@Sean Pitman: Sean Like King Canute in the face of …

Comment on La Sierra University Hires Another Darwinist by pauluc.

@Sean Pitman:
Like King Canute in the face of the tradition and accepted practice of science going back hundreds of years you wish now to try to inject the premise that the world can be explained by supernatural events. And for why? Because you somehow feel insecure in accepting by faith your religious convictions and want the imprimatur of science even if in gaining that imprimatur you have to convert science into religion. The mind of Sean Pitman is truly impenetrable.

I am sorry to inform you that it is extremely unlikely that you will change the accepted practice of science to include magic when you are so little involved in the process and do not accept that magic is the basis of your medical practice or your understanding of the computer systems on which this conversation is taking place.

As for the work of Adelson’s group in PNAS what exactly is your interpretation of the data? In essence they have found that a retrotransposon BovB a 3.2kb LINE that they initially described as widespread across species in their 2009 PNAS paper is found in both snakes and cattle. I know that the details of the science and what the authors actually say is relatively unimportant to you and you are more interested in the sound bites that you can use to bolster your established position but if you actually read the paper or even look at the abstract you will see that it is found in ruminants, marsupials, squamates, monotremes, and African mammals. The familiar phylogenetic trees based on proteins sequence of genes of course do not correspond to the phylogeny of BovB which require up to 9 transfer events. They provide evidence that insect vectors contain BovB sequences and may be the source of the transfer events.

Why do you lack so much in imagination? Do you not think that there was a high concentration of these species on the ark. Maybe the cattle and elephants were closely housed with kinds from the squamata? Perhaps the housing of african animals together is an alternative to the events occuring before the breakup of gondwanaland. Do you not think that there were some blood sucking insects also included along with the animals. Why could not the described observation be accepted as simply reflecting an inevitable consequence of close proximity for 1 year on a small boat? After all you have suggested that no miracles are required for the geo-biodiversity we see today and that mechanisms of mutation and natural selection account for speciation from 2 animals in the last 4000 years.

pauluc Also Commented

La Sierra University Hires Another Darwinist

You make some good point. A couple of points in response

1] I agree if you are employed as a Toyota salesman you are expected to sell Toyotas. Scientists are employed at tertiary institutions because of their expertise and knowledge of science not to teach religion (or sell Hondas). You expect the teachers in a discipline to teach with expertise in their field and to acknowledge that their ignorance and lack of expertise in all others. Any University including LSU knows this. It is some preachers lawyers and MDs outside the academic environment who do not.
Science has only ever been a mechanisms of explaining the natural world by natural mechanism. It is not a way to God. As most scientists who are Christian will acknowledge science based as it is no natural mechanism tells us nothing about the supernatural why should they then be expected to teach the supernatural for which they have absolutely no qualification.

2] In terms of the nature of sin in a world of long ages for the animate and inanimate, this is not a problem we as Adventists uniquely confront. I know it does hurt our pride to ask how other Christians have confronted this question. We should not be so insular as to pretend we cannot learn from theologians outside our community.

3] Unfortunately this will not go away just by covering our ear and reciting the mantra the predominance of scientific data supports our faith position. We should first dial down the rhetoric and hostility to the Universities and have some sympathy for those who are experts in biology that teach there. What is a committed Adventist Christian who sees the evidence for long ages of earth and life do? Does he follow the Sean Pitman model and reject all of Adventism and Christianity itself if life is more than 6000 years old and there is common ancestory? Or does he say I am committed to Christ and his Church and seek to reconcile the life of faith with the realities of the natural world.
Unfortunately Sean is prescient in this. In the next 20 years judging by the recent world wide trends we are fated to have a whole generation of fundamentalist Adventist students and young people becoming fundamentalist atheists encouraged by spokesman like CG KP DCR and Sean.
What of the faithful academic who say no it is possible to both have stewardship of a natural world best understood by natural mechanisms and to appropriate a world beyond now and in the future where dwells Grace, beauty and the peace and love of God that is beyond the natural and the carnal?

La Sierra University Hires Another Darwinist
@Sean Pitman:

When will you change the article to at least indicate that the conclusion of your anonymous source is contradicted by the word of the person himself?

In your incomprehension you are of course quite able to directly call him a lier yourself and claim he is really a closet atheist just as you do me but to hide behind the skirt of an anonymous person and vicariously cast aspersions is hardly honourable.

To ask an honest scientist who is asked to teach biology to then teach a faith position as science is to promote the ethos of a madrasa rather than a university.

La Sierra University Hires Another Darwinist
@Sean Pitman: So now you admit you were perpetrating a lie or at least bearing false witness.
An apology would be helpful and appropriate I think.

Recent Comments by pauluc

Avondale College Arguing in Favor of Darwinian Evolution?

Bob Helm: With that said, I find your views to be spiritually dangerous and often scientifically weak. I detect a lot of smoke in your posts, but very little light. I hope you will continue to ponder these issues and try to have an open mind.

You are most welcome to your opinion and I know you would like nothing better than that anyone who takes Christianity and the Bible seriously but not literally to just go away. It is much better not to know of any possible problems with one current views. It very hard to get to the science when we cannot even agree on what is science. What passes as science on this site is so completely dismissive of its methodological basis and history and is entrained in a specific supernatural world view that allows arbitrary acceptance of any observation as miraculous. I think Roger’s paper may well be relevant to Adventist that believe that Christianity has and must respond to a careful study of physical reality by reconsidering its interpretations of the word of the Lord, but as Sean has indicated you are exception to that characterization. I still do not really understand why you should be interested at all in any science. It seems a bit messy to worry about facts. It really seems an unnecessary bother to argue whether the precambrian/cambrian boundary or the upper cenzoic (is that really what you meant?) as the evidence of a divine intervention.

