Southern Adventist University opens Origins Exhibit

 
By Sean Pitman

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For those who aren’t already aware, Southern Adventist University opened up its new long anticipated Origins Exhibit on April 15, 2012.   It took over four years of planning and some $300,000 in donations to produce the first two of three phases of the project:  1)  hire professors who had origins experience.  2)  find a way to provide origins education outside of the classroom. 3) expand the hallway exhibit into an institute that provides information for all who are looking to learn about the short-term creation worldview.

Before work began on the second phase of the project, the “hallway phase”, Dr. Keith Snyder, Biology Department Chair, wrote to 20 prominent scientists who support the Biblical perspective on origins and asked them what they felt was the strongest evidence supporting short-term creation?  Dr. Snyder then used this information to produce an exhibit that features 25 hallway displays which highlight three main categories of evidence:  the living cell, the geologic column, and intelligent design.

So, why does the biology department at SAU hope to achieve with their project?

We wanted the finished product to be professional, but not overpowering.  Our goal is not to tell people that their beliefs are wrong, but to provide scientific evidence that substantiates the Bible’s account of creation.

Dr. Keith Snyder, Biology Department Chair

 

Also, Ron Hight, the art director for the project, says that he felt called by God to help with this exhibit.  He spent the last 15 years working as an artist for The Institute for Creation Research, and believes his experience there was excellent preparation for this work.

“Our goal,” says Hight, “is to present the creationist viewpoint in an attractive, professional, and educational way.  It is a challenge because no one has ever done this kind of thing before.”

 

This is all reflected in the general attitude toward the Biblical view of creation at SAU among professors in all departments.  Dr. Greg King, dean of the School of Religion and Professor of Biblical Studies, explains:

“Our campus has a commitment to creation.  We are unapologetic creationists, but we do not claim to have all the answers.  Religion and science don’t need to be at odds. We as scientists and theologians have a camaraderie. Our belief in the biblical perspective on origins is what binds us together.”

 

 

SAU Origins Exhibit – From the spring issue of Columns – the magazine of SAU:

For more information, visit:  Southern.edu/FaithandScience

 

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725 thoughts on “Southern Adventist University opens Origins Exhibit

  1. Sean&#032Pitman: This was not the situation right after the Flood. Such diseases had not yet evolved to current levels of virulence and the gene pools of animals had not yet devolved to their current levels of degeneration.

    How do you know this? If advanced predators like the poisonous snakes that struck down the Israelites in the desert had already evolved, surely a broad assortment of diseases had also evolved. On the flip side of the coin, immune responses to protect against disease are surely more evolved today than they were back then.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      You’re talking about the time of Moses, not Noah. As we’ve already discussed, the minimum degree of toxicity for a venom that would provide a selectable survival advantage would not require high levels of functional complexity and therefore could have been evolved in relatively short order.

      As far as evolved immunity, I agree. Exposure to modern pathogens has produced more evolved immunity than those in the past who were not exposed to such pathogens. I repeat, the story of the devastation of American Indians by Old World pathogens is a classic example of this.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  2. Sean&#032Pitman: [On descendents from a single pair or litter] For example, The endangered Chatham Island Black Robin…the Bald Eagle in North Carolina…The White Tern population on Oahu….Ringneck Pheasant…imported to the United States…golden hamster…

    You’re overstating the relevance of these examples. We can rest assured that the breeding metapopulations of Bald Eagles in North Carolina and White Terns on Oahu, for example, had genetic input from individuals of other metapopulations joining them. Further, for every example that you can find of a species recovering from the genetic bottleneck of one pair, there are thousands of species reaching the same point that failed and became extinct.

    Anyone having a background in biology recognizes the validity of Pauluc’s concerns: genetic variation is HIGHLY CONSTRAINED with a starting point of two individuals, so much so that species extinction in nature becomes a high probability. Surely you can concede this. Genetic variability is critical for populations to persist in an ever-changing world.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      You’re overstating the relevance of these examples. We can rest assured that the breeding metapopulations of Bald Eagles in North Carolina and White Terns on Oahu, for example, had genetic input from individuals of other metapopulations joining them.

      Oh really? We can “rest assured” upon what basis? Are you equally confident for all of the cases I’ve presented? I suppose that Ringneck Pheasants just fly in from Asia on a regular basis?

      Further, for every example that you can find of a species recovering from the genetic bottleneck of one pair, there are thousands of species reaching the same point that failed and became extinct.

      I agree. Things are much more difficult now than they were right after the Flood. There are far more detrimental mutations in all gene pools and infectious elements are far more virulent.

      Anyone having a background in biology recognizes the validity of Pauluc’s concerns: genetic variation is HIGHLY CONSTRAINED with a starting point of two individuals, so much so that species extinction in nature becomes a high probability. Surely you can concede this. Genetic variability is critical for populations to persist in an ever-changing world.

      In this modern world, yes. Right after the Flood, no.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  3. Sean,

    Your insistence that dogs offer a representative case for rapid speciation falls short on many grounds.

    First, while you have claimed repeatedly that domestic dogs have evolved into multiple species, not a single mammalogist or taxonomist agrees with you, as I have pointed out. Actually, domestic dogs aren’t even considered to be a distinct species. They are considered but one of many subspecies of the gray wolf, Canis lupus. That’s right. They’re nothing more than a subspecies.

    Second, while you adroitly point out that most of the hundreds of breeds have evolved in the past 300 years, domestic dogs have been around since well before Christ–more than 2,000 years ago–and have yet to evolve into a distinct species, much less multiple species.

    Third, domesticated dogs show more behavioral and morphological variation than any other land mammal. In spite of this remarkable variation, they have yet to evolve into a distinct species, much less multiple species.

    Fourth, if the dogs have failed to speciate in 2,000+ years, this makes the argument that other major taxonomic groups could have evolved in the 4,000 years since the flood even less likely. I’m speaking, for example, of the 400 species of Plethodontid salamanders, 300 species of hummingbirds, 500 species of tyranid flycatchers, and 300 species of ovenbirds/woodcreepers, each of which presumably originated from a single pair of individuals just 4,000 years ago.

    Finally, I’m amused by what criteria you use to declare the multpiple breeds of dogs to be distinct species. You have cavalierly dismissed all recognized species concepts to suggest that fewer species exist today than professional taxonomists hold (which helps you counter the need for extreme rates of speciation required by the animal groups listed above). Instead, you cling to your own private criterion that species are defined as gene pools with qualitatively unique systems that require a minimum of at least 1,000 specifically arranged amino acid residues. Can you please give us examples of the unique systems in dogs that meet your criterion for species? You’ve also made the flabergasting suggestion that contemporary humans comprise more than one species. Again, what qualitatively unique systems differentiate the modern human species? You’ve certainly piqued my interest, Dr. Pitman.

    I’m afraid your arguments for more species or fewer species vary with whatever faith-based point you wish to make. I suggest you admit to your faith-based interpretations and find more consistency in your explanations of difficult-to-reconcile facts.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      Your insistence that dogs offer a representative case for rapid speciation falls short on many grounds.

      I never made this claim. What I said is that there are cases of plants and animals being classified as different “species” which have less genetic diversity than can be seen between different groups of modern humans and even dogs.

      First, while you have claimed repeatedly that domestic dogs have evolved into multiple species, not a single mammalogist or taxonomist agrees with you, as I have pointed out.

      Again, I’ve never made this claim. I’ve specifically claimed that most modern breeds of dog were developed within the last few hundred years.

      I’ve also noted that the species concept is based on subjective elements.

      Actually, domestic dogs aren’t even considered to be a distinct species. They are considered but one of many subspecies of the gray wolf, Canis lupus. That’s right. They’re nothing more than a subspecies.

      It depends who you’re reading. Some do indeed classify domestic dogs as distinct species compared to other canids… which only highlights my point as to the subjective nature of the species concept.

      Second, while you adroitly point out that most of the hundreds of breeds have evolved in the past 300 years, domestic dogs have been around since well before Christ–more than 2,000 years ago–and have yet to evolve into a distinct species, much less multiple species.

      Again, it depends upon who you’re talking to.

      Third, domesticated dogs show more behavioral and morphological variation than any other land mammal. In spite of this remarkable variation, they have yet to evolve into a distinct species, much less multiple species.

      Again, it depends upon who you’re talking to and your chosen definition of “species”.

      Fourth, if the dogs have failed to speciate in 2,000+ years, this makes the argument that other major taxonomic groups could have evolved in the 4,000 years since the flood even less likely. I’m speaking, for example, of the 400 species of Plethodontid salamanders, 300 species of hummingbirds, 500 species of tyranid flycatchers, and 300 species of ovenbirds/woodcreepers, each of which presumably originated from a single pair of individuals just 4,000 years ago.

      Again, it all depends upon how you choose to defined a “species” – which is quite different for different people.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  4. Sean Pitman says

    “Pardon me, but it seems like your expertise in immunogenetics hasn’t helped you much when it comes to understanding the huge phenotypic potential of small populations. You don’t seem to yet accept the fact that most traits are based on the interaction of many different genetic elements, not just two.

    …………..observations of examples of “evolution” can be largely if not entirely explained, ironically, by Mendelial variation and other forms of “front-loaded” information without the need to appeal to the novel evolution of new information – certainly not qualitatively new information beyond very very low levels of functional complexity. Such examples of “evolution in action” really aren’t based on any significant functional change to the underlying gene pool that was inherited from the original parent population. There really is nothing substantially new, qualitatively new, that has been evolved within the gene pool itself. And, modern neo-Darwinists have not caught on to this. They still persist in referring to Mendelian and other forms of phenotypic variation, which are not based on the gain of anything genetically new within the underlying gene pool, as true examples of Darwinian evolution. This claim is misleading at best… ”

    1] That most phenotypic traits are polygenic is so blindingly obvious that no-one with a basic understanding of genetics would contest it.

    The problem is that in adopting your stance you are undermining your statistical arguments against the impossibility of evolution. Figures of 850 billion years is based on assumptions about sequential selection of genes. As you correctly observe if you select for phenotype then there is a wide selection of allelic forms in a single generation.

    2] I would think study of the most polymorphic system in the body (the MHC) is a suitable background to have some insight into questions on population size and allelic forms. For example there are some 60 allelic forms of HLA-B. I would have thought it obvious these allelic forms cannot all be found in a population of 2 and can only be seen in a larger population. The trans-species hypothesis is based around MHC genetics where it is proposed that large range of allelic forms are found in 2 populations are replicated in 2 populations because the range of polymorphism is carried along in the populations that becomes genetically separated. As we argued in our 1990 paper, allelic forms including retroviral insertions in the C4 region of the central MHC of chimps and humans with the A1 B8 DR3 haplotype are consistent with such a model.

    3] That a phenotypic trait can be influenced by multiple loci does nothing to increase the highly restricted possibilites at every locus contained in 2 genome equivalents. To argue anything beyond this is to appeal to miracles which you are of course quite welcome to do.




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    • @pauluc:

      1] That most phenotypic traits are polygenic is so blindingly obvious that no-one with a basic understanding of genetics would contest it.

      So, why did you act like you didn’t know what I was talking about when I was describing the vast phenotypic potential of a breeding pair?

      The problem is that in adopting your stance you are undermining your statistical arguments against the impossibility of evolution.

      How is that? Vast phenotypic potential is not based on the evolution of anything novel within the gene pool at all. Sure, novel mutations do happen all the time, but they aren’t needed or required for marked phenotypic diversity to occur via pre-existing genetic information.

      Figures of 850 billion years is based on assumptions about sequential selection of genes. As you correctly observe if you select for phenotype then there is a wide selection of allelic forms in a single generation.

      I’ve read and re-read this particular comment several times, but I’m still not sure what you’re try to say here? Perhaps you could explain it further?

      2] I would think study of the most polymorphic system in the body (the MHC) is a suitable background to have some insight into questions on population size and allelic forms. For example there are some 60 allelic forms of HLA-B.

      Actually, there are >1600 known allelic forms of HLA-B.

      http://bioinformatics.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2011/02/07/bioinformatics.btr061.full.pdf

      I would have thought it obvious these allelic forms cannot all be found in a population of 2 and can only be seen in a larger population.

      Yes, that is obvious. These forms were produced by subsequent mutations in the offspring of the original parents.

      Of course, I was never talking about mutant allelic forms like this – which I would have thought was originally obvious and which I have repeatedly pointed out to you in this thread. I was and am talking about variability of phenotypic trait expression. Note, in this line, that MHC functionality is also polygenic.

      Again, the production of sequence differences between alleles happens all the time – more and more commonly as populations increase in size. However, the majority of these mutational differences are near neutral with respect to function with the vast majority of these only affecting the degree of functionality and the vast majority being detrimental or degenerative in nature to one degree or another. Qualitatively novel functionality, while relatively rare, is not realized beyond very very low levels of functional complexity.

      I’m not sure how many times I have to repeat this concept before you will stop mischaracterizing my position and start dealing with what I’m really talking about?

      3] That a phenotypic trait can be influenced by multiple loci does nothing to increase the highly restricted possibilites at every locus contained in 2 genome equivalents. To argue anything beyond this is to appeal to miracles which you are of course quite welcome to do.

      It doesn’t require intelligent design or a Divine miracle to rapidly produce mutated alleles for a particular site in a large population where the functional effects are either quantitative or at very low levels of qualitatively novel functionality. I’m really not sure why you’re even arguing this point? I don’t see how it is at all relevant to what I’ve been saying?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  5. Sean&#032Pitman: Yes, I’m well aware of MCF toxins. Please refer to my comments regarding your other toxin examples. They apply here as well.

    Please explain how Mcf toxins and insecticidal toxin complexes fail your criteria. I’m calling your bluff.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      Please explain how Mcf toxins and insecticidal toxin complexes fail your criteria. I’m calling your bluff.

      As with some of the other toxins already described, the Mcf toxins have various domains that act in sequence, but do not require a specific arrangement relative to each other within the larger protein molecule. Also, the specificity of Mcf toxins is further reduced by the existence of RTX-like domains – which are based on large numbers of amino acid repeats ordered in tandem. Functions based on repetitive sequences have low minimum structural specificity requirements.

      Consider that for Mcf toxins to work they must first be transferred from the bacterium into the cells that the bacterium is attacking. This step requires a certain degree of specificity within one or more domains. It is interesting to note, in this regard, that the HrmA type 3 effector domain of the Mcf2 toxin (~350aa) is homologous to other HrmA toxins that are secreted by TTSS toxin injector systems. Once in the cells, the HrmA protein also helps the toxin to localize to the nucleus of the cell. Once in the nucleus, the HrmA sequence can induce plant cell death all by itself. And, as it turns out, HrmA, and sequences homologous to HrmA, are able to cause mammalian and insect cell death as well.

      Mcf1 proteins are a bit different, but the same principles apply. The N-terminal domain of Mcf1 proteins shows homology for a BH3 domain (in contrast to the HrmA N-terminal domain in Mcf2 toxins). The BID/BH3 sequence in other proteins that have this domain is pro-apoptotic – and cells treated with the N-terminal domain of Mcf1 in culture also show apoptotic nuclear morphology (DNA laddering, cleaved PARP, and active caspase-3). The mechanism of action is that Bid-like BH3-only proteins have the ability to bind to multi-domain pro-apoptotic members of Bax or Bak within cells. Apoptosis can be induced by BH3/BID-like sequences with ranges in size from 12aa to 200aa. The natural sequence is usually around 197aa in size.

      http://www.ebi.ac.uk/pdbe-srv/view/entry/2bid/summary
      http://www.faqs.org/patents/app/20080274956

      So, you see, the minimum size requirement for such toxins is rather minimal indeed. The additional size of the Mcf toxins in particular, to include numerous additional toxic domains, is just icing on the cake. These “bells and whistles”, so the speak, can be added in a stepwise manner of increasing toxicity over time without the need for a high degree of original complexity to achieve a selectable level of toxicity.

