I don’t think you understood my comment. It doesn’t …

Comment on Dr. Paul Cameron and the God of the Gaps by Sean Pitman.

I don’t think you understood my comment. It doesn’t matter what the “expert opinion” may or may not be. What matters is if the evidence is presented in a scientific or empirical manner that you personally can understand.

Do you need “expert opinion” before you’d understand the designed nature of a highly symmetrical polished granite cube? Do you need Stephen Hawking to recognize design behind some artefact before you can recognize it? I would hope not…

Sean Pitman
www.DetectingDesign.com

Sean Pitman Also Commented

Dr. Paul Cameron and the God of the Gaps
Pauluc,

What do you see as the difference between an artefact of “magic” vs. “creative intelligence”? You agree that a highly symmetrical polished granite cube is a “blindingly obvious” artefact of creative intelligence. How is such a cube any different from anything that you think Jesus made by Divine power? – such as one of the loaves of bread that He miraculously made to feed thousands of people? How could you tell the difference between the loaf of bread that Jesus made vs. one that any housewife would have made?

Clearly, there is no detectable difference. Is it not therefore possible for God to create things that humans can also create? – things that would still be “blindingly obvious” artefacts of creative intelligence?

How then is it not possible to say that same thing about certain features of living things that are also “blindingly obvious” artefacts of creative intelligence according to the very same methods used to determine that the other artefacts mentioned are “blindingly obvious”?

Sean Pitman
www.DetectingDesign.com


Dr. Paul Cameron and the God of the Gaps
@Pauluc:

That this is an artefact and that it was made by a life form and not be magic is so blindingly obvious that to state it would be an insult to the review panel.

So, you do actually agree that our granite cube is a clear artefact of intelligent design? and that this conclusion is “blindingly obvious”? That’s great! But, it doesn’t answer the question as to why the conclusion of design is so blindly obvious? What is the rational basis for this conclusion? And, can this same argument be used to evaluate other natural phenomena and determine that they are “blindly obvious” artefacts as well?

For example, why don’t you believe it possible for some as yet unknown mindless natural mechanism to explain the origin of a highly symmetrical polished granite cube? After all, you claim that some future discovery is likely to explain what may seem like a true artefact in living things, but really isn’t a true artefact of design. Why not be consistent and use this same argument against the artefact theory for the granite cube?

Thats all well and good. Please give me the outline for your NSF proposal. If you cant pitch this to a science funding body or even the national geographic it is not anything approaching science. Spell it out with specificity after all you do seem to accept the Popperian model.

My proposal is, of course, that certain features of living things are even more “blindly obvious” as artefacts of deliberate design than is a highly symmetrical polished granite cube found on Mars – for the very same reasons.

Sean Pitman
www.DetectingDesign.com


Dr. Paul Cameron and the God of the Gaps
First off, much of what you list here is not required before the granite cube would be declared to be a true artefact of intelligent design by pretty much the entire scientific community.

You don’t need to know,

1) if the cube is novel and/or unique on the surface of Mars
2) if there are or are not living creatures currently on Mars
3) what the climate or geology on Mars may or may not be
4) if there is granite on Mars
5) if there are or are not “tool marks” on the cube (i.e., it is perfectly polished and there are no tool marks on the cube)
6) if there are tools associated with the cube or anywhere else on Mars
7) if there is or isn’t weathering on the cube (say the cube was buried until just recently)
8 ) how the cube came to Mars
9) the actual age of the cube
10) the actual construction technique used to make the cube

None of these elements of your hypothetical research project, while perhaps interesting, are required to determine the artefactual nature of the granite cube. All that needs to be known to determine that the granite cube is a true artefact of intelligent design is that it is in fact made of granite and it is highly symmetrical and perfectly polished (without weathering or tool marks of any kind). This information alone is enough to conclude that this cube is a true artefact of intelligent design – and you know it.

