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. 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?

    Among other things, the contrast in the lives of the “witnesses” (Christ’s 12 disciples; Joseph Smith’s 12 disciples), the lack of consistency in Joseph Smith’s positions, and his failure to speak according to the words of scripture which claimed to uphold. These are opinions based on my limited understanding and imperfect judgment, and I don’t think they are any more “scientific” than my opinion that President George W. Bush was not a very good one. I don’t equate “evidence” and “science.”

    I don’t have time to deal with other stuff right now.




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  2. @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.” 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.

    First of all – when you want to refute someone else’s view – quote it. Quoting yourself when trying to state their view is not has helpful as you seem to imagine.

    Secondly – (and for the bazillionth time on this one) – the “science” that is being argued is in favor of young life and a young earth. And of course you continually argue against it.

    The science being argued here is not for “6 days of creation week vs 12 days of creation week”.

    By arguing the science for design and for young-life and a young-earth we have concepts “compatible” with the Bible account of a literal 7 day week of Creation for all life on earth that is about 6000 years ago – but we do not have science that shows a video of a 7 day creation week or that argues for 7 days vs 9 days of creation week. And no creationist here has argued for such a thing. Though you keep repeating that straw man.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  3. I would like us to step away from the meandering arguments of Kent for a sec and look at the title of this thread – consider Paul’s statement

    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.

    This is precisely how the problem at Battle Creek was promoted – and it took someone like Ellen White who stood up and said YES there is a problem and NO this cannot be allowed to continue.

    Her advice to students caught in that mess was “no longer consent to listien” to the junk that was being presented. She published the problem to the church members and insisted that both leaders and regular church members “be informed” and “take action”.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  4. By arguing the science for design and for young-life and a young-earth we have concepts “compatible” with the Bible account of a literal 7 day week of Creation for all life on earth that is about 6000 years ago – but we do not have science that shows a video of a 7 day creation week or that argues for 7 days vs 9 days of creation week. And no creationist here has argued for such a thing. Though you keep repeating that straw man.

    Thank you, Bob, for making my point so clear. Our belief in a 6-day creation is not based on science. It’s based on the word of God. There is some scientific evidence for a relatively short age (next to nothing for anything as brief as 6,000 years), but there is nothing in science to support a creation period of 6 days, 8.5 days (which you mentioned in another post), 9 days, or whatever. We accept 6 days on God’s word–or is this the “straw man” you intend to blow apart with your meander-free logic?




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  5. Where is the science to account for a pile of dirt becoming instantaneously transformed into a human? Can we accept this on God’s word, by faith, or do we need scientific evidence to accept this remarkable claim from Genesis?




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  6. @Professor Kent:

    Thank you, Bob, for making my point so clear. Our belief in a 6-day creation is not based on science.

    Our belief in young life and a young earth has some confirming evidence from science.

    Our belief in a literal 6 day creation week and creation of all life on earth 6000 years ago – is compatible with that evidence.

    But as you note – the “detail” that it was exactly 6 days of creation followed by a 7th day of rest – is not a “science detail” it is a Bible detail that we choose not to ignore – but rather fully accept and believe.

    It’s based on the word of God. There is some scientific evidence for a relatively short age (next to nothing for anything as brief as 6,000 years), but there is nothing in science to support a creation period of 6 days, 8.5 days (which you mentioned in another post), 9 days, or whatever.

    Agreed but my question for you is – where is your work/effort/interest in getting your hands dirty – and looking for evidence of recent creation, young life, or young earth? If I am tracking this right – you only complain when that evidence is mentioned.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  7. @Professor Kent:

    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? – Sean Pitman

    Among other things, the contrast in the lives of the “witnesses” (Christ’s 12 disciples; Joseph Smith’s 12 disciples), the lack of consistency in Joseph Smith’s positions, and his failure to speak according to the words of scripture which claimed to uphold.

    So, if Joseph Smith and his immediate followers had lived more consistent and upright lives you would be more inclined to favor the validity or credibility of the Book of Mormon?

    Now, don’t get me wrong. I do agree that the consistency of the lives of those who promote a particular idea as “truth” plays a part in determining the credibility of their claims. However, this is not always the case. Consider, for example, the story of Balaam, the prophet. Balaam’s life was not consistent with what he said. Yet, what he said, under the inspiration of God, was still true anyway.

    So, the determination of credibility must also take into consideration the testable elements of what was actually said and claimed as “the truth”. Can any aspect of the claim be tested? If so, has it passed any tests? If it has not passed the tests, the credibility of those aspects that cannot be tested loose credibility…

    It’s all about the credibility of the source of claimed authority here. And, the useful establishment of credibility is based on at least a component of scientific reasoning for the thoughtful intelligent mind…

    These are opinions based on my limited understanding and imperfect judgment, and I don’t think they are any more “scientific” than my opinion that President George W. Bush was not a very good one. I don’t equate “evidence” and “science.”

    “Evidence” is worthless without at least some form of scientific reasoning in order to interpret or understand the most likely meaning of the available data. It is the process of reasoning itself, of interpreting the evidence, which can be done in a scientific manner.

    “Science” isn’t very fancy you know. As one of my professors once explained to me, “Science is a very basic bs detector, nothing more”. It has the power to prove or suggest error, but it does not have the power to definitively prove things true.

    It is because of this subjective limitation, even requirement, of science that our ideas of what are or are not most likely true must be open to potential falsification or revision with the addition of future evidence.

    Our belief in a 6-day creation is not based on science. It’s based on the word of God. There is some scientific evidence for a relatively short age (next to nothing for anything as brief as 6,000 years), but there is nothing in science to support a creation period of 6 days, 8.5 days (which you mentioned in another post), 9 days, or whatever. We accept 6 days on God’s word–or is this the “straw man” you intend to blow apart with your meander-free logic?

    Our belief that the physical evidence is consistent with the biblical account of origins is based on the weight of scientific evidence. You’ve claimed that the biblical account on origins is not falsifiable, but you are mistaken. It is falsifiable and the vast majority of mainstream scientists today think that it has been clearly falsified. If the biblical account were obviously not falsifiable where did no many scientists get the idea that it has been falsified by the evidence?

    As far as our belief in the specific literal creation week, this statement is not directly provable, but it is essentially falsifiable, as noted for you many times. Because of a lack of ability to present evidence regarding the specific elements of the creation account that cannot be directly supported by science, our belief in this account is based on scientifically established overall credibility of the biblical accounts. We use scientific reasoning to support the credibility of the Bible as a source of knowledge.

    This credibility, as noted for you many times now, is based on the testing of those things that can be subjected to testing and potential falsification and noting that the Bible passes these tests and has not been falsified or even challenged in an remotely convincing manner – not even close. Passing such tests increases the Bible’s credibility. Failing these tests, as is the problem for the Book of Mormon, would reduce the Bible’s credibility regarding those statements of truth that cannot be directly tested or potentially falsified.

    You still don’t seem to grasp the scientific basis of establishing the credibility of a witness…

    Where is the science to account for a pile of dirt becoming instantaneously transformed into a human? Can we accept this on God’s word, by faith, or do we need scientific evidence to accept this remarkable claim from Genesis?

    The available scientific evidence needs to at least be consistent with this biblical account of origins. If, as most mainstream scientists believe, the evidence strongly indicates that mankind evolved from other forms of life over vast periods of time, the biblical account of origins would be effectively falsified or called into serious question. It’s credibility would also decline in proportion according to scientific or rational reasoning.

    If, on the other hand, the evidence strongly indicates that mankind, along with all other forms of life on this planet, arrived on the scene just a few thousand years ago and that there is no viable evolutionary mechanism, the biblical account of origins would be most consistent with this evidence. The credibility of the biblical account would increase – and so would the scientific basis for believing in those particulars that cannot be directly tested or potentially falsified.

    You see, belief in the credibility of the Bible can have a basis in scientific reasoning. There really is no useful “evidence” outside of at least some form of scientific-style reasoning or logic. If the weight of available evidence were to in fact counter the Biblical statements, as it does the testable statements of the Book of Mormon, the credibility of the Bible would be called into question – scientifically.

    That’s the entire issue here: Is the Bible scientifically credible? – or not?

    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.

    Indeed. Now, your only job is to determine which scientific arguments are more or less likely true… also using scientific reasoning…

    Not all scientific hypotheses are correct you know. But, the advantage of a scientific hypothesis is that it is actually subject to testing and at least the potential of falsification. This is not true for those arguments that are not scientific; are not subject to even the potential of testing or falsification – as in the case of blind faith or appeals to sources of authority where the credibility of these sources is also not subject to testing or the potential for falsification…

    The SDA position is not like this. The SDA position is based on falsifiable elements. Even our claim for the credibility of the Bible as a source of authority is potentially falsifiable. As such, the SDA position is, or at least can be, based on solid rational scientific reasoning and logic that appeals to the intelligent candid mind…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  8. You still don’t seem to grasp the scientific basis of establishing the credibility of a witness…

    Yeah…but I stayed at Holiday Inn Express last week and bought Geico insurance. Got any stock options I should invest in?




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  9. @Professor Kent:

    Yeah…but I stayed at Holiday Inn Express last week and bought Geico insurance. Got any stock options I should invest in?

    My point is that this debate isn’t about science vs. faith. It is about science vs. science or evidence vs. evidence (however you wish to word it). The faith itself is based on whatever position one believes carries the weight of evidence and supports the best and most scientifically reasonable or rational “leap of faith”.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  10. Once upon a time, when science was young, there were such things as hypotheses and counter hypotheses, theory and counter theory, with data assumed to validate one or the other, or, alas, both. Once upon a time, at the beginning, evolutionists recognized evolution as only a theory and that there was evidence against it. Now suddenly and somehow evolutionists are saying evolution is not a theory but science. Not just science but THE science, the ONLY science. Science incarnate. Not just a scientific theory, not just science, but a law of science, THE law of science. And there is no such thing as evidence against it or for creation. How could there be? Hardly science, mere myth, don’t dare call it, gasp!, science, it cannot be called science except in quotation marks, “science,” and cannot be taught in an accredited peer-reviewed science course, only (with a wink) in philosophy 101, or a seminary (with increasing disinterest). That’s what evolutionists are now declaring, and taking to court. And now we have 6-day creationist-believing SDA professors broadcasting that too?




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  11. Earlier this evening I had a Eureka moment. I ate dinner at the Spaghetti Factory. Just as I finished off my last few bites of savory, mizithra-laced spaghetti, I had this incredibly warm and pleasant sensation in my stomach. It occurred to me I had my first real evidence that the Flying Spaghetti Monster cannot be real; after all, I had encountered the pasta with my taste buds, chomped it into tiny pieces with my teeth, and salivary amylased it into a thick goo that was highly unlikely to reincarnate itself.