      As far as other active domains of Mcf toxins, they seem to have been concatenated, without the need for specificity of arrangement relative to the other domains of the Mcf toxins, from various sources. One of the domains of Mcf toxins (around 500aa worth) is similar to C. diff toxin B. As already noted, the Mcf1 toxin also has a C-terminus domain with homology to the RTX-toxin from A. pleuropneumoniae (not present in smaller Mcf2 toxin). Both Mcfs also have a second region with homology to RTX-toxin from V. vulnificus (~220aa of repetitive residue sequences as noted above).

      http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1016/S0378-1097%2803%2900846-2/pdf

      So, you see, these toxins are not like flagallar motility systems, ATPsynthases, TTSS toxin injectors, and the like which require fully specificity of all their unique protein parts and fairly low sequence redundancy (within the underlying DNA/RNA) for their unique functions to be realized.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  6. Professor Kent:Actually, domestic dogs aren’t even considered to be a distinct species. They are considered but one of many subspecies of the gray wolf, Canis lupus. That’s right. They’re nothing more than a subspecies.

    Some authorities consider domestic dogs to be specifically distinct (Canis familiaris) rather than a subspecies of the wolf (Canis lupus familiaris). The vonHoldt et al. 2010 paper published in Nature, for example, lists it as a distinct species, yet shows an unresolved polytomy with the coyote and wolf in the phylograms of Fig. 1. The exact status doesn’t really matter. The point remains that domestic dogs as a group have not speciated. Genetic differentiation among the hundreds of different breeds remains very shallow.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      For years, the domestic dog was classified by scientists as a distinct species, Canis familiaris. However, many modern scientists have reclassified the domestic dog as Canis lupus familiaris, a subspecies of the wolf rather than a separate species.

      However, there is not universal agreement here. Some scientists still classify domesticated dogs as a distinct species. It all depends upon what criteria one chooses to use. The ability to interbreed and produce viable fertile offspring isn’t consistent. Neither are genetic Hamming distances consistent. Nothing is consistent or definitive when it comes to defining a “species” in modern science.

      Thank you again for highlighting my point for me.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  7. Sean&#032Pitman: I cover most if not all of these questions on my website in discussions on the fossil record and geologic column.

    I had checked your website, and found it wanting, as you addressed none of the upper limits for primtive organisms and very little of the lower limits for advanced organisms.

    Why is that no bird, mammal, or reptile fossils are to be found among the abundant amphibian and less advanced animals in the Pennsylvanian, Mississippian, and Devonian? They all appear to together at higher (more recent) levels, so what caused them to appear differentially over time during the flood deposition? And why do none of these vertebrates appear in the vast deposits of the Silurian, Ordovician, and Cambrian?

    Talk about a mystery!




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    • @Professor Kent:

      While there are several theories that may help to explain some of the features of apparent sorting of the fossil record, none of them are individually or even collectively conclusive (as noted on my website). Questions certainly remain as to how the sorting could have been so neatly achieved via the Noachian catastrophe.

      That being said, there are certain features of sorting within the fossil record can be reasonably explained. For example, one might reasonable hypothesize that trilobites appear in the fossil record before crabs and lobsters at least party because of the relative abundance of trilobites compared to crabs and lobsters. This hypothesis is at least plausible given the conclusion of Hadly and Maurer (2001) that, “Species identities and their relative abundances are non-random properties of communities that persist over long periods of ecological time and across geographic space. This is consistent with species abundance contributing heavily to evolutionary patterns.”

      After all, “It’s very rare to find fossils of lobsters”. General mobility, ability to survive catastrophic conditions, and other ecological/habitat factors could also reasonably contribute to the differential location of trilobites vs. lobsters and crabs in the fossil record.

      As another example, consider that coelacanth fish exist in the fossil record for what are thought to have been 400 million years. Then they suddenly disappear from the fossil record some 80 million years ago in standard reckoning, only to reappear alive an well swimming around in oceans today. Clearly, some types of coelacanths lived in habitats that did not lend themselves to fossilization while others did.

      So, some habitats are clearly more susceptible to the preservation of fossils. If those specific habitats are not occupied by a particular kind of creature, it may not be preserved in the fossil record even though it is still alive and well in some other habitat.

      Consider also that the crayfish was once thought to have evolved from lobster-like ancestors around 140 Ma. This was until very modern-looking crayfish were subsequently found in sedimentary rocks dating up to 300 Ma by standard dating.

      Then, there is evidence of the sorting of footprints vs. body fossils in the fossil record. It seems like many land animals, excluding birds and mammals, do not generally have their footprints located in the same layer in which their bodies are found, but in lower layers. Did the footprints evolve before they did? The footprints of dinosaurs, for example, are generally located in lower levels than the actual fossilized bones of the dinosaurs. Why would this be? What is there to explain this apparent sorting of body from footprint fossils?

      Things that make you go hmmmmm…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  8. Our son is a graduate of Southern. It makes us so proud to read of the “Origins Exhibit.” Southern Adventist University has done an exemplary job of educating our youth in a sound Christian based academic atmosphere. How thankful we are to be reading such positive, uplifting news from Southern! How sad that other SDA Christian colleges don’t follow suite!




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  9. Sean said…..

    “Notice especially the phrase “The book of nature and the written word shed light upon each other.” That phrase is key.”

    Let me suggest, Sean, that this is the “key” phrase….

    “Those who take the written word as their counselor will find in science an aid to understand God.”

    The point is this, either one, or the other must necessarily be the final authority if and when conflicts become evident. They are not equal in authority as it seems you would imply.

    Neither is the perfect harmony and unity by way of science and natural law. There is always apparent conflict and disagreement between the two sources of information.

    Neither is it possible to resolve the conflict and disagreement by way of science. So, how then do we resolve any conflict and disagreement?

    We hold scriptural revelation over and above scientific revelation placing final authority in the scriptural revelation.

    And finally, it is utterly impossible to resolve the conflict between the two by appealing to science as the means to resolve the conflict.

    Human reason can not see the perfect harmony between the two by way of science. Only God’s word can ultimately resolve any apparent differences and these are resolved by way of a miracle that supercedes natural law.

    Final authority resides in scripture.

    Bill Sorensen




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    • @Bill Sorensen:

      The credibility of the Scriptures is itself based on empirical evidence – on a God-given form of scientific reasoning from cause to effect or from effect to its most likely cause. Even you appeal to historically-fulfilled prophecies as a basis for a rational faith in the Bible as the true Word of God. Useful prophetic evidence is based on the historical sciences – on empirical evidence.

      Let’s not argue against the equal role of science and faith. They walk hand-in-hand. One does not exist without or trump the other. Both are needed at the same time to establish a useful religion that goes beyond mere wishful thinking and just-so story telling…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  10. Sean asks…..

    “It all depends upon how you define a “miracle”. Is the creation of a loaf of bread a “miracle”? – or a chocolate cake or an automobile or a space ship?”

    Of course they are not, Sean. They can all be explained by way of science. You simply alter with you already have and put it into another state.

    A miracle is beyond natural law explaination. Such as “God spake, and it was done.”

    God did not alter something from one state to another. He created something from nothing. Human can work relative “miracles” by manipulation of what they already have. But this is not a divine miracle as stated and explained in the bible.

    I am not opposing you, Sean, on the fact that science can be some evidence and even powerful evidence for the biblical revelation. But it is not equal in authority and can not be trusted as an equal authority in defining origins.

    It is a relative supporting evidence that helps affirm the biblical revelation to those of us who believe the scriptures.

    Bill Sorensen




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    • @Bill Sorensen:

      “It all depends upon how you define a “miracle”. Is the creation of a loaf of bread a “miracle”? – or a chocolate cake or an automobile or a space ship?” – Sean Pitman

      Of course they are not, Sean. They can all be explained by way of science. You simply alter with you already have and put it into another state.

      I propose to you that the concept of a “miracle” is a relative concept. It is simply something that cannot be done from a given perspective. From the perspective of mindless forces of nature, a chocolate cake is indeed a miracle since intelligence is required to produce it – a requirement that is beyond all known mindless laws of nature. The same is true of the fine tuning of the fundamental laws of nature necessary for complex life to exist (as in the anthropic principle).

      In other words, I can do stuff that would seem miraculous from the perspective of an ant or a dog. Likewise, God can do stuff that would seem miraculous from my perspective… but which I would still be able to detect as requiring a very high level intelligence to achieve. I can do this via a form of scientific reasoning which allows me to recognize God’s signature when I see it.

      A miracle is beyond natural law explaination. Such as “God spake, and it was done.”

      What seems perfectly “natural” from God’s perspective would seem “miraculous” from ours. This doesn’t mean, therefore, that lower-level miracles are not really miraculous – like our human ability to produce a chocolate cake or a spaceship.

      Our ability to recognize God’s signature in nature, and in the Bible, our ability to recognize the miraculous on any level, is based on our ability to reason scientifically based on the evidence that is currently available to us.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  11. As one who has carefully vetted the entire exhibit, I can say without equivocation that Dr. Snyder and his staff have done a masterful and credible job of marshalling resources and information in a way that brings credit to the Creator God we serve. Anyone who takes time to visit the exhibit will be blessed and informed by state-of-the-art presentations on issues of origin that deals fairly with the science and presents in a pleasing and informative fashion, a landscape of beauty and wide appeal that tells the story of our earths history in harmony with the biblical account. Go see it.




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  12. My daughter attends SAU and we are very pleased with the education and the biblical philosophy. Thanks to the faculty, staff, and administration for helping to keep our child grounded, not destroying what we have worked so diligently to instill for 18 years.




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  13. Sean

    I am in 2 minds as to whether I should just stop thread or give it one more chance. As always I do it because I am concerned that readers here might give credence to your constructions which you insist are scientific rather than the faith positions which I think they are.

    1] Regarding polygenic traits you say;

    “So, why did you act like you didn’t know what I was talking about when I was describing the vast phenotypic potential of a breeding pair?”

    I was just hoping that what you had written was not really what you thought. I have questioned your position that a breeding pair has vast phenotypic potential which I think is unsustainable scientifically but is quite acceptable as a faith position based on a particular reading of the text.

    I have given you references to real studies with data that indicate that 2 animals is unquestionably a non-viable populations in any conservation breeding program which is the best we have in terms of replicating the ark scenario.
    .
    Further I have suggested that doing the math does not allow one to even conceive of vast phenotypic potential on the basis of allelic variation in a population of 2.

    You continue digging the hole by deprecating the role of new mutations and insisting that there is front loaded potential by a mechanism you cannot define in accepted genetic terms.

    “How is that? Vast phenotypic potential is not based on the evolution of anything novel within the gene pool at all. Sure, novel mutations do happen all the time, but they aren’t needed or required for marked phenotypic diversity to occur via pre-existing genetic information.”

    Regarding phenotypic selection and polygenic traits you say

    “I’ve read and re-read this particular comment several times, but I’m still not sure what you’re try to say here? Perhaps you could explain it further?”

    Having raised the issue of polygenic nature of phenotypic traits as an explanation of the vast potential I thought you would be familiar with some of the more foundational concepts in genetics. From your responses I once again seem to be in error. What is the conventional view.

    The current concept of a gene is of a sequence of DNA in the genome that codes for a protein and has associated regulatory elements and non-coding RNA. See for example the review by Gingeras http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17567989

    The organism at the level of the organelle cellular, organ, or organism is sustained by biochemical pathways and structures that rely on these genes.

    Depending on levels of redundancy loss of a gene may affect the function and result in a particular change in the organism which is recognized by observation grossly biochemically or microscopically. This is often called a trait as in sickle cell trait or phenotype where there is a particular shape of the red cells. Usually this there are multiple characteristics associated with this trait. For Sickle cell disease this is rapid clearance of the red cells from the blood and anaemia. Trouble with red cells in the circulation leading to blocked blood vessels and resistance to malaria infection of the red cells.

    Mendelian traits are those that map to a single gene locus and result in a phenotypic change. Sickle cell is one that maps to a gene coding for part of the haemoglobin molecule.

    Now production of red cells containing haemoglobin red cells is dependent on very many genes. From the genes such as eythropoietin that regulate amount of haemoglobin and red cells that are produced in erythroblasts and progeny cells in the bone marrow to the genes controlling the the proteins and carbohydated structure of the red cell membrane all are related to the red cell physiology and physical characteristics or phenotype.

    Now say a population of people move to the Himalayas or the Andes. They need more red cells. The response will be that those in the population that have the best ability to produce red cells will have better ability to carry oxygen in the presence of low oxygen tension and will have better fitness. This trait of high altitude fitness is unlikely to be a mendelian train but will be a polygenic trait. The initial measure of ability to carry oxygen will have something like a Gaussian distribution. If there is within the population multiple genes with some polymorphism or variability in function even through within that one gene it has minimal overall effect the selection will be on multiple such genes so that the fittest population with the high oxygen carrying phenotype will have a genotype that is has been selected for the phenotype. It is a not a selection of genes one at a time but a simultaneous selection. Allele frequency at multiple loci will be changes within a very short time. Now if one of the people in the population has a new mutation that has better function it will be quickly fixed in the population and carried along with a cluster of more or less useful genes. In other words selection integrated across a large number of genes. To argue about potential sequence space and absolute probabilities is a nonsense.

    This concept I would have thought was familiar to you as even Sanford in his book “Genetic entropy” does accept there is phenotypic rather than genotypic selection (see chapter 4 and his cute Princess and the nucleotide paradox).

    Current attempts to map diseases using genome wide arrays usually show that a disease process is polygenic. I will not go into the complexity of the reason for this in terms of founders and alternate genetic pathways to get to favourable phenotype.

    What Sean is arguing is that things like size and coat colour in Dogs that are clearly polygenic the cis interactions between mjultiple variable genes can compensate for a lack of polymorphism at any genetic locus imposed by a population size of 2.

    If we assume that dog size depends on products of pathways involving 5 genes [in fact this is vastly overestimating it as IGF-1 seems to be the predominant determinant]

    Then in a population of 2 there are maximum of 4 alleles at 20 loci. The possible genotypes assuming absolutely no genetic linkage are then 4^50 = 1024 compared to 20^5 = 3.2 million for a population of 20 with the same level of genetic heterogeneity and allelic variation.

    A population of 2 with complete heterogeneity over 5 loci is not what is seen in extant populations but allowing Seans assumption in any lottery I would take my chance with 3 millions rather than 1000 tickets.

    “Actually, there are >1600 known allelic forms of HLA-B.

    http://bioinformatics.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2011/02/07/bioinformatics.btr061.full.pdf

    Thanks Sean, of course you know this is based on 4 digit typing which is the genotypic alleles and not the alleles that are serologically defined and correspond to protein sequence changes. As you know 4 digit typing is important in transplantation not because of the amino acid changes or an possible change in fitness or antigen binding by the alpha chain coded by that locus but because of the haplotype effect in that defining genetype predicts distant alleles and sequence variation in that haplotype.

    You then go on to totally confuse the difference between mutation, allelic forms, phenotypes and polygenic traits not least of all because of your private nomenclature and concepts.

    “Yes, that is obvious. These forms were produced by subsequent mutations in the offspring of the original parents.

    Of course, I was never talking about mutant allelic forms like this – which I would have thought was originally obvious and which I have repeatedly pointed out to you in this thread. I was and am talking about variability of phenotypic trait expression. Note, in this line, that MHC functionality is also polygenic.”

