falsify the existence of a living cell just because modern humans cannot produce living things. Science also does not falsify the need to invoke higher levels of intelligence design to explain such things. Science actually points toward a God or God-like creative power to explain such things…

      Out of curiousity, would a book with 99% empirically verifiable claims be rubbish if just one single claim–like North American indians were derived from Jews–was proven to be empirically wrong? After all, you’ve basically said that the Book of Mormon is all rubbish because this one claim alone fails your holy grail of truth–science.

      There are many falsifiable claims in the Book of Mormon that have been falsified. However, yes, if someone who claims to be speaking for God, to have been shown a specific feature by God, can be shown to be wrong in that claim, even once, then it can be concluded that he/she does not speak for God. God is never wrong – by definition.

      If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him. – Deuteronomy 18:22

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  53. Sean Pitman: And, by the way, just watch a few hidden video shows on TV and you’ll see deliberately designed set-ups very similar to this done all the time. This is not saying that all of God’s miracles can be copied (not remotely true). However, I can certainly visualize how the floating axehead scenario might be produced by human-level design…

    I don’t think magic seen on television merits support for arguing that a miracle in scripture is true. There’s a huge gulf between claiming that an axehead can “appear” to float in water versus the actual story in II Kings 6.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      Not at all. It’s all about perspective. God made the axehead appear to float by design. There are many ways that even human-level intelligence can make this very same thing take place. I’ve seen it myself.

      It would be better if you would use examples of miracles that are more clearly beyond the powers of human-level intelligence and creative design – like the resurrection of the dead, etc.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  54. Professor Kent: Admit it: metal is denser than water, and therefore it sinks. Can you not grasp simple physics?

    God’s existence–His power, His might, and His spoken word–goes far beyond your insistence that we can put God to the test of human reason and understanding.

    I am always entertained by the brief attempts of evolutionists to make it appear that they are upholding the character of God in what they do.

    But in the end — it is little more than bait-and-switch misdirection on their part.

    The fact that the world gives evidence from “observations in nature” that it is not a product of happenstance random action – but is as Romans 1 declares – designed to the point of observations in nature proclaiming that fact — does not mean that we must have “God in a test tube”.

    WE get the same thing with the Commandments of God – the Sabbath and the link OT ceremonies. The attempt to argue that keeping Sabbath means you must become a Jew etc.

    So also this latest argument that IF God really does things like “Create all life on planet earth” then it must “look like He did not do it… must look like chance and random cause and effect” or else “show that you can put God in a test tube”.

    These are false choices.

    They are setup by evolutionists to defend their rationale for “denying the obvious”. The obvious that in Romans 1 is declared to be blatantly apparent even to pagans.

    The I.D. feature seen in creation “observations in nature” even by those who have no Bible at all.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  55. Sean said……..”absolute “proof” is not part of science.”

    Well, Sean, I think more than a few scientists would disagree with your definition of “science.”

    You complain that people mis-understand your position and then re-define some things that others may take for granted.

    Science has determined by way of “absolute proof”, that “what goes up, must come down.” And this is only one small example of how science works.

    Based on “provable” scientific findings, we send rockets to the moon. And people as well.

    You futher stated…..

    “Many former evolutionists have and will continue to look at the Bible because of their study of the Book of Nature.”

    And if they do, Sean, they will see that their scientific reasoning can never bring them to a correct understanding of origins.

    So, they must either abandon their seeking to find the beginning of all things by way of scientific study and evidence, or, they must reject the testimony of scripture.

    So, they must subject their conclusions to divine revelation and embrace bible faith, or, continue on in unbelief, hoping to find an answer by scientific evidence.

    And so I said, “Science can work like the law as a schoolmaster to lead to the bible.” Science can give them no answer, it can only continue to create more unanswerable questions.

    And I agree, God does not bypass our reasoning powers, but spiritual understanding and “reasoning” are not confirmed by science. Meaning this, you can not by way of science find out how God created the world for that knowledge it not found in science itself.

    “God spake, and it was done”. The mechanics of this transaction are not found in nature. Now an honest scientist may well look for any information they can find and if they look in the bible, will find an answer that is impossible to find by way of nature itself. And if they are really honest, they will admit this reality. And if they believe the bible, will abandon any idea of finding origins by way of the study of natural law.

    The God who created all things exists outside everything He has created. Neither can we know Him except He reveal Himself to us. So, EGW has well said, “The only religion that leads to God is the one that comes from God.”

    If I understand you correctly, you want me to believe that revelation and nature are equal in authority to discern origins.

    Since I am not a scientist, I must still confess that what you believe is rather obscure to me. And if we believe the same thing, I can not discern it by your dialogue on the forum.

    Hopefully, we both want to defend the bible by what ever viable means we can use to this end.

    And we both absolutely agree the church should never hire people who do not represent what the church endorses and defend it clearly in the class room. On this issue we demand accountability by the church leadership to act in defense of our faith in a clear and positive way.

    I hope you are not holding your breath. I know I’m not.

    Bill Sorensen




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    • @Bill Sorensen:
      Bill, Science is only a formalized extension of your own logic and senses. If your own senses and logic are not at least equal to the Bible, then ultimately you have no way of knowing what is truth. See my comment to Kent below.

      “they will see that their scientific reasoning can never bring them to a correct understanding of origins.” — This seems to me to be an unfounded assertion. Why do you believe such a thing? If this were true, your proverbial rocket would never be able to find it’s way back to earth.




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  56. Here is a typical statement from Dr. Pitman, who claims that if his views toward scripture were contradicted by science, he would abandon them:

    That, in a nutshell, is the fundamental problem with mainstream evolutionary science. It isn’t statistically tenable and is therefore unscientific.” – http://www.educatetruth.com/featured/walla-wall-university-evolution-survey/

    As a man of science, Sean understands and greatly appreciates science and statistical probability. But here is what we know about the scientific facts of the parthenogenetic (virgin) birth of Jesus:

    Parthenogenesis occurs spontaneously in a variety of lower organisms, but not in mammals.” – Brevini TA, Pennarossa G, Vanelli A, Maffei S, Gandolfi F. Parthenogenesis in non-rodent species: developmental competence and differentiation plasticity. Theriogenology. 2012 Mar 1;77(4):766-72.

    That, in a nutshell, is the fundamental problem with Scripture’s claim of Christ’s virgin birth. It isn’t statistically tenable and is therefore impossible. It can’t happen in trillions upon trillions of births.

    While Sean insists that the claims of scripture can be falsified, and uses science and statistics whenever possible to refute the counter-claims of others, what does he do with the science regarding parthenogenesis in humans? It has never been documented in a single mammal species, much less humans! The science is clear: Jesus was no more likely to be born of a virgin than the North American indian ancestors included Jewish DNA.

    My prediction: Sean will either declare that (1) probability and science cannot be applied to Christ’s birth, and that it is supported by other claims that are falsifiable and can be supported, and therefore gives confidence that this impossible claim is indeed possible (because a source that’s right most of the time must be always right), or he will declare that (2) this apparent impossibility actually proves that God exists because it required intelligence to make it happen! Sure…and I could argue that the Flying Spaghetti Monster truly exists because the spaghetti cooked by Mrs. Kent (unmistakable evidence that she is intelligent, according to Sean’s cake analogy) heaped on my plate last night randomly and spontaneously formed the letters “hubris.”

    I suggest that Dr. Pitman elevates his own reason and use of his God-given brain by claiming that his belief in God is based on falsifiable empirical evidence that consistently supports the claims scripture makes of God. He has claimed repeatedly that he would adhere to science and give up his faith if the evidence went that direction, but I am calling his bluff. Dr. Pitman is, at heart, a man of faith willing to accept claims in the scriptures at God’s word–at face value–just like the rest of us whose intelligence he mocks and whose faith he denigrates as “useless.” What amazes me is the number of individuals here who have defended his pseudointellectual approach.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      While Sean insists that the claims of scripture can be falsified, and uses science and statistics whenever possible to refute the counter-claims of others, what does he do with the science regarding parthenogenesis in humans? It has never been documented in a single mammal species, much less humans! The science is clear: Jesus was no more likely to be born of a virgin than the North American indian ancestors included Jewish DNA.

