La Sierra and Battle Creek College

The situation at the La Sierra University Biology Department is reviewed, including material recommended by the Biology Department. A comparison is made with the situation at Battle Creek College, and Ellen White’s response to the situation. For reference, read 5T 21-36.

Speaker: Paul Giem

Second Look Seminars, most Saturday Mornings at 10:00am at Mortensen Hall, Loma Linda University.

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169 thoughts on “La Sierra and Battle Creek College

  1. I’m glad that Dr. Paul Giem presented the inconsistencies between what La Sierra University says it is doing and what is really going on. Such transparency is vital for our Church. I do, however, disagree somewhat with Paul’s suggestion that there could be an open discussion where all could publicly present their ideas without any personal risk to employment.

    There comes a point where a line must be drawn beyond which a person no longer represents the ideals and goals of his/her employer, the SDA Church in this case, and therefore can no longer be maintained by the SDA Church.

    Certainly our pastors are held to this standard. No one would think that a pastor who persistently went around telling everyone that Catholic theology was superior to SDA theology, even after extensive counsel with such a pastor, should be maintained in the employ of the SDA Church. A pastor who persistently preached the validity of worshiping the Virgin Mary or eternal Hell Fire, would not be maintained by the SDA Church – and rightfully so. Why then should the Church hold its teachers to a lower standard when it comes to correctly representing the goals and ideals of the Church to the world?

    Open and honest transparency is a minimum requirement from our schools, but by no means the ideal situation. The ideal situation is one in which our schools ensure for their clients, parents and the SDA constituency at large, that the product being advertised is what our students are really getting at that school… the clearly stated fundamental SDA goals and ideals…

    Anything short of this is cause for serious alarm and, as Mrs. White advocated, eventual separation from the Church of any school or institution within the Church that can no longer be brought into line with the goals and ideals of the Church…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  2. Sean, I agree with you 100% about the “open discussion.” The Bio profs are not likely to agree to this, as it would “spill the beans” about what is really going on. I doubt whether Wisbey would even LET them go out in public.




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  3. I was a little surprised to find this video here. It was not something I arranged, but on the other hand, once something is released in cyberspace, Jesus’ comment that “whatsoever ye have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light; and that which ye have spoken in the ear in closets shall be proclaimed upon the housetops” comes true with a vengeance on the internet.

    Sean, I agree with you that ideal is that our schools teach fundamental Adventist doctrines as the truth, and, while covering other opinions, always emphasize our own. But it appears to me that we need to be careful for two reasons. First, truth is more important than Adventism. I believe in Adventism because (IMO) it is right, not the other way around. Our methods of purifying Adventist educational institutions must never stray across that line.

    Second, as some comments on another thread have noted, this problem is much bigger than the La Sierra biology department, or even La Sierra itself. It is even bigger than the Adventist church. If the gospel of the Kingdom is to be preached to all the world, for a witness unto all nations, that includes not only places such as Africa and Latin America, or even Saudi Arabia, but also England and Denmark, and the intellectual elite of northern North America. And here we either do not have the tools to make the conversation relevant, or we do not know how to use them (I happen to believe a little of both).

    Dealing with the situation at La Sierra both kindly and firmly gives us much needed practice for when we have to deal with the problem in less friendly venues. I view this as a drill for our larger work. And while here we may be able to use a shortcut (“You got outvoted; you will just have to quit”), that will not work in the larger world. Even here we should be, and be seen as, winning on the merits of the case, not just the power aspects.

    As a matter of fact, if we try to prematurely win on the power aspects, we may wind up losing more than we bargained for. These ideas have their hard-core supporters, but there are also many who have not thought it through who are sympathizers. These people can be swayed by arguments, about truth, and especially about fairness (like substantiated charges that the other side systematically excludes any mention of the evidence behind our positions), but if we make power plays without appropriate intellectual support, they will turn against us and the loss to the church will be far greater than it needed to be. Trial first, verdict afterwards.

    I know that for you the evidence is fairly obvious. It is for me also, although it takes reweighing the evidence without any thumbs on the scale. But the church at large knows very little about the evidence, and there needs to be some educating before the the church is prepared to make the correct verdict.

    That is why fairness is so important. The rest of the church still does not fully realize that the strategy in the capstone classes has been to silence all positive evidence for short age, or even ID (!), and take nearly the most extreme position in favor of both long ages and unguided evolution and against the church’s stated position. That can be attacked on fairness grounds. Then once the discussion gets going we can win others to our position, which in the end is vital. Once that is done, the situation will resolve itself. In the meantime, at least people who are considering college (or paying for college) will at least know what the score is.

    Finally, we need to be careful not to paint with too wide a brush. According to conservative student testimony, there is one biology faculty member who is supportive of short age. Perhaps as a minimum, Dr. Perumel could be put in partial (or complete) charge of the capstone classes.

    For others, my schedule will probably not allow daily comments, but I will get back to you as time permits.




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  4. @Paul Giem:

    Dealing with the situation at La Sierra both kindly and firmly gives us much needed practice for when we have to deal with the problem in less friendly venues. I view this as a drill for our larger work. And while here we may be able to use a shortcut (“You got outvoted; you will just have to quit”), that will not work in the larger world. Even here we should be, and be seen as, winning on the merits of the case, not just the power aspects.

    I’d love the Church to be able to convince the entire world based on the overwhelmingly obvious merits of the Gospel. The problem, as you well know, is that convincing a person against his/her will is essentially impossible. This debate isn’t simply about having enough information to convince the candid mind. There are differences in motivations here as well as differences in background, education and mental abilities that come into play. Different people are on many different points in the path toward recognizing and accepting the “present truth” as the Church sees it. Not all, therefore, are qualified to be recognized as paid representatives of the Church before either pulpit or classroom.

    The “education” of Church representatives should be done before they are hired by the Church, not after (at least not after given clear evidence of determined resistance against careful efforts to change the course of those who wish to fundamentally oppose the Church on the Church’s dime).

    As a matter of fact, if we try to prematurely win on the power aspects, we may wind up losing more than we bargained for. These ideas have their hard-core supporters, but there are also many who have not thought it through who are sympathizers. These people can be swayed by arguments, about truth, and especially about fairness (like substantiated charges that the other side systematically excludes any mention of the evidence behind our positions), but if we make power plays without appropriate intellectual support, they will turn against us and the loss to the church will be far greater than it needed to be. Trial first, verdict afterwards.

    I agree with the concept of trial first, verdict later. But there must be a trial and a verdict. Simply ignoring this situation like it isn’t really a huge problem for the Church will end up causing far more harm that meeting this problem head-on right now.

    I know that for you the evidence is fairly obvious. It is for me also, although it takes reweighing the evidence without any thumbs on the scale. But the church at large knows very little about the evidence, and there needs to be some educating before the the church is prepared to make the correct verdict.

    It is impossible to get everyone to understand all of the subtleties of the relevant evidence. This is the reason why the vast majority of mainstream scientists do not subscribe to the SDA position on origins – not even close. The Church simply cannot afford to sit around and do nothing until it convinces everyone of the validity of its own position on origins. That’s simply not going to happen. It isn’t realistic.

    That is why fairness is so important. The rest of the church still does not fully realize that the strategy in the capstone classes has been to silence all positive evidence for short age, or even ID (!), and take nearly the most extreme position in favor of both long ages and unguided evolution and against the church’s stated position. That can be attacked on fairness grounds. Then once the discussion gets going we can win others to our position, which in the end is vital. Once that is done, the situation will resolve itself. In the meantime, at least people who are considering college (or paying for college) will at least know what the score is.

    I think everyone who is actually interested in this discussion knows the truth as to what most LSU science professors have really been promoting in their classrooms. Is more transparency needed? Absolutely! But, LSU is doing the very best they can to cover up the truth in this regard. This effort has been ongoing for decades. It is time that the Church step in and definitively address this problem – as Mrs. White did in her day regarding a similar situation at Battle Creek. As part of the Church’s address of this problem it most certainly needs to cite the relevant evidence, as you did in your discussion and as has been done on this website over the past year and a half, as a reason for its action which can be easily validated by all.

    Finally, we need to be careful not to paint with too wide a brush. According to conservative student testimony, there is one biology faculty member who is supportive of short age. Perhaps as a minimum, Dr. Perumel could be put in partial (or complete) charge of the capstone classes.

    I agree here. Dr. Perumel, or someone else who is actually supportive of the Church’s position on origins should be in charge of the biology department – at the very minimum. Ideally, and I think of necessity, all staff at LSU and within our entire school system should be required to publicly subscribe to the Church’s fundamental goals and ideals before they take on the responsibility of a paid representative of the Church as a teacher or pastor.

    Regardless though, I do agree with you that at the very least, and I mean very least, we all deserve open and honest transparency from our schools. We have yet to achieve this minimum at LSU. Many of our other schools are in a similar boat. It is just that the LSU boat has been the most blatant in openly attacking the Church’s position on origins for a very long time… as you clearly pointed out in your lecture.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  5. I agree with the concept of trial first, verdict later. But there must be a trial and a verdict.

    I think we’ve had our trial already, in the court of public opinion. The verdict is clear: guilty as charged. Are we not a qualified jury? Are we not a qualified judge to issue the sentence?




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  6. I think we’ve had our trial already, in the court of public opinion. The verdict is clear: guilty as charged. Are we not a qualified jury? Are we not a qualified judge to issue the sentence?  

    Thanks for your sarcastic approval, Prof, but as we all actually know, it will not stop us. As we all, except you, have seen, we are asking for an investigation of these problems by those who ARE in charge. However, as we have also seen, those who “can do” are not doing! Will they ever? I still have my doubts.




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  7. Paul, The “word” is getting out, but very slowly. Most people I’ve spoken to are both ignorant of this matter and/or apathetic towards it, however. And, these are mainly people who live here in California. Maybe others have had a different experience? I hope so!

    As we can also see from Prof Kent’s and other liberal comments, the noose is tightening, and the handwriting is beginning to be seen on the wall. God is working with us, but we also need to be working WITH Him in this matter. Have we the resolve to see this matter through? I think we do!




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  8. @Professor Kent:

    I think we’ve had our trial already, in the court of public opinion. The verdict is clear: guilty as charged. Are we not a qualified jury? Are we not a qualified judge to issue the sentence?

    We as individuals may have our own little internal trials and verdicts. However, the main point here is that the SDA Church, as an organized body, needs to have its own trial and verdict in order to maintain itself as a viable organized body of believers. As it currently stands, the Church is fragmenting and rapidly heading toward chaos and ultimate irrelevance. Such pronounced and widespread schizophrenia, as is currently evident within the Church body, does not a healthy body make.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  9. Re Sean’s Quote

    “However, the main point here is that the SDA Church, as an organized body, needs to have its own trial and verdict in order to maintain itself as a viable organized body of believers. As it currently stands, the Church is fragmenting and rapidly heading toward chaos and ultimate irrelevance. Such pronounced and widespread schizophrenia, as is currently evident within the Church body, does not a healthy body make.”

    Dear Sean

    On that point I agree with you 100%. Frankly I can’t see how Elder Wilson can sanction the science of the GRI and maintain FB# 6 on an absolute basis. To me the two seem incompatible.

    Regards
    Ken




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  10. There are a number of issues in this discussion. But perhaps the main one for Sean and others is this.

    Shouldn’t anyone working for someone else be careful to represent what the one who hired them expected them to?

    If a man is hired by Ford to advocate Ford products, how is it ethical for him to advocate GM products while drawing pay from Ford?

    Some seem to think this is quite all right in religious matters and/or a school situation. So a teacher can blatantly deny what the school stands for and advocate his own opinion and still expect to be payed by the school.

    This seems more than a little absurd to any rational thinking person. But then, we have learned not to “over expect” in the modern world of convoluted thinking on almost all issues.

    Bill Sorensen




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  11. I agree with Paul on the need to develop a solid presentation for three important facts.

    1. The Bible doctrine on origins is not even remotely compatible with the atheist-centric doctrine for origins found in evolutionism. Both atheists and Bible-believing Christians of many different denominations see this point clearly.

    2. There is a huge difference between sound “science” and the wild storytelling that comprises the myth and legend of evolutionism’s alchemist “birds come from reptiles” notion. A section of the presentation should deal with the critical thinking skills – needed to know the difference between established fact and evolutionist propaganda.

    3. There should be some focus on identifying candidate areas of research for Bible believing Christians who work in the sciences. For example – DNA and Protein structure survival in specimens supposedly millions of years old. There should be a way to recalibrate the timeline once you know the max half-life of something like cytosine or the rate of racimization in chiral orientation for amino acides over time. (To name a few areas of focus that could be had).

    But the program that seeks to bring would-be-evolutionists to the light of day and that seeks to advance the study of Bible believing Christians – should not be mistaken for the stewardship and sacred responsibility of administrators in our institutions to make sure that they are not even remotely promoting “the worst form of infidelity”. They need to take decisive action to put a stop to it if they do not want to share the blame in the eyes of God for all that is done under their watch.

    I don’t see any way that they can escape being held directly accountable to God in that regard. Every day they delay, hedge and maneuver they compound their guilt.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  12. @Ken:

    On that point I agree with you 100%. Frankly I can’t see how Elder Wilson can sanction the science of the GRI and maintain FB# 6 on an absolute basis. To me the two seem incompatible.

    Ariel Roth is a good example of GRI leadership that held a strong line in favor of FB #6.

    I saw some other GRI members in Atlanta who also came out clearly in favor of FB#6 and showed science examples that were compatible with it. I think Wilson can easily find harmony between the work that they have done and are still doing – vs FB #6.

    But there are some elements of GRI that clearly take a less agressive stand and from what I could tell – basically offer no contribution at all to the dicussion aside from “we must learn to live with puzzles we do not yet have the answer for”.

    Frankly – every child in church can easily accomplish the goal of being the evangelist for the idea that “we do not yet have the answer to very riddle” in life or in science or in the Bible or history etc. We don’t need to focus on paying a scientist who is not willing to get their hands dirty and do some research with a goal in mind that is above of level of “learn to live with dissappointment”.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  13. @Ken: I agree…Sean Pitmanhttp://www.DetectingDesign.com  (Quote)

    Thank you, Sean, for informing us that the GRI’s science can no longer be sanctioned or tolerated by the Church. Poor Elder Wilson, to think the good man was hoodwinked all this time as chairman of the GRI board, and it took a humble physician like you to expose what the GRI staff (Clausen, Nalin, and Gibson) have been along: nothing less than liars (about the “evidence” for SDA views on origins that is so obvious to all) and thieves (for stealing money from the Church for promoting belief in the Bible rather than the evidence from science). Will Elder Wilson have the backbone to act on this and either replace these errant men or dismantle the GRI altogether? This remains to be seen.

    I nominate you, Sean, to be the one to visit the GC headquarters and present this proposal in person on behalf of us all. Anyone second my motion? Ron?




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  14. 9T –
    It is always safe to be meek and lowly and tenderhearted, but at the same time we are to be as firm as a rock to the teachings of Christ. His words of instruction are to be strictly heeded. Not one word is to be lost sight of. The truth will abide forever. We are not to place our trust in any lie or pretense. Those who do this will find that it has been done at the loss of eternal life. We are now to make straight paths for our feet, lest the lame be turned out of the way. When the lame are turned from safe paths, who is accountable but those who have misled them? They have set at nought the counsel of the One whose words are life eternal, for the works of deception originating with the father of lies. {9T 266.1}

    I have words for all who may suppose that they are safe in obtaining their education in Battle Creek. The Lord has blotted out two of our largest institutions that were established in Battle Creek, and has given warning after warning, even as Christ gave warning to Bethsaida and Capernaum. There is a necessity of giving earnest attention to every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. There can be no sinless departure from the words of Christ. The Saviour urges the erring ones to repent. Those who humble their hearts and confess their sins will be pardoned. Their transgressions will be forgiven. But the man who thinks that should he confess his sins he would show weakness, will not find pardon, will not see Christ as his Redeemer, but will go on and on in transgression, making blunder after blunder and adding sin to sin. What will such a one do in the day that the books are opened and every man is judged according to the things written in the books?
    267
    {9T 266.2}




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  15. When God says to “meet it – head on” this is the kind of response that was given —

    ====================================================
    5T 186
    The influence exerted by some who have long been connected with the work of God is fatal to spirituality and devotion. These gospel-hardened youth have surrounded themselves with an atmosphere of worldliness, irreverence, and infidelity. Dare you risk the effect of such associations upon your children? It would be better for them never to obtain an education than to acquire it at the sacrifice of principle and the blessing of God. {5T 186.1}

    Among the youth who come to Battle Creek there are some who maintain their fidelity to God in the midst of temptation, but the number is small. Many who come here with confidence in the truth, in the Bible, and in religion have been led astray by irreligious associates and have returned to their homes doubting every truth which we as a people hold dear. {5T 186.2}

    Let all our brethren who contemplate removing to Battle Creek, or sending their children here, consider the matter well before taking this step. Unless the forces at this great center are keeping the fort, unless the faith and devotion of the church are proportioned to her privileges and opportunities, this is the most dangerous position which you can choose. I have seen the condition of this church as angels look upon it. There is a spiritual deception upon both the people and the watchmen. They maintain the forms of religion, but lack the abiding principles of righteousness. Unless there is a decided change, a marked transformation in this church, the school here should be removed to some other locality. {5T 186.3}

    Had the youth who have lived here for years improved their privileges, several who are now skeptics would have devoted themselves to the work of the ministry. But they have considered it an evidence of intellectual superiority to doubt the truth and have been proud of their independence in cherishing
    infidelity. They have done despite to the Spirit of grace and have trampled upon the blood of Christ. {5T 186.4}

    Where are the missionaries who should be raised up at the heart of the work? From twenty to fifty should be sent out from Battle Creek every year to carry the truth to those who sit in darkness. But piety is at so low an ebb, the spirit of devotion is so weak, worldliness and selfishness so prevalent, that the moral atmosphere begets a lethargy fatal to missionary zeal. {5T 187.1}
    …
    Shake off your spiritual lethargy. Work with all your might to save your own souls and the souls of others. It is no time now to cry, “Peace and safety.” It is not silver-tongued orators that are needed to give this message. The truth in all its pointed severity must be spoken. Men of action are needed –men who will labor with earnest, ceaseless energy for the purifying of the church and the warning of the world. {5T 187.3}

    A great work is to be accomplished; broader plans must be laid; a voice must go forth to arouse the nations. Men whose faith is weak and wavering are not the ones to carry forward the work at this important crisis. We need the courage of heroes and the faith of martyrs. {5T 187.4}




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  16. When it comes to the issue of teaching ‘the worst form of infidelity’ (3SG 90-91) we have to do MORE than simply “inform students” that the Biology department will be supporting the “worst form of infidelity”. We have to put a stop to it – period. Ariel Roth is correct that the souls of the students is far more the issue than making sure that evolutionist teachers “feel secure”.