    What on earth are you talking about? you seem to be totally confusing a polygenic family and a polygenic trait. The MHC is not a phenotype or a function it is a region of 2 megabase or more contains a family of genes, likely of common origin, in tight linkage dysequilibrium and in which the different loci can be ascribed particular functions.

    HLA-B codes for the alpha chain of class I molecules. This encodes the CDR region of the molecule that is the site that can bind to specific 9-11 amino acid peptides that have a structurally complementary sequence to the class I alpha chain. The high levels of polymorphism at this locus determined the phenotype or what will bind to that molecule and be recognized by a CD8 or cytotoxic T cells. This is the phenotype that is subject to selection; the allele that can recognize a particular pathogen structure.
    Presence of the allele HLA*B57 has a clear survival advantage in HIV infection by recruiting particularly effective CD8 T cells that recognize that class I molecule. The HLA*B5701 haplotype as well as 5702 and 5703 and the related 5801 all have ability to create effective HIV specific CTL that determines the good responder phenotype not because of the associated changes outside the peptide binding groove or nucleotide variation elsewhere in the gene that defines the 4 digit specificity.

    Geneticist do not see any qualitative difference between allelic variation and mutation except in frequency within a population. There is absolutely no reason to conceptualize some distinction between changes in nucleotide sequence because of some imagined ancestory.

    It is up to you to provide a model and evidence if you wish to do so.

    “Again, the production of sequence differences between alleles happens all the time – more and more commonly as populations increase in size. However, the majority of these mutational differences are near neutral with respect to function with the vast majority of these only affecting the degree of functionality and the vast majority being detrimental or degenerative in nature to one degree or another. Qualitatively novel functionality, while relatively rare, is not realized beyond very very low levels of functional complexity.”

    “I’m not sure how many times I have to repeat this concept before you will stop mischaracterizing my position and start dealing with what I’m really talking about?”

    “It doesn’t require intelligent design or a Divine miracle to rapidly produce mutated alleles for a particular site in a large population where the functional effects are either quantitative or at very low levels of qualitatively novel functionality. I’m really not sure why you’re even arguing this point? I don’t see how it is at all relevant to what I’ve been saying?”

    I look forward to reading you PLOS one or PLOS genetics paper on the recognition and importance of mutations with “very very low levels of functional complexity”.




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    • @pauluc:

      mea Culpa. Numbers should be

      Then in a population of 2 there are maximum of 4 alleles at 5 loci. The possible genotypes assuming absolutely no genetic linkage are then 4^5 = 1024 compared to 20^5 = 3.2 million for a population of 20 with the same level of genetic heterogeneity and allelic variation.




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    • I have given you references to real studies with data that indicate that 2 animals is unquestionably a non-viable populations in any conservation breeding program which is the best we have in terms of replicating the ark scenario.

      Not only have modern breeds of dog been based on very limited numbers of breeding pairs, this experiment has been repeated with foxes (see nova video linked above).

      Beyond this, as already explained, your arguments are entirely based on gene pools that have built up large numbers of detrimental mutations. Mammalian gene pools, as with all other slowing producing creatures, are heading downhill. That is why the ancestral parental gene pool was much better off than it is today. You really have no rational basis to argue otherwise beyond your dedication to neo-Darwinism. The evidence of genetic deterioration far faster than natural selection can keep up with it is quite clear for all slowly reproducing creatures.

      Further I have suggested that doing the math does not allow one to even conceive of vast phenotypic potential on the basis of allelic variation in a population of 2.

      Oh really? I’ve yet to see you do much of any math. What math are you talking about that significantly limits the phenotypic trait potential of a breeding pair of wolves? – to a point where similar phenotypic diversity, on a practical level, could not be achieved without a basis in novel mutations?

      You continue digging the hole by deprecating the role of new mutations and insisting that there is front loaded potential by a mechanism you cannot define in accepted genetic terms.

      The role of new mutations is largely detrimental/degenerative – as you should know. I’ve listed examples of such in this same thread. Occasionally, of course, certain benefits do arise by novel mutations, but not beyond very very low levels of functional complexity – as I’ve also explained.

      Having raised the issue of polygenic nature of phenotypic traits as an explanation of the vast potential I thought you would be familiar with some of the more foundational concepts in genetics. From your responses I once again seem to be in error. What is the conventional view.

      The current concept of a gene is of a sequence of DNA in the genome that codes for a protein and has associated regulatory elements and non-coding RNA.

      Pretty good, except for the fact that the modern concept of a “gene” or functional genetic element has been expanded by the discovery that protein-coding genes do not contain the majority of functional information within the genome. “Non-coding genes” occupy the majority of the genome and control the “coding” genes as a blueprint dictates how the bricks and mortar are to be applied in the construction of a building.

      But anyway, I digress…

      The organism at the level of the organelle cellular, organ, or organism is sustained by biochemical pathways and structures that rely on these genes.

      Depending on levels of redundancy loss of a gene may affect the function and result in a particular change in the organism which is recognized by observation grossly biochemically or microscopically. This is often called a trait as in sickle cell trait or phenotype where there is a particular shape of the red cells. Usually this there are multiple characteristics associated with this trait. For Sickle cell disease this is rapid clearance of the red cells from the blood and anaemia. Trouble with red cells in the circulation leading to blocked blood vessels and resistance to malaria infection of the red cells.

      So far so good . . .

      Mendelian traits are those that map to a single gene locus and result in a phenotypic change. Sickle cell is one that maps to a gene coding for part of the haemoglobin molecule.

      Right . . .

      Now production of red cells containing haemoglobin red cells is dependent on very many genes. From the genes such as eythropoietin that regulate amount of haemoglobin and red cells that are produced in erythroblasts and progeny cells in the bone marrow to the genes controlling the proteins and carbohydated structure of the red cell membrane all are related to the red cell physiology and physical characteristics or phenotype.

      That’s right . . .

      Now say a population of people move to the Himalayas or the Andes. They need more red cells. The response will be that those in the population that have the best ability to produce red cells will have better ability to carry oxygen in the presence of low oxygen tension and will have better fitness. This trait of high altitude fitness is unlikely to be a mendelian train but will be a polygenic trait. The initial measure of ability to carry oxygen will have something like a Gaussian distribution. If there is within the population multiple genes with some polymorphism or variability in function even through within that one gene it has minimal overall effect the selection will be on multiple such genes so that the fittest population with the high oxygen carrying phenotype will have a genotype that is has been selected for the phenotype. It is a not a selection of genes one at a time but a simultaneous selection. Allele frequency at multiple loci will be changes within a very short time. Now if one of the people in the population has a new mutation that has better function it will be quickly fixed in the population and carried along with a cluster of more or less useful genes. In other words selection integrated across a large number of genes.

      Also true . . .

      To argue about potential sequence space and absolute probabilities is nonsense.

      How so? How do you determine the odds that any novel system of function, where all of the amino acid residues must work in a specific arrangement with each other, will be realized in a given span of time by random mutations? The fact is that you don’t make this determination at all. You don’t consider the math or the odds at all. You just assume that it happens without considering the level of functional complexity involved with finding novel beneficial sequences in sequence space.

      This concept I would have thought was familiar to you as even Sanford in his book “Genetic entropy” does accept there is phenotypic rather than genotypic selection (see chapter 4 and his cute Princess and the nucleotide paradox).

      Of course this concept is familiar to me. It is a correct concept. There is phenotypic selection that affects the underlying genotype. I’ve already gone into this before with you, if you will recall. Your problem is that you do not consider the level of functional complexity involved. Low-level systems can and do evolve all the time. However, as you consider higher and higher levels of qualitatively novel functional complexity, the evolvability of these higher level systems drops off – exponentially.

      What Sean is arguing is that things like size and coat colour in Dogs that are clearly polygenic the cis interactions between mjultiple variable genes can compensate for a lack of polymorphism at any genetic locus imposed by a population size of 2.

      That’s right.

      If we assume that dog size depends on products of pathways involving 5 genes [in fact this is vastly overestimating it as IGF-1 seems to be the predominant determinant], then in a population of 2 there are maximum of 4 alleles at 5 loci. The possible genotypes assuming absolutely no genetic linkage are then 4^5 = 1024 compared to 20^5 = 3.2 million for a population of 20 with the same level of genetic heterogeneity and allelic variation.

      A population of 2 with complete heterogeneity over 5 loci is not what is seen in extant populations; but allowing Sean’s assumption in any lottery I would take my chance with 3 millions rather than 1000 tickets.

      As already noted, size in dogs is primarily controlled by six genetic regions and dozens of genes with lesser influence (compared to humans were height is governed by >200 genes). The sequence space is 4^6 = 4096 based on just these six primary controls for size alone (not counting the dozens of other genes that are involved in more minor ways here). This seems like adequate control for this particular trait. How much more control over size one would want I don’t know?

      You seem to be totally confusing a polygenic family and a polygenic trait.

      How is that?

      The MHC is not a phenotype or a function. It is a region of 2 megabase or more contains a family of genes, likely of common origin, in tight linkage dysequilibrium and in which the different loci can be ascribed particular functions.

      The Major Histocompatibility Complex (MHC) is indeed a collection of different types of proteins that are collectively involved with appropriate immune system function – a polygenic trait. Are the different elements of the MHC complex individually selectable? Certainly . . .

      HLA-B codes for the alpha chain of class I molecules. This encodes the CDR region of the molecule that is the site that can bind to specific 9-11 amino acid peptides that have a structurally complementary sequence to the class I alpha chain. The high levels of polymorphism at this locus determined the phenotype or what will bind to that molecule and be recognized by a CD8 or cytotoxic T cells. This is the phenotype that is subject to selection; the allele that can recognize a particular pathogen structure.

      Yes . . .

      Presence of the allele HLA*B57 has a clear survival advantage in HIV infection by recruiting particularly effective CD8 T cells that recognize that class I molecule. The HLA*B5701 haplotype as well as 5702 and 5703 and the related 5801 all have ability to create effective HIV specific CTL that determines the good responder phenotype not because of the associated changes outside the peptide binding groove or nucleotide variation elsewhere in the gene that defines the 4 digit specificity.

      Right . . .

      Geneticist do not see any qualitative difference between allelic variation and mutation except in frequency within a population. There is absolutely no reason to conceptualize some distinction between changes in nucleotide sequence because of some imagined ancestory. It is up to you to provide a model and evidence if you wish to do so.

      Again, I’m not sure what you’re your main point is here? Of course mutations produce allelic variations! Where have I even suggested otherwise? In fact, some systems, especially immune systems, are based on the programmed production of genetic variations to produce a huge variety of antibodies (before non-self antigens are even encountered).

      It is just that random mutations do not produce qualitatively novel systems of function beyond very low levels of functional complexity is all. That’s the main point here. This is the point that you’re simply not addressing in any of your responses thus far.

      Also, what do any of your arguments have to do with my statement that the current phenotypic variety of animals is largely based on pre-programmed or “front-loaded” information? – that many current allelic options are detrimental or degenerative in nature? – or that there are no examples of qualitatively novel functionality beyond very low levels of functional complexity arising by RM/NS?

      I look forward to reading you PLOS one or PLOS genetics paper on the recognition and importance of mutations with “very very low levels of functional complexity”.

      I do not dispute the impact or even the importance of mutations with low-level functional effects. That’s not even in question here. Such mutational effects can and do happen – very commonly in fact in larger populations. That is why it doesn’t require long periods of time for such mutations to be realized. What cannot be explained by you or anyone else coming from a Neo-Darwinian perspective is the origin of qualitatively novel systems of function that require a minimum of more than 1000 specifically arranged amino acid residues.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • @Sean Pitman:
        I concede that I must be too dense to see that you have given an adequate explanation for the problem I think there is or that I have failed to adequately describe the problem. Either way maybe I can summarize your framework for canine ancestory.

        1] Wolves domestic dogs coyotes and jackals (genus canis) are derived from a single pair of animals roughly corresponding to the canidae family around 2000 BC according to a timeframe defined by the writings of EG White.
        http://www.ministrymagazine.org/archive/1984/April/ellen-g.-white-and-biblical-chronology

        2] Other members of this group including African Hunting Dogs, Jackal, Bush dog are also derived from this pair.

        3] The foxes of the genus vulpini are also derived from this pair.

        4] The racoon dog(Nyctereutes) and bat eared fox (Otocyn) are also derived from this pair.

        5] Other species within the suborder caniformia such as bear (ursidae) red pandas (alluridae) Skinks (Mephitidae) Badgers weasels and otters (mustelidae) racoons (procyonidae) are derived from other pairs of animals.

        6] All the genetic diversity in the canidae at present derive from this pair of animals.

        7] The highly polymorphic MHC genes (DLA or dog leukocyte antigens) are derived from this pair.

        8] The SNPs found in the derivative populations must be present in the original pair or derive from subsequent mutations.

        9] Since only 2 alleles can occur in any animal there can be only 4 alleles at any locus in the starting population.

        10] Only 4 SNPs defining alleles can be present in the original starting population. Additional SNP in any derivative population or species must have arisen during speciation.

        11] In the canine DLA there is significant polymorphism of amino acids in the peptide binding regions of class II alleles
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12366782
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12074709
        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17445218

        12] as shown in tables 2, 4, and 6 of reference 1 above only 4 of the possible alleles can occur in the starting population. All the rest are new and novel changes in amino acid sequence.

        13] New mutations resulted in the new and novel functional peptide binding MHC molecules must have arisen post flood by mutation and cannot have been in the original population.

        14] The repertoire of peptide binding and breadth or immune responses was expanded by naturalistic random mutational events. Or there was miraculous intervention expanding the repertoire and ability to respond to new epitopes.

        I hope in these points I have not mischaracterized your position




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  14. Here are two more papers accessable on the web for readers to understand the approach I have outlined for using genetic distance to approximate taxonomic boundaries:

    http://www.bio.ulaval.ca/louisbernatchez/pdf/(206)%20Lara_MER_10.pdf
    (Cuban fish: 126 individuals, representing 217 taxonomically recognized species in 17 genera and 10 families)

    http://www.pnas.org/content/108/26/10602.full.pdf+html
    (North American fish: 752 species)

    Both of these papers deal with fish. They illustrate how genetic distance dervied from variation in base pair sequence of the cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) varies within species, genera, and families. The results also suggest previously unrecognized cryptic diversity among the fish groups examined (i.e., more species exist than have previously been recognized).

    By rejecting conventional methods for delineating taxonomic boundaries, and using Sean Pitman’s very peculiar approach instead, the simple reality is that we would have no clue how to classify the vast majority of fish in the two studies. For most of the species studied, the only data available are geographic location (ecology), physical measurements (morphology), and base sequence for one or several genes (molecular). We lack data on any “levels of functional complexity” that might differ among the taxa. Sean insists his method is superior, but at its very best, it would be completely impractical for classifying these fish. The same can be said for most if not all protist, fungal, plant, and animal groups.

    Here is another accessible paper summarizing genetic distances in 643 species of North American birds using the same COI gene:

    http://www.bolinfonet.org/pdf/2007_-_Kerr_-_Comprehensive_DNA_barcode_coverage_of_North_American_birds.pdf

    While the natural history of individual species is much better understood among birds than fish, it would still be an impractical challenge to objectively identify Sean’s different “levels of functional complexity” to distinguish between most if not all sister and cryptic species. Establishing a comprehensive taxonomy would be impossible, which means Sean’s species concept is, in all practical terms, useless.




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  15. Further to my comment on skeptism and our professors, I’ve got to tell you that I found Prof Kent to be extremely annoying in his comments on EGW. He seems to think that she is an embarrassment to the church when she speaks on Science.