      As I’ve already explained, the Virgin Birth of Jesus, in particular, like His Resurrection, is not testable in a falsifiable manner. That does not therefore mean that it has been disproved by science. Virgin births are actually possible by design – by modern science. Ever hear of in vitro fertilization? Such modern technology is in fact capable of producing a virgin births by intelligent design. That’s what God did – a bit of in vitro fertilization. Such a potentiality is not falsifiable by science. In fact, it is suggested by science that such an event could only be possible by very high levels of intelligent design.

      This is not true for the claim that American Indians are descendants from the lost tribes of Israel. Such a claim is directly testable and falsifiable. It cannot be explain by intelligent design in any meaningful sense of the word. Why would God change the DNA of the American Indians to make it look like they came from Asia instead of from the Jews? Surely you see the difference?

      I really can’t believe you’re trying to compare the falsifiable claims of the Book of Mormon with the miracles described in the Bible. Are you really trying to tell me that the current genetics of the American Indians was supernaturally altered so as to cover up the fact that they really came from the lost tribes of Israel? Such claims, for the Bible, would in fact remove any rational basis for belief in the Bible as historically credible. Such a demonstration would clearly undermine the credibility of the storyteller(s).

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  57. SDA Bio Prof: The Bible makes multiple falsifiable prophecies about Nebuchadnezzar conquering Egypt, yet history never records it happening. Does this mean the Bible is effectively falsified?

    Sean Pitman: Egyptians had a strong tendency not to record their losses… only their victories.

    Sean, does that mean YOU personally believe Babylon conquered Egypt, just as predicted by two prophets? In the absence of any empirical evidence? If the Egyptians didn’t record their losses, why wouldn’t the Babylonians have recorded such a stunning victory?




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    • @Eddie:

      The Bible has proven so accurate about the life of Nebuchadnezzar (when the “higher critics” long claimed that he never existed, that he was just a myth), that I would accept the Biblical claim of Egypt’s defeat without extra-Biblical confirmation.

      However, in this particular case, there is extra-Biblical evidence of Nebuchadnezzar attacking and conquering Egypt:

      Historical notices in cuneiform inscriptions about Nebuchadnezzar support the Bible record. They state that it was in the 19th year of Nabopolassar’s reign that he assembled his army, as did his son Nebuchadnezzar, then crown prince. Both armies evidently functioned independently, and after Nabopolassar went back to Babylon within a month’s time, Nebuchadnezzar successfully warred in mountainous territory, later returning to Babylon with much spoil. During the 21st year of Nabopolassar’s reign, Nebuchadnezzar marched with the Babylonian army to Carchemish, there to fight against the Egyptians. He led his forces to victory. This took place in the fourth year of Judean King Jehoiakim (625 B.C.E.).—Jer. 46:2.

      The inscriptions further show that news of his father’s death brought Nebuchadnezzar back to Babylon, and on the first of Elul (August-September), he ascended the throne. In this his accession year he returned to Hattu, and “in the month Shebat [January-February, 624 B.C.E.] he took the vast booty of Hattu to Babylon.” (Assyrian and Babylonian Chronicles, by A. K. Grayson, 1975, p. 100) In the fourth year Nebuchadnezzar led his forces to Egypt, and in the ensuing conflict both sides sustained heavy losses. Egypt was doomed to drink the bitter cup of defeat, according to the prophecy already pronounced by Jeremiah (25:17-19). Egypt’s downfall began with its decisive defeat at Carchemish on the Euphrates River by the Babylonians under Nebuchadnezzar as crown prince in 625 B.C.E., an event described at Jeremiah 46:2-10 as well as in a Babylonian chronicle. Egypt made one last attempt to remain a power in Asia. A military force of Pharaoh (his name is not mentioned in the Bible) came out of Egypt in answer to King Zedekiah’s request for military support in his revolt against Babylon in 609-607 B.C.E. Producing only a temporary lifting of the Babylonian siege, Egypt’s troops were forced to withdraw.—Jer. 37:5-7; Ezekiel 17:15-18.

      One Babylonian text, dated to Nebuchadnezzar’s 37th year (588 B.C.E.), has been found that mentions a campaign against Egypt. Whether it relates to the original conquest or merely to a subsequent military action cannot be said. —Ezekiel 29:18-20; 30:10-12.

      At Ezekiel 29:1-16 a desolation of Egypt is foretold, due to last 40 years. This may have come after Nebuchadnezzar’s conquest of Egypt. While some commentaries refer to the reign of Amasis (Ahmose) II, the successor of Hophra, as exceedingly prosperous during more than 40 years, they do so primarily on the testimony of Herodotus, who visited Egypt over a hundred years later. But as the Encyclopaedia Britannica (1959, Vol. 8, p. 62) comments on Herodotus’ history of this period (the “Saitic Period”): “His statements prove not entirely reliable when they can be checked by the scanty native evidence.” The Bible Commentary by F. C. Cook, after noting that Herodotus even fails to mention Nebuchadnezzar’s attack on Egypt, says: “It is notorious that Herodotus, while he faithfully recorded all that he heard and saw in Egypt, was indebted for his information on past history to the Egyptian priests, whose tales he adopted with blind credulity. . . . The whole story by Herodotus of Apries Hophra and Amasis is mixed with so much that is inconsistent and legendary that we may very well hesitate to adopt it as authentic history. It is by no means strange that the priests should endeavour to disguise the national dishonour of having been subjected to a foreign yoke.” Hence, while secular history provides no clear evidence of the prophecy’s fulfillment, we may be confident of the accuracy of the Bible record.

      Again, consider that there is a difference between something that is only verifiable and something that is actual open to potential falsification.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  58. Professor Kent,
    Some people claim that they will believe the Bible, no matter what their senses, and by extension whatever science tells them. On the surface this seems like a strong faith statement, but I am struck by the fact that it in fact leaves one adrift in a sea of relativity.

    The Bible is complex; what if two people interpret it differently? If each refuses the evidence of their own senses and logic, then what grounds do they have for resolving their differences? If they do not accept the evidence of their own senses and logic, there is no foundation on which to build a common understanding. Ultimately each is left with their own infallible interpretation with no way to build a bridge to any other interpretation.

    The attitude, “God said it, and I believe it, and that settles it for me” may be a great feel good statement, but it is a terrible foundation for evangelism.




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  59. Sean Pitman: Of course there are many non-testable / non-falsifiable claims in the Bible (like the virgin birth, life after death, the resurrection of Christ, etc). However, the credibility of these claims is based on those elements of the Bible that are testable in a potentially falsifiable manner…

    But each of these claims IS testable and falsifiable, every bit as much as your claims of information decline, FSAARs, and other probability-based arguments. These fantastic claims in scripture are either lies or miracles. You just skirt around them as if they are non-issues.

    The reality is you cherry pick your evidence: if it matches your preconceived notions, then it’s “falsifiable;” if it fails to match, then it’s “non-falsifiable” and you gloss over it. You’ve built up an elaborate “evidence-based” approach to convince yourself your faith–and only yours, which is shared by other faithful SDAs–is rational.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      Claims regarding the creative potential of very high levels of intelligence that go far beyond human-level intelligence are not testable in a falsifiable manner.

      Claims regarding the ancestry of a group of people who are alive today, like the American Indians, can be directly investigated and tested in a falsifiable manner.

      There’s a difference. Your problem is that you keep trying to claim that science has proven that miracles cannot happen via any known mindless force of nature, which is true. However, you forget that the Biblical claim is that the events in question were produced by deliberate design that went far beyond the human-level knowledge and creative potential of the day…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  60. Sean Pitman: As I’ve already explained, the Virgin Birth Jesus, in particular, like the Resurrection, is not testable in a falsifiable manner. That does not therefore mean that it has been disproved by science.