    =======================================

    Neutrality in Religious crisis: condemned

    In the full light of the sun, surrounded by thousands,–men of war, prophets of Baal, and the monarch of Israel,–stands the defenseless man, Elijah, apparently alone, yet not alone. The most powerful host of heaven surrounds him. Angels who excel in strength have come from heaven to shield the faithful and righteous prophet. With stern and commanding voice Elijah cries: “How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow Him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.” Not one in that vast assembly dared utter one word for God and show his loyalty to Jehovah. {3T 280.2}
    What astonishing deception and fearful blindness had, like a dark cloud, covered Israel! This blindness and apostasy had not closed about them suddenly; it had come upon them gradually as they had not heeded the word of reproof and warning which the Lord had sent to them because of their pride and their sins. And now, in this fearful crisis, in the presence of the idolatrous priests and the apostate king, they remained neutral. If God abhors one sin above another, of which His people are guilty, it is doing nothing in case of an emergency. Indifference and neutrality in a religious crisis is regarded of God as a grievous crime and equal to the very worst type of hostility against God. {3T 280.3}

    Corporate Guilt Principle: Explained

    I saw that many souls will sink in darkness because of their covetousness. The plain, straight testimony must live in the church, or the curse of God will rest upon His people as surely as it did upon ancient Israel because of their sins. God holds His people, as a body, responsible for the sins existing in individuals among them. If the leaders of the church neglect to diligently search out the sins which bring the displeasure of God upon the body, they become responsible for these sins. But to deal with minds is the nicest work in which men ever engaged. All are not fitted to correct the erring. They have not wisdom to deal justly, while loving mercy. They are not inclined to see the necessity of mingling love and tender compassion with faithful reproofs. Some are ever needlessly severe, and do not feel the necessity of the injunction of the apostle: “And of some have compassion, making a difference: and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire.” {3T 269.2}




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  17. Thank you, Bob, for reminding us that Elder Wilson’s duty is to immediately fire three of GRI’s staff who refuse to claim there is abundant proof of creation. Or, better yet, he can dismantle GRI altogether. Let’s get with.




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  18. “If the leaders of the church neglect to diligently search out the sins which bring the displeasure of God upon the body, they become responsible for these sins.”

    Modern leaders hope to escape their responsibility and obligation by claiming…..”Oh, we can’t judge anyone.” And in this way allow sin and evil in the church to go unreproved and uncorrected. And this has been going on for years, especially since the Dr. Ford fiasco.

    It also becomes an easy mask for ignorance in doctrine and theology. Tolerance and Pluralism breed rebellion and apostacy coupled with false doctrine.

    We may be past the possibility of correcting what has been developing for decades. None the less, no one knows exactly how God will eventually correct the problem. Church persecution seems likely in light of past history. We see seeds of it developing, even now.

    Keep the faith

    Bill Sorensen




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  19. I said

    Ariel Roth is a good example of GRI leadership that held a strong line in favor of FB #6.

    I saw some other GRI members in Atlanta who also came out clearly in favor of FB#6 and showed science examples that were compatible with it. I think Wilson can easily find harmony between the work that they have done and are still doing – vs FB #6.

    But there are some elements of GRI that clearly take a less agressive stand and from what I could tell – basically offer no contribution at all to the dicussion aside from “we must learn to live with puzzles we do not yet have the answer for”.

    Frankly – every child in church can easily accomplish the goal of being the evangelist for the idea that “we do not yet have the answer to very riddle” in life or in science or in the Bible or history etc. We don’t need to focus on paying a scientist who is not willing to get their hands dirty and do some research with a goal in mind that is above of level of “learn to live with dissappointment”.

    Indicating that there were a number of GRI present and former staff members that are doing exactly what Wilson is calling for –

    Kent replies

    @Professor Kent:

    Thank you, Bob, for reminding us that Elder Wilson’s duty is to immediately fire three of GRI’s staff who refuse to claim there is abundant proof of creation. Or, better yet, he can dismantle GRI altogether.

    hmmm – the affirmation of present and former GRI staff upholding the Bible view on origins is bent in your response to mean “dismantle GRI”??

    How “instructive” that you reach for such odd conclusions. Your logic betrays your lack of objectivity on this subject.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  20. Good grief Gentlemen!

    Please take another look at your own posts. Together you sound like a group of thought-police who could serve with equal efficiency as an ignition crew for John Calvin or Tomas de Torquemada. Paul’s is the only voice of reason, but his attempt to weave a thread of good sense into the fabric of the vigilante costumes you seem to be constructing looks like it’s falling on deaf ears [to mix a metaphor]. Or so it seems to me, one of the usually quiet “sympathizers” to whom he refers.

    Adopting the methods of people whose exclusionary unfairness you decry does not make those methods virtuous. “Liberals” also contribute to and love the church – and will ultimately have a say in how it is defined, at least in North America and Europe. Dr. Wilson has not been elected president-for-life.

    With affection,

    Donna




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  21. @Donna Carlson:

    Please take another look at your own posts. Together you sound like a group of thought-police who could serve with equal efficiency as an ignition crew for John Calvin or Tomas de Torquemada.

    Everyone should have the right to think and say whatever he or she wishes. However, no one should have the right to demand payment for anything that the buyer doesn’t want to buy.

    In this same line, no one should have the right to get away with false advertising – presenting one thing for sale while delivering something completely different. People rightly get upset when this happens – and this is what is happening at LSU. LSU is posing as an SDA institution in “full support of the SDA fundamental doctrines” while promoting just the opposite in its science classrooms to the point of actively suppressing any expression of the SDA position on origins in those classrooms.

    That’s not right in anyone’s book. Just because you think someone else is ignorant or stupid does not mean that it is therefore right to steal money from them.

    We are talking about free-will employment here, not the inquisition. All are free to do whatever they want on their own time and dime. However, no employer can long tolerate active subversion against what a person, of their own free will, agreed to do on the employer’s dime. If you can’t do what your employer is paying you to do in good conscience, go work for someone who is more in line with your conscience. How is taking money from an employer with whom you so fundamentally disagree that you cannot but do the opposite of what your employer is paying you to do in line with anyone’s conscience?

    I know you know that this is not personal for me. I very much like you and respect your thoughts and position. I have many friends who are agnostic or even atheistic. It is just that none of them expect me to pay them for their ideas. 😉

    Sincerely yours,

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  22. “Liberals” also contribute to and love the church – and will ultimately have a say in how it is defined, at least in North America and Europe.Dr. Wilson has not been elected president-for-life.With affection,Donna  

    Yeh, Donna, Liberals may ultimately have a say, but most of them (maybe not you) believe Wilson is setting our SDA Church backwards and would love to see him canned right now. Just check out AT and Spectrum.

    As our SDA Church expands into the “Third World” the liberals are getting outnumbered royally, and they are furious. North America, Europe, and possibly Australia may want to “abandon ship” and start their own denomination? I doubt it.

    So, although the liberals may “have a say” the idea that liberals are going to take over our SDA Church is rather naive, although, as we see, they have taken over LSU!




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  23. Bob Ryan wrote:

    hmmm – the affirmation of present and former GRI staff upholding the Bible view on origins is bent in your response to mean “dismantle GRI”??
    How “instructive” that you reach for such odd conclusions. Your logic betrays your lack of objectivity on this subject.

    I’m echoing the calls of others here; dig around a bit, Bob, and you’ll find the shreaks to shut down Geoscience Research Institute altogether. I happen to agree with you: “odd conclusions” indeed. Good call. We’re on the same wavelength. Miracles do happen.

    Honestly, I think you all are nuts to compel all employees to subscribe to the mantra “we will only tell the Church membership that an overwhelming amount of evidence supports a 6-day creation 6000 years ago and evolutionists are just plain stupid.” But I can’t beat you, so I thought I’d join you and call for the firing of these immoral GRI scientists as well.

    By the way, Bob, should any GRI staff be fired if they say, “we have no physical evidence to support the creation of all life forms in only 6 days, the creation of all life forms no more than 6100 years ago, the creation of a human from a pile of dust, the instantaneous appearance of a flock of sheep on a verdant mountain pasture, and the personal role of Jesus himself in this creative act?”

    I gather that you say “yes,” and Sean Pitman says “yes, and David Read says “yes,” and Roger Seheult says “yes,” but not one of you can point to a shred a physical evidence–not one shred–that offers any tangible evidence for these fundamental SDA beliefs on origins. You all subscribe to these beliefs for reason only (just as I do): the Bible says so, and you have faith in the Bible’s validity (not “blind” faith; and we don’t need any more rants about “blind” faith).

    If there is evidence, I’m asking for what must be the eighth time: PLEASE PROVIDE THE PHYSICAL EVIDENCE! And you can’t. That’s because it doesn’t exist. You yourself would have to be fired for the very same thing that you call on others to be fired. Unless…of course…you just tell a little white lie and reassure all SDAs that we DO have physical evidence for these claims. Do you advocate lying about these fundamental SDA beliefs?




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  24. Sean Pitman wrote:

    In this same line, no one should have the right to get away with false advertising – presenting one thing for sale while delivering something completely different

    But this is EXACTLY what you insist GRI staff must do. You insist they must reassure Church membership that there is physical evidence to prove that all major life forms came into being within a 6 day time span no more than 6100 years ago. But as you well know, there is not a shred of falsifiable physical evidence to support this claim. Not a shred. Not a shred. Not a shred. Not a shred. So why fire them when they refuse to perpetuate a lie, presenting one thing for sale while delivering something completely different?




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  25. To make it clear, Mr. Wilson is not the cause of the Church’s direction but rather the effect.

    He was elected. His views were well known before he was elected. Let’s not make this argument about who is the General Conference President and for how long.

    This is about having a clear and consise statement of belief from the church and holding firm to it. There are some who would paint this as going backwards, however, going forward or backward in the sense of time only exists in the space-time continuum. God lives outside of this and never changes. If we are to be his church espousing his message for this end time, going backwards or forwards is irrelevant. What is important is conveying a clear and consise message that is correct.

    That message was marred, attacked, and mocked when a competing scientific theory was taught and promoted as truth at an Adventist University. This was done under the guise that the fundamental belief #6 was written to include an understanding of creation that has never been held by the SDA church (long time periods). Interestingly, Fritz Guy, and Gereaty, not withstanding the requisite denial, (http://spectrummagazine.org/blog/2010/07/02/clarification_regarding_history_fundamental_belief_6_creation) were involved in the writing of the set in 1980. Regardless of what they say today, many have found the ability to find “long ages” in the original #6 (something that has never been believed in this church). The necessity for the church to clearify it’s own belief goes without saying, especially when there is so much confusion.

    Individual members of a church cannot dictate what is meant by a set of the church’s fundamental beliefs. Only the church, working through the pre-ordained process can clearify what is said (with direction from the Word and Holy Spirit). If members disagree with the belief, they must reconcile this with themselves and not force the church to change their beliefs – or else change them within the frame work of the constituency

    The Church, Jesus Christ, Ellen White and our founders have not nor have ever believed that the earth was created in more than 6 days. We will not start to believe so that SDA theistic evolutionists may feel more comfortable straddling the proverbial fence of “science” and religion at the expense of the very heart of our belief Jesus Chirst as creator and savior. Rather that have them find out later that the intelliectual inconsistency of this postition is enormous (Sabbath, Sin, Death, Salvation), I would rather them understand up front what they are getting themselves into and be honest with themselves. Thestic Evolution is inconsistent, yea, antithetical to Seventh-day Adventism.




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  26. @Professor Kent:

    Professor Kent,

    You said that, “I gather that you say “yes,” and Sean Pitman says “yes, and David Read says “yes,” and Roger Seheult says “yes,” but not one of you can point to a shred a physical evidence–not one shred–that offers any tangible evidence for these fundamental SDA beliefs on origins. ”

    1) Please tell me where I said that members of the GRI staff should be fired? I have never commented on the GRI staff ANYWHERE.

    2) Please show me where there is “evidence” that Archaeopteryx gave rise to sinornis? – real physical evidence

    3) Please show me evidence that proof that whole multifunctional proteins (longer than 100 AA long) can evolve from nothing.

    4) Please show me the evidence that proteins evolved before DNA (or is it the otherway around) LOL)

    5) Please show me the proof that DNA came together spontaneously from premordial soup when one (Nitrogenous base) requires an alkaline environment and the other (phosphate) requires an acidic environment at the same time.

    6) Show me the proof that fossils that are millions of years old at the top of mountains were able to resist erosion for that period of time while square miles of land are being erroded every year from our coasts.

    7) Show me the proof that river deltas (by which we can measure the age of a river) were able to not deposit mega tonnes of sediment in their deltas for the millions of years required.

    8) Show me the proof that paleocurrents which show that the direction of water currents across the US in the precabrian and later levels all flowed in the same direction by chance and had nothing to do with massive water movements

    9) Show me the proof that a RED blood cell can survive for 68 million years in the fossil of a T-rex bone. – let me say that again…..68 MILLLLION years (spoken like Mini-me on Austin Powers).

    10) Show me the proof that random mutations in genomes can cause punctuated explosions of sepcies – that something that is governed by statistics and uniform wondering leads to massive speciation that appears suddenly in the fossil record. Don’t offer me an explaination – show me the proof.

    I’m sure that you’ll be able to provide scientific peer reviewed references to each and every article that offers proof beyond a shadow of a doubt of my concerns. Anything less would make your assertions of me not being able to “prove” the theory of creation seem hypocritical.




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  27. @Professor Kent:

    In this same line, no one should have the right to get away with false advertising – presenting one thing for sale while delivering something completely different. – Sean Pitman

    But this is EXACTLY what you insist GRI staff must do. You insist they must reassure Church membership that there is physical evidence to prove that all major life forms came into being within a 6 day time span no more than 6100 years ago. But as you well know, there is not a shred of falsifiable physical evidence to support this claim. Not a shred. Not a shred. Not a shred. Not a shred. So why fire them when they refuse to perpetuate a lie, presenting one thing for sale while delivering something completely different?

    There is a great deal of physical empirical evidence to support the idea that life and the structure needed to support life appeared on this planet in very recent history and that much of the geologic column and fossil record was the result of a massive world-wide watery catastrophe which created the features of the geologic record in very rapid succession in recent history.

    This evidence, if accepted for what it is, strongly supports the credibility of the biblical account of origins. However, those who think that this evidence strongly counters and falsifies the biblical account of origins (which includes the vast majority of mainstream scientists – and even a number of GRI scientists) undermine the credibility of those particular elements of the Genesis account that cannot be directly tested in a falsifiable manner.

    This is why those GRI scientists who sincerely do not recognize the evidence in support of the Genesis account are not doing the SDA Church the service that they were hired to do. Their arguments for “blind faith” simply aren’t helpful from the position of a “GRI Scientist”.

    If the SDA Church was simply based on blind faith, there would be no need for the GRI to begin with. It is only because the SDA Church thinks to base its faith, as a body of believers, on the best available science that the GRI is at all relevant. If a staff member at the GRI does not recognize this reason for existence, that member is no longer in line with the basic purpose of the GRI and should be encouraged to search elsewhere for employment…

    This is why your argument for biblical belief based on blind faith, contrary to even overwhelming physical empirical evidence, is simply not attractive to the rational candid mind…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  28. @ Roger Seheult

    1) Please tell me where I said that members of the GRI staff should be fired? I have never commented on the GRI staff ANYWHERE.

    Sorry, guess I was wrong. I’m glad you support the GRI scientists and do not wish to see any of them fired. You’re not so mean-spirited after all.

