Gary Gilbert, Spectrum, and Pseudogenes

By Arthur V. Chadwick, Ph.D.

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In October of 1992, Spectrum Magazine ran an article written by a young physician, Gary Gilbert, in which he attempted to justify his loss of faith on the basis of the existence of pseudogenes.

Pseudogenes are regions of DNA that have codes very similar to known genes, but often have stop codes in every reading frame, so that no protein could ever be produced from the code they contain. They were presumed by evolutionists to be copies of protein-coding genes that, through the process of evolution, have been mutated so extensively that they are no longer functional.

Gilbert learned that there was a pseudogene within the five functional genes of the beta globin gene family on chromosome 11 that was present in both humans and chimpanzees.  Since the likelihood of a functional gene being similarly disabled in both humans and chimpanzees is very low, Gilbert concluded, in his Spectrum article, that both humans and chimpanzees were descended from a common ancestor that had that pseudogene.  Gilbert decided, on that basis, that the Biblical account of origins could not be correct and therefore concluded that we humans arose as a result result of evolutionary processes.  Of course, this was a huge stretch, but it was enough for Gilbert; and his article was the basis for a number of Adventists losing their sense of direction in scripture, especially with regard to origins.

 

Are pseudogenes functionless?

For decades, I have explained to students in molecular biology that pseudogenes are not functionless and never were.  In the case of the beta globin gene, I pointed out to them that the two pseudogenes in the beta globin gene family (there are five globin genes which occur on the chromosome in the same order as they are utilized in the developmental process) are so placed that one of them is located just before the genes that are activated in ontogeny (at the beginning of fetal development), and the other one is located just before the two beta globin genes that are utilized in the adult. That was, for me anyway, clear evidence for regulatory functionality.  So, I instructed my students to this concept.

In philosophy class, I handed out or at times gave, as part of the final exam, Gilbert’s article as required reading for my students.  I required them to analyze his logic and conclusions. Almost always the students concluded that Gilbert was not coming to the data to find answers, but he was seeking to use science to support his own pre-determined philosophical position.

It has taken some years for our understanding of pseudogenes to come out of the dark. First came indications that many pseudogenes were functional.  Then certain experiments that knocked them out indicated that quite a number were in fact essential (1, 2).  More recently, in 2012, the startling revelations of the ENCODE project (3) demonstrated that almost all DNA was functional.  This discovery was soon followed by articles boldly proclaiming that “Pseudogenes are not pseudo any more” – such as an article by Wen et. al. (4)  In this particular article the authors note:

“The study of functional pseudogenes is just at the beginning. There remain many questions to be addressed, such as the regulatory elements controlling the cell or tissue specific expression of pseudogenes. But, definitely, the so-called pseudogenes are really functional, not to be considered any more as just “junk” or “fossil” DNA. Surely, many functional pseudogenes and novel regulatory mechanisms remain to be discovered and explored in diverse organisms.” [emphasis added]

Finally, within the last year, the hemoglobin pseudogenes have themselves been the object of some study, specifically the HPPB1 gene that sits amidst the “functional” genes of the beta globin locus. As we had suspected on the basis of a considered study of placement, it is not only highly conserved (something Gilbert could have seen early on), but is essential for function. Even a single base change in the pseudogene region is responsible for pathology in humans (6).

What is the take home lesson from this? When we think we find evidence that a clear reading of the Bible story of origins is wrong, it would be well to consider the mantra of the skeptic: “An extraordinary claim requires extraordinary evidence.” Before you decide God was wrong when He wrote with his finger in stone (7) that he made the earth in six days, perhaps we would be well served to consider all the evidence, and then, with humility, acknowledge our own ignorance and bow before the Creator in reverence and awe. Who knows, had the author of this article reserved judgment, or better yet, had he pursued the functionality of the pseudogene, perhaps we could be talking about the Adventist Nobel Laureate who discovered the functionality of pseudogenes?  – instead of lamenting for a soul who chose to abandon the Biblical account of origins to follow the philosophies of Darwinism.

 

References:

1. Shinji Hirotsune, Noriyuki Yoshida, Amy Chen, Lisa Garrett, Fumihiro Sugiyama, Satoru Takahashi, Ken-Ichi Yagami, Anthony Wynshaw-Boris & Atsushi Yoshiki. 2003. An expressed pseudogene regulates the messenger-RNA stability of its homologous coding gene. Nature 423, 91 – 96;

2. Evgeniy S. Balakirev and Francisco J. Ayala. 2003. Pseudogenes: Are They “Junk” or Functional DNA? Annual Review of Genetics, Vol. 37, pp. 123-151

3. The ENCODE Project Consortium. 2012. An Integrated Encyclopedia of DNA Elements in the Human Genome. Nature. 489: 57-74

4. Yan-Zi Wen,  Ling-Ling Zheng, Liang-Hu Qu, Francisco J. Ayala and Zhao-Rong Lun. 2012. RNA Biology 9:1, 27–32.

5. Moleirinho A, Seixas S, Lopes AM, Bento C, Prata MJ, Amorim A. 2013. Evolutionary Constraints in the β-Globin Cluster: The Signature of Purifying Selection at the δ-Globin (HBD) Locus and its Role in Developmental Gene Regulation. Genome Biology and Evolution. 5: 559–571.

6. Giannopoulou E, Bartsakoulia M, Tafrali C, Kourakli A, Poulas K, Stavrou EF, Papachatzopoulou A, Georgitsi M, Patrinos GP. 2012. A Single Nucleotide Polymorphism in the HBBP1 Gene in the Human β-Globin Locus is Associated with a Mild β-Thalassemia Disease Phenotype. Hemoglobin. 36 (5): 433-445.

7. Exodus 31:16-18

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547 thoughts on “Gary Gilbert, Spectrum, and Pseudogenes

  1. Beautiful article, Dr. Chadwick. Mammalian genes are looking more like different kinds of Lego’s. While all that “junk” is the instructions showing how to put them together to make the different animals.




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  2. Dr. Chadwick, thank you for your fine article. I also read Dr. Gary Gilbert’s “Spectrum” article in 1992, and as I remember, it was one of the first overtly pro-Darwin articles to appear in “Spectrum.” But rather than give up on the Biblical creation account, I wrote to the Geoscience Research Institute to get their response and waited for further research on pseudogenes. Once again, time and research have shown that “God’s truth abideth still,” as Martin Luther so aptly wrote in the hymn, “A Mighty Fortress.”




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  3. Howdy all

    I thought Mr. Darwin was a naturalist not a philosopher. Mr Chadwick may not agree with him but is he right to mislabel the man’s calling?




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  4. It seems apparent that even the concept of “fossil” DNA or “junk” genes will soon become fossilized . . . a dead remnant of neo-Darwinism, just as did the concept of phylogeny recapitulating ontogeny and the extreme dependence upon so-called “vestigial” structures for support of Darwinian evolution. Once upon a time it was believed that there were scores, if not hundreds, of vestigial structures in adult humans. Almost all of them have been recanted. Just because we are not yet aware of the function of a piece of genetic code or an organ in the body doesn’t guarantee that one doesn’t exist. This is a fairly recent area of study, and only additional time and research can provide the hard statistical evidence upon which one can base a reasonably sound conclusion.




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  5. When we based our beliefs on science and human reason rather than a personal relationship in Jesus, we need to be prepared for the knowledge base to change. That is its nature. Much of what we think we know today will likely change in time, but God never changes.

    If you think you need the fossils and polonium halos and pseudo pseudogenes to believe God is real, then you simply don’t know Jesus.




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    • Certainly the Holy Spirit guides the minds of those earnestly searching for Truth. However, the Holy Spirit does not replace the human mind or negate the need for human effort and investigation to search out truth from error based on the weight of evidence that God has provided – evidence calculated to appeal to the intelligent, candid, rational mind. Otherwise, what would be the point of giving us powers to reason and think in a rationally manner? – from cause to effect or from effect to likely cause?

      God might never change, but our understanding of Him most certainly can change and grow and improve over time with additional experiences and additional evidences. For example, did the disciples of Jesus have more faith in Him and His identity before or after the empirical evidence of Resurrection was given to them?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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    • @Professor Kent: “If you think you need the fossils and polonium halos and pseudo pseudogenes to believe God is real, then you simply don’t know Jesus.”

      True. But if you know Jesus and you know that God is real, then obviously you do not do science pursuant to the assumption that God has never intervened in the material world. You do creation science.




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      • @David Read:

        Science has no opinion on whether God or the supernatural have never intervened they assume that he does not routinely intervene and that we can assume natural process as explanation. Only in that way can you at all invoke predictable causation and effectively manipulate the natural world. That is how evidence based medicine works and how evidence based science works. Whether you like the philosophy or not it is the de jure standard in science.




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        • Again, science does not rule out intelligent manipulation as a cause for various phenomena in nature. Entire scientific disciplines are based on the ability to detect deliberate intelligent activity through the study of the artifacts that such activity leaves behind – like forensic science and anthropology for example, and even SETI science.

          Clearly then, there is absolutely no inherent reason why God could not act in a similar detectable manner in our world – where we could in fact recognize His signature, or at least a signature of some form of intelligent design and manipulation, in various features of the natural world.

          To suggest otherwise is not a scientific position; it’s a philosophical or even religious position.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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        • @pauluc:

          “Science has no opinion on whether God or the supernatural have never intervened they assume that he does not routinely intervene and that we can assume natural process as explanation.”

          I would venture a guess that a large percentage of evolutionary scientist despise the idea of God and the bible. You are certainly a kind, trusting soul, Paul.




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        • @pauluc: “Science has no opinion on whether God or the supernatural have never intervened . . .”

          Not true, Paul. When science insists on abiogenesis, even though there is no empirical or logical reason to believe that it could happen, science is expressing an extremely strong– in fact absolute–philosophical opinion that if God exists, to exist is all God has ever done. If Science were open to the existence of a Creator God who had ever created or otherwise intervened in nature, science could easily say, “God created the first life forms, then evolution took over.”

          But, of course, the entire purpose of evolutionary science is to be able to deny the existence of a Creator God without looking foolish. It has not been entirely successful. Because when people claim that life can accidentally self-assemble, or that the genetic code somehow wrote itself, they look foolish.




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      • The interesting thing is that polonium halos, pseudogenes, and fossils are able to lead people to Jesus who do not already know him. There are many examples of people being lead to God through the study of nature and the discovery of the Divine signature in various features of nature…




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        • Of course! The Psalmist dstated that the heavens declare the glory of God, and we find in the last book of the Bible a call toworship the One who made heavens,the earth, and the fountaimns of water.

          The theory of evolution is a clever maneuver designed in hell to lead humans to give credit for what exists to the god of Natural Selection.




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  6. Bob Helm: Once again, time and research have shown that “God’s truth abideth still,” as Martin Luther so aptly wrote in the hymn, “A Mighty Fortress.”

    Ummm…where did “God’s truth” tell us anything about pseudogenes? Showing that one interpretation regarding evolution has been wrong offers no support whatsoever for creationism. The evolutionists will actually welcome the new knowledge and incorporate it into their theory with as much enthusiasm as creationists deride the misunderstading.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      “The evolutionists will actually welcome the new knowledge and incorporate it into their theory with as much enthusiasm as creationists deride the misunderstading.”–Professor Kent

      If you knew better you would be ashamed of a scientific hypothesis that has had to undergo so many modifications to fit data that was not predicted. If evolution was a physics hypothesis it would have been dropped long ago. The value of a scientific theory is predictability. Junk DNA was a prediction of the theory. It has failed, yet again. But you’re correct. The believers will pick up the pieces, tape them together with duct tape, and continue to bow to their idol.

      The sane ones are the creationists who continue to deride this failed evolutionary contraption.




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    • @Professor Kent: I think the revealed truth that Bob Helm was referring to is that apes and humans do not share a common ancestor, they share a common designer. The notion that the “pseudogene” was a commonly inherited genetic mistake was supposed to be evidence of common ancestry, but it was not a mistake. It has a function, and hence its appearance in both humans and apes is not evidence for common ancestry. God’s truth abideth still, to quote Martin Luther and Bob Helm.




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  7. Chadwick wrote:

    “it would be well to consider the mantra of the skeptic: “An extraordinary claim requires extraordinary evidence.” Before you decide God was wrong when He wrote with his finger in stone (7) that he made the earth in six days, perhaps we would be well served to consider all the evidence.”

    I don’t think the author himself believes God literally created “the heavens and the earth” in six days, which is exactly what was written in stone. I’d bet he’s an old earth and young life creationist.

    And while I personally accept that there were six literal days of creation (on a planet created previously), little could be more extraordinary than such an amazing claim. Let’s be honest: no evidence whatsoever exists that there were six literal days of creation. Showing that pseudogenes aren’t pseudogenes does not remotely constitute evidence that there were six literal days of creation–and Chadwick himself surely recognizes this.

    I don’t understand the need for such sensationalized reassurances. At best, they celebrate human reason and reassure only those whose faith is brittle.




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    • @Professor Kent: You wrote, “Showing that pseudogenes aren’t pseudogenes does not remotely constitute evidence that there were six literal days of creation…” I will admit it is not conclusive evidence, BUT the whole reason they were called pseudogenes came from the idea that they were damaged remnants of of genes from the distant past now mangled by mutations over millions of years. Hello! There regulatory functionality is at least evidence in FAVOR of a recent creation.




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    • @Professor Kent: Jeff, I think you’re being a bit obtuse. The complexity of the genetic code is itself evidence of design. And the fact that we humans, who are pretty smart in many ways, are still struggling to comprehend the non-obvious features of the genetic code (such as how some parts regulate the expression of other parts) shows just how complex the genetic code really is. And an argument for design is obviously an argument in favor of supernatural creation as opposed to accidental self-assembly.

      Narrowing the discussion to the issue of apes and humans, the invalidation of a seemingly compelling argument that apes and humans shared a common ancestor obviously weakens the case for Darwinism and, pari passu, strengthens the case for special creation.

      You say, or at least imply, that God makes extraordinary claims, but why do YOU find God’s revealed truth more to be more “extraordinary”, i.e., hard to believe, than the speculations of finite humans? The answer, of course, is that such is the culture of science, as well as your own professional acculturation, since you are a scientist. That doesn’t surprise me in the slightest. What does surprise me a little bit is your seeming lack of awareness of how greatly that culture conflicts with a biblical worldview.




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  8. Sean Pitman:
    Functional pseudogenes has long been a creationist prediction… not a prediction of neo-Darwinism.

    So what. If pseudogenes aren’t pseudo, all it means is that DNA conveys more information than previously believed. The evolutionist says, “ah, evolution has honed more of the genome than we previously believed.” This is hardly a magic bullet. Celebrate all you want, but as you well know, it offers absolutely zero evidence that the Genesis account is true.




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    • @Professor Kent: You mean “ah, random mutations have destroyed or inactivated less of the genome than we previously believed.”

      It’s not a “magic bullet” because there are no magic bullets that will invalidate either creationism or Darwinism, because they’re both deeply ensconced in the realm of religion, rather than observable, replicatable day-to-day science.




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  9. Curiously, the creationist notion of “devolution” suggests that chromosomes will accumulate non-functional (junk) DNA. So why are you saying, Sean, that creationists have long predicted that pseudogenes (junk DNA) should not exist?




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    • Not when it comes to shared pseudogenes… or the idea that the majority of the genome is nonfunctional or that numerous parts are nonfunctional in the very same way in different species. Note also that a decrease in functionality is not the same thing as a complete loss of function. True pseudogenes do exist, but the vast majority of the genome is still functional to one degree or another. After all, living things haven’t been around very long on this planet…

      In any case, it is a matter of record that creationists have long been arguing that most shared “pseudogenes” are probably beneficially functional – which has proven to be true. I myself have been presenting this concept on my website for over 10 years now. Obviously, Dr. Chadwick has been teaching the same thing for over 20 years. This is truly a creationist prediction that proved true in the face of neo-Darwinian claims.




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  10. Be still, and know that I am God!! When we talk to Jesus every day, when we get to know Him on a personal basis, really get to know Him, when He becomes our very best Friend, it is very, very hard to understand how another human being could not see and accept the 6 day literal Creation fully and completely. When we see how scripture has been proven through the finds in archeology, through the events in history that years before had been predicted, I have to ask myself, “Why all this chatter?” But then I have to remind myself that not everyone has that kind of relationship with our Lord. For those of you who do, I am richly blessed by your words and comments. for those of you who do not know Christ, I feel a very deep sorrow. Pseudogenes were created for a very specific reason. And some day, we will all understand the whole plan of DNA. What a wonderful God we serve!!!!!




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  11. Nic Samojluk: @Rhonda: “It seems apparent that even the concept of “fossil” DNA or “junk” genes will soon become fossilized …”

    You have stated a great truth, I believe!

    According to the “devolution” theory that Sean Pitman advocates and other creationists espouse, the DNA of longer-lived organisms has long been and continues to be rendered “junk” by the rapid accumulation of deleterious mutations.

    Get a clue.

    So which is it? (1) Selection changes DNA to yield functional improvements over time? Selection continually maintains the function of DNA, including duplicate sections thought to be unnecessary or degraded by mutations? Selection cannot overcome deleterious mutations so that much of DNA over time loses information and function?

    You have a good grasp of “truth,” Nic, so which is it?




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    • @Professor Kent:

      As I’ve already explained in response to this very same argument of yours in a note above, living things haven’t existed very long on this planet – only a few hundred human generations is all. Consider also that if the majority of the human genome were in fact non-functional, we’d all be dead.

      That is why the significant majority of the human genome is still function while still inevitably degenerating over time. True non-functional pseudogenes are relatively rare. And, when they are highly conserved between different species, that is a big clue that they are in fact functionally beneficial.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • @Sean Pitman:
        Sean I’m afraid if you actually looked at the data on the comparative genomics of the globin genes you would perhaps appreciate that both Arts and your defence of the functional importance of pseudogenes is completely specious. It looks to me and most scientist like the chance and contingency represents the best assessment of most of the genomic structure.

        1] Read the review at

        http://perspectivesinmedicine.cshlp.org/content/2/12/a011627.long

        and follow up the original literature that is referenced there if you believe scientists are lying about the details of the genomic structure.

        2] Why do the primates share this pseudo gene and not the other mammalian species?

        3] Look at the alpha genes in figure 3 http://perspectivesinmedicine.cshlp.org/content/2/12/a011627/F3.large.jpg

        and the beta genes in figure 4

        http://perspectivesinmedicine.cshlp.org/content/2/12/a011627/F4.large.jpg

        and answer a few simple questions.

        4] Why are there different gene copy numbers between the different species but very similar pattern of pseudogenes and structure in higher primates?

        Humans; 7 alpha 2 pseudogenes, 6 beta 2 pseudogenes
        Chimp; 8 alpha genes 1 pseudgene, 6 beta 1 pseudogene

        5] If the function of pseudogenes are at all important why are there none in platypus or bat that have 6 alpha/4 beta and 6 alpha/2 beta respectively.

        6] Across the species examined almost all the homologs have pseudogenes in some species of other.

        7] If you look at figure 4 you will see that the progression of beta gene expression through life is seen with greatest complexity in primates and humans but is not a feature of marsupials or monotremes monotremes where only embyronic and fetal/adult forms of the beta and alpha components of haemoglobin is produced.

        8] If you look at figure 5 the complexity of regulation in an erythroid cell line is evident and shows that the encode data for transcriptional factor binding sites and DNase hypersensitivity sites really does not show significant activity at the site of the beta pseudogenes (figure 5c). It is hard to argue that it has importance compare to to the LCR region

        I conclude that as you are want to do you use an exception to argue your case. What are the other pseudogenes that you predict by your model of origins that are functionally critical and designed. Enough with the hand waving some specificity is needed.




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        • 4] Why are there different gene copy numbers between the different species but very similar pattern of pseudogenes and structure in higher primates?

          Humans; 7 alpha 2 pseudogenes, 6 beta 2 pseudogenes
          Chimp; 8 alpha genes 1 pseudgene, 6 beta 1 pseudogene

          Because, as I’ve already pointed out, non-coding DNA is more important than coding DNA. Proteins are like the basic bricks and mortar for building a house. Non-coding DNA is the blueprint that dictates how the basic bricks and mortar are to be used – what type of house to build.

          5] If the function of pseudogenes are at all important why are there none in platypus or bat that have 6 alpha/4 beta and 6 alpha/2 beta respectively.

          Again, as I’ve already explained, just because every creature doesn’t share the same functionality doesn’t mean that functional sequences aren’t beneficial in the creatures they’re in. Just because you can live without your legs or arms doesn’t mean that they’re not important to you.

          6] Across the species examined almost all the homologs have pseudogenes in some species of other.

          So what? Lots of systems have homolog components. That has nothing to do with explaining the novel functional differences beyond very low levels of functional complexity. In human design it has more to do with conservation of design when building similar systems with similar structural and functional needs.

          7] If you look at figure 4 you will see that the progression of beta gene expression through life is seen with greatest complexity in primates and humans but is not a feature of marsupials or monotremes where only embyronic and fetal/adult forms of the beta and alpha components of haemoglobin is produced.

          Again, so what? This says nothing about the enhanced functionality of the primate system and does not speak speak against the argument that only intelligent design could have produced these enhancements – unless you can actually come up with a statistically viable mechanism. Of course, you haven’t done this. You admittedly have no idea how RM/NS can produce much of anything beyond very low levels of functional complexity. You just have faith, blind faith, that somehow someway, it must have happened. It’s not testable in a falsifiable manner and it is not demonstrable either. Again, that’s not science. That’s blind faith philosophy – a form of blind faith religion.

          8] If you look at figure 5 the complexity of regulation in an erythroid cell line is evident and shows that the encode data for transcriptional factor binding sites and DNase hypersensitivity sites really does not show significant activity at the site of the beta pseudogenes (figure 5c). It is hard to argue that it has importance compare to to the LCR region

          You’re completely ignoring the other reasons for its importance and overall functionality and the reason why it is so heavily conserved by natural selection. The beta pseudogenes appear to have only a limited job for a very limited time. This does not mean, however, that their function is therefore non-beneficial or unimportant.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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        • @Sean Pitman:

          Sorry Sean
          I am having trouble following your logic. let me try to summarize

          1] The fine structure within the globin genes across all species from monotreme to man is designed.

          2] Humans with higher levels of complexity and finer regulation of stage dependent forms was designed that way with pseudo genes.

          3] The pseudogenes are critical for regulatory function because non-coding DNA is more important than coding DNA.

          4] Pseudogenes as common and critical builing blocks actually dont have to be used. Whether or not they are used doesnt have any effect on whether or not they are important.
          “..says nothing about the enhanced functionality of the primate system and does not speak against the argument that only intelligent design could have produced these enhancements”

          In other words the designer can arbitirarily use anything to do anything and yet it is clearly designed that way.

          I really dont understand then how your design inference has any predictive value.

          As Gilbert originally concluded it seems to me the sharing of genomic structure including a beta region pseudogene across primates and more particularly the sharing of an alpha gene between just man and chimps gives every appearance of common ancestory. Whether the pseudogenes are functional does not have anything to do with this conclusion particularly when you concede that the functional pseudogene in the beta region is not seen in other than primates when the designer hypothesis would predict that this essential building block for haemoglobin expression should be seen in all animals having hemoglobin.

          If you disagree I think you need to tell me the precise predictions of the design model. To me your model pales against a simple model of chance and contingency. Of gene duplication to give the alpha and beta cluster and then subsequent duplication within these 2 clusters gives the final primate form including almost identical structure between man and chimps. Variation and functional selection seems a compelling argument to me.




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        • I am having trouble following your logic. let me try to summarize

          1] The fine structure within the globin genes across all species from monotreme to man is designed.

          For functional sequences, like the eta-globin pseudogene, that is certainly the best hypothesis until the Darwinists can come up with something more scientific than non-testable non-observable just-so story telling.

          2] Humans with higher levels of complexity and finer regulation of stage dependent forms was designed that way with pseudo genes.

          Same answer…

          3] The pseudogenes are critical for regulatory function because non-coding DNA is more important than coding DNA.

          Yes. Non-coding DNA is responsible for using the same or similar genes (or basic “bricks and mortar” so to speak) to build very different functional systems and very different creatures.

          4] Pseudogenes as common and critical builing blocks actually dont have to be used. Whether or not they are used doesnt have any effect on whether or not they are important.

          In many cases that’s correct. You can live without an arm. That doesn’t mean your arm isn’t important or useful to you or that it wasn’t designed.

          In other words the designer can arbitirarily use anything to do anything and yet it is clearly designed that way.

          A designer can design any way he/she wants. The evidence for design isn’t based in the arbitrary ability of the designer to create, but in the inability for any known non-intelligent process to produce the artifact in question.

          I really dont understand then how your design inference has any predictive value.

          How do you think design inference works in forensics or anthropology? Hmmm? I’ve asked you this question many times before and you consistently avoid addressing it – for obvious reasons. The scientific basis for design inference has general application to any and all artifacts throughout the universe. The rational basis for detecting design is not limited to arrowheads, pottery shards, murder victims, or radio signals coming from space. It can also be applied to biological systems.