    Then the Flying Spaghetti Monster could be real. So could Santa Claus. And the Tooth Fairy. No one has ever disproved them. And no one has ever disproved abiogenesis or any of the main features of evolutionism.

    Sean Pitman: This is not true for the claim that American Indians are descendants from the lost tribes of Israel. Such a claim is directly testable and falsifiable. It cannot be explain by intelligent design in any meaningful sense of the word. Why would God change the DNA of the American Indians to make it look like they came from Asia instead of from the Jews?

    This is no more impossible–or falsifiable–than the virgin birth or resurrection of a 3-day old corpse. The evidence is based only on a prediction of what we should see today, but DNA inheritance does not always follow expected rules. If mitochondrial DNA provided the basis for the evidence, then all we know is that all of the individuals tested (we know nothing about those NOT tested) were descendents from a single Asian-derived female. That hardly falsifies the possibility that many indians at that time, particularly men, were from Israel.

    Another explanation could be that Satan rather than God arranged for the evidence to appear as it does today. You can’t rule this out. You have the same problem with flood geology/theology, which fails two central predictions: (1) that organisms living together were preserved together in the flood, and (2) that biodiversity today shows a dispersion pattern from Mt. Ararat. These are predictions that fail miserably.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      Sean Pitman: As I’ve already explained, the Virgin Birth Jesus, in particular, like the Resurrection, is not testable in a falsifiable manner. That does not therefore mean that it has been disproved by science.

      Then the Flying Spaghetti Monster could be real. So could Santa Claus. And the Tooth Fairy. No one has ever disproved them. And no one has ever disproved abiogenesis or any of the main features of evolutionism.

      So why don’t you believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster or Santa Claus? – while you do believe in God? I’ve asked you this many times before, but you’ve yet to produce a universal basis for determining which miraculous being to believe in as “real” vs. all other competing options…

      While Santa Claus or garden fairies may not be absolutely falsifiable this side of eternity, the reason why it is not rational to believe in these while it is rational to believe in the existence of God is because of the strength or weakness of the corroborating evidence.

      Consider that the God-only hypothesis is testable in a potentially falsifiable manner. In other words, certain phenomena can only be explained by the existence of a God or God-like being as being responsible. This is not true for fairytale creatures like Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, garden fairies, and the like. There are no phenomena that can only be explained by any of these…

      [The LDS claim that American Indians are descendants from the lost tribes of Israel] is no more impossible–or falsifiable–than the virgin birth or resurrection of a 3-day old corpse. The evidence is based only on a prediction of what we should see today, but DNA inheritance does not always follow expected rules. If mitochondrial DNA provided the basis for the evidence, then all we know is that all of the individuals tested (we know nothing about those NOT tested) were descendents from a single Asian-derived female. That hardly falsifies the possibility that many indians at that time, particularly men, were from Israel.

      Many aspects of nuclear and mtDNA have been tested in American Indians, none of which suggest Jewish ancestry. This finding does in fact effectively falsify the LDS claim that the American Indians have Jewish ancestry. There is no LDS claim to the miraculous for the genetic structure of the American Indian. Such a claim would have actually been far better than simply claiming a natural Jewish ancestry for the American Indian – a claim which is quite clearly falsified by modern genetic analysis.

      Contrast this to stories of Divine miracles described in the Bible as being the result of deliberate design by God. Such miracles of Divine design are not falsifiable by science in the same manner that the LDS claim is falsifiable…

      Another explanation could be that Satan rather than God arranged for the evidence to appear as it does today. You can’t rule this out.

      You can rule it out if you expect anything to be predictable – even those things which were not described as being designed by God or any other intelligent agent, Satan, human, or otherwise. That is why such demonstrable inconsistencies clearly undermine the credibility of the Book of Mormon for people who want something more rational than blind faith. The same would be true if the Bible were in the same boat as the Book of Mormon.

      You have the same problem with flood geology/theology, which fails two central predictions: (1) that organisms living together were preserved together in the flood, and (2) that biodiversity today shows a dispersion pattern from Mt. Ararat. These are predictions that fail miserably.

      Not at all. While unanswered questions do indeed remain, as already discussed, the Biblical model is far more consistent with the fossil/geologic records than is neo-Darwinism. Also, dispersion patterns are not inconsistent with a single point of dispersion within recent history – as we’ve discussed extensively before…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  61. Ron: The attitude, “God said it, and I believe it, and that settles it for me” may be a great feel good statement, but it is a terrible foundation for evangelism.

    Evidence is important, and the evidence that God exists abounds. However, when the evidence and God’s word depart, true SDAs adhere to God’s word. They always have and always will. Further, we don’t base our faith on science; instead, we build it on a personal, interactive relationship with Jesus Christ. Faith devoid of this relationship is hollow, and will fail–which Ellen White reminded us of many times with her messages about the importance of worship and prayer.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      In other words, it’s great that we have evidence, but it really isn’t required. You would be able to keep believing and have “faith” even if there were no empirical evidence in support of your chosen “faith”.

      That’s the problem here. You’re apparently arguing for an irrational form of faith that need not be based on evidence; that can even be completely opposed to any and all forms of empirical evidence…

      This is not what God has or ever does require of anyone. God desires faith to be based on the “weight of evidence” – as Mrs. White explains many times. You need to know to whom or what you’re praying. People have and do pray to all kinds of things – even rocks or other non-living idols. The rational person must know that the God to whom he/she is praying actually exists and is personally interested. You can’t have a meaningful relationship without empirical evidence being provided by the other party regarding His existence and personal interest in you.

      Again, the God of the Bible does not expect faith in the face of a complete lack of evidence or without the clear weight of evidence. He always provides the weight of evidence. Consider again the story of Pharaoh and his resistance to God’s evidence. Pharaoh’s rejection of God wasn’t because God didn’t provide the clear weight of evidence. It is because Pharaoh consciously chose to accept what he knew was the weaker evidence because of his own personal desire to reject God.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  62. Sean Pitman: Your problem is that you keep trying to claim that science has proven that miracles cannot happen via any known mindless force of nature, which is true. However, you forget that the Biblical claim is that the events in question were produced by deliberate design that went far beyond the human-level knowledge and creative potential of the day…

    You pretend to forget that I wholeheartedly embrace the fact that God goes far beyond human potential and any science we have to understand it. I celebrate this conviction every day. I express my gratitude for this to God each day. In person.

    Your problem is that you claim our belief in God must be founded in the empirical evidence derived from science. You insist his claims must pass the test of science (or at least some Fairly Unspecified Percentage of Empirically Falsifiable Tests–your FUPEFT criterion). I keep telling you that we can believe in God and many of His claims without the need to invoke science. You further claim that SDAs are the only ones who use their reason, intelligence, and reliance on potentially falsifiable empirical evidence when determining truth, which gives us and only us a solid hope in a bright future. I say your assertions amount to nothing more than hubris, and faithful SDAs recognize this.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      You pretend to forget that I wholeheartedly embrace the fact that God goes far beyond human potential and any science we have to understand it. I celebrate this conviction every day. I express my gratitude for this to God each day. In person.

      Whenever God goes “far beyond any science we have to understand it”, that means, by definition, that it is not subject to testing in a falsifiable manner. Again, the claim that God can produce a virgin birth or raise the dead or other such miracles of Divine design is not subject to direct testing or the potential for falsification. If such claims were directly testable, they would be within the realm of science. It is only because such claims are not directly testable that they are outside of the realm of direct scientific investigation by modern methods.

      Therefore, you’re the one trying to place Divine miracles within the realm of science while, ironically, I’m the one trying to explain to you that they are outside of the realm of direct scientific investigation.

      Your problem is that you claim our belief in God must be founded in the empirical evidence derived from science.

      That’s right. A rational belief in God must be based on the weight of empirical evidence in order to make it something more than mere wishful thinking or a feel-good religion.

      I keep telling you that we can believe in God and many of His claims without the need to invoke science.