    2) Please show me where there is “evidence” that Archaeopteryx gave rise to sinornis? – real physical evidence

    I don’t have it. Why would you ask? I never made this claim. Did someone hypothesize this? And if so, did they say it was something other than a hypothesis?

    3) Please show me evidence that proof that whole multifunctional proteins (longer than 100 AA long) can evolve from nothing.

    I don’t have it. Why would you ask? I never made this claim. Are you talking about a single event from 0 AA to 100+ AA?

    4) Please show me the evidence that proteins evolved before DNA (or is it the otherway around) LOL)

    I don’t have it. Why would you ask? I never made this claim. Are you trying to make a point? LOL

    5) Please show me the proof that DNA came together spontaneously from premordial soup when one (Nitrogenous base) requires an alkaline environment and the other (phosphate) requires an acidic environment at the same time.

    I don’t have it. Why would you ask? I never made this claim. This is not required of either evolutionism or creationism.

    6) Show me the proof that fossils that are millions of years old at the top of mountains were able to resist erosion for that period of time while square miles of land are being erroded every year from our coasts.

    I don’t have it. Why would you ask? I never made this claim. But since you used this odd example, are you suggesting that the erosion processes at the top of a mountain are the same as those along the coasts? And how would you know if there actually was sediment above them that actually did erode away until they are now exposed?

    7) Show me the proof that river deltas (by which we can measure the age of a river) were able to not deposit mega tonnes of sediment in their deltas for the millions of years required.

    I don’t have it. Why would you ask? I never made this claim. Who did?

    8) Show me the proof that paleocurrents which show that the direction of water currents across the US in the precabrian and later levels all flowed in the same direction by chance and had nothing to do with massive water movements.

    I don’t have it. Why would you ask? I never made this claim. Who did? And who could possibly know? Was someone there at the time to observe these currents and tell someone I haven’t met about them?

    9) Show me the proof that a RED blood cell can survive for 68 million years in the fossil of a T-rex bone. – let me say that again…..68 MILLLLION years (spoken like Mini-me on Austin Powers).

    What? I think, like Mini-me, you are getting carried away with your analytical reasoning. Only an idiot would think they could prove or disprove this. But there is a bigger problem here. What do you mean by “survive?” No one has suggested that any presumptive RBC from a fossil remains functional. Are you suggesting that soft tissue can never be preserved, or preserved beyond X amount of years? What is your point?

    10) Show me the proof that random mutations in genomes can cause punctuated explosions of sepcies – that something that is governed by statistics and uniform wondering leads to massive speciation that appears suddenly in the fossil record. Don’t offer me an explaination – show me the proof.

    I don’t have it. Why would you ask? I never made this claim. Can you prove they don’t? And what, by the way, is “uniform wondering?”

    I’m sure that you’ll be able to provide scientific peer reviewed references to each and every article that offers proof beyond a shadow of a doubt of my concerns. Anything less would make your assertions of me not being able to “prove” the theory of creation seem hypocritical.

    Why so? I never said I cold “prove” evolutionism, or anything else for that matter. I’m a creationist! But I can’t prove creationism. I think you are angry because I pointed out there is considerable experimental evidence for evolution as a process, whereas one cannot find comparable evidence for many (perhaps any) of the most basic claims of creationism. Are all hypotheses about evolution supported by evidence? Of course not. I never said so. So how could I possibly be a hypocrite? What kind of logic are you employing?




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  29. Albeit unintentionally, Dr. Giem, has made it possible for thousands of SDA’s worldwide to see ample evidence of La Sierra’s deceptive advertising. The fact that La Sierra actually has biology classes which require students to espouse long-age evolution and totally disregard short-term creation, along with so-called Biblical support construed by the religion department, is unfathomable to me! As a mother of two college students, this hits too close to home. I ought to be entitled to put in my two-cents worth since SDA college costs (I’m looking at a statement right now) are quite a bit more than two cents. Fortunately my children did not choose LSU but while I am personally grateful that my children “escaped” I cannot be gleeful that other parents have not been so fortunate. Nor can I feel assured that any other Adventist school will be safe if La Sierra is permitted to set these precedents.

    If I pay for a vegetarian smorgasbord meal, that offers a nice salad, but the entire entrée section consists of liver mush and pickled pigs feet, that is not acceptable. Nor does Dr. Giem’s suggestion of posting a sign “this section is non-vegetarian” allow me to get a balanced vegetarian meal or to get what I paid for.

    As Warren L. Johns, Esq. explains in his open letter to Steve Pawluk, the fear of WASC pulling La Sierra’s accreditation is a straw man, unless LSU is not upholding the mission of its parent organization. In fact, LSU is duty bound to promote “the Genesis account of the miraculous, recent creation of life on earth. Mission accreditation mandates allegiance to that principle.” LSU, as a parochial, Seventh-day Adventist school, is not free to undermine its parent organization. ONE professor who uses his classroom as his personal platform to undermine our church’s basic tenants is one too many.

    Carefully crafted misleading advertising and paying lip service to supporting the SDA church’s basic beliefs is not a substitute for genuine devotion. Hearing, seeing and reading the evidence of what is being taught at La Sierra, makes me heart sick. What LSU is dishing out under false pretenses, has worse consequences than indigestion and a waste of money, it is life-threatening—-eternally life-threatening.

    The mini fires are becoming catastrophic in size, and some people still want to debate fire-fighting techniques. May God spare the youth, while those who are responsible and accountable for safeguarding the school, at best, are tied up searching for nice words and non-messy methods to put out fires, while others keep churning out glossy bulletins proclaiming “all is well at LSU.” I used to think that the SDA stamp of approval (like FDA) meant something. I was wrong.




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  30. Once again Sean, an excellent reply. If I could put it into my words:

    Professor Kent says that there is not a “shed of evidence of a young earth “Not a shred. Not a shred. Not a shred. Not a shred” I’ll add to this – in your opinion Professor.

    I suppose that after looking through Sean’s Website or hearing a few lectures from Professors [Leonard Brand, Ariel Roth, Paul Giem, Walter Veith, Arthur Chadwick, etc…] which summarize a number of peer reviewed scientific journals papers, Professor Kent would still say that there is not a shred of evidence (circumstantial or otherwise) of a young earth. This is because, I can only assume, he simply doesn’t want to deal with it.

    Which answers the question – we believe the evidence and is the reason why our faith has a basis. Professor Kent does not. So really, this discussion is not based on who believes based on evidence and who believes based on blind faith. No, the argument stems from the fact that Professor Kent refuses to acknowledge the evidence for a young earth and expects everyone else to do the same.




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  31. Ron Stone,

    There are two “words” that need to get out: First, what the state of the scientific evidence is, and second, what is actually happening at La Sierra. I agree that they are getting out; more slowly than I would like, but still it is happening. Our job is to do what God has put in front of us, in a way that would be pleasing to Him, both in terms of not flinching and in terms of loving everyone while doing it. That can be a tough balance.

    Ken, Sean Pitman, and BobRyan (and Professor Kent),

    We need to be careful about painting with too broad a brush. I don’t know Ronnie Nalin that well, and so can’t speak to his situation as accurately as I would like.

    One can make the case that Ben Clausen believes (and is willing to say publicly) that the scientific evidence is against us and should simply be discounted in favor of faith in the Bible. This, IMO, is damaging , and furthermore not true. But Ben is coming from the job of trying to explain radiometric dating, and apparently without the option of God having speeded up radioactivity. Until very recently (and I’m not sure Ben believes the evidence), there was no significant evidence of the speeding up of radioactivity, and so in Ben’s field there is almost no creationist model. Ben is right that we will likely not have a mechanistic model of creation in the future (how do you model “God spake and it was done” in any testable way?), but Ben appears to be wrong on one score. We do have a testable model for carbon-14 dating, and it has survived two tests.

    I have talked to Jim Gibson, and AFAICT his position is not the total faith position that Ben seems to be espousing, but rather that the scientific evidence is against us because so many researchers are on the other side. I think that if one weighs the evidence rather than counting it, the scientific evidence is actually on our side, but would agree with Jim that we do not have the evidence to prove creation, and that if one counts the evidence rather than weighs it one could rationally believe in long age and in common descent (unguided evolution is another matter). Jim, AFAICT, does believe in the efficacy of scientific research, and is not hopeless as to the possibility of providing good evidence for design and a short chronology, and so should not be painted with the defeatist brush.

    Jim does believe that we need to confess that we do not have all the answers, and that at least in certain areas we have to live in uncertainty for now. With that, I would agree. I think that eventually all truth will be seen to be God’s truth, but that now we see through a glass darkly, and while some things may be obvious to us at present, for others we will have to exercise faith, based on the things we know (or think we know) and on the Word that we have found to be at least partly trustworthy. While doing that, we may take comfort in the fact that the other side must also exercise faith where the evidence is against them (IMO including the origin of life).

    Donna Carlson,
    Thank you for your kind words. But try to be understanding of the others. They have been told falsehoods, or what counts for the same, things that are technically true if one looks at them a certain way, but give the impression (and are designed to give the impression) that the actuality is one way when in fact it is not. They feel very much like someone who has been snookered by a lawyer who stuck in a clause in the fine print which legalizes a loophole that they would otherwise never have agreed to. I remember talking to Larry Geraty who was trying to insist that all the biology department were creationists, until I pointed out that they were not short-age creationists, at which point he finally agreed. We could have saved minutes of discussion had this been stated up front. Others who don’t know the right question to ask would have been fooled.

    Professor Kent,

    I would agree that there is no direct evidence outside of the Bible for God forming Adam out of the dust of the ground, or for a creation in 6 days or less than 6,100 years ago. I am mystified about your reference to the instantaneous appearance of a flock of sheep on a verdant mountain pasture. Perhaps you are extrapolating from the creation story. I guess by your criterion I should not work at GRI.

    But I do think there is good (extrabiblical) evidence for the burial of at least Carboniferous to recent strata within the last 100,000 years, and reasonably within the last 20,000 years. That is supportive evidence for a creation less than 25,000 years ago. And there is archaeological evidence suggestive of the proposition that the burial was less than 5,600 years ago, and possibly less than 4,600 years ago, which would allow the possibility that creation could have been less than 6,100 years ago. So, your criterion is not a good one. That is particularly true given the fact that the Bible can provide evidence as well.

    And it is not unreasonable to expect that others should be able to duplicate that experience, and if not, to say so honestly. If everyone in the GRI quits, which I don’t think will happen, then that’s what happens.

    Roger Seheult,

    I agree with your list. I prefer to say up front that I don’t have direct physical evidence of creation as well. Creation itself is not something that can be easily, if at all, approached by the physical evidence, but the long age of life on earth, and its origin and improvement (in the sense of adding information) without the assistance of intelligence, can be tested and are not doing very well at present, and short age hypothesis have made successful predictions.

    Sean,

    I agree. If I believed that the evidence is all against us and it is hopeless to look for confirming evidence, I would not join the GRI, and if I were there, I would quit. It seems to me that the whole purpose of the GRI is to look for such evidence.




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  32. I see some comments have been made since I started.

    Professor Kent,

    I just want to be clear in my understanding. You defend yourself by saying “I’m a creationist!” Is that short-age, long-age, leaning one way, or not sure? Otherwise it is not obvious how one should respond to you.

    Susie,

    I think it is for the best that things happened this way. I like your analogy of the vegetarian smorgasbord. In this case the proprietors have started a franchise of the Happy Family Vegetarian Restaurant, but insist that everyone who comes in has to eat their roast pork (the capstone class), and have it explained to them how the pork is fed only vegetarian food so it is really vegetarian.

    I would hope that the people doing this have the menu taken out of their charge. Failing that, the company should remove their right to a franchise. But even in the best case this will take a year, and we may not have the best case. In the meantime we can warn those intending to get a vegetarian meal that this establishment doesn’t allow it.

    To switch to your metaphor of the fire, I’m all for putting out the fire. But I don’t have a fire engine, and the first thing for me to do is to warn the occupants to get out, and help those out who will accept it. In the meantime it is appropriate to call to the fire department and warn them of the blaze.

    There are two further considerations. First, La Sierra has been set up with teeth in its tenure provisions, and it may not be possible to fire everyone. Before we call for that, we should make sure that it is indeed possible. Second, this issue is not confined to La Sierra. We need to deal with it as more than just a housecleaning issue; otherwise it will return again and again. We need to deal with the issues more than the personalities; in fact, it is arguable that we should deal with the issues instead of the personalities. And if it is really true that we can’t effectively deal with the personalities anyway, why not grant them immunity and insist that they testify?

    Again, we have to realize that if there really is an end time, and if it is reasonably soon, then we are being given practice in how to deal with the issue. And when we deal with it for the main event, coercion will not be an option for us. Let’s do it as close to right as we can this time.




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  33. @Paul Giem: ‘

    Again, we have to realize that if there really is an end time, and if it is reasonably soon, then we are being given practice in how to deal with the issue. And when we deal with it for the main event, coercion will not be an option for us. Let’s do it as close to right as we can this time.

    I appreciate your motive Paul, but I have to disagree with the practicality of your suggestion.

    There is no government of any kind that is able to remain viable without at least some form of internal enforcement of rules and regulations – without at least some form of “coercion” to obey the rules (but where one is always free to leave the Church government, in particular, if one doesn’t like the rules). If the rules are not at all enforced by any means, they are pointless and the Church will rapidly collapse.

    Paying people as employees, regardless of their support or non-support of, or even active rebellion against, the organization’s stated goals and ideals, does not an organization make…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  34. Professor Kent wrote:

    You insist they must reassure Church membership that there is physical evidence to prove that all major life forms came into being within a 6 day time span no more than 6100 years ago. But as you well know, there is not a shred of falsifiable physical evidence to support this claim. Not a shred. Not a shred. Not a shred. Not a shred.

    Note that I spoke of “a 6 day time span no more than 6100 years ago.”

    So Roger Seheult wrote:

    Professor Kent says that there is not a “shed of evidence of a young earth “Not a shred. Not a shred. Not a shred. Not a shred” … the argument stems from the fact that Professor Kent refuses to acknowledge the evidence for a young earth and expects everyone else to do the same.

    What is wrong with you, Roger? I believe in a young earth, as I have probably stated a dozen times or more at this website, but I don’t believe there is falsifiable scientific “evidence” to prove creation in 6 days no more than 6100 years ago. And you and Sean and Paul and others here are all in agreement with me. So why are you twisting and mutilating my words?




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  35. @ Sean Pitman

    Paying people as employees, regardless of their support or non-support of, or even active rebellion against, the organization’s stated goals and ideals, does not an organization make…

    As I have shown, the GRI staff scientists have not undermined any SDA fundamental belief. In calling for their dismissal, you have undermined SDA civility and church unity.




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  36. @Professor Kent:

    By the way, Bob, should any GRI staff be fired if they say, “we have no physical evidence to support the creation of all life forms in only 6 days, the creation of all life forms no more than 6100 years ago, the creation of a human from a pile of dust, the instantaneous appearance of a flock of sheep on a verdant mountain pasture, and the personal role of Jesus himself in this creative act?”

    I gather that you say “yes,” and Sean Pitman says “yes, and David Read says “yes,” and Roger Seheult says “yes,”

    Well you seem to be “quoting you” in that argument – certainly not me. While I have not read every post on all the threads – I doubt that anyone here took that view.

    The actual position that I take (and that I think most everyone else does as well) is that there is scientific evidence for young life, and for recent creation. “The details” that all life appeared in 6 days and God rested on the Seventh — nd the “details” that the earth is only about 6000 years old — and not 7000 or 8000 come from the Bible.

    The LSU mythology that “birds come from reptiles” over millions of years on the other hand – is not even science!

    In my humble opinion this is where the “real” lines of debate are drawn. Not sure where the straw man you are suggesting ever comes into play in the real debate.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  37. @Paul Giem:

    I think it is for the best that things happened this way. I like your analogy of the vegetarian smorgasbord. In this case the proprietors have started a franchise of the Happy Family Vegetarian Restaurant, but insist that everyone who comes in has to eat their roast pork (the capstone class), and have it explained to them how the pork is fed only vegetarian food so it is really vegetarian.

    I would hope that the people doing this have the menu taken out of their charge. Failing that, the company should remove their right to a franchise.

    Agreed. They should have their right to teach at LSU revoked immediately.

    Again, we have to realize that if there really is an end time, and if it is reasonably soon, then we are being given practice in how to deal with the issue. And when we deal with it for the main event, coercion will not be an option for us. Let’s do it as close to right as we can this

    Agree that when SDAs face non-SDA sources that promote the atheist-centric doctrine on origins found in evolutionism, we do not, and we will not, have the option of simply “firing” those who differ with us.

    Neither will we have a magic wand that we can wave that convinces all atheists, agnostics, and theistic evolutionists that the Bible doctrine on origins is right – and the atheist solution is wrong.

    What we do have and what we will have is “evidence” in favor of young life and of a young earth. And we have the clear teaching of the Bible on how things actually happened. We need to get better at making that case – but never with the idea that all atheists will simply give up trying to make evolutionism work “anyway” no matter how close it comes to blind faith alchemist notions about “birds coming from reptiles”.

