Comment on Dr. Ariel Roth’s Creation Lectures for Teachers by Eddie.
Kudos to Ariel Roth, who I have always admired as a great guy who wisely stays above the fracas here.
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Eddie Also Commented
Dr. Ariel Roth’s Creation Lectures for Teachers
Like Ken, I am puzzled by the lukewarm reception of his suggestion to establish an endowed chair for intelligent design at LSU. Perhaps there was confusion about his term “intelligent design.” I think he had in mind the kind of creationism that most SDAs believe in, specifically young earth creationism or young life creationism (I realize some of you view ID negatively). So it could be called an Endowed Chair of Young Life Creationism, or whatever term is preferred.
For what it’s worth, I like his idea for several reasons:
1) SDA professors in all our institutions with the exception of LLU have relatively heavy teaching loads and scant time available for research, which means they have little time to conduct and publish research on creationism (I’m quite certain Art Chadwick would concur). That’s why as a denomination we have no well published and respected researchers with expertise on the subject, with the sole exception of Leonard Brand at LLU–who ranks among the world’s most successful scientists whose research focuses on YLC (if you believe there are other SDA experts with more expertise, you might be disappointed if you conducted a search of their publication records).
2) Most students in our institutions are seeking a career in a health profession, therefore SDA professors by necessity focus mostly on subjects that prepare students for the biomedical fields. Few have time to keep up with issues related to creationism and evolution, let alone conduct original research on the subject. You can’t really expect all professors to be as well informed with the subject as Leonard Brand.
3) It would be fantastic for LSU to have a professor with the available time and resources to pursue high quality research on creationism, which I believe was the intent of Ken’s wish. We already have one such professor at LLU; why not another at LSU? I’m astonished that some here seem to think it is undesirable to have another expert SDA researcher on the subject. Perhaps some of you naively imagine that ALL professors have the unlimited time and resources to become world-class researchers on creationism–and are wasting the denomination’s money by not doing so.
4) SDA institutions struggle to meet their payroll obligations and can benefit by obtaining financial assistance from donors.
5) If the evidence overwhelmingly favors the traditional SDA position of origins, as some here claim, what harm is there in funding a professor with the time and resources to discover even more evidence? It’s pretty hard to convince the world that the scientific evidence overwhelmingly favors our position unless the evidence is published in respectable scientific journals–as Leonard Brand has done repeatedly. It won’t ever happen unless there are more full-time researchers who focus exclusively on issues related to creationism.
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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.
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.
La Sierra University won’t neglect creation teaching, president, chairman vow
Sean, you have essentially written enough about this to publish a book, which you ought to do, exhorting SDAs to abandon Sola Scriptura and rely exclusively on empirical data, which surely will be a best seller among neoconservative SDAs.
Southern Adventist University opens Origins Exhibit
Sean Pitman: Most scientists who believe in the Biblical model of origins interpret Tertiary sediments as post-Flood sediments.
So if Noah’s flood ended at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary, which coincides with a period of high global sea levels according to geologists, does that mean Noah’s flood is represented by the second of two worldwide floods in this graph?
How would you account for the geological evidence for a worldwide flood during the Paleozoic and the lack of geological evidence for high sea levels during the early Mesozoic?
A “Christian Agnostic”?
Ken, what do agnostics believe regarding the origin of matter and energy in the universe? I assume an agnostic would simply answer “I don’t know,” but maybe I’m being naive. Did energy and matter always exist or did they have a beginning? If they had a beginning, which the Big Bang posits, did they spontaneously appear out of nothing following natural laws, or did an intelligent power design and create them? I’d love to know your thoughts on the issue.