          As Gilbert originally concluded it seems to me the sharing of genomic structure including a beta region pseudogene across primates and more particularly the sharing of an alpha gene between just man and chimps gives every appearance of common ancestory. Whether the pseudogenes are functional does not have anything to do with this conclusion particularly when you concede that the functional pseudogene in the beta region is not seen in other than primates when the designer hypothesis would predict that this essential building block for haemoglobin expression should be seen in all animals having hemoglobin.

          This is a different argument from shared mistakes. This is the “nested hierarchical pattern” argument (NHP). The NHP argument is entirely based on sequence similarities without any consideration of the underlying functionality involved or the minimum sequences differences required to achieve the qualitatively novel differences in function. While the common descent hypothesis can explain sequence similarities quite well, to include the production of NHPs, the common descent hypothesis cannot explain functional differences beyond very very low levels of functional complexity – outside of invoking sequential design over time (i.e., “slow creation”).

          You see, ID isn’t based on explaining sequence similarities, but on explaining functionally unique differences. The functional differences are key here – as I’ve pointed out many times for you before.

          If you disagree I think you need to tell me the precise predictions of the design model. To me your model pales against a simple model of chance and contingency. Of gene duplication to give the alpha and beta cluster and then subsequent duplication within these 2 clusters gives the final primate form including almost identical structure between man and chimps. Variation and functional selection seems a compelling argument to me.

          It would seem compelling to me too if I weren’t considering the minimum specific changes required to achieve the novel beneficial functions involved.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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        • @Sean Pitman:
          Sean is correct that no formal deductive process may be used to show that these DNA sequences prove evolution. However, consider inductive logic via the technique of beysian inference. When each individual marker we know of is summed, the probability that we do not have a common ancestor with the higher primates is so small as to be statistically insignificant.

          The 14 Human endogonous retroviruses we share with the chimps is more than enough evidence to demonstrate common ancestory.

          By the way, evolution does not require abiogenesis. It also says nothing about the existence of a deity.




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        • We share far more than 14 ERVs with chimps.

          Not too long ago it was thought that around 30,000 ERVs existed within the human/ape genomes, comprising between 1-8% of each. As of the 2005 Chimpanzee Sequencing and Analysis Consortium, where the entire chimpanzee genome was compared to the human genome, it is now thought that approximately 200,000 ERVs, or portions of ERVs, exist within the genomes of both humans and apes – totaling around 127 million base pairs (around 4% of the total genomic real estate). Some authors suggests a 45% ERV origin for the human genome at large (Mindell and Meyer 2001) and 50% for mammalian species in general, if all small fragments of ERV sequences are included in the estimate. In any case, of these hundreds of thousands of recognizable portions of ERVs, the vast majority of them seem to match up, at the very same loci, between humans and chimps. Less than 1% of the ERVs are lineage specific for either humans or apes. In other words, the vast majority of ERVs are shared or “orthologous” between humans and chimps (a significant increase from the seven or so that were once thought to infect both humans and chimps at identical locations).

          So, doesn’t this make the case all that much stronger than humans and apes share a common ancestor? After all, what kind of intelligent designer would have put so much shared “junk” in both of our genomes?

          Well, recent research is turning out some surprising discoveries on what was once thought to be junk-DNA. Much of what was thought to be junk is turning out to be functional to one degree or another – to include ERVs.

          For more information on this most interesting topic, please visit:

          http://www.detectingdesign.com/pseudogenes.html

          Sean Pitman




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        • @Sean Pitman:
          I was not clear enough in my comment. There are 14 ERV’s that are intact and able to produce virus that we share with the chimps. These occur at the same location in the genome of both humans and chimps. There is no question as to the function of these 14 ERV’s. Some of these are associated with disease states in humans. If these are a product of design by God then why is reverse transcriptase part of the code in these viruses? They could have been placed directly in the genome as DNA. Did God design us to have disease? Would it not be more likely that these represent the past viral attacks on a common ancestor which were then incorporated into the germ cell and passed on the future generations of descendants? It would only require one ERV to prove common descent and we have 14. Ask yourself what is more reasonable?




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        • I was not clear enough in my comment. There are 14 ERV’s that are intact and able to produce virus that we share with the chimps.

          This is not true. According to a study published in 2005, no human ERVs capable of replication have been identified; all appear to be defective as far as producing infective viruses is concerned due to major deletions or nonsense mutations.

          Belshaw R, Dawson AL, Woolven-Allen J, Redding J, Burt A, Tristem M (Oct 2005). “Genomewide Screening Reveals High Levels of Insertional Polymorphism in the Human Endogenous Retrovirus Family HERV-K(HML2): Implications for Present-Day Activity”. J Virol. 79 (19): 12507–14.

          These occur at the same location in the genome of both humans and chimps. There is no question as to the function of these 14 ERV’s. Some of these are associated with disease states in humans.

          This is also not true. While many ERVs are being found to be functional, most of these functions are beneficial to one degree or another, and some are even vital to life. Also, there have been no proven cases of human ERVs causing disease.

          “HERVs have frequently been proposed as etiological cofactors in chronic diseases such as cancer, autoimmunity and neurological disease. Unfortunately, despite intense effort from many groups, there remains little direct evidence to support these claims, and moreover some studies have served only to muddy the waters for others.” – http://genomebiology.com/2001/2/6/reviews/1017

          “Many still manage to generate proteins, but scientists have never found one that functions properly in humans or that could make us sick.” – http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/12/03/071203fa_fact_specter

          It’s like arguing that regular genes cause disease. The real reason for disease is a loss of regulation of the normal function of regular genes, and perhaps ERV sequences on occasion, due to random mutations that destroy their original functionality.

          If these are a product of design by God then why is reverse transcriptase part of the code in these viruses? They could have been placed directly in the genome as DNA. Did God design us to have disease? Would it not be more likely that these represent the past viral attacks on a common ancestor which were then incorporated into the germ cell and passed on the future generations of descendants? It would only require one ERV to prove common descent and we have 14. Ask yourself what is more reasonable?

          Your knowledge about ERVs is very inaccurate. There are many rational reason for ERV-type sequences to be included, by design, in our genome. As already mentioned, many ERV sequences are being discovered to produced beneficial effects – some are even vital to life. Some ERVs have even been shown to fight against infection by exogenous retriviruses:

          “The HERV-W env gene product has also been shown to block infection by an exogenous retrovirus, suggesting that the expressed HERV-W env gene could have a beneficial function to the host (Ponferrada et al., 2003).” – http://vir.sgmjournals.org/cgi/content/full/85/5/1203

          “However, in the case of both Fv4 and Rmcf, the mode of defense is by the domesticated env gene blocking the receptor required for retrovirus entry.” – http://genetics.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=
          10.1371%2Fjournal.pgen.0010044

          Beyond this, the theory that the ERV sequences within the human gene pool were derived from external viral infections is untenable given the population bottlenecks that would have been required to achieve this effect within the germline of humans or any other animal. Even modern retroviral infections never insert themselves within the germline cells of their host. Such a theory is based on something that is so extraordinarily unlikely that it hasn’t even been observed.

          “No current transposition activity of HERVs or endogenization of human exogenous retroviruses has been documented so far.” – http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/101/suppl_2/14572

          “Most of these elements represent ancient retroviral infections, as evidenced by their wide distribution in primate species, and no infectious counterparts of human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) are known to exist today.” – http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/abstract/101/6/1668

          In any case, for further details along these lines, please refer to these detailed discussions of ERVs:

          http://www.detectingdesign.com/pseudogenes.html#Endogenous
          http://www.whoisyourcreator.com/endogenous_retroviruses.html

          Sean Pitman




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    • Remember what Dr. Sanford said in his Loma Lecture about junk DNA. You seem to be ignoring the fact that the weight of evidence seem to suggest that much of what recently was thought to be junk DNA is no longer considered to be useless.

      Dr. Paul Giem reported in a Loma Linda lecture that the percentage of useless DNA has been decreasing at an alarming rate to the surprise of and disappointment of evolutionists!




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  12. David Read: if you know Jesus and you know that God is real, then obviously you do not do science pursuant to the assumption that God has never intervened in the material world. You do creation science.

    I believe fully that God has intervened in the material world. But virtually all of God’s original creation and his interventions are, quite simply, beyond science. We cannot falsify supernatural events using the naturalistic approach of science. Moreover, the Church, like you and me, will never accept Sean Pitman’s position that we follow the science rather than inspiration.

    There has never been, nor ever will be, a smoking gun, magic bullet, or rock with the words “made in heaven” to prove beyond doubt the veracity of Genesis 1. Ultimately, we choose to believe in God and accept Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf regardless of how or when the earth was made, and the evidence that supports it.




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    • You’re asking for absolute demonstration. That’s not science or faith. That’s not going with the “weight of evidence”. God does not offer absolute proof, but the weight of evidence.

      “Perfect assurance . . . is not compatible with faith. Faith rests not on certainty, but upon evidence. Demonstration is not faith.”

      Ellen White, Letter 19d, 1892, cited in The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, pp. 1029, 1030.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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    • @Professor Kent: “I believe fully that God has intervened in the material world.”

      No, you don’t. If you really believed that, you would do science accordingly. But you don’t. In fact, you do science according to the assumption that God never intervened in the material universe. So I have to assume that that is what you really believe, protestations to the contrary notwithstanding.




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    • The resurrection of Jesus Christ was the magic bullet. The historical evidence suggests that this is what lead to the implosion of Pagan Rome.

      The evidence was so strong that millions of Christians chose death rather than deny that Jesus was in fact alive folowing his crucifixion.

      Do you deny the weight of historical evidence? Science demands absolute proof from religious faith, but cannot provide absolute proof for the its pet theory about origins!

      Science denies the scientific evidence favoring Intelligent Design in nature. I thought that true science was suppossed to follow the evidence regardless of where it lead the one doing research!

      Shutting the door to evidencee contrary to its pet paradigm is not what true science is supposed to defend!




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  13. David Read: You say, or at least imply, that God makes extraordinary claims, but why do YOU find God’s revealed truth more to be more “extraordinary”, i.e., hard to believe, than the speculations of finite humans? The answer, of course, is that such is the culture of science, as well as your own professional acculturation, since you are a scientist. That doesn’t surprise me in the slightest. What does surprise me a little bit is your seeming lack of awareness of how greatly that culture conflicts with a biblical worldview.

    God in scripture makes extraordinary claims. Evolutionism makes extraordinary claims. If the evidence was as strong to support either set of claims as the most vocal advocates of either side claimed, we wouldn’t have this discussion, much less Educate Truth. Virtually everyone would be in agreement.

    The simple reality is that extraordinary evidence is lacking for both sets of claims. Honest people, kncluding scientists, acknowledge that accepting either set of claims (and I unabashedly accept God’s claims) is based largely on faith. You yourself have acknowledged this.

    When did culture enter this conversation? What exactly do you think I think about culture and evolution?




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    • Jeff Kent wrote:

      “God in scripture makes extraordinary claims. Evolutionism makes extraordinary claims. If the evidence was as strong to support either set of claims as the most vocal advocates of either side claimed, we wouldn’t have this discussion, much less Educate Truth.”

      That’s not entirely true. Many people do not make decisions based on the weight of evidence. As Jesus pointed out, some people will not accept certain realities even if someone were to be “raised from the dead” as a demonstration. They simply love their lie too much to let it go. It’s more a matter of desire than of evidence for many.

      However, God will give those who honestly desire to know the Truth, and who are willing to search for Truth will all their heart, enough evidence to make a rational decision for Him – Jeremiah 29:13

      Remember, this isn’t about absolute demonstration, but about the weight of evidence that you, as an individual, have been given to rationally understand.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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    • @Professor Kent: “The simple reality is that extraordinary evidence is lacking for both sets of claims. Honest people, kncluding scientists, acknowledge that accepting either set of claims . . . is based largely on faith. You yourself have acknowledged this.”

      Jeff, I could not possibly agree more. And since you acknowledge that both views are based upon faith, I must ask you again why you do apologetics for the adversary’s faith, instead of for what you claim is your own faith?

      Because that’s what your doing. When you do mainstream origins science, you are essentially arguing for the view that God has never intervened in the material universe. When you do creation science, you’re doing biblical apologetics.

      You have acknowledged that both views are equally faith-based, and yet you continue to do apologetics for a faith that you claim is the opposite of your own faith. Why?

      This is where you–and many other similarly situated confessed Christians–are fooling yourselves. You think it is somehow okay for you to claim that you believe in a Creator God, while at the same time devoting your professional lives to building up an edifice of evidence and argument designed to show that the world is accidentally self-created. Why do you think that is okay? Why do you think that devoting your career to arguing against the meaningful existence of a Creator God is an appropriate way to serve God?

      The obvious answer is, “hey, I’m a scientist, this is how science is done, and I have to make a living.” But the rich irony of that particular cop out in your particular case is that there would be plenty of positions for creation scientists if only the colleges affiliated with creationist denominations would stay true to their denominational mission. And yet, on this site, you have obsessively defended La Sierra for its betrayal of its denominational mission; La Sierra has stocked its paying science positions with atheistic apologists instead of biblical apologists, and you constantly, obsessively argue that it is somehow doing the right thing. That is what I call irony.




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      • @David: “And yet, on this site, you have obsessively defended La Sierra for its betrayal of its denominational mission; La Sierra has stocked its paying science positions with atheistic apologists instead of biblical apologists, and you constantly, obsessively argue that it is somehow doing the right thing. That is what I call irony.”

        Precisely! Those defending theistic evolution and methodological naturalism while pretending to remain faithful to the Bible are deceiving themselves.

        True scientists have a great advantage over those limiting their research to natural events. True scientists take into consideration all evidence available to us–including natural and supernatural evidence.

        The historical evidence recorded in the Bible provides the basis of our reliance on the power of God over nature and even over death itself. This was the mission of Jesus Christ.

        Scientist who dismiss the historical evidence provided by Jesus are a bunch of fools who are fooling the entire world.

        Those in charge of La Sierra Univesity have fallen into this trap which was designed in hell. The theory of evoloution is a clever design of Satan whose objective is to lead humans to the worship of Nature instead of Almighty Creator.

        It is high time for the church to divest itself from this institution. There is no need for a acrimonious fight. This could be accomplished through a friendly divorce.

        This institution can function idependently from the General Conference like the Quiet Hour, 3ABN and many other independent ministries. LSU loves freeddom. Let them have it!

        LSU has been destroying the faith of their students in the most fundamental doctrine of the Christian faith: the doctrine of creation.

        The last message to the world is a call to worship the One who created heaven and earth and the fountains of waters. This is our mission–not the teaching of evolution as the best explanation for origin!




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        • @Nic Samojluk:

          Nic, I appreciate your core summary of the views that Sean, and David and other are expressing. I am new coming here with a bible based perspective that does resonate with what you have said.

          My only disagreement probably is that I am not sure that a divorce of the Church from LSU is going to be the best approach in the long term. I think there must be some way for bringing unity within the church short of simply chopping off institutions. I think we can trust Ted Wilson to help reformation in the schools. After all I do think the church should have loyal educational institutions to train its people. This site should be at the forefront in strategies to do that.




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        • @Sean: “My only disagreement probably is that I am not sure that a divorce of the Church […]”

          I meant a friendly divorce like when a parent grants his/her grown up child its independence and cuts the emotional and physical umbilical chord.




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        • @Phill: “I think we can trust Ted Wilson to help reformation in the schools.”

          I do trust his intentions; what I am not so sure is about his ability to effect such a major transformation. The doctrine of long ages bug has infiltrated so deep into the biology and the religion departments that only a miracle would be able to bring said school back to the Adventist fold.

          We do need Adventist schools, but when an institution persistently departs from a doctrine so foundational to Adventism like Creation, the educational entity has crossed the line and must be given its freedom to go its own way.

          It is hard for a parent to let a son or daughter assert its independence, but in every case the time comes when this must be done. The same is true about fiercely independent shools that value their freedom more than their loyalty to the parent entity that has given them their life.

          La Sierra University can function on its own without its dependence on the GC. It is high time to cut the umbilical chord. If the school is so enamored with Darwinian evolution, let them experiment on their own dime.

          This never ending controversy between LSU and the church is not healthy to the parties. Let them function independently like 3ABN, The Quiet Hour, Adventist Today, Advindicate, and many other similar organizations.




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        • @George: “But I don’t want to divorce her. I want to cure her.”

          You can’t legally impose a medical procedure on an unwilling patient. You must seek the patient’s consent. This has been tried and failed.

          The church must learn from the father of the Prodigal Son. He granted his wayward son his independence and gave him his inheritance in spite of the risk that was involved in doing so.




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    • @Professor Kent:
      There really is no debate in the rest of the scientific world outside of adventism. It ended in 1869 at Cambridge university when Huxley presented the theory to the scientific establishment.
      Adventists are stuck between obstruction and irrelivance on this topic.




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  14. Sean Pitman: You’re asking for absolute demonstration. That’s not science or faith. That’s not going with the “weight of evidence”. God does not offer absolute proof, but the weight of evidence.

    No I’m not. I’m pointing out how ridiculous it is to demand that only one side makes extraordinary claims and is therefore required to produce extraordinary evidence.




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  15. @Kent: “DNA of longer-lived organisms has long been and continues to be rendered “junk”

    This is not what I have been reading in the news. Worshiping Natural Selection instead of the One who created heaven and earth is in direct opposition to the last message for the world found in thee book of Revelation.




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  16. @Kent: “Moreover, the Church, like you and me, will never accept Sean Pitman’s position that we follow the science rather than inspiration.”

    I believe that this is a misrepresentation of Pitman’s beliefs. My understanding is that he teaches that there is no contradiction between what nature teaches and biblical Revelation.




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  17. Dear Professor Kent,

    I have no doubt that Darwinists will attempt to incorporate the new information regarding pseudogenes into their paradigm, although the hardliners in the Darwinian camp are currently busy trying to debunk or explain away the fine work of the ENCODE project. Louis Agassiz was right. Because evolution has a strange hold on the human mind, Darwinists fail to see that they have been chasing a phantom for 150 years.

    I am glad that you personally affirm Biblical creation, but your wholesale rejection of Christian apologetics disappoints me. Seventh-day Adventism and New Testament Christianity have always rejected the concept of “blind faith.” Consider how the authors of the Gospels repeatedly appeal to prophecy as evidence for Jesus’ Messianic claims. And Paul told King Agrippa that the Christ Event did not occur in a corner. Your concept of “blind faith” and your desire to confine theology and natural science to totally separate, airtight compartments stem, not from the New Testament or from Adventism, but from the 18th century Enlightenment.




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    • @Bob Helm:
      Tell us about ENCODE in a few sentences. I dont think it shows what you think it does. Certainly the DI CMI ICR take on it is jaundiced.

      The original data is freely and completely available. It would be only appropriate that you read it before confidently proclaiming that scientist working on molecular genomics “..are currently busy trying to debunk or explain away the fine work of the ENCODE project.”

      Such statements really make me doubt your credibility and ability to critically evaluate information.

      You will not at all find any scientist in the field in consternation over ENCODE. Rather they are joyfully incorporating these new observations into models of genomic structure and gene regulation that have existed based on simpler and less complete data for some years now.




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      • You will not at all find any scientist in the field in consternation over ENCODE. Rather they are joyfully incorporating these new observations into models of genomic structure and gene regulation that have existed based on simpler and less complete data for some years now.

        Yes, and not bothering to note how many creationists predictions are being confirmed these days by the genome project in the face of long-held neo-Darwinian predictions. Evolutionists are very flexible. They are very good at ignoring the various predictions that used to be “key arguments” once they are shown to be false and incorporating confirmed creationist predictions into neo-Darwinism. It’s easy to do when your dealing with just-so story telling instead of a falsifiable scientific theory…

        Sean Pitman
        http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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        • @Sean Pitman:
          That is because as I have said before to a scientist unless it is in the peer reviewed literature it doesn’t exist.

          Lets not get into the argurment that creationist cant publish in the literature. That argument is voided until you can show me the rejection details for you manuscript.




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        • That is because as I have said before to a scientist unless it is in the peer reviewed literature it doesn’t exist.

          Well, that’s wrong. It does in fact “exist” for the individual doing the science – like it did for Leonardo da Vinci when he was doing his own science for himself. Science need not exist for anyone else in order for it to exist for the individual and for it to give the individual the right answer – regardless of what anyone else thinks or knows.




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        • Dr. Paul Giem gave a lecture recently dealing with an article which disappeared from the record of peer reviewed literature when the editors discovered that it could be used to support views contrary to the theory of evolution.




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    • Blind faith is what the defenders of the theory of evolution are teeaching.

      Defenders of the doctrinee of creation have a more sure foundation for their beliefs:

      They have both the evidence from the natural world and the testimony of
      Scripture and that of Jesus Christ.




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      • @Nic Samojluk:

        I think your are confused. All Christians whatever their understanding of biology have a doctrine of creation. A doctrine of creation does not stand as the antithesis of a theory of evolution; it is actually the antithesis of atheism. The proper comparison of a theory of evolution is a theory of creation. If you want to have a theory of creation you have to define it and test it with the same rigor as the theory of evolution is defined and tested. This comparison is a very one sided comparison when subjected to the same de jure standard of methodological naturalism found in all areas of science.

        Any dialogue about creation is done a disservice by conflating a theory of creation with a doctrine of creation.




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        • @pauluc:

          @Pauluc: “If you want to have a theory of creation you have to define it and test it with the same rigor as the theory of evolution is defined and tested.”

          How do you test the theory of common descent? How do you rule out the alternative theory of common design? How do you test the theory that nothing could have produced everything? How far can methodological naturalism take us?

          The problem with evolutionists is that if they can posit one chance in a trillion that life as we know it today is the product of natural selection, they will choose that chance and ignore the trillion chance agaqinst it. Does this make common sense and is it based on logic?




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        • @pauluc: “The proper comparison of a theory of evolution is a theory of creation. If you want to have a theory of creation you have to define it and test it with the same rigor as the theory of evolution is defined and tested. …”

          The existence of the universe and life in it is conclusive evidence in favor of the theory of creation.

          Science has no credible explanation for the presence of life and the existence of the universe.

          The Big Bang is nothing more than philosophical speculation.

          Singularities are not based on scientific facts and cannot be validated by observation, experimentation or replication, which are the cornerstones of scientific research.




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  18. Professor Kent, I would add that Sean Pitman has never said that we should follow science rather than revelation. However, he does affirm natural theology and the concept of “God’s two books,” i.e. the Bible and nature, and that rightly understood, they should be in harmony. Furthermore, the concept of “informed faith” or faith supported by evidence has always been close to the heart of Adventism. I encourage you to read the chapter in “Steps To Christ” entitled “What To Do With Doubt” to get Ellen White’s perspective on faith and evidence.




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  19. Pauluc, you misquoted me. I doubt that any scientists working on genomes would try to explain away ENCODE. But I have been dialoging on facebook with a biologist who is a committed Darwinist, and he characterized the ENCODE researchers young and immature, and willing to play loose with the data in order to get published. He went on to claim that, contra ENCODE, no more than 20% of the human genome is functional.




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    • @Bob Helm:

      You are probably both right but do not have a common vocabulary. There is an essential difference between being functional and being expressed. 70-80 of the genome is expressed as RNA as has been shown in ENCODE. But that does not translate to 70-80% of the genome as being functional. You need to define what you actually mean. If you take the paradigm of gene expression in eukaryotes there are introns that are expressed with the exons in the nucleus but deleted from the mRNA before it is exported to the cytoplasm for final protein expression. Are the introns functional maybe much of it is but probably not all. Similarly the repetitive elements are expressed as RNA but are they functional? Unlikely.

      As for misquoting it would be easier to understand your message if you didnt use the term Darwinist which most would contend is equivalent to biologist.




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      • Again, you’re mistaken about repetitive elements being non-functional. They do have important functionality. In a Science article published back in 2003, Wojciech Makalowski presented arguments for the functionlity of “Junk DNA”, to include repetitive elements, that seem to echo what design theorists have been saying for a very long time:

        Although catchy, the term “junk DNA” for many years repelled mainstream researchers from studying noncoding DNA. Who, except a small number of genomic clochards, would like to dig through genomic garbage? However, in science as in normal life, there are some clochards who, at the risk of being ridiculed, explore unpopular territories. Because of them, the view of junk DNA, especially repetitive elements, began to change in the early 1990s. Now, more and more biologists regard repetitive elements as genomic treasure.”

        Makalowski, Wojciech. 2003. Not Junk After All, Science 300:1246-1247

        Since this time, numerous papers have been published on the functionlity of non-coding regions of DNA – to include repetitive regions.