    Reflecting further upon the warm sensation in my stomach, similar to what an occasional Mormon might use to confirm their convictions, I considered the evidence I rely upon to believe in what the Bible has to say. The overwhelming majority of this evidence, I admit, is weak when considered in the light of modern day science. It’s based on eyewitness accounts, it’s subject to interpretation, and it lacks the quality of what most practicing scientists consider to be rigorous evidence: no randomization, no controls, and no reproducibility. The thought occurred to me that the Holy Spirit must play a pivotal role in my personal persuasion regarding the Bible.

    But then, as the spumoni ice cream melted in my mouth and rapidly displaced the warm sensation in my stomach, it occurred to me that Sean has been right all along. Beliefs that are based on anything other than evidence are as useless as the Flying Spaghetti Monster, which I had just gnashed to pieces and could have destroyed just as easily with my gums as with my teeth. I realized then and there that the work of the Holy Spirit is useless. So long as we have evidence to guide our beliefs–like http://www.detectingdesign.com–we have no need of the Holy Spirit to convict us of truth. We don’t need the Holy Spirit when we have creation science! Our conscience can be explained by physiological evidence rather than a mysterious, vaporous entity that is utterly useless!

    I can’t begin to describe what a relief this revelation was. I was born to reason and have everything I need, within me, to understand and know God. I don’t know how to thank you, Sean, for freeing up my conscience at long last. Now I get it! Anything that lacks material evidence is useless!

    (Okay…I’m having fun here…please tell me, Sean, that you do believe the Comforter can convict without the believer also having falsifiable scientific evidence.)




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  12. Empirical Evidence and the Holy Spirit

    @Professor Kent:

    (Okay…I’m having fun here…please tell me, Sean, that you do believe the Comforter can convict without the believer also having falsifiable scientific evidence.)

    You seem to be appealing, yet again, to faith in your internal feelings of conviction without any regard to the weight of empirical evidence. This argument is identical to the argument of many of my LDS friends who also claim to be convinced of the Truth of the LDS religion and the historical credibility of the Book of Mormon directly by the Holy Spirit who speaks to their soul and tells them what is and is not true without any need of empirical evidence. Several of them have then told me, “How can I question the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit would never lie to me!”. What can one say to that? My only response is to ask, “Why then hasn’t the Holy Spirit told me?” They usually suggest that I must not be listening carefully enough to the voice of the Holy Spirit.

    At this point there really is no reason for further discussion since nothing more can be said or presented that could possibly compete with this line of reasoning. There is simply no point in discussing the empirical evidence, for example, because what is empirical evidence compared to the direct instruction of the Holy Spirit?

    This appeal to an internal feeling of conviction without any regard for empirical evidence is my definition for “blind faith”. Such faith is only useful to the one who has it. Since there is no other shared basis for belief or discussion, the conversion usually ends there. The Christian Gospel is, in my opinion, based on more than internal feelings of conviction alone. It is based on evidence that also appeals to the intelligent rational mind and can therefore be shared via an appeal to logical arguments and empirical evidences that can be appreciated by more than just one’s own self.

    The job of the Holy Spirit is to convict a person of what that person already knows is true but is having difficulties living up to because of the weakness of personal motivations that struggle against the truth.

    For example, the Holy Spirit doesn’t tell you that the Bible is more credible than the Book of Mormon or visa versa without any appeal to empirical evidence. The empirical evidence has a part to play that the Holy Spirit simply backs up with power to follow the conviction supported by the empirical evidence…

    If all we needed was the Holy Spirit to tell us what was and wasn’t true, as many of my LDS friends have told me, why did God give us intelligent brains of our own and appeal over and over again to empirical evidences of His existence and care for us? – evidences tailored to appeal to the logical rational mind? Why even give us the written Word at all or the ability to study the natural world? After all, the Holy Spirit could just tell us all about it without us having to actually investigate anything for ourselves.

    So, again, this isn’t science vs. faith but science vs. science where scientific leaps of faith are compared with other scientific leaps of faith. It isn’t like faith isn’t involved in science. It is. Contrary to your suggestion, science is all about coming up with reasonable or statistically useful “interpretations” of the evidence that have predictive value. There is, therefore, no science without interpretation. And, this interpretation always ends up taking leaps of faith beyond what the evidence can definitively support. Again, taking these leaps of faith is also what science is all about – the taking of educated leaps of faith with higher predictive value than taking completely blind leaps of faith…

    Also, determining the credibility of a witness can be done scientifically – to include “randomization, controls, and reproducibility.” This sort of scientific investigation can and should be done when evaluating the credibility of the Biblical witnesses. Your yourself have appealed to such empirical evidence in the form of historically fulfilled prophecies. Does this empirical evidence and scientific reasoning remove the need for taking a leap of faith? Of course not. Again, that is the whole point of science…

    But, a leap of faith without any scientific reasoning or use of the available empirical evidence is blind and therefore worthless as a solid basis for hope in a bright future. God does not appeal to blind faith or the conviction of the Holy Spirit apart from the weight of empirical evidence. God wishes to have intelligent thoughtful worship, not worship based on emotions alone…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  13. Professor Kent,

    I am glad that the Mormons you have met uniformly have other evidences they cite in support of their faith. At another time it would be interesting to explore what those evidences are.

    But when you quote me, it would be appropriate to use the proper antecedent. Your quote,

    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.

    has an insertion [to Mormons] which is not what I meant, and is not the antecedent for the statement. The original quote said “At least some Mormons”, which is much more cautious. You have set up a straw man with your quote, a straw man that I specifically disavow. Please be more charitable in your quotations.

    Thanks for the clarification as to the basis for your belief in a recent 6-day creation. If I hear you correctly, your reasons are indirect; the 12 disciples would vouch for Jesus, not creation directly, and prophecy would argue for the validity of Old Testament (and a few New Testament) prophets, not Genesis 1-11 directly. Changed lives simply says that something in the theory works, not necessarily that Genesis is true. Thus if I understand the logic, it goes something like this: There are evidences that parts of the Bible are reliable. The Bible is best viewed as an integral whole, and the evidences support the validity of the whole, including Genesis 1-11.

    Fair enough. In that case your faith is not blind. I hope Sean will recognize this. I think all of us need to be careful to really hear other people, and not overstate their views, even as we dispute points with them.

    In fact, if I understand what you are saying, you have another point of agreement with Sean and myself (and others on this comment thread). You say, “There is some scientific evidence for a relatively short age”, and this is where I am focused regarding the scientific evidence, and I suspect Sean is too. So if I understand correctly, when you said that “I haven’t denied evidence for short-age creation”, you actually mean that there is some scientific evidence for it, perhaps just not enough in your mind to outweigh the evidence for long ages for life on earth. So what we are arguing about is not an absolute in either direction, but rather the degree, or if you like, the weight of evidence. In fact, we are not even arguing about the weight of evidence, but the weight of scientific evidence.

    My own view is that the weight of evidence is towards short age, which is compatible with although not probative of a 6-day creation. This was not always the case; there are several evidences that have been developed within the last 20 years. And the mainstream scientific community does not recognize much of these evidences, so if one took one’s information, and especially one’s opinions, only from the mainstream scientific community, one would conclude that the scientific evidence supported long age more than it did short age. One of the things we have been reviewing in our Sabbath School class is the evidences most commonly used to support long and short age. You might find some of the videos interesting.

    I appreciate having you as an active participant. It helps us to have someone point out where we go overboard. Yes-men are not all that helpful.

    Just be careful not to overstate our positions. Your comment

    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?

    seems to imply that we are willing to denigrate “the beliefs of all other Christians” in addition to non-Christian beliefs. I am far enough from that position that I have actively collaborated with the ICR and have gotten my name favorably mentioned in their RATE books, especially the second. I happen to believe that my beliefs on the Sabbath are more in accord with the evidence than theirs, but even if (as I think) I am right, this does not mean that all their beliefs are no better than those of the Pastafarians.

    As a matter of fact, if one took a poll of the posters here, I think that virtually all of them would agree with me on this issue. So the “crowd” you refer to would be pretty sparse. So the belief system you outline seems to be a straw man. Perhaps (referring to your first sentence) you are right after all, and not wrong.

    I hope to be able to turn my attention to Sean shortly, and I hope you will stay engaged and help us with the issue of evidence and what should be expected.




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  14. @Professor Kent:

    But then, as the spumoni ice cream melted in my mouth and rapidly displaced the warm sensation in my stomach, it occurred to me that Sean has been right all along. Beliefs that are based on anything other than evidence are as useless as the Flying Spaghetti Monster, which I had just gnashed to pieces and could have destroyed just as easily with my gums as with my teeth. I realized then and there that the work of the Holy Spirit is useless. So long as we have evidence to guide our beliefs–like http://www.detectingdesign.com–we have no need of the Holy Spirit to convict us of truth.

    You choose an “either or” fallacy to try to sustain your believe in a pastafarian-Bible.

    But it is transparently obvious that you are trying to sustain the very fallacy Dawkins promotes and accuses Christians of embracing – and thus “once again” you and Dawkins are in agreement as to the less than compelling nature of Christianity and the less-than rational choice between the FSM and the God of the Bible.

    When evidence in favor of young-life and a young-earth is mentioned – you work as hard as Dawkins to oppose it. When arguments surface showing the objective difference between Dawkin’s FSM and the God of the Bible you work as hard as Dawkins might choose to do – to argue against that difference.

    Looks like a duck – quacks like a duck…

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  15. Thanks, Paul, for your very reasonable post. You have my apology for overgeneralizing the statement about Mormons.

    Bob, do you fancy yourself an ornithologist?




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  16. Professor Kent,

    Apology accepted.

    Sean (and others as it applies),

    Professor Kent has turned out to be much more reasonable than it sounded to most of us (myself included) at first. I admit that I haven’t read all of his comments on other threads, so perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised. But i think that a careful approach that seeks to understand people is sometimes more effective than simply “standing up for the truth”. There is truth to be found out about people as well as the truth about the way reality works (including God).

    I think that it is pretty evident that Prof. is not in fact operating on blind faith. He and I do disagree on some issues, although we may be able to narrow our disagreements with the appropriate dialogue. And I do agree that those Mormons who base their religion on a warm feeling are exercising blind faith are not using sound reasoning. But Prof. is not in that category, and it is appropriate for us to acknowledge that.

    I was intending to comment on Prof.’s charges, the most salient one of which was that

    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.

    He wrote a further clarification:

    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 had intended to find where you had called Prof.’s faith “blind”. On careful review, including word searches, I cannot. In fact, in a later post I found where you conceded that his faith was not blind:

    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)…

    That leaves me with one of two choices. Either you said it on another thread, or Prof. is exaggerating again. I am not reading all the threads to try to find if you called his faith “blind”, so I will allow you to deny it and Prof. to prove it and if you can and he can’t I’ll accept your version.