      Not without first establishing His existence and the Divine origin of His written Word via the weight of empirical evidence. Only once this is done can the Bible be used as a trustworthy guide with established credibility regarding those statements which cannot be directly tested or potentially falsified.

      You further claim that SDAs are the only ones who use their reason, intelligence, and reliance on potentially falsifiable empirical evidence when determining truth, which gives us and only us a solid hope in a bright future. I say your assertions amount to nothing more than hubris, and faithful SDAs recognize this.

      Christianity at large is indeed fairly unique in that its founders intended it to be based on empirical evidence that appeals to the rational candid mind. This perspective is not unique to SDAs by any means, but was the basis of faith cited by the disciples of Christ Himself – and the writers of the Bible. Nowhere do the writers of the Bible claim that God desires or expects blind faith in the Written Word.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  63. Sean Pitman: So why don’t you believe in the Flying Spaghetti Monster or Santa Claus? – while you do believe in God? I’ve asked you this many times before, but you’ve yet to produce a universal basis for determining which miraculous being to believe in as “real” vs. all other competing options…

    We’ve been over this and over this and over this. Give it a rest.

    Sean Pitman: Many aspects of nuclear and mtDNA have been tested in American Indians, none of which suggest Jewish ancestry. This finding does in fact effectively falsify the LDS claim that the American Indians have Jewish ancestry. There is also no LDS claim to the miraculous for the genetic structure of the American Indian. Such a claim would have actually been far better than simply claiming a natural Jewish ancestry for the American Indian – a claim which is quite clearly falsified by modern genetic analysis.

    Would you kindly summarize the published findings for me? Include the references so I can look them up. I’d like to better understand how you assess apparent fact.




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  64. Sean,

    Proverbs 26:4-5

    The Message (MSG)

    4 Don’t respond to the stupidity of a fool;
    you’ll only look foolish yourself.

    5 Answer a fool in simple terms
    so he doesn’t get a swelled head.




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  65. Sean Pitman: In other words, it’s great that we have evidence, but it really isn’t required. You would be able to keep believing and have “faith” even if there were no empirical evidence in support of your chosen “faith”.
    That’s the problem here. You’re apparently arguing for an irrational form of faith that need not be based on evidence; that can even be completely opposed to any and all forms of empirical evidence…

    You’re wrong. Give it up.

    Let’s get to the heart of the matter. You and I agree that God exists, so there’s no point arguing that or why. Where we appear to disagree the most is (1) why we accept Young Life Creationism (YLC); (2) what our differing approaches mean regarding our belief in God; (3) how the evidence stacks up; (4) which of our approaches SDAs officially subscribe to; and (5) how authoritative Ellen White is on matters of science.

    WHY WE ACCEPT YLC

    I accept YLC (or most elements of it) largely because I believe the Genesis account is what God communicated to us, and I find Exodus 20:11 especially compelling. The fossils and modern day biogeography are irrelevant to me. In essence, I accept YLC on God’s word.

    To you, if I am correct in my understanding, you accept YLC for one or both of two reasons (I’m not sure how you weight these):

    1. Because the empirical (scientific) evidence confirms that intelligence exists and that life on this planet was created in 6 days roughly 6,000 years ago.

    2. Because the empirical (scientific) evidence is consistent with a literal interpretation of Genesis, which you have decided for other reasons must be correct.

    WHAT OUR APPROACH MEANS REGARDING BELIEF IN GOD

    If science shows that YLC is untenable, I will continue to love my Creator and Savior, whereas you will throw Him off a rhetorical cliff. The science regarding YLC is nothing to me, whereas it is everything to you.

    HOW THE EVIDENCE STACKS UP

    I think there is ample evidence to convince me that God created diverse life forms with many of its present-day features (though many others have become altered by sin and its consequences). However, I honestly acknowledge there are manjor problems with the fossil record, geological history, and biological phenomenon that we simply cannot explain within a YLC model.

    You are convinced the “weight” of evidence supports all aspects of the SDA position without any apparent contradictions (after all, Ellen White says all science must be consistent with scripture).

    WHICH APPROACH DO SDAs OFFICIALLY SUBSCRIBE TO

    This is simple: I’m convinced that most SDAs subscribe to my view–that God’s word on this particular matter (not belief in God in general) trumps evidence. I’m not sure whether you believe SDAs actually DO subscribe to your view, or SHOULD subscribe to your view.

    ELLEN WHITE AND SCIENCE

    I think Ellen White was inspired and was a tremendous asset to the Church. However, I believe God allowed her to insert personal opinion in much of her writings, and to err. Many of her writings on science–such as the source of volcanoes and the dangers of masturbation–are highly questionable, so I don’t think we are required to agree with every statement she makes regarding science.

    You seem to believe all that she wrote regarding science was inspired, factual, and worthy of use to persecute those who disagree with you or with her.

    IN SUM

    I think your positions are okay, and I don’t object to them until you begin to pubically persecute those who disagree with you. You and your disciples seem to think my positions, including my priority of God’s word ahead of evidence, are dangerous.

    Again, I’m trying to get to the heart of our differences. Please clarify my understanding on these matters.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      I think Ellen White was inspired and was a tremendous asset to the Church. However, I believe God allowed her to insert personal opinion in much of her writings, and to err.

      Is that your view of the gift of prophecy mentioned in 1Cor 12? Is that how Moses, Peter, John and Paul wrote in your thinking?

      Which parts were just their own mistaken ideas and which parts are the actual Word of God in your view?

      in Christ,

      Bob




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    • @Professor Kent:

      That was an interesting summary of views by Kent and fairly a-typical of his I-just-want-to-be-sure-evoultionism-gets-a-fair-shake posts in the past.

      Bravus was another such poster here in the past – declaring that he only wanted to be sure that evolutionism is getting a fair shake.

      Turns out there was more to that story as well.

      in Christ,

      Bob




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    • @Professor Kent:

      Given Kent’s affirmations above one might have expected Kent to be known for posting in favor of science arguments in favor of young life and Intelligent design.

      One would expect that he would not be in the only-post-in-favor-of-science-opposed-to-creationism group of posters that have come here in the past.

      One would expect that upon finding some science argument where there is not yet an answer he would simply reply “Well I don’t yet have an answer for that one”.

      So how odd the actual history of the posts compared to that list of affirmations.

      Oh well…

      in Christ,

      Bob




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  66. Sean Pitman: Nowhere do the writers of the Bible claim that God desires or expects blind faith in the Written Word.

    No kidding. Who would argue this?

    Nowhere do the writers of the Bible claim that God desires or expects any kind of adherence–whether blind or informed by evidence–to a formulated 28 fundamental beliefs, to a particular interpretation of Genesis, or to a particular approach toward testing truth that involves Karl Popper’s notions of falsification (the gold criterion for you and secular man) and the scientific method.




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  67. Professor Kent: Would you kindly summarize the published findings [genetic ancestry of North American indians relative to Mormonism’s claims] for me? Include the references so I can look them up. I’d like to better understand how you assess apparent fact.

    Here is the heart of the problem with your position that one false claim by Mormonism refutes all of it: an issue anticipated decades ago by a prophet in the church that allows one to sidestep the supposed claim. In 1929, President Anthony W. Ivins of the LDS church’s First Presidency cautioned church members:

    “We must be careful in the conclusions that we reach. The Book of Mormon teaches the history of three distinct peoples … who came from the old world to this continent. It does not tell us that there was no one here before them. It does not tell us that people did not come after. And so if discoveries are made which suggest differences in race origins, it can very easily be accounted for, and reasonably, for we do believe that other people came to this continent. A thousand years had elapsed from the time the Book of Mormon closed until the discovery of America, and we know that other people came to America during that period.”