    In Christ,

    Bob




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  38. Paul Giem asked

    Professor Kent,
    I just want to be clear in my understanding. You defend yourself by saying “I’m a creationist!” Is that short-age, long-age, leaning one way, or not sure? Otherwise it is not obvious how one should respond to you.

    Answer: short-age. But I can’t prove it with empirical data, and I don’t need to to be an SDA in good standing. I don’t think I would be obligated to lie and state that I can prove it if I were a church employee (which I am thankfully not). I think we agree on this, don’t we?




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  39. @Professor Kent:

    As I have shown, the GRI staff scientists have not undermined any SDA fundamental belief. In calling for their dismissal, you have undermined SDA civility and church unity.

    Certain members of the GRI undermine the whole reason why the SDA Church created and continues to support the GRI… that’s the problem. The Church did not create the GRI so that the GRI could appeal to blind faith against overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary. That’s not the reason for the existence of the GRI at all…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  40. The Church did not create the GRI so that the GRI could appeal to blind faith against overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary. That’s not the reason for the existence of the GRI at all…

    Where did the GRI appeal to “blind faith?” They appealed to the sensible faith that essentially all Christians abide in, not a “blind” faith. You are the one who uncharitably twists everyone’s statements of faith into something menacing and ugly by calling it “blind.” You are completely and unethically and immorally and disgustingly putting words into their mouths and impugning motives.

    You are out of control, Sean. You have become possessed by the wrong spirit. You owe these men an apology.




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  41. And besides your “blind faith” rants, there is NO “overwhelming evidence” (whether scientific, empirical, falsifiable, whatever) showing that all major life forms were created in a six-day span no more than 6100 years ago. Stop the lies.




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  42. Bob Ryan wrote

    “The details” that all life appeared in 6 days and God rested on the Seventh — nd the “details” that the earth is only about 6000 years old — and not 7000 or 8000 come from the Bible.

    Agreed. There is not a shred of scientific evidence to support this.




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  43. @Professor Kent:

    “The details” that all life appeared in 6 days and God rested on the Seventh — nd the “details” that the earth is only about 6000 years old — and not 7000 or 8000 come from the Bible. – Bob Ryan

    Agreed. There is not a shred of scientific evidence to support this.

    The vast majority of mainstream scientists think that there is overwhelming evidence against this statement. They think it is impossible that life on this planet could have only existed for only a few thousand years or that the geologic and fossil records could have been produced by a very rapid series of shortly-spaced watery catastrophes within recent history.

    Given this understanding of mainstream science, that the geologic and fossil records actually represent hundreds of millions of years of time with life evolving over this time, the Genesis account is overwhelmingly falsified in the minds of many thinking people.

    In this light your statement that, “There is not a shred of scientific evidence to support this…” misses the entire boat. If there were evidence against the mainstream position that the Genesis account is untenable, that would remove the falsification problem. If the available evidence actually favored the recent formation of all life on this planet, with a worldwide watery catastrophe in recent history forming much of the geologic column and fossil records, that evidence would not falsify the Genesis account of origins. It would, rather, be right in line with this account.

    Proving a literal 6-day creation week is not necessary in order to remove the arguments that claim to falsify this account and thereby undermine its scientific credibility.

    The Genesis account of origins is, after all, a theoretically falsifiable statement. This means that it can be treated as a valid scientific hypothesis which is in fact subject to potential falsification. If it is falsified, as many think that it has clearly been, it looses its scientific credibility and predictive power. In line with this loss, everything in the Bible associated with this account, to include those associated metaphysical statements, looses credibility as well.

    Where did the GRI appeal to “blind faith?” They appealed to the sensible faith that essentially all Christians abide in, not a “blind” faith.

    The GRI was not set up by the SDA Church with the purpose of appealing to “faith” alone despite “the weight of scientific evidence to the contrary.” The intended purpose of GRI is not to go around telling everyone that, “There isn’t a shred of scientific evidence to support the SDA position on origins – the best we have is ‘faith’ in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary.” (i.e., a form of blind faith by most people’s definition of the term – blind to the obvious meaning and significance of the scientific data).

    Quite the opposite. The intended purpose of the GRI was to increase people’s faith in the Inspiration of the Bible through the presentation of supporting scientific evidence in the field of geology in particular. Those at the GRI who cannot support this intended purpose of the SDA Church for the GRI should be asked to resign…

    This isn’t personal. Not everyone would be qualified to work at the GRI – certainly not the vast majority of mainstream geologists. The only ones who would be qualified to work at the GRI would be SDA geologists who actually see ways to reasonably interpret the available data in line with the SDA position on origins. If you cannot honestly do that, the GRI is simply not the right place for you.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  44. You are out of control, Sean. You have become possessed by the wrong spirit. You owe these men an apology.  

    Sounds like the Prof needs to start “chilling out” [edit]




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  45. @ Pitman

    The Genesis account of origins is, after all, a theoretically falsifiable statement.

    Baloney. You are wrong. Not theoretically, only in your wild imagination.

    The intended purpose of GRI is not to go around telling everyone that, “There isn’t a shred of scientific evidence to support the SDA position on origins – the best we have is ‘faith’ in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary.” (i.e., a form of blind faith by most people’s definition of the term – blind to the obvious meaning and significance of the scientific data).

    I’d like to see the stated purpose somewhere, especially from a historical document. And I don’t think you should be exaggerating the statements made by the GRI scientists you are attacking. That’s a common ploy that you and others here use.

    And if “most people’s definition” of “faith” is “blind to the obvious meaning and significance of the scientific data,” then you are denigrating millions of believers who knew nothing of “scientific data” before science became mainstream, including believers from Adam up through Martin Luther. I find it curious that a general source like Wikipedia can discuss faith ad nauseum with the only referece to “blind” being that Buddhism does not require “blind” faith. You can’t support your assertion. Stop denigrating faith. We can’t all, like you, place science and evidence above faith.




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  46. @Sean Pitman:

    Certain members of the GRI undermine the whole reason why the SDA Church created and continues to support the GRI… that’s the problem. The Church did not create the GRI so that the GRI could appeal to blind faith against overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary. That’s not the reason for the existence of the GRI at all…

    This is an excellent point. President Wilson did not call for the creation of the GRI group simply to have more people saying “we don’t have any science understanding that supports young life or a young earth… we know nothing of young earth geocronometers”.

    That was not the purpose of the GRI group. Rather the purpose was to use critical thinking AND scientific experiement to show the difference between actual science and the alchemist “birds come from reptiles” mythology as well as showing those areas where real science finds evidence of young life and even of a young earth.

    Kent keeps “reaching” for his straw man of the form “no — they need to prove a literal 6 day not 10 day creation week, and 6000 years not 6200 years of life on earth”.

    In the odd way Kent frames it “young life” is not valid because it still does not prove “literal 6 days of creation week” vs literal 12 days or literal 12000 days.

    That bit of absurdity in Kent’s argument needs to be addressed – so that the conversation does not keep going in circles.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  47. What is getting lost on the Kent rabbit trail of “young life is still not exactly 6 days” is the similarities between the Battle Creek and LSU model.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  48. @Professor Kent:

    The Genesis account of origins is, after all, a theoretically falsifiable statement. – Sean Pitman

    Baloney. You are wrong. Not theoretically, only in your wild imagination.

    In this particular case, I’m in agreement with the vast majority of mainstream scientists – pretty much all of whom agree with me that the mainstream view of science, if actually true, does in fact falsify the Genesis account of origins where life was first created on this planet in recent history within just six literal days. This view cannot rationally co-exist with the view of mainstream scientists that life has clearly existed and evolved on this planet over the course of hundreds of millions of years. Dr. Brian Bull, of LLU, has referred to his efforts to live with both views of origins as living in “incommensorate worlds”.

    Yet, you think that the Genesis account of creation is not even theoretically falsifiable? What is your argument based on? How could the Genesis account be true given the mainstream evolutionary position? – given truly overwhelming evidence that life has indeed existed and evolved on this planet over vast periods of time?

    I’d like to see the stated purpose [of the GRI] somewhere, especially from a historical document. And I don’t think you should be exaggerating the statements made by the GRI scientists you are attacking. That’s a common ploy that you and others here use.

    All I’ve said is that certain GRI scientists, like Ben Clausen, do in fact believe and publicly promote the idea that the overwhelming weight of scientific evidence is against the SDA position on origins and that the only thing left to SDAs as a basis for continued belief in a literal 6-day creation week and worldwide Noachian flood is “faith” in the Bible. I don’t think that is an overstatement of Clausen’s position – do you?

    And if “most people’s definition” of “faith” is “blind to the obvious meaning and significance of the scientific data,” then you are denigrating millions of believers who knew nothing of “scientific data” before science became mainstream, including believers from Adam up through Martin Luther.

    Even little children inherently know how to think scientifically. The logic behind science has been given as an inherent gift to mankind in general – not just to modern scientists. To say, therefore, that Martin Luther had no evidentiary basis for his faith is nonsense. You yourself claim to believe based on various empirical evidences similar to those available to Luther.

    However, as additional information becomes available the weight of evidence may shift against the interpretation of prior more limited evidence previously thought to be pointing in a particular direction. In other words, it is possible for additional evidence to falsify previous interpretations of the more limited data.

    In the view of most modern scientists, this has in fact happened. Most modern scientists feel like the currently available evidence has in fact falsified the need to invoke intelligent design (much less God-like intelligent design) to explain pretty much all features of the natural world in which we live. They also believe that the notion that the Genesis narriative represents true historical reality has been soundly falsified by the discoveries of modern science.

    I find it curious that a general source like Wikipedia can discuss faith ad nauseum with the only referece to “blind” being that Buddhism does not require “blind” faith. You can’t support your assertion. Stop denigrating faith. We can’t all, like you, place science and evidence above faith.

    You yourself seem to have admitted that useful faith is built on empirical evidence that is open to the potential for falsification. Perhaps I misunderstood you, but it seemed to me like you yourself appealed to several empirical reasons for your faith in the Bible as superior to other beliefs or sources of authoritive statements about reality – reasons which are in fact at least potentially falsifiable. This is important because without even the potential of falsifiability, what good are your beliefs? What good is your faith if you can’t be wrong even in theory? Even science is based on leaps of faith you know – leaps in logic and belief that cannot be known with absolute perfection to be true.

    So, you see, I’m not apposed to an intelligent faith that is based on the weight of currently available empirical evidence. In contrast, a faith that ignors the weight of empirical evidence isn’t worth very much when it comes to establishing a solid hope in the future… in my humble opinion 🙂

    I’m not sure then why you seem to be arguing now for the benefits of faith without any evidentiary basis? – i.e., “blind faith”? I thought we had moved beyond this point…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  49. This is an excellent point. President Wilson did not call for the creation of the GRI group simply to have more people saying “we don’t have any science understanding that supports young life or a young earth… we know nothing of young earth geocronometers”.

    Once again, Bob Ryan resorts to hyperbole and exaggeration to characterize the GRI position. Angry people use these tactics and it poorly represents Adventism and Christianity.




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  50. All I’ve said is that certain GRI scientists, like Ben Clausen, do in fact believe and publicly promote the idea that the overwhelming weight of scientific evidence is against the SDA position on origins and that the only thing left to SDAs as a basis for continued belief in a literal 6-day creation week and worldwide Noachian flood is “faith” in the Bible. I don’t think that is an overstatement of Clausen’s position – do you?

    I think this is a pretty fair summary, Sean. Sadly, there is nothing in this statement that indicts Clausen or any other GRI scientists. SDAs should feel free and safe to excercise their faith without investigating and proclaiming belief in every tiny piece of evidence supporting YEC (which you admit is very meager) and denouncing the large bulk of evidence against YEC. But the issue here is your petty demand that all Church-employed scientists interpret the evidence exactly as YOU do–as overwhelming evidence for a 6-day 6000-year ago Creation. For anyone who disagrees with YOUR position, they must be summarily fired. This is your personal vendetta against those who disagree with you. Your views are extreme and you are getting out of control.

    I will bet you big bucks that 98% of Seventh-day Adventists believe it is perfectly acceptable to believe in creation because of faith. I don’t understand your intolerance (bordering on hatred) toward those who believe faith is vital one’s personal experience with Jesus Christ. You insist repeatedly that the faith of others is “blind.” Your derision of the ordinary person’s faith is rude and uncharitable.




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  51. To say, therefore, that Martin Luther had no evidentiary basis for his faith is nonsense. You yourself claim to believe based on various empirical evidences similar to those available to Luther.

    I didn’t say that “Martin Luther had no evidentiary basis for his faith.” Why do you so often mischaracterize what I say? I simply said he believed in spite of knowing nothing of “scientific data.” And I stand by my statement.

    As for myself, I have conceded that I believe in the Bible and the Genesis account because of evidence I see in how people respond to the Holy Spirit, how the 12 apostles persisted in their beliefs even to death, and select examples from prophecy. I wouldn’t say that any of these evidences are empirical, but perhaps you and I use this term differently. According to Wikipedia, “the word empirical denotes information gained by means of observation, experience, or experiment…that is, dependent on evidence or consequences that are observable by the senses.” I think you recognize that millions of believers from Adam to beyond Martin Luther–including many today–have accepted the inspiration of the Bible and the Genesis account, not because of “empirical” or “scientific” data in support of a young earth, but because of faith sustained by a personal walk with God.

    I’m not saying anything wrong. Why are you guys so determined to paint my position, and that of others like the GRI scientists, so negatively?




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  52. @Professor Kent:

    All I’ve said is that certain GRI scientists, like Ben Clausen, do in fact believe and publicly promote the idea that the overwhelming weight of scientific evidence is against the SDA position on origins and that the only thing left to SDAs as a basis for continued belief in a literal 6-day creation week and worldwide Noachian flood is “faith” in the Bible. I don’t think that is an overstatement of Clausen’s position – do you?

    Sean Pitman

    I think this is a pretty fair summary, Sean. Sadly, there is nothing in this statement that indicts Clausen or any other GRI scientists. SDAs should feel free and safe to excercise their faith without investigating and proclaiming belief in every tiny piece of evidence supporting YEC (which you admit is very meager) and denouncing the large bulk of evidence against YEC.

    All should feel free and safe to believe and say whatever they want on their own dime. However, no one should feel free to take money from the SDA Church while doing contrary to what they were hired to do…

    The GRI was not set up to proclaim that, “The overwhelming weight of scientific evidence is against us.” and that, “All we have left is ‘faith’ that this overwhelming scientific evidence is somehow mistaken; that the Earth really is flat after all…”

    By the way, where did I “admit” that the evidence supporting young life on this planet is “meager”? As you very well know, I think that the significant weight of evidence is very clearly in favor of the SDA position on origins. So, why misrepresent my views like this?

    But the issue here is your petty demand that all Church-employed scientists interpret the evidence exactly as YOU do–as overwhelming evidence for a 6-day 6000-year ago Creation.

    This isn’t about my interpretation. It’s about the Church’s interpretation and purpose for creating organizations like the GRI. And, the overwhelming evidence isn’t specifically for a six-day creation week, but against the notion that life has existed and evolved on this planet over vast eons of time. The available evidence is clearly in favor of a recent arrival of life on this planet and very limited evolutionary potential. This weight of evidence is consistent with the Genesis account as interpreted by the SDA Church. The evidence is not inconsistent with this interpretation despite the claims of mainstream scientists to the contrary…

    Of course, if one does not recognize the validity of such a position, one is free to go and find employment elsewhere. The SDA Church did not set up the GRI to support popular mainstream opinions on this topic and to appeal to “faith” against what many claim is “overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary”.

    For anyone who disagrees with YOUR position, they must be summarily fired. This is your personal vendetta against those who disagree with you. Your views are extreme and you are getting out of control.

    Again, we are talking about the clearly stated views of the SDA Church as an organization – not my views. Just because my views happen to be in line with that of the SDA Church body, does not mean that this discussion is about my views – it isn’t.

    Also, I have nothing personal against Ben Clausen. I think he is a very nice, honest, and sincere man who is devoted to the truth as he sees it. My only problem is that he is not effectively representing the Church’s intended purpose for the GRI.

    I will bet you big bucks that 98% of Seventh-day Adventists believe it is perfectly acceptable to believe in creation because of faith. I don’t understand your intolerance (bordering on hatred) toward those who believe faith is vital one’s personal experience with Jesus Christ. You insist repeatedly that the faith of others is “blind.” Your derision of the ordinary person’s faith is rude and uncharitable.

    I don’t know why you think I’m apposed to faith. I’m not. I just have a different definition of faith than you do. I’m very much in favor of intelligent faith since I don’t think it is possible to believe anything about the world that exists outside of the mind without at least some kind of leap of faith. Even scientists must exercise various degrees of faith in order to believe in and act on their theories.

    What I am apposed to is the idea that faith can have value without the backing of the weight of empirical evidence. This is what I call “blind faith”. Such faith that can resist the overwhelming weight of empirical evidence and is not open to testing or even the potential of falsification, is worthless in my personal opinion when it comes to establishing a solid basis of hope in the future or in reliably distinguishing one perspective or claim for truth as superior to another.