    I can find where you called the faith of some in the GRI “blind”. I don’t think (for reasons I explained above) that Jim Gibson fits into that category. Tim Standish and Raul Esperante definitely do not fit into that category. I don’t have enough information to say anything about Ronnie Nalin. Ben Clausen may or may not; you have to have some skepticism about the source if it is Spectrum or Adventist Today. In these situations, it is probably best to be careful about what we say. Ben may turn out to be similar to Prof., believing the Bible on other grounds but unable to make a good scientific case for short age. I don’t think that is ideal; it is obviously not where I am at. But it is not a complete sellout of Adventism.

    The problem is not so much new hires. New hires can be scrutinized as to their beliefs and, since nobody has promised them anything, the church is almost completely free to choose people who share its beliefs. But for people who have changed on the job, the situation is more delicate. These people did once pass muster, and so dismissal can be perceived as acting as thought police. With a ham-handed approach, the impression can be given that the GRI is hopelessly biased, and should be ignored, something like what is happening (in reverse) to those who question long ages and Darwinism in the secular universities (or at least some secular universities). We don’t want that to happen if we can avoid it.

    A former head of the GRI faced this very problem. He had an employee who was convinced that short-age was wrong, but who showed no intention of leaving the GRI over it. What the head did was ask the person to write articles on various topics in his field of expertise. The person couldn’t, or wouldn’t, in any case didn’t, and he was given 6 months notice and helped to find a job, and then finally fired. But the way it was done it was obvious to reasonably informed and objective observers that there was no attempt to control the person’s thoughts by financial incentives, and the reason he was fired was that he couldn’t do the work, and therefore shouldn’t be paid for it, not that he had aberrant ideas.

    When dealing with people like Prof., be careful. He apparently likes to be provocative; at least he often is. Before you had said anything about it, he quoted me,

    Trial first, verdict afterwards.

    and said,

    I take it Sean is opposed to this?

    Of course, this could be taken as insulting, and of course, you actually agreed with me on this. You can’t let Prof. get under your skin.

    Prof again stirred up trouble. Another commenter stated,

    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.

    To which you said,

    I agree…

    Sean Pitman

    Prof. quoted you, and said,

    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?

    He then further pushed the meme:

    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.

    This had the effect of making us (at least unless we rejected the gambit) look like witch hunters even in the GRI, and of distracting from the main point, which is what is happening at La Sierra.

    Prof. continued to press the point. Speaking of belief in “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”, he said

    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).

    He finally goaded you into saying,

    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…

    He then moved in for the kill:

    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.

    You can rationally argue your way out of it, but you come across as insisting that everyone view things your own way. Some people will even disingenuously argue this way just so they can ridicule you afterwards for this.

    What you have to realize is that the argument is not just about what is most accurate; it is also about what spirit is being exhibited. That’s why how you say things can be as important as what you say. If you say something negative, make allowances for all the positive that can otherwise get swept under the rug in the heat of the moment. When we are discussing La Sierra, pointing out that they don’t even allow the church’s position to be presented scientifically is far more effective than arguing that they disagree with the majority church position. The latter is true, and in an ideal world wouldn’t be, but the former is obvious even to fence-sitters.

    More thoughts on faith, evidence, and science later.




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  17. Dear Paul

    I liked your well reasoned and measured response.

    On science, Sean and I are diametrically opposed. However, I think he has a very thick skin and a great deal of compassion for those that goad and attack him. As an agnostic, in my mind, he demonstrates a courageous and generous spirit. I think many likely fear him because of his strong intellect and viewpoints. In my experience, I see people attack others when they are feel fear and insecurity.

    I’m not sure however if your well meaning attempts to modify his approach to exposing the teaching of evolution counter to FB#6 are correct. Others of more moderate disposition can attempt this. In my respectful opinion, if Sean is to carry the scientific banner for YEC and FB#6 he must be a very strong advocate otherwise the science behind YEC will be seen as watered down intellectual soup.

    I think the theory of evolution is correct and I do not see any credible basis for a young earth. However Sean’s work has caused me to examine my beliefs and look very seriously at the notion of ID. I don’t care if he is being shunned by mainstream science, I care about the scientific integrity of his work. His approach to look for empirical data, independent of his faith, is the only thing that can lend any sort of independent objectivity to his work. Can he do that? That remains to be seen, but I for one want him to have every opportunity.

    Crusaders like Sean are going to take heat, it comes with the territory. But if they show moral equanimity towards others do they not fill the type of people Jesus espoused we become?

    One the areas I am now reading about is evolutionary development at the genetic level. Although I am early in my reading, I think the research may provide some answers as to how single genes can cause huge developmental changes in evolution. This may shed light on the plausibility of ID hypotheses, especially irreducible complexity. Good food for thought for all of us.

    My hope for all is that we can proceed with a collective civil tone but rigourous intellectual endeavour. Out of that will come much good. Paul, your post has gone a long way to accomplishing that ideal. Like you wisely said, it is not so much what is being said as to how it is being said. Now if only I can learn that with my teenagers!

    A sincere thanks, from your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  18. Dear Ken,

    Thanks for your note. I appreciate your respect for those who don’t believe as you do, and even your willingness to learn.

    I agree with you that Sean needs to be a strong personality to do what he needs to do. It is much more difficult to swim against the current than with it. I encourage him in this endeavor; indeed, as i think he would tell you, I am one of his fellow swimmers. All i was doing was asking him to be careful with his criticism of people in the GRI.

    My own personal view is that the theory of evolution has serious weaknesses, but that these are hard to see if one starts with an evolutionary perspective. For this reason I don’t usually use the theory itself as my first target when arguing against naturalism. The origin of life itself is much more obvious as a target. We know that intelligence can produce long strings of DNA, long enough, complex enough, and specified enough, that they can serve as the data repository for cells. We know of no natural process (meaning a process not involving intelligence) that can create such long strings of DNA. Therefore ID seems like a slam dunk for the origin of life.

    If there is such an intelligence, then when it comes to creating entirely new enzymes, entirely new body plans, etc., the question then becomes, why should we believe that unguided processes must have created such things, when there is an intelligence that has intervened at least once? Why should we believe that there is a step-by-step process that produced the new enzyme or regulatory protein, or in some cases the whole suite of proteins, when we cannot find such a pathway and we know there reasonably must have been an intelligent designer who could have done it? Why should we believe excuses about the lack of hard body parts to fossilize (especially when ediacaran fossils without hard body parts fossilized well enough) to show intermediate steps to trilobites, starfish, hallucinogenia, or chordates? The just-so stories will only work when we know that intelligence was not around to help the process along.

    On the issue of the young age of life, I agree with you that reproducible (i. e., scientific) empirical evidence is important, particularly if Adventism is to be an evangelistic, as opposed to merely a protective, faith. That is one reason why I wrote my book Scientific Theology (available on the web for free at http://www.scientifictheology.com ), as well as two articles in Origins on carbon-14 dating, which called for further experimentation, some of which has been done and which backs up my hypothesis (which then becomes a theory?). You may want to look into those resources.

    But again, I appreciate your graciousness. Hopefully we can all learn something from the subject and maybe even wind up someday in substantial agreement.




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  19. I think we live in a new Christian world. When I grew up, Christians settled their differences privately. Public squabbles were seen as bringing harm to the cause. But now it has become perfectly acceptable for Christians to engage in character assassination of each other through the public media. The world wide web, online blogs, and even newspapers have become the new tool by which Christians enthusiastically settle scores and push about others to get their own way.

    At this website, we have seen multiple institutions singled out for their sins against the corporate Adventist body (particularly La Sierra University and GRI). At least four current and former SDA university presidents have been denigrated for failure to stop the atrocities (including the very conservative president of Southern Adventist University). Several dozen faculty, scientists, and administrators have been called out by name for transgressions of God’s law, with pointed accusations of thievery, lying, and immorality. The faith of many believers and even entire denominations has been labeled as “blind” and as useless as belief in the Flying Spaghetti Monster. And all of this, ostensibly, with a generous spirit of Bible- and Ellen White-sanctioned love.

    Personally, I think it’s immoral to publicly humiliate institutions and individuals to compel them to capitulate to one’s own demands. I futher think it’s remarkably disrespectful of the Church’s internal governance to use public humiliation of others to seek change under the pretext of maintaining internal governance.

    Some here want you to know that I am biased, uncharitable, provocative, and insulting because I vigorously oppose the loving tactics used here by others. I’m glad that someone has figured me out.




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  20. Dear Paul

    Thank for your kind comments.

    I am most interested in your work and will indeed review it.

    The issue of design is a fascinating one and should not be treated lightly or dismissed in my humble view. I suspect, but do not know, that many of the answers are going to be found in the emerging field of evolutionary development at the genetic or molecular level.

    Its going to be an enjoyable, rewarding intellectual trip. I look forward to being on the boat with everyone.

    Regards
    Ken




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  21. Ladies and Gents,

    Certainly thank you for your kind words and kind position as well as your global perspective on the issue.
    However, just a few questions here; what is the Seventh Day Adventist Standard on Creation vs. Evolution? Then what is La Sierra chartered position as an educational institution? Is it Seventh -Day Adventist or Catholic or State run or Baptist?

    A standard is a standard rather evidenced based or not. Tenets of SDA beliefs recognize Creation as a belief. Keeping that in mind what in the world is a Seventh -Day Adventist school doing teaching evolution. Evolution is contrary to our beliefs.

    These high-level discussions are wonderful but the bottom line is they are causing consternation.

    Parents should not have to pay $18,000 +yearly to get a SDA Christian education, which includes evolution. Oh by the way since we pay tithe and offerings “we” support these institutions as well and should have a say in what is taught.

    Young developing, inquiring minds are easily enough confused. They need to be given the basic tools to survive life turmoil and questioning of the fundamental beliefs such as Creation. In life, they will be faced with evolution theories without a doubt but with the right information on Creation they can combat the forces and theories that can lead to agnosticism, atheistic belief and/or any other views. They do not need to learn about evolution in our schools.

    Further, the goal of Christian education I thought was to prepare youths for the kingdom as well as teaching them to exemplify the character of Christ through thoughts, deeds and actions. In the work place, it is hard enough to maintain your personal identity more less your Christian identity. You will find in politics, health care, education to name a few disciplines all kinds of good and evil occur; but the formal preparation is what keeps one grounded in life.

    Finally, I cannot stress it enough young minds need tools to combat the forces of foolishness in the world. The aberrances of life will magically appear but what is taught in our schools last a lifetime. “Learning is for a lifetime”. Teach the standards, the basic bible principles and the application of it; guaranteed a product that represents a SDA Christian anticipating a soon coming Lord to an ever growing world.




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  22. Sean,

    I, like you, disagree with what appeared to be Professor Kent’s picture (but apparently is not), where we have evidence for the general reliability of the Bible, but no extrabiblical, and particularly no scientific, evidence for the reliability of Genesis 1=11. A couple of points might be helpful.