    Personally I find people who dis her to be the embarrassment to the church. I really don’t see how they dare to contradict and mock God’s prophet. By doing this they undermine a lot of our church’s beliefs to outsiders as well as church members. God will hold them accountable for that.

    Furthermore, David’s unpublished manuscript plus other books I have read on archaeology have reported skeletons of the type that EGW mentions. Also found were artifacts such as huge iron bedsteads made for and buried with kings of huge stature.

    Just because you haven’t done your research, PK, don’t jump to the conclusion the evidence isn’t there. It’s there, all right, and you make yourself look a little foolish for not knowing about it.




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  16. Sean&#032Pitman: That’s right. However, molecular divergence (which has no significant functional and/or phenotypic effect) isn’t the only definition of “species” in use. There are also phenotypic definitions – among many others. That is why the “species” concept is still quite subjective…

    Phenotypic definitions are based on molecular divergence. But I give up.




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  17. Mr Taylor,

    After reading your comment above, I must say PK isn’t the only one in that boat.I would make some comment as to how I really feel about you, but I know Sean will only delete it and you won’t benefit from my insight anyway–seeing as Sean is more concerned about other people’s feelings than you seem to be.

    How you have the nerve to come to this website and call us all a bunch of morons (which is really what you are doing) is beyond me. You and your cronies are the ones drowning in error. Anyone who dares to accept man’s opinions over the Bible or SOP isn’t to be trusted to define truth for anyone.

    Too straight-forward in my comment? Trust me, I have restrained myself admirably. If you only knew….




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  18. All academics look forward to the end of the spring semester (or quarter). With the break, they are able to indulge things that pique their interest. For many, however, the ensuing summer term beckons. My time here is up, and I must move on to other things.

    I am certainly relieved that my tour of flood geology has not tarnished the faith of any readers. I appreciate and applaud the vigorous defense of our core beliefs. Before departing, I would like to share some personal wishes for those I have become acquainted with here.

    David Read – I pray for your success in your determined effort to warm the hearts and souls of fellow SDAs to Jesus.

    Faith – I love your name, and pray that the grace and unconditional love of Jesus Christ will continue to saturate all aspects of your life.

    Bob Helm – As you continue to indulge your fascination with origins and science, I pray that you will be drawn ever closer to our Savior.

    Charles – I admire your thirst for God’s second coming, and pray that you will invigorate others with your passion and longing for that wondrous day when Christ reunites us to Him.

    Roger Seheulte – As you provide daily care to your patients, I pray that you will treat each of them with the very same love and tenderness that you see in our Creator’s enduring sacrifice for us.

    Bob Ryan – As the patriarch of your family, I pray that you succeed in warming the hearts and souls of your loved ones to our redeemer, Jesus Christ.

    Allen Roy – I pray that your passion for Jesus rises above all else so that you continue to defend Scripture as God’s most remarkable gift to mankind.

    Ervin Taylor – I praise God that you continue to believe in the man, Jesus Christ, and remain willing to associate with SDAs and defend many of our beliefs.

    Eddie – As an exemplary academic, you are a voice of reason, and I pray that your witness to students creates an enduring appetite to learn more about Jesus Christ and what it means to be the sons of a Creator God.

    Sean Pitman – I pray that you will instill a greater confidence in God’s word for those who question it, and succeed in your effort to bolster our faith in Jesus with empirical evidence wherever it may be found.

    Bill Sorensen – I pray that your enthusiasm for Biblical prophecy as a key to know and understand Jesus will build the faith of many.

    Pauluc – I admire your knowledge and passion for science, and love your commitment to the Church and the fellowship of believers who profess Christ above all things.

    Wesley Kime – I pray that your trust in Jesus and all things Scripture will thorougly saturate every part of your life.

    Holly Pham – As you continue to defend your faith, I pray that you will instill in fellow SDAs a stronger confidence in the love of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Ron – I pray that you will continue to seek Jesus wherever you find Him, and share your faith with those who need Him.

    I bid you all adieu.




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  19. Sean&#032Pitman: All of this is very much in line with the Inspired account of origins…Again, where does the Bible or Mrs. White say otherwise? The geologic/fossil evidence suggest this and this evidence is not contradicted by Inspiration…Again, how is this concept at all inconsistent with the claims of Inspiration?

    It’s refreshing to see your candid (albeit subtle) concession that many of your claims are based on private interpretation of the fossil record, and not on inspiration itself. I think you confuse these often.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      Not at all. My interpretations of the fossil record include many concepts that are not directly described in either the Bible or the writings of Ellen White. However, none of these views are inconsistent with anything in these inspired texts… with anything that God has actually given to us via inspiration regarding origins or the Noachian Flood…

      You’re the one trying to throw out as many lame “inconsistencies” as you can possibly conjure up. However, most of your arguments have reasonable explanations or are minor in comparison to the weight of evidence that is available in favor of the Biblical model.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  20. We know that Abraham Lincoln lived based upon faith. We have to believe that those who have written the books and taken the photos were not lying to us. We have to trust that they are telling us the truth. in other words we have to believe by faith that what we have heard about Lincoln is real. There is not one scientific experiment that could be done that can prove that Lincoln existed.

    The same thing goes for Creation. We have to believe by faith that God is telling us the truth. Science cannot prove that creation happened. It cannot prove that it didn’t happen. This is because Creation is not a hypothesis. It is a fact of faith.

    Scientific methodology is simply a logical process by which we can study creation. But without the philosophical foundation of Biblical truth, science cannot prove what happened in the past.




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  21. Professor&#032Kent: Phenotypic definitions are based on molecular divergence. But I give up.

    I kindly asked you to delete this, but you chose to post it. I bumped the wrong button and submitted it prematurely by mistake. When I tried to edit it, I apparently ran out of time or something because the edit with a more detailed response didn’t take.

    Since you decided to post it, I’ll just say this: phylogenetic (not phenotypic) definitions are based on molecular divergence. Everyone recognizes the limitations of the phenotypic species concept, so I was surprised you even brought it up.

    What amuses me is that no other taxonomist on this planet recognizes, accepts, or has even heard of the species concept you have put forth at other threads here at ET. It’s very difficult to dialogue with someone who rejects the lexicon others use in favor of their own private one. You might as well be speaking Cuneiform.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      I’m sorry, but I didn’t see where you asked for this comment to be removed. If you still wish it to be removed, since it clearly isn’t accurate, I will do so. Just say the word…

      Everyone recognizes the limitations of the phenotypic species concept, so I was surprised you even brought it up.

      Every definition of “species” has limitations and subjective elements – even genetically based definitions of species. Genetic definitions of the species concept also rely, to at least some extent, on human judgement as to just how much difference is enough to constitute a separate species.

      For some “cryptic species” the genetic distance required to define a new species isn’t very great. For example, take a DNA strand of 658 nucleotides. How many differences in this strand, between different groups of organisms, would qualify one group as being a unique “species”? Ten or eleven maybe? That certainly is enough for certain researchers (http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0032992). Yet, certain groups of humans differ from other groups by more than this. See the problem? Also, fossils “species” determinations aren’t based on genetic analysis.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  22. Well, we are talking about “creation science” and not simply natural law science. Sometimes, salvation is called a “science”.

    To make no distinction between creation science by way of natural law or divine acts is a very big mistake.

    And by the way, I personally spend little of my time here in discussion. In fact, on the average, I probably spend less than an hour a day on the internet reading and responding to all the blogs and forums I read and/or post on.

    Bill Sorensen




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  23. @ Professor Kent. If there was a man that was 12 or 14 feet tall, he would indeed be many times bigger [8 times bigger] than what we are now. Unless of course he had a waist measurement of only 10 inches.




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  24. This is why Southern continues to thrive. In 2010 they had 3,000 students enrolled and still managed to achieve top tier ranking in US News & World Report (https://www.southern.edu/News/DispForm.aspx?ID=620)

    In contrast, in 2010, La Sierra University only had 2,098, which broke their previous record but still falls short of the successes at Southern.

    Adventists are looking for faithful institutions and the successes at Southern are showing the way forward.




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    • @Frank:

      You should try educating yourself before making illegitimate comparisons. If you would compare the rankings of SAU and LSU, you would realize that SAU is ranked in the Regional Colleges (South) category while LSU is ranked under Regional Universities (West).

      In other words, LSU is categorized above SAU in a more competitive region.

      A better comparison of the two rankings is to wonder why U.S. News does not consider SAU to be a University.

      To add another point of comparison for you, PUC and Andrews are not ranked in a regional categories. PUC is categorized as a National Liberal Arts College (it was consistently ranked top ten as a regional college) while Andrews is categorized as a National University. Neither of them are ranked either.

      To summarize, learn about the ranking systems before making such faulty comparisons.




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  25. In Galileo’s 1638 book Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences he explained, that when an object is scaled up its area increases by the square of the multiplier while the volume increases by the cube of the multiplier.”

    If there was a man that was 12 or 14 feet tall, he would indeed be many times bigger [8 times bigger] than what we are now.

    Let’s get to the point. Have fossil humans anywhere averaged, or even exceeded, the height of modern day humans?

    We’re talking two ton armadillos, 500 pound beavers, 5 ton sloths, dragon flies with 30 inch wing spans, sharks 50 feet long, etc. It was a different age of verdant abundance of both plant and animal life. After all, where do you think all the massive coal and oil reserves we have today came from?

    I asked about plants.

    I’m not a paleobiologist. I’m simply asking what the fossil record provides us. Do the data bear out Ms. White’s statements regarding humans and plants, or is there a problem?




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    • @Professor Kent:

      All human fossils discovered so far are Tertiary or post-Flood fossils. There are no known antediluvian human fossils. There are claims to this effect, but none have been verified as far as I’m aware.

      It is reasonable, however, that humans were in fact much bigger before the Flood than we are today – especially given the fact that so many kinds of plants and animals were much bigger than their modern day counterparts…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  26. Sean

    You have offered as support for your bold assertion that a a breeding pair has vast phenotypic potential you suggest

    “As far as the potential for a single breeding pair to produce a vast array of dog phenotypes in short order, consider watching a Nova documentary entitled, “Dogs Decoded”. Notice the part at about the 40 minute mark where foxes were bread for tameness. Very quickly, in just a handful of generations, this trait was significantly enhanced.”

    ……
    “So, there you have it . . . starting with a very small population very significant phenotypic effects can be realized, based on pre-existing functional information, without the need for additional mutations . . .”

    I am not sure if you just dont care about the veracity of the facts underpinning you statements or if you were aware of them and dont let them confuse you or just assumed that what you think cannot be wrong. From following this site over the last 3 years I think they are all equally probable.

    Simply googling the Russian fox domestication experiment you will find another video with some details

    The description of the experiment
    It was started by a researcher at the Novosibirsk Institute of Biology named Dr. Belyaev in the Soviet days, during which he had to keep it disguised as a fur farm since the Soviet administration perceived genetic studies like his as a sort of pseudoscience and did not permit it. Starting with a few hundred foxes obtained from Estonia, he selected the ones that were most friendly and most hostile toward humans for continued breeding.

    This wasn’t just capturing wild animals and trying to tame them, it was an attempt to artificially re-create the evolutionary process of domestication in few generations, a process which took thousands of years for other animals like that from wolves to dogs.

    Several hundred foxes!!
    several hundred is not a small number
    Several hundred is not a very small number
    Several hundred is not a breeding pair

    My point from the very beginning of this thread has been that a successful founding population of a breeding pair is a miracle. I have never contested that phenotypic variation can be selected from a population with variability at multiple loci. This is simply selective breeding whether natural or directed which was Darwins starting point for his theory of origins. What is the issue is that a breeding pair is not viable except by a miracles.

    To populate the world and generate a large number of related species from a breeding pair is a miracles.

    Look up authors Trut LN, Kukekova A on pubmed and look at this review of the experiment within context as publis

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19260016

    Gives the peer reviewed literature on the derivation of the domesticated foxes

    “Altogether several thousands foxes were tested at these fur farms. In the behavioral test, the experimenter approached the home cage, tried to open it and observed the expression of the response. This observational test was highly reproducible. According to its results about 10% of farm foxes displayed the responses of wild type very weakly or not at all (Fig. 3C). Such foxes (100 females and 30 males) were chosen from different farm bred populations as the initial parental generation for selection for tolerance of human or docility, then for tameability. The fox population was outbreeding.”

    Selection for a train from several thousand is not derivation from a breeding pair.
    100 females and 30 males is not derivation from a breeding pair.

    Why am I going on and on about this. I think like Prof Kent we must be honest with the scientific data. We all have faith in God and are happy to admit that the incarnation of God in Jesus is the core of Christianity and cannot be construed as anything but a miracle. If you feel compelled to a particular literal interpretation that cannot be logically supported except by miracles surely the honest thing to do is simply admit the miracles. Admittedly this may be construed as a God of the gaps approach but surely it is appropriate to have the courage of your convictions and honestly follow a literalistic hermaneutic wherever it may lead.




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    • @pauluc:

      This wasn’t just capturing wild animals and trying to tame them, it was an attempt to artificially re-create the evolutionary process of domestication in few generations, a process which took thousands of years for other animals like that from wolves to dogs.

      That’s right. It demonstrated a genetic basis for domestication as well as for a link with changes in physical appearance – similar to what is seen in domesticated dogs.

      Several hundred foxes!!
      several hundred is not a small number
      Several hundred is not a very small number
      Several hundred is not a breeding pair

      The experiment started with 130 foxes – 30
      male foxes and 100 vixens, most of them from a
      commercial fur farm in Estonia.

      http://www.hum.utah.edu/~bbenham/2510%20Spring%2009/Behavior%20Genetics/Farm-Fox%20Experiment.pdf

      While this isn’t as small as a single breeding pair by any means, it is still a pretty small population. There is no reason to believe that similar results could not be achieved with an even smaller population – even a single breeding pair given that there are numerous examples of single breeding pairs producing large viable populations (see below).

      My point from the very beginning of this thread has been that a successful founding population of a breeding pair is a miracle.

      Not true. There are many modern day examples of viable populations being produced from single breeding pairs.

      For example, The endangered Chatham Island Black Robin Petroica traversi was brought back from the brink of extinction starting with a single breeding pair. (http://www.birdlife.org/news/news/2002/10/690.html)

      The Isle Royale gray wolf population is a small population of wolves that inhabits an island in Lake Superior off the shore of Minnesota. The population was founded by a single breeding pair in 1950 (Peterson et al. 1998). Previous genetic research found population heterozygosity levels only half that observed in the mainland progenitor (Wayne et al. 1991).

      Populations of the Bald Eagle in North Carolina have increased from a single breeding pair in 1984 to over 70 breeding pairs in 2005. (http://www.basic.ncsu.edu/eaglecam/)

      The White Tern population on Oahu has increased from a single breeding pair in 1961 to approximately 250 pairs in 2002, a growth rate of 14% per year.

      The Ringneck Pheasant are a native of Asia and were imported to the United States in the 1880’s. It is thought that the escaping of a single breeding pair began the population of these birds in the U.S.

      The colony of African penguins (Simon’s Town) has grown to nearly 3,000 from a single breeding pair in 1982.

      The golden hamster is a similarly bottlenecked species, with the vast majority descended from a single litter found in the Syrian desert around 1930.

      Less extreme examples include the northern elephant seal, whose population fell to about 30 in the 1890s, but now number in the hundreds of thousands.

      I have never contested that phenotypic variation can be selected from a population with variability at multiple loci. This is simply selective breeding whether natural or directed which was Darwins starting point for his theory of origins. What is the issue is that a breeding pair is not viable except by a miracles.