    Now, I have nothing personal against those who do appeal to such notions of faith. Just because I personally don’t appreciate the value of this particular kind of “faith” doesn’t mean that I “hate” those who do. I have a lot of friends who do appeal to this very kind of faith – especially LDS friends who say that their faith is based, not on empirical evidence that can be tested and potentially falsified, but on a warm feeling that they feel deep inside whenever they hear the truth.

    While I think this sort of faith is misguided, that doesn’t mean that I don’t like my LDS friends – I do like them very much. I just wouldn’t hire them to represent the SDA Church is all – nothing personal. I also don’t think that they are lost because they don’t believe like I do in regard to the nature of useful faith or any other doctrinal issue. Such knowledge is important when it comes to establishing a solid hope in the future, but it does not form the basis for salvation.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  53. @Professor Kent:

    I didn’t say that “Martin Luther had no evidentiary basis for his faith.” Why do you so often mischaracterize what I say? I simply said he believed in spite of knowing nothing of “scientific data.” And I stand by my statement.

    Having an evidentiary basis that is open to testing and at least the potential for falsification is a form of scientific evidence.

    As for myself, I have conceded that I believe in the Bible and the Genesis account because of evidence I see in how people respond to the Holy Spirit, how the 12 apostles persisted in their beliefs even to death, and select examples from prophecy. I wouldn’t say that any of these evidences are empirical, but perhaps you and I use this term differently.

    It seems like we do. Your appeal to “select examples from prophecy” is an appeal to historical evidence that is in fact subject to testing and potential falsification with additional evidence. It is an empirical argument regarding a particular view of reality concerning the world that exists outside of the mind that is dependent upon externally derived empirical evidence that is “observable by the senses”.

    According to Wikipedia, “the word empirical denotes information gained by means of observation, experience, or experiment…that is, dependent on evidence or consequences that are observable by the senses.”

    Exactly – as is your appeal to fulfilled prophecy as evidence for the superhuman intelligent origin and overall credibility of the Bible. You have noticed a very clear match between the predictions of the Bible and your observation of recorded history. You obtained this information through your senses – did you not?

    I think you recognize that millions of believers from Adam to beyond Martin Luther–including many today–have accepted the inspiration of the Bible and the Genesis account, not because of “empirical” or “scientific” data in support of a young earth, but because of faith sustained by a personal walk with God.

    Adam did not have faith without empirical evidence. He had far more direct empirical evidence to support his faith in the credibility and reliability of God’s Word that you or I will ever have in this life. Martin Luther also had the very same evidence of fulfilled prophecy that you and I have today. This is empirically-based evidence. In my opinion, this is one reason why the Bible is clearly superior to the Book of Mormon since the Book of Mormon does not accurately reflect historical evidence or historically-confirmed prophecy.

    Without this empirical evidence, you wouldn’t be able to reasonably determine which book, the Bible or the Book of Mormon, should be given more credibility…

    Again, this is all about determining credibility. Why do some beliefs deserve more credibility than others? Why is your believe in the validity of the Bible’s claims regarding origins more credible than someone else’s belief in garden fairies or the Flying Spaghetti Monster? The answer is, in my book anyway, the weight of empirical evidence.

    This is why Elijah challenged the Israelites in his day saying, “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” – 1 Kings 18:21.

    Upon what basis did Elijah ask the people to believe that his LORD was really God? Via an appeal to faith without empirical evidence? Hardly. Elijah proposed an empirical test – the results of which would serve as the basis for faith. And, God provided this evidence as requested…

    Again, we are not asked to believe in spite of the weight of empirical evidence, but because of it. God has provided abundant physical empirical evidence of His existence. He even intended that the fossil and geologic records would aid in establishing our faith in the credibility and reliability of His Word.

    Mrs. White notes that during the Flood humans, animals, and trees were “buried, and thus preserved as an evidence to later generations that the antediluvians perished by a flood. God designed that the discovery of these things should establish faith in inspired history; but . . . the things which God gave them [i.e., to us humans] as a benefit, they turn into a curse by making a wrong use of them.”

    – Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1890, 1958), 112.

    She goes on to note that faith is based on abundant evidence that appeals to our reason, not in spite of it:

    “God never asks us to believe, without giving sufficient evidence upon which to base our faith. His existence, His character, the truthfulness of His Word, are all established by testimony that appeals to our reason; and this testimony is abundant. Yet God has never removed the possibility of doubt. Our faith must rest upon evidence, not demonstration. Those who wish to doubt will have opportunity; while those who really desire to know the truth, will find plenty of evidence on which to rest their faith.”

    – Mrs. White, The Great Controversy, p. 527. and Steps to Christ, p. 105.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  54. BobRyan – stating the obvious:

    This is an excellent point. President Wilson did not call for the creation of the GRI group simply to have more people saying “we don’t have any science understanding that supports young life or a young earth… we know nothing of young earth geocronometers”.

    Kent complaining that the inconvenient detail mentioned above – is even posted.

    @Professor Kent:

    Once again, Bob Ryan resorts to hyperbole and exaggeration to characterize the GRI position. Angry people use these tactics and it poorly represents Adventism and Christianity.

    My point gets to the mission and purpose of GRI – your point simply whines that I am raising the issue and that it does not reflect well on your bias so far. “Going after me” for raising the issue does not solve the problem that the inconvenient detail highlights in your position. And so objectivity is going to be necessary to address the point I have raised in some kind of compelling fashion.

    I leave it to you to decide if you want to go there or stay where you are on that subject.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  55. One of Richard Dawkin’s favorite canards to use against Bible believing Christians who accept the Bible doctrine on origins – is that he chooses not to believe in the flying spaghetti monster (f-s-m for short) and he refuses to believe in the creation doctrine taught in scripture – and is thus more “consistent” than Christians who choose the bible but reject the f-s-m but then choose to accept the Bible.

    Dawkins claims that he simply chooses to reject “one more myth that has no basis in real life fact, science, history” than the Christian.

    Where he is dead wrong is in his wild assumption that there is no history, science and fact in favor of the Bible as compared to the f-s-m of his own sweet imagination.

    Enter guys like Kent who want for all the world to make Dawkins’ argument for him when it come to the Christian solution of claiming that all good science proves Christianity to be wrong – but we believe in it anyway.

    Kent’s argument is intended to appeal to the atheist evolutionist because it makes their case for them – hands-down. I have to hand it to Kent – his argument does accomplish that one goal.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  56. Professor Kent,

    Perhaps my memory is failing me, but you seem to have changed your position. If so, that’s good, I like the new position better than the one I remember previously.

    One thing that has not changed is the thrust of your arguments. You seem to be more interested in tearing down conservatives who step over the line (IYO) than in building a consensus. In fact, sometimes you seem almost to be baiting them. Whether that is your intention or not (and I am not gifted enough in prophecy to say), the result is that you seem querulous, the opposite of the tolerant liberal that you sound like is your ideal.

    Those are serious charges, so let me back them up. You have twice here (and apparently several times elsewhere) stated that you believe in short age. In fact, you have stated that you believe not just in a short age for life on earth, which is how I would have phrased it in my less conservative days, but “in a young earth”. That is quite a conservative position. Ordinarily one who adopted such a position would be at least somewhat happy if some scientific evidence lined up better with a short age than with a long one.

    Yet your attitude towards the evidence fits better with a position that life on earth has been here for hundreds of millions of years. You argue that “there is not a shred of falsifiable physical evidence to support this claim [“that there is physical evidence to prove that all major life forms came into being within a 6 day time span no more than 6100 years ago”]. Not a shred. Not a shred. Not a shred. Not a shred.” I pointed out that this claim, while technically true, was misleading. Instead of entering into dialogue, you proceeded to extend your claim, this time unjustifiably, in reply to Sean Pitman:

    [Pitman] The Genesis account of origins is, after all, a theoretically falsifiable statement.

    [Kent] Baloney. You are wrong. Not theoretically, only in your wild imagination.

    Suppose that the Genesis account of creation was clearly written to be understood as describing the nearly simultaneous, recent creation of all visible life followed by a worldwide Flood. I am sure that this is what Sean had in mind, and what most conservatives (and most atheists) have in mind when they read those words. This account would be for practical purposes falsified if one could reasonably prove that various life forms arose at different times, with mammals and birds arising hundreds of millions of years later than the rest, and humans arising within the last 6 million years or so, rather than some 540 million years ago. Furthermore, a worldwide Flood would be falsified if one could find no trace of it in the geologic record. Thus Sean is precisely correct; the Genesis account of creation (although not provable) is theoretically falsifiable by the standards of science.

    That means that your “Baloney. You are wrong. Not theoretically, only in your wild imagination.” is in fact wrong. Come on, admit it. You stepped over the line here. You switched from “not provable” to “not falsifiable” in a gross confusion of scientific philosophy.

    I realize that the statements you made are popular talking points in some circles. But you are being asked to think for yourself, not simply regurgitate what you have heard. Man up; you blew it here.

    You also completely sidestepped my point about testable aspects of creation theory. (Come to think of it, the two are related.) You ought to engage people who make serious points, rather than seeing if you can bait the less careful commentators here into saying something extreme. The latter is sophomoric (especially if you are really on their side as you have said); the former can lead to real dialogue.

    You seem to have a special place for faith without evidence. I beg to differ. Faith is always based on evidence; at the bare minimum it is faith in someone’s word when that person has been (or at least has appeared to have been) trustworthy in the past. The evidence is the person’s previous trustworthiness. Different people have different experiences, and so they may agree on what they believe in while having different evidences for their belief, and so you and I might have different evidences that allow us to believe in short-age creation.

    But it is the height of arrogance to tell Sean that there is no extrabiblical evidence that supports short-age creation and makes alternatives like long age and/or unintelligent processes less likely, without going through and showing why the evidence doesn’t support his conclusions, at least in some well-chosen sample areas. Who set you up as the arbiter of evidentiary validity for Sean, without your persuading him, rather than just dictating to him by fiat, that he is wrong? For a guy with liberal sympathies, you sure are authoritarian!

    Something you might consider as you interact with some here, is that many of them are feeling deeply hurt that they have been deceived. They thought that belief #6, for example, supported a literal recent 6-day creation, not realizing that it had been deliberately designed to sound that way, and fool them, while if one wanted to, one could view the terms as ambiguous and claim to be supporting the Adventist position while not believing in anything more than that God was the creator. This is like the lawyer sneaking in the clause about him keeping the mineral rights to your property, when you bought the property because you wanted to mine it. It’s dishonest, and fraud, and even if legal, I doubt the Lord looks with favor upon it. These people are just finding out, and they still haven’t completely adjusted to it. Be patient when you disagree with them.

    I hope we can have more constructive dialogue in the future.

    Sean and others,

    More later. I am out of time now.




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  57. Furthermore, a worldwide Flood would be falsified if one could find no trace of it in the geologic record.

    Last week I got an interesting book, “Roadside Geology of Washington”. I was disappointed to find that there is no evidence of a world wide flood in Washington state. The closest thing to it is floods from ice dams giving way as the glaciers melted. Does the fact that there is no evidence of a world wide flood in Washington state falsify Genensis?




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  58. for practical purposes falsified if one could reasonably prove that various life forms arose at different times, with mammals and birds arising hundreds of millions of years later than the rest, and humans arising within the last 6 million years or so, rather than some 540 million years ago

    Can you explain this further? There seems to be lots of evidence that life forms arose at different times, millions of years apart. Are you asserting that Genesis is verifiably false?




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  59. @ Sean Pitman

    The GRI was not set up to proclaim that, “The overwhelming weight of scientific evidence is against us.” and that, “All we have left is ‘faith’ that this overwhelming scientific evidence is somehow mistaken; that the Earth really is flat after all…”

    Here we go again. The GRI never claimed that “the Earth really is flat after all…”

    You need to stop the incessant mischaracterization of statements by others. Isn’t there a commandment, “Thou shalt not bear false witness?”




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  60. Kent’s argument is intended to appeal to the atheist evolutionist because it makes their case for them – hands-down. I have to hand it to Kent – his argument does accomplish that one goal.

    Bob, your complete lack of integrity never ceases to amaze me. You’re the one quoting and lending credence to an evolutionist’s views (Richard Dawkins), not me. You and Sean employ this evolutionist’s statement over and over and over and over to belittle the faith of the vast majority of believers. I am NOT intending any kind of appeal to the evolutionist’s case, and any objective reader can recognize this and see through your pathetic and frequent mischaracterizations.




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  61. Paul Giem wrote:

    Suppose that the Genesis account of creation was clearly written to be understood as describing the nearly simultaneous, recent creation of all visible life followed by a worldwide Flood. I am sure that this is what Sean had in mind, and what most conservatives (and most atheists) have in mind when they read those words. This account would be for practical purposes falsified if one could reasonably prove that various life forms arose at different times, with mammals and birds arising hundreds of millions of years later than the rest, and humans arising within the last 6 million years or so, rather than some 540 million years ago.

    Paul, as you well recognize, one cannot reasonably prove this possibility of life evolving millions of years ago, not today, not tomorrow, never. More importantly, even if you could prove it, God STILL could have wiped the slate clean 6000 years and created all major life forms in 6 days. The one possibility cannot rule out the other; how can you not see this? You asked me to “man up” to something that does not follow logically. Why is it so difficult to accept that there is no way for us to prove or falsify the claim that God created life in 6 days 6000 years ago? Only our arrogance leads us to believe otherwise. Why can’t we humble ourselves and say, “only God knows.”

    Furthermore, a worldwide Flood would be falsified if one could find no trace of it in the geologic record. Thus Sean is precisely correct; the Genesis account of creation (although not provable) is theoretically falsifiable by the standards of science.

    Bunk again. Don’t you realize that “absence of evidence is not evidence of absence?” This quote, often attributed to Carl Sagan, characterizes a simple principle recognized intuitively by most scientists. I’m surprised it did not pop into your head. Again, you can’t falsify a world-wide flood. And I urge you to be careful employing dichotomous hypotheses (e.g., flood/no flood) when we need to be considering multiple alternative hypotheses to explain geological phenomenon.




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  62. Faith is always based on evidence; at the bare minimum it is faith in someone’s word when that person has been (or at least has appeared to have been) trustworthy in the past. The evidence is the person’s previous trustworthiness. Different people have different experiences, and so they may agree on what they believe in while having different evidences for their belief, and so you and I might have different evidences that allow us to believe in short-age creation.

    I agree wholeheartedly with your statement. I have pointed this out now in a handful of posts. I have insisted that there are few legitimate examples of “blind” faith for this very reason. Did you read my comments on why a child would believe in a tooth fairy, Santa Claus, and even a stupid flying spaghetti monster? It’s not blind; they had plenty of evidence to believe in the statements of adults. So if you believe, then, as I do that all faith is based on some form of evidence (not necessarily “falsifiable” scientific evidence), then please tell Sean to stop labeling as “blind faith” anyone whose views on scientific evidence differ from his own. It’s mean-spirited, uncharitable, and dishonest. I think you recognize this; now have the courage to say so.




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  63. But it is the height of arrogance to tell Sean that there is no extrabiblical evidence that supports short-age creation and makes alternatives like long age and/or unintelligent processes less likely, without going through and showing why the evidence doesn’t support his conclusions, at least in some well-chosen sample areas. Who set you up as the arbiter of evidentiary validity for Sean, without your persuading him, rather than just dictating to him by fiat, that he is wrong? For a guy with liberal sympathies, you sure are authoritarian!

    Come on, Paul. I haven’t denied evidence for short-age creation. I’ve stated very simply that one cannot prove or falsify it. So how am I to offer evidence to prove the absence of proof? I’m authoritarian? I’m simply stating what I believe is fact. One cannot prove or falsify short-age creation, and I think that you recognize this. I suggest you man-up and admit that I am saying nothing wrong here.

    By the way, I find it strange that an honest conservative would be viewed as a liberal. I don’t think I’m so difficult to figure out.




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  64. @BobRyan:

    One of Richard Dawkin’s favorite canards to use against Bible believing Christians who accept the Bible doctrine on origins – is that he chooses not to believe in the flying spaghetti monster (f-s-m for short) and he refuses to believe in the creation doctrine taught in scripture – and is thus more “consistent” than Christians who choose the bible but reject the f-s-m but then choose to accept the Bible.

    Dawkins claims that he simply chooses to reject “one more myth that has no basis in real life fact, science, history” than the Christian.

    Where he is dead wrong is in his wild assumption that there is no history, science and fact in favor of the Bible as compared to the f-s-m of his own sweet imagination.

    Enter guys like Kent who want for all the world to make Dawkins’ argument for him when it come to the Christian solution of claiming that all good science proves Christianity to be wrong – but we believe in it anyway.

    Kent’s argument is intended to appeal to the atheist evolutionist because it makes their case for them – hands-down. I have to hand it to Kent – his argument does accomplish that one goal.

    Kent misses the point by misdirecting as follows

    @Professor Kent:

    Bob, (obligatory rant deleted here..). You’re the one quoting and lending credence to an evolutionist’s views (Richard Dawkins), not me. You and Sean employ this evolutionist’s statement over and over and over and over to belittle the faith of the vast majority of believers. I am NOT intending any kind of appeal to the evolutionist’s case, and any objective reader can recognize this and see through your pathetic and frequent mischaracterizations.