    As I’m sure you’re aware, we don’t have extrabiblical evidence for a six-day creation, or for the length of time between creation and the Flood. We do have some evidence regarding how long ago the Flood was, and it can be reasonably dated to no more than 3,500 years ago by Mesopotamian records. (There are arguments for putting it around 2300 to 2500 BC, but they are long, involved, and not well-developed yet. And they are not necessary for the historicity of Genesis 1-11 to be accepted. So, although it is an area of interest for me, I do not put this to the fore in a discussion.)

    In discussing with people like Prof., it is important to understand their terminology; otherwise we can spend too much time talking past each other. You and I do not see a bright line between science and the rest of life, and we have the support of most philosophers of science. On the other hand, many scientists, partly from ignorance of philosophy and partly from a desire to see their profession as somehow better than others, believe that there is such a bright line; that scientists are somehow fundamentally different from and better than everyone else. When we discuss issues such as scientific evidences for creation, it is worth our while to find out what they mean by “scientific”. Even if we choose not to use their terminology, it is worthwhile understanding it so as not to talk past each other. If we do choose to use their terminology, we have to carefully explain where we differ with some of the assumptions they make when using it.

    More importantly, scientific knowledge is not vital to either salvation or to our confidence in scripture, or our hope. It only becomes important if science is apparently raising challenges to the historicity of the Genesis account. One can believe the creation account was historical (and all the Christians on record before about the 18th century did except Origen and Augustine) without any recourse to modern science. Thus a position that “I believe in a recent 6-day creation and a worldwide Flood but have no scientific evidence to back it up” would have been appropriate for everyone before the 1700’s, and is reasonable for scientifically uninformed people today.

    It only becomes a serious problem when science seems to say that long ages for life on earth preclude the Genesis account from being historical, and when people such as PhD’s and MD’s cannot ignore other aspects of science. That is when we have to decide what to believe and why. Do we give up on the Biblical story? Do we try to reinterpret it to fit, or partially fit, “science”? Do we ignore “science” and take the Bible without any scientific evidence? Or do we argue that there is a difference between the current scientific consensus on long ages and evolution without design, and the actual data and rational inferences therefrom? You and I , and Prof. if I understand correctly, do not have the option of throwing out science altogether. We have to accept some aspects of science. Therefore, IIUC, Prof. picks option 3 an you and I pick option 4.

    It would be appropriate for Prof. to be familiar with the evidence that persuades us to pick option 4 before criticizing us for doing so. But many of his colleagues have poisoned the well so that he thinks we are crazy (at least judging from his remarks). At least initially we have to be careful how we react to him on blogs like this. (If we are on hiring committees, that is an entirely different matter. We can protest that he doesn’t understand short-age creationism well and can’t properly teach it, and that is part of the job description at an Adventist university.) We have to keep in mind that before we looked at the data we have, we had to pick option 3.

    But there is also a very subtle nuance with position 3. Some would say that they simply don’t know enough about the subject to mount an active defense of short-age creationism, but it looks promising that there might eventually be a short-age explanation for the data. Some would say that they don’t know enough, and have no idea whether a short-age explanation will ever appear in this life. Some will say that in principle science cannot deal with origins (but the scientific community surely tries). Some will adamantly maintain that science, by its very nature, will always be against the Biblical account, and we are foolish to try to reverse that. When discussing with someone, it is appropriate to find out where he or she is coming from before arguing. There is no point in producing evidence to convince someone who has chosen the last option, until that person is willing to consider the possibility that there might be evidence. That is, the theory must be discussed before the evidence will even be considered.

    Part of the confusion is the definition of the word “science”. It is used for the study of the reproducible, the study of nature (whatever that is), the process that demands methodological naturalism, and the current scientific consensus. When someone uses the unqualified word science, it is probably a good idea to understand, and if necessary to ask, in what sense he or she is using it. In fact, many who argue for “evolution” (another word with multiple meanings) do not see the distinctions, and before we even begin the discussion, it might be usefulful to help them to see those distinctions.

    We need to be careful about labeling historical evidence as scientific evidence. They are in some senses different. If you want to establish the witness of the 12 apostles, you have to look at old manuscripts, or trust that their transcriptions and translations are accurate. If you wish to check on carbon-14 dating, you can build your own machine, or pay someone who has a machine, to repeat the tests. That is the difference between historical and scientific evidence. (The line gets blurred when you scour the scientific literature for tests that have been run.)

    In any case, as I think all of us know, we can never be logically certain that our inferences are 100% correct, or even that the data have been obtained and reported properly. There is always a certain amount of faith involved, whether it be in the scientific, the historical, or the religious realm. In this, there is no qualitative difference between science and religion, that is, unless the religion dispenses with evidence altogether.

    I tend to shy away from the idea that the scientific evidence is somehow not relevant to religious belief, and I don’t see how Adventists can make that claim. Ellen White claimed that tobacco is an insidious but deadly poison, and the church accepted her claim based strictly on her religious authority. It has been vindicated, but I am old enough to remember when it finally reached the general public consciousness. However, to people in 1870 it was not obvious what scientific evidence would demand that conclusion. They had to go on faith. We should be careful not to condemn the faith position in a blanket way, and even now, there are questions to which we do not know the answers, and will have to exercise a certain amount of faith.

    This is another reason why I am much more unhappy with the refusal of the La Sierra biology department (or at least the controlling part of it) to allow creationist arguments to be discussed than I am with their assessment of the scientific evidence. On the latter, they could theoretically be correct (although I don’t think so), but the former is downright unfair.




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  23. Paul Giem wrote the following gems, among other items, in his second post of Aug 21:

    Part of the confusion is the definition of the word “science”. It is used for the study of the reproducible, the study of nature (whatever that is), the process that demands methodological naturalism, and the current scientific consensus. When someone uses the unqualified word science, it is probably a good idea to understand, and if necessary to ask, in what sense he or she is using it…We need to be careful about labeling historical evidence as scientific evidence. They are in some senses different….There is always a certain amount of faith involved, whether it be in the scientific, the historical, or the religious realm.

    Very helpful, Paul; thanks for sharing.




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  24. @Paul Giem:

    Much appreciated post Dr. Giem. A voice of definitive reason in the midst of the spaghetti wars. I particularly appreciate your comment:

    More importantly, scientific knowledge is not vital to either salvation or to our confidence in scripture, or our hope. It only becomes important if science is apparently raising challenges to the historicity of the Genesis account. One can believe the creation account was historical (and all the Christians on record before about the 18th century did except Origen and Augustine) without any recourse to modern science. Thus a position that “I believe in a recent 6-day creation and a worldwide Flood but have no scientific evidence to back it up” would have been appropriate for everyone before the 1700′s, and is reasonable for scientifically uninformed people today.

    As a “Sola Scripturist” I have concluded that the Bible is a stand-alone document providing its own inherent proofs. To compare a scientifically unsubstantiated Bible to the book of Mormon is a gross mischaracterization of the unique testimony and spiritual power found inherently in the Word of God itself. It also gives inordinate authority to the conclusions resulting from a man-made scientific endeavor. Creation Science does have a supportive apologetic role in juxtaposition to the challenges of ‘science falsely so called;’ but the final authority must be Scripture itself.

    If the findings of science can at any given theoretical moment blow us out of the Adventist Christian water, to be cast adrift on a sea of infidelity – then we are indeed peculiarly vulnerable. What will happen perchance when Lucifer brings out of his incredibly superior resources a clearly ‘scientific’ proof that thoroughly contradicts the Adventist understanding of Scripture? If our faith is in the conclusions of our ‘scientific’ senses then we will certainly be deceived. If we believe that science is the ultimate proof, not Scripture, then we are indeed vulnerable. Satan’s original deception was an overwhelming sensory contradiction of the Word of God. A ‘dumb’ dragon exhibited the gift of wisdom, with no ill effects from eating the ‘deadly’ fruit. How could Eve argue with this empirical proof?

    What happens if aliens land and provide empirical proof of how they seeded planet earth with life, superintended the building of the pyramids, tried to prevent the great cataclysms caused by asteroids, inspired the great religious leaders of history (or actually were those leaders)- with video tapes and DNA to prove it etc.?

    I very much look forward to reading your book.

    Victor




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  25. @ Victor Marshall

    If the findings of science can at any given theoretical moment blow us out of the Adventist Christian water, to be cast adrift on a sea of infidelity – then we are indeed peculiarly vulnerable. What will happen perchance when Lucifer brings out of his incredibly superior resources a clearly ‘scientific’ proof that thoroughly contradicts the Adventist understanding of Scripture? If our faith is in the conclusions of our ‘scientific’ senses then we will certainly be deceived. If we believe that science is the ultimate proof, not Scripture, then we are indeed vulnerable.

    Amen.




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  26. Being “Reasonable” Without “Science”?

    @Paul Giem:

    More importantly, scientific knowledge is not vital to either salvation or to our confidence in scripture, or our hope. It only becomes important if science is apparently raising challenges to the historicity of the Genesis account. One can believe the creation account was historical (and all the Christians on record before about the 18th century did except Origen and Augustine) without any recourse to modern science. Thus a position that “I believe in a recent 6-day creation and a worldwide Flood but have no scientific evidence to back it up” would have been appropriate for everyone before the 1700′s, and is reasonable for scientifically uninformed people today.

    When you use the word “reasonable”, what is your definition of “reasonable”? This word, to me anyway, indicates that one’s beliefs are backed up by good reasons that would appeal, generally, to rational candid minds. One’s own personal feelings or internal convictions do not have general appeal to candid rational minds. Those “reasons” that do have general appeal are those which appeal to evidences which are generally accessible – as in empirical evidences. The interpretation of empirical evidences must also use generally available rational or logic in order to have general appeal to rational minds. Such logical arguments form the basis of what I call “scientific” arguments.

    Of course, there are many definitions of “science” and your advice to make sure one understands the definitions of the words others are using in a discussion is well taken. This is why I have tried to be quite clear in my use of the word “science” to indicate the basis of the rational or logic behind scientific arguments in general. While there may be a difference between physical sciences and historical sciences, the basic rational is the same. There are still appeals to empirical evidence and inductive, deductive or abductive reasoning that can be tested, produce predictive value, and potentially falsified.

    So, I would argue that those who did not have access to modern scientific or empirical discoveries or evidence must have still had access to at least some sort of empirical basis for belief in the credibility of the Biblical account as a rational basis for their “hope”. And, I believe that they did have this empirical evidence and therefore a scientific basis or for their beliefs. In other words, their “faith” wasn’t without the backing of reasonable empirical, testable, potentially falsifiable, evidence.

    In short, there really is no rational basis for “hope” without at least some associated empirical evidence for that hope or the credibility of the one who has made the hopefully prediction.

    Now, I do agree with you regarding the connection between empirical evidence and salvation. I do not believe that salvation is based on one’s knowledge or correct interpretation of the empirical evidence. I believe that salvation is based on motive alone – the motive of disinterested love for one’s neighbor. One can therefore be saved without much correct knowledge at all. However, one cannot have rational hope in the future without at least some empirically-based knowledge.