        There are clear theoretical reasons and many well-documented examples which show that repetitive DNA is essential for genome function. Generic repeated signals in the DNA are necessary to format expression of unique coding sequence files and to organise additional functions essential for genome replication and accurate transmission to progeny cells. Repetitive DNA sequence elements are also fundamental to the cooperative molecular interactions forming nucleoprotein complexes. Here, we review the surprising abundance of repetitive DNA in many genomes, describe its structural diversity, and discuss dozens of cases where the functional importance of repetitive elements has been studied in molecular detail. In particular, the fact that repeat elements serve either as initiators or boundaries for heterochromatin domains and provide a significant fraction of scaffolding/matrix attachment regions (S/MARs) suggests that the repetitive component of the genome plays a major architectonic role in higher order physical structuring. Employing an information science model, the ‘functionalist’ perspective on repetitive DNA leads to new ways of thinking about the systemic organisation of cellular genomes and provides several novel possibilities involving repeat elements in evolutionarily significant genome reorganisation. These ideas may facilitate the interpretation of comparisons between sequenced genomes, where the repetitive DNA component is often greater than the coding sequence component.

        Shapiro and von Sternberg, 2005 (Link)

        A 2011 PNAS paper argues the same thing for the ALU repetitive elements – that they are actually functionally beneficial:

        “It’s been hard to say whether these Alu-derived exons actually do anything on a genome-wide level,” said senior study author Yi Xing, Ph.D., assistant professor of internal medicine and biomedical engineering, who holds a joint appointment in the UI Carver College of Medicine and the UI College of Engineering. “Our new study says they do — they affect protein production by altering the efficiency with which messenger RNA is translated into protein.”

        (Link)
        (Link)

        And the list goes on and on…




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        • @Sean Pitman: Sean you are so right although I think the authors you cite are wrong in their contention that the alu repeats are somehow important in evolution and recombination. Exonization of alu as you said is critical for the fine control of gene expression by inclusion of alu in mRNA. That there are a million copies that are maintained by retrotransposition in humans obviously means that there is many opportunity for alu to participate in this frequent and important process of gene regulation It is clearly designed to allow flexibility and fine control of gene expression. I agree though that their statements about the phylogeny of alu is really just a reflection of their preconceived ideas about evolutionary origins that doesnt even consider the design implied by the pervasive function.




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      • Darwinist is just short for Neo-Darwinist. While the majority of biologists subscribe to Neo-Darwinism, I would contest your statement that Darwinist=biologist. I prefer “Darwinist” to “evolutionist” because the latter is a slippery term. Even creationists believe in micro-evolution.@pauluc:




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  20. Nic Samojluk: @Kent: “DNA of longer-lived organisms has long been and continues to be rendered “junk”
    This is not what I have been reading in the news. Worshiping Natural Selection instead of the One who created heaven and earth is in direct opposition to the last message for the world found in thee book of Revelation.

    H-E-L-L-O-!

    Read this:

    http://www.educatetruth.com/featured/dr-john-sanford-lectures-on-inevitable-genomic-deterioration/




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        • That’s the Darwinian story to be sure, but that story is in conflict with the weight of evidence that strongly suggests that the genome could not survive that long. Detrimental mutations would have wiped it out long ago and sent it into extinction – along with all other slowly reproducing genomes. The same is true for the elastic soft tissues that remain in dinosaur bones, etc…




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        • @Pauluc: “The human genome has been estimated to be around for at least several million years. It just hasnt been understood but that does not mean it hasnt been around.”

          Milllions of years? Why is it then that human artifacts date only a limited number of years measured in thousands instead of millions?




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    • I did, and here is what Dr. Sanford stated:

      “In the past five years or so, the discovery that non-coding DNA is largely functional, has pretty much destroyed the notion of “junk-DNA”. …”

      This seems to negate your position! Does it not? Can you elaborate on this? What conclusion do you harvest from his preesentation in Loma Linda?

      I was preesent at said lecture! Please, explain how you intepret hi conclusions!




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  21. Bob Helm: I am glad that you personally affirm Biblical creation, but your wholesale rejection of Christian apologetics disappoints me. Seventh-day Adventism and New Testament Christianity have always rejected the concept of “blind faith.”

    Don’t be absurd. I have never advocated blind faith. Recognizing the error in much of apologetics does not equate to blind faith. Twisting every fact to fit a theory about a supernatural event that cannot be duplicated by the naturalistic approach of science is simply misinformed belief based on a fragile faith devoid of the surety one has when in a personal relationship with Jesus.

    Get on your knees and look toward heaven. You won’t find God by digging up dirt.




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    • Blind faith is defined, for most people anyway, as a type of faith that exists independent of the need for support from empirical evidence or a rational basis. That is exactly the type of faith you’ve always argued for – empirically blind faith. You say that faith can have evidentiary support, but that such support is not required. That’s the definition of fideism.




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      • @Sean Pitman:

        Exactly Sean and that is exactly a description of the the faith you manifest in the canonical text and the the writings of EG White. They cannot be scrutinized by any rational method that will yield empirical evidence since to do so is by definition higher criticism and that is forbidden.




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        • The basis of my faith can be scrutinized by rational methodologies and is open to the potential for falsification. Your faith, on the other hand, cannot be rationally scrutinized and is therefore not open to even the potential for falsification. What is also interesting is that the fideists in this forum (you and Jeff Kent) have faiths that do not agree with each other. God is evidently telling you guys different things about reality… and neither one of you can change your faith based on any kind of argument or evidence presented because your faith has no rational basis – because faith, according to you guys, trumps human reasoning.




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      • Yes, blind faith is the willingness to trust someone’s claim without the need for evidence that such a person’s claims can be relied on.

        Paul said that Abraham believed and that he was justified on the basis of faith. Yet, when I go to Genesis, I discover that such a declaration is found in chapter 15 instead of chapter 12.

        My estimate is that about ten years elapsed between the time God called Abraham and chapter 15 when he was justified on the basis of faith.

        Between chapter 12 and chapter 15 there was a religious experience which convinced Abraham that God could be trusted. This was not a blind faith, but a faith based on the weight of evidence.

        Besides, Abraham probably inherited some faith from a long line of ancestors who worshipped the true God going back all the way to Adam and Eve.

        His was not a blind faith, but rather a faith based on evidence.




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    • @Professor Kent: Jeff Kent says, “Recognizing the error in much of apologetics does not equate to blind faith. Twisting every fact to fit a theory about a supernatural event that cannot be duplicated by the naturalistic approach of science is simply misinformed belief based on a fragile faith devoid of the surety . . .”

      But twisting every fact to fit a naturalistic theory is okay? Because that’s exactly what mainstream science does.

      For example, everything in human existence, absolutely without exception, shows that you never get a code without a codemaker. You never get music without a musician, writing without a writer, computer code without a programmer, etc. Yet mainstream science insists that we got the genetic code, which is more complex than all of the foregoing, without a designer. That’s what I call “twisting every fact to fit” into science’s philosophy of naturalism.

      Why is it okay for mainstream science to twist facts to fit its theories but not for creationist to construe and interpret the data of nature in accordance with revealed truth?

      God wants you to be fully converted, in both heart and mind. And it doesn’t matter which is converted first. Some people have a heart experience that eventually results in them changing their views on origins, while others see design in nature and it leads them to the God of nature. Either is okay.

      But you seem to be “halting between two opinions.” You believe in God and have a relationship with Christ, but that relationship has not converted your mind or your approach to your profession. You insist on doing your scientific work in a way that effectively denies what you claim to believe. It would be too rude to say you lack integrity, but clearly your Christian beliefs are not integrated with your work life; there is no integration between your faith and your work.




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      • @David Read: “For example, everything in human existence, absolutely without exception, shows that you never get a code without a codemaker. You never get music without a musician, writing without a writer, computer code without a programmer, etc. Yet mainstream science insists that we got the genetic code, which is more complex than all of the foregoing, without a designer. That’s what I call “twisting every fact to fit” into science’s philosophy of naturalism.”

        You have expressed my views on this issue in a crystal clear manner. How can some Adventists be blind to such clear logic?




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    • How do you explain the fact thaqt Jesus took such pains to provide physical evidence of his supernatural power over nature, disease, and even over death?

      If all we need is to get on our knees and pray instead of digging dirt, why did he spend three years providing convincing evidence that he was indeed what he claimed to be?

      You are dismissing the evidence which convinced Jesus disciples to choose death rather than denying the evidence they had witnessed for three year about the supernatural power of the one who claimed to be the Son of God.

      Jesus did not come and claimed: “I am the Son of God. Get on your knees, stop digging dirt, and worship me beause I am God.”

      He devoted his entire ministry in his effort to convince his followers that he was the one who he claimed to be by means of supernatural acts.




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  22. Bob Helm: Professor Kent, I would add that Sean Pitman has never said that we should follow science rather than revelation.

    Not true. He has argued vociferously that we should follow science rather than revelation. This is what Sean Pitman has said: “I, personally, would have to go with what I saw as the weight of empirical evidence. This is why if I ever honestly became convinced that the weight of empirical evidence was on the side of life existing on this planet for hundreds of millions of years, I would leave not only the SDA Church, but Christianity as well” (http://www.educatetruth.com/theological/the-credibility-of-faith/comment-page-1/#comment-18717).

    What part of “I, personally, would have to go with what I saw as the weight of empirical evidence” do you not get?




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    • @Professor Kent: Professor you keep ignoring the word WEIGHT of the evidence. Sean has never said that, pound for pound, evidence trumps revelation. He is saying the evidence would have to be overwhelming, to sway him. Quite punching that straw man, you’re looking silly.




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      • @George Evans:

        The problem is that God generally doesn’t give us a supernatural revelation or “privileged information” regarding certain truths, like the Divine origin and credibility of the Bible and certain particular interpretations of various Biblical passages – for instance. Such truths are only discovered by carefully searching out the Scriptures and comparing their claims with various evidences and our ability to think and reason according to the gifts that God has given us to do so.

        Generally speaking, God does not trump our God-given abilities to think and reason and decide from the weight of evidence.

        Sean Pitman
        http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • @George Evans: “Professor you keep ignoring the word WEIGHT of the evidence. Sean has never said that, pound for pound, evidence trumps revelation. He is saying the evidence would have to be overwhelming, to sway him. Quite punching that straw man, you’re looking silly.”

        That is the way I interpret what Pitman said about scientific evidence. His statement should be understood as supporting his faith both in the Bible and the evidence we find in nature.

        He believes, I think, that when all the evidence is in, there will be a harmony between revelation and science.




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        • I believe there already is harmony between the weight of empirical evidence, or science, and Revelation. I don’t believe that neo-Darwinism is based on valid science. It is, as Ellen White described it, “science falsely so called.”




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    • He said this because he is sure that such evidence will never exist.

      This statement by Pitman can be interpreted as undeniable evidence of his strong confidence in Scripture instead of absooute reliance on science.

      Evidently you have chosen to go with the worst intepretation of what he stated.




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  23. So Bob, would YOU reject Scripture if one of its most fundamental claims was shown by science to be patently false? Absolutely, physically impossible? I mean with greater than 99.99999999999999999999% certainty.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      Like Jesus wasn’t really physically raised from the dead? Somehow it was demonstrated that his body was still here with us? where His body was stolen and secreted away like the priests originally claimed?

      I think that would be a problem for most Christians – as it would have been for his disciples as well. Faith, in the face of such evidence would certainly be “in vain”. – 1 Corinthians 15:14

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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    • There is no way for science to provide this kind of certainty. A single resurrection, would negate such a claim by science, and the Bible provides credible evidence that Jesuss Christ did come back to life, in addition to Lazarus and the daughter of Jairus.




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    • Yes, I would. Just as I reject the claims of the Book of Mormon because the weight of evidence does not support it. If we refuse to evaluate claims on the basis of evidence, we are liable to follow any charlatan that comes along- like Jim Jones or David Koresh.@Professor Kent:




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  24. Professor Kent, have you ever heard of the British philosopher W.K. Clifford? I subscribe to “Clifford’s Principle”: “It is always wrong, everywhere, and for everyone, to believe anything upon insufficient evidence.” So if there were no good evidence for Christianity, I would be forced to reject it. I am not a Christian simply because Christianity makes me feel good or because I was brought up in the faith or for some other whimsical reason. I am deadly serious about my relationship with Jesus Christ! If the evidence for Jesus’ claims is lacking, by all means reject those claims. I have no desire to promote something that is akin to Santa Claus or the Easter bunny! But it seems to me that the evidence in favor of Christianity is overwhelming, and that’s why I am a Christian. Now don’t misunderstand my view of faith. I affirm that my faith in Christ is the Holy Spirit’s work,but the Spirit has used good evidence to work this faith in me. In regard to creationism, I cannot say that the evidence for it is overwhelming, but I believe that there is very good evidence in its favor. And since the weight of evidence in other areas (particularly Bible prophecy) has led me to affirm the divine origin of holy scripture, I trust that the divine Author knew what He was talking about when He inspired the Genesis creation account. Furthermore, I am not very impressed with the evidence for Darwinism, and I see no reason to try to marry Darwinism with Christianity. While I gladly affirm that there are true Christians who are theistic evolutionists (the human mind seems fairly adept at simultaneously holding to contrary concepts), I am convinced that the term “theistic evolution” is an
    oxymoron.




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  25. David Read: Why is it okay for mainstream science to twist facts to fit its theories but not for creationist to construe and interpret the data of nature in accordance with revealed truth?

    It’s not okay. I haven’t defended it. Extremists on both sides are wrong.

    David Read:
    But you seem to be “halting between two opinions.” You believe in God and have a relationship with Christ, but that relationship has not converted your mind or your approach to your profession. You insist on doing your scientific work in a way that effectively denies what you claim to believe. It would be too rude to say you lack integrity, but clearly your Christian beliefs are not integrated with your work life; there is no integration between your faith and your work

    You have no clue what you are talking about. I do research that has absolutely nothing to do with origins. I publish science in professional journals that would reject my papers if I wrote, “Oh, by the way, God created this species 6,000 years ago.” The other part of my work at a private Christian institution is teaching, and I share my relationship with Jesus daily. What could you possibly know about that when you have never met me, seen me at work, or know anything about my work?

    I think you’re a poor judge of character.




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    • @Professor Kent: After explaining that an evolutionary scientist, coming across a code, normally assumes there is a code maker; but when he comes across a code in DNA, suddenly assumes there isn’t a code maker; David Read asks Professor Kent:

      “Why is it okay for mainstream science to twist facts to fit its theories but not for creationist to construe and interpret the data of nature in accordance with revealed truth?”

      To which Professor Kent, leaving off the context, replied:

      “It’s not okay. I haven’t defended it. Extremists on both sides are wrong.”

      Kent makes it sound like David is referring to some wild extreme twisting, when he is simply referring to the basic tenets of evolution, which we all know Kent does defend.

      Professor Kent, can you explain this discrepancy?




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    • @Professor Kent:

      “I do research that has absolutely nothing to do with origins.”

      Then why are you constantly on this site arguing against the biblical view of origins and in favor of the atheistic view? If you don’t even have a professional stake in the issue, why is it so important to you to constantly argue that the biblical view of origins must be believed by faith alone, without any support from reason or evidence, and that all of the scientific evidence supports the atheistic view of origins?

      “I publish science in professional journals that would reject my papers if I wrote, ‘Oh, by the way, God created this species 6,000 years ago.'”

      If you were curious about Creationism instead of intent on ridiculing it, you’d know that creationists don’t think God created “species” six thousand years ago, but types of animals that Adventist scientist Frank Lewis Marsh called Baramin. Since the Flood, each baramin has diversified into many different species. This is a concept that has been endorsed by Harvard Ph.D paleontologist Kurt Wise and other extremely well qualified scientists. But you’re more interested in ridiculing creationism than even trying to understand it.

      And frankly, I don’t think there’s any good excuse for Christian, much less Seventh-day Adventist, scientists providing content for journals run by anti-Christian, anti-Biblical bigots. If the Ku Klux Klan wanted you to publish in their journal, would you do it? Then why do you provide content for journals bigoted against theism and creationism?

      “The other part of my work at a private Christian institution is teaching, and I share my relationship with Jesus daily.”

      What Jesus do you think you have a relationship with? The Jesus of the Bible is the Creator God. (Jn. 1:3; Heb. 1:2) Do you think He created by predation and death and disease over the course of 600 million years? The Jesus of the Bible is the second Adam who succeeded where the First Adam failed. (1 Cor. 15:22; Rom. 5:12-21) If there was no actual Adam and Eve, and in the mainstream origins narrative there certainly is not, how can Christ have been the second Adam? The Jesus of the Bible spoke of the creation and the Flood as literal events. (Mat. 19:4; 24:38-39) Was Jesus wrong about this, or did He simply lie to his listeners to make a point?

      And of course, Jesus came to die for and redeem fallen humanity, but in the mainstream view of origins there absolutely has been no fall whatsoever. To the contrary, there has been an astonishing rise from amoeba to Mozart, from slime to Einstein. There certainly is no need whatsoever of a redeemer. Darwinism makes absolute nonsense out of Christ’s identity and mission on earth, and out of Christianity. You can’t be an evolutionist and be a Christian. They do not go together. So again, what Jesus do you think you have a relationship with?




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      • @David Read:”What Jesus do you think you have a relationship with? The Jesus of the Bible is the Creator God. (Jn. 1:3; Heb. 1:2) Do you think He created by predation and death and disease over the course of 600 million years? The Jesus of the Bible is the second Adam who succeeded where the First Adam failed. (1 Cor. 15:22; Rom. 5:12-21) If there was no actual Adam and Eve, and in the mainstream origins narrative there certainly is not, how can Christ have been the second Adam? The Jesus of the Bible spoke of the creation and the Flood as literal events. (Mat. 19:4; 24:38-39) Was Jesus wrong about this, or did He simply lie to his listeners to make a point?

        And of course, Jesus came to die for and redeem fallen humanity, but in the mainstream view of origins there absolutely has been no fall whatsoever. To the contrary, there has been an astonishing rise from amoeba to Mozart, from slime to Einstein. There certainly is no need whatsoever of a redeemer. Darwinism makes absolute nonsense out of Christ’s identity and mission on earth, and out of Christianity. You can’t be an evolutionist and be a Christian. They do not go together. So again, what Jesus do you think you have a relationship with? …”

        David, You said it so well, I could not resist the temptation of quoting you on this.

        My hope is that Professor Kent will read it several times until he realizes the truth contained therein!




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      • @David Read:

        You write with supreme confidence and certainty;

        “And frankly, I don’t think there’s any good excuse for Christian, much less Seventh-day Adventist, scientists providing content for journals run by anti-Christian, anti-Biblical bigots. If the Ku Klux Klan wanted you to publish in their journal, would you do it? Then why do you provide content for journals bigoted against theism and creationism?”

        Besides advertising you ignorance of the process of scientific communication I suspect you have not thought this one through. Or are you just using the time honoured legal practice of creating reasonable doubt or perhaps a Chewbacca defense which outside legal desperation is favoured at times by Sean himself. I presume you say this about law as well. Do you think that an Adventist should write for a law journal for I suspect that most law journals would be run by atheistic or agnostic people who do not accept literal creationism? Why do you pedal your book through a company run by a man Jeff Bezos who is an atheist who recently donated 2.5 million dollars to support gay marriage.

        Be consistent otherwise I will be confirmed in my thinking that you are all hat and no cattle as they say in your home state.




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        • @Pauluc: Paul, whatever Jeff Bezos personally believes, he allows all comers to sell through Amazon, including many thousands of Bibles and religiously-oriented books. If Bezos didn’t allow religious books to be marketed on Amazon, I wouldn’t write a secular book and sell it on Amazon.

          What Jeff Kent is saying (and it is true) is that the journals he publishes in are not open to creationists; they will not publish material with a creationist point of view. I think that raises an ethical issue of whether creationists should even be supporting that type of journal, when there are at least three different peer-reviewed creationists journals in existence.

          By the way, law reviews certainly do allow articles on jurisprudence that discuss issues such as positive law or man-made law as opposed to theories of natural law, or a higher source of law. Certainly, the founders of the United States believed in a higher source of law: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, and that among these are the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Hence, any discussion of the jurisprudence of the founders will necessarily note that they believed in principles of law and justice that were more than merely human, and above, and a corrector of, merely human statutes and decrees.




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  26. There are many people who take Sean Pitman’s approach toward “potentially falsifiable empirical evidence” and find the “weight” of evidence lacking.

    They look at the multitude of claims in scripture that violate all laws of nature and say, “look, these are physically impossible; this is a fairy tale.” These are supernatural claims like forming a living breathing organism from dirt; tapping a rock with a stick so that water rushes out; the sun standing still for hours; throwing a stick in water and seeing an axe head float; curing a leper with a voice command; a virgin woman giving birth; a three-day-old human body returning to life. I could go on and on.

    There are thousands of similarly fantastic stories told throughout the history of mankind, and they continue to this day. To believe ANY of them is to set aside one’s reliance on “potentially falsifiable empirical evidence” and say, “hey, I don’t understand it, but I am going to believe in it even though it is demonstrably false by the methods of naturalistic science.” We all pick and choose what we believe; we all look to evidence; but when we believe in something that science demonstrates to be physically impossible, one is obviously deceived to continue claiming their beliefs are “superior” because they’re based on scientific evidence.

    For you guys to claim that your beliefs are upheld by the “weight” of “potentially falsifiable empirical evidence” is an outright lie. You guys (and I) believe in things that science makes 99.999999999999% clear are physically impossible. You have your “evidence” to believe, just as I do, but you’re too arrogant to admit the evidence is something VERY different from the glaring and unforgiving light of science. VERY DIFFERENT. It is NOT based on science.

    Sean claims he would give up his beliefs if science convinced him that life could not have been on this planet for only a few thousand years. Yet he holds steadfastly to his beliefs even though science has shown convincingly that his belief in so many other things, including the resurrection of Lazarus and Jesus, were scientifically untenable and could not have physically happened. This simply demonstrates his idiosynchratic choices and heterodox theology based largely on his peculiar obsession with one issue and the recognition he craves for being an “authority” on it.




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    • Sean claims he would give up his beliefs if science convinced him that life could not have been on this planet for only a few thousand years. Yet he holds steadfastly to his beliefs even though science has shown convincingly that his belief in so many other things, including the resurrection of Lazarus and Jesus, were scientifically untenable and could not have physically happened. This simply demonstrates his idiosynchratic choices and heterodox theology based largely on his peculiar obsession with one issue and the recognition he craves for being an “authority” on it.

      That’s not now science works. There are many hypothesis in science that have very high predictive value without anyone knowing why or how the phenomenon in question actually works. As I’ve explained to you before, the resurrection of the dead is not scientifically impossible or untenable. There’s no scientific reason to say that, given someone with enough knowledge and creative power, especially someone with evident access to Divine Power or God-like power, that a body still could not be raised from the dead. To the contrary. The weight of empirical evidence in hand suggests that it did actually happen. Just because one cannot demonstrate how it happened does not mean that it did happen or that the hypothesis that it did happen isn’t scientifically supported or otherwise empirically rational. The same is true for the origin of the universe. The artifactual nature of the universe is clearly evident, even for most physicists who see a Divine or God-like signature behind the fundamental laws of nature, without knowing how it was or could be done. Still, the design hypotheses for these artifacts is quite clearly supported.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • @Sean: “The weight of empirical evidence in hand suggests that it did actually happen. …”

        Amen! Jesus is alive. This Kent will not deny; which means that Kent’s naturalistic approach is not worth a dime for discovering the truth!

        What’s the point of trying to demonstrate that the resurrection is impossible if you believe that it is possible because it did actually happen?

        The resurrection of Jesus could have been falsified by Jesus contemporaries by simply producing the dead body of Jesus.

        They didn’t to this, and didn’t even try!
        Case closed, Kent! Give up your worthless philosophy based on human wisdom!




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        • @Nic Samojluk: You wrote, “The resurrection of Jesus could have been falsified by Jesus contemporaries by simply producing the dead body of Jesus.

          They didn’t to this, and didn’t even try!”

          You are correct about the possibility of falsification. But do we know they didn’t try?




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        • @George: “You are correct about the possibility of falsification. But do we know they didn’t try?”

          There is no evidence that they tried! Some of them had witnessed the resurrection of Lazarus.

          My guess is that they felt no need to find out the truth because Jesus had provided ample evidence that he had power over nature and death itself.




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    • @Kent: “They look at the multitude of claims in scripture that violate all laws of nature and say, “look, these are physically impossible; this is a fairy tale.” …”

      You do believe that such supernatural events did really happen. Do you hold such beliefs as a result of evidence or the lack of evidence?

      1. If evidence, then can you describe it?

      2. If lack of evidence, then is not your faith blind?

      Finally, was the faith ot the disciples and followers of Jesus Christ based on evidence or the lack of evidence?




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    • @Professor Kent: I will just take the first of your list of things that are “physically impossible”.

      I agree it is physically impossible to form a living breathing organism from dirt, IF there is no God in the vicinity. But how is it physically impossible if God is there?




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  27. Bob Helm: I am convinced that the term “theistic evolution” is an oxymoron

    Agreed. Totally. I’ve never defended it, though I defend rather than belittle those who choose to believe in it. “Creation science” is another oxymoron. Science can’t test origins. Period. Talk about “weight of evidence” all you want, but the evidence for age of life is completely subject to personal interpretation (to which you all are entitled) and there is no scientific evidece for a creation event over a 6-day period.