    Just as for the claims of Mormonism, it’s very easy for anyone to shore up support for the scriptural claims of YLC using ad hoc arguments. When confronted with falsifiable evidence on the enigmatic distribution of fossil birds, for example, you’re quick to tell us that fossil birds occur in the Triassic–as if that helps (why can’t you simply acknowledge they are absent from all those lower layers, which fails the prediction of the flood model?). When confronted with falsifiable evidence on the enigmatic distribution of fossil angiosperms, including mangroves, you’re quick to tell us that fossil material occurs in the precambrian–the evidence for which only creationists take seriously, as if it helps (why can’t you concede that angiosperm parts and pollen are abundant only in the higher levels, yet absent from all the lower layers [with your possible exception], which contradicts the prediction of the flood model?). When confronted with falsifiable evidence that both ancient and modern biogeography refute the claim that all major terrestrial life forms dispersed from a single location, Mt. Ararat, you simply shrug your shoulders as if this failure means nothing.

    The evidence in support of a literal, recent creation week is irrelevant; you believe because God said it was so. Just as I do. Admit it.




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  68. @Professor Kent:

    You’re wrong [about the “value” of blind-faith]. Give it up.

    If so, what is the value of evidence when it comes to faith? Do you actually believe that evidence is required for faith? That it has a necessary part to play in establishing faith?

    Let’s get to the heart of the matter. You and I agree that God exists, so there’s no point arguing that or why.

    There is a point to understanding why you believe that God exists. For me it has to do with the weight of evidence for His existence – vs. the “evidence” for Santa Claus or the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Is faith in God’s existence and personal interest in us just a form of wishful thinking or not?

    This question is key to this entire discussion. Why do you think I’m constantly asking you why you actually believe in God’s existence and the Bible as the true Word of God? How do you know that you’re not praying to a figment of your own imagination? – without using evidence to support your faith as a basic requirement of your faith?

    Where we appear to disagree the most is (1) why we accept Young Life Creationism (YLC);

    You, because of your faith in the Bible as the Word of God despite any and all evidence that might be presented to the contrary. That is why I ask you, over and over again, why do you believe the Bible is in fact the true Word of God among so many competing claims? Why choose the Bible? – without some basis in empirical evidence?

    You do not like to respond to this question for some reason…

    (2) what our differing approaches mean regarding our belief in God; (3) how the evidence stacks up;

    You, along with the vast majority of mainstream scientists, have been taken in by the claims of neo-Darwinism. You actually believe that there is a huge mountain of evidence in opposition to the claims of the Bible. You are in very good company here. But, for many people, such a position rationally undermines the credibility of the Bible’s claim to be the true Word of God…

    I would agree with this logic if I actually saw that the weight of evidence really did oppose the claims of the Bible. Rationally, the Bible could not be the true Word of God if many of its key statements regarding historical realities could be effectively falsified…

    (4) which of our approaches SDAs officially subscribe to;

    The SDA Church, as an organization, expects and has requested that all science teachers in our schools actively support and promote the empirical evidence favoring the SDA position on origins. They have taken this stand, obviously, because they see the evidentiary basis for faith…

    and (5) how authoritative Ellen White is on matters of science.

    So, now you can pick and choose what was and what was not inspired in the writings of someone you admit was a prophet of God based on empirical evidence? Why not do the same thing with the writings of the Biblical prophets? After all, that’s all that those like Brian Bull, Fritz Guy, and many at La Sierra University are suggesting…

    Your problem is that you lump all of Mrs. White’s statements together. You do not make a distinction between statements of her own opinion and those where she claims she was either shown something directly in a vision from God or told something directly by God. When it comes to origins, she claims to have been directly shown certain key elements regarding the origin of life on this Earth and the nature of the Noachian Flood. These are key elements in this discussion. Likewise, if these key elements can be shown to be effectively falsified by the empirical evidence, the credibility of her claim to have been directly inspired by God in such a privileged manner is effectively undermined.

    So, what you’re doing in your constantly bringing up supposed challenged to the Biblical view of creation, without highlighting the many many features of the planet that support the Biblical perspective, is undermining people’s faith in the credibility of both the Bible as the true Word of God and in the writings of Mrs. White where she claims to have been directly inspired by God with privileged information.

    I know you are sincere in your efforts and beliefs. However, regardless of your own personal sincerity, your efforts are misguided and will result in harm to others and even to yourself. Your sincerity will save you in the end, but your influence may influence others to reject God and His Word.

    I accept YLC (or most elements of it) largely because I believe the Genesis account is what God communicated to us, and I find Exodus 20:11 especially compelling. The fossils and modern day biogeography are irrelevant to me. In essence, I accept YLC on God’s word.

    Which is fine as long as you have some other rational basis in empirical evidence to accept the claims of the Bible to truly be from God. What is your “weight of evidence”?

    Beyond this, consider carefully that your own personal “weight of evidence” may not do it for someone else. Others, who do not have your experience and background, will often be strongly influenced by claims for the supposed weight of empirical evidence against the claims of the Bible… since most do not have a sufficient background to understand that the weight of evidence strongly supports the Biblical perspective.

    It is wise, at this point, to ask yourself if the disciples of Christ had more or less faith in Him as the Son of God before or after the empirical evidence of His Resurrection from the dead was given to them? Consider that the entire theme of the New Testament hinges on the clearly understood reality of the witness of the Resurrection…

    The same is true for us today. Arguably, we have far more empirical evidence for the Bible, through fulfilled prophecy and archeological discoveries and the evidence of the amazing irreducible complexities of the universe and of living things, and other such evidence, than the disciples of Christ had. Such evidences are vital to supporting a rational faith in the Bible as the true Word of God – just as vital as the empirical evidence given to the disciples of Christ were to establishing their faith in Him.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  69. Sean Pitman: Others, who do not have your experience and background, will often be strongly influenced by claims for the supposed weight of empirical evidence against the claims of the Bible… since most do not have a sufficient background to understand that the weight of evidence strongly supports the Biblical perspective.

    Does that mean that any SDA scientist who obtains a PhD degree, develops a successful research program with dozens of publications in peer-reviewed journals, and remains a young life creationist who is committed to the mission of the SDA Church, yet disagrees with you that “the weight of evidence strongly supports the Biblical perspective,” simply lacks “a sufficient background to understand that the weight of evidence”?

    To be rather candid, Sean, this is the attitude that scares the daylight out of SDA scientists and other scholars who honestly disagree with you. For some reason you and others seem to conclude that there is either something deficient in (1) their ability to interpret data or (2) their commitment to God. No matter what such scholars have to say, their views will be considered heretical and unworthy of an SDA employee. Maybe that is why so few are willing to dialog with you on this forum.




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    • @Eddie:

      There are many very very well-educated scientists who honestly believe that the neo-Darwinian story of origins is true. How then can I possibly argue that the vast majority of scientists are simply not considering the evidence correctly? Is this not the height of arrogance?

      In a way it does take just a little chutzpah to swim against the stream… to see things that others don’t recognize. Yet, if our professors do not recognize something more than mainstream neo-Darwinists recognize, it is in fact my contention that however honest they may be, such men and women would not be able to effectively represent the primary fundamentals of Adventism to our young people. It simply is not effective for a professor to stand up in a science class and tell our young people that the vast weight of scientific evidence and rational thought is clearly in support of the neo-Darwinian perspective – that the only thing left is empirically-blind faith that the Bible is actually true and trustworthy. Most rational people, young people included, would come away with their faith in the credibility of the Bible severely shaken if not entirely destroyed…

      That is why our church simply cannot afford to continue to hire such professors to teach our children. Honest and sincerity from our professors simply isn’t enough. We need to have these elements in our professors plus a firm belief in the weight of evidence favoring the Biblical perspective on origins. Anything short of this simply doesn’t an effective paid representative of Adventism make.