    Hope is therefore based in knowledge while salvation is not. I firmly believe that there will be many very surprised people in heaven someday. How much better, though, if these people had been given the knowledge of their eminent salvation while here on this Earth? How much better would their lives here have been?

    Ellen White claimed that tobacco is an insidious but deadly poison, and the church accepted her claim based strictly on her religious authority. It has been vindicated, but I am old enough to remember when it finally reached the general public consciousness. However, to people in 1870 it was not obvious what scientific evidence would demand that conclusion. They had to go on faith. We should be careful not to condemn the faith position in a blanket way, and even now, there are questions to which we do not know the answers, and will have to exercise a certain amount of faith.

    We all have to make leaps of faith – even mainstream scientists make leaps of faith as you’ve pointed out already. Science is all about making “reasonable” leaps of faith based on limited evidence.

    In the same way, a belief in the claims of Mrs. White regarding the harmful effects of tobacco, claims which could not be adequately tested or falsified in her day, was still not based on faith alone. The rational belief in the credibility of such claims must be backed up by some form of empirical evidence. This evidence came in the form of physical demonstrations and falsifiable predictions that were given by God to support the credibility of His “messenger” as having special access to very privileged information from the God Himself. This evidence was tailored to appeal to the rational candid, even scientific, mind of the day.

    In the same way, Jesus appealed to physical demonstrations and evidences to support those claims of His which were not directly subject to testing or potential falsification. The classic example of this, which you yourself have occasionally referenced, is the story of Jesus healing the paralytic. Jesus gave evidence of His non-testable non-falsifable ability to forgive sins by tying it in with a claim to be able to perform a physical demonstration of dramatic healing power – a claimed ability, believed by his audience to required connection with the Divine, which was subject to potential falsification…

    So, the appeal to faith alone is never enough for the rational mind. Additional associated evidences, empirically-based, must be presented to support the credibility of belief in a statement of “truth” that cannot be directly tested or potentially falsified.

    This sort of argument is made by modern scientists all the time… as the basis for their own leaps of faith or belief in those ideas or concepts which themselves cannot be directly tested or falsified…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  27. Determining Credibility Between Multiple Conflicting Options

    @Victor Marshall:

    If the findings of science can at any given theoretical moment blow us out of the Adventist Christian water, to be cast adrift on a sea of infidelity – then we are indeed peculiarly vulnerable. What will happen perchance when Lucifer brings out of his incredibly superior resources a clearly ‘scientific’ proof that thoroughly contradicts the Adventist understanding of Scripture? If our faith is in the conclusions of our ‘scientific’ senses then we will certainly be deceived. If we believe that science is the ultimate proof, not Scripture, then we are indeed vulnerable.

    This argument is very unfair to those who have not grown up understanding that the Bible is actually the “truth”. What is the reason for this assertion? You argue for internal evidences that the Bible should be regarded as more credible than the Book of Mormon, or the Qu’ran, or any other “good” or “holy” book or source of authority. However, your appeal to internal evidences would hold no weight if these internal evidences were strictly internal – i.e., if they did not accurately reflect the external world.

    This is one of the main problems with the Book of Mormon. It’s internal claims and assertions regarding the external world do not accurately reflect the external world. It’s history is therefore untrustworthy. Because of this, it’s metaphysical statements are likewise untrustworthy. If the Bible is shown to be in a similar situation, upon what basis should it remain authoritative in our minds? – blind faith despite all the empirical evidence to the contrary?

    It certainly sounds like you, and perhaps Prof. Kent as well, are arguing for importance of completely blind faith here. Am I misreading you? If you are not arguing for the usefulness of blind faith, upon what is your faith based if you can believe in your source of authority even in situations where there is no apparent empirical basis for your belief whatsoever? – even if all available evidence “thoroughly contradicts” your statement of faith? How is such a faith discernible as “more rational” or “more logical” than the LDS belief in the greater credibility of the Book of Mormon? – or the Muslim belief in the greater credibility of the Qur’an? – or even than Dawkins’ argument for the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

    These are sincere and valid questions… they really are…

    Satan’s original deception was an overwhelming sensory contradiction of the Word of God. A ‘dumb’ dragon exhibited the gift of wisdom, with no ill effects from eating the ‘deadly’ fruit. How could Eve argue with this empirical proof?

    Eve had the weight of evidence arguing that God was much more trustworthy than the serpent – numerous evidence that far surpassed anything that the serpent had given Eve. God had demonstrated numerous gifts to Adam and Eve which were undeniable. God had shown them His creative power in very direct manners. He had clearly been the One who had created them after all – not the serpent! He had also personally walked and talked with them and demonstrated His personal interest and care for them. He had also warned them against the danger of deception through the subtle powers of Lucifer. This evidence and warning should have been more than enough for Eve to detect the true nature of the tempter. After all, Adam was not deceived and Eve need not have been.

    They fell, not so much because they were sincerely deceived, not because they were not given adequate evidence and warning, but because they desired something that they knew, deep down, did not belong to them. They were guilty of lust – of lusting after things that were not theirs in spite of all the wonderful gifts that were theirs to enjoy. Because of their lustful desires, they moved the evidence of God and His care and love for them to the back of their minds and attempted to steal from God; to rob God. They immediately gave evidence of their knowledge of the evil that they had done in their attempts to hide from God as He came to visit them after their fall. They would not have tried to hide had they not felt themselves guilty of known error. Adam would also have been braver if he had not knowingly fallen under deliberate rebellion against the truth as he understood it. He would not have blamed Eve for his act in an effort to spare himself the responsibility of the full measure of his own guilt.

    If Adam and Eve had truly not known nor could have known the truth, if the evidence really was not adequate enough for them to perceive the lies of Satan, they would not have been guilty of sin. It is only because the weight of evidence was clearly adequate that they could be accused of rebelling against what they honestly knew to be true. Such deliberate rebellion against known truth is the seed of self-destruction which was incurable for the human race outside of the infinite sacrifice and redemptive grace of Jesus.

    Again, this isn’t a problem with inadequate evidence or a real risk of true deception for those who really do want to know the truth. This is about rebellion against what is very clearly known to be the truth via the overwhelming weight of understood evidence. The lost will very clearly know why they are lost and that they rebelled against what they clearly knew was right and true. That’s the problem. That’s why they are incurable because no additional evidence would reverse their rebellion.

    This is why sin is so illogical. It makes no rational sense at all. Why would anyone rebel against what was known to be true and right? If any rational argument could be presented to explain such rebellion, it would cease to be “sin”. It is only because sin is so irrational, opposed to all evidence, that it is sinful and evil.

    Satan knows more truth than all of us put together. What good does it do him? He knows that he is in error – for a fact. That knowledge doesn’t change him? Why not? No one can say because it is an “eternal mystery”… “the mystery of iniquity”…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  28. It certainly sounds like you, and perhaps Prof. Kent as well, are arguing for importance of completely blind faith here. – Sean Pitman

    Good luck, Victor. I’m tired of the Spaghetti Monster non-sense and the continuing denigration of faith. I’m staying out of this.




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  29. @Paul Giem:

    Paul Giem says:
    August 21, 2010 Sean,

    I, like you, disagree with what appeared to be Professor Kent’s picture (but apparently is not), where we have evidence for the general reliability of the Bible, but no extrabiblical, and particularly no scientific, evidence for the reliability of Genesis 1=11. A couple of points might be helpful.

    As I’m sure you’re aware, we don’t have extrabiblical evidence for a six-day creation, or for the length of time between creation and the Flood. We do have some evidence regarding how long ago the Flood was, and it can be reasonably dated to no more than 3,500 years ago by Mesopotamian records. (There are arguments for putting it around 2300 to 2500 BC, but they are long, involved, and not well-developed yet. And they are not necessary for the historicity of Genesis 1-11 to be accepted. So, although it is an area of interest for me, I do not put this to the fore in a discussion.)

    It is true that the either-or fallacy does not work here. We have evidence for our faith from reason and deduction, and we have by-faith-alone positions that we take as a result of that evidence. For example – nature proves the reliability of the Word of God – showing that God spoke “and it was” – but it does not “show us the New Birth”. We must take God’s Word on that. Still we do find evidence in the form of the fruit of the Holy Spirit in one that has been born again. So while we are not able to place the “new creation” – the “new nature” under a microscope nor can we test out the future resurrection of the dead – we are still able to study and observe nature and see the all-knowing hand of God at work.

    Kent’s constant canard of “yes but no 7 day literal creation week videotaped in nature” ignores the science evidence for young life, for young-earth, science evindence against abiogenesis and science evidence against “birst come from reptiles mythology. In fact whenever subjects of that kind come up – Kent is more often found carping about them than engaged in constructive effort to improve on those examples or finding even more accurate examples. Case in point – Dr Spencer’s work at Southern has yet to be published yet Kent is on record as sticking his neck out “for failure” in his “hope against hope” by-faith-alone position that Spencer will not come up with evidence for young life based on DNA remnants (with half-lives that would have vanished in 10,000 years) in supposedly 14 million year old strata.

    That aspect to Kent’s work is more transparent than I think he would prefer and betrays his lack of supposed objectivity.

    Evidence in favor of young life or young earth is in “support” for the 7 day creation week model as opposed to the long-ages model central to the junk-science religion of evolutionism.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  30. @Sean Pitman:

    All human wisdom should be subject to the authority of Scripture. The truths of the Bible are the norm by which all other ideas are to be tested. The Bible should not be subject to any human norms. It is superior to all human wisdom and literature. It is the standard and test of all experience and thought.




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  31. @Victor Marshall:

    All human wisdom should be subject to the authority of Scripture. The truths of the Bible are the norm by which all other ideas are to be tested. The Bible should not be subject to any human norms. It is superior to all human wisdom and literature. It is the standard and test of all experience and thought.

    And the Latter-day Saints say the very same thing about the Book of Mormon while Muslims argue for the superiority of the Qur’an. How do you know that you’re right and they’re wrong? Upon what is your conviction based in the credibility of the Bible over the Book of Mormon or the Qur’an? or any other claimed source of authority for that matter? Should people simply know, intuitively, that the Bible is the superior source of credible information?

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  32. Should people simply know, intuitively, that the Bible is the superior source of credible information?Sean Pitman

    Well, Jesus said they should, in the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus. More so than if a “ghost” comes to them (physical evidence) and gives real life “evidence.”




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  33. @Victor Marshall: And the Latter-day Saints say the very same thing about the Book of Mormon while Muslims argue for the superiority of the Qur’an. How do you know that you’re right and they’re wrong? Upon what is your conviction based in the credibility of the Bible over the Book of Mormon or the Qur’an? or any other claimed source of authority for that matter? Should people simply know, intuitively, that the Bible is the superior source of credible information?Sean Pitmanhttp://www.DetectingDesign.com  (Quote)

    @Sean Pitman:

    I must apologize Sean. I neglected to inform you that the words that I just posted, and you quoted, were closely paraphrased from page 20 of the book “28 Fundamental Beliefs.”