    Again, the Church does not base its views on physical evidence–not the “weight” of it or anything else. It’s based 100% on scripture (with some support from Ellen White, despite its claims of “sola scriptura”). And that won’t change in our lifetimes. If you wish to disagree with the Church, and deride those like me that agree with the Church, and call its fideists and “angry,” then be my guest. You certainly amuse me.




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    • There is very good evidence, the weight of evidence, for the recent creation of life on this planet and a worldwide Noachian-style Flood, as described in the Bible. Many of the details of the Bible cannot be directly tested or demonstrated, but the overall credibility of the Bible can be established based on those elements and claims that can be investigated and subjected to testing – with the very real possibility of effective falsification. That is why the Bible should be viewed as more credible than the Book of Mormon or the Qur’an or any other book claiming to have a Divine origin.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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    • I never called anyone angry. I affirm you as my brother in Christ, even if we don’t always agree! Certainly, the church should affirm sola scriptura. But why do we have confidence in the principle of sola scriptura? Again – here is where apologetics and the weight of evidence play an
      essential role.@Professor Kent:




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  28. Nic Samojluk: There is no way for science to provide this kind of certainty. A single resurrection, would negate such a claim by science, and the Bible provides credible evidence that Jesuss Christ did come back to life, in addition to Lazarus and the daughter of Jairus.

    In the modern age of science, there have been billions upon billions of human deaths with zero documented resurrections after >24 hours. Birds and mammals that we breed to consume have a similar physiology, and none of trillions upon trillions have come back to life after >24 hours. You say science can’t provide a level of 99.999999999999% certainty. Okay, what percentage would you peg a human resurrection at? Go ahead: make me look bad.

    There is no difference between a supernatural resurrection and a supernatural creation in terms of what science can support. Science absolutely cannot falsify either event, in spite of your wildest imagination. You’ve accepted both on similar levels of evidence. If you are going to make the pretense, as Sean does, that your set of beliefs are “superior” because they are backed by “potentially falsifiable empirical evidence” (i.e., science), you’ve deluded yourself as well.




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    • Science is pretty conclusive that human resurrection cannot be achieved by any known naturalistic means or human level intelligence. Science has not shown, however, that human resurrection cannot be achieved via suprahuman intelligence and creative power – such as God-like creative power. Quite the contrary. The best evidence in hand strongly favors the conclusion that such an event did in fact happen in Earth’s history – as recorded by the Bible. The Biblical account is therefore not on the same level as a just-so children’s story or moral fable. It has the weight of empirical evidence to back it up…




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  29. Nic Samojluk: You are dismissing the evidence which convinced Jesus disciples to choose death rather than denying the evidence they had witnessed for three year about the supernatural power of the one who claimed to be the Son of God.

    No I’m not. I’m just not equating it to “potentially falsifiable empirical evidence.” SDAs certainly don’t accept or reject Christ’s death based on the “weight” of “potentially falsifiable empirical evidence,” and neither do they accept Genesis 1 based on the “weight” of “potentially falsifiable empirical evidence.”




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    • That’s not true. If there was no evidence supporting the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection, why then should we put our faith in this story over any other fantastic story in any other religious text or morale fable? – blind faith? Fidestic religion? What good is that?




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    • @Kent: “SDAs certainly don’t accept or reject Christ’s death based on the “weight” of “potentially falsifiable empirical evidence …”

      You are probably thinking about those Adventists who have inherited the religion of their parents. First generation Adventists usually get a heavy doses of predictive prophecies found in Scripture and act on this to join the church.




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  30. Nic Samojluk: He believes, I think, that when all the evidence is in, there will be a harmony between revelation and science.

    And what did he say he would do if there was not harmony? He has made crystal clear that he would go with the science and his reason on numerous occasions. Would you do the same? Would you reject God’s word and instead trust someone else’s science and your own ability to decipher it? Have the courage to say a “yea” or “nay.”




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    • @Professor Kent: You said that Sean “has made crystal clear that he would go with the science and his reason on numerous occasions. Would you do the same?”

      If the scientifically confirmed body of Jesus Christ was found in a tomb near Jerusalem, would you continue to believe in the risen Christ?




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    • @Kent: “And what did he say he would do if there was not harmony? He has made crystal clear that he would go with the science and his reason on numerous occasions. Would you do the same?”

      Here is what Pitman allegedly stated:

      “I, personally, would have to go with what I saw as the weight of empirical evidence. This is why if I ever honestly became convinced that the weight of empirical evidence was on the side of life existing on this planet for hundreds of millions of years, I would leave not only the SDA Church, but Christianity as well” (http://www.educatetruth.com/theological/the-credibility-of-faith/comment-page-1/#comment-18717

      This statement seems to indicate that Pitman’s faith in the biblical record and biblical chronology is so strong that he is willing to defy the odds of being wrong.

      I agree with him on the belief that millions of years of pain, suffering and death is not the way God created human life. Such theory contradicts the plain teaching of Scripture. Darwinian evolution destroys the most fundamental pillar of the Christian faith: the belief that God created humans in a perfect state, there was a moral fall, which moved God to implement a Plan of Salvation.

      If Darwin is right, then we have no need for a plan of salvation. We have done quite well thanks—not to Jesus Christ—but rather to natural selection and genetic mutation. We started as an insignificant cell, progressed through apes to Homo Sapiens. This is what Pitman rejects, and I do as well. Pitman sees no chance that empirical science will ever produce credible evidence matching this wild scenario.

      I see his statement as confirming his unswerving reliance on the biblical story. I do agree with him with this view with the following minor observation:

      In the unlikely event that science would be able some day to empirically demonstrate that the theory of evolution is right, then I would opt for Dr. Jack Provonsha’s golden parachute:

      Instead of abandoning the Bible and Christianity, I would consider the possibility that the pre-Adamic animal life was the result of the activity of Satan following his expulsion from heaven. The suffering, pain and death of animals for millions of years would be the result—not of Adam’s sin—but the rebellion of Lucifer in heaven.

      Now regarding the story of creation recorded in the book of Genesis, I believe that it represents a reliable record of the creation of the human race. My view is that the information found in Genesis 1 & 2 was not the result of a dictation Moses received from heaven.

      The record does not make any reference to a vision. I conclude, therefore, that Moses most probably inherited said information from his ancestors going back all the way to Adam and Eve




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  31. Sean Pitman: There’s no scientific reason to say that, given someone with enough knowledge and creative power, especially someone with evident access to Divine Power or God-like power, that a body could be raised from the dead. To the contrary. The weight of empirical evidence in hand suggests that it did actually happen.

    Wow! Science actually supports Christ’s death!

    With your reasoning, I’m sure would then agree there’s no scientific reason to say that, given someone with enough knowledge and creative power, especially someone with evident access to Divine Power or God-like power, that a body couldn’t experience a warm feeling when the gut upon reading the Book of Mormon. Right? In fact, millons of Mormons who have experienced the sensation attest to this reality. Indeed, “the weight of empirical evidence” supports this claim, too!




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  32. Professor Kent,

    Why is the virgin birth of Jesus Christ so incredible in your eyes? Dolly the sheep and subsequent clones were born asexually. If scientists can achieve this feat today, why can’t the Lord of science do the same thing? And as I recall, the DNA that was used to clone Dolly came from another sheep’s ear. If that is the case, why is it so far-fetched to believe that God designed Eve from Adam’s rib? And as as for the dead rising, I am only aware of one scientific law that prevents it – the second law of thermodynamics, which requires movement from order to disorder, and death is clearly more disordered than life. However, the second law does not apply in an open system with directed energy being fed into that system to create order. Human beings can design clones today, but a clone of a dead person is a replica. It’s still not the same person. But what if we postulate a clone that has its brain wired identically to the brain of the person who died, so that all the memory comes back? Of course, human beings are not intelligent enough to pull that off, but suppose God is intelligent enough. Isn’t that what a bodily resuurection really is? If God is real, I don’t see why the resurrection of the dead is far-fetched at all. God’s miracles are merely unexplained events that can strengthen faith. They are not magic or capricious. They are possible for one simple reason – God’s intelligence is vastly greater than the intelligence of human beings!




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  33. Professor Kent,

    One more thing. I have no desire to belittle those who believe in theistic evolution. Belittling people is always contrary to the spirit of Christ. I reserve the right to politely disagree, and I do disagree with theistic evolution. But while I disagree with theistic evolution and even protest against it, I want to be kind to those who hold to this view.




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  34. Sean Pitman: If there was no evidence supporting the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection, why then should we put our faith in this story over any other fantastic story in any other religious text or morale fable? – blind faith? Fidestic religion? What good is that?

    There is evidence. Obviously. But where is the physical evidence? What do we have other than an eyewitness account? We have eyewitness accounts–hundreds–of encounters with Bigfoot and with aliens. If you insist Christ’s resurrection is supported by scientific evidence, I’d like to know what it is. You tell me why your intelligent, God given brain is able to discern truth from eyewitnesses better than Joe Blow scientist.




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    • Where is the nonphysical evidence of the details described in the Bible? – outside of the testimony that the Bible itself gives? – that Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a Holy life, died, and was Resurrected? All these is dependent upon the witness of the Bible itself and the Bible’s established credibility.

      How then is the credibility of the Bible established? Through historical evidence, to include fulfilled prophecies, the willingness of all of the disciples to put their lives on the line for their story, and the fact that no one countered the testimony of the disciples regarding the empty tomb.

      I’d say that’s far far better evidence than any alien or Big Foot encounter story… at least for anyone who is actually looking for the Truth.

      Of course there are those who will reject this evidence – obviously. However, there were those in Jesus’ day who would reject the Truth even though they themselves saw Him raise Lazarus from the dead. For such people, the weight of evidence isn’t the answer. They love their lies so much that they won’t change their minds regardless of the evidence presented – they actually want to be deceived. For such, there is no hope – nothing further God can do.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  35. Bob Helm: Why is the virgin birth of Jesus Christ so incredible in your eyes? Dolly the sheep and subsequent clones were born asexually. If scientists can achieve this feat today, why can’t the Lord of science do the same thing?

    It is incredible because it defies all evidence known to science. Do you think it was an ordinary event? You’re moving the goal posts by saying God could do it. Of couse an omnipotent power, the God you and I believe in, God could do it. But the rational human mind who depends on naturalistic science and rejects metaphysical explanations, which you and Sean repeatedly invoke, would never believe in the resurrection of Jesus. They would logically reject scripture on this basis alone.

    Bob Helm: God’s intelligence is vastly greater than the intelligence of human beings!

    I totally agree. But if one depends solely on “potentially falsifiable empirical evidence” and denies metaphysical explanations, they won’t recognize this. They have to look to other sources of evidence, like eyewitness accounts and scripture, to arrive at this conclusion and concede the possibility of a resurrection.




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  36. Sean Pitman: I don’t think many would argue, to include my LDS friends, that there’s much of a comparison between a fuzzy warm sensation and actually seeing the Resurrection…

    So you’re acknowledging that the evidentiary basis is similar, only that one is far more a fantastic claim than the other. You choose to believe the more fantastic claim and reject the other.




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    • That’s not what I said. What I said is that compared to actually seeing the Resurrection, personally, a warm fuzzy feeling doesn’t compare. The disciples of Jesus claimed that they actually saw, with their own eyes, the physical Resurrection of Jesus. As evidence to their claimed witness, they all put their lives on the line. For additional evidence, none of the those who hated Jesus disputed the claims of the disciples with regard to their claim that Jesus tomb was in fact empty – despite being guarded by a bunch of Roman soldiers. That’s far better evidence, in history, than some warm fuzzy feeling.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  37. Couldn’t that ole fuzzy warm feeling be considered empirical evidence of the Spirit of God? For some folks that may seem more sensate than relying on the hearsay story of folks with a vested interest that said they saw a feller come back to life over 2000 years ago.




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  38. george: Couldn’t that ole fuzzy warm feeling be considered empirical evidence of the Spirit of God? For some folks that may seem more sensate than relying on the hearsay story of folks with a vested interest that said they saw a feller come back to life over 2000 years ago.

    Absolutely.




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    • Not when the historical evidence shows that all of the disciples of Jesus put their lives on the line for the story they told. Some vague warm fuzzy feeling isn’t going to do that when it comes to a story that someone knows isn’t true…

      People die for all kinds of things. There are martyrs a-plenty. However, not very many people are willing to put their lives on the line for a story that they know for a fact isn’t true. The fact that all the disciples of Jesus put their lives on the line strongly supports the idea that they really did believe that He was raised from the dead – they really believed their fantastic story.




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  39. George Evans: Kent makes it sound like David is referring to some wild extreme twisting, when he is simply referring to the basic tenets of evolution, which we all know Kent does defend.
    Professor Kent, can you explain this discrepancy?

    The only discrepancy is in your imagination. I’ve never defended the basic tenets of evolutionism: abiogenesis and common ancestry for all life forms. I reject them outright, and have stated hundreds of times at this website that I’m a creationist. Stop making uninformed assumptions. Pay attention.




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    • You do claim to be a creationist, but based strictly on a type of faith that requires no basis at all in empirical evidence. This allows you to argue like an evolutionist while still claiming to be a creationist. You always sound very much like an evolutionist, more ardent than many atheists that I’ve debated. You even appear to get angry when any empirical evidence, from biology or geology/fossils, is presented in support of the Biblical perspective.

      It’s like you’re trying to have your cake and eat it too. Pick your side and actually defend it with something besides wishful thinking already.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  40. George Evans: I agree it is physically impossible to form a living breathing organism from dirt, IF there is no God in the vicinity. But how is it physically impossible if God is there?

    It isn’t. Problem is, you can’t accept this possibility based on “potentially falsifiable empirical evidence” and claim your beliefs are superior because they’re based on science and your reason. You absolutely cannot falsify the claim that God made it happen.




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      • @Sean: “Yes, you can. You can falsify the God-only hypothesis by showing that some other mechanism is also able to do the job.

        You can also effectively falsify this hypothesis by showing that the other associated evidences, such as the claim that Jesus tomb was empty, aren’t true…”

        This is a brilliant response! I am saving it in my computer memory for future use. Thanks, Sean, for the crystal clear manner in which you answered Kent’s objection.




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  41. Bob Helm: Professor Kent,
    One more thing. I have no desire to belittle those who believe in theistic evolution. Belittling people is always contrary to the spirit of Christ. I reserve the right to politely disagree, and I do disagree with theistic evolution. But while I disagree with theistic evolution and even protest against it, I want to be kind to those who hold to this view.

    I admire your stance, Bob. Well stated.




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  42. Sean Pitman: The a priori rejection of the existence of God or His Signature in nature or His ability to perform acts of intelligent design in our world is not a valid position of science

    Testing God’s existence is not a valid position of science. You simply cannot verify a historic event because you can’t replay it.




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    • There are many ways to verify historical events to very useful degrees of predictive value. If there were no such ways, then there would be no valid historical sciences. There’d be no way to tell if Abraham Lincoln was in fact a historical figure or if the Civil War did in fact happen as described.

      I’m sorry, but the study of history can in fact be based on valid scientific methodologies and empirical evidence.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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    • @Professor Kent: Sean stated, “The a priori rejection of the existence of God…is not a valid position of science.”

      You replied, “Testing God’s existence is not a valid position of science.”

      Therefore Sean is right. If you can’t test God’s existence scientifically, then you can’t reject His existence scientifically.

      Remember that!




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  43. Sean Pitman: The best evidence in hand strongly favors the conclusion that such an event did in fact happen in Earth’s history – as recorded by the Bible. The Biblical account is therefore not on the same level as a just-so children’s story or moral fable. It has the weight of empirical evidence to back it up…

    Your conclusion is based strictly on your interpretation of the evidence–evidence which does not meet the standards of modern science and null hypothesis testing. There are no statistical probabilities. Your insistence on “weight of empirical evidence” is pure hubris.




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    • I think this is why we have been talking past each other all of these years. You have a very different view of evidence, of empirical evidence, than I do. By default then you also have a very different view of science and the definition and functional basis of science.

      The fact is that Biblical prophecy is evidence, empirical evidence, with the potential for falsifiability and predictive value – to include a basis in statistical probabilities. In other words, one can actually figure out the odds of all the prophecies about Jesus being randomly fulfilled by sheer luck.

      Again, this is a rational basis in empirical evidence. It is not “pure hubris” to present people with Biblical prophecy as a very good basis for a rational starting point for solid faith in the claims of the Bible.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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    • @Kent: “Your conclusion is based strictly on your interpretation of the evidence–evidence which does not meet the standards of modern science and null hypothesis testing. There are no statistical probabilities. Your insistence on “weight of empirical evidence” is pure hubris.”

      Try selling your strange and unreasonable demands on historical investigation to a real historian. Do you think that you would succeed?




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  44. Sean Pitman: How thin is the credibility of the Bible established? Through historical evidence, to include fulfilled prophecies, the willingness of all of the disciples to put their lives on the line for their story, and the fact that no one countered the testimony of the disciples regarding the empty tomb.

    These do not equate to “potentially falsifiable empirical evidence.” None of this is “scientific.” Fulfilled prophecies, for example, are merely fulfilled interpretations of prophecies. There’s no problem accepting these things and labeling them as evidence, but none of these remotely resemble the level of evidence you insist your faith is based on. You cannot falsify any of these items.

    Sean Pitman: I’d say that’s far far better evidence than any alien or Big Foot encounter story… at least for anyone who is actually looking for the Truth.

    This is based on your interpretation of the evidence, not the evidence itself.

    Sean Pitman: Of course there are those who will reject this evidence – obviously. However, there were those in Jesus’ day who would reject the Truth even though they themselves saw Him raise Lazarus from the dead. For such people, the weight of evidence isn’t the answer. They love their lies so much that they won’t change their minds regardless of the evidence presented – they actually want to be deceived. For such, there is no hope – nothing further God can do.

    Most people who reject God and Scripture do not love lies. They use YOUR approach: they use their God-given brains and rely on the most compelling evidence available to them, evidence they interpret in a very different way than you do.

    Let’s get something straight. Your claim to possessing superior beliefs because they are based on science and rational thinking are based entirely on interpretation rather than empirical evidence. Your claims are vacuous. You should boast less.




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    • Sean Pitman: How then is the credibility of the Bible established? Through historical evidence, to include fulfilled prophecies, the willingness of all of the disciples to put their lives on the line for their story, and the fact that no one countered the testimony of the disciples regarding the empty tomb.

      I personally hold tight to each of these. However, these do not equate to “potentially falsifiable empirical evidence.”

      Yes they do. They are statements about historical events that can be investigated and potentially falsify? Did the disciples in fact put their lives on the line for their story? That question is potentially falsifiable. Did the enemies of Jesus even try to counter the claim that Jesus’ tomb was empty? That also is a potentially falsifiable claim. That is empirical evidence.

      None of this is “scientific.” Fulfilled prophecies, for example, are merely fulfilled interpretations of prophecies. Interpretations. There’s no problem accepting these things and labeling them as evidence, but none of these remotely resemble the level of evidence you insist your faith is based on. You cannot falsify any of these items.

      Again, not true. Everything is an “interpretation” Jeff. Many of the prophecies are too specific to be rationally “interpreted” any other way than in their fulfillment in Jesus birth, life, and death. The prophecies can be effectively falsified if Jesus didn’t do what they claimed He did when He actually lived and died. This is very good empirical evidence. In fact, it is extraordinary empirical evidence.

      This is based on your interpretation of the evidence, not the evidence itself.

      All evidence must be interpreted in science. Otherwise, all scientists would agree all the time. That’s just not the case. This does not mean that the Biblical prophecies are “evidence” – they are evidence. They are fantastic empirical evidence in support of the Biblical claims for Divine origin.

      Sean Pitman: I’d say that’s far far better evidence than any alien or Big Foot encounter story… at least for anyone who is actually looking for the Truth.

      This is based on your interpretation of the evidence, not the evidence itself.

      What is evidence without interpretation? Nothing. However, for those willing to consider Biblical prophecy with a candid mind, the evidence they offer, the empirical evidence, is very clear – the interpretation is obvious based on the historical evidence.

      Sean Pitman: Of course there are those who will reject this evidence – obviously. However, there were those in Jesus’ day who would reject the Truth even though they themselves saw Him raise Lazarus from the dead. For such people, the weight of evidence isn’t the answer. They love their lies so much that they won’t change their minds regardless of the evidence presented – they actually want to be deceived. For such, there is no hope – nothing further God can do.

      Most people who reject God and Scripture do not love lies. They use YOUR approach: they use their God-given brains and rely on the most compelling evidence available to them, evidence they interpret in a very different way than you do.

      That’s not true. Most people who seriously study Scripture with the motive of actually finding the Truth do in fact find God. This is a promise of God after all. – Jeremiah 29:13

      Beyond this, only God knows the heart of a person – to include the mental capabilities given. That is why this is not an issue of salvation per se. Will honestly confused people who never understood the Divine origin of the Bible or the literal nature of the Genesis account be in Heaven? To be sure! However, this does not discount the fact that learning the truth about these things here in this life comes with great rewards here and now.

      Let’s get something straight. Your claim to possessing superior beliefs because they are based on science and rational thinking are based entirely on interpretation rather than empirical evidence. Your claims are vacuous. You should boast less.

      You tell me the difference between evidence and interpretation of the evidence. Show me a scientific conclusion that is based on evidence without any interpretation of the evidence…

      The fact is that observations are meaningless until they are interpreted. The question is, does the interpretation make rational sense? Does it match the hypothesis in a meaningful way? That’s science.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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    • @Kent: “These do not equate to “potentially falsifiable empirical evidence.””

      Your claim is only partially true. The resurrection of Jesus is not subject to scientific falsification today, but said event was potentially falsifiable by the contemporaries of Jesus Christ.

      All they needed to do was to produce the dead body of Jesus. They didn’t even try because the evidence was so overwhelming.

      The same can be said about Lazarus. There was a large number of individuals, including Jewish leaders, who had witnessed how this man came out of the tomb on the fourth day after being buried there.

      The scientific evidence was so impressive that in a few centuries the entire pagan Roman empire collapsed under the weight of what the wisest men of the time could not deny.

      The followers of Jesus were so impressed with these facts that they were willing to give their lives for this undeniable belief.




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      • Actually, this does qualify as empirical evidence today – since these events were so very well documented (to include the fact that Jesus’ body could not be found by His enemies). The historical sciences are very very clear in this regard.




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  45. This has become a stupid conversation that gets more stupid with each stupid post. I can’t believe I’m even responding to anyone who claims they have science to back up their belief in God. Utterly stupid.




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    • @Kent: “This has become a stupid conversation that gets more stupid with each stupid post. I can’t believe I’m even responding to anyone who claims they have science to back up their belief in God. Utterly stupid.”

      Most scientists admit that the universe is fine tuned for life. In addition, we now have the evidence from DNA which suggests that billions of sequentially arranged genes could not be tyhe product of chance and natural selection.

      Yet you are saying that there is no scientically based evidence for a Designer? What is you estimate of the probablillity that the fine tuning of the univers and the finely arranged




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    • @Kent: “This has become a stupid conversation that gets more stupid with each stupid post. I can’t believe I’m even responding to anyone who claims they have science to back up their belief in God. Utterly stupid.”

      Most scientist agree that our universe shows evidence of fine tuning, and we have the additional evidence from the extremely complex arrangement of the DNA, and you seem to argue that there is no evidence for a Designer?

      Do you really believe that the information contained in the human DNA is the result of chance and natural selection? What is the probability of this having evolved without the intervention of intelligent activity?

      Some years ago, Dr. Collins, the man in charge of the human genome project, said the following in his speech during a graduation ceremony at Loma Linda University: I was tempted to read to you the entire DNA sequence, but I changed my mind when I discovered that it would take me 32 years of non-stop reading.

      And you believe that arguing for the evidence of a Designer is actually a sign of stupidity? The Bible says: “The fool said in his heart: There is no God.”




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    • @Professor Kent: You said, “I can’t believe I’m even responding to anyone who claims they have science to back up their belief in God.”

      You could believe it if you would accept the empirical evidence of all the posts with your name on them. 🙂




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    • @Professor Kent: “I can’t believe I’m even responding to anyone who claims they have science to back up their belief in God. Utterly stupid.”

      Jeff, what makes it even more stupid is that you keep doing it over and over; this thread is about the 50th time you’ve engaged in this debate with Sean, even though you know exactly what Sean’s position is, and it hasn’t changed.




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  46. We have more than just the eyewitness accounts. We also have prophecies that were fulfilled in an amazing way, and the writers of the New Testament repeatedly appeal to those prophecies. Consider Daniel 9 as one example. This prophecy begins with a beautiful description of the gospel of free grace in verse 24. Then it goes on to point to the time of the Messiah’s appearance and death, and it asserts that after these events, the city of Jerusalem and the temple would be destroyed again, as they were by Nebuchadnezzer. I am aware of the attempts to explain this prophecy away by trying to fit it to the time of the Maccabees, but why then does it fit the time of Jesus so beautifully – far better than any Maccabean fit? This kind of evidence is completely different from the Mormon “burning in the bosom.”