The very same thing is true of the radio signals that SETI scientists are looking for. None of the information that you’re asking for is required before such signals would be declared to be true artefacts of intelligent design – according to valid science.

There you go completely methodologically naturalistic examination that make no assumptions about the divine or supernatural and finds intelligent design superfluous.

You know as well as I do that such a discovery would be declared a true artefact by pretty much every scientist in the world and that no one would consider the clearly artefactual nature of the cube “superfluous” or meaningless. It would, after all, hit the front page of every newspaper in the world. The implications of alien intelligent life, at least equivalent to our own level of intelligence, would be extraordinarily exciting and exhilarating for the vast majority of people living on this planet.

And that is precisely how forensic science is done. Introducing intelligent design/creationism into this adds nothing and in fact curtails ones ability to do science.

You’ve got to be kidding me! This is not how forensic science is done. The forensic scientist is actually expected to produce his/her opinion as to if intelligent design was clearly involved – or not. The forensic scientist doesn’t simply present observation and descriptions of the body and leave it at that. The forensic scientist must explain what these observations mean with regard to if they do or do not suggest that deliberate intelligent design was involved.

What do you do after you say this is totally novel and unknown, it must be Gods work. Not much scope for a research plan comes from that. Perhaps after accepting it is divine you can pray to that Diety and ask him/her to place another one there. Now that’s a fundable plan for sure. Even Ken Ham would not fund that.

It doesn’t matter if the conclusion of intelligent design does or doesn’t have any meaning for you or anyone else. The fact remains that the discovery of a true artefact of intelligent design can be supported by valid science. Beyond this, if someone thinks that an intelligent alien is the most likely source of this intelligence – fine. If someone wants to believe that God is the most likely source of the cube, fine. Such conclusions have nothing to do with the fact that whoever made the cube and however they made it, it was intelligently designed.


Recent Comments by Sean Pitman

The Sabbath and the Covenants (Old vs. New)
Response to a comment of a friend of mine posted in another forum:

    “Before the way of FAITH IN CHRIST was available to us, we were placed under guard by the law. We were kept in protective custody, so to speak, UNTIL the way of faith was revealed. The law was our guardian UNTIL Christ came; it protected us UNTIL we could be made right with God through FAITH. And now that the way of FAITH has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian. For you are all children of God through FAITH IN CHRIST JESUS.” Gal3:23-26

Faith is certainly what saves. This has always been true since the very beginning. Even those righteous persons who lived before Jesus was born into this world as a human being, even Moses or David for instance, were not saved by the works of the Law, but by Faith. The purpose of the Law was never to save, but to convict the sinner of a need of a Savior – since all have sinned against the “Royal Law.” It is faith in the Savior that saves. The work of the Law, carefully considered, is to lead us to know that our only hope of salvation is faith in what Jesus, our Savior, did for us and is doing for us. Yet, this faith does not nullify the Law or make the Law pointless when it comes to its job to constantly remind us of our need of a Savior – a saving Power outside of ourselves. Rather, the Power realized through this faith actually enables us to keep the Spirit of the Law as it was originally intended to be kept – through selfless love for God and for our neighbors.

Paul, in his letter to the Romans, makes this point particularly clear:

Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law. – Romans 3:31

For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but it is the doers of the law who will be declared righteous. Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the work of the law is written on their hearts… If a man who is not circumcised keeps the requirements of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? – Romans 2:13-15, 26

What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! – Romans 6:15

What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” … So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good… For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. – Romans 7:7, 11, 22-25

For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit… The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. – Romans 8:3-4, 7

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. – Romans 13:8-10


Christians and the Sabbath
Response to a comment of a friend of mine posted in another forum:

    “Before the way of FAITH IN CHRIST was available to us, we were placed under guard by the law. We were kept in protective custody, so to speak, UNTIL the way of faith was revealed. The law was our guardian UNTIL Christ came; it protected us UNTIL we could be made right with God through FAITH. And now that the way of FAITH has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian. For you are all children of God through FAITH IN CHRIST JESUS.” Gal3:23-26