      Oh please. If there are many modern day examples of the success of populations that were known to have begun from a single breeding pair, how is it at all unreasonable to suggest that a breeding pair with far less genomic damage to begin with could do the same thing?

      To populate the world and generate a large number of related species from a breeding pair is a miracle.

      How so? Where is the limiting factor?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • @Sean Pitman:

        “How so? Where is the limiting factor?”

        I would not suggest that generation of a population of extreme homozygosity that depends on a continuing intervention program for survival is a population of “vast phenotypic potential”. In the absence of peer reviewed publication on this please just read the documents on the NZ conservation web site which I would consider the best source.

        http://www.doc.govt.nz/conservation/native-animals/birds/land-birds/black-robin/facts/

        Under the tab threats it reads

        “Predation

        By 1900, the introduction of rats and cats following human settlement had wiped out the birds from everywhere apart from Little Mangere Island. The accidental introduction of predators to the two islands where it presently survives is still a threat.

        Disease

        All black robins have the same weaknesses and strengths, stemming from the fact they have similar DNA. This means that a single disease could kill them. ”

        This is an artificial and fragile population that cannot survive in the wild without human intervention.

        Who intervened for the pairs from the ark. They either miraculously were protected by God along the way in some divine conservation program or had some magical properties conferred from the beginning that do not now exist. Either way I would call that a miracle.

        That you cannot see that population size matters is surprising for someone with a medical degree and I presume at least minimal accompanying training in genetics. If you do not believe what you learned then there is no hope I will effect any change in your view.




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        • @pauluc:

          I would not suggest that generation of a population of extreme homozygosity that depends on a continuing intervention program for survival is a population of “vast phenotypic potential”…

          Disease

          All black robins have the same weaknesses and strengths, stemming from the fact they have similar DNA. This means that a single disease could kill them. ”

          This is an artificial and fragile population that cannot survive in the wild without human intervention.

          You failed to mention the many other examples I gave you of single breeding pairs successfully reproducing in the wild – establishing healthy populations that have grown and survived over long periods of time without significant human intervention.

          Now, I will say, as I’ve originally said, that extreme population bottlenecks do indeed raise the risk for various diseases. Why is that? Because of the increased risk of expression of detrimental recessive traits and the lack of alleles that have evolved along with various infectious organisms that may attack a given population.

          For example, Europeans were resistant to many diseases that devastated the American Indians of the New World. This is because Europeans had evolved resistance to these diseases through repeated exposure (due to close association with domesticated animals) where these same diseases had not evolved in the New World because of a lack of close exposure to domestic animals.

          This was not the situation right after the Flood. Such diseases had not yet evolved to current levels of virulence and the gene pools of animals had not yet devolved to their current levels of degeneration.

          It is for this reason that the extremes of allelic variation that we see in some gene pools today simply wasn’t needed in order for a single breeding pair to produce a large, viable, healthy population of offspring. Even today with thousand of years of the build up of additional detrimental mutations such situations are not unheard of. I’ve given you numerous examples of something you said would be impossible.

          Who intervened for the pairs from the ark. They either miraculously were protected by God along the way in some divine conservation program or had some magical properties conferred from the beginning that do not now exist. Either way I would call that a miracle.

          As already noted, it is no miracle that their gene pools had far less detrimental/degenerative mutations than exist today in all slowly reproducing gene pools. It is no miracle that disease-causing organisms had not yet evolved their current level of virulence. It is no miracle that there are numerous modern day examples of single breeding pairs producing healthy populations in the wild – despite having inferior genetics compared to their ancestors.

          Where then is the basis for your argument?

          That you cannot see that population size matters is surprising for someone with a medical degree and I presume at least minimal accompanying training in genetics. If you do not believe what you learned then there is no hope I will effect any change in your view.

          You misrepresent me yet again.

          Where did I say that population size doesn’t matter? Hmmmm? I’ve said just the opposite many times in this very thread. Population size definitively matters. However, it didn’t matter nearly as much right after the Flood as it does today – for the reasons I’ve presented to you many times now.

          Your problem is that you reject the otherwise obvious reality of genetic deterioration over time for slowly reproducing animals. You also reject the obvious limitations to the creative potential of RM/NS. As far as I can tell, I see no other reason for your inability to recognize concept that a single breeding pair could easily have given rise to all the canids, and their significant allelic diversity, that we see today.

          I ask again, where is the limiting factor?

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  27. Sean,

    Here is a paper you can actually access which also attempts to derive a universal criterion for species designation, in this case using the internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) region of nuclear ribosomal DNA:

    http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0013102

    In table 1, you will see how sequence divergence within species varies among different groups of plants and animals.

    Of course, you’re going to declare the paper to be full of problems, but then again, the editors chose not to send it to you to review for one very obvious reason: they had no idea that you’re an authority on systematics.




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  28. @Prof. Kent, You have bidden adieu at least a dozen times on this website, and you still keep reappearing. Is this time “for good?” Or just until the summer term is over?




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  29. Roger&#032Seheult: @Ervin Taylor: I literally have not logged on to this website in years. It looks like the same arguments are going back and forth which means that if you haven’t been able to solve them by now, you aren’t going to convence each other of your points. What is really amazing to me and anyone intersted in the topic, however, is the tone of the comments, which usually reveal the maturity of the writer especially if they include absolutes

    Roger, Your comments are very true. Look at the title of this article, and then look at the vast majority of the posts–they have no direct connection to the topic!

    Why does Shane allow Sean, Kent, Ron, Taylor etc. to drone on and on about something that is not related to the topic of this article? They should take their personal opinions and personally email each other, and not bore the rest of us to death.

    How about this, Shane?




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  30. “In the days of Noah, men, animals, and trees, many times larger than now exist…”

    Men many times larger than now? Two-fold is 12 to 14 feet; many times would exceed this. Have such fossils been found? I’d like to see them.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      You haven’t taken into consideration Galileo’s squared-cube law.

      In Galileo’s 1638 book Dialogues Concerning Two New Sciences he explained, that when an object is scaled up its area increases by the square of the multiplier while the volume increases by the cube of the multiplier.

      In other words, if you double the height of a man the cube of the multiplier would be 2^3 = 8. So, a 12 foot man would be 8 times as massive as a 6 foot man of equivalent proportions (and have 4 times the surface area). More specifically, a doubling the height of a 200 pound man, while keeping other proportions equal, would produce a man weighing in at 1,600 pounds.

      And, when it comes to the relative size of Adam and Eve, Mrs. White is fairly specific:

      As Adam came forth from the hand of his Creator, he was of noble height, and of beautiful symmetry. He was more than twice as tall as men now living upon the earth, and was well proportioned. His features were perfect and beautiful. His complexion was neither white, nor sallow, but ruddy, glowing with the rich tint of health. Eve was not quite as tall as Adam. Her head reached a little above his shoulders. She, too, was noble—perfect in symmetry, and very beautiful.

      Ellen White, SOP, Vol. 1, p. 25

      So, if true, Adam weighed a ton – literally!

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  31. @Professor Kent, there is an abundance of data on giant plants and animals. Here is another on plants —

    Fossil forest
    The fossilized forest floor contained three types of enormous plants. The first, known as the Gilboa tree or Eospermatopteris, was once thought to be the only type of tree in the forest; quarry workers have been carting specimens out of the area since the fossil plants were first discovered. This tree was tall and looked like today’s palm trees, with a crown of branches at the very top.

    But an even stranger specimen lurked in this ancient forest. Amid the towering Gilboa trees were woody creeping plants with branches about 6 inches in diameter. These giant plants, known as progymnosperms, seemed to lean against the Gilboa trees for support, perhaps even climbing into them occasionally, Berry said.” (read the whole article at: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/46578123/ns/technology_and_science-science/t/ancient-forest-had-giant-vines-towering-trees/)




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    • @Professor Kent:

      It depends upon the type of tree (or animal) you’re talking about. Certainly the fossil record does in fact record many types of plants and animals that were once many times larger, or more massive, than they are today…

      We’re talking two ton armadillos, 500 pound beavers, 5 ton sloths, dragon flies with 30 inch wing spans, sharks 50 feet long, etc. Also, Carboniferous plants averaged 30 or more times as large as modern equivalent forms.

      It was a different age of verdant abundance of both plant and animal life. After all, where do you think all the massive coal and oil reserves we have today came from?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  32. @ Professor Kent – Hitler was not a bad man because he was a vegetarian. He had to be stopped for other things, no? What he ate was a whole different ball game.

    Just so, saying that we do not yet have all the evidence that Ellen White says we will have (we do, by the way, have some of it) is a whole different ball game than saying Genesis is a myth or saying that death came before sin or saying there was no designer, that all of life and indeed the universe comes by random chance and/or natural selection. That is unacceptable.

    -Shining




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  33. @ Professor kent – I could go on but this by Natl Geographic should do for a finale. If one looks it is easy to find a plethora of evidence. In spite of evidece not yet found, evidence kept in private collections, evidence destroyed or tamered with, or evidence about about which inaccurate conclusions have been drawn, there is volumes of it there for the looking. In the past, there were plants and animals much bigger than what we see today. -Shining

    “A team of amateur spelunkers has discovered caves filled with very well preserved fossils of giant flat-faced kangaroos, marsupial lions, wombats, Tasmanian tigers, and other megafauna that lived in Australia during the Pleistocene era, http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/08/0807_020731_TVmegafauna.html




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  34. The fact that human remains are not found in Mesozoic strata in conjunction with the remains of dinosaurs need not indicate that humans evolved millions of years after the dinosaurs went extinct. The fossil record is very imperfect, and many living organisms fail to enter the record when the die. For example, coelacanth fish are alive and well in today’s oceans, but no coelacanths appear in the fossil record after the Cretaceous. The absence of human fossils from the Mesozoic may also indicate that human beings and dinosaurs lived in different ecological zones and were usually separated by distance rather than time.

    Simply put, we need to be cautious about the conclusions we reach on the basis of what is or is not found in the fossil record.




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  35. Since the original meaning of science was the search for knowledge and truth, it has no fight with the original account of creation. 🙂 Thanks for the good Quote Sean.

    -Shining




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  36. Fantastic! As someone who has visited the Creation Museum in Kentucky, enjoying their unbridled enthusiasm for creation, and at the same time very sad over so many evolution leaning professors in SDA institutions, I’m greatly pleased with this.
    Thank God for this step in the right direction.




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  37. It is nice to see that SAU wants to be the head and not the tail, as God would want it for our institutions. Unfortunately it seems that LSU and others who want to teach the worldly way would rather be the tail. [edit] I surely don’t want to be the tail of anything, thank you very much.

    Praise the Lord for SAU and their commitment to the truth.




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  38. Hi Sean and Bill,

    I am wondering if the difference of opinion here is due to varying definitions of the word ‘science’. As we all know there is true science and there is worldly psuedo-science.

    If Bill’s understanding of ‘science’ in this case is actually worldly psuedo-science, then he is correct in not wanting any truth to be compromised with it.

    From Sean’s post, I believe he is referring to true science, which is definitely part of our beliefs on origins and is well supported by the Bible and SOP, as Sean admirably demonstrated.

    Not having seen the exhibit myself, I cannot comment on whether or not they are mixing psuedo-science into it. (Perhaps a few of you posters out there can see the exhibit and report back to us.) Knowing the general philosophy of SAU, I would be surprised if they did.

    Their goal is “to provide scientific evidence that substantiates the Bible’s account of creation.” Sounds good to me.
    They also say: “Religion and science don’t need to be at odds.” And that is true when you are referring to true science, which I believe they are.

    However, I do understand Bill’s reaction in that these days when people use the word ‘science’ without qualification it so often means evolutionary pseudoscience, that we tend to be suspicious.

    I think, Bill, that in this case we don’t need to worry. I believe SAU’s heart is in the right place and I am so glad that at least one of our institutions is willing to stand up and be counted on the side of Creation, even though they will probably draw much criticism from the ‘scientific’ community as well as from the TEs in their own church.

    God bless them for their fidelity to Him. And may God strengthen them to meet the onslaught that is most likely to follow, is my prayer for them.




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  39. Found an interesting article. Whether ape or human, it was big. The article also explains that in China fossils are ground up and eaten as medicine.

    “The original fossils of Peking man disappeared during the confusion of World War II after they were described and cast by anatomist Franz Weidenreich. Von Koenigswald was taken prisoner by the Japanese in Java and his unique collection of Gigantopithecus teeth spent the war years in a milk bottle buried in a friend’s backyard on the island.
    Weidenreich retreated from Beijing to the American Museum of Natural History in New York and studied plaster casts of the four teeth. Because of the unusually large size of a few of the Homo erectus specimens from Java, Weidenreich believed there had been a period of gigantism in human evolution, and that modern humans were the diminutive descendants of these giants. In “Apes, Giants, and Man”, published in 1946, he claimed that the Gigantopithecus teeth were humanlike, and that von Koenigswald had been mistaken in considering the animal an ape rather than a human species.”
    http://aenigmaunveiled.wordpress.com/2009/06/09/gigantopithecus/




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  40. I agree that no extant antediluvian human remains are known. However, there are Pleistocene (early postdiluvian) human fossils that are larger than the modern norm. These fossils may be indicators that human beings were larger in the past.

    For example, there’s the Turkana Boy skeleton (KNM-WT 15000) discovered by Richard Leakey’s team in 1984 and dubbed either Homo erectus or Homo ergaster. Turkana Boy was taller than most equivalent modern boys and would have been well over 6 feet all, had he survived to adulthood.

    There are also fragmentary remains from Java of individuals who have been dubbed Homo erectus meganthropus. Even some evolutionists (e.g. Franz Weidenreich) have regarded these individuals as giants, while others reject that assertion. I don’t want to claim too much for H. erectus meganthropus because the remains are so fragmentary. But I am posting the following web sites as food for thought.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meganthropus
    http://prehistoricfantasy.blogspot.com/2007/05/meganthropus-robustus_29.html




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  41. One particularly compelling conclusion from the three papers cited in the prior post is that the use of genetic distance shows a high level of agreement with other methods used for defining species boundaries (96%, Cuban fishes; 90%, North American fishes; 94%, North American birds).

    While Sean would like us to believe that species delineation is highly subjective and capricious, there is no question that taxonomists employing a diverse range of species concepts and methodologies can reach broad agreement. Reliance on a multitude of species concepts and methodologies is a strength of taxonomy, and not the weakness Sean would have us believe.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      All I asked you was if there was a single universally applicable and consistent definition of species? You’ve admitted that the answer to this question is no. There is no universal definition of a “species” group that is consistent in all cases.

      You also failed to provide a standardized genetic definition of a species group whereby a particular genetic distance in any one or any collection of genetic regions can be universally applied.

      Let me know if/when this situation changes…

      __________________

      Look, the main question in play here is if RM/NS can produce new “species” if the concept of a new species isn’t dependent upon changes in genetic functionality beyond very very low levels of functional complexity? The answer to this question is yes. If species are defined without regard to levels of genetic functionality, then new species can and will be evolved via RM/NS. However, if novel gene pools are defined by qualitatively novel systems of function beyond low levels of functional complexity, then such gene pools are separated beyond the powers of Darwinian mechanisms to explain – regardless of what taxonomic label you put on them. At this point, only intelligent design can explain the origin of such functionally novel gene pools…

      Now, you’ve admirably tried to come up with examples of evolution in action beyond low levels of functional complexity. Your problem is that you don’t yet seem to understand the concept of specificity. A level of functional complexity is defined not only by its minimum size requirement, but also by the minimum degree of specificity of arrangement of all of its parts relative to all the other parts within the system. Both of these elements are required when one is evaluating the level of functional complexity of a particular system.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  42. Sean&#032Pitman: [@ Pauluc] I’ve given you numerous examples already of systems that require a minimum of far more than 1000 specifically arranged residues. How many more examples do you need?