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  47. Sean Pitman: The Biblical account is therefore not on the same level as a just-so children’s story or moral fable. It has the weight of empirical evidence to back it up…

    It has the weight of your interpretation of evidence–very little of it “empirical”–to back it up. There’s a big difference, as you well know.




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    • Not true. It has a great deal of empirical evidence to back it up – evidence which has general appeal and which is very difficult to honestly interpret any other way. Again, we’re not talking about Nostradamus-like prophecies here. We’re talking about amazingly specific prophecies and other forms of empirical evidence regarding the historical accuracy and authenticity of the Biblical accounts.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  48. Bob Helm: How does the virgin birth defy all evidence known to science when science has achieved virgin births with clones?

    First off, science can’t confirm whether an individual born 2000+ years ago was conceived without human sperm. Second, naturalistic science can’t demonstrate parthenogenesis in mammals without supernatural intercession or the modern technology essential for it to be accomplished today.

    What is wrong with conceding that many claims of scripture can only be accepted on faith? That science simply cannot examine supernatural events? What is wrong with you people? Where did your faithophobia come from? It’s laughable.




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    • Again, for the umpteenth time, while many Biblical stories cannot be directly evaluated, they can be rationally supported by evaluating those elements connected with these stories that can be empirically evaluated – such as the lives of the disciples who told the stories and the fact that they put up their own blood as collateral. Also, the prophecies themselves that refer to these stories can be evaluated for their own predictive value.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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    • What is wrong with conceding that many claims of scripture can only be accepted on faith?

      I fully realize that 21st century scientists cannot perform X rays of Mary’s womb or insert instruments into her womb to determine exactly what took place when the Holy Spirit overshadowed her. Of course, I accept the virgin birth on faith! My point was that we now have examples of virgin births occuring as a result of modern scientific technology, and since science has now produced virgin births in mammals, if God is real, we have an analogy for how He could have done the same thing. @Professor Kent:




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  49. Bob Helm: We have more than just the eyewitness accounts. We also have prophecies that were fulfilled in an amazing way, and the writers of the New Testament repeatedly appeal to those prophecies.

    I agree, and take solace in this, but for most prophecies only an interpretation has been fulfilled. Don’t forget that “spiritual things…are spiritually discerned” (1 Cor 2:13, 14), not validated by rigor of the scientific method.




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    • This isn’t true. If prophecies could be easily interpreted to mean vastly different things, they wouldn’t be useful as a basis for rational faith. It is precisely because they are open to the very real possibility of falsification that they form a very solid evidentiary basis for faith.

      Biblical prophecies aren’t like the vague lines of Nostradamus, for example. If they were, the Bible’s claims to Divine origin would rightly be suspect.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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    • Note also that true science is also “spiritually discerned” as well. All truth is God’s truth. The ability to think rationally, to think scientifically, is a gift of God where we think God’s thoughts after Him – as Newton pointed out. Without the guidance of the Spirit of God, valid science would also be impossible.




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    • @Professor Kent: You asked me to show you where God said He made everything. From the scientific report of Moses, he made two tablets of stone and then God engraved them with, among other things, these words, “For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them..”




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  50. Sean Pitman: It has a great deal of empirical evidence to back it up – evidence which has general appeal and which is very difficult to honestly interpret any other way.

    So now you’re calling into question the honesty of those who interpret the evidence differently than you do. Only yo and Adventists who think like you are honest.

    So if the evidence was as straightforward as you insist, and interpretation is not what matters, why do so many Christians come to very different conclusions regarding the Bible? We would all agree on the “weight” of the evidence if we all interpreted it the same. Obviously.




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    • Many Christians are cultural Christians who were born into the faith and who haven’t really analyzed the basis for their faith the point of being willing to put their lives on the line for it. Many Christians haven’t studied Biblical prophecies in detail. That is why Biblical prophecies still favor very prominently in Adventist apologetics and evangelistic campaigns – because of the general rational appeal to the evident interpretations of these prophecies and how they are clearly fulfilled by historical events.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  51. Sean Pitman: This isn’t true. If prophecies could be easily interpreted to mean vastly different things, they wouldn’t be useful as a basis for rational faith. It is precisely because they are open to the very real possibility of falsification that they form a very solid evidentiary basis for faith.

    Again, many Christians arrive at different conclusions regarding what is prophesized. And you think this has nothing to do with different interpretations? This is in large part why much of the secular world thinks Christians are nuts who argue endlessly and can’t agree on much of anything. Get real.




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    • It’s no different with science. Many scientists also argue endlessly over the correct interpretation of the evidence.

      I’m just saying that for me it is clear and that many come to other interpretations because of personal desires or philosophical motivations – not because of what the evidence is clearly suggesting.

      Ultimately, however, each individual must answer for him or herself. That is why the evidence must be considered on a personal basis. No one else can answer for you. You must do your own searching and weighing of the evidence.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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    • I thought I said just the opposite. Science cannot be done without an interpretation of the evidence. However, without any evidence and rational argument, there is no science.

      The same is true of faith. Faith requires a personal interpretation of the evidence. However, without even an attempt at a rational argument based on evidence, a “reason for faith” (1 Peter 3:15), there is no valid Biblical-style faith. The argument that no such rational evidence-based argument is needed, is a fideistic position that is, by definition, a rejection of rationality.

      Instead, we are asked to be prepared to give a reason for the hope that is within us – a reason with general appeal. What reason would you give for your faith in the Divine origin and credibility of the Bible? For your faith in the literal creation week or the Virgin Birth or the Resurrection of Jesus? If you appeal to prophecies or the martyrdom of the apostles or any other such “reason” are you not basing faith on rational arguments? If not, if you could get to a point where you say, “None of it ultimately matters. I have faith regardless of any rational reason for it.” that’s a problem. That’s a fideistic position that has no rational basis or appeal.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  52. In regard to the interpretation of Bible prophecies and scripture in general, there is something called exegesis, which is intended to produce the objective meaning of the text. Of course, some pericopes of scripture are difficult to exegete, and the process of exegesis is not always 100% accurate. But in the case of Daniel 9, you have a prophecy that points to the time for the Messiah’s appearance and death, and then goes on to predict the abomination of desolation and the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple. The fact that these events really did occur at the specified time and in the order that was predicted strongly affirms the Messianic interpretation of Daniel 9 as valid exegesis. To think that these events fell into place chronologically by chance does not seem possible. The prophecy is simply too specific for a chance fulfillment. It does not have a wax nose! So I have to conclude that while there is no absolute proof for the Christian Faith (as in mathematical proof), there is strong evidence to back up Jesus’ claims. Sir Isaac Newton saw this plainly when he called Daniel 9 the cornerstone of the Christian faith. Again – I am glad to acknowledge someone who holds to a fideistic position as a brother in Christ, but this position has more in common with the Enlightenment and Barthian Neo-Orthodoxy (which speaks of faith as a blind leap in the dark) than with true New Testament evangelical faith.




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    • @Bob Helm:
      You will obviously have a better understanding than me but I thought that the Barthian neo-orthodoxy and fundamentalism were really both derivative of the enlightenment. My understanding was that higher criticism which was the enlightenment approach to scriptures led to a reaction with an emphasis on the fundamentals of Christian faith, a high view of scripture and a characterization of higher criticism as illegitate approach since scripture was beyond “scientific” investigation. In contrast neo-orthodoxy responded to the enlightenment by recognizing the legitimacy and findings of higher criticism but maintaining that Christian faith and the revelation of God does not come through scientific understanding or investigation but through a direct revelation from God or as you characterize it a leap of Faith.

      Some in Adventism (including for example George Reid ) may not think we fit comfortably with fundamentalism particularly the foundational belief concerning scripture

      The 66 books of the Bible are the written Word of God. The Bible is divinely inspired and inerrant throughout. Its assertions are factually true in all the original autographs. It is the supreme authority, not only in all matters of faith and conduct, but in everything it teaches. Its authority is not limited to spiritual, religious or redemptive themes but includes its assertions in such fields as history and science.

      That is how Creation Ministries International phrase it. I do think that summarizes our belief as historical Adventists and as it is enshrined in our fundamental beliefs on inspiration of scripture. It is from that position that we must address questions on origins as Sean has done so well.




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    • @Bob: “But in the case of Daniel 9, you have a prophecy that points to the time for the Messiah’s appearance and death, and then goes on to predict the abomination of desolation and the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple.

      The fact that these events really did occur at the specified time and in the order that was predicted strongly affirms the Messianic interpretation of Daniel 9 as valid exegesis. To think that these events fell into place chronologically by chance does not seem possible. The prophecy is simply too specific for a chance fulfillment. It does not have a wax nose!”

      Thanks for reminding us about this incredibly accurate prediction. This could have been falsified if the events had not take place as predicted.

      Predictive prophecy id indeed the cornerstone of the Christian faith. Christians have a big advantage over doubters. The Bible talks with authority about the past, the present, and the future.

      There is much fanfare about the predictive power of the theory of evolution. This power is a pigmy when compared with what the Bible has to offer.




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  53. “Not when the historical evidence shows that all of the disciples of Jesus put their lives on the line for the story they told. Some vague warm fuzzy feeling isn’t going to do that when it comes to a story that someone knows isn’t true…”

    Well pahdner Sean,

    That must mean that all those jihadists that blow themelves up because they know they are going to see their God are right as well. Are you saying matrydom is proof of the witnessing of divinity?. If so, my empirically minded friend, it seems there may be a lot of evidence for polytheism.

    In my very long life i’ve heard, seen and read about a lot of fellers, and a few gals, sayiing they are in touch with God or are appointed ones. What kind of empirical test would you suggest to seperate the wheat from the chaff?. I’m afraid if is based on eye witness accounts of fellers with a vested interest in the outcome, albeit martyrdom, you may have some genuine competition as to who wears divine robes.




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    • Lots of people die for all kinds of reasons. However, not very many die for a story that they themselves know for sure isn’t true – especially when they’re a bunch of normal chicken-hearted guys to begin with. The martyrdom of the disciples testifies to the fact that they really did believe what they were saying about Jesus.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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    • @George: “What kind of empirical test would you suggest to separate the wheat from the chaff?.”

      Since you already believe in the physical resurrection of Jesus, you have no need to perform any empirical tests!

      Now, for those who do not share this belief in a live Jesus Christ, all you need to offer this person is the evidence from both history and the record of those witnesses who saw him following his resurrection.

      Said unbeliever will have to decide on the basis of the historical evidence. This is what historians do when dealing with historical events.

      Weighing the historical evidence is totally different from a blind faith based on someone’s claim.

      True faith is based on evidence. Those who rejected Jesus and crucified him did in spite of the evidence provided to them by Jesus Christ.

      When Jesus began his ministry, he did not say: “I am the Messiah. You have to believe what I say because I God.”

      He rather demonstrated his power over nature and over death. Those who accepted him acted on the basis of verifiable evidence.




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  54. Sean Pitman: Note also that true science is also “spiritually discerned” as well. All truth is God’s truth. The ability to think rationally, to think scientifically, is a gift of God where we think God’s thoughts after Him – as Newton pointed out. Without the guidance of the Spirit of God, valid science would also be impossible.

    This is as fideist an argument as one can profer.




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    • Hardly. Once one realizes that the evidence points toward the existence of a personal God, it isn’t much of a leap of logic to conclude that God designed us to find Him – that He is the source of all of our abilities – to include our ability to reason from cause to effect and from effect to likely cause.

      Compare this to the fideist position that proposes that God does not want us to use our God-given abilities to think and reason as a basis for finding Him or discovering His Word… that human reason is always suspect and is always trumped by a form of faith that requires no rational support or empirical evidence.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  55. George: In my very long life i’ve heard, seen and read about a lot of fellers, and a few gals, sayiing they are in touch with God or are appointed ones. What kind of empirical test would you suggest to seperate the wheat from the chaff?. I’m afraid if is based on eye witness accounts of fellers with a vested interest in the outcome, albeit martyrdom, you may have some genuine competition as to who wears divine robes.

    To Sean, virtually anything can be empirical evidence.




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  56. Sean Pitman:
    Did the disciples in fact put their lives on the line for their story? That question is potentially falsifiable. Did the enemies of Jesus even try to counter the claim that Jesus’ tomb was empty? That also is a potentially falsifiable claim. That is empirical evidence.

    Martyrs are well documented among Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Bahai faith, Sikhism, and other faiths. Looks like “empirical evidence” demonstrates that all of these faiths are valid. Further, absence of evidence hardly qualifies as falsifiable evidence for how authorities reacted to the empty tomb. You can’t assume that everything they said and did was recorded. The bottom line: we can’t replay these events to find out for sure what happened and what did not happen.




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    • Martyrs are well documented for many faiths and creeds. However, they have something in common – almost none of them were willing to die for something they knew was a lie.

      Beyond this, God allows his children to be martyred precisely because of such evidence. That is why the 2nd-century Church Father Tertullian wrote that, “the blood of martyrs is the seed of the Church,” implying, of course, that the martyrs’ willing sacrifice of their lives leads to the conversion of others.

      We can be more sure of the life and death of Jesus than pretty much any other historical figure. The events are very well documented by ancient texts. So much so that if you do not believe the evidence for Jesus credible, then you really cannot think much of the historical sciences in general.

      Of course, you seem to equate science with the production of some kind of absolute form of evidence or demonstration. You forget that science is not needed when such demonstrations, such as an ability to replay the actual events, is in hand. Science only becomes useful when there is less than complete information in hand. Science, like Biblical faith, is based on the weight of evidence, not demonstration. That is why, in science, as in real faith, there is always the possibility of being wrong…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  57. There’s something else to consider regarding the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Obviously, His enemies knew where He was buried. So all they had to do to refute the good news and stop Christianity dead in its tracks was to produce His corpse. That would seemingly not be a difficult thing to do, and since the high priest Caiaphas, who condemned Jesus to death, was a Sadducee who had a vested interest in denying the resurrection, I’m sure he would have loved to produce Jesus’ dead body. But he never did! In fact, it is ironic that Caiaphas’ ossuary, which contained his bones, was discovered in Jerusalem in 1990. So the bones of the high priest who condemned Jesus to death have been discovered. But Jesus’ bones have never been discovered! Now when you couple data like that with Old Testament prophecies like Daniel 9 finding their focus in Jesus, the evidence for Christianity truly becomes overwhelming.




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  58. Sean Pitman: Martyrs are well documented for many faiths and creeds. However, they have something in common – almost none of them were willing to die for something they knew was a lie.

    Yes, they died because they sincerely believed in their religious views. Their decision to die not based on the objective “weight” of the evidence, but on their interpretation of it. With martyrs from so many faiths, the majority of them were obviously wrong. Thus, if you want to use martyrdom as “evidence,” you must assume that their interpretation of it was correct.

    QUESTION: What is more stupid than taking a bullet for wrong beliefs? ANSWER: Taking a bullet for believing in someone who had wrong beliefs.




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    • The evidence of martyrdom is in support of the concept that the disciples weren’t lying. They weren’t making up the story of what they said they saw. People do not put their lives on the line for what they know, for a fact, is false. People may be tricked into strongly believing something false, and putting their lives on the line for it. However, people almost never put their lives on the line for what they themselves know, for sure, is a lie.




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    • @Professor Kent: I think you are purposely being obstinate. Would you expect 12 people to dedicate their lives to a leader who said he would resurrect himself in three days, when they saw his dead body still in the grave? In other words, if he failed?




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  59. Bob Helm: There’s something else to consider regarding the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Obviously, His enemies knew where He was buried. So all they had to do to refute the good news and stop Christianity dead in its tracks was to produce His corpse.

    How do you falsify one alternative hypothesis: that the disciples stole and disposed of His body? There are other alternative hypotheses as well.




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    • These “alternatives”, such as the one originally proposed by the Priests that the disciples “stole” his body as all the Roman guards slept, are so ludicrous as to only be believed by those desperate for Jesus to still be dead – not by those rationally considering the weight of evidence and the likelihoods of the various stories presented.




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    • @Professor Kent: You asked, “How do you falsify one alternative hypothesis: that the disciples stole and disposed of His body?”

      Roman honor is at stake. You would have to believe that the Romans didn’t know how to guard a tomb or do a search for evidence.




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  60. Sean Pitman: There are many examples of people being lead to God through the study of nature and the discovery of the Divine signature in various features of nature…

    And vastly more examples of people who rejected God because of the way they were mistreated by others. Not that any of you care enough to redirect your energy.




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  61. Sooo…what ever happened to Dr. Gary Gilbert? Now that science has shed some light on the misunderstanding that led him to renounce Christianity, has he again become a Bible-believing Christian and embraced God as Creator?




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  62. Todd: Sooo…what ever happened to Dr. Gary Gilbert?

    Dr. Gilbert apparently did the commendable thing. He looked at the data, weighed the evidence, and thought the weight of empirical evidence refuted scripture. He chose to follow the evidence rather than scripture.

    Ironically, this very approach–testing scripture against evidence–is allegedly what the LSU Religion and Biology people do, which really, really ticks off readers at this website. And this is exactly what Sean Pitman advocates as well, and when someone objects, it really, really ticks off readers at this website.

    I, too, wonder if Dr. Gilbert would change his mind. My thought: people were elated if he took his disbelief with him and left the church, and few if any cared enough for his soul to win him back to Christ. (Someone likely tried to win him back to creationism–that’s the higher priority, it seems.)




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    • @Kent: “Ironically, this very approach–testing scripture against evidence–is allegedly what the LSU Religion and Biology people do, which really, really ticks off readers at this website.”

      There is a fundamental difference between what LSU did and what Pitman is doing. When I talked to one of science professors at the height of the controversy, I asked him why he did not present both sides of this issue, and this is what said:

      “I was hired to teach science—not religion.” He felt no need to consider all the evidence. In contrast, Pitman has been looking at all the evidence—both pro and con.

      If you dismiss evidence favoring intelligent design, there is no way for you to arrive at truth.

      Evolutionists will not admit any evidence contrary to their a priory position stating that there is no such thing as intervention into the natural movement of events.

      They are set in their goal of keeping the door closed to any divine activity in nature.

      If a researcher starts with the conviction that there is no such thing as a designer, then he will dismiss all evidence to the contrary.

      Closing the door to evidence contrary to one’s set position is a violation of true scientific inquiry.




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  63. Sean Pitman: ludicrous as to only be believed by those desperate for Jesus to still be dead – not by those rationally considering the weight of evidence and the likelihoods of the various stories presented.

    You seem to have a strong opinion. I know a lot of other rational people who think your opinion is ludicrous. Funny how different people look at the very same evidence and reach completely different opinions. How can that be when the “weight of evidence” can only go one direction?




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  64. When you guys click the “Reply” button, your reply gets buried in the heap of responses above. It’s very time consuming to browse the entire set of browses and figure out which are new posts. Best suggestion: highlight what you want to respond to, then click on “Quote.” Your new message will be easy to find and respond to at the bottom of the page.

    It’s late in my school term and I’ve had a busy few days. Will be out town for the weekend. Might get back to things later.

    PK
    Your favorite fideist foil




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    • Professor Kent: When you guys click the “Reply” button, your reply gets buried in the heap of responses above. It’s very time consuming to browse the entire set of browses and figure out which are new posts. Best suggestion: highlight what you want to respond to, then click on “Quote.” Your new message will be easy to find and respond to at the bottom of the page.

      Thanks for the suggestion.




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  65. David Perhaps I am not following but you initially said

    “And frankly, I don’t think there’s any good excuse for Christian, much less Seventh-day Adventist, scientists providing content for journals run by anti-Christian, anti-Biblical bigots.”

    I took that at face value and responded accordingly. You now go all Chewbacca on me and holding your hand over your heart start talking about the “right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”

    Your first ill-informed comment was about the morality of publishing at sites where those publishing were “anti-Christian, anti-Biblical bigots”. I simply pointed out that you sell your book through a site run by an “anti-Christian, anti-Biblical bigot” who is pragmatic just like all the editors and publishers of the biomedical journals. Yours I’m afraid is a completely specious argument.

    As to the content of the Biomedical journals you completely misunderstand the reasons that creation science is not published.

    1] They do not accept the premise of all of biomedical science; methodological naturalism
    2] They are usually of low quality and do not fulfil the minimal criteria for acceptance even of a review

    Eg the Stephen Meyer’s paper was
    a] had no novelty; it was substantially a republication of work previously published.
    b] It was a review of reviews and included references to rubbish like Bill Gates memoirs!
    c] It was not at all relevant to the content of the journal which was systematics
    d] It was a religious work did not conform to the accepted basis of science methodological naturalism.
    e] It was written in a conversational style that did not at all conform to the scholarly style expected of peer reviewed journal.

    Journals have specific content. I cant seem to find reference to any primary data on ID or creation science in the Harvard Law review. Of course they do like all scholarly journals discuss the educational, political and legal implications of teaching of ID and literal creationism.

    It annoys me that you and Sean imply some malice and bias on the part of publishers of biomedical journals yet cannot show us the data. Sean cannot publish here his rejection letter from PLOS one or any other journal that says his work is rejected because of its content.

    I would like to call it for what it is – telling lies for God.




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    • Again, true science makes no a priori assumptions about causation before the hypothesis is tested – even if the hypothesis is that an intelligent designer produced a particular feature of biology. The assumption that the actions of an intelligent designer, especially a God-like intelligent designer, cannot be detected by science is not a scientific position. It’s a religious or philosophical position. Until you address this concept, which you have yet to do in any meaningful way, I’m really not sure of the point of continuing this conversation?

      As far as creationists publishing in mainstream biomedical journals, it happens all the time – just not on the topic of origins having anything to do with deliberate design on any level. You yourself explain that this cannot happen because you define science as being unable to detect deliberate design when it comes to the origin of various features of living things. Your own argument proves my point – that those who hold to your definition of “science” will not publish papers that fundamentally challenge that notion.

      The evidence is overwhelming in this regard. Pretty much nothing is published which even attempts to challenge the fundamentals of neo-Darwinism – such as the major problems that are known to exist for the evolutionary mechanism of RM/NS or how intelligent design is likely responsible for higher levels of functional complexity in living things. It’s all very hush hush… Even you don’t have a clue how the mechanism works at various levels of functional complexity. You base everything on blind faith that it must have done the job somehow based on sequence similarities and your interpretation of the fossil record.

      As far as Sternberg is concerned, in particular (Link), I suppose he won his lawsuit for no good reason? Meyer’s paper wasn’t just a review of a review and it was novel when it comes to what’s been published in mainstream literature (Link). It was an interesting introduction to the concepts and basic evidences for design in living things, worthy of serious consideration. If you’ve actually read it, I seriously doubt you have any substantive response to the problems with the evolutionary mechanism that Meyers detailed in his paper – backed up by references to very good papers detailing the basis of this particular problem.

      In any case, such “conversational” papers are published all the time from the evolutionary perspective – even in journals generally devoted to “systematics”. There is a clear double standard here and creationists are constantly barred from various forms of advancements and higher-level recognition in science – simply because they are known creationists.

      For example, Dr. Hans Sues, Associate Director for Research and Collections, suggested in emails on August 30, 2004, and again on September 9, 2004, that Dr. Sternberg would never have been appointed as an Research Associate if Smithsonian officials had known about his anti-evolutionary views. Sues even blamed the scientist who nominated Sternberg as a Research Associate for not adequately investigating his background: “Sternberg is a well-established figure in anti-evolution circles, and a simple Google search would have exposed these connections.” The clear implication was that had a background check been conducted on Sternberg’s non-governmental activities, he would have been barred from being a Research Associate. Given the attitudes expressed in these emails, scientists who are known to be skeptical of Darwinian theory, whatever their qualifications or research record, cannot expect to receive equal treatment or consideration by NMNH officials.

      As another example, consider that, “In the summer of 1985 Russell Humphreys wrote to the journal Science pointing out that openly creationist articles are suppressed by most journals. He asked if Science had a “hidden policy of suppressing creationist letters.” Christine Gilbert, the letters editor, replied and admitted, “It is true that we are not likely to publish creationist letters.” This admission is particularly significant since Science’s official letters policy is that they represent “the range of opinions received” (e.g., letters must be representative of part of the spectrum of opinions). Yet of all the opinions they receive, Science does not print the creationist ones.

      On May 19, 1992 Humphreys submitted his article “Compton scattering and the cosmic microwave background bumps” to the Scientific Correspondence section of the British journal Nature. The editorial staff knew Humphreys was a creationist and didn’t want to publish it (even though the article did not contain any glaring creationist implications). The editorial staff didn’t even want to send it through official peer review. Six months later Nature published an article by someone else on the same topic, having the same conclusions. Thus, most creationist researchers realize it is simply a waste of time to send journal editors openly creationist articles. To say that a “slight bias” exists on the part of journal editors would be an understatement.”

      Link

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • @Sean Pitman:

        We do agree on something. This conversation is pointless if you persist in your private definitions of science and the nature of hypothesis testing that does not conform to any of the realities of modern science. If you discard this why would you even want to be part of it.