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  34. Following is the actual quote:
    “All human wisdom must be subject to the authority of Scripture. The bible truths are the norm by which all other ideas must be tested. Judging the Word of God by finite human standards is like trying to measure the stars with a yardstick. The Bible must not be subject to human norms. It is superior to all human wisdom and literature. Rather than our judging the bible, all will be judged by it, for it is the standard of character and test of all experience and thought.”




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  35. Bob Ryan wrote

    Kent’s constant canard of “yes but no 7 day literal creation week videotaped in nature” ignores the science evidence for young life, for young-earth, science evindence against abiogenesis and science evidence against “birst come from reptiles mythology.

    Bunk. Interminable bunk.

    Case in point – Dr Spencer’s work at Southern has yet to be published yet Kent is on record as sticking his neck out “for failure” in his “hope against hope” by-faith-alone position that Spencer will not come up with evidence for young life based on DNA remnants (with half-lives that would have vanished in 10,000 years) in supposedly 14 million year old strata.

    Fact in point: I actually hope the guy succeeds and never suggested otherwise. I am skeptical that Dr. Spencer will succeed in demonstrating Bob’s claims for numerous reasons, but I’m not going to elaborate.

    Mr. Ryan has made dozens of patently false characterizations of me (not to mention others), and seems remarkably incapable of stopping. I don’t understand his particular obsession with me, but I am finding it quite amusing.

    Let’s see what he can do with this one to denigrate me further: I believe in John 3:16.




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  36. Victor Marshall wrote

    @Sean Pitman:
    I must apologize Sean. I neglected to inform you that the words that I just posted, and you quoted, were closely paraphrased from page 20 of the book “28 Fundamental Beliefs.”

    I’m getting the picture that very few SDAs are truly happy with the 28 Fundamental Beliefs. This apparently includes those who “undermine” the FBs and those who criticize those who “undermine” the FBs. Inexplicable.




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  37. @Professor Kent:

    I am skeptical that Dr. Spencer will succeed in demonstrating Bob’s claims for numerous reasons, but I’m not going to elaborate.

    Too late. you already did go into that in a prior post of yours.

    Let me guess… “you forgot” you were already that transparent on your “predictions of doom” by-faith-alone in regard to Spencer’s work??

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  38. Kent’s wild tactic

    I actually hope the guy succeeds and never suggested otherwise. I am skeptical that Dr. Spencer will succeed

    Kent’s prior more “transparent” tactic.

    http://www.educatetruth.com/la-sierra-evidence/why-orthodox-darwinism-demands-atheism/comment-page-1/#comment-17453

    @ Bob RyanI assume you are speaking of his 2001 abstracts, still apparently unpublished 9 years later. How old is this guy? Where is the current work on DNA in fossils? Why should we believe his unpublished claims, if he has made them, any more so than Ron Wyatt’s fantastic and embellished claims of archeological studies that most SDAs and essentially all non-SDAs dismiss?About a year ago I checked virtually every SDA college biology department and found a lot of evidence that these people are publishing good science. I saw next to nothing on origins research. What I’m finding, in fact, is that most of the Church’s “authorities” on creationism are not publishing their research. Most in fact appear to be hobbyists, including some who frequently contribute here. I saw that Leonard Brand and his group at Loma Linda University seem to be an exception with their whale work in South America, for which Chadwick seems to get all the credit here (as a junior author).If these guys have solid evidence to back up 6 days 6,000 years ago, why are they hiding it? And if they are not publishing it, why are we condemning those, like Ben Clausen, who tell us very plainly and honestly the evidence isn’t there?  (Quote)

    Kent’s Doubt-all and doubt-first response to the mere hint of information on what Lee Spencer is doing by way of research is more “instructive” and far more transparent than Kent seems to realize.

    Oh well.

    And is old-bystand canard about “not proving literal 6 days” vs literal 12 days of creation week – never seems to “get old” for Kent.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  39. Following is the actual quote:
    “All human wisdom must be subject to the authority of Scripture. The bible truths are the norm by which all other ideas must be tested. Judging the Word of God by finite human standards is like trying to measure the stars with a yardstick. The Bible must not be subject to human norms. It is superior to all human wisdom and literature. Rather than our judging the bible, all will be judged by it, for it is the standard of character and test of all experience and thought.”  

    Victor, I agree totally with your quote. However, those in charge at LSU, and in some other SDA institutions, would say it depends on how one “interprets” the Bible. There are so many “interpretations” that one must choose which one is correct, before believing anything.




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  40. @Victor Marshall:

    And the Latter-day Saints say the very same thing about the Book of Mormon while Muslims argue for the superiority of the Qur’an. How do you know that you’re right and they’re wrong? Upon what is your conviction based in the credibility of the Bible over the Book of Mormon or the Qur’an? or any other claimed source of authority for that matter? Should people simply know, intuitively, that the Bible is the superior source of credible information? – Sean Pitman

    I must apologize Sean. I neglected to inform you that the words that I just posted, and you quoted, were closely paraphrased from page 20 of the book “28 Fundamental Beliefs.”

    Yes, I know. But, that doesn’t answer my question…

    So, I ask again: How do you know that the Bible is more credible than the Book of Mormon or the Qur’an? – – Is this not a valid question?

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  41. @Professor Kent:

    So the conclusion to all of this appears to be that, for SDAs, science and evidence trump faith. I completely disagree, but so be it.

    If “faith trumps science and evidence”, as you suggest here, then what conclusion can one make except to see this as an argument for blind faith? – faith that is not based on any kind of scientific reasoning or evidence? – faith in a particular point of view that can stand even if all available evidence is pointing in a different direction?

    In short, how is your faith in the Bible, faith that is not based on science or evidence of any kind, superior to the same type of faith expressed my LDS or Hindu or Muslim believers in the superiority of their own sources of authority compared to your Bible? How are you so sure you’re right and they’re wrong? How do you know that your “faith” is superior to theirs? Upon what basis do you make such a bold assertion? – a basis that would have general appeal to candid minds beyond your own?

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  42. Bob Ryan wrote:

    Kent is on record as sticking his neck out “for failure” in his “hope against hope” by-faith-alone position that Spencer will not come up with evidence for young life based on DNA remnants (with half-lives that would have vanished in 10,000 years) in supposedly 14 million year old strata.

    When I denied that I ever expressed a desire for Spencer to fail, he then labeled this as a “wild tactic” on my part(!), and then posted my “prior more “transparent” tactic” in which I had written:

    @ Bob Ryan: I assume you are speaking of his 2001 [Lee Spencer’s] abstracts, still apparently unpublished 9 years later. How old is this guy? Where is the current work on DNA in fossils? Why should we believe his unpublished claims, if he has made them, any more so than Ron Wyatt’s fantastic and embellished claims of archeological studies that most SDAs and essentially all non-SDAs dismiss? [the remainder of my quote had nothing to do specifically with Spencer, whoever the guy is; if I recall correctly, I believe he’s a faculty member at SAU]

    All I did in my prior post was question the claims of Spencer extracting DNA from fossils and the basis for those claims. All we have, in fact, is Bob’s second-hand claim that he has knowledge about Lee Spencer’s research. Where is the evidence that Spencer himself makes such a claim? Where did I say that I hoped Spencer would fail? HINT: I NEVER DID.

    Bob, I don’t understand your obsession with me. Don’t you have anyone else to begrudge?




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  43. @Sean Pitman wrote:

    If “faith trumps science and evidence”, as you suggest here, then what conclusion can one make except to see this as an argument for blind faith? – faith that is not based on any kind of scientific reasoning or evidence? – faith in a particular point of view that can stand even if all available evidence is pointing in a different direction?

    In short, how is your faith in the Bible, faith that is not based on science or evidence of any kind, superior to the same type of faith expressed my LDS or Hindu or Muslim believers in the superiority of their own sources of authority compared to your Bible? How are you so sure you’re right and they’re wrong? How do you know that your “faith” is superior to theirs? Upon what basis do you make such a bold assertion? – a basis that would have general appeal to candid minds beyond your own?

    Do we have to rehash these questions over and over and over and over and over and again?

    Tell you what: I’ll let Bob Ryan explain all of my convictions. He thinks he has me figured out. I’ll just stay mum and let the record rest with his statements.




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  44. @Professor Kent:

    Do we have to rehash these questions over and over and over and over and over and again? – Prof. Kent

    Pardon me for being confused by your comments thus far. On the one hand you say that your faith is supported by empirical evidence, such as the empirical evidence for the historical fulfillment of various biblical prophecies. Yet, on the other hand, you seem to argue for the idea that faith in the credibility of the Bible should be able to stand even if there were no such evidence at all. You argue that “faith trumps science and evidence”…

    What you’ve not answered, at least not that I have been able to tell, is the question as to how you can determine that your faith in the supreme credibility of the Bible is superior to the faith of someone else in the greater credibility of the Book of Mormon, or the Qur’an, or any other source of claimed authority? How do you know? Is it not arrogant of you to simply assert that your faith in the Bible is superior to all other faiths? – even in a situation where all other evidence, besides your faith, is admittedly against you?

    You’ve made fun of this question, but it is a sincere question and I’d be most interested in a serious response…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  45. Kent’s prior more “transparent” tactic.

    http://www.educatetruth.com/la-sierra-evidence/why-orthodox-darwinism-demands-atheism/comment-page-1/#comment-17453

    Kent To Bob Ryan — I assume you are speaking of his 2001 abstracts, still apparently unpublished 9 years later. How old is this guy? Where is the current work on DNA in fossils? Why should we believe his unpublished claims, if he has made them, any more so than Ron Wyatt’s fantastic and embellished claims of archeological studies that most SDAs and essentially all non-SDAs dismiss?About a year ago I checked virtually every SDA college biology department and found a lot of evidence that these people are publishing good science. I saw next to nothing on origins research. What I’m finding, in fact, is that most of the Church’s “authorities” on creationism are not publishing their research. Most in fact appear to be hobbyists, including some who frequently contribute here. I saw that Leonard Brand and his group at Loma Linda University seem to be an exception with their whale work in South America, for which Chadwick seems to get all the credit here (as a junior author).If these guys have solid evidence to back up 6 days 6,000 years ago, why are they hiding it? And if they are not publishing it, why are we condemning those, like Ben Clausen, who tell us very plainly and honestly the evidence isn’t there? (Quote)

    Kent’s Doubt-all and doubt-first response to the mere hint of information on what Lee Spencer is doing by way of research is more “instructive” and far more transparent than Kent seems to realize.

    Oh well.

    And his old-bystand canard about “not proving literal 6 days” vs literal 12 days of creation week – never seems to “get old” for Kent.

    All I did in my prior post was question the claims of Spencer extracting DNA from fossils and the basis for those claims. All we have, in fact, is Bob’s second-hand claim that he has knowledge about Lee Spencer’s research. Where is the evidence that Spencer himself makes such a claim? Where did I say that I hoped Spencer would fail? HINT: I NEVER DID.