    Disregarding bacterial examples (which could have arrived from another galaxy), here are the examples Sean provided earlier to argue that transitions between major animal groups (e.g., amphibians to reptiles, reptiles to mammals or birds) would be impossible:

    Sean&#032Pitman in a prior post: Anything novel between these groups that requires a minimum of more than 1000 specifically arranged amino acid parts would qualify (or an equivalent number of codons of DNA) – like the middle ear with tympanic membrane and ear bone in amphibians as well as the amphibian ability to metamorphosize to the adult stage (vs. no such middle ears with in fish or the ability to metamorphosize legs, lungs, etc.), or the amniotic eggs of reptiles with a tough leathery shell (vs. the soft watery gel that surrounds the eggs of amphibians), or the hair and sweat glands of mammals (compared to a lack of such in reptiles), or the true flight feathers of birds with their interlocking Velcro-like features (compared to a lack of such in true reptiles).

    I’d like to know how many specifically arranged amino acid parts would be necessary for each these traits. I see no reason why smaller baby steps can’t accomplish these transitions.

    Very dramatic mutations can result in entire supernumery limbs appearing out of place in both invertebrates and vertebrates, so I don’t see any difficulty with extra bones showing up in the ear.

    Regarding the evolution of hair, a prior study found chickens, lizards, and humans all possessed a similar set of genes that was involved in the production of alpha keratin. In chickens and lizards, the α-keratin produced was found in their claws, but in mammals it was used to produce hair.

    Speaking of the leathery eggs of reptiles, there are individual species which exhibit vivipary (live birth), ovovivipary (egg retained internally until birth), or ovipary (egg-laying) depending on where they live. And many embryologists no longer recognize these three categories, as there appears to be a continuum from live-bearing to egg-laying. Doesn’t seem to me the differences are all that insurmountable.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      I never said that all reptiles produce leathery eggs. What I said was that there are those that do and that this particular feature is a complex feature not found in amphibians.

      As far as the range of differences which you think are spaced closely enough for evolutionary mechanisms to realize, you simply do not understand the number of underlying genetic changes that would be required to cross between any one of your proposed steppingstones (see my response and references to your comment below).

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  43. What a dialog!

    About all I can say is “WOW”!

    From all I read, the pre-flood world was a whole different form of eco-system. The vast oceans did not exist and even the polar regions were comfortably habitable.
    I understand that fossil records found in far-north regions reveal a time when those areas supported even tropical plant life.

    Interesting facts about Earth:

    About 197 million square miles total surface.
    About 71% water, 29% land.

    Depending on one’s definition of “habitable”, only a small portion of the 29% is comfortably livable.

    So what was the pre-flood earth like? According to the Genesis account, the “waters were divided”. (Gen 1: 6 & 7)

    I have read theories of a water envelope surrounding the earth as well as an aquifer that produced water from beneath. (see Gen 2:6) Genesis 7:11 describes “the fountains of the deep” that were “broken up” and the huge volume of water that fell from the “windows of heaven”.

    I believe that much greater percentages of the Earth were both covered by land and were habitable prior to the flood. This, along with the fact that the Earth was more fertile and supported much more vigorous growth, was the cause for the vast reserves of coal and oil that are found here today. A cataclysmic flood of the proportions described in scripture would also explain the depth (miles in some cases) that vegetative matter is found beneath the surface.

    I don’t think that anyone can know what the Earth was like before the flood, except the small amount of information provided by scripture. Maybe the earth did not have a tilt and maybe God added the tilt at the flood? Or maybe the tilt was different. But that is speculation.

    What I do know is that whatever happened to put the Earth in its current state will be reversed when He makes it “New” again. Those who have a personal relationship with their Creator / Saviour can claim the promise to be there in about a millenium when He puts the Earth back to what it was before sin entered.

    And that, my brothers and sisters, is what being a Seventh-Day Adventist is all about. Just to be there!




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  44. Details, details, details.

    As a father to four children, I have shared enough about their origin to convince them who their parents are, and that they are loved.

    I haven’t gone into intimate detail about how they were conceived; when they were conceived; and where they were conceived. I haven’t described to them the forms of birth control that failed or were suspended when they were conceived. I haven’t lectured them on how the sperm and egg were produced that ultimnately fused together to produce them, and how as embryos they underwent dramatic changes to create the structures that persist with them today.

    My children are certainly welcome to speculate on these details, but I have shared with them all they need to know to understand that they are precious and loved unconditionally. They know enough to recognize that I want a daily relationship with them.

    God has similarly shared key details about how he created us–and they are more than enough to convince us of his unconditional love. We are certainly free to speculate as we wish on the details he did not provide, but they are unnecessary. We can be dogmatic about our interpretations, put down those who see things differently, and exclude these others from our Church. But no one can stop such disenfranchised individuals from enjoying a daily commune with God, who has shared all we need to know about who he is and what his plan is for us.




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  45. Dear Charles,

    I appreciate most of what you wrote. However, Gen 1 does mention the existence of the oceans in the pre-fall world. I’m not sure if the exact same ratios held – 71% water and 29% land – but clearly, the antediluvian oceans were fairly extensive. In fact, the “great deep” can refer to the ocean, and the bursting forth of the fountains of the great deep probably does refer, at least in part, to the ocean covering the land in a very violent manner.

    Another interesting thought – there was probably only one super continent before the flood that was broken up by catastrophic plate tectonics. Even Gen 2 seems to hint at this in its description of the configuration of the rivers of Eden. Although the names “Tigris” and “Euphrates” appear in the modern world, we have no modern river system anything like what is described in Gen 2:10-14. In fact, two of the rivers, the Pishon and the Gihon, are completely unknown. Note also that the second river, the Gihon, had its source in Ethiopia (KJV) or Cush (NIV). This is a clear reference to a region in northeast Africa. But if we assume that the Garden of Eden was somewhere in Mesopotamia, there is a huge geographical problem here, because we have a river running from Africa into Asia. The implication seems to be that Africa and Asia were one land mass in the antediluvian world and that the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden did not exist!




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  46. I see that Professor Kent has been casting pearls of logic and reasonableness before certain types of individuals on the educate truth (sic) web site again. I share with him my amazement at the new insights about inspiration revealed here.




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  47. Sean,

    I marvel at your ability to detect subtle realities and decipher truth from inspired history. Through brilliant use of empirical evidence, you shed light on inspired history to illuminate extraordinary insights that escape less inspired minds.

    Before this conversation, I had no idea that inspiration gave us such rich details on the degeneration not just of humans, but of plants and animals as well; the astounding loss of biodiversity (of major kinds) and failure of the ark to preserve this diversity; the true nature of the flood, including extended periods of relative calm at various times and places, and how it took many months for the flood waters to crest; the scavenging behavior of animals that lived for up to a year during the flood before they perished in the water; the actual reason why Satan feared for his life during the flood; how the fossil record so clearly supports everything depicted by inspired history; and why we must believe our senses and empirical evidence rather than trust God’s word at face value.

    I thank you for opening my eyes to a new understanding of inspiration.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      Before this conversation, I had no idea that inspiration gave us such rich details on the degeneration not just of humans, but of plants and animals as well;

      What amazes me is that you claim to believe in inspiration yet you do not recognize the very clear claim of the Bible that things were better when they came fresh from the Creator than they are now after thousands of years of separation from the Creator’s direct care and sustaining power. The Bible is explicit regarding the degeneration of humans and Ellen White goes into detail regarding the degeneration of plants and animals from their original state. Yet, you wish to argue that this is not evident from inspiration? How can you come to this conclusion when it has been evident to most Jews and then Christians for thousands of years?

      the astounding loss of biodiversity (of major kinds) and failure of the ark to preserve this diversity;

      Mrs. White specifically explains that God did not save certain types of animals on the Ark by design. It only stands to reason that saving something like a T. rex would probably cause more harm than good in the new fragile world…

      Also, I mention yet again that this world is degenerating. Many kinds of plants and animals go extinct every day… often without anyone realizing it. This world, and life on it, is wearing out.

      All of this is very much in line with the Inspired account of origins.

      the true nature of the flood, including extended periods of relative calm at various times and places, and how it took many months for the flood waters to crest;

      Again, where does the Bible or Mrs. White say otherwise? The geologic/fossil evidence suggest this and this evidence is not contradicted by Inspiration.

      the scavenging behavior of animals that lived for up to a year during the flood before they perished in the water;

      Certainly it seems like many types of animals lived and tried to find stuff to eat, dinosaurs even laid eggs, until the water nearly crested. Again, how is this concept at all inconsistent with the claims of Inspiration?

      the actual reason why Satan feared for his life during the flood;

      Why do you think he feared for his life? What about this statement necessitates the notion that some dinosaurs couldn’t survive several months as the waters of the Flood increased before finally cresting?

      how the fossil record so clearly supports everything depicted by inspired history; and why we must believe our senses and empirical evidence rather than trust God’s word at face value.

      We are talking about the weight of evidence here. You can believe anything at “face value” – like my LDS friends. That doesn’t make faith any more rational than wishful thinking…

      I thank you for opening my eyes to a new understanding of inspiration.

      Stop being so sarcastic for once and actually try to consider the rational basis for faith – for a solid realization of the Good News of the Gospel message of hope. There are a great many excellent reasons, even the weight of evidence, to support the claims of the miraculous Gospel stories and fantastic promises…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • @Sean Pitman:

        A biblical account of downward progression? I think not.

        Gen 2:8 Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.
        Gen 3:7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.
        Gen 3:21 The Lord God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.
        Gen 4:22 Zillah also had a son, Tubal-Cain, who forged all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron.
        Gen 6:14 So make yourself an ark of cypress wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out.
        Genesis 13:3 From the Negev he went from place to place until he came to Bethel, to the place between Bethel and Ai where his tent had been earlier.
        Exodus 26:7 Make curtains of goat hair for the tent over the tabernacle—eleven altogether.
        1 Kings 5:17 At the king’s command they removed from the quarry large blocks of high-grade stone to provide a foundation of dressed stone for the temple.
        Leviticus 25:3 For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops.
        Isiah 65:18 But be glad and rejoice forever
        in what I will create,
        for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight
        and its people a joy.
        19 I will rejoice over Jerusalem
        and take delight in my people;
        the sound of weeping and of crying
        will be heard in it no more.

        20 “Never again will there be in it
        an infant who lives but a few days,
        or an old man who does not live out his years;
        the one who dies at a hundred
        will be thought a mere child;
        the one who fails to reach[a] a hundred
        will be considered accursed.
        21 They will build houses and dwell in them;
        they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit.
        Revelation 21:15 The angel who talked with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city, its gates and its walls. 16 The city was laid out like a square, as long as it was wide. He measured the city with the rod and found it to be 12,000 stadia in length, and as wide and high as it is long. 17 The angel measured the wall using human measurement, and it was 144 cubits[d] thick. 18 The wall was made of jasper, and the city of pure gold, as pure as glass. 19 The foundations of the city walls were decorated with every kind of precious stone. The first foundation was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth onyx, the sixth ruby, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth turquoise, the eleventh jacinth, and the twelfth amethyst. 21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass.
        Revelation 22:22 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of the great street of the city.

        The trajectory of bible history is not at all a history of degeneration but of technical advancement from a garden to a vast cubic city that is 2,200 kilometers in each dimension. (That is 250x the height of Mt Everest. Not sure what docking that on the earth would do to tectonic plate movements, the rotation of the earth or how the residents at the highest level would cope with the vanishingly small oxygen tensions)

        To me the narrative is of growth in knowledge, understanding and technology not in degeneration but does that reflect the writers vision of the good life or has God decided that a really really big city is much better than a garden.

        And don’t try to dismiss this vision of the end as symbolic as you will then also need to dismiss the account of the beginning too.




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        • @pauluc:

          You’re talking about the New Jerusalem, created by God after the Second Coming of Jesus. This city is placed on the Earth after the Earth is recreated to be like it was intended to be before the Fall.

          Of course things are going to get better, much much better, once God steps in and fixes everything. Until then, however, the Bible describes a record of decay and death and moral decline with things getting worse as time progresses since the Fall. The deterioration in genomic quality will also continue until God puts an end to it.

          Gains in knowledge and human technology aren’t the same as preventing the deterioration of our gene pool or of the environment in general. Did you read where the Bible describes people as destroying the Earth? – Revelation 11:18

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  48. Sean&#032Pitman: So, what is the basis of an “intelligent trust” in God’s word? – the Bible? Evidence! Empirical evidence that appeals to the rational candid intelligent mind of the one who is sincerely looking for truth.

    And this is exactly what Satan can exploit, as Jesus himself warned us…repeatedly.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      Satan can try to exploit “evidence”, but he is never able to trump the evidence that God provides in His own favor. God deliberately stacks the deck so that no one who is honest about finding the actual truth need be deceived regarding the existence and essential nature of God or what God requires of us when it comes to loving our neighbors.

      A good example of this sort of exchange is recorded in Exodus where Satan produces evidence for Pharaoh that seems to call into question Moses’ claim to be a representative of God. However, God then provides additional evidence that trumps that provided by Satan. Yet, Pharaoh chooses to accept the weaker evidence… because of his own desire not to believe the superior evidence that God has provided.

      Again, God does not desire or expect anyone to believe in Him without adequate evidence… evidence which He has provided in abundance. What you are arguing for here is an irrational form of faith. The only reason you have fans like Erv Taylor is because you are trying to undermine the empirical credibility of the Bible. Otherwise, he doesn’t agree with you at all regarding the importance of empirical evidence…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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    • @Professor Kent:

      Dinosaurs certainly survived until the KT- boundary, which is the majority of the geologic column – the majority of the sedimentary layers that had been layed down.

      I personally suspect that the cresting of the flood took place just before the KT-boundary… and that Noah was able to leave the ark during the early Teriary while significant regional catastrophes were still taking place. However, either way one looks at it, dinosuars clearly survived quite some time as sediments were being deposited by water all arong them. Their footprints are everywhere. They even layed eggs and hastily produced nests. They scavanged for food. They survived quite some time. But, as already noted, by the time of the KT – boundary, they were all dead…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  49. Sean,

    If someone was to produce miracles and signs to convince us they had a message from God, should we believe them? After all, miracles cannot be wrought by mere humans. Which should we trust–our senses, or God’s word?

    I have always believed the following warnings were issued to advise us not to trust our senses, but to trust instead the explicit instruction from God’s word. I suspect you (and, therefore, most conservative SDAs) interpret these quite differently than I do, so please help my understanding.

    Matthew 24:24 (NIV) “For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.

    2 Thes 2:9-10 (NIV) “The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.

    Deut 18:1-4 (NIV) “If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder spoken of takes place, and the prophet says, “Let us follow other gods” (gods you have not known) “and let us worship them,” you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The Lord your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul. It is the Lord your God you must follow, and him you must revere. Keep his commands and obey him; serve him and hold fast to him.

    Rev 13:11-14 (NIV) “Then I saw a second beast, coming out of the earth. It had two horns like a lamb, but it spoke like a dragon. It exercised all the authority of the first beast on its behalf, and made the earth and its inhabitants worship the first beast, whose fatal wound had been healed. And it performed great signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to the earth in full view of the people. Because of the signs it was given power to perform on behalf of the first beast, it deceived the inhabitants of the earth.