        You concede that creationists can publish data in the scientific literature but believe that it is not worth trying to publish any critique of the conventional models because it will be rejected.

        Again I agree that articles on literal creationism will be rejected but for the same reason astrology is rejected. It does not conform to methodological naturalism. What do you expect? That the normal criteria will be waived for you. That the definition and basis of science will be changed for you? That you will be treated exceptionally just because you think you are.

        I have already articulated my views about Sternberg. He won his case because he was discriminated against. On that there is no question, but the basis for that discrimination was that he was seen as a dishonest dupe, a response I believe he deserved. Science functions much better without dishonest people.

        Whether you like it or not the reality is that literal creationist are viewed as dishonest or ignorant in the wider scientific community so it is little wonder their work is viewed with suspicion and subject to greater scrutiny.

        One has only to read a book such as Ronald Numbers “Creationists” to see that history shows that there is a movement away from Literal creationism with education and expertise in the field. I would suggest that the 2 most highly educated and published people commenting here are not surprisingly those that accept that the scientific data overwhelming supports the standard model of origin of species.

        Dover has already decided that ID is creationism and religion not science.




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        • Again, you refuse to explain or even discuss your claim that the a priori assumption of “methodological naturalism”, that only non-intelligent forces of nature can be considered in the origin and diversity of living things in particular, is the only valid scientific perspective. Based on what?

          Such is not the basis for detecting design in anthropology or forensics or even SETI science. But, you won’t discuss that. You won’t discuss the basis for design detection behind anything. You keep asserting, without valid reasoning, that mindless naturalistic mechanisms must have been responsible for the origin and diversity of living things – despite the fact that you yourself admit that you have no clue how the proposed naturalistic mechanism works at various levels of functional complexity or could have done the job claimed for it by neo-Darwinists. Yet, somehow, this is science? No one is allowed to question this story in literature? Really? Sounds more like philosophy or even fundamentalist religious dogma to me – ardently defended and protected against all potential arguments to the contrary.

          Give me a break! This isn’t real science at all.

          Once you start actually discussing the potential and limits of your mechanism, we’ll have something truly scientific to talk about. Otherwise, you’re just all smoke and bluster without any real substance. As you’re so fond of saying, “You’re all hat with no cattle”…

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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        • @Sean Pitman:

          “Again, you refuse to explain or even discuss your claim that the a priori assumption of “methodological naturalism”, that only non-intelligent forces of nature can be considered in the origin and diversity of living things in particular, is the only valid scientific perspective. Based on what?”

          It is the accepted convention of science. I have answered this with reference to the description of science in wikipedia but you could google and find a description of science and it limitations from Berkely that says exactly what I have articulated for beginners

          http://undsci.berkeley.edu/article/0_0_0/whatisscience_12

          “Such is not the basis for detecting design in anthropology or forensics or even SETI science. But, you won’t discuss that. You won’t discuss the basis for design detection behind anything. You keep asserting, without valid reasoning, that mindless naturalistic mechanisms must have been responsible for the origin and diversity of living things – despite the fact that you yourself admit that you have no clue how the proposed naturalistic mechanism works at various levels of functional complexity or could have done the job claimed for it by neo-Darwinists. Yet, somehow, this is science? No one is allowed to question this story in literature? Really? Sounds more like philosophy or even fundamentalist religious dogma to me – ardently defended and protected against all potential arguments to the contrary.”

          Why do you keep parroting the DI and Johnson about introducing magic and the divine back into science. Think for yourself. You are not ignorant on these things as you repeatedly quote Levine disapprovingly but he is simply stating the basic tenants of science as they have been accepted historically.

          “Give me a break! This isn’t real science at all.”

          And your credentials for deciding what is real science is?

          “Once you start actually discussing the potential and limits of your mechanism, we’ll have something truly scientific to talk about. Otherwise, you’re just all smoke and bluster without any real substance. As you’re so fond of saying, “You’re all hat with no cattle”…”

          I will start discussing this once we have established what are the parameters and the assumptions for the discussion. I accept that premise that science is about the natural world and natural process whether that is in physics, earth sciences or biology. That has been the way since before Newton. I admit my ignorance in many areas but on genetics and immunology I have stated my credentials and you can see my publication record and you can easily lookup my impact on scopus. These I am happy to discuss but I am not prepared to accept that ignorance in a particular area provides support for you views which you have never subjected to scientific scrutiny by publication.

          You are totally naive and less than transparent if you think that there has never been any scrutiny of neo-Darwinian views expressed in the biomedical literature. You are effectively calling the scientific establishment dishonest people not caring about the veracity of which they write and research. I find that highly offensive which is the only reason I subject myself to this unpleasant exercise.




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        • Do you know how the evolutionary mechanism works at various level of functional complexity? If not (you yourself admit that you have no idea), your publications and your degrees don’t really matter when it comes to the “science” of the Darwinian mechanism or neo-Darwinism in general. Appeals to authority, without any reference to a real scientific argument, aren’t scientific. They have no explanatory value. Again, all hat and no cattle.

          And yes, many mainstream scientists have been brainwashed to believe that rational scientific investigation cannot be consistent with any kind of deliberate creation when it comes to living things in particular. They do not allow challenges to be published that question the very basic fundamentals of neo-Darwinism – such as any suggestion that various features of living things are best explained by deliberate design (even on a “natural” level of design). I mean, by your definition of “science” various disciples shouldn’t be classified as true sciences – like forensic science or anthropology (certainly not SETI either). At least be consistent here. If you’re going to exclude the ability to hypothesize deliberate design from the realm of science, at least do so for all artifacts that exist in nature… which, of course, you’re not really willing to do.

          Methodological naturalism is contrary to science since it isn’t based on testability with the potential of falsifiablity. It’s based entirely on a philosophical perspective. I side with Popper on this one.

          Karl Popper equated naturalism with inductive theory of science. He rejected it based on his general critique of induction (see problem of induction), yet acknowledged its utility as means for inventing conjectures.

          A naturalistic methodology (sometimes called an “inductive theory of science”) has its value, no doubt…. I reject the naturalistic view: It is uncritical. Its upholders fail to notice that whenever they believe to have discovered a fact, they have only proposed a convention. Hence the convention is liable to turn into a dogma. This criticism of the naturalistic view applies not only to its criterion of meaning, but also to its idea of science, and consequently to its idea of empirical method.

          — Karl R. Popper, The Logic of Scientific Discovery, (Routledge, 2002), pp. 52–53, ISBN 0-415-27844-9.

          Popper instead proposed that science should adopt a methodology based on falsifiability for demarcation, because no number of experiments can ever prove a theory, but a single experiment can contradict one. Popper holds that scientific theories are characterized by falsifiability.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naturalism_(philosophy)#Karl_Popper

          Again, I have to agree. Science is not based on a priori conclusions, but on testability with the potential of falsifiability. That’s science. Those who argue otherwise, that science cannot detect design by definition, have been brainwashed – however honestly.

          “It is quite a shock. From my earliest training as a scientist I was very strongly brainwashed to believe that science cannot be consistent with any kind of deliberate creation. That notion has had to be very painfully shed. I am quite uncomfortable in the situation, the state of mind I now find myself in. But there is no logical way out of it. I now find myself driven to this position by logic. There is no other way in which we can understand the precise ordering of the chemicals of life except to invoke the creations on a cosmic scale. . . . We were hoping as scientists that there would be a way round our conclusion, but there isn’t.

          Sir Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe, as quoted in “There Must Be A God,” Daily Express, Aug. 14, 1981 and Hoyle on Evolution, Nature, Nov. 12, 1981, p. 105

          Neo-Darwinism isn’t maintained because of the science in its favor, but because of strong philosophical passion reaching the level of fundamentalist religious fervor. I don’t think neo-Darwinists are deliberately being dishonest. I think most of them really believe what they’re promoting. However, that doesn’t mean its scientific – regardless of the popularity of the underlying philosophy. It’s simply not demonstrable or falsifiably testable. It is nothing more than just-so story telling and it always has been regardless of the lofty credentials of you and those like you who keep claiming that your stories are “science” when they’re really just fairy tales for grownups.

          In short, if I’m so clearly wrong, why haven’t you even tried to argue against the published descriptions of sequence space? – at various levels? These ideas are not unique to me. They’ve been published in mainstream literature. Why are you arguing against me when you yourself admittedly have no idea why I’m wrong? Would you really understand it, all of a sudden, if I happened to win the Nobel Prize? Is that the only thing you recognize? – the degree of popularity of an idea? Can’t you consider an idea on its own merits without first knowing what anyone else thinks? Do others always have to do your thinking for you?

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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        • @Sean Pitman:

          Sean you say

          “I mean, by your definition of “science” various disciples shouldn’t be classified as true sciences – like forensic science or anthropology (certainly not SETI either). At least be consistent here. If your going to exclude the ability to hypothesize deliberate design from the realm of science, at least do so for all artifacts that exist in nature… which, of course, you’re not really willing to do.”

          SETI

          1] We have been over SETI before but to remind you since you seem to have forgotten those running SETI do not accept that it is the same as ID and certainly distance themselves from any suggestion they are looking for the divine.

          2] How many suggest anything but natural cause in their search for ET life or intelligence? If there is nothing but natural cause and mechanism this is clearly part of science though I might think it a wild goose chase.

          3] If SETI suggested they are looking for supernatural events and postulating miraculous cause then they are within the realm of religion. I have never yet seen that claim.

          Forensic science

          1] Again we have been over this before. I have yet to see a forensic science department or a pathology department that does not subscribe to natural mechanism as causation.

          2] If is is based on methodological naturalism and natural cause then it is scientific.

          Athropology

          1] I understand anthropology as a science because it does not postulate anything but natural mechanism.

          2] I am happy to accept history as a field open to scientific approaches. That approach being the investigation of previous events by the process of postulation of hypothesis and testing it by experimentally looking for evidence of

          eg if one postulated that the Chinese never visited Gaudal Canal in the 13th century that can be tested by experiment. The experiment being digging for 13th century chinese artifacts in the Solomon islands. If they are found then the hypothesis is invalidated and the data is published and we move on to the next hypothesis having added to the pool of knowledge.

          As a final point. This writing is in black text.




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        • “I mean, by your definition of “science” various disciples shouldn’t be classified as true sciences – like forensic science or anthropology (certainly not SETI either). At least be consistent here. If your going to exclude the ability to hypothesize deliberate design from the realm of science, at least do so for all artifacts that exist in nature… which, of course, you’re not really willing to do.” – Sean Pitman

          SETI

          1] We have been over SETI before but to remind you since you seem to have forgotten those running SETI do not accept that it is the same as ID and certainly distance themselves from any suggestion they are looking for the divine.

          SETI most certainly is proposing a design hypothesis were they claim that certain types of radio signals coming form certain regions of space would be evidence of intelligent design (ID). It doesn’t matter if these signals were sent by “little green men” or God Himself. The argument that they were intelligently designed either way would remain exactly the same.

          2] How many suggest anything but natural cause in their search for ET life or intelligence? If there is nothing but natural cause and mechanism this is clearly part of science though I might think it a wild goose chase.

          We’re talking about the detection of intelligence here – regardless of the type of intelligence (i.e., be it “natural” or “supernatural” is irrelevant).

          3] If SETI suggested they are looking for supernatural events and postulating miraculous cause then they are within the realm of religion. I have never yet seen that claim.

          Again, were only talking about the detection of intelligence here. I’m not arguing that I can “prove the supernatural” with science. It is impossible for the natural to “prove” the supernatural. What I’m arguing is that the detection of deliberate design is not beyond the realm of scientific possibility – to include the detection of very very high levels of deliberate design that could not be distinguished, from the human perspective, from a truly God-like intelligence and creative power. What I’m also arguing is that this suggestion will not be published in biomedical journals if the artifact in question happens to be some feature of the DNA of living things. The implications are too clearly opposed to the fundamentals of neo-Darwinism (even if the assumed identity of the designer or Designer is not mentioned).

          The very same thing is true of your arguments for forensics and anthropology. You argue that these sciences detect “natural” intelligence and design. Yet again, that’s a ridiculous argument because these very same methodologies can be used to detect the requirement for any kind of deliberate design behind any artifact in the universe.

          What I want from you is your own explanation of what you think the scientific argument is for design behind forensics, anthropology and SETI, and why this same argument cannot be used for the detection of design within living things?

          It’s a very simple question that you’ve refused to address though I’ve asked you many many times.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com

          P.S. By the way, I appreciate your review of my book on Amazon, but don’t you think it just a little dishonest to claim that my book addresses the literal creation week, the time life has existed on this planet, or the Noachian Flood when these topics simply aren’t covered in my book? My book is simply about the evidence for design in living things (regardless of the identity of the designer – natural or supernatural). That’s it. If you’ve actually read the entire book, you should know this. Why then deliberately describe it as something it isn’t?




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        • @pauluc: pauluc wrote, “How many suggest anything but natural cause in their search for ET life or intelligence? If there is nothing but natural cause and mechanism this is clearly part of science…”

          Your rational requires an impossible distinction. Let’s say a signal is detected. According to you the SETI personnel would have somehow ascertain wether this signal was caused by an evolved being or a deity. If the former, they could publish as science, if the later, they couldn’t.




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        • @Sean Pitman:

          Sean Good luck with your campaign against methodological naturalism, your iconoclastic disregard for expertise and your certainty in your search to personally understand all of human knowledge in the areas of biology geology theology and philosophy.

          Even if you won a Nobel prize I would probably on the basis of the logic manifest in you posts here, think you were in the same class as Kerry Mullis who among his peculiar beliefs denies that HIV causes AIDS.

          That you castigate me for appeal to authority and lack of thinking for myself while at the same time premising you entire view of science on a uncritical naive and literal reading of both ancient and 19th century texts is telling.

          I am clearly a lesser man than you as I can read and understand the published articles on sequence space but your arguments are beyond me.

          Grace to you




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        • I’ve read several papers and essays from both, and parts of the books from both as well. You, on the other hand, seem to view the opinions of popular scientists as far more objective and factual…




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    • @Pauluc: Paul, whatever Jeff Bezos personally believes, Amazon.com sells bibles and creationist literature of all shapes an sizes. His personal beliefs do not bias his business, or cause him to disallow certain types of books being distributed on Amazon’s website.

      By contrast, the publishers of all mainstream scientific journals, whatever their personal beliefs, will not publish anything with creationist or design-oriented overtones or implications. Their philosophical beliefs control what is published in the journals. I would say that they apparently are bigoted against theism or design, but it isn’t their private beliefs that matter, it is how they allow only certain types of scientific opinion and discussion, and disallow other types.

      I’m not sure why you cannot seem to comprehend this very important, and non-specious, distinction.




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  66. @Sean: “On May 19, 1992 Humphreys submitted his article “Compton scattering and the cosmic microwave background bumps” to the Scientific Correspondence section of the British journal Nature. The editorial staff knew Humphreys was a creationist and didn’t want to publish it (even though the article did not contain any glaring creationist implications). The editorial staff didn’t even want to send it through official peer review. Six months later Nature published an article by someone else on the same topic, having the same conclusions. Thus, most creationist researchers realize it is simply a waste of time to send journal editors openly creationist articles. To say that a “slight bias” exists on the part of journal editors would be an understatement.” …”

    Can anyone deny the bias exhibited by those who control those publications? No wonder most creationist writers do not even try to submit their papers to such organizations.

    Who wants to waste his/her time trying to enter through a door that is closed to him/her a priori?




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  67. David Read: What Jeff Kent is saying (and it is true) is that the journals he publishes in are not open to creationists; they will not publish material with a creationist point of view. I think that raises an ethical issue of whether creationists should even be supporting that type of journal, when there are at least three different peer-reviewed creationists journals in existence.

    David,

    I don’t think you have chosen your words wisely.

    Ellen White certainly supported Christians engaging at all levels of society. The Adventist Church celebrates any elected SDA politician. The Adventist Church celebrates any major humanitarian effort it undertakes. The Adventist Church celebrates the Adventist Health Study at Loma Linda University. The Adventist Church celebrates the many contributions that Loma Linda University faculty and staff make to medicine. They publish their medical research in top-flight science journals. Many or all of these SDA scientists are faithful to the Church and creationism, yet they have no problem whatsoever publishing in secular journals.

    Are you suggesting they should publish their research which has nothing to do with creationism in the creationism journals? Do you think they would continue to secure millions of dollars in grant money if they published in the creationism journals?

    Loma Linda has other scientists who publish in biology and geology journals. Much of their research, as I understand it, has nothing to do with creationism. Contrary to your remarks, they have little trouble publishing in secular journals. I once reviewed all of the North American SDA college biology programs and found that faculty at most are publishing in secular journals. Are you seriously suggesting they should boycot the secular journals and publish their research only in the 3 creationism journals–even if their work has nothing to do with creationism? Are you suggesting they should only do creationism research, and that anything else is superfluous or downright wrong to publish on?




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    • @Professor Kent: If all Christian scientists from all disciplines boycotted journals that forbid mention of God, purpose or design in nature, etc., maybe those journals would have to change their policies. Christian scientists have found it far too easy to compromise, and go along to get along.

      You all need to stop agreeing to ride in the back of the bus. What we need is a second civil rights movement, one designed to liberate Christian scientists from the Jim Crow of official, professional atheism. Just say: “When I look at the human body, or at any other living creature or system, I see the result of a genius far greater than human. I will no longer participate in the self-imposed idiocy, the inexcusable convention of collective stupidity, of officially or professionally denying design in nature. I will discuss design whenever it is appropriate in all my professional publications henceforth.” The first pioneers of any civil rights movement are persecuted, but if all Christians were united on this, the battle would quickly be over and won.

      The problem, as I’m sure you appeciate, is that too many allegedly believing scientists don’t really believe.




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  68. Nic Samojluk: No wonder most creationist writers do not even try to submit their papers to such organizations.
    Who wants to waste his/her time trying to enter through a door that is closed to him/her a priori?

    You have no idea what you’re writing about, Nic. As it turns out, there are in fact many of us Adventists who “waste” our time publishing articles through doors that open to us a priori. Even Leonard Brand at Loma Linda, a widely recognized creationist, has published in the top geology journals. I mean the top journals in the discipline.

    The myth that creationists cannot publish in mainstream science is perpetuated by people who simply do not understand the culture of science–and will remain clueless that they do not understand it even when confronted with their misunderstandings. Such is human nature.




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    • Don’t be so obtuse here. We’re not talking about publishing just anything in mainstream journals. I’ve published several articles myself. We’re talking about publishing the conclusion that intelligent design was clearly involved with the origin of various artifactual features of living things on this planet. Try getting a paper that mentions such a conclusion published…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  69. David Read: This is where you–and many other similarly situated confessed Christians–are fooling yourselves. You think it is somehow okay for you to claim that you believe in a Creator God, while at the same time devoting your professional lives to building up an edifice of evidence and argument designed to show that the world is accidentally self-created. Why do you think that is okay? Why do you think that devoting your career to arguing against the meaningful existence of a Creator God is an appropriate way to serve God?

    What? I think you’re very confused. I’ve never, ever published any data or even a comment in my papers on origins. The only public place I’ve even made comments are here and at Spectrum and Adventist Today. And my time at such websites has been an extremely minute portion of my career. Maybe 0.000000001% of it.




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    • @Professor Kent: Jeff wrote, “And my time at such websites has been an extremely minute portion of my career. Maybe 0.000000001% of it.”

      Wow, you have had a very long career. Even if this single post was your only contribution to EducateTruth your career would have to be about 5,000 years long!




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    • @Professor Kent: “I’ve never, ever published any data or even a comment in my papers on origins. The only public place I’ve even made comments are here and at Spectrum and Adventist Today.”

      Jeff, this is a tiresome evasion. Let’s get back to basics. This site exists for a definite purpose – to call attention to the fact that Darwinism is being taught as truth at La Sierra and to urge that creationism or creation science be taught there. You have argued that everything about this site, including its central purpose, is wrong and misguided.

      I realize that you personally believe in the Adventist/biblical origins narrative, but you have constantly argued that La Sierra and other Adventist colleges should teach mainstream origins science, not creation science. Now you’re saying, “well, I don’t personally do origins science,” but what any of us personally do is not the issue. I don’t personally do any sort of science and Sean is an M.D. pathologist. We have argued that La Sierra scientists (and all other scientists teaching at SDA institutions) should do creation science, whereas you have argued, with obsessive persistence and great passion, that they should continue to do just what they’re doing. By implication, you are saying that origins science should be, and indeed must be, done pursuant to atheistic assumptions. You are saying that even Christians, even Seventh-day Adventist Christians, if their professional work touches on the area of origins, absolutely should be “devoting their professional lives to building up an edifice of evidence and argument designed to show that the world is accidentally self-created.”

      And my question to you remains the same: Why do you think this is okay? Why do you think it is okay for Christians to devote their lives, in effect, to building up the apologetical structures of atheism? Can you now attempt to answer that question without inane evasions about what you personally do?




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      • @David Read: You said to Jeff, “I realize that you personally believe in the Adventist/biblical origins narrative.” And then you ask him, “Why do you think it is okay for Christians to devote their lives, in effect, to building up the apologetical structures of atheism? Can you now attempt to answer that question without inane evasions about what you personally do?”

        Yesterday morning Jeff blurted, albeit flippantly, “I don’t care! I’m a confessed fideist! Whoo-hoo!”

        I suspect Jeff is precisely that. He believes all the evidence points to evolution being correct, but he maintains his faith in the face of that. The reason for the evasion is that he understands the coverup and wants to prolong it.




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        • @George Evans: George, don’t you start making excuses for Professor Kent. I’m not concerned about Professor Kent’s personal evaluation of the state of the evidence, or anyone else’s.

          The issue of the day, the question that demands an answer, is: should scientists at SDA colleges do and teach science from an atheistic perspective or from a biblical perspective? Jeff Kent, Paul Cameron and a few others have argued that it has to be done from an atheistic perspective, and that’s essentially the only way it can be done. That’s what I disagree with, and I think you and Sean also disagree. Ellen White says that the book of nature and the written revelation–God’s two books–must be read in harmony. That means that when we study nature closely (e.g., when we do science), we must study it pursuant to the assumption that Bible history is trustworthy. That means we must do creation science.

          I argue that creation science is the only way a believing SDA should do origins science. I don’t think you can claim to be a Bible believer and still insist that all science, even origins science, absolutely must be done pursuant to the ironclad assumption that God has never acted in the material universe. There is a perfectly viable tradition of creation science, and it should and must be supported at religious institutions such as SDA colleges (which are the only places it can be done, since it is not allowed at tax-supported schools). That’s why it is so painful for me to see science positions at Adventist colleges given to Darwinists; they could do science and teach science that way at any public college or university, but creation science can only be done at religiously-affiliated colleges.




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        • @David Read: I absolutely agree with this. It disturbed me to find out the new LSU science building was built with government money. I think the church needs to pay that back ASAP.




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        • @George: “It disturbed me to find out the new LSU science building was built with government money. I think the church needs to pay that back ASAP. …”

          Yes, this disturbs me, too! This probably means that science cannot be taught in said building from a religious point of view.




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      • @David: “I realize that you personally believe in the Adventist/biblical origins narrative, but you have constantly argued that La Sierra and other Adventist colleges should teach mainstream origins science, not creation science. …

        We have argued that La Sierra scientists (and all other scientists teaching at SDA institutions) should do creation science, whereas you have argued, with obsessive persistence and great passion, that they should continue to do just what they’re doing. By implication, you are saying that origins science should be, and indeed must be, done pursuant to atheistic assumptions. …

        Why do you think it is okay for Christians to devote their lives, in effect, to building up the apologetical structures of atheism? …”

        Excellent question! The answer is: The deceptive power of the Darwinian evolution is so bewitching that those who willingly fall under its influence cannot under their own power free themselves from is grasp.




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  70. I have a very simple question for Sean, David, and/or Nic:

    What do you think is the single most compelling geological, fossil, or biological evidence that life arose via fiat creation? You’re welcome to give an example from each of the three sciences.




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    • @Professor Kent: “What do you think is the single most compelling geological, fossil, or biological evidence that life arose via fiat creation?”

      I think it is the genetic code. Coded information–written books and articles, computer programs, musical compositions, etc.–never arises accidentally but always has an author. And the genetic code is a language of such complexity and genius that we’re still trying to figure it all out. I don’t think the genetic code wrote itself any more than I think “War and Peace” wrote itself, or “Eine Kleine Nachtmusik” wrote itself.

      The second best evidence is life itself. Even single-celled organisms are so staggeringly complex that accidental self-organization and self-vivification would involve a miracle. Science cannot do this in a laboratory much less come up with a generally agreed upon “just so story” (that passes the laugh test) as to how it could have happened accidentally.

      The other thing in the realm of biology I would point to is the difference between humans and animals. The gap there is very large, and supports the biblical teaching that man was created in the image of a Creator God, whereas the animals were not.

      The fossil record is ambiguous, but the Cambrian Explosion fits the Flood model far better than it fits the Darwinian model. It’s not what Darwin expected at all; he even admitted that the fossil record from the Cambrian on up should be matched by an equally long fossil record leading up to the Cambrian. (This doesn’t directly bear on fiat creation, but does compare Bible history to the natural history Darwin posited.)