    Kent if you’re happy with that string of posts of yours – meandering as they do – then so beit.

    After all – I am not the one that tried to lump Lee Spencer’s work in with Ron Wyatt’s work. Your deny-all solution apparently has a limit. It is not the compelling solution you seem to imagine. 😉

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  46. Sean Pitman asked:

    What you’ve not answered, at least not that I have been able to tell, is the question as to how you can determine that your faith in the supreme credibility of the Bible is superior to the faith of someone else in the greater credibility of the Book of Mormon, or the Qur’an, or any other source of claimed authority? How do you know? Is it not arrogant of you to simply assert that your faith in the Bible is superior to all other faiths? – even in a situation where all other evidence, besides your faith, is admittedly against you?

    Here is my sincere answer. I have not claimed that my faith in the Bible is superior to the faith of anyone else. Others may have done so; I think you basically have.

    I personally believe the Bible has more credibility than the Book of Mormon, which I have browsed extensively. I think history supports the Bible much better than the Book of Mormon, and I have read extensively from Joseph Smith’s Doctrines and Covenants and I see lots of problems there. Most people do not consider history to be “science,” but if you want to make it that, go right ahead. Still, I don’t compare my faith to those who believe in the Book of Mormon.

    I have never read the Qur’an, which is why I would not speak out against it or compare my faith in the Bible to that of those who believe in it.

    Are we finished now?




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  47. Kent if you’re happy with that string of posts of yours – meandering as they do – then so beit. – Bob Ryan

    I so beit happy.




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  48. Why Share Your Faith? – If you don’t have something better to offer?

    @Professor Kent:

    Is it not arrogant of you to simply assert that your faith in the Bible is superior to all other faiths? – even in a situation where all other evidence, besides your faith, is admittedly against you? – Sean Pitman

    Here is my sincere answer. I have not claimed that my faith in the Bible is superior to the faith of anyone else. Others may have done so; I think you basically have. – Prof. Kent

    You believe, via faith, that the Bible is superior to other claimed sources of authority. How can you make this determination without believing that your position is in fact the better decision? – compared to that of someone else who has chosen to believe in the superiority of the Book of Mormon?

    I know you don’t actually like to say so, and I know it may not sound politically correct to you, but if you didn’t actually believe that you had something better to offer to someone else, why would you even want to share your “faith”? – if you didn’t really think you had something better than they already had?

    I personally believe the Bible has more credibility than the Book of Mormon, which I have browsed extensively.

    Indeed. So, how is this not a statement that your faith or belief in the Bible is somehow better than faith or belief in the superior credibility of the Book of Mormon? Do you or do you not think that you have something important to share with your LDS friends which would be of some benefit to them beyond what they already have? – if they were to accept what you have to offer?

    It isn’t arrogant to think that you have something worthwhile to share that someone else doesn’t have. What would be arrogant is if you kept something good to yourself and were unwilling to share it.

    I think history supports the Bible much better than the Book of Mormon, and I have read extensively from Joseph Smith’s Doctrines and Covenants and I see lots of problems there. Most people do not consider history to be “science,” but if you want to make it that, go right ahead. Still, I don’t compare my faith to those who believe in the Book of Mormon.

    Most scientists do in fact consider history to be based on a form of “science”. After all, the Theory of Evolution is a theory of history… as is anthropology and forensic science. Such historical sciences are based on various forms of scientific reasoning, such as abductive reasoning.

    Using such reasoning, you have come to the conclusion that the Bible is in fact more credible than the Book of Mormon. In other words, you really do think that your LDS friends are mistaken in their beliefs or faith in the greater credibility of the Book of Mormon. You can say that you don’t compare your beliefs or faith with theirs, but I don’t see how you can really believe this when you say, in the same breath, that you consider the Book of Mormon to be clearly untrustworthy. Tell that to your LDS friends and see if they don’t understand such statements as a claimed superiority of your beliefs vs. theirs…

    What is also interesting here is that you claim that even if you did not have the favorable historical evidence that “faith would still trump all contrary evidence” – historical or otherwise. In otherwords, it sounds like you are arguing for faith even if there were no evidence to support that faith at all (i.e., blind faith). If faith does in fact trump both science and other forms of evidence as you say, how does one determine the reasonableness of one’s own faith if faith trumps everything else?

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  49. Abductive reasoning: what does it really mean?
    Abductive reasoning can fall well short of science. Ask Antonio Villas Boas about his experience on October 15, 1957. Ask Betty and Barney Hill about their experience on September 19-20, 1961. Ask Travis Walton about his experience on November 5, 1975. All of these individuals had otherworldly encounters that, when added to a long list of other similar experiences, tell us that we are not alone in this universe.

    More recent experiences of an abductive type could be related by Ingrid Betancout, a Colombian presidential candidate, from 2002-2008; by Paul Vanden Boeynants, a Belgian politician, in 1989; James Cross, a British diplomat, in 1970; James Lee Dozier, a U.S. general working for Nato in Italy in 1981; and Arjan Erkel, a 32-year-old medical aid worker for Doctors Without Borders, from 2002-2004.

    So what drives people to abductive reasoning? You could ask their captors, but that is a very difficult thing to do, especially when they are not of this world. Today, we are all subject to abductive reasoning. My personal abduction takes place most mornings around 6 or 7 am. There is nothing scientific about it. My mind literally wanders to a place where it becomes strengthened and fortified, often while on my knees and with the benefit of the Bible. I’m helpless. I’m in the hands of a greater power, captive to an experience that words cannot describe.

    I’m all for abductive reasoning. I just don’t think it’s always science. But I’ll admit this: it can be fun to read and think and write about…




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  50. @Professor Kent:

    I’m all for abductive reasoning. I just don’t think it’s always science. But I’ll admit this: it can be fun to read and think and write about…

    I suppose then that the mainstream evolutionary theory really isn’t “scientific” when it comes to its historical statements? – and neither is any other hypothesis about the nature of history? – such as anthropology or forensics? After all, you can’t make conclusions about the true nature of the past origin of anything without abductive reasoning – right?

    Remember now, not all abductive reasoning is valid – just as not all inductive or deductive reasoning is valid. This does not, however, make all such reasoning non-scientific. You simply can’t do science without such reasoning…

    Here is an interesting summary of the concept of abductive reasoning as it applies to various uses in science:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abductive_reasoning

    And, you’re still not answering the question as to how you determine where to place your faith among many competing options? – if your faith does in fact trump all other evidence (as you’ve claimed in this forum: Link)? – since no evidence is actually needed to support faith? – scientific or otherwise?

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  51. @ Sean Pitman

    Here is an interesting summary of the concept of abductive reasoning as it applies to various uses in science:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abductive_reasoning

    Ut-oh, you mean I was perusing the wrong abduction sites? Mine were much more interesting:

    http://www.angelfire.com/sc2/PSIGUFO/famous.html
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_kidnappings

    And, you’re still not answering the question as to how you determine where to place your faith among many competing options? – if your faith does in fact trump all other evidence (as you’ve claimed in this forum: Link)? – since no evidence is actually needed to support faith? – scientific or
    otherwise?

    I’ve already done so.




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  52. @Professor Kent:

    And, you’re still not answering the question as to how you determine where to place your faith among many competing options? – if your faith does in fact trump all other evidence (as you’ve claimed in this forum: Link)? – since no evidence is actually needed to support faith? – scientific or otherwise? – Sean Pitman

    I’ve already done so. – Prof. Kent

    What you’ve done is given some empirical reasons for your own faith, such as your own appeal to the evidence of fulfilled prophecy (a use of abductive reasoning by the way).

    What you haven’t done is explain your argument that such appeals to empirical evidence are really not needed for faith to be valid. You’ve argued that even if all scientific and other forms of evidence where completely against your faith, that you would still believe as you do regardless of any and all opposing evidence.

    You’ve not explained how, if “all” evidence is against you, you can make a meaningful leap of faith and pick one among many competing options as true using “faith” alone? – since, according to you, “faith trumps science and evidence.”

    How is that done in a meaningful way? How is this type of faith reasonable? – more reasonable than believing or having faith in the Qur’an, the Book of Mormon, or even garden fairies or the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

    Again, this is a serious question which I do not see that you’ve serious discussed much less answered…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  53. @ Sean Pitman

    How is that done in a meaningful way? How is this type of faith reasonable? – more reasonable than believing or having faith in the Qur’an, the Book of Mormon, or even garden fairies or the Flying Spaghetti Monster? Again, this is a serious question which I do not see that you’ve serious discussed much less answered…

    It’s just different. What can I say that hasn’t been said already?

    My favorite example of abductive reasoning was Princess Leiah’s experience in 1977. What she went through was amazing, particularly the struggle between the dark and good sides of the Force. I think the Empirical data are what got her in trouble in the first place, but her rescue should remind us all that we are not alone in this universe. We have an Alliance unlike anything that data alone can describe.




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  54. A few comments regarding the video:
    First, why, in an Adventist institution, is so much emphasis put on peer reviewed literature? Peer reviewed literature is written by mere man. The Bible is written by God. If scientists are so smart how come they can’t see the importance of that? And, really, how very biased to not allow our schools to present our belief in creation! I thought science was supposed to be unbiased—huh!

    Regarding letting LSU and any, and perhaps all, of our institutions go the way they want to and part ways with the church…let’s remember that Ellen White said to *sell* the institutions to the world and use the means to start another institution that *would* be true to our principles and beliefs. I seriously doubt that God would approve of us just handing them over with the benefits derived from all the millions of self-sacrificing-dollars that the church people have contributed over many years.

    Regarding the accreditation issue—isn’t the accreditation organization also putting outside pressure on the college? What makes them able to do this and the church that actually owns and operates this institution is not? Seems to me this is a double standard. And I fully agree with those who said that we shouldn’t flinch on this issue even if they do pull accreditation. There are other accreditation organizations in any case…and God will bless if we act in accordance with the truth. Anyone willing to bow to the accreditation gods is no better than a pagan, regardless of what they claim to be.

    I totally disagree with the speaker…it is not fine to allow these teachers to continue to teach error in the school. They should be fired for breach of contract—just like any other business in the world would do.

    If you work for Coke and you tell everyone Pepsi is better, you get fired. It is called disloyalty to your company. And the company is under no obligation to pay your salary if you are disloyal to them.

    This has gone on long enough. Anyone with a cork eye can see that. And I am sorry if this offends anyone, but I don’t think we should be considering the feelings of teachers who have no problem ridiculing students for speaking the truth just because they no longer believe it. If they can’t agree with the SDA philosophy, they should go where they can agree with the philosophy—simple! This is being made into something far more complicated than it really is. If we can’t stand for right now, what are we going to do when it is against the law for us to believe the truth—bow to the law for the sake of the short time left to us on this earth? I think not. We all need to get a backbone now. This is just a little taste of what we face in the near (hopefully) future. Stand up and be counted, people. Choose ye this day who you will serve.