    Rev 19:20 (NIV) “But the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who had performed the signs on its behalf. With these signs he had deluded those who had received the mark of the beast and worshiped its image.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      If someone was to produce miracles and signs to convince us they had a message from God, should we believe them? After all, miracles cannot be wrought by mere humans. Which should we trust–our senses, or God’s word?

      Why do you believe that the Bible is God’s word? – and not the Qur’an or the Book of Mormon? Did God send an angel to tell you? If so, how do you know that the angel is really from God? How do you know that you haven’t already been deceived to believe that the Bible is the word of God when it really isn’t? How do you know that what you think you know is actually true?

      My LDS friends tell me that they have a deep feeling or “burning” in the middle of themselves whenever they hear or read “the truth” – which is the basis for their acceptance of the Book of Mormon as the real word of God.

      You see, a rational faith in the Bible as the true Word of God must be based on the weight of evidence. That is the only way that one will be able to rationally avoid the deceptions of those who would try to destroy one’s faith in the Word of God.

      Also, many of these things are not salvational ideas. No one is going to be excluded from heaven for being honestly deceived on the topic of origins, for example. Salvation is based on motive, not on correct knowledge.

      I have always believed the following warnings were issued to advise us not to trust our senses, but to trust instead the explicit instruction from God’s word. I suspect you (and, therefore, most conservative SDAs) interpret these quite differently than I do, so please help my understanding.

      The Bible advises us to “reason” together, to use our God-given brains, to determine truth from error – to determine that the Bible really is the actual Word of God. This knowledge is not innate. It has to be researched and discovered based on the “weight of evidence” before it can be rationally accepted.

      God does not propose to remove all occasion for unbelief. He gives evidence, which must be carefully investigated with a humble mind and a teachable spirit, and all should decide from the weight of evidence” (Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 255). “God gives sufficient evidence for the candid mind to believe; but he who turns from the weight of evidence because there are a few things which he cannot make plain to his finite understanding will be left in the cold, chilling atmosphere of unbelief and questioning doubts, and will make shipwreck of faith” (ibid., vol. 4, pp. 232, 233).

      Ignorance may seek to support false views of God by appeals to science, but the book of nature and the written word shed light upon each other. We are thus led to adore the Creator and to have an intelligent trust in His word.

      – Ellen White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 115

      So, what is the basis of an “intelligent trust” in God’s word? – the Bible? Evidence! Empirical evidence that appeals to the rational candid intelligent mind of the one who is sincerely looking for truth.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  50. @ Sean Pitman

    Sean&#032Pitman: So, it is perfectly reasonable that such animals [outside the ark] would have needed and search for food during the year-long Flood before they themselves finally succumbed.

    Out of curiosity, what did animals INSIDE the ark feed on?

    We have millions of predatory terrestrial invertebrates, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals with us today that had to survive in the ark. Since we know with certainty that animals outside the ark must have been feeding voraciously, mating passionately, and laying eggs copiously during the year-long flood, which you have shown to be consistent with inspired history, what were the predators feeding on INSIDE the ark?

    Many predators subsist on only one or a very few prey species, which are often unclean animals represented by just two individuals. There are snakes and birds, for example, which subsist wholly upon snails. How many snails were consumed–and snail species rendered extinct–by the pair of snail kites on the ark? If these predators ate just one individual of an unclean species, then that species would no longer be represented by a male and a female. Consequently, the species would become extinct.

    Snail kites eat 1.7 to 3.4 apple snails per hour. By my quick calculations based on energetic needs, each snail kite requires at least 30 apple snails per day. As a pair, the kites would have required more than 20,000 snails over the course of a year. That’s a minimum of 10,000 snail species that presumably went extinct while inside the ark–if we are to use reason and our God-given brains, that is.

    Would it be consistent with inspired history to conclude that, in order for many predatory species to survive on the ark, vast numbers of unclean species met their demise and became extinct while on the ark?

    Even predators that consume clean animals must have taken an enormous toll on the clean animals that entered the ark in groups of seven. Have you ever calculated how many prey animals it would take to sustain a single lion for a year? We could multiply that by its mate and then multiply this by the other large predator species preserved on the ark. Were there enough clean prey to go around, or were more extinctions inevitable?

    Who else would be better to ask than you?




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    • Maybe they were young and not adults and didn’t need to eat a lot and maybe part of the reason the clean animals went on by 7’s is because some were to be used for food for the so called predators. But, think about this, so called predators were not always predators as God did not create killers and eaters of flesh. Think about the gorilla with its big, nasty looking teeth and yet is a vegetarian. If we’re told that the lion will eat grass like an ox in the new earth, chances are he did before. Anyway, it takes less faith in my estimation that God could figure out what these animals needed to eat for a year, than that even one living thing evolved…ever, from nothing.

      You are saying species whereas my Bible refers to kinds. It seems that some groupings man has come up with since Genesis was written are not as singular as we would be led to believe.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      Why is it so difficult to imagine that the special food needs of various kinds of creatures were taken into account by God? – that these needs were met by taking on extra specialized provisions when needed?

      Also, you fail to realize that post-Flood specialization, with additional dietary limitations, were the result of a loss of the genetic diversity that existed within certain kinds of gene pools before the Flood. Dietary restrictions can evolve very very rapidly as a result of a loss of the ability to produce key enzymes, etc. For example, have you ever heard of lactase deficiency that is common to certain ethnic groups of humans?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  51. Sean&#032Pitman: Certainly all variation at lower levels of functional complexity could easily be realized in this period of time.

    This faith-based claim simply cannot be demonstrated.

    Sean&#032Pitman: Humans and apes are quite different in various respects, to include brain structure and function – which is thought to be based on numerous differences in genetic regions that code for miRNAs (around 8% of which are human specific).

    You failed to indicate where the 1,000-fsaar gap would be. Where is the evidence these changes could not occur via gradual stepwise change? You’ve argued vociferously that all dog breeds could be derived from a single pair within 4,000 years (you’ve made a case for most occuring in 300 years), why couldn’t these closely-related apes evolve over millions of years?

    Sean&#032Pitman: A study published by Nature in early 2010 showed many striking differences between human and chimp chromosome structure, gene content, and even qualitatively unique genes between the two species.

    Where are the 1,000-fsaar gaps?




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    • @Professor Kent:

      Again, the gap is not 1000aa for a 1000aa system. The 1000aa specified system is a system that is at a level of complexity that is unevolvable. The minimum gap distance, as explained to you several times before, is always smaller, much smaller, than the minimum size requirement for a specified system.

      There are many unique phenotypic differences between apes and humans, to include differences in the form and function of the brain, which require far more than 1000 specifically coded positions. The minimum gap distances produced by this level of functional complexity always less than 1000aa differences, but only a few dozen required differences are all that it takes to make a system unreachable via the evolutionary mechanism (explained further below).

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  52. I meant 7 pairs (not individuals) of clean animals; sorry for the misstatement. But the toll on biodiversity was even more devastating, as I hadn’t realized that there were 7 pairs of each bird species. We’re now talking at least 70,000 snail species must have entered the ark and become extinct in order to feed the snail kites. Very tragic.

    And upon re-reading the account in scripture, I noticed this: “At the end of the hundred and fifty days the water had gone down.” Clearly, the floodwaters that covered the highest peaks had crested before this (contrary to Bob Helm’s suggestion), yet Sean wants us to believe that dinosaurs and other animals outside the ark continued to eat, mate, and produce offspring throughout the one-year duration of the flood:

    So, it is perfectly reasonable that such animals would have needed and search for food during the year-long Flood before they themselves finally succumbed.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      I didn’t say that dinosaurs survived the entire year that Noah was on the Ark. I said that dinosaurs evidently survived an extended period of time, maybe even the majority of time, that Noah was on the Ark.

      This position is not at all inconsistent with a literal interpretation of the Biblical account of the Noachian Flood where all land animals were eventually destroyed by this catastrophe. And, this position takes into account the fossil evidence of extended survival and predatory habits of dinosaurs within the fossil record…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  53. Sean, it’s clear that you believe inspired history and the fossil record can accomodate each other with remarkable ease, and without contradiction. If you don’t mind, perhaps you could clarify a few things regarding what many see as incontrovertible succession in the fossil record, and which baffle me. Assuming all of the following life forms coexisted together at one time in the recent (ca. 6,000 year) past, how do you resolve the following apparent anomalies from the fossil strata?

    From the lower end:

    – No archaeocyathids (a coral-like organism) above middle Cambrian strata
    – No pentamerus brachiopods, psilopsid plants, or cystoid crinozoans above Devonian strata
    – No graptolites above Mississippian strata
    – No trilobites or rugose corals above Permian strata

    From the upper end:

    – No angiosperms (flowering plants) in strata below Cretaceous
    – No birds in strata below Jurassic
    – No mammals in strata below upper Triassic
    – No reptiles in strata below Pennsylvanian
    – No gymnosperms in strata below Mississippian
    – No amphibians in strata below Devonian

    For the reader, here are the primary layers in sequence (and typical creationist assignment relative to the flood) to compare the above distribution of life forms:

    Quaternary (post-flood)
    Tertiary (post-flood)
    Cretaceous (flood)
    Jurassic (flood)
    Triassic (flood)
    Permian (flood)
    Pennsylvanian (flood)
    Mississippian (flood)
    Devonian (flood)
    Silurian (flood)
    Ordovician (flood)
    Cambrian (flood)
    Precambrian (pre-flood)

    Many creationists concede that three favored interpretations to explain this troublesome distribution have fared poorly: (1) progressive destruction of habitats as the waters rose; migration of animals as the waters rose; and (3) hydrodynamic sorting based on size, shape, and specific gravity of organisms that preceded burial.

    What are your thoughts? Do you believe all of these organisms actual exist, albeit barely detected or even undetected, throughout the geologic column? Or do you acknowledge that the evidence for succession in the layers is genuine, and if so, what might explain it in a way that is consistent with inspired history?




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    • @Professor Kent:

      I cover most if not all of these questions on my website in discussions on the fossil record and geologic column.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

      P.S. Pollen from flowering plants, spores and the remains of vascular plants have been found in Cambrian and Pre-Cambrian sediments (Link). And, true bird fossils have been found in Triassic deposits in Texas – along with bird footprints in Triassic sediments in Argentina. Chatterjee claims that these Triassic fossil birds are true birds that are actually closer to modern birds than is the Jurassic Archaeopteryx.




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  54. Dear Professor Kent and Sean,

    You are having a very interesting dialogue here. However, in regard to Satan’s fear of drowning in the flood, Hebrews 1:14 defines angels as spirits, and since spirit beings do not have physical bodies, they could not possibly drown. So if Satan feared for his own existence, he must have feared that God would destroy him through some other means than the flood.




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  55. @ Sean Pitman,

    I take it you find Henry Morris’ description of the flood laughable:

    “Visualize, then, a great hydraulic cataclysm bursting upon the present world, with currents of waters pouring perpetually from the skies and erupting continuously from the earth’s crust, all over the world, for weeks on end, until the entire globe was submerged, accompanied by outpourings of magma from the mantle, gigantic earth movements, landslides, tsunamis, and explosions. … Soils would soon erode away and trees and plants be uprooted and carried down toward the sea in great mats on flooding streams. Eventually the hills and mountains themselves would disintegrate and flow downstream in great landslides and turbidity currents. Slabs of rock would crack and bounce and gradually be rounded into boulders and gravel and sand. Vast seas of mud and rock would flow downriver, trapping many animals and rafting great masses of plants with them. … Finally the sediments would settle out as the waters slowed down, dissolved chemicals would precipitate … and great beds of sediment, soon to be cemented into rock, would be formed all over the world.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      I think this description is largely accurate. Why would you think I would call it “laughable”? – just because I think it took a number of months to achieve complete annihilation of the dinosaurs? as indicated by the upper aspect of the fossil record (i.e., the KT-boundary)? Where is the overwhelming inconsistency here with anything written in the Bible or in the writings of Ellen White?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  56. @ Sean Pitman

    Sean&#032Pitman: Where does Mrs. White say that Satan was actually scared of drowning in the Flood? After all, you’re talking about someone who was, at this point in time, free to travel away from this planet to attend meetings in Heaven as a representative of this world (read Job). The suggestion is that Satan feared for his life, not so much because of Flood itself, but because he didn’t know whether or not God had gotten fed up enough and had decided to end it all, the entire rebellion, right then and there.

    Where did I say that Satan feared he would drown? I simply wrote:

    Professor&#032Kent: The picture you describe largely resembles life as usual for animals during a tempest in which we’re told that Satan himself feared for his life. How odd

    Here is exactly what Ellen White wrote:

    “Satan himself, who was compelled to remain in the midst of the warring elements, feared for his own existence.” – Patriarchs and Prophets




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    • @Professor Kent:

      A worldwide catastrophe that destroyed all land animal life was hardly “life as usual”. As already explained, it would only be rational for Satan to fear for his own life as well since everyone else is being destroyed… perhaps God is planning on destroying him as well.

      Where is there any inconsistency in the suggestion that the Flood took a while, months, to kill off everything or that it waxed and waned at given locations or that it did not affect every place on the globe at the very same moment in time?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  57. Sean Pitman makes such interesting statements:

    Sean&#032Pitman: the Flood took a while to kill off all animal life. Many creatures survived for quite some time during the Flood. There were tidal actions during the Flood and other means whereby dry land was exposed for various periods of time. In this manner trackways were preserved and well as dinosaur nests and clutches of eggs (sometimes deposited on multiple levels of sediment within the same nest as additional layers were laid down during the Flood). So, obviously, scavenging of animals that had already been killed would only be expected.

    Sean&#032Pitman: They even layed eggs and hastily produced nests. They scavanged for food. They survived quite some time.

    And these are, of course, consistent with inspired history:

    Sean&#032Pitman: Where have I contradicted anything in the Bible or the writings of Ellen White?

    But what does Ellen White have to say?

    Darker and darker grew the heavens, and faster came the falling rain. The beasts were roaming about in the wildest terror, and their discordant cries seemed to moan out their own destiny and the fate of man. Then “the fountains of the great deep” were “broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.” Water appeared to come from the clouds in mighty cataracts. Rivers broke away from their boundaries, and overflowed the valleys. Jets of water burst from the earth with indescribable force, throwing massive rocks hundreds of feet into the air, and these, in falling, buried themselves deep in the ground…As the violence of the storm increased, trees, buildings, rocks, and earth were hurled in every direction. The terror of man and beast was beyond description. Above the roar of the tempest was heard the wailing of a people that had despised the authority of God…The beasts, exposed to the tempest, rushed toward man, as though expecting help from him. Some of the people bound their children and themselves upon powerful animals, knowing that these were tenacious of life, and would climb to the highest points to escape the rising waters. Some fastened themselves to lofty trees on the summit of hills or mountains; but the trees were uprooted, and with their burden of living beings were hurled into the seething billows. One spot after another that promised safety was abandoned. As the waters rose higher and higher, the people fled for refuge to the loftiest mountains. Often man and beast would struggle together for a foothold, until both were swept away. – Patriarchs and Prophets.

    Did Ellen White exaggerate how violent the flood was? While “the terror of man and beast was beyond description,” we now recognize they were feeding, mating, and laying eggs instead. We can choose to accept Ms. White’s words on blind faith, or we can use our intelligence and God-given brains to decide for ourselves what the physical evidence says.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      Did Ellen White exaggerate how violent the flood was?

      Not at all. The Flood was a magnificent catastrophe of enormous proportions with massive upheavals of the Earth’s crust. Unimaginable amounts of energy were released. However, not every part of the surface of the Earth was demolished at the very same time, nor did the water’s of the Flood crest before the rain stopped falling.