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    • @Kent: “What do you think is the single most compelling geological, fossil, or biological evidence that life arose via fiat creation? You’re welcome to give an example from each of the three sciences.”

      I think I have already answered this. Here are some of the compelling evidence which forces me to believe in creation by an Intelligent Designer. Take your pick:

      1. The birth of a baby.
      2. The fine tuning of the universe.
      3. The Cambrian “Explosison.”

      None of the above could have taken place without the intervention of an Almighty, Intelligent Designer. Nature alone could never have done it! Nature and the laws governing Nature could not have been the product of an explosion—they are the product of intelligent design.




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  71. I would point out that Leonard Brand, Harold Coffin, and Ariel Roth have all published their research in peer-reviewed journals. Roth has had many articles on coral published. “Geology” published Brand’s material on the underwater origin of the Coconino Sandstone (despite the flood geology implications), and “Geology” also published Coffin’s material on the upright trees in the Yellowstone fossil forest. Now none of these men referred specifically to creation or the Genesis Flood in their peer-reviewed articles, but their research has had a definite bearing on these topics.




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  72. With that said, I agree with Sean that an idea should be considered on its on merits. Majorities can certainly be wrong. Also, Darwinists constantly refer to their “overwhelming evidence,” but when it is examined, it proves to be an overwhelming amount of rather weak evidence. The Darwinist “overwhelming evidence” is actually evidence for one possible natural history paradigm, but creationists can take the same data and explain it very nicely in their alternate paradigm. The “smoking gun” for the Lyell-Darwin paradigm just isn’t there!




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  73. Nic Samojluk: If a researcher starts with the conviction that there is no such thing as a designer, then he will dismiss all evidence to the contrary.
    Closing the door to evidence contrary to one’s set position is a violation of true scientific inquiry.

    Evolutionists believe there is a designer, and that it’s a random process rather than a supernatural being. True scientific inquiry simply cannot confirm or rule out the existence of a supernatural designer. True scientific inquiry simply cannot turn back the clock, replay history, and test exactly how life was created. Even if it could find a way in which it could have happend, one cannot conclude it has to be the way it happened.

    By the way, I’m quite certain you’ve completely closed the door to one position, so why are you lecturing me on what constitutes true science?




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    • Evolutionists believe there is a designer, and that it’s a random process rather than a supernatural being. True scientific inquiry simply cannot confirm or rule out the existence of a supernatural designer.

      True scientific inquiry can most certainly demonstrate the need to invoke intelligent design on very high levels to explain various artifacts within the universe. This isn’t a problem for true science at all. And, there are many examples of such obviously designed artifacts…

      True scientific inquiry simply cannot turn back the clock, replay history, and test exactly how life was created.

      If one could turn back the clock and replay history and see exactly how life was created, that would be demonstration, not science. Again, you have this very mistaken view of science as something akin to absolute demonstration or fact. That’s not science. Science is where limited information is taken and used to hypothesize or predict something that cannot be absolutely demonstrated or known with perfect assurance. Science is therefore always open to the potential of falsification, of being wrong.

      I’ve explained this to you so many times. Surely you know this by now, so why do you keep asking for absolute demonstrations instead of the weight of evidence? – instead of real science?

      Even if [one] could find a way in which it could have happend, one cannot conclude it has to be the way it happened.

      Again, absolute demonstration isn’t science. What science does is conclude that such a phenomenon could have happened this way, but is very unlikely to have happened that way. It does this with less than absolute certainty. It cannot know which way actually happened, but it determines the odds that it happened one way vs. another. It is based on the weight of evidence, statistical probability given limited information from a limited perspective, not demonstration…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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        • That’s not what I said – and you know it. What I said was that science can detect design – even very high-level intelligent design.

          Most, even among secular scientists, would agree that it is an obvious truism that if God did actually exist and if God decided to act in a manner detectable as “intelligent” by science, that science could in fact detect those particular actions as requiring deliberate intelligence.

          God, if He exists, is most certainly is no less capable of producing a radio signal or a highly symmetrical granite cube or a space craft than is some alien or even human-level intelligence.

          As another hypothetical example, say you had one of the loaves of bread that Jesus miraculously made to feed a large crowd. Would you be able to tell that your loaf of bread was in fact produced by a Divine miracle just by looking at it and examining it carefully? Of course not. However, you would most certainly be able to tell that it was the product of intelligent design.

          The same is true of various artifacts found within living things – to include higher level functional information stored within the DNA of all living things.

          Your repeated requirement for absolute demonstrations to support such conclusions simply isn’t part of science – as you should known since you claim to be a scientist.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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    • @Professor Kent: Jeff Kent said, “Evolutionists believe there is a designer, and that it’s a random process rather than a supernatural being.”

      That’s nonsense. Design implies teleology, intent, and purpose, all of which evolutionists deny a priori. Evolutionists officially believe that the world and its life forms did not require a designer but arose from random processes.

      And, frankly, whenever the Darwinists use teleological language like “design” and “designer,” we should call them on it and force them to use language that reflects what they officially purport to believe.




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      • @David: “That’s nonsense. Design implies teleology, intent, and purpose, all of which evolutionists deny a priori. Evolutionists officially believe that the world and its life forms did not require a designer but arose from random processes. …”

        Yes! True evolutionists believe that nothing produced everything. If the input is nothing, the output will out of necessity be nothing—not the most complex universe and the most complex DNA sequence.

        This basic principle is so basic that I marvel how the most influential scientists accept the evolutionist nonsense and defend it as if it were the sacred Gospel.

        Evidently, someone is behind this the most sophisticated deception, and we know his identity. He is the one who dared to challenge God Almighty’s authority.




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    • @Kent: “Evolutionists believe there is a designer, and that it’s a random process rather than a supernatural being. True scientific inquiry simply cannot confirm or rule out the existence of a supernatural designer. …”

      There are many things science cannot rule out. Science cannot rule out the possibility that the universe could explode tomorrow, or that the earth will stop spinning. The probability of something like this would take place tomorrow is so small that we can dismiss them for practical reasons.

      When my first son was born, I knew that I had not designed him with my wisdom and when I learned about how complex is the human DNA, and how complex is our universe, the evidence that those things are the result of natural selection became so small that on the weight of evidence I had to admit the some highly intelligent force was responsible for them.

      You can add the Cambrian Explosion, which suggests intelligent design as well instead of the result of a natural explosion, and the origin of the universe and life in it.

      I conclude that for me to believe that the Big Bang did this is evidence of an obtuse mind determined to hold to what is extremely impossible.

      For me the theory of the Big Bang is a monument to the stupidity of those who try to give credit that belongs to Almighty God to the pagan god of Nature. It is idolatry pure and simple, and an affront to the Creator.




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  74. Sean Pitman: The “weight of evidence” is determined individually according to individual backgrounds and experiences.

    Professor Kent:
    Absolutely.

    Sean Pitman: The same is true of science…

    Oh? What constitutes science is determined individually, too?




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  75. Sean Pitman: Qualitatively novel biological systems that require more than 1000 specifically arranged amino acid residues to work. The statistics involved for any other process besides deliberate design are so overwhelming that they trump any and all other evidence(s) in hand.

    What is your source for this “evidence?” Did you determine the mutation rates yourself? Did you develop the equation yourself? How do you know that the equation you relied on is correct?




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  76. Sean Pitman: I’ve presented the evidence for you, in particular, several times – and it’s on my website and in my book, as you’re also well aware.

    I haven’t read your book and won’t be doing so. You’ve cited Robert Hazen’s publications as your source. I don’t believe you worked your way backward from Hazen to confirm that the “facts” he used to develop his equation were valid. You trusted him, and you trusted his sources.

    You and your pals here have claimed that scripture itself can be used to help establish scientifically that supernatural events, such as the resurrection, can take place. After all, the eyewitness accounts constitute science.

    So tell me, which source is more authoritative and trustworthy: the atheist scientist Robert Hazen and the atheist sources of information he relied upon to give you your empirical evidence to believe God is real, or the inspired authors of scripture who also give you empirical evidence that God is real?




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    • It’s all evidence and all evidence must be weighed by the individual to determine the overall collective weight…

      In any case, I’m not posting any more of your comments regarding your fideistic views on faith and science until you substantively and seriously respond to my question as to how your view of faith isn’t really fideistic… until you describe the difference between fideism and the type of faith you’re promoting.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • @Sean Pitman: I was at the Spectrum blog last night and saw this. The poster’s pseudonym is Billie, the article is “On Science and Faith”:

        “Those who are both scientists and believers in a short chronology are very frank to admit that they hold to this view ONLY on the basis of faith in their interpretation of scripture. As one such individual told me personally only a short time ago, ‘When I am in the field researching I am working in mainline science; when I am in church on Sabbath, I hold to a short chronology… even though I know that there is nothing in science that supports that view.'”

        This could easily be a LSU student quoting their professor. To me this is a chilling example of the fideism being taught and promoted there.




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        • Yeah, I know. It’s very sad. Several of my professors at LLU also held to the same idea. Dr. Brian Bull, for example, published a paper entitled, “Two Incommensurate Worlds” where he basically argued that he loved the beauty of the Biblical account of origins, but that his rational mind held to a very different story – and that these two stories were “incommensurate” (i.e., they fundamentally disagreed with each other). So, he concluded that he was a “scientist” six days a week and an “Adventist” one day a week… very schizophrenic.




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  77. Sean Pitman: Scientific methodologies are not dependent upon what anyone else thinks or does. You determine what is most likely right or wrong for yourself based on the evidence you personally understand. No one else can do that for you.

    I would never equate “scientific methodologies” with “what is most likely right or wrong.” I have no idea what you are talking about.




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      • “Right or wrong” has many connotations, including morality. If what you mean is “correct or incorrect,” I guess I understand what you’re saying. Yes, science is a structured means of doing this, but many would say you’ve reduced the structure of science to a trivial level.




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  78. Sean Pitman: The “weight of evidence” is determined individually according to individual backgrounds and experiences.

    Well pahner,

    On this one our trails divide. Now old Newton might have dropped an apple and figured out the Law of Gravity. But that ole apple doesn’t drop solipsitically it drops at the same rate for all independent of personal observation. Now you might retort that how do I know that: personal observation, faith, testing? I rely on Science as the objective barometer not the personal weighing of the evidence.

    The problem that you have is you want to raise your brand of rationalism above others. Well we all feel that way at times but the good ole think about Science is that over time its collective wisdom outweighs the hubris of the individual. That’s what EGW was trying to get at when she talked about Present Truth. Science rises above indivdual weighing of the evidence and can’t be shoe horned into any pre conceptions.




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    • You’re mistaken. Your personal determination of “truth” via scientific methodologies is influenced by your own background experiences, your own mental capabilities, and your own personal biases. Scientific methodologies cannot be used in an entirely objective manner regardless of who might be using them to search for truth. Therefore, science cannot rise above the individual’s own personal ability to weigh the evidence.

      This is not to say that objective truth does not exist. It does exist. However, our understanding of it can only be approximated with the use of scientific methodologies. Truth can never be fully known in any sort of absolute or definitive sense of the word – regardless of the method chosen to search for it.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  79. Sean Pitman:
    It’s all evidence and all evidence must be weighed by the individual to determine the overall collective weight…

    In any case, I’m not posting any more of your comments regarding your fideistic views on faith and science until you substantively and seriously respond to my question as to how your view of faith isn’t really fideistic… until you describe the difference between fideism and the type of faith you’re promoting.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

    I’ve written dozens of times that I believe in God because of personal experience in my own relationship with God, including answers to prayer; the experienes I’ve seen in others; the testimonies of the disciples, who died for their convictions; prophetic history; biblical archeology. DOZENS of times. Why do you keep insisting that I tell you, over and over, why my views aren’t fideistic? What do you want me to say? What IS your problem? Everyone knows from Argumentation 101 that a clever approach to win an argument is to frame the other guy’s position incorrectly. Keep at it! I don’t care! I’m a confessed fideist! Whoo-hoo!

    Do you not see the duplicity of your own views? You have established scripture in and of itself as potentially falsifiable empirical evidence. You have described the testimony of scripture, including the eyewitness accounts of the disciples, as compelling scientific evidence! “It’s all evidence,” as you’ve just stated! Yet you have ridiculed me and my friend, Phil Brantley, for defending the sanctity of scripture–and the sufficiency of scripture alone–for forming a “rational faith” in God. You have repeatedly declared that anyone who accepts scripture–God’s word–at face value would be a fideist, and that their beliefs would be as useless as belief in Santa Claus, the Tooth Ferry, and a Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    So tell us, is one a good scientist, relying on potentially falsifiable empirical evidence, or a fideist to believe in God because of what they have read in scripture–God’s word? You can’t have it both ways!




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    • This is not what I’m asking for and you know it. Sure, you list off numerous evidences that are compatible with your faith, but I’m talking about your argument that no form of empirical evidence is required for faith in the credibility of the Bible in particular as the Word of God and it’s claims as true regardless of what any and all forms of empirical evidence might suggest pro or con – that your faith in the Bible’s claims could take it or leave it when it comes to evidence. That’s the point you have yet to address and that is why I’m not posting further comments from you regarding your fideistic faith position until you substantively address this particular position of yours and how it isn’t really fideistic…

      In short, is there any empirical evidence that is required for your faith in the Bible as God’s Word and in the truthfulness or credibility of its claims?

      If yes, what might this minimum required empirical evidence be for you?

      If no, how are you not a fideist?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  80. “This is not to say that objective truth does not exist. It does exist. However, our understanding of it can only be approximated with the use of scientific methodologies. Truth can never be fully known in any sort of absolute or definitive sense of the word – regardless of the method chosen to search for it.”

    So pahdner, what you’re saying is that after all the math and proven observations none of us can know that the Law of Gravity is true? That ole apple had been falling pretty consistently and verifiability since Newton nailed it down ( before that time too we just didn’t know the math) Now you may want to split some ole epistemological hairs and say no one can know that for the absolute truth but you’re gonna have to give me a big ole cyber wink when you do so.

    You see, I think what you are attemptin’ to do here is convince us that one man’s truth is good as another’s. But science has a way of knocking the stuffin’ out of that subjective notion. That ole’ apple is fallin’ at the same rate for you and me pahdner and that ain’t no approximation or just my notion.

    Now, just as an aside, I wonder it that apple that struck Newoton on his bean may have been descended from The Tree of Knowledge? I guess there could be a bit of allegorical justice if it did so.




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    • You seem to be confusing observations with science. Science is a process of interpreting observations to predict how events will occur in the future. Such predictions are not absolutely knowable since the hypotheses or theories are not absolutely known to be true. One can have a very good idea when it comes to highly tested and supported hypotheses and theories. However, one cannot be 100% confident. There is always the possibility of being wrong in science – always.

      It isn’t that all opinions are equally valid. It’s that the individual has to determine, for him or herself, which opinions are more likely to be true. No one else can do that for you. And, you cannot force your discovered truths on those who do not yet recognize these truths for themselves – according to their own mental capacity and God-given abilities to think rationally.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • @Sean Pitman: “You seem to be confusing observations with science. Science is a process of interpreting observations to predict how events will occur in the future. Such predictions are not absolutely knowable since the hypotheses or theories are not absolutely known to be true. One can have a very good idea when it comes to highly tested and supported hypotheses and theories. However, one cannot be 100% confident. There is always the possibility of being wrong in science – always.

        It isn’t that all opinions are equally valid. It’s that the individual has to determine, for him or herself, which opinions are more likely to be true. No one else can do that for you. And, you cannot force your discovered truths on those who do not yet recognize these truths for themselves – according to their own mental capacity and God-given abilities to think rationally.”

        I COULD NOT RESIST REPOSTING THIS GREAT ANSWER!




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    • @George: “So pahdner, what you’re saying is that after all the math and proven observations none of us can know that the Law of Gravity is true? …”

      Can you be sure that gravity will exists with the same degree of precision following the Big Crunch predicted by scientists?




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      • @Nic Samojluk: Nic, the latest info from astrophysics have pretty much put to rest the idea of a “Big Crunch.” There is simply not enough matter in the universe to cause it to collapse on itself. In fact, there is evidence that the expansion of the universe may be accelerating,due to mysterious dark energy, although others have attributed this data to relativistic effects. But a “Big Crunch” does not appear to be in the works.




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        • @Bob: “Nic, the latest info from astrophysics have pretty much put to rest the idea of a “Big Crunch.” There is simply not enough matter in the universe to cause it to collapse on itself. In fact, there is evidence that the expansion of the universe may be accelerating, due to mysterious dark energy, although others have attributed this data to relativistic effects. …”

          Evidently scientists are showing some signs of progress; they no longer believe in a Big Crunch. This is good! If this trend continues, they may one day abandon also their belief in the mysterious Dark Energy, the incredible Expansion of the Universe, the unscientific belief in a Big Bang, and the less credible Singularity behind it.

          These scientists want everybody to accepts all these philosophical speculations which require a large doses of faith simply because they set their minds to reject the supernatural interventions of Almighty God in the affairs of men and in Nature.

          They have determined to give credit for everything which exists to Nature—which is for all practical purposes the god they created in their own corrupted image.




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  81. Sean Pitman: Sure, you list off numerous evidences that are compatible with your faith, but I’m talking about your argument that no form of empirical evidence is required for faith in the credibility of the Bible in particular as the Word of God and it’s claims as true regardless of what any and all forms of empirical evidence might suggest pro or con – that your faith in the Bible’s claims could take it or leave it when it comes to evidence. That’s the point you have yet to address and that is why I’m not posting further comments from you regarding your fideistic faith position until you substantively address this particular position of yours and how it isn’t really fideistic…what might this minimum required empirical evidence be for you?

    There are multiple problems here, Sean. First, you are asking me to justify a position that I have never defended. I have never argued for “blind faith” and you know it. OF COURSE people have to have some reason for their beliefs. Not even a child who trusts what their parents tell them (about God, Santa Claus, or whatever) is exercising blind faith. The child has had ample evidence that their parents can be trusted.

    Second, I have consistently argued that SDAs prioritize God’s word ahead of what science and human reason–apart from scriptur–dictate. This doesn’t mean SDAs stop using their God-given brains and act blindly, or that they never consider evidence. It simply means that when there is conflict–which always has and always will exist–they will go with what they believe scripture says. This means that they DO consider the evidence and make a choice to accept what scripture says. They DO NOT reject scripture when there is conflict.

    Third, I could keep repeating the same reasons for my faith over and over, and you will continue to say I am not supplying you reasons for my faith. You are the one who has a problem, not me. You are not paying attention, in part because you insist on hearing a position that I simply do not have.

    Finally, there is a big difference in how we view “empirical” evidence. If you’re talking about anything we perceive with our senses, then that is fine. But once you start talking about “potentially falsifiable empirical evidence” and synonymizing it with science, you and I simply disagree. You can say that the child who believes the U.S. government flew a jetliner into the World Trade Center because his uncle told him so has a rational belief based on science (it’s all evidence or science, as you put it), but I don’t think it’s anything remotely close to the meaning that society applies to the word science.

    You ask what the minimum required empirical evidence might be for me? I can’t say with certainty because there is plenty of evidence, but I believe that the impression of the Holy Spirit acting on my conscience should be adequate, and you too have agreed on that. There’s no question in my mind that the Holy Spirit influences me. If this minimum requirement makes me a fideist, then what does it make you?

    Beyond all of this, I have no frickin idea what you want me to say. Again, I don’t give a rat’s hairy behind whether you think I’m a fideist, atheist, realist, extortionist, empiricist, or anarchist. I find this entire conversation laughable, to be frank. The real reason you are getting dodgy is that you have an authority problem that you don’t want to address. You’ve elevated the evidence supplied by atheistic “scientists” (like Dr. Hazen and those who preceded him) ahead of inspired “scientists” (like the authors of the gospels), all of whom have described what they have detected with their senses. One can choose to believe scripture based solely on the testimony of the Bible’s authors just as rationally as one can choose to believe scripture based on what atheistic scientists have to share. Yet you have repeatedly belittled those willing to accept at face value the testimony of the “law and the prophets.”




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    • There are multiple problems here, Sean. First, you are asking me to justify a position that I have never defended. I have never argued for “blind faith” and you know it. OF COURSE people have to have some reason for their beliefs. Not even a child who trusts what their parents tell them (about God, Santa Claus, or whatever) is exercising blind faith. The child has had ample evidence that their parents can be trusted.

      You have argued that empirical evidence is not required for your faith in the credibility of the Bible. That your faith in your interpretations of the Bible can stand alone, regardless of the empirical evidence for or against it. That’s a fideistic position which you’ve never clarified before with reference to your claim that you really aren’t a fideist. You seem to want to have your cake and eat it too – and that makes no sense. You’re fine if there is supporting empirical evidence for your faith and your fine if there isn’t.

      Second, I have consistently argued that SDAs prioritize God’s word ahead of what science and human reason–apart from scripture–dictate.

      Exactly. That’s a fideistic position because it says nothing as to how one determines that Scripture should be accepted as credible without the need for supporting empirical evidence or rational argument.

      This doesn’t mean SDAs stop using their God-given brains and act blindly, or that they never consider evidence. It simply means that when there is conflict–which always has and always will exist–they will go with what they believe scripture says.

      In other words, if there is a conflict, one does stop using one’s brain and acts blindly according to what one thinks the Scripture says – without the need for the weight of supporting empirical evidence or rational argument…

      This means that they DO consider the evidence and make a choice to accept what scripture says. They DO NOT reject scripture when there is conflict.

      Again, this is the very definition of a fideistic position. Considering the evidence and rejecting it every time it disagrees with your pre-established faith is faithism. It is empirically blind faith because this type of faith is itself not affected by the empirical evidence at all.

      Third, I could keep repeating the same reasons for my faith over and over, and you will continue to say I am not supplying you reasons for my faith.

      You’re not because you keep arguing that your reasons do not affect your faith when push comes to shove – that your faith trumps all of the reasons you’ve ever presented.

      You are the one who has a problem, not me. You are not paying attention, in part because you insist on hearing a position that I simply do not have.

      I think I’m hearing your position just fine. You repeatedly claim that your reasons do not trump your faith – that faith trumps all human reasons and empirical evidence for believing in the claims of the Bible. That’s not a “reason” for faith that actually affects faith or has the power to change or establish faith.

      Finally, there is a big difference in how we view “empirical” evidence. If you’re talking about anything we perceive with our senses, then that is fine.

      I think that is the definition of empirical evidence…

      But once you start talking about “potentially falsifiable empirical evidence” and synonymizing it with science, you and I simply disagree.

      You have to interpret what you sense with your senses. By what mechanism do your interpret evidence? If your hypothesized interpretations for the meaning of what your senses are telling your are not falsifiable, again, your back to faithism – the position where your opinions cannot be challenged or shown to be wrong. That’s not a rational position for one trying to interpret the world in which one finds one’s self. One cannot rationally define a world which one did not create. If one finds oneself in a world which someone else created, one is always subject to the possibility of being wrong in one’s interpretations of the information received from this world that exists outside of one’s own mind. That means that if one wishes to be rational in one’s approach to this external world, one must be open to potential falsification of one’s ideas about this external world.

      You can say that the child who believes the U.S. government flew a jetliner into the World Trade Center because his uncle told him so has a rational belief based on science (it’s all evidence or science, as you put it), but I don’t think it’s anything remotely close to the meaning that society applies to the word science.

      Sure it is. From the child’s perspective, the best evidence with the greatest predictive value could very well be that his uncle has proven himself to be more reliable than any other source of information the child has yet encountered. The predictive value of this hypothesis is the best the child has in hand. It is therefore perfectly rational, scientifically rational, for the child to go with the best weight of evidence with the best predictive value that he knows.

      The same is true of professional adult scientists. They work with limited information and do the best they can with it. Is it possible that they are just as wrong as the child when they present this or that hypothesis or theory? Sure it is. Relative to someone else with significantly more knowledge and information on the topic in question, their own knowledge could be compared to that of a child…

      Your problem, as you’ve repeatedly demonstrated in this forum, is that you view science as a method of determining truth in some sort of absolute manner – as in absolute proofs or demonstrations. This isn’t science. Science has nothing to do with absolute proofs or direct demonstrations. If you had absolute proof or a direct demonstration in hand, you wouldn’t need science. Science only becomes useful when there is limited information in hand. That is why the scientist is always open to the possibility of being wrong – just as the child in your illustration.

      You ask what the minimum required empirical evidence might be for me? I can’t say with certainty because there is plenty of evidence, but I believe that the impression of the Holy Spirit acting on my conscience should be adequate, and you too have agreed on that. There’s no question in my mind that the Holy Spirit influences me. If this minimum requirement makes me a fideist, then what does it make you?