Dont worry I do have an open mind which is why I still peruse this site to see how more knowledgable fundamentalist Adventists think. I wont worry you further.

Avondale College Arguing in Favor of Darwinian Evolution?

Sean Pitman: So, you do see the need for a police force and a military to maintain civil society, but somehow Christians should not provide what is an otherwise necessary part of that civil society? I’m with Abraham Lincoln on this one when he noted the inconsistency of such a position – like Orthodox Jews paying others to turn their lights on for them on Sabbath

On that logic you should not have any issue with working on Sabbath in any profession serving 24/7. Be that computer support, utilities firefighters. Those giving up those jobs because of inability to have sabbath observance were all deluded. They as Christians should be prepared to “provide what is otherwise a necessary part of civil society”

You cant have it both ways. You cant because of a moral postion claim that Adventists should have exception from working on Sabbath and at the same time deny me the right to consider immoral some occupations that may be very utilitarian in a world full of selfishness and the human acts of evil that comes from that.

Lets for a moment step back from lala land. Where are we and where did we come from on this thread?

1] You posted a rehash of all your usual arguments in response to an article about the more mainstream Adventist positions that may impact the way Adventism reacts to conventional science. All very straight forward.
2] The contention was that Adventism has accepted process for the orgin and evolution of the inanimate world. The birth and death of galaxys and stars and planets in black holes supernova and impacts of spiralling planets. This is where it gets really strange.
3] You contend that Adventism has always accepted the conclusions of that process but then expand on your view of the process which involves a little bit of order and natural law but large amounts of magic. God waited a few billions years until the interstellar material generated by the big band condensed into planets onto which God created life mature and complete. This included Heaven the place of his throne-room which he populated with physical being angels which it is implied have both mass and composition and metabolism.
4] When it was suggested that the same processes and natural law resulted in life on this planet this was claimed inconceivable and would never be done by any process involving life and death. Instead the life we see now is in reality designed to live for ever and has be chemically changed because it is deprived of a particular form of nutrient from a tree that existed on the Earth some 6000 years ago.
5] The inconguity of practicing medicine by the principles of process of natural law and the technology resulting from both the processes of the innanimate and the animate world rather than accepting the much more important process of divine intervention seems to be completely obsure.
6] When someone says that the process of life and death that gave us the physical substance of our universe is also the basis of the creation of life here he must be animal hating sadistic psychopath who cannot belieive in a God of love and grace and is lying when he says that non-violence characterizes the children of the heavenly father for one must always recognize that peace and freedom are only obtained over the bodies of 1/3 of the angels of heaven and the eternal physical and violent struggle against those who would practice violence.

I really cannot understand you Sean. Your ways are way beyond me. I am just sorry that Bob seems to be drawn into your twighlight zone.


Avondale College Arguing in Favor of Darwinian Evolution?
@Sean Pitman: sorry but your curious amalgam of magic and biology is not really comprehensible to me as a biologist or as a Christian . it. is neither logical or biologically feasible

Avondale College Arguing in Favor of Darwinian Evolution?

Sean Pitman: However, according to the Bible and Ellen White, before the Fall God specifically directed nature so that all sentient life was protected in a manner that there was no suffering or death. By eating from the “Tree of Life” God provided constant renewal and regeneration that worked against what would otherwise be inevitable entropic changes, decay, and death. It was by deliberately stepping away from the true Source of eternal life that mankind stepped away from God and into the full workings of mindless natural law alone – which does in fact inevitably lead to suffering and death.

And this interpretation is precisely why you need a theodicy. Where is the justice in killing all for the sake of the sins of one woman+man? It makes no sense logically. If they were conditionally immortal because of eating of the tree of life then did all the animals in all the world congregate around this tree like beasts around a water hole on the serengeti. how exactly do you as you are wont to do translate the account into a literal reality. And which beast had to come and eat. Or was it symbolic? Oh now that’s a thought.

Avondale College Arguing in Favor of Darwinian Evolution?

Sean Pitman: Come on now. Even I can imagine limitations to reproduction or the turnover of sentient carbon-based life. Surely you can at least imagine something similar? I know God can since such a world is described in the Bible and in the writings of Ellen White. Think about it…

Of course I have. This is not simply about reproduction. That is trivial. This is about metabolic process. Show me a carbon based life form that does not grow or metabolize anything and I will show you an organism in stasis as a spore “living” millions of year in amber. That is; effectively dead.

Real life cannot exist without metabolic process in a carbon based world and God has sanctified all this by a process of making good out of evil from the death of one comes life for others. Just as in the biological world so in the spiritual. By his death we have life. Just as God sanctified the practice of sacrifice of appeasement practiced by most cultures for thousands of years before and showed that in the Judeo-Christian tradition these same acts of sacrifice were emblematic of a monotheistic God that would become incarnate and bring life from death. So also he took the preceding accounts of creation derived as they were of the mesopotamian valley and recast it as an account of the monotheistic God who is above all but comes and dwells among us to become one of us. Participating in our life and death but showing us the importance of the transcendent life of the spirit that supercedes carbon based life and its inherent death. It is no fairy tale of 6 impossible things before breakfast. It is not pie in the sky by and by. It is rooted in a real world and it is about the transcendence of love and grace that is acted out in a real physical world by the incarnate God and us as we follow as His disciples.

That is the message I get from the images and visions of the Canon and EG White. But of course I read it for the message that it conveys not as a scientific text. That is where we fundamentally differ.