    Dawkins’ argument is exactly the one that you keep repeating – but as you point out you are careful not to admit to the level of compatibility between what you are doing and what Dawkins tries to accuse Christians of doing. So “how unsuprising” that you both end up at the same place claiming that science refutes the Bible when it comes to a doctrine on origins.

    You take this to such wild extremes as to even “predict” that Dr. Spencer’s current research this year “Will find nothing” and you argue that Sean’s examples from statistical analysis are not to be accepted in favor of the Bible either — well “just because” (or so it seems from your less-than-objective arguments on that topic so far).

    When devoted evolutionsts come here and spread their ideas (as they have done often in the past) you find only praise for their wild suggestions.

    But when evidence in favor of the Bible surfaces you suddenly imagine yourself to have high standards of “proof” that would be needed to admit that objective evidence exists in favor of the Word of God. It is not rational to argue that science must come up with a tamper-proof video of creation week before we have evidence in favor of young-life or a young-earth.

    Yet you continually argue that a “6 day creation week” rather than a literal 12 day creation week, or 600 day creation week – is beyond “Science” so we should not be looking at “the science” that does in fact support young-life and even a young-earth.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  65. Last Thursdayism

    By Sean Pitman

    In response to an interesting post by Professor Kent in response to comments by Dr. Paul Giem:

    @Professor Kent:

    Paul, as you well recognize, one cannot reasonably prove this possibility of life evolving millions of years ago, not today, not tomorrow, never. More importantly, even if you could prove it, God STILL could have wiped the slate clean 6000 years [ago] and created all major life forms in 6 days. The one possibility cannot rule out the other; how can you not see this?

    Ever hear of “Last Thursdayism“? You’re making this very same argument here. God could have created everything 5 minutes ago, to include your memories and mine. No one can prove otherwise.

    Such arguments are pointless because of the very fact that they are not, even in principle, testable or potentially falsifiable. This is the reason why, if your faith position isn’t backed up by testable potentially falsifiable evidence, it would be very hard to judge the superiority of your beliefs in God, based on faith alone, from someone else’s belief or faith in the “Flying Spaghetti Monster”.

    On a more practical level, it would be very hard to judge the superiority of the Seventh-day Adventist view of reality vs. that of the Latter-day Saints or Catholics or Buddhists or Agnostics or even Atheists. Upon what basis, besides wishful thinking, does one have to decide which belief system is more likely to be in line with reality? Why, for example, do you consider your admitted belief in a literal 6-day creation week to be superior to the beliefs of those who think that life was formed and evolved on this planet over the course of hundreds of millions of years? Would it not be helpful to have at least some sort of empirical argument if you wish to appeal to another mind beyond your own? – a mind that is actually interested in an argument that appeals to something more solid than your deep feelings on the question?

    Rational arguments as to the nature of the reality, a reality that we all assume really does exist outside of our minds, must be based on empirical evidence that is open to testing and potential falsification from at least the individual perspective. In other words, rational beliefs regarding the nature of reality are in line with the weight of currently available externally-derived evidence and the best predictive value that it supports at the present time from a particular limited perspective.

    This is why scientific hypothesis are compared to alternate hypotheses that are also testable and, at least in principle, falsifiable with the weight of evidence. If the weight of apparent empirical evidence from a given perspective does in fact work against the idea that everything was created 5 minutes ago, the hypothesis that everything was in fact created 5 minutes ago is essentially falsified as best as anything can be falsified from a limited perspective.

    The same thing is true about the Genesis statement. The only difference being that instead of 5 minutes ago the author(s) of Genesis claim that all life on this planet was created in just six literal days within recent history.

    So, either you admit that your argument makes you unable to reasonable suggest that you have been alive longer than 5 minutes, or you agree that the Genesis account is, in principle, falsifiable. You really cannot reasonable have it both ways. The fact that what appears to be true may not actually be true does not negate the obvious appearance of reality from a particular perspective. That’s all that science is – an interpretation of the appearance of reality at the present time. This interpretation may or may not be true in reality, but it is the best we have at the present time when it comes to being able to more successfully live within and predict the behavior of the reality in which we find ourselves.

    The SDA Church understands this. It is because of this argument, this need for faith to be supported by empirical evidence that is appealing to the intelligent candid mind, that the SDA Church original set up and continues to sponsor the Geoscience Research Institute or GRI. If does not honestly recognize the evidence as being in favor of the SDA position, that person should not be working for an institution whose whole goal is to obtain and promote empirical evidence that actually supports the SDA faith perspective. If faith alone were enough, why would the SDA Church be interested in geoscience at all? It makes sense if faith, alone, independent of all empirical evidence, is enough for the thoughtful intelligent mind. It just isn’t enough…

    You asked me to “man up” to something that does not follow logically. Why is it so difficult to accept that there is no way for us to prove or falsify the claim that God created life in 6 days 6000 years ago? Only our arrogance leads us to believe otherwise. Why can’t we humble ourselves and say, “only God knows.”

    And only God knows for sure if you were or were not created 5 minutes ago…

    So if you believe, then, as I do that all faith is based on some form of evidence (not necessarily “falsifiable” scientific evidence), then please tell Sean to stop labeling as “blind faith” anyone whose views on scientific evidence differ from his own.

    If your evidence is not testable or falsifiable that means that it is impossible for you to be wrong, even in theory, regardless of any additional evidence that might be presented to you. Again, given this form of non-falsifiable “evidence” it would be impossible to distinguish between the existence of God and the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    If a child appealed to this sort of non-testable non-falsifiable evidence to support his/her belief in Santa Claus there would be no way that this child could ever realize that Santa Claus really doesn’t exist. It is only because the child’s evidence is potentially falsifiable given additional evidence that he/she ever comes to realize the truth about Santa Claus…

    In the same way, if your evidence for the existence of God or the reliability of the Bible is not testable or potentially falsifiable, what good is it as a basis for a rational intelligent faith? – or anything else for that matter?

    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  66. Pingback: Educate Truth - Evolution vs Creation at La Sierra University

  67. @Paul Giem:
    Thank you for your evaluation of the LSU Biology department. An equally important aspect of the LSU situation is the administration’s response to individual student rights granted in the student handbook. For an individual student who stood up on the issue of the creation/evolution debate there was no trial, no opportunity for self representation, and no real verdict, only penalties in a formal Letter of Censure and Citizenship Probation. The administration needs to be accountable. By focusing specifically on the Biology faculty, the administration gets a free pass from scrutiny. The administration also needs to be on trial and have a verdict.
    They should be at the forefront of open and fair treatment of students–the reason for which they exist!! LSU should be given fair treatment, but they can only expect it when they have given it.
    In the halls of heaven, Lucifer was granted “academic freedom” for only so long, then his influence was terminated. In any hierarchy of command, other than academia, where do the subordinates have freedom from consequences for what they do and say? To claim “academic freedom” for themselves at LSU then deny it to their own students is the height of hypocrisy! With Fritz Guy, Larry Geraty and Randall Wisbey at the head of the university, the faculty becomes an extension of their views. Only when you change the head, will the faculty change.




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  68. Professor Kent,

    There appears to be a further clarification of your position. Remember when you said,

    there is not a shred of falsifiable physical evidence to support this claim [“that there is physical evidence to prove that all major life forms came into being within a 6 day time span no more than 6100 years ago”]. Not a shred. Not a shred. Not a shred. Not a shred.

    Now you are apparently willing to state that there may be evidence to support short-age creation:

    Paul. I haven’t denied evidence for short-age creation.

    In the interest of further clarity, do you believe that there is such evidence, or have you just not denied it yet but could honestly do so, or are you leaning one way, or are you agnostic? Furthermore, is the evidence you referred to here physical?

    You played fast and loose with my statement. I said,

    For a guy with liberal sympathies, you sure are authoritarian!

    You replied,

    By the way, I find it strange that an honest conservative would be viewed as a liberal. I don’t think I’m so difficult to figure out.

    Thus you transmute “a guy with liberal sympathies” to “a liberal.” I don’t believe you are a liberal, as a true liberal would not admit to believing in “a young earth”, at least without lying, and I don’t believe you are lying.

    And I have liberal sympathies, as I believe that liberals have part of the truth; they just have some blind spots, as well as sometimes the deliberate errors that all of us have, including conservatives. I refuse to win an argument by branding one side as liberal. Tolerance is a liberal virtue. It is one the Good Lord shares, or none of us would be here. What I am saying is that your tolerance does not extend to others where it should.

    For another example, you say,

    So if you believe, then, as I do that all faith is based on some form of evidence (not necessarily “falsifiable” scientific evidence), then please tell Sean to stop labeling as “blind faith” anyone whose views on scientific evidence differ from his own. It’s mean-spirited, uncharitable, and dishonest.

    Notice how “all faith is based on some form of evidence (not necessarily “falsifiable” scientific evidence)” gets transmuted into Sean “labeling as “blind faith” anyone whose views on scientific evidence differ from his own.” That transmutation itself is uncharitable, and therefore at least a little mean-spirited. Sean and I differ on some aspects of the scientific evidence. He doesn’t therefore consider me to have “blind faith.” Why could you not have read him at least that charitably?

    Look, Sean is right on one aspect. A hard and fast line between scientific and ordinary evidence has not been discovered by philosophers of science, and in all probability doesn’t exist. There are concepts and results that can be arguably more or less scientific, but there simply isn’t the bright line between the two that allows this kind of differentiation.

    And even the example you cite, of a child believing adults, is based on evidence that is arguably, in its primitive way, scientific. If a child believes her parents, who have always been truthful to her, as far as she knows, that there was a 6-day creation, she is using reasoning based on reproducibility. If, however, she chooses to doubt that they are telling the truth, because they used to tell her about the tooth fairy and Santa Claus, and she has discovered that both tales were fabrications, she is engaging in reasoning that is at least related to scientific reasoning. If you don’t believe that, why is it that after John Darsee was reasonably shown to have fabricated some results, that essentially all of his articles were retracted? Was that scientific, or not?

    You further transmute “for practical purposes falsified” and “reasonably prove” into “prove”:

    Paul, as you well recognize, one cannot reasonably prove this possibility of life evolving millions of years ago, not today, not tomorrow, never. More importantly, even if you could prove it, God STILL could have wiped the slate clean 6000 years and created all major life forms in 6 days. The one possibility cannot rule out the other; how can you not see this? You asked me to “man up” to something that does not follow logically. Why is it so difficult to accept that there is no way for us to prove or falsify the claim that God created life in 6 days 6000 years ago? Only our arrogance leads us to believe otherwise. Why can’t we humble ourselves and say, “only God knows.”

    I do grant that only God knows. So if that is humble, I am humble to that extent. But your discussion confuses logical reasoning (“does not follow logically”) with scientific reasoning, a mistake whose correction led out of the dark ages. If you really wanted to know how the universe operates, you have to look at it, not just reason about it. Experiment is worth more than theory. But that means never being quite sure; there is always the logical possibility that your experiments could have been wrong; the possibility that you could have misperceived them, or the possibility that someone lied about them, or the possibility that the next time the results won’t come out the same, or some other logical possibility. Thus the unqualified word “proof” is not appropriate in science, which is why I shy away from using it. (I think you know this.)

    But that does not mean that science cannot reach tentative conclusions that can be guides to behavior. When several well-designed controlled studies show that taking blood pressure medicines for people whose blood pressures are higher than a given threshold helps them to live longer, with less debilitating disease, I think physicians have a moral duty to recommend and facilitate such treatments to their patients. Science is not worthless just because it cannot logically prove anything. To say this is to confuse evidence with proof.

    Your approving quotation of Carl Sagan (?)

    absence of evidence is not evidence of absence

    fails to note that this is a half-truth. Absence of evidence is not proof of absence. In some cases it may not be evidence of absence, as nobody has any evidence one way or another. But sometimes there is absence of evidence that in fact is evidence of absence, when it is combined with other evidence, and especially when a particular theory requires something to happen.

    This even reaches into theology. The Millerite movement had to disappear in its original form when Jesus did not physically come in 1844 (well, 1843, then 1844, but you know what I mean). Two main branches survived, one of which said that Jesus came, but not to earth, in 1844, and the other of which said that Jesus came to earth, but we just can’t see Him (later revising the date to 1874, and then to 1914). One can argue that either of these explanations, or some other explanation, is correct. What one cannot reasonably do is argue that the original Millerite movement was entirely correct. There was a theological mistake here, and experiential, reproducible, dare I say it scientific, reasoning helped point out the theological error. We of all people should be sensitive to this fact. Absence of evidence can sometimes be powerful evidence of absence.

    I’d like to engage Sean in a thoughtful discussion of the relation between faith, evidence, and science. In the process, I will probably point out where I think he is wrong (and he will probably return the favor). I’d like to include you in the discussion. But first, it would help if you were not so uncharitable about the beliefs and motives of others, and it would help if you clarify your position.




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  69. Last week I got an interesting book, “Roadside Geology of Washington”.I was disappointed to find that there is no evidence of a world wide flood in Washington state.The closest thing to it is floods from ice dams giving way as the glaciers melted.Does the fact that there is no evidence of a world wide flood in Washington state falsify Genensis?  

    Ron,

    It is quite a stretch to go from reading a book about roadside geology to claiming that there is no evidence of a worldwide flood, even in Washington state. The irony of this should not be lost on you. Until J Harlan Bretz came along, the same could have been said of the now essentially indisputable evidence for the Missoula Flood(s?). And when it was pointed out to the geological community, it took some 40 years for that community to come to terms with the evidence; this where theological issues were not at stake (part of the resistance was precisely that some thought they were). Geologists have been trained to ignore evidence of massive flooding. Just recently, they have discovered that spring erosion could not account for Box Spring Canyon in Idaho, and that there was evidence for massive flooding that accounted for the formation.

    Who knows how many more formations like Steamboat Rock will show evidence for massive flooding in earlier geological times, that have been missed by the same bunch? It is at least arguable that the Dakota formation was formed by massive flooding, and if the carbon-14 data I know of hold up, that it happened much more recently than the conventional millions of years.

    You are right that if the facts are as the majority of the conventional geological community say, Genesis would be (at least partly) falsified. You just haven’t gotten there yet.

    You say,

    Can you explain this further? There seems to be lots of evidence that life forms arose at different times, millions of years apart. Are you asserting that Genesis is verifiably false?

    There is lots of evidence that can be interpreted in that way. However, there are other interpretations, and I have yet to see a coherent long-age interpretation of all the evidence regarding carbon-14, whereas the short-term interpretation is fairly straightforward. So, no, I am not asserting that Genesis is verifiably false, only that it is theoretically falsifiable by the standards of science.




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  70. @Paul Giem:

    I’d like to engage Sean in a thoughtful discussion of the relation between faith, evidence, and science. In the process, I will probably point out where I think he is wrong (and he will probably return the favor).

    It seems to me, knowing what I think I know of my friend Paul, that we are on pretty similar spots on the path already…

    Thank you for your thoughtful input Paul. It is much appreciated.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  71. From Bob Ryan:

    So “how unsuprising” that you both end up at the same place claiming that science refutes the Bible when it comes to a doctrine on origins.

    More of the same. I have NEVER claimed this. You can’t stop the story-telling. You’re on a roll.

    I’m not responding to any more of your smears.




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  72. Sean Pitman wrote:

    It would if there truly was no evidence of a worldwide flood. The problem with this falsification hypothesis is that there is abundant evidence of a worldwide flood not only in Washington State, but, well, worldwide…

    Another delusional statement. There is evidence worldwide of floods. There is no evidence of a single worldwide flood that simultaneously covered every piece of ground. None.




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  73. @ Paul Giem

    Notice how “all faith is based on some form of evidence (not necessarily “falsifiable” scientific evidence)” gets transmuted into Sean “labeling as “blind faith” anyone whose views on scientific evidence differ from his own.” That transmutation itself is uncharitable, and therefore at least a little mean-spirited.

    Okay, let’s be more clear. Sean has belittled my faith; he has belitted Ben Clausen’s faith. He has belittled the faith of other denominations, including Mormons, by declaring all of us adherents to “blind faith.” So perhaps I overgeneralized, which makes me mean-spirited. And what does this say of Sean?

    Absence of evidence is not proof of absence. In some cases it may not be evidence of absence, as nobody has any evidence one way or another. But sometimes there is absence of evidence that in fact is evidence of absence, when it is combined with other evidence, and especially when a particular theory requires something to happen.

    Um…right…sounds like you’ve got something figured out. I’m not going there.




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  74. @Professor Kent:

    It would if there truly was no evidence of a worldwide flood. The problem with this falsification hypothesis is that there is abundant evidence of a worldwide flood not only in Washington State, but, well, worldwide… – Sean Pitman

    Another delusional statement. There is evidence worldwide of floods. There is no evidence of a single worldwide flood that simultaneously covered every piece of ground. None.

    Another faith-based statement? 😉

    I find it very interesting that someone who claims to believe in the worldwide Noachian Flood, because of his clearly stated faith in the authority of the Genesis account of origins, to be so adamant, at the same time, that there is absolutely no physical evidence to support his faith that such a Flood actually took place. Am I the only one who finds this just a bit schizophrenic?