      I know there are a number of professors in this position within our church still teaching our children. Such professors should be nervous. They really should resign their positions and teach elsewhere if they do not honestly believe they can present the Biblical model of origins as scientifically or rationally valid.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  70. Sean Pitman: You, because of your faith in the Bible as the Word of God despite any and all evidence that might be presented to the contrary. That is why I ask you, over and over again, why do you believe the Bible is in fact the true Word of God among so many competing claims? Why choose the Bible? – without some basis in empirical evidence?
    You do not like to respond to this question for some reason…

    Good God. I’ve responded to this question DOZENS of times. I’ve written at length, and am tired of doing so repeatedly, so I’ll summarize it very briefly once more: (1) fulfilled Bible prophecy; (2) the personal testimony of 12 disciples, all of whom stuck with the story of their experience upon threat of death; (3) the self-validating nature of scripture; (4) the changes I see in the lives of others as a result of reading scripture and accepting God; and (4) the evidence I see in my own personal life as I commune with God.

    You, along with the vast majority of mainstream scientists, have been taken in by the claims of neo-Darwinism.

    Not true; I reject much of neo-Darwinism, and probably accept no more of it than you.

    You actually believe that there is a huge mountain of evidence in opposition to the claims of the Bible.

    Yes, I do. It would be easy to take the position that every little piece of contradictory evidence actually supports the Biblical position on origins, but then I would be doing faith-based apologetics–like you. I’d rather be honest, concede the difficulties, and base my belief on something other than so-called origins science.

    But, for many people, such a position rationally undermines the credibility of the Bible’s claim to be the true Word of God…

    I don’t arrive at my position based on the need to avoid undermining the Bible’s credibility. I arrive at it because I look at the data honestly.

    The SDA Church, as an organization, expects and has requested that all science teachers in our schools actively support and promote the empirical evidence favoring the SDA position on origins. They have taken this stand, obviously, because they see the evidentiary basis for faith…

    I totally agree with the position of the SDA Church. All science teachers must support the Church’s position. However, there is no official position that science teachers must promote the favorable evidence and declare the weight of it superior to the unfavorable evidence. Moreover, the Church sees it as a matter of faith more so than evidence for one simple reason: we belief the Genesis account only because we believe God inspired it. The evidence from fossils and DNA is irrelevant.

    Your problem is that you lump all of Mrs. White’s statements together. You do not make a distinction between statements of her own opinion and those where she claims she was either shown something directly in a vision from God or told something directly by God.

    You have no idea what you are talking about. You are making unfounded accusations that are factually wrong.

    Likewise, if these key elements can be shown to be effectively falsified by the empirical evidence, the credibility of her claim to have been directly inspired by God in such a privileged manner is effectively undermined.

    I think you’re pushing this too far for one reason only: to validate your faith in scripture and Ellen White. Your faith is strong and magnificent. You should be proud of it rather than downplay it. I applaud your faith.

    So, what you’re doing in your constantly bringing up supposed challenged to the Biblical view of creation, without highlighting the many many features of the planet that support the Biblical perspective, is undermining people’s faith in the credibility of both the Bible as the true Word of God and in the writings of Mrs. White where she claims to have been directly inspired by God with privileged information.

    I have spent decades getting intimately acquainted with my parents. I’m convinced they love me. If someone challenges my understanding that I am a product of their genes, why would it undermine my conviction that they love me dearly? Or that they consider me their son? I have my evidence from a personal relationship with them. I don’t give a rat’s hairy behind what any “potentially falsifiable empirical evidence” has to say. I wish you had the comfort and sureness of God’s existence from a personal relationship. I pray that you will find this one day.

    However, regardless of your own personal sincerity, your efforts are misguided and will result in harm to others and even to yourself. Your sincerity will save you in the end, but your influence may influence others to reject God and His Word.

    It’s a shame that others would put their faith in what I have to say, or what you have to say, or what silent baleen teeth have to say. A tragegy. And if these people one day disagree with you, I hope they simply change their view on the evidence but continue to cling to God (even as the “loyal” SDAs demand them to get out of their Church).

    It is wise, at this point, to ask yourself if the disciples of Christ had more or less faith in Him as the Son of God before or after the empirical evidence of His Resurrection from the dead was given to them? Consider that the entire theme of the New Testament hinges on the clearly understood reality of the witness of the Resurrection…

    I agree. If this is truly important to you, then why don’t you create a website to promote the Good News of the Resurrection rather than Believe as I Do or I Publicly Excoriate You?




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  71. Regarding falsifying the existence of God through the miraculous:

    While it is true that one can’t falsify the existance of God and the Biblical miracles at a philosophical level, it seems to me that it is possible to falsify it at a practical level. For instance prayer for healing. How many families who pray for a miracle for a loved one in the Intensive Care Unit receive a miracle?

    While the answer to that question doesn’t answer the question of the existence of God at a philosophical level, it does answer the question at a practical level. After 36 years of medical practice I can say definitively that at a practical level when it comes to miracles in the ICU, God does not exist. Even if a miracle happens latter today, it wouldn’t be enough to establish an expectation for the future. So at a practicle level it seems it is possible level to falsify the existence od God, or at least prove His nonintervention which seems to me to be pretty much the same thing at a functional level.




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  72. BobRyan: [Professor Kent wrote] “I think Ellen White was inspired and was a tremendous asset to the Church. However, I believe God allowed her to insert personal opinion in much of her writings, and to err.

    Is that your view of the gift of prophecy mentioned in 1Cor 12? Is that how Moses, Peter, John and Paul wrote in your thinking?

    Yes, this is, in fact, my view of prophecy. Ellen White made errors.

    Ms. White herself acknowledged this. She once referred to the Paradise Valley Sanitarium as having 40 rooms, when in fact it had only 38 rooms. She subsequently commented on this error: “The information given concerning the number of rooms in the Paradise Valley Sanatarium was given, not as a revelation from the Lord, but simply as a human opinion. There has never been revealed to me the exact number of rooms in any of our sanitariums; and the knowledge I have obtained of such things I have gained by inquiring of those who were supposed to know…” — Manuscript 107, 1909

    She also made clear of Scripture that it is the author, not the words, that are inspired: “It is not the words of the Bible that are inspired, but the men that were inspired. Inspiration acts not on the man’s words or his expressions but on the man himself, who, under the influence of the Holy Ghost, is imbued with thoughts. But the words receive the impress of the individual mind. The divine mind is diffused. The divine mind and will is combined with the human mind and will; thus the utterances of the man are the word of God.” (Selected Messages, book 1, p. 21).

    She also stated, “the testimony is conveyed through the imperfect expression of human language, yet it is the testimony of God.” (Selected Messages, book 1). Note the words “imperfect expression.”

    While you may object to my position, Mr. Ryan, my position is EXACTLY that of the Ellen White Estate:

    Thus the faithful reader’s belief is not shaken if he or she discovers that Matthew attributed a Messianic prophecy, written centuries before Christ’s birth, to Jeremiah when it was actually Zechariah who inferred that Christ would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver (see Matt. 27:9, 10; Zech. 11:12, 13). Nor will one be dismayed over the fact that 1 Samuel 16:10, 11 lists David as the eighth son of Jesse, but 1 Chronicles 2:15 refers to him as the seventh. Neither will faith be affected because the prophet Nathan wholeheartedly approved of King David’s building of the Temple but the next day had to backtrack and tell David that God didn’t want him to build it (see 2 Sam. 7; 1 Chron. 17). Prophets make mistakes.” – http://www.whiteestate.org/issues/herm-pri.html#verbal




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    • @Professor Kent:

      Yes, prophets do make mistakes with regard to minor details and facts which were not revealed to them directly by God and have little if anything to do with the main point of their prophetic claims.

      What we’re talking about here, Professor, is the very detailed claims of both the Bible and Mrs. White when it comes to the recent origin of all life on this planet, created within just six literal days, and the worldwide nature of the Noachian Flood, that this Flood destroyed all land animal life save the lives of those on the ark, and that it is responsible for much if not all of the geologic column/fossil records we have today…

      When you start attacking these primary affirmations of both the Bible and Ellen White, you are in fact striving to undermine their basic credibility with regard to those metaphysical claims that cannot be directly investigated and tested…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  73. @ Bob Ryan

    I do understand your desire to portray me as evil. You are deeply upset that I can readily point out major weaknesses in the evidence for Young Earth Creationism and your understanding of it, so you (and others) frequently allude that I’m not a trustworthy believer. You desperately want to believe the evidence is all there to support your beliefs, and that your beliefs are, therefore, rational and intelligent. But there is nothing wrong or shameful in acknowledging your limited understanding and your reliance on faith. Faith is something to celebrate.