      I do not agree with this. I do not believe that the Holy Spirit has told you that your interpretations of the Bible are true or that the Bible is the Word of God. I do believe that the Holy Spirit guides the minds of those honestly searching for truth. However, the Holy Spirit does not replace the mind or eliminate the need for one to search out and investigate the evidence, and weigh it carefully, before coming to the conclusion that the Bible is in fact what it claims to be. The Holy Spirit does not eliminate the need for rational thought and a consideration of the empirical evidence in hand (unless you’re a prophet of course). Certainly in my own experience I cannot claim prophetic insight or directly revealed privileged information from God. The Holy Spirit has not spoken to me in this manner. And, no angel has appeared before me to tell me anything about the Bible. My faith in the Bible is based, therefore, on the weight of evidence that I believe I’ve been given to understand and rationally appreciate.

      Also, the claim that everything is ultimately based on what the Holy Spirit tells you, independent of any empirical evidence that might or might not be there as well, is a very dangerous claim. It is a claim to be a type of prophet who speaks in a very privileged manner with God. I certainly wouldn’t want to make such a claim myself unless I really had spoken in such a manner with God. Such is a LDS claim, but I view it as treading on Holy Ground without realizing the seriousness of such a claim.

      Beyond all of this, I have no frickin idea what you want me to say. Again, I don’t give a rat’s hairy behind whether you think I’m a fideist, atheist, realist, extortionist, empiricist, or anarchist. I find this entire conversation laughable, to be frank. The real reason you are getting dodgy is that you have an authority problem that you don’t want to address. You’ve elevated the evidence supplied by atheistic “scientists” (like Dr. Hazen and those who preceded him) ahead of inspired “scientists” (like the authors of the gospels), all of whom have described what they have detected with their senses. One can choose to believe scripture based solely on the testimony of the Bible’s authors just as rationally as one can choose to believe scripture based on what atheistic scientists have to share. Yet you have repeatedly belittled those willing to accept at face value the testimony of the “law and the prophets.”

      If there were no evidence that the disciples existed, it would not be rational to believe their testimony any more than it would be rational to believe the testimony of the characters in a made up novel or a moral fable. The credibility of the disciples comes from the independent empirical evidence (outside of the Bible) that they really did exist and that they really did die for the story they told. That’s very good evidence for the credibility of the hypothesis that the disciples really did believe their story to be true. The same is true of Biblical prophecy. If the prophecies did not match historical realities, empirical evidence, they would be no more worthy of faith than some just-so story or the claims of some sidewalk palm reader.

      Also, the reason I believe the published observations of someone like Hazen (and the vast majority of other scientists as well), is because there seems to be no reason why anyone would lie about such observations. Again, observations are not interpretations. It is much easier to accept the publish observations of scientists than it is to accept some of their interpretations.

      In any case, I’m done with your arguments for fideistic faith. I doubt I will publish future posts on this topic from you unless, for some reason, they are substantively different and much more interesting than what I’ve read over the past several years…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  82. I must confess that I am utterly mystified by the mindset of people like Brian Bull who believe one thing on week days and something completely different on Sabbath. Surely Dr. Bull doesn’t think that the reality of natural history varies depending on the day of the week! I think I can at least grasp fideism – believing something in spite of the evidence or even in the teeth of the evidence – although even this is illogical to me. But I simply cannot wrap my mind around a simultaneous embrace of “two incommensurate worlds.” This is like claiming that 3+4=6 and 3+4=7 at the same time. When intelligent young people are presented with such drivel in the name of Christianity, it’s no wonder they walk away in droves.




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  83. I would add that the truthfulness of the Genesis creation account and Christianity itself cannot be determined by aesthetics. Christianity may be beautiful and it may provide hope, but if you don’t think it measures up to cold, hard reality, please have the guts to abandon it! However, if you do abandon it, don’t hang around and teach at an Adventist school or some other Christian school. There are plenty of secular schools that will gladly employ you, and they will probably pay you a higher salary as well. I must be blunt. As much as I disagree with Richard Dawkins, I at least respect his intellectual honesty. I cannot say that for Brian Bull!




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  84. David Read: I realize that you personally believe in the Adventist/biblical origins narrative, but you have constantly argued that La Sierra and other Adventist colleges should teach mainstream origins science, not creation science.

    Wrong. I have argued that LSU and all SDA universities should teach both sides, always showing utmost respect for the SDA position. They should teach origins honestly, showing the data for what it is, and not evangelize Sean’s personal opinion regarding the “weight” of evidence. I would prefer that neither side be evangelized, encouraging the students to think for themselves, though I personally would state my own views which fully support SDA beliefs. I think the topic should be taught using the approach of Leonard Brand in his very fine book, which truthfully and humbly acknowledges we have serious issues that we cannot explain.

    David Read: I don’t personally do any sort of science and Sean is an M.D. pathologist.

    What? You watch TV, you read the internet. It’s all science. You make rational decisions about what you believe, which makes you a scientist. This according to Sean Pitman, right?




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    • @Professor Kent: You wrote, “I would prefer that neither side be evangelized…”

      I might agree. But since evolution is already being strongly evangelized, sometimes even in our own backyard, I will wink at any evangelizing from our side as a countermeasure.




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    • @Professor Kent: So if you think creation science should be taught at least half the time, why do you have such a problem with this website???

      Right now, creation science isn’t being taught at all, only Darwinism.




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  85. David Read: We have argued that La Sierra scientists (and all other scientists teaching at SDA institutions) should do creation science, whereas you have argued, with obsessive persistence and great passion, that they should continue to do just what they’re doing. By implication, you are saying that origins science should be, and indeed must be, done pursuant to atheistic assumptions.

    You simply don’t understand SDA scientists. Origins is a trivial issue for most of us. Our interests lie elsewhere. Let’s consider, for example, the faculty at LSU who you imply are doing origins science pursuant to atheistic assumptions. Well, here is what their research entails:

    Dr. Dean studies antibiotic resistance in microorganisms. Her research examines microevolution. She does not do origins science.

    Dr. Diaz studies the genetics and ecology of speciation and morphological diversity. His research addresses microevolution at most and has no bearing on origins science.

    Dr. Grismer studies speciation in snakes and lizards in Baja California and Asia. His research addresses microevolution. He does not do origins science.

    Dr. Joseph studies signal transduction mechanisms that regulate bone formation and mineralization in bone cancer. His research addresses pathology, the same as Sean Pitman. Like Pitman, he does not do origins science.

    Dr. Perumal studies plant ecology and physiology. His work has nothing to do with origins science.

    Dr. Sabet studies how halophage viruses cope under extreme hypersaline conditions. She is not doing origins science.

    Dr. Trueblood is some kind of marine biologist, if I remember a conversation I had with a colleague last year. He definitely does not study origins.

    Dr. Wilson studies the spread of cancer throughout the body. Obviously, this has nothing to do with origins science.

    I have not argued that LSU biologists should continue what they are doing, but I’ll gladly do so now. Yes, they should do good science, and no one should force them to switch to “origins science.”




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    • The issue is that many of LSU’s professors promote neo-Darwinism in class while completely disregarding if not openly deriding the Biblical perspective on origins. Obviously they aren’t researching macroevolution since no one is. There are no experiments directly supportive of macroevolution. It’s all microevolution. All of neo-Darwinism is based on microevolution that has been erroneously exptrapolated to the macro level. Such non-scientific extrapolations should not be preached in Adventist classrooms. Rather, the evidence for the Biblical perspective should be presented by those who actually believe it.




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  86. David Read: You are saying that even Christians, even Seventh-day Adventist Christians, if their professional work touches on the area of origins, absolutely should be “devoting their professional lives to building up an edifice of evidence and argument designed to show that the world is accidentally self-created.”
    And my question to you remains the same: Why do you think this is okay? Why do you think it is okay for Christians to devote their lives, in effect, to building up the apologetical structures of atheism? Can you now attempt to answer that question without inane evasions about what you personally do?

    Dude, I don’t know of a single SDA scientist whose professional work truly touches on the area of origins. And I would agree with you wholeheartedly that an SDA-employed scientist should never promote the view that the world was accidentally self-created. I don’t think doing so would be okay.

    I’m not giving you inane evasions. I’m responding forthrightly to your questions that follow from totally, completely, ridiculously inane assumptions about my beliefs and what I have supported here at Educate Truth. You guys manufacture some pretty amazing stuff, which is all the more amazing because you actually seem to believe it. You turn absence of evidence into remarkable convictions about minute details regarding my belief system and integrity!




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    • @Professor Kent: My simple mind can understand David’s point, certainly yours should. You do research. You publish this research in a journal that purposely excludes design. Therefore you are helping them make money and are an accomplice in a crime against the Creator.




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    • @Professor Kent: Leaving aside the issue of publishing in journals that disallow discussion of creation or design (which George is responding to), my concern is that believing scientists not endorse Darwinism.

      And since you’re saying, Jeff, that “I would agree with you wholeheartedly that an SDA-employed scientist should never promote the view that the world was accidentally self-created. I don’t think doing so would be okay” are you thereby saying that we should not hire any Darwinist professors? If that’s what you’re saying, then I agree with you, and wonder why you’re so hostile to this website.

      You now seem to be agreeing with me that SDA institutions should not hire Darwinist professors, nor allow Darwinism to be taught as truth, and you’ve repeatedly said that you yourself are not an evolutionist. So I am left to wonder why you so passionately defend La Sierra?




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  87. David Read: The issue of the day, the question that demands an answer, is: should scientists at SDA colleges do and teach science from an atheistic perspective or from a biblical perspective? Jeff Kent, Paul Cameron and a few others have argued that it has to be done from an atheistic perspective, and that’s essentially the only way it can be done.

    I have not argued for this at all, David. Stop attributing things to me that are untrue. I’m much closer to Lee Greer’s perspective that science should be taught as science, not religion. I think Pauluc is the same. Yet while I am not an SDA Church employee, I absolutely DO teach a biblical perspective in my classes. When I lecture on material in a textbook that presents an evolutionary perspective, I’m quick to add that the student can believe as they wish, and that I don’t subscribe to the textbook’s perspective.

    I know it’s a lot more fun to make Professor Kent into a monster, but when you do so, you guys make clear that if you jump to unwarranted conclusions about me, you’re doing the same with scientific evidence.




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    • In other words you seem to be saying to us and to your students, “You can believe as you wish, just don’t call your beliefs science or evidence-based, because they’re clearly not. My own faith is not dependent on empirical evidence or human reasoning – and neither should yours be when presented with what admittedly seems to be overwhelming evidence to the contrary. Remember now, don’t confuse science with religion because they are based on two very different paths to truth. Science can say one thing and religion something very different. We can teach science while remembering that our religious faith allows us to know that science is wrong even when the overwhelming weight of empirical evidence is against us. We should be honest with the evidence though and admit that all we really have to go on is faith and the witness of the Holy Spirit speaking to our minds individually and telling us the real truth – not science or solid empirical evidence or human reasoning, when it comes to trusting the claims of the Bible.”

      Anyway, I really should stop letting you bait me like this. I think we’ve beat this fideistic horse to death at this point.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • @Sean Pitman: No, I do not speak this way at all to my students. I’m not baiting you; I’m responding to David. You’re being sarcastic and disrespectful, and you’re completely misrepresenting my position.




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        • I am not misrepresenting your position or being sarcastic. I’m presenting the arguments you’ve repeated over and over again in this an other forums for quite some time now. You don’t believe that valid faith and science are essentially the same thing. You don’t believe that faith is dependent upon the weight of empirical evidence or scientific arguments nor is it subject to the potential for falsification given certain forms of empirical evidence. You believe that faith can consider evidence, but need not be influenced by it or overcome by it or changed by it. You’ve made yourself very very clear in this regard – for me and pretty much everyone else who’s followed your posts for any length of time.

          So, I see no need to continue this conversation or continue to post your never ending fideistic rants in this forum… There’s no reason to continue this conversation. You’ve already made your position as clear as you’re going to make it. So, unless you come up with something that truly seems to clarify your position in some unique way, I’m not going to continually allow you to redirect the topic of practically every thread in on this website back to fideism. You’ve made your position quite clear already…




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    • @Professor Kent: “I’m much closer to Lee Greer’s perspective that science should be taught as science, not religion. I think Pauluc is the same.”

      Jeff, Lee Greer teaches that humans and apes descended from a common ancestor. (Louie Bishop gave Greer’s lecture slides to Educate Truth). If you’re closer to Lee Greer’s perspective, then you’re a Darwinist, not a creationist.

      You seem to be saying that while you personally believe in Bible history, you think that science should continue to be done pursuant to atheistic assumptions and rules. I keep asking you why that’s okay, and you keep avoiding the question. Because when I phrase the question as “why do you think it is okay for Christians to do science pursuant to the assumption that God has never created or intervened in the material universe,” you realize that your position is indefensible, and you have nothing but your inane invasions to fall back on.




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  88. Bob Helm: When intelligent young people are presented with such drivel in the name of Christianity, it’s no wonder they walk away in droves.

    The research is crystal clear: people walk away from Church in droves not because of theology or ideology, but largely because of relationships and experiences.




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    • There are all kinds of reasons why young people leave the church. The undeniable fact is that one very big reason is that religion no longer makes sense when the claims of the Bible are said to be completely inconsistent and at odds with the claims of modern science. It becomes clearly irrational for many well-educated young people to remain in a place that is intellectually inconsistent with what they believe to be reality – the “real world”. They want to be honest with themselves and step out of what they consider to be a fantasy world for the “ignorant, stupid, or insane”.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • @Sean Pitman:
        Sean you may be right but the problem is that the religious right equates fundamentalism with Christianity and that makes a very brittle Christianity as you yourself have articulated with your “If I ever…” statement. It is very difficult for people indoctrinated with the meme of Christianity is only ever Fundamentalist Christianity to move beyond this when they encounter evidence against a literalist reading scripture.




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        • @Pauluc: Paul, those two tablets of stone written on by the finger of God are very brittle, as Moses found out.

          So God wrote it again: “In six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea and all that is in them…”

          If life has been here over 6,000 years, someone’s lying.




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        • Many people don’t see the same value in social Christianity or ethical Christianity. If the Bible is nothing more than a bunch of moral fables, what’s the point pretending that Jesus was anything more than a lovable crazy man who thought he was God? Certainly this view isn’t something for which most would be willing to put their lives on the line.

          Your selective faith has no rational basis outside of your own mind since you yourself argue that your form of Christianity isn’t based on human reason or empirical evidence – but is more experiential or emotionally driven. From that perspective, you can basically make the Bible say whatever you want it to say. It’s a very personal and robust religion that is not testable or falsifiable – or all that helpful to anyone who has not had your personalized “experience”. You really have no argument, no rational argument, except for, “You have to have your own experience.”

          Why then are you here? It seems to me that you are here arguing with me because your only real beef is with those who claim that there is actually a rational basis for faith and belief in God and particular interpretations of the Bible as the Word of God that are generally accessible – since the same evidence and rational basis for considering it is generally available outside of one’s own mind and personal experience. You do not argue against Jeff Kent, even though his faith informs him of truths that are very different, fundamentally different and opposed to those derived from your faith. Why don’t you argue with him? Because, you don’t care about his faith and how it is fundamentally opposed to yours, because he claims no evidence, no generally accessible empirical evidence, for his faith. He is not claiming the ability to rationally challenge your faith position. That’s why you really don’t care what he believes. You’re only opposed to those who claim that there is a rational, potentially falsifiable, basis for certain views of God and certain views of the Bible and what are and are not valid interpretations of Scripture given the information that is currently in hand (i.e., “present truth”). That’s what really gets your goat… but that is the type of Christianity that the Bible itself promotes.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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    • @Professor Kent: Jeff, the most recent research is that more people leave the church for doctrinal reasons than because someone has treated them badly:

      http://www.adventistreview.org/article/6144/archives/issue-2013-1508/beyond-belief.

      “There are many SDA churches,” wrote another former member, “that are open, loving, and focused only on Christ, but this is not the problem. The problem is with the doctrine of the SDA Church. The doctrinal beliefs of the SDA Church are completely unbiblical; this is the reason I will never attend an SDA church again.”




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  89. Sean Pitman: Nowhere does the Bible say, “Don’t bother studying or reading or investigating the evidence to determine the truth about the origin of the Scriptures or the validity of their claims, because the Holy Spirit will give you this knowledge independent of any effort on your part.”

    Does the Bible say somewhere, “You must investigate evidence to determine the truth about the origin of the Scriptures or the validity of their claims, because the Holy Spirit will not give you this knowledge independent of any effort on your part.”

    All I have stated is that the Holy Spirit can convict us that God is real and that His word can be trusted. If you think a force that can move mountains is unable to move one’s mind, you’re entitled to that.




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    • God can move mountains, to be sure. He could also force us to recognize Him independent of any effort or rational thought or investigation on our part. But, He generally chooses not to work this way. Instead, He says, “Come, let us reason together…”

      God created the human mind for a reason, and He expects us to use it to discover Him through the things that have been made (Romans 1:20) and the evidence that He has already provided to us that are within our reasoning powers to grasp. He does not trump the mind or our own human efforts to search out and weigh the evidence provided. He does not force our conclusions independent of our rational abilities to understand based on “the weight of evidence”.




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  90. Sean Pitman: I am not misrepresenting your position or being sarcastic. I’m presenting arguments you’ve repeated over and over again in this an other forums for quite some time now.

    Any rational and obective reader would recognize your repeated attempts to summarize my position in the most exaggerated and unflattering light possible. You restate my alleged positions over and over and over and over. That’s your argumentative style. If there are any rants posted here, it’s your long-winded and terse descriptions of my beliefs, and your spirited assertions that you surely understand me–and all things science–much better than I do.

    I think you get upset most when I point out that you prioritize the evidence of atheistic scientists above the inspired authors of scripture, which has nothing at all to do with my beliefs. You continue to make your case for science and reason, but wish to change the topic because you fear that others might also identify your theology as heterodox. You’re acting very edgy. Of course, this is your website, so if you’re uncomfortable defending your beliefs and want to cut me off by complaining about mine, it’s certainly your privelege.




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    • I’ve already explained my position, many times, and addressed these very same points that you bring up, yet again, in this very same thread. I’ve “defended my beliefs” quite clearly I think. I simply see no reason to keep going around and around in circles on this very same topic saying the very same things over and over again.

      I tell you what. I’ll let you have the last word on this topic, and then I’m ending it. Give it your best shot at final clarification and then it’s up to those who read through this thread to make up their own minds regarding the correct view of faith vs. evidence. After this, if you think further clarification is needed, by all means, set up your own website dedicated to your views on faith vs. evidence and how my views are so wrong and dangerous for the church…

      And I do sincerely wish you all the best and may God bless you and yours with health, long life, and abundant joy in the knowledge of God’s love.

      Sean




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  91. George Evans: You do research. You publish this research in a journal that purposely excludes design. Therefore you are helping them make money and are an accomplice in a crime against the Creator.

    Are you priveledged to the rejected manuscript files of the roughly two dozen journals I’ve published in? How do you know that they purposely exclude articles about design?

    What do Professor Kent, Pauluc, Leonard Brand (SDA creationist), Walter Veith (SDA creationist), and Sean Pitman have in common? They all commit crimes againt the Creator. (Hey, I’m in great company!)




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  92. Sean Pitman: I’ll let you have the last word on this topic, and then I’m ending it.

    Fair enough. I will close with two simple questions for each reader to contemplate:

    A) Would an illiterate person, unable to read scientific material and lacking training in interpreting science (“potentially falsifiable empirical evidence”), be able to form a fair and rational understanding of God if someone read to them the Bible?

    B) Do the following evidences from scripture give us a picture of God that is both fair and rational?

    1. The messianic prophecies and their fulfillment in Jesus;
    2. The internal consistency of doctrine and teaching over the course of hundreds of years, as reflected in the writings of numerous authors;
    3. The sanctuary system’s typology that connects the Old Testament with the New Testament;
    4. The courage and zeal of the disciples after the crucifixion;
    5. The candor and self-effacement reflected in the descriptions of persons and nations;
    6. The fulfillment of some apocalyptic prophecies of Daniel, as reflected in New Testament writings;
    7. The numerous references in which the Scriptural writings of others are confirmed– e.g., Peter characterizes the writings of Paul as Scripture;
    8. The relative ease in differentiating Scripture from the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha;
    9. The confirmed fact that the ancient writers and their contemporaries did not always understand the meaning of what was written;
    10. The complementarity of the various models of the atonement that are extensively set forth in the Old Testament, and further discussed in the New Testament;
    11. The fulfillments of classical prophecies, especially in those cases where the prophecy and its temporal fulfillment are recorded in Scripture by separate authors;
    12. The absence of material mistakes and contradiction of facts–(there are some mistakes and contradictions but they are not material);
    13. The extraordinarily high quality and depth of the material;
    14. The self-testimony of Scripture, in that we are not required to superimpose our own assertions regarding what Scripture is;
    15. The self-sufficiency of Scripture, in that all major questions of life are addressed;
    16. Despite the barbaric practices described in Scripture, Scripture affirms values of ethics, equality, justice, mercy, etc., that are centuries ahead of the times in which those texts were
    written.

    I realize my defense of scripture rankles many of you who find it insufficient as a source of truth, but I won’t challenge anyone who wishes to share their views on these questions. BTW, the evidences in question 2 are from Phil Brantley.




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    • The problem is, as already noted, you’re not just relying on Scripture, by itself, for many of these evidences you’ve listed. Many of these evidences are dependent upon external empirical evidence. The prophecies, for example, are dependent upon historical evidence that they were in fact fulfilled in reality – not just in the minds of those who wrote the Scriptures. The same thing is true of the lives and deaths of the disciples. Is there extra-Biblical evidence that they really did live and die as described? Is the Bible more than a good moral fable?

      Beyond this, you did not address your oft-repeated argument that if any form of empirical evidence regarding any of the items you cited happened to diverge from your faith in the Scriptures, you’d not change your faith nor would your faith be affected by the conflicting empirical evidence regarding any of the points you’ve just listed…

      In any case, thanks for your time here dealing with a very important topic – faith. It’s been interesting, but I do think it’s time we give it a rest… unless you ever want to substantively address the points mentioned which you’ve never addressed before?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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    • @Professor Kent: Phil Brantley did a great job in puling together that list of scriptural evidences. But then the student goes to Biology class and learns that when Moses said he saw God write with His own hand that in six days Ne made everything, someone was telling a story. And the bible a little brittle in the area of infallibility. A person can only take so many mistakes and inconsistencies before the whole thing starts to smell. The veracity of those two tables of rock are more important than any other rock a geologist can examine. And evolution acts to break them to pieces.

      Satan knew that, and that’s why he has been so jazzed about getting long age evolutionism into our ranks. It destabilizes the whole picture. Jeff, this is serious.




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  93. Sean Pitman:
    The basis of my faith can be scrutinized by rational methodologies and is open to the potential for falsification.Your faith, on the other hand, cannot be rationally scrutinized and is therefore not open to even the potential for falsification.What is also interesting is that the fideists in this forum (you and Jeff Kent) have faiths that do not agree with each other.God is evidently telling you guys different things about reality… and neither one of you can change your faith based on any kind of argument or evidence presented because your faith has no rational basis – because faith, according to you guys, trumps human reasoning.

    Sean
    Tthat is all well and good but not what I asked.
    I asked only if you can apply logic and scientific scrutiny to the Canon and the Writings of Ellen White.

    In your schemata are you permitted to ask the things a scholar would be expected to ask.

    1] What is the source of the pentateuch?
    2] Who were the authors and when was it written
    3] What are the extrinsic evidences that support the provinenc
    4] Is it valid to compare the Genesis account and the earlier Enuna Elish
    5] Is it valid to assume that the writer of Genesis was aware of the earlier sumarian cultural value and was responding to an earlier world view.
    6] Is is valid to compare the genesis account of a flood with the earlier Gilgamesh epic?
    7] Is it possible to scrutinize the canon in terms of comparison of the Gospels that did not make the canon?
    8] Can you scrutinize the words of EG White as has been done by Ronald Numbers in his account of her life “Messenger of Health” and the clear points at which there was evolution of her ideas though based on a “I was shown”

    In a word do you rationally consider the basis for you acceptance of literalism?




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    • @Pauluc: Paul, I say bring it on. But don’t be surprised if I apply the same skeptical eye I apply to science falsely so called. You and I have lived through so real boners coming from the higher critical camp. For example trying to place the writing of Daniel up in the Roman Empire to avoid the question of how did a mere man know so much about the future. That must have hurt.

      Why don’t we hear more about the failures of higher criticism?




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  94. Professor Kent: Wrong. I have argued that LSU and all SDA universities should teach both sides, always showing utmost respect for the SDA position.

    You also stated on another post that you agree with Lee Greer position on this issue. Are you sure you agree with him?

    The reason I am asking this is the fact that I did discuss this with Lee on numerous occasions and asked him why he refused to present both sides of the evolution controversy, and he responded that he was hired to teach science—not religion.

    In other words, if the evidence was not favorable to the theory of evolution, he considered that presenting it to his students would be equivalent to teaching religion.

    How can a scientist be so one sided? I always thought that a scientist should be unbiased and present all evidence, favorable and unfavorable to his personal opinion.

    Do you really agree with Greer on this? Are you open to contrary evidence to your pet interpretation of facts?




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