    As far as evidence is concerned, what do you call the extremely flat layers of the geologic column with little if any erosion between layers? – sedimentary layers that were originally deposited very very flatly and evenly, with minimum uneven erosion between layers, over huge areas of the globe? – appearing on every continent in the world and covering the worlds largest and highest mountain ranges? What do you call the general lack of bioturbation within the geologic column? Or, how do you explain huge widespread seams of coal, hundreds of miles long and fifty miles wide with an average thickness of over 100 feet, that are extremely pure? Or, what about the persistence of significant quantities of radiocarbon in both coal and oil? How do you explain intact soft tissues and proteins within dinosaur bones that are not only elastic, but sequencable? How do you explain trackways within the Coconino Sandstone of the Grand Canyon that only go uphill? How do you explain worldwide paleocurrents traveling in the same direction within the geologic record across the entire globe at the same time? etc…

    Beyond this evidence, if your statement were actually true that there is absolutely no reasonable empirical basis to believe in the worldwide Noachian flood, the biblical assertion that this is in fact what happened would be effectively falsified (and has been very effectively falsified in the minds of most modern scientists).

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  75. Funny that MDs (as in Medical Doctors) dominate this site and position themselves as the knowledgable keepers of truth. These include the four docs:

    Sean Pitman, MD
    Ron Stone, MD
    Paul Giem, MD
    Roger Seheult, MD

    One other dude sports unknown credentials, but he’s a bright fellow nevertheless:

    Bob Ryan

    Tell you what, people; these are apparently the Church’s authorities on creation and science. You can believe whatever they say. Trust them. They won’t lead you astray. They know faith, science, evidence, and flying spaghetti monsters like they know the back of their own hands. Don’t let PhDs with science training persuade you of anything differently. People like me might share the same fundamental beliefs of the Church, but those of us with PhDs are especially dangerous because we understand science as a process, include hypothesis testing, in a very, very different light. And even more pathetic, our faith is blind and useless, mine included.

    I’m taking a vacation and am ending my part in this bizarre discussion. Please continue, knowledgable docs, to misrepresent my statements and views.




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  76. What do you call the extremely flat layers of the geologic column with little if any erosion between layers? What do you call the general lack of bioturbation within the geologic column? Or, how do you explain huge widespread seams of coal, hundreds of miles long and fifty miles wide with an average thickness of over 100 feet, that are extremely pure? How do you explain intact soft tissues and proteins within dinosaur bones that are not only elastic, but sequencable? How do you explain trackways within the Coconino Sandstone of the Grand Canyon that only go uphill? How do you explain worldwide paleocurrents traveling in the same direction within the geologic record across the entire globe at the same time? etc…

    Evidence for local events. Extremely flat layers are extremely flat layers. A general lack of bioturbation is a general lack of bioturbation. Hundreds of miles long, fifty miles wide, and 100 feet thick does not translate into worldwide, no matter how pure the coal seems might be. Purported soft tissues and proteins in dinosaur bones do not translate into a flood, much less anything worldwide. Animals walking sideways in the Grand Canyon do not translate into a worldwide flood (I saw some birds walking sideways in strong wind a few weeks ago; I wouldn’t conclude they were doing the very same thing worldwide that very same day). Insofar as I recall, the evidence for “paleocurrents” you speak of was from an unpublished source (a hobbyists website), and like Ron Wyatt’s amazing discoveries that no one can verify, I don’t have blind faith in the data or the conclusions.

    But I’m glad that you feel comforted knowing that all this evidence for A+B+C+D+E adds up to GLOBALFLOOD.




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  77. @Professor Kent:

    Evidence for local events. Extremely flat layers are extremely flat layers. A general lack of bioturbation is a general lack of bioturbation.

    Extremely flat layers worldwide with minimum uneven erosion or bioturbation are very difficult to explain without invoking a rapid shortly spaced series of watery catastrophes worldwide…

    Hundreds of miles long, fifty miles wide, and 100 feet thick does not translate into worldwide, no matter how pure the coal seems might be.

    It translates into a very rapid formation of a huge seam of coal that is hard to explain without invoking a huge watery catastrophe within the geologic record. The same thing is true of many other huge seams of coal worldwide. Add to this the fact that there remains significant quatities of radiocarbon, worldwide, and you have very good evidence for a recent global watery catastrophe or series of very shortly spaced worldwide watery catastrophes.

    Purported soft tissues and proteins in dinosaur bones do not translate into a flood, much less anything worldwide.

    Such soft tissues are being found in pretty much all dinosaur bones that are carefully examined – worldwide. This evidence is very hard to explain given the mainstream story of origins where these creatures died and were buried over 65 million years ago. This evidence is much more consistent with a recent watery catastrophe and burial.

    Animals walking sideways in the Grand Canyon do not translate into a worldwide flood (I saw some birds walking sideways in strong wind a few weeks ago; I wouldn’t conclude they were doing the very same thing worldwide that very same day).

    It is hard to imagine animals only walking uphill, often in a diagonal manner, but never downhill, over a huge area that is covered by the Coconino Sandstone, for ~10 million years… with very sharply defined footprints looking like they were either produced underwater or on very wet sand.

    Insofar as I recall, the evidence for “paleocurrents” you speak of was from an unpublished source (a hobbyists website), and like Ron Wyatt’s amazing discoveries that no one can verify, I don’t have blind faith in the data or the conclusions.

    I’d hardly call Dr. Arthur Chadwick a “hobbyist”…

    As far as your faith is concerned, it is very curious to me that you can claim to believe in things like the global Noachian Flood, based only on biblical authority, despite your claim that there is absolutely no physical evidence for this belief on Earth. I find these two belief statements of yours very much at odds with each other…

    I just don’t get it…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  78. BobRyan said “So “how unsuprising” that you both end up at the same place claiming that science refutes the Bible when it comes to a doctrine on origins. ”

    Kent responded:

    More of the same. I have NEVER claimed this. You can’t stop the story-telling. You’re on a roll.
    I’m not responding to any more of your smears.

    Then as if on another Planet – Kent also responded

    There is no evidence of a single worldwide flood that simultaneously covered every piece of ground. None.

    Back to full agreement with Dawkins “again”.

    Not sure which “kent” I am talking to now but… you may need some time to get yourselves together.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  79. Professor Kent says, whimsically, post-something-or-other that he is: “Funny that MDs (as in Medical Doctors [as in..?] dominate this site and position themselves as the knowledgable keepers of truth. These include the four docs and one mystery dude.” Yes, funny all the MDs, of all people, thrashing so bravely among all the academic straw men. AAAAchoo! (sorry, allergic to straw). But seriously, folks, as to “domination,” a statistically valid peer-reviewed post count would disclose that a “Professor Kent” of (unstated credentials) has self-prescribed posts herein QID PO ad nauseum, rather more than at least 3 of the MD regulars can manage. One trusts that the professor’s research and publication of peer-reviewed papers, and grading of papers, is not suffering. Or perhaps the professor is on a Sabbatical. Happy Sabbatical, as they say.




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  80. For a brief interlude between the sparring gentlemen in this current philosophical discussion, I’m going to refer back to the original post of the S.S. class and earlier comments by Dr. Giem. I appreciate the intellectual prowess and higher thinking skills in evidence here, but it is the present, practical, looming problem that I would like to readdress for a moment.

    @ Dr. Giem, I want to express my gratitude that you have taken so much time to investigate and share your insights on the controversial issues surrounding La Sierra. I can’t help but view this situation through the lens of a protective mother—-and vicariously for other mothers and fathers—therefore I want a remedy ASAP! I reiterate, La Sierra is not an autonomous. self-supporting island unto itself; no Adventist school is safe if precedents of disregarding SDA principles are allowed to be “institutionalized” by La Sierra.

    My question: how is having standards and requiring any and all teachers to abide by those standards, not dealing with the issues? That doesn’t seem to have anything to do with “personalities” per se. The idea of granting immunity in exchange for testimony does not sound practical because: (1.) This is not a court case, yet (2.) There’s ample evidence of what has been transpiring (3.) No teacher should be given unconditional assurance of job security (4.) Removing teachers is not what is being suggested, at least not as an initial step. (6.) Teachers could have clearly stated guidelines and goals given to them, which you alluded to, such as: apologetic scientific literature supportive of short-age creation and ID must be included in the course requirements and the non-peer reviewed long-age evolutionary slanted materials will not be included (i.e., PBS films.) If a teacher cannot do that in good conscience, then they are free to seek employment elsewhere— or retire promptly.

    Frankly I resent all the church monies that have been provided and will continue to be provided through salaries, health insurance, retirement and other benefits, to teachers and administrators who have spent years undermining the church’s foundational beliefs. Wasted money, of course, is a minor concern compared to the students who’ve lost their faith, according to the testimony of other parents.

    When parents or students are paying tuition, solely because they believe in a Seventh-day Adventist education rather than a secular education, it is not reasonable or ethical to expect them to continue to pay for classes that are antithetical to core Adventist beliefs. Similar to Michigan Conference’s refusal to send subsidy money to LSU, all students/parents, constituents, and supportive church members at large have good reason to withhold money from LSU unless/until confidence can be restored in its faithfulness to its mission. I would think quite a large group of people would have grounds for a class action lawsuit if they so chose.

    @ MLB – I totally agree! If the administration of the school was minding the store instead of aiding and abetting, all this thievery would have stopped long ago. None of this controversy, none of this dilemma would be happening if the administration had been doing its sacred duty upholding the church’s standards, instead of promoting their own personal agenda and ideology.




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  81. Hey Bob, are ye daft?

    I HAVE NEVER CLAIMED THAT SCIENCE REFUTES THE BIBLE, SO STOP MAKING FALSE ASSERTIONS. I DON’T BELIEVE SCIENCE REFUTES THE BIBLE.

    THERE IS NO EVIDENCE OF A SINGLE WORLDWIDE FLOOD THAT SIMULTANEOUSLY COVERED EVERY PIECE OF GROUND.

    These are not the same thing. The fact that there is no evidence of a single worldwide flood that simultaneously covered every piece of ground does not refute the Bible in any way. I didn’t say so and only a genuine idiot would suggest it. What planet do you live on?




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  82. Professor Kent:

    I don’t want to fence with you about science, but I wonder why you are so opposed to the whole concept of making arguments to support our faith. What is motivating you? What is your overall philosophy about this?

    I’ve had my arguments with Sean about faith and science, but he’s certainly right that Christians have never held to a “blind faith” position. We’ve always sought to support our faith with reasoned argument. There’s even an ancient term, dating back to the second century of the Christian era, for this body of literature: apologetics. More recently the field of Christian apologetics has included a defense of the doctrine of creation as against Darwinism. There is a long and robust tradition of this within Adventism as well as within the larger Christian Church. Neither the field of Christian apologetics, nor the more narrow field of creation/evolution apologetics is at all new, recent, novel, or out of the ordinary. It is all business as usual.

    Why are you so opposed to a systematic effort to defend the SDA position on origins, which you claim to subscribe to? Why do you think this effort should not be part of the job of SDA science teachers who teach classes that deal with origins at SDA schools? At a minimum, shouldn’t such teachers refrain from undermining SDA beliefs at SDA schools? Why is this such an unreasonable thing to ask? How can the Adventist Church survive if its own purpose-established colleges argue against the pillars of its faith?

    Again, there is long tradition of reasoned defense of faith, and I am curious why you are so vehemently determined that this tradition should be terminated, at least at Adventist colleges.




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  83. @Professor Kent:

    I HAVE NEVER CLAIMED THAT SCIENCE REFUTES THE BIBLE, SO STOP MAKING FALSE ASSERTIONS. I DON’T BELIEVE SCIENCE REFUTES THE BIBLE.

    But you do claim that science neither refutes nor confirms the biblical statements – statements which, according to you, are not testable or falsifiable by scientific investigation to any useful degree.

    This is the very reason, of course, why Richard Dawkins points out that faith in the Flying Spaghetti Monster is not testable or falsifiable by scientific investigation either…

    Don’t get upset with this question. It is an honest question on my part. What is the difference between the “evidences” that you claim cannot be tested or falsified by scientific investigation as a basis to believe in the Bible as authoritative vs. the same type of evidence to believe in the Book of Mormon as authoritative? – or any other claimed basis of authority? How could you tell the difference as to which source of authority, when in conflict, should hold supremacy?

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  84. After anthologizing in detail, and collating thanks to clip & paste, your plethora of posts for just the last 3 days, and studying all the data as I would a patient’s chart, I, a mere MD, must acknowledge I’m lost. Never seen a case quite like it. Is this – as you say in academia – your logic? “I believe in 6-day creation despite every last bit of evidence being for evolution, not a shred, not a darn-shredy-shred-shred-shred for the Bible’s say so, or for God’s, or God, or anything, and since God created everything, like doc #6 says, He created evil too – so I’m of more faith, plus more logical, than Dr. Pitman who is a divisive, arrogant cybergangster as mean-spirited as weak-minded, and he must not open his mouth one more time?” But that can’t really be what you are really trying to say, not really, can it? Must have misstated you again, sir; so sorry.




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  85. “since God created everything, like doc #6 says, He created evil too”

    The fact is, God created the possibility for evil to exist. Everything in the bible must be understood in its biblical context. Nothing is written or recorded in a vacuum.

    So God did not in an unqualifed way, “Create evil”.

    This is just one example of how people take the bible out of context and then draw an unbiblical conclusion. Free will creates the possibility of evil. And free will is the essence of the human existence in relation to God and His kingdom.

    Bill Sorensen




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  86. Professor Kent says, whimsically, post-something-or-other that he is: “Funny that MDs (as in Medical Doctors [as in..?] dominate this site and position themselves as the knowledgable keepers of truth. These include the four docs and one mystery dude.” Yes, funny all the MDs, of all people, thrashing so bravely among all the academic straw men. AAAAchoo! (sorry, allergic to straw). But seriously, folks, as to “domination,” a statistically valid peer-reviewed post count would disclose that a “Professor Kent” of (unstated credentials) has self-prescribed posts herein QID PO ad nauseum, rather more than at least 3 of the MD regulars can manage. One trusts that the professor’s research and publication of peer-reviewed papers, and grading of papers, is not suffering. Or perhaps the professor is on a Sabbatical. Happy Sabbatical, as they say.  (Quote)

    Great post Dr. Kime, My version was censored.




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  87. Professor Kent,

    You quote me

    Notice how “all faith is based on some form of evidence (not necessarily “falsifiable” scientific evidence)” gets transmuted into Sean “labeling as “blind faith” anyone whose views on scientific evidence differ from his own.” That transmutation itself is uncharitable, and therefore at least a little mean-spirited.

    and say

    Okay, let’s be more clear. Sean has belittled my faith; he has belitted Ben Clausen’s faith. He has belittled the faith of other denominations, including Mormons, by declaring all of us adherents to “blind faith.” So perhaps I overgeneralized, which makes me mean-spirited. And what does this say of Sean?

    I’m not sure what it says of Sean. But you may be able to help me.

    Before we continue, I want to thank you for your concession. It is hard to do, but is imperative that it be done if we are to have a discussion rather than an argument. And I want to very carefully not overstate your concession. I am not hearing you say that you think it is okay for Sean to belittle people’s faith, whether it be yours, Ben Clausen’s, Mormons’, or others. You are simply recognizing that from these examples it is not appropriate to say that Sean labels as “blind faith” “anyone whose views on scientific evidence differ from his own.”

    We still have the question of whether Mormons, Ben, or you have “blind faith”. At least some Mormons take the approach that if you want to know whether the Book of Mormon is true, you just pray about it (with them?) and the Holy Spirit will give you the conviction, sometimes described as a warm feeling in your heart, that the Book of Mormon is true. Thereafter, other evidence doesn’t matter. If Jews have no special genetic relationship with American Indians, or Native Americans, or whatever the politically correct term is nowadays, it doesn’t matter. If the Book of Abraham was obviously mistranslated, it doesn’t matter. If Mormons were once wrong about polygamy and the status of blacks, it doesn’t matter. If Joseph Smith was involved with scams before his translation of the golden plates, it doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is that you have this warm feeling in your heart.

    Calling that faith “blind faith” doesn’t seem that far off. A faith without any evidence except a warm feeling seems pretty close to blind to me. I am not saying that all Mormons have this faith, but for the ones that do, Sean is not belittling their faith so much as accurately describing it.

    I am going to leave Ben Clausen to one side at this time. I have earlier stated how I perceive his beliefs, and can’t be much more specific without more information. It would be preferable if he were here to express exactly how he sees things. His position may even change under careful examination. So I will not comment further.

    But you, at least when you get back from vacation, are available. And we can find out whether Sean is accurately describing your faith, or has misunderstood or overgeneralized. If so, we may even get an apology out of him. He has apologized for mistakes on this forum before, and I suspect that on principle, if he realizes that he made a mistake, he will be willing to say so.

    You have quoted me approvingly, “Faith is always based on evidence; at the bare minimum it is faith in someone’s word when that person has been (or at least has appeared to have been) trustworthy in the past.” You followed up by saying,

    I agree wholeheartedly with your statement. I have pointed this out now in a handful of posts. I have insisted that there are few legitimate examples of “blind” faith for this very reason.