    My own understanding certainly fails me. I humbly proclaim to all that I, Professor Jeffrey Kent, do not understand why the evidence available to date does not provide stronger support for God’s remarkable creative event. I find it all very difficult to understand.

    In all frankness, I would love nothing more than to learn one day that most or all of Sean Pitman’s assertions here and at his website prove to be correct. But I sincerely believe that the available evidence today contradicts much of what he claims. Still, this does not change my largely faith-based persuasion that God is indeed real, and that His Word can be trusted.

    And even though I disagree with you and Sean Pitman on the evidence, and on the way you harshly treat fellow believers, I would never encourage you guys to leave the Church.




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  74. @Professor Kent:

    Good God.

    I know you are frustrated, but there is no need to take God’s name in vain here.

    I’ve responded to this question DOZENS of times. I’ve written at length, and am tired of doing so repeatedly, so I’ll summarize it very briefly once more: (1) fulfilled Bible prophecy;

    Which is based on empirical evidence – evidence which you claim is nice to have, but is not required for faith.

    (2) the personal testimony of 12 disciples, all of whom stuck with the story of their experience upon threat of death;

    Again, this is based on empirical evidence as well, such as the historical sciences.

    (3) the self-validating nature of scripture;

    There is no such thing as self-validation. That’s called circular reasoning. If Scripture is not validated by external points of reference, then it cannot be distinguished from a novel or a moral fable.

    (4) the changes I see in the lives of others as a result of reading scripture and accepting God;

    Again, a form of empirical evidence… which is a soft call in this case since such changes can be seen in many different religions – to include those that do not recognize the Bible as the true Word of God.

    and (4) the evidence I see in my own personal life as I commune with God.

    Again, the same thing can be said of those in other religions who commune with God, but have yet to recognize the Bible as the true Word of God.

    You, along with the vast majority of mainstream scientists, have been taken in by the claims of neo-Darwinism. – Sean Pitman

    Not true; I reject much of neo-Darwinism, and probably accept no more of it than you.

    Oh really? Why then have you spent essentially no time at all on this website pointing out the limitations you see with the neo-Darwinian perspective? You spend essentially all of your time presenting classic neo-Darwinian arguments and strawmen. Why is that if you actually accept no more if it than I do as scientifically valid?

    You actually believe that there is a huge mountain of evidence in opposition to the claims of the Bible. – Sean Pitman

    Yes, I do. It would be easy to take the position that every little piece of contradictory evidence actually supports the Biblical position on origins, but then I would be doing faith-based apologetics–like you. I’d rather be honest, concede the difficulties, and base my belief on something other than so-called origins science.

    No one here is saying that there are no difficulties or that all potential questions and problems have been solved from the Biblical perspective. However, what I am saying is that the weight of evidence strongly favors the Biblical perspective. This is very very different from what you’re claiming. You arguing very strongly that the evidence strongly favors the neo-Darwinian perspective contrary to the fundamental claims of the Bible and Mrs. White when it comes to origins.

    That’s the problem here. You’re arguments have the effect of undermining Biblical credibility in the minds of those who are not well informed far more than they have the effect of establishing Biblical credibility.

    I don’t arrive at my position based on the need to avoid undermining the Bible’s credibility. I arrive at it because I look at the data honestly.

    Honesty is a fine thing. However, honesty does not keep one from undermining Biblical credibility. There are many very honest and very sincere neo-Darwinists and atheists. They really believe that the Bible has been effectively falsified. The arguments they present, very similar to yours, do in fact tend to undermine the Bible’s credibility in the minds of their students and associates.

    This is a fact. The vast majority of students educated to believe the arguments you’re presenting will end up viewing the Bible as untrustworthy in its empirical as well as its metaphysical claims. And, for those who remain, most will only have a form of religion without acknowledging its power or the reality of the Gospel message of hope. Such a “feel-good” religion just doesn’t cut it when the going gets tough…

    I totally agree with the position of the SDA Church. All science teachers must support the Church’s position. However, there is no official position that science teachers must promote the favorable evidence and declare the weight of it superior to the unfavorable evidence. Moreover, the Church sees it as a matter of faith more so than evidence for one simple reason: we belief the Genesis account only because we believe God inspired it. The evidence from fossils and DNA is irrelevant.

    If the evidence from fossils and DNA is “irrelevant” to the Adventist Church as an organization, why then did the members of the General Conference Executive Committee at the 2004 Annual Council write that the Adventist Church expects its students to “receive a thorough, balanced, and scientifically rigorous exposure to and affirmation of our historic belief in a literal, recent six-day creation?

    http://adventist.org/beliefs/statements/main-stat55.html

    What do you think the phrase “scientifically rigorous affirmation of” means? Hmmmm?

    You see, contrary to your position, the Adventist Church recognizes that the evidence from fossils and DNA is not at all “irrelevant” to the faith of many many people.

    So, what you’re doing in your constantly bringing up supposed challenged to the Biblical view of creation, without highlighting the many many features of the planet that support the Biblical perspective, is undermining people’s faith in the credibility of both the Bible as the true Word of God and in the writings of Mrs. White where she claims to have been directly inspired by God with privileged information. – Sean Pitman

    I have spent decades getting intimately acquainted with my parents. I’m convinced they love me. If someone challenges my understanding that I am a product of their genes, why would it undermine my conviction that they love me dearly? Or that they consider me their son? I have my evidence from a personal relationship with them. I don’t give a rat’s hairy behind what any “potentially falsifiable empirical evidence” has to say. I wish you had the comfort and sureness of God’s existence from a personal relationship. I pray that you will find this one day.

    Would it influence you at all to find out that your parents had been lying to you all along on important issues? What if they had been telling you that you were really their natural-born child, only to find out that you really weren’t born to them at all. Rather, they had stolen you from another family, taking you from the hospital at birth? That wouldn’t cause you to question their morality and what else they may have been lying to you about?

    This is what happens to people when they think that what God has been telling them in the Bible regarding important matters is really just a lie. They rationally start to question what else God might be lying about or even if God is real at all…

    It’s a shame that others would put their faith in what I have to say, or what you have to say, or what silent baleen teeth have to say. A tragegy. And if these people one day disagree with you, I hope they simply change their view on the evidence but continue to cling to God (even as the “loyal” SDAs demand them to get out of their Church).

    No one is demanding that they “get out of the church”. What has always been at issue here is paid representation. Such are and should be perfectly free to attend our churches, but they simply cannot be effective paid representatives of the Church while holding on to such anti-Adventist views on such a fundamental level.

    It is wise, at this point, to ask yourself if the disciples of Christ had more or less faith in Him as the Son of God before or after the empirical evidence of His Resurrection from the dead was given to them? Consider that the entire theme of the New Testament hinges on the clearly understood reality of the witness of the Resurrection… – Sean Pitman

    I agree. If this is truly important to you, then why don’t you create a website to promote the Good News of the Resurrection rather than Believe as I Do or I Publicly Excoriate You?

    The reality of the Good News of the Resurrection and the Gospel Message of Hope is intimately tied up with empirical evidence – with the credibility of the Biblical storytellers. So, I do in fact have a website that promotes this evidence, evidence which is rapidly expanding all the time. I teach and preach about the evidence for the reality of the life and death and resurrection of Jesus, and the rest of the Bible all over the place. I’ve been asked to preach in church on this topic here in a few weeks in fact.

    This website, however, has a unique purpose – to educate the Adventist leadership and constituency at large as to what is really being taught to our students in some of our own schools. Many are simply not aware that neo-Darwinism is being promoted as the only rational scientific theory of origins – which actively undermines the Biblical perspective on origins within our own schools!