Faith is certainly what saves. This has always been true since the very beginning. Even those righteous persons who lived before Jesus was born into this world as a human being, even Moses or David for instance, were not saved by the works of the Law, but by Faith. The purpose of the Law was never to save, but to convict the sinner of a need of a Savior – since all have sinned against the “Royal Law.” It is faith in the Savior that saves. The work of the Law, carefully considered, is to lead us to know that our only hope of salvation is faith in what Jesus, our Savior, did for us and is doing for us. Yet, this faith does not nullify the Law or make the Law pointless when it comes to its job to constantly remind us of our need of a Savior – a saving Power outside of ourselves. Rather, the Power realized through this faith actually enables us to keep the Spirit of the Law as it was originally intended to be kept – through selfless love for God and for our neighbors.

Paul, in his letter to the Romans, makes this point particularly clear:

Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law. – Romans 3:31

For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but it is the doers of the law who will be declared righteous. Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the work of the law is written on their hearts… If a man who is not circumcised keeps the requirements of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? – Romans 2:13-15, 26

What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! – Romans 6:15

What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” … So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good… For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. – Romans 7:7, 11, 22-25

For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit… The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. – Romans 8:3-4, 7

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. – Romans 13:8-10


Updating the SDA Position on Abortion
Again, most people, including most non-Christians, consider late-term abortions (abortions within the third trimester of otherwise healthy viable babies) to be murder. There is relatively little argument about this. One doesn’t have to know the “precise point” to know that, after a certain point, abortion is clearly murder. The argument that a baby isn’t alive or really human until the moment that it is born is nonsense in my opinion.

Of course, before the third trimester, things start to get a bit more grey and unclear. Some define the beginnings of human life with the full activity of the brain’s cortex. Others define it with the earliest activity of the brain stem. Others define it as the beginnings of fetal movement or the fetal heartbeat. I might have my own opinions here, but the question I ask myself is at what point would I be willing to convict someone else of murder? – and be willing to put them in prison for it? For me, I wouldn’t be willing to do this until things are overwhelmingly clear that the baby is functioning as a full human being and is viable (which would include full brain activity).

As far as rape or incest is concerned, the resulting pregnancy should be terminated as soon as possible within the first trimester. Waiting for the third trimester is simply not an option because, at this point, it would still be murder to kill a fully-formed baby regardless of its origin…


Updating the SDA Position on Abortion
I agree with you up until your last sentence. It seems very very clear to me that a baby becomes human before it takes its first breath. A baby born at 40 weeks gestation is not somehow inherently “more human” than a baby that is still inside its mother at 39 weeks gestation. At 39 weeks, such a baby is indistinguishable from a baby that has already been born. The location inside or outside of the mother makes absolutely no difference at this point in time and development.

I think, therefore, that we as Christians should avoid both obvious extremes here in this discussion. There are two very clear ditches on both sides of the road here. We should avoid claiming that a baby is not really human until it is actually born at full term, and, at the same time, we should also avoid claiming that full humanity and moral worth is instantly realized at the moment of conception…


Updating the SDA Position on Abortion
Most would agree with you that the baby John the Baptist, before he was born, was, at some point, a real human being who could “leap for joy” (Luke 1:44). Even most non-Christians would agree that a third-trimester abortion is murder. However, this isn’t the real problem here. We are talking about if a single cell or a simple ball of cells is fully “human” and if ending a pregnancy at such an early stage of development is truly a “murder” of a real human being. After all, when conception first takes place a single cell cannot “leap for joy” – or for any other reason. It’s just a single fertilized cell that cannot think or feel or move and has no brain or mind or intelligence of any kind. The same is true of an embryo that consists of no more than an unformed ball of cells for quite some time. Upon what basis, then, is it “murder” to end a pregnancy at this early point in embryological development?