    So now help me out, so that I can react appropriately to Sean’s charge. What is the basis of your faith in a recent 6-day creation? Is it the Bible only, or are there any extrabiblical evidences that you can point to that support your faith? If it is the Bible only, what evidence do you have to believe the Bible? If there are extrabiblical evidences, what are they, and are any of them scientific?

    You said earlier that “I haven’t denied evidence for short-age creation.” I asked you to clarify:

    In the interest of further clarity, do you believe that there is such evidence, or have you just not denied it yet but could honestly do so, or are you leaning one way, or are you agnostic? Furthermore, is the evidence you referred to here physical?

    Those weren’t just idle questions. I really wanted to understand you, partly so that if possible I could defend you when discussing with people like Sean.

    Incidentally, try to refrain from ad hominem arguments. Just because you have a PhD and several of us are MD’s does not make our arguments invalid (or valid). The arguments speak for themselves, regardless of whether I have a MA in religion or not, regardless of whether you have a MA in religion or not, or any other training we may or may not have. I find it a little bizarre that when I am trying to be very careful to understand what you say, you lump me in with everyone else and conclude somewhat sarcastically, “Please continue, knowledgable docs, to misrepresent my statements and views.” If you are concerned that your views not be misrepresented, it would help if you clarify them.




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  88. Susie,

    I’d also like to address the present, practical, looming problem. I agree with you that ” no Adventist school is safe if precedents of disregarding SDA principles are allowed to be ‘institutionalized’ by La Sierra.” What you have to realize is that in fact no Adventist school is safe, period. This was true at Battle Creek College; it was true at Union College when I was there (1969-1973; a couple of professors had to be fired); it is true at several other colleges (WWC/U and PUC have had their controversies, as has AU and SMC/SAU). So the question of safety is not an absolute one; it is a relative one; can we make our colleges safer?

    Here I agree with you that the positions that have been taken at La Sierra make it a special case. And there are two questions that can be, but should not be, confused with each other: 1. What should be done, and 2. What should we do? The mess should be straightened out, or failing that, the university should have its accreditation removed by the Adventist church, but that is not your or my job. What we should do is avoid sending our children there for biological or theological education while the biology and theology departments are the way they are (and since theology is, and should be, central to any education at La Sierra, that pretty much means not sending children there). If we have influence, we can talk to people on the university board, and the accrediting body, and perhaps if we say enough sensible things out loud, some on those bodies will hear us and take our evidence and opinions into account, but unless we know someone this will be indirect.

    I know that this is frustrating to a protective mother, being a protective father who didn’t send his kids to La Sierra, but the full remedy just isn’t going to happen ASAP, which is why I have focused on our personal responsibility.

    MLB is right; this is done with the blessing of the administration, as well as a majority (not all) of the faculty. The problem is much more deep-seated than it appears at first. But the step of having standards and requiring teachers to abide by those standards, while a laudable goal, does not deal adequately with the problem. La Sierra created its tenure policy (that is, the administration and faculty created the policy) for just such an eventuality. The intention was that the teachers couldn’t be fired for their opinions. I don’t know whether the tenure provisions will actually hold up in court, as even if I were a lawyer, the courts sometimes make strange decisions nowadays.

    That is also why I have been pointing out not just that the faculty teach evolution as the best explanation of the natural world, but also refuse to recognize the evidence for short-age creation or even ID, labeling it as “apologetic literature”. This is violating their own values of openness and tolerance.

    You seem to misunderstand my proposal for requiring testimony in exchange for immunity, probably because I have not been clear enough about it. The proposal is not for complete immunity for anything they might say or do. It is limited to protecting them from being fired or demoted (with the exception of the chair, who might be demoted to professor) for any opinion they might hold. Teaching any class in a manner that does not respect the opinions of Adventist students or the Adventist church would, at the bare minimum, result in removal of teaching duties, and in egregious cases could result in firing. And of course if students and their parents found out that the teacher’s opinion was antithetical to their Adventist beliefs, the students would be able to avoid the teacher’s classes. No immunity of any kind could possibly avoid that outcome, nor should it.

    But there is an evil that is even worse than the goings-on at La Sierra (which are a part of it), that needs correction, and needs correction even more desperately than the situation at La Sierra. That is the problem that much of the scientific evidence for short-age and interventional creation has been bottled up. You ask how; I’ll tell you. Conservatives don’t like to share the podium with liberals, so when they are in control they don’t. As a result, fence-sitters don’t listen to them, because they think that the conservatives are afraid to share a podium with liberals because they think they will lose in any discussion. On the other hand, liberals like to look like they are sharing the podium with conservatives, but to actually give conservatives minimal time to make their case, and keeping most of the discussion to “can liberals be Adventists?” This is usually answered positively by having several Adventists stand up and say “I’m a liberal.” Discussion of the actual issues is usually very muted. The result is that the scientific issues are not clearly presented to most Adventists, who tend to remain uninformed and relatively apathetic.

    The one place where conservatives and liberals used to meet on a routine basis was BRISCO, the Biblical Research Institute Science Council, where members of the Biblical Research Institute and the Geoscience Research Institute, and invited guests, used to meet on an annual basis. I was invited starting in the early ’90’s and at first assumed that conservatives didn’t want the proceedings (which I found fascinating) published, because they wanted to protect their theories from being published until they were ready. I later found out that a major, if not the major, driving force for not publishing the proceedings was that liberals didn’t want the rest of the church to know how liberal they were, and what their arguments were.

    Even now, I went to the LSU biology department and asked the friendliest (to me) staff member if he or any of his colleagues wanted to give the point of view of the biology department in my Sabbath School, knowing that it would be recorded, and he declined, and stated that his choice was shared by the rest of the department (and from my previous interactions with the department, I believe him). All I could get was the material that you saw in the video that was posted above this comment thread.

    So my experience suggests that on the average, liberals prefer to operate under the radar, and conservatives like to pretend that the church is united. Neither side wants to drag the issues out in the open. I think this is crippling the church’s witness.

    There are those who assume that this is just LSU’s problem, and if we just can the biology faculty, and get new short-age people, the problem will be fixed. But the problem extends to the theology department, and there are several other Adventist colleges and universities that share, albeit to a lesser degree, the problem. And as MLB noted, at La Sierra the problem extends to the administration. So firing all the biology professors (and at least one does not deserve to be fired AFAICT) would only result in the administrators hiring more stealthy long-age adherents. This is not a problem that can be fixed at the personnel level.

    We need to get the whole discussion out in the open. As you can imagine, that is the last thing liberals want. If it does get out in the open, they wish to limit the discussion to “can one be Adventist and long-age at the same time?” At La Sierra it has been indicated to me that some of the biology department are perfectly willing to meet with me as long as the conversation stays confidential. Evidently they think there is a possibility that they can win me to their side, or failing that, keep me in conversation while time goes by and nothing else is done. Besides, dialogue is a liberal value (and absent other contravening values, a good one IMO).

    But if we attack personalities, we will have not dealt with the underlying problem, that evidence that supports creation is not being effectively shared. The issues will not be discussed. Some teachers will be able to “dive under the desk” until the controversy blows over, and then return to start the process all over again. Others will be fired, sometimes to be replaced by solid short-age creationists, sometimes to be replaced by those with similar long-age and unguided evolutionary beliefs but a lower profile, and perhaps most tragically, sometimes by those who haven’t looked at the issues that much and having a shallow but orthodox opinion, so that they pass the initial screen, but because they are not well grounded, gradually drifting into a long-age, unguided evolutionary opinion. Then the whole mess starts over and we are 10 or 20 years down the road.

    If we are going to fix this, we need not just to say what the church believes, but what the scientific evidence says. We need a discussion in front of the entire church, and we need the objectors to make their real objections known, and their real positions. And we cannot expect them to willingly testify against themselves without some form of immunity. That is why I am arguing for (limited) immunity. I am after much bigger fish than the biology department at La Sierra.

    I can understand your desire to cut out a patch of diseased skin and perform a skin graft. But I am concerned that underneath is a cancer that dwarfs this particular patch of skin, and we are better off doing a biopsy and then using chemotherapy on the cancer.




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  89. Paul said:
    So my experience suggests that on the average, liberals prefer to operate under the radar, and conservatives like to pretend that the church is united. Neither side wants to drag the issues out in the open. I think this is crippling the church’s witness.

    There are those who assume that this is just LSU’s problem, and if we just can the biology faculty, and get new short-age people, the problem will be fixed. But the problem extends to the theology department, and there are several other Adventist colleges and universities that share, albeit to a lesser degree, the problem.

    That is all true. And I also note that simply having a diehard evolutionist professor “go underground” when teaching biology coursework trying not to be too resentful while being “politically correct” in an environment that no longer tolerates open evangelism for evolutionism in our schools, is a bad outcome. We have a huge problem. This is not the educational experience that SDA parents are looking for when sending their students to our universities.

    Certain departments at LSU have gone a long way down the road of trying to become “the best public university that SDA tithe, offering and tuition dollars can buy”. Turning that ship around at this late stage would take a couple of miracles. It is made even worse when you look at progressive Adventism in the SECC as expressed in the laughing in the spirit sessions over at Daily’s services. The point is that there is an entire SDA conference promoting the general conditions at LSU. It may be convenient to poke at the more glaringly obvious problems at LSU – but LSU did not just come up with this level of retrograde doctrine in a vacuum.

    And that is compounded by the fact that as Paul mentioned – many of our Universities are facing the LSU problem to some degree – and they cannot blame it all on the SECC or on LSU. We are getting hit with this same problem on many fronts.

    I would love it if the evolutionists, progressives, liberals, gay marriage, anti-I.J., anti-Ellen White, Anti Bible as the real Word of God etc groups all came together with the historic Adventists and conservatives and we all arrived at the same POV on all subjects – 100% backed by the Bible and the Testimonies. No fracturing and no downsizing – I think Ted Wilson is pushing for as much of that outcome as possible via revival and reformation from inside the church.

    But we need to prepare ourselves for the “more likely outcome” when the Spirit of revival and reformation takes off in earnest.

    In the mean time – as Paul states above – not sending your son or daughter to an Adventist school that is in the midst of a horrible crisis in both science and religion departments, is a responsible action. Find a good school that is stable – and send them there – or choose another option, but do not knowingly send them into such a lion’s den as we see at LSU today. In that respect the Michigan Conference has it right.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  90. Paul Giem wrote:

    The only thing that matters [to Mormons] is that you have this warm feeling in your heart. Calling that faith “blind faith” doesn’t seem that far off. A faith without any evidence except a warm feeling seems pretty close to blind to me. I am not saying that all Mormons have this faith, but for the ones that do, Sean is not belittling their faith so much as accurately describing it.

    I have enjoyed many good friendships with Mormons and have had deep conversations with them about their beliefs. I’ve read some of their key doctrinal books as well, and with an open mind. Although I have occasionally heard this remark about the warm feeling, I have ALWAYS heard much more “evidence” voiced by my friends than just this to sustain their beliefs. Sorry, but I don’t believe the typical Mormon has “blind” faith. And I do find it offensive to make the claim that their faith is blind. We should be more charitable in how we speak of others. Unfortunately, one doesn’t need to read much from the individual here who so often belittles the faith of others to recognize that he lacks charity.




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  91. Paul Giem also wrote

    What is the basis of your faith in a recent 6-day creation? Is it the Bible only, or are there any extrabiblical evidences that you can point to that support your faith? If it is the Bible only, what evidence do you have to believe the Bible? If there are extrabiblical evidences, what are they, and are any of them scientific?

    I’ve written my reasons on other threads here, recently in fact. I don’t care to rehash them, but they include the evidence I see in changed lives, the testimony of the 12 disciples who were willing to die rather than renounce what they saw and heard, and certain aspects of prophecy.

    I’m not discounting all forms of “evidence,” as I think the notion of “blind faith” is pretty much absurd and I don’t believe Adventists (nor other Christians) need to be lectured on the topic. What I am opposed to is stating, as I believe Sean has repeatedly, that our SDA beliefs are superior because there is scientific evidence to back them up, and that without this particular form of evidence, our beliefs are–indeed, our faith is–“useless.” This is utter rubbish, snobbish, and offensive. I’d bet that most readers here agree with me but do not wish to speak out against Sean because they really want to believe everything else he has to say.




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  92. Perhaps I’m wrong, Paul. Perhaps most readers here truly believe that SDA beliefs–especially those regarding origins–are backed by solid scientific evidence, and that the beliefs of all other Christians and non-Christians are no more useful than those of the Pastafarians (who “believe” in the Flying Spaghetti Monster; readers can Google these terms if they are unfamiliar with this “religion” that Sean is so appreciative of). Are you in this crowd?




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  93. @Professor Kent:

    Although I have occasionally heard this remark about the warm feeling, I have ALWAYS heard much more “evidence” voiced by my friends than just this to sustain their beliefs. Sorry, but I don’t believe the typical Mormon has “blind” faith. And I do find it offensive to make the claim that their faith is blind.

    There may in fact be many Latter-day Saints who appeal to some form of empirical evidence to support their belief in the authority of the Book of Mormon. This does not negate the type of emotion or feeling driven faith of many other Mormons and certainly many SDAs as well.

    The question is, if all that one does appeal to is emotion or feeling to support one’s faith, where then is the basis to reliably detect the difference between the credibility of the Book of Mormon vs. the Bible? vs. The “Flying Spaghetti Monster”?

    The “Flying Spaghetti Monster” challenge is only in reference to those particular people who appeal to their “faith” without regard to any empirical evidence or falsifiable rational whatsoever. It is not a challenge to those who actually believe that their faith is based on at least some kind of superior weight of empirical evidence (as in the case of your own appeal to the historical fulfillment of certain Bible prophecies)…

    If you do in fact appeal to empirical evidence as a basis for your faith, as you claim you do, what are your own empirical reasons for thinking the Bible to be more credible than the Book of Mormon?

    This isn’t an effort to be uncharitable. My wife and I have some very good LDS friends after all. This is an effort to find out why you, in particular, favor the Bible vs. the Book of Mormon as a source of authority? Both can’t be right – – or don’t you agree? If you do agree, then upon what is your belief in the superiority of one vs. the other based?

    This is an honest and sincere question. It is not meant as an attack on any particular individual’s self-worth or moral character. It is a question regarding how one determines what is and what is not most likely true… to include which source of authority is more or less likely reliable or credible…

    The same thing is true regarding the basis of belief in the declarations of mainstream science. Mainstream scientists do not believe based on blind faith – not at all. They do believe based on a component of faith, a rather large leap if you ask me, but they do appeal to empirical evidence to support their large leaps of faith.

    So, upon what basis do you doubt the validity of their faith that the Bible is clearly mistaken on the topic of origins in favor of the your belief or leap of faith that the Bible is clearly more credible? – or are you being “uncharitable” toward those modern scientists who you think are wrong to doubt the Bible’s obvious authority when it comes to a true understanding of origins?

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  94. The Science of Faith

    @Professor Kent:

    What I am opposed to is stating, as I believe Sean has repeatedly, that our SDA beliefs are superior because there is scientific evidence to back them up, and that without this particular form of evidence, our beliefs are–indeed, our faith is– “useless.”

    I think that all forms of useful “evidence” use various forms of scientific reasoning. How else can one usefully determining the truth of one hypothesis or statement of belief vs. another competing hypothesis or belief regarding the nature of the world that exists outside of the mind?

    In this sense I do actually think that a rational belief in the credibility of the Bible must be based on a form of scientific reasoning that includes the possibility of testing and at least the theoretical potential for falsification (as in your testable and potentially falsifiable argument that certain historically-fulfilled biblical prophecies support the credibility of the Bible regarding those statements that are not subject to empirical evaluation, testing, or potential falsification).

    Scientific reasoning is not dependent upon peer review or publication within mainstream scientific journals. Scientific reasoning is open to the individual regardless of the opinions of others – even if these “others” be the majority of experts in the field. The majority of “experts”, while often right, is not always right. The individual is not required to go along with the expert opinion contrary to the individual’s own inherent ability to reason scientifically based on the weight of evidence available to the individual. This has often been the case in the history of science. Often the individual has been correct while the vast majority of the mainstream “experts” of the day have been wrong…

    In this sense, science or scientific reasoning can be used by everyone. Even children are able to think and reason scientifically – creating their own little testable hypotheses, and actually carrying out these tests, to determine the nature of the reality in which they find themselves. My own son, now 11 months, performs many experimental tests, that are falsifiable, to evaluate the nature of the world around him. It is fascinating to watch. Even animals can and do perform scientific tests in this manner…

    Such is, or at least can be, the basis of religious faith as well…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  95. In this sense, science or scientific reasoning can be used by everyone. Even children are able to think and reason scientifically – creating their own little testable hypotheses, and actually carrying out these tests, to determine the nature of the reality in which they find themselves. My own son, now 11 months, performs many experimental tests, that are falsifiable, to evaluate the nature of the world around him. It is fascinating to watch. Even animals can and do perform scientific tests in this manner… Such is, or at least can be, the basis of religious faith as well…

    Okay, then virtually everything is “science” and essentially every belief, right or wrong, is based on “science.” Now it’s even more clear that believers of all persuasions rely on science to form their beliefs. For once we agree on something.




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