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  55. Eliane:
    As it appears your very sensible and very welcome comments were buried in the above arguments between the above gentlemen, I just wanted to say that I totally agree with you, and wish that others would have taken more note of your comments.

    Earlier in this forum, I also stated the belief that the teaching of evolution is not necessary to prepare our students to meet the theory of evolution in their chosen career. After all, we don’t teach Witchcraft 101 to prepare them to meet spiritualism. We have been warned by the SOP that to look into the occult is to tread on Satan’s ground and thereby put ourselves into spiritual danger. Satan may not be as strong as God, but we are not equal to engaging him without the aid of the Lord. It is presumption to put ourselves into that position on purpose. By the same token, I don’t believe our institutions are supposed to be teaching evolution at all–this whole mess wouldn’t be going on right now if evolution had not been permitted into the curriculum in the first place.

    What began as a simple explanation of evolution in order to “forearm” our young people has stealthily grown into a monster that has taken over the entire department (with the possible exception of one poor soul on the biology faculty who has steadfastly believed in creationism). I can’t see why most people don’t realize that if you allow Satan to get his foot in the door he is soon going to come in like a flood. This is exactly what is happening to our institutions. We need to get at the root of the whole matter and quit teaching it altogether. And I believe the SOP would back us up on this.
    In conclusion, my comment on yours is, “Right on, Sister.” God Bless.




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  56. Ok – I have been reluctant to post this information – but since Faith has brought this up so directly – I will let the chips fall where they may.

    Chap. 13 – Books in Our Schools.

    In the work of educating the youth in our schools, it will be a difficult matter to retain the influence of God’s Holy Spirit, and at the same time hold fast to erroneous principles. The light shining upon those who have eyes to see, cannot be mingled with the darkness of heresy and error found in many of the text-books recommended to the students in our colleges. Both teachers and pupils have thought that in order to obtain an education, it was necessary to study the productions of writers who teach infidelity, because their works contain some bright gems of thought. But who was the originator of these gems of thought?–It was God and God alone; for he is the source of all light. Are not all things essential for the health and growth of the spiritual and moral nature found in the pages of Holy Writ? Is not Christ our living head? And are not we to grow up in him to the full stature of men and women? Can an impure fountain send forth sweet waters? Why should we wade through the mass of error contained in the works of pagans and infidels, for the sake of obtaining the benefit of a few intellectual truths, when all truth is at our command? {CE 98.2}
    Man can accomplish nothing good without God. He is the originator of every ray of light that has pierced the darkness of the world. All that is of value comes from God, and belongs to him. There is a reason that the agents of the enemy sometimes display remarkable wisdom. Satan himself was educated and disciplined in the heavenly courts, and he has a knowledge of good as well as of evil. He mingles the precious with the vile, and this is what gives him his power of deceiving the sons of men. But because Satan has stolen the livery of heaven in order that he may exercise an influence in his usurped dominions, shall those who have been sitting in darkness and have seen a great light, turn from the light to recommend darkness? Shall those who have known the oracles of God recommend our students to study the books that express pagan or infidel sentiments, that they may become intelligent? Satan has his agents, educated after his methods, inspired by his spirit, and adapted to his works; but shall we co-operate with them? Shall we, as Christians, recommend the works of his agents as valuable, even essential to the attainment of an education? {CE 99.1}
    The Lord himself has signified that schools should be established among us in order that true knowledge may be obtained. No teacher in our schools should suggest the idea that, in order to have the right discipline, it is essential to study text-books expressing pagan and infidel sentiments. Students who are thus educated, are not competent to become educators in their turn; for they are filled with the subtle sophistries of the enemy. The study of works that in any way express infidel sentiments is like handling black coals; for a man cannot be undefiled in mind who thinks along the line of skepticism. In going to such sources for knowledge, are we not turning away from the snow of Lebanon to drink from the turbid water of the valley? {CE 99.2}
    Men who turn away from the knowledge of God, have placed their minds under the control of their master, Satan, and he trains them to be his servants. The less the productions expressing infidel views are brought before the youth, the better. Evil angels are ever on the alert that they may exalt before the minds of the youth that which will do them injury; and as books expressing infidel and pagan sentiments are read, these unseen agents of evil seek to impress those who study them with the spirit of questioning and unbelief. Those who drink from these polluted channels do not thirst for the waters of life; for they are satisfied with the broken cisterns of the world. They think they have the treasures of knowledge, when they are hoarding that which is but wood and hay and stubble, not worth gaining, not worth keeping. Their self-esteem, their idea that a superficial knowledge of things constitutes education, make them boastful and self-satisfied, when they are, as were the Pharisees, ignorant of the Scriptures and the power of God. {CE 100.1}

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  57. Earlier in this forum, I also stated the belief that the teaching of evolution is not necessary to prepare our students to meet the theory of evolution in their chosen career. After all, we don’t teach Witchcraft 101 to prepare them to meet spiritualism…

    As someone who has been taught evolution at at state university, I believe our SDA students should learn “about” evolution, especially its weaknesses, which are NOT taught actually at all in most places.

    Evolution, as most ID advocates have eloquently stated (Philip Johnson,etc.) is a type of humanistic religion, in that it has a “worlview” distinctly difference than biblical Christianity.

    It is not difficult to learn “about” evolution and see its faults and weaknesses. But, this is what the LSU faculty and Wisbey do NOT want taught. They have already decided “evolution as fact” is, well, a “fact” as have most evolutionary spokespersons. Just read any evolutionary textbook, general article, apolagetic book, etc.

    And this is also WHY the evolutionists do not want ANY teaching of ID, creationism, or even the teaching of the weaknesses of evolution in schools. Is LSU any different than the atheistic evolutionists? Well, besides pretending they believe in God’s Word–NO!




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  58. Faith wrote:

    I totally disagree with the speaker…

    Careful; this guy is a little testy, and he’s on your side!

    If you work for Coke and you tell everyone Pepsi is better, you get fired. It is called disloyalty to your company. And the company is under no obligation to pay your salary if you are disloyal to them.

    Wrong. Totally wrong. You can’t go firing every employee who has a disagreement with the employer, or a different opinion. Talk to a lawyer if you think I’m wrong.




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  59. Ron Said:

    It is not difficult to learn “about” evolution and see its faults and weaknesses. But, this is what the LSU faculty and Wisbey do NOT want taught. They have already decided “evolution as fact”…

    True – but how did they get into that befuddled state to start with? What is the core issue?

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  60. Ron Said:
    True – but how did they get into that befuddled state to start with? What is the core issue?in Christ,Bob  

    The core issue that has been rotting out our SDA Church is what Sam Pipim has described well in his books–the chronic infiltration of “higher criticism” of the bible and the creeping in of secular humanistic ideas into our Church. This is NOT just happening at LSU, however. Plenty more institution, churches, and conference offices.

    This is also why the elimination or “adjustments” of the curriculum that Graham talks about will NOT work. It is just merely a “band-aid” approach until the next issue or problem surfaces.




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  61. Ron – that comment gets me back to this post –
    http://www.educatetruth.com/featured/la-sierra-and-battle-creek-college/comment-page-2/#comment-19280  

    Ok – I have been reluctant to post this information – but since Faith has brought this up so directly – I will let the chips fall where they may.
    in Christ,Bob  

    Bob, The quote is great, but it will not affect most liberals, who, by their very nature place most trust in the “infidel’s” teachings. Just look at LSU in our case here.

    Most liberals have a very critical view of Ellen White’s writings. Her views are either called passe, old fashioned, culturally irrelevant, or something similar. Just look at the majority of Spectrum’s and AT’s articles and then the comments after them.

    Do the LSU students even study much about Ellen White and her beliefs, other than to belittle them? I’m asking, since I do not have any relatives who have attended LSU recently.




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  62. Ron – that comment gets me back to this post –
    http://www.educatetruth.com/featured/la-sierra-and-battle-creek-college/comment-page-2/#comment-19280  

    As evidence of what I’m talking about, go to Chuck Scriven’s latest article on Spectrum entitled “Hate Speech?” He’s talking about the Great Controversy. Yeh, it’s “hate speech” or shall I say “hate speech?”

    He also states we as church members or as a church, should’t be distributing it to non-SDA’s>




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  63. Do the LSU students even study much about Ellen White and her beliefs, other than to belittle them? I’m asking, since I do not have any relatives who have attended LSU recently.

    Hi Dr. Stone,

    You seem to be implying that “the LSU students” are belittling Ellen White and her beliefs. What is your evidence of this, since you do not have relatives who have recently attended the institution? Have you been speaking to LSU students, or has someone told you what they are saying? If so, does your information indicate that “the LSU students,” which encompasses all of the students, are doing this? If not, we should be careful to avoid casual generalities.

    Pax,

    David Kendall, PhD
    Adjunct Professor of Music
    La Sierra University




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  64. Chuck Scriven said:

    On a smaller scale, current events include the beast-like behavior of Terry Jones, the Christian pastor, in Florida, who is planning to memorialize September 11 with a bonfire of copies of the Koran.

    None of this was imagined in “The Great Controversy.”

    Ellen White’s best insights will continue to shed light, continue to guide us (if we allow it) toward a path of Christian faithfulness. But her restrictive reading of apocalyptic prophecy entails that “The Great Controversy” is no longer suitable as a simple hand-out, any more than anti-Catholic billboards are a suitable way for us to communicate with our neighbors.

    The book repays a thoughtful reading, as I indicated above. But it has to be studied, especially now, in a more nuanced fashion than before. To read this book the old way, to single-out one offender—without fresh assessment of the biblical text, without new attention to the ever-changing context—has become morally offensive. Given the knowledge we have now, and judging from the story I heard in Sabbath School, careless uses of this book have become…a kind of hate speech.

    By direct contrast to that imaginative story above – we have the example of Noah who for 120 years (or more) warns about the coming – literal – world wide flood and the need for building the ark “rather than walking for 2 weeks to a better location if a local flood was the “real message”).

    In the end – as Gen 7 states “ALL LIFE ON DRY LAND” with the breath of life in it – dies in a world wide flood the goes above the highest mountains on earth. (According to the text).

    Now certainly the spin-doctors of Noah’s day “could” have said “you know 100 years ago that message was ok Noah – but now we think of it as hate speech because it makes us feel – less than”.

    I think we can all see that point.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  65. Hi Dr. Stone,You seem to be implying that “the LSU students” are belittling Ellen White and her beliefs.What is your evidence of this, since you do not have relatives who have recently attended the institution?Have you been speaking to LSU students, or has someone told you what they are saying?If so, does your information indicate that “the LSU students,” which encompasses all of the students, are doing this?If not, we should be careful to avoid casual generalities.Pax,David Kendall, PhD
    Adjunct Professor of Music
    La Sierra University  

    Dave, I asked the QUESTION, but you didn’t supply and answer. Or do you even know the answer. If not, I will ask again, in case someone does know some “insider information.”




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