    You might not think this is a big deal, but many within the Adventist Church obviously still do think it is a big deal…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  75. Many are those who were taught, as I was, that overwhelming scientific evidence favors the Young Life Creationist (and SDA) position. Nothing saddens me more than the droves who leave the Church when they learn that many of their cherished beliefs regarding this evidence don’t hold up so well to scrutiny.

    I believe these individuals have just one hope of holding on to Jesus–and that is a personal relationship with him. I’m astounded that there are Adventists who insist that these individuals must embrace the scientific evidence if they are to believe in God and have any hope for a bright future.

    Even though we disagree on the relationship between science and faith, I share the hope of all that our young people will continue to abide in Jesus.

    God bless!

    Professor Kent




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  76. Sean Pitman: The Bible has proven so accurate about the life of Nebuchadnezzar (when the “higher critics” long claimed that he never existed, that he was just a myth), that I would accept the Biblical claim of Egypt’s defeat without extra-Biblical confirmation.
    However, in this particular case, there is extra-Biblical evidence of Nebuchadnezzar attacking and conquering Egypt:

    What are the extrabiblical sources for evidence of Nebuchadnezzar attacking and conquering Egypt? The only sources you quoted above were Biblical.




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    • @Eddie:

      A clay tablet, now in the British Museum, states: “In the 37th year of Nebuchadnezzar, king of the country of Babylon, he went to Mitzraim (Egypt) to wage war. Amasis, king of Egypt, collected [his army], and marched and spread abroad.”

      Elgood, Percival George. 1951. Later Dynasties of Egypt. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, p. 106.

      Here is an extra-Biblical description written on a clay tablet (as already noted) which seems to be enough to prove that a campaign by Nebuchadnezzar against Egypt did take place right on time just after Ezekiel prophesied about it.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  77. Very interesting, that is an old reference. As I recall I once looked up those verses in the SDA Bible Commentary, which stated it was difficult to understand what event would have fulfilled the prophecies. The prophecy has troubled me for years, so I’m happy to see there is an extrabiblical reference to Nebuchadnessar fighting in Egypt, even if it doesn’t provide any details about conquering Egypt.




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  78. Sean Pitman: What we’re talking about here, Professor, is the very detailed claims of both the Bible and Mrs. White when it comes to the recent origin of all life on this planet, created within just six literal days, and the worldwide nature of the Noachian Flood, that this Flood destroyed all land animal life save the lives of those on the ark, and that it is responsible for much if not all of the geologic column/fossil records we have today…

    When you start attacking these primary affirmations of both the Bible and Ellen White, you are in fact striving to undermine their basic credibility with regard to those metaphysical claims that cannot be directly investigated and tested…

    Wait a minute. Let’s get a few things straight. I have not attacked the claims of scripture regarding the “the recent origin of all life on this planet, created within just six literal days, and the worldwide nature of the Noachian Flood.” All I did was point out that the physical evidence supporting flood geology has serious problems. And you were the one, not me, who has asserted that the flood did not create all of the layers of the geological column.

    I’m not striving to undermine the inspired sources. I’m trying to point out that you are able to take essentially all evidence on any given topic and turn it into support for your beliefs. You have constructed a highly elaborate, supposedly intellectual approach with which you are able to boast of your reason as a basis for judging God and His word. I think your basic approach is reckless, dangerous, and decidedly anti-SDA.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      Let’s get a few things straight. I have not attacked the claims of scripture regarding the “the recent origin of all life on this planet, created within just six literal days, and the worldwide nature of the Noachian Flood.” All I did was point out that the physical evidence supporting flood geology has serious problems.

      That is an attack on Scripture. When you attempt to undermine the empirical claims of Scripture as being contrary to the weight of empirical evidence, you are in fact undermining the rational basis for Scriptural credibility.

      Don’t you recognize that in claiming that the weight of scientific evidence clearly favors the neo-Darwinian perspective, a perspective which is diametrically opposed to the Biblical perspective, you do in fact undermine the credibility of the Biblical account? Your faith-only approach, regardless of the evidence, simply doesn’t do it for many people. For many many people such arguments as you are presenting do in fact undermine the rational basis for their faith despite your own ability to be able to have faith despite the weight evidence. Many people see this as irrational – and for good reason.

      Faith, without a need for a basis in the weight of evidence, is irrational by definition. It is blind-faith in that it cannot be rationally distinguished from a form of wishful thinking.

      And you were the one, not me, who has asserted that the flood did not create all of the layers of the geological column.

      Of course. I fail to see why this might be a problem?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  79. Sean Pitman: and have little if anything to do with the main point of their prophetic claims

    And by analogy, this appears to be a weak point in the creation argument. Who is to decide what the main point is?

    It seems entirely possible that in trying to make Gen. 1 too literal, that we are missing the whole point of the story.




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  80. Professor Kent: Nothing saddens me more than the droves who leave the Church when they learn that many of their cherished beliefs regarding this evidence don’t hold up so well to scrutiny.

    I agree. I am sure that Sean and Bob don’t mean to undermine faith in God, but every time they say that it is impossible to believe in God and in science at the same time, I feel like they are telling me that any rational person must give up their belief in God, because belief in God and rationality can’t exist in the same space. Who would want to belong to that kind of a church?




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  81. Sean Pitman: No one is demanding that they “get out of the church”. . . . . anti-Adventist views on such a fundamental level.

    You don’t see how characterizing a dedicated believer’s understanding of truth as “fundamentally anti-Adventist” would drive them out of the church?

    I guess that explains why you don’t see that what you are doing here is fundamentally wrong.




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  82. Sean said…..

    “There is no such thing as self-validation.”

    Personally, Sean, I don’t think you know what “self-validation” is all about.

    If I claim I can lift a rock that weighs a ton, and then prove it by lifting the rock, this is self validation.

    A million people could testify they have seen me do it before, but this would not be self validation.

    Just so, the bible claims many things about itself and then proves it. Especially bible prophecy. If we find biblical testimony about future happenings, and then they come to pass, we can affirm the bibles validity for its testimony about itself.

    If Jesus claims He can raise the dead, and then does it, isn’t this self validation? Of course it is.

    But you may say, “People saw Jesus raise the dead and what they saw, validated His testimony.” And then you conclude their witness of the event denies self validation.

    Now this is circular reasoning. Now I assume you understand self validation as Jesus claiming He can raise the dead, and then never give any evidence of His claim and still expect us to believe His testimony. And this you would call “blind faith”. In other words, no evidence of the claim that we are suppose to believe.

    But evidence does not deny the reality of self validation. It simply affirms it.

    To make a claim and then prove it does not deny the meaning of the term self validation. But you apparently think so. I believe more than a few people would disagree on your understanding of self validation.

    Bill Sorensen




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    • @Bill Sorensen:

      The Bible makes claims about the future. It does not cause the future. It therefore is not “self-validating”. It’s just a book after all. It can be read, but it cannot itself act to perform any tasks. Therefore, it’s claims, if they are to be rationally understood to be “true” must obviously be supported by external evidence based on the historical sciences. In other words, its own claims regarding history are validated by external sources – based on independent evidence that comes from outside of itself. How is this concept not self-evident?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  83. Ron: This quote demonstrates the cynicism and hypocrisy of the church over the issue of origins. How is the church going to have an honest and open discussion about whether the “6-day creation week really isn’t “fundamental” if you make it an a priory decision that anyone that argues the point must be removed from the church?

    I think I missed something on the piece that was quoted. I read it to declare that anyone not employed by the church should have a right to express their views. HOWEVER, (am I starting to sound like a broken record) IF someone works for the church and we retain our “losely joined” understanding of a 6-day literal creation, there needs to be some consequence for teaching that which is antithetical to our churches doctrine.

    Like it or not, the education system of the church is not the proper forum for those who would doubt God is who He says He is and did what He said He did.

    And no one, that I’ve read here so far, is suggesting that we kick anyone out of the church because they’re struggling to allow God to be God.




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