Comment on Changing the Wording of Adventist Fundamental Belief #6 on Creation by Sean Pitman.
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 Also Commented
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?
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?
By implication Nebuchadnezzar won the battle with Egypt – just as Ezekiel prophesied. Otherwise, it is unlikely that the Babylonians would have recorded the event…
Recent Comments by Sean Pitman
Updating the SDA Position on Abortion
We are talking about something a bit more subtle here than the question as to what is merely “alive” and what is not “alive” – in the most basic sense of the term (as in the skin cell on my earlobe is “alive” and “human”). What we are talking about here are the qualitative differences between a single cell or a small cluster of unformed cells and a human being that can think and feel and appreciate sensory input. Now, someone might have their own personal ideas as to when, exactly, the human soul is achieved during embryogenesis, but the fact remains that the Bible is not clear on this particular question – and even includes passages suggesting that there is a spectrum of moral value to the human embryo/fetus. Consider the passage in Exodus 21:22-25, for example, which seems to many to suggest such a spectrum of value where the unformed fetus is not given the same value as a fully formed baby or the life of the mother (especially if read from the ancient LXX Greek translation which appears to be the most accurate translation of the original Hebrew text).
Because of this, there actually appears to me to be a great deal of disagreement among honest and sincere Bible-believing Christian medical professionals, embryologists, and theologians (modern and ancient) over when, exactly, during embryogenesis, does humanity become fully realized. Given the information currently in hand, I certainly could not, in good conscience, accuse a woman of “murder” for using various forms of birth control that end pregnancy within the first few days after conception (such as intrauterine devises or birth control pills).
Would you actually be willing to take action on this as you would for any other cold-blooded murderer? Would you be willing to accuse such a woman of wanton murder with all the guilt that is involved with such an accusation? or put her in prison for life for such an intentional act? Could you really do this? I certainly could not for the use of such standard forms of birth control during the earliest days following conception. Yet, that is what the current language of the church’s guidelines on abortion suggest… that these women who take such forms of birth control are in fact guilty of a heinous act of cold-blooded murder.
Updating the SDA Position on Abortion
”These latest guidelines appear to me to put the SDA Church in the same position as the Catholic Church on this topic –with human life beginning at the moment of conception. That doesn’t seem like a reasonable position ” – Sean Pitman (From an Adentist Review Article: https://www.adventistreview.org/church-news/story14133-statement-on-the-biblical-view-of-unborn-life-and-its-implications-for-abortion)
Yes, it is also in harmony with when every SDA pioneer, including the church’s founder, put the beginning of human life. It is also the same point that virtually every secular, evolutionary embryologist puts the beginning of human life. In fact, it’s the unanimous point of agreement among every biology textbook. If that doesn’t sound like a reasonable position based on empirical evidence then factual reasoning has escaped those who try to equate preventing the conception of a human being with intentional kllling of one that is already biologically and detectably in existence.
Brilliant and Beautiful, but Wrong
Thank you Wes. Really appreciate your note and being able to see you again!
Complex Organisms are Degenerating – Rapidly
As far as the current article is concerned, I know of no “outdated” information. The information is current as far as I’m aware. The detrimental mutation rate is far too high for complex organisms to avoid an inevitable downhill devolutionary path. There is simply no way to rationally avoid this conclusion as far as I’m aware.
So, perhaps your friend could be more specific regarding his particular objections to the information presented?
Complex Organisms are Degenerating – Rapidly
Look again. I did reference the 2018 paper of Basener and Sanford (which was the motivation for me writing this particular article). Of course, as you’ve mentioned, Sanford has also written an interesting book on this topic entitled, “Genetic Entropy” – which I’ve previously referenced before in this blog (along with a YouTube video of a lecture he gave on the topic at Loma Linda University: (Link). For those who haven’t read it or seen Sanford’s lecture on this topic, it’s certainly worth your time…