      Did you not read the very next passage beyond the one you quoted in Patriarchs and Prophets where Mrs. White describes people looking down from their mountain retreats on a “shoreless ocean”? The Ark wasn’t on a hill or a mountain. It was built in a low-lying region. People and animals were evidently able to escape the rising waters for quite some time… as they looked down upon the “shoreless ocean” that was ever rising many were long able to contemplate their inevitable doom.

      While “the terror of man and beast was beyond description,” we now recognize they were feeding, mating, and laying eggs instead.

      The laying of eggs was evidently under duress. It wasn’t a peaceful environment when dinosaurs laid their eggs – as already noted for you. Also, hunger is a very strong motivator. If a dinosaur is starving hungry, and there is opportunity between episodic tidal actions, why not?

      We can choose to accept Ms. White’s words on blind faith, or we can use our intelligence and God-given brains to decide for ourselves what the physical evidence says.

      The weight of physical evidence strongly supports Mrs. White’s description of the Noachian Flood. It was an enormous world-wide catastrophe that destroyed all land animal life, save that on the Ark, broke up the surface of the Earth, resulted in rapid continental drift and the uplift of enormous mountain chains and ocean trenches, and laid down massive sedimentary layers around the entire globe.

      I know it is your goal to drive a solid wedge between empirical evidence and the Christian faith, but that simply is unnecessary not to mention a completely irrational form of blind faith… no different than wishful thinking in my book.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  58. Bob&#032Helm: Two thoughts – although it appears in the NIV, your pluperfect – “the water had gone down” – is really unwarranted, because Hebrew does not have a pluperfect tense. Gen 8:3 in the NASB simply states: “At the end of the one hundred and fifty days, the water decreased.” There is no reason to make it any more complicated than that, and this statement accords perfectly with the idea that the flood crested on the 150th day.

    Thank you, Bob. Very interesting. The pluperfect tense makes pluperfect sense.




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  59. Sean&#032Pitman: And, true bird fossils have been found in Triassic deposits in Texas – along with bird footprints in Triassic sediments in Argentina. Chatterjee claims that these Triassic fossil birds are true birds that are actually closer to modern birds than is the Jurassic Archaeopteryx.

    You seriously think this helps? Going one level lower? Why the absence of birds from lower levels?




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  60. Sean&#032Pitman: [Professor Kent asked]: In other words, what trait(s), precisely, would block the gradual evolution of a fish to an amphibian, an amphibian to a reptile, or a reptile to a mammal?

    Anything novel between these groups that requires a minimum of more than 1000 specifically arranged amino acid parts would qualify (or an equivalent number of codons of DNA) – like the middle ear with tympanic membrane and ear bone in amphibians as well as the amphibian ability to metamorphosize to the adult stage (vs. no such middle ears with in fish or the ability to metamorphosize legs, lungs, etc.), or the amniotic eggs of reptiles with a tough leathery shell (vs. the soft watery gel that surrounds the eggs of amphibians), or the hair and sweat glands of mammals (compared to a lack of such in reptiles), or the true flight feathers of birds with their interlocking Velcro-like features (compared to a lack of such in true reptiles).

    Thank you for giving some examples. I remember Geanna Dane once asking for these, but you didn’t answer then.

    Sean&#032Pitman: Some of these features might seem very close, morphologically, to certain structures within the proposed evolutionary pathways presented by neo-Darwinists. However, when one actually considers the underlying genetic programming that would be required to make the next morphologic step possible, it is well beyond what RM/NS could achieve in a reasonable amount of time.

    I would like to believe you, but I am skeptical and do not see this as an essential argument to support our mutually shared, faith-based view that God created these major groups.

    Sean&#032Pitman: After all, if the pathways were really littered with such closely spaced steppingstones as evolutionists would have us believe, many of these proposed evolutionary steps, like in the evolution of the eye, could be reproduced in the laboratory…This is why such real time demonstrations have never been produced for such complex structures (like the eye or the flagellum, etc)… not even for the crossing of a single proposed evolutionary step between morphologic steps that are supposedly very tiny baby steps.

    You should know better than to offer this argument. The window of time to observe “real time demonstrations” is highly limited–at most hundreds of years, from which you cannot infer evolutionary potential over millions of years. After all, you (and I) insist that the many remarkable adaptations of venomous animals and predators have evolved in a relatively short time frame. These include the massive toxin molecules I’ve described (often many different types within a single organism); the often massive venom glands and venom delivery structures (like fangs, spines, and stingers); and even entirely novel organs and organ systems like the infrared vision of snakes and bats. You insist that all of these traits–which are as substantial in qualitatively functional terms as virtually any other traits you’ve mentioned–could evolve by a sequence of small steps, yet none have not been demonstrated or observed in real time. Thus, your arguments against the major transitions between animal groups invalidates your own arguments of gradual changes resulting in poisonous and venomous animals and predators.

    Frankly, I think you have a very hard time selling your argument that the differences between major animal groups (e.g., amphibians to reptiles, reptiles to mammals) could not be accomplished by multiple smaller steps. And I think your argument rests largely on a faith-based assumption that it cannot happen.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      You should know better than to offer this argument. The window of time to observe “real time demonstrations” is highly limited–at most hundreds of years, from which you cannot infer evolutionary potential over millions of years.

      Upon what basis do the individual steps in the evolution of the flagellar motility system, for example, require millions of years? Where is the statistical basis for determining how long a particular evolutionary step, at a particular level of functional complexity, should be expected to take? – given high selective pressure?

      This is the problem with the claims of evolutionists. They aren’t really based on testable scientific theories when it comes to the proposed creative potential of the actual evolutionary mechanism. No one does the math or calculates the odds of success for anything qualitatively novel to evolve, within any given span of time, at various levels of functional complexity.

      This means, of course, that the proposal that RM/NS could and did do the job is based on just-so story telling and philosophical assumptions, not science.

      In other words, extrapolations from low-level examples to high-levels of evolution taking place in “millions of years” aren’t based on any actual scientific evidence or rational statistical analysis. Neo-Darwinism isn’t valid science. It’s as simple as that.

      After all, you (and I) insist that the many remarkable adaptations of venomous animals and predators have evolved in a relatively short time frame. These include the massive toxin molecules I’ve described (often many different types within a single organism); the often massive venom glands and venom delivery structures (like fangs, spines, and stingers); and even entirely novel organs and organ systems like the infrared vision of snakes and bats. You insist that all of these traits–which are as substantial in qualitatively functional terms as virtually any other traits you’ve mentioned–could evolve by a sequence of small steps, yet none have not been demonstrated or observed in real time. Thus, your arguments against the major transitions between animal groups invalidates your own arguments of gradual changes resulting in poisonous and venomous animals and predators.

      As I’ve already explained, venom isn’t very complex when it comes to minimum size and specificity requirements. Other features, while being more complex, are degenerative from higher levels of functional complexity – like the TTSS system devolving from the flagellar motility system. Also, one must consider that malevolent design may also have been employed in the creation of certain features of living things which could not have evolved (or devolved) via any mindless mechanism.

      Frankly, I think you have a very hard time selling your argument that the differences between major animal groups (e.g., amphibians to reptiles, reptiles to mammals) could not be accomplished by multiple smaller steps. And I think your argument rests largely on a faith-based assumption that it cannot happen.

      Like I said before, you simply do not understand the nature of sequence space and the vast genetic distances that are involved within sequence spaces when you start talking about qualitatively novel systems within different gene pools that require a minimum of more than 1000 specifically arranged residue parts. When you actually sit down and do some relevant statistical analysis, you will soon discover that the creativity of RM/NS is very limited to very low levels of functional complexity this side of trillions of years of time.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  61. This is an interesting article that examines extensive evidence for the eruption of lava into water in the Columbia River Basalts in southeastern Wahington and northeastern Oregon. This data suggests that eastern Washington was partially covered with water when these Miocene and early Pliocene deposits were laid down. This would accord with a model in which the Genesis flood ended in the late Cenozoic along the Pliocene-Pleistocene boundary. I’m posting this, not as the final word on the subject, but as food for thought.

    http://creation.com/field-studies-in-the-columbia-river-basalt-northwest-usa




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  62. Sean&#032Pitman: Satan can try to exploit “evidence”, but he is never able to trump the evidence that God provides in His own favor. God deliberately stacks the deck to that no one who is honest about finding the actual truth need be deceived regarding the existence and essential nature of God or what God requires of us when it comes to loving our neighbors.

    But if someone claims to be the Christ, performing great signs and miracles, did not God instruct us, “Do not go out,” because we could readily be deceived if we saw the evidence with our own eyes?

    At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time. So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the desert,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. Matt 24:23-25

    Are you suggesting we go out and see the evidence for ourselves, and trust our own reason and God-given brains, rather than trust God’s word at face value and obey him explicitly?




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    • @Professor Kent:

      “At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time. So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the desert,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it. Matt 24:23-25

      Are you suggesting we go out and see the evidence for ourselves, and trust our own reason and God-given brains, rather than trust God’s word at face value and obey him explicitly?

      Why not trust the Book of Mormon or the Qur’an “at face value”? Without a rational basis, a choice to accept the Bible over other competing options is arbitrary. God doesn’t want this. God wants us to establish an intelligent faith and trust in the Bible as the true Word of God. It is this rational basis for faith that will carry the “very elect” through the trials of the last days.

      Also, no one will be decieved and lose salvation because of a lack of the clear weight of evidence in favor of the Scriptures – especially in the last days. It isn’t that Satan’s miracles will be so overwhelming that people will be tricked. It will be like it was with Pharoah when he resisted God. People will be decieved because they want to believe the lie. Satan will lie to them in a way that will cater to their own personal selfish desires. Because of their desire to believe the lie, they will accept inferior evidence as truth and reject the superior evidence in support of real truth as a lie.

      God is telling people to be ready for the deceptions that Satan will try to pawn off as genuine miracles from God so that they won’t waist their time going to see every Tom, Dick, and Harry claiming to be Jesus. Despite Satan’s best efforts to decieve with his ability to produce fabulous miracles, there will be obvious features of inferiority – as was the case when Moses stood before Pharoah. Satan will not be able to match the manner of Jesus’ comming, for example. He will also contradict key “fundamental” claims of the Bible regarding the true day of worship. I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t also claim, while impersonating Christ, that he really did use evolutionary mechanisms to create life on this planet over billions of years.

      In short, salvation isn’t going to be based on anyone being honestly tricked into believing Satan’s lies about history or empirical reality. People are going to be saved or lost according to their motive – according to their honest desire to know and love the truth as far as they have been given to understand it. For such, God will provide plenty of solid empirical evidence to know the truth – the weight of evidence.

      You see, for Satan it isn’t that he doesn’t know the truth. He knows for a fact that God exists and that everything that God says is true and good. His problem is that he still hates God anyway because of his own selfish nature.

      The same will be true for all who follow Satan at the end of time. At the very end, it won’t be about knowledge. Everyone will have been given plenty of knowledge to know who is right and who is wrong in the Great Controversy. Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that God is true and just and good. The evidence will be absolutely overwhelming for everyone at that point. However, as soon as the wicked get up off their knees, they will still try to destroy what they know they cannot destroy. They will still hate God despite knowing, for a fact, that God is truth and goodness personified.

      At that point there is nothing further that God can do for them since it isn’t about evidence. If the problem were really a problem of evidence, God would just provide the evidence and everyone would choose the right path. But, unfortunately, it isn’t about evidence or being honestly decieved. It’s all about motive regardless of evidence…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  63. Sean&#032Pitman: Why is it so difficult to imagine that the special food needs of various kinds of various creatures were taken into account by God? – that these needs were met by taking on extra specialized provisions when needed?

    You’ve imagined what went on outside the ark, so I assumed your imagination could explain equally well what transpired inside the ark. If you are suggesting that more than one pair of unclean animals of each kind was taken into the ark as “extra specialized provisions” for obligate predators of unclean animals, you are contradicting scripture, my friend. I’m a bit worried about the storage facility for the tens of thousands of snails required by the snail kite–and the storage space for provisions to feed all those snails before they became extinct.

    Sean&#032Pitman: Also, you fail to realize that post-Flood specialization, with additional diet limitations, were the result of a loss of the genetic diversity that existed within certain kinds of gene pools before the Flood. Dietary restrictions can evolve very very rapidly as a result of a loss of the ability to produce key enzymes, etc. For example, have you ever heard of lactase deficiency that is common to certain ethnic groups of humans?

    So did you get this notion from inspired history, or is it your own interpretation to make the empirical evidence match scripture? I suggest you make up your mind–were there extra provisions for obligate predators of unclean animals, or were there no dietary specialists before the flood?

    Also, you fail to realize that dietary changes happened immediately after sin; you should re-read what happened to the diet of snakes immediately after the fall:

    So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. Gen 3:14

    Are you suggesting that snail kites were actually chicken kites before the flood, and changed their diet after the flood because they lost enzymes to digest chickens?

    And yes, I’ve heard of lactose intolerance and its cause, but it never occurred to me that the antediluvians were spared this inconvenient genetic malady. Amazing.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      If you are suggesting that more than one pair of unclean animals of each kind was taken into the ark as “extra specialized provisions” for obligate predators of unclean animals, you are contradicting scripture, my friend. I’m a bit worried about the storage facility for the tens of thousands of snails required by the snail kite–and the storage space for provisions to feed all those snails before they became extinct.

      As already noted, I’m very doubtful that such dietary restrictions existed during this time, but evolved (or devolved) as time went on.

      Regardless, I have no problem with extra specialized food or meat, even extra snails, being taken on the ark if it was really necessary. I really don’t see your point here?

      So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. Gen 3:14

      Your point? Why do you refer to an obvious figure of speach here?

      Are you suggesting that snail kites were actually chicken kites before the flood, and changed their diet after the flood because they lost enzymes to digest chickens?

      I’m suggesting that ancestral kites had far less dietary restriction of any kind – they could eat a far greater variety of foods compared to the modern specialized varieties.

      And yes, I’ve heard of lactose intolerance and its cause, but it never occurred to me that the antediluvians were spared this inconvenient genetic malady. Amazing.

      Not so amazing at all when you consider the genetic degeneration that has taken place since the Fall.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  64. @ Sean Pitman – what happened to my post about insecticidal toxins, including the Make Catepillars Floppy (Mcf) toxin? Was it too difficult to explain within your 1000 fsaar threshold?

    This story is too remarkable to dismiss, so I’ll expand on it. Two genera of Gram-negative bacteria form symbiotic relationships with entemopathogenic (insect-eating) nematodes. The bacteria infect the gut of a juvenile nematode (a worm), which seeks out its prey: insect larvae within the soil. The nematode then penetrates the insect larvae, migrates to the hemocoel, and transfers the baceteria to the hemocoel where they can evade the insect’s immune response. The bacteria releases toxins to kill the insect, rendering the insect carcass a delightful nutrient soup for the bacteria to feast upon. The nematode then feasts on the bacteria and reproduces by laying eggs for three generations. Female nematodes of the fourth generation allow the larve to develop internally, which kills the mother (ouch!), but not until after the juveniles have acquired bacteria in their gut. Finally, the newly infectious juvenile nematodes exit the dead insect by the thousands. If you’ve read this far, you’ll surely agree with me that this entire predatory system orchestrated by a ton of gene products is PDD — pretty darned disgusting.

    And the story gets worse: one species of nematode with these bacteria appears to have acquired a taste for humans! I’ll spare you the details…

    So how did this horrific predatory symbiosis between nematode and bacteria come about? Did God create these organisms with this capacity? If not, and the system evolved, how complex is this evolved system?

    The insect prey itself has a complex humoral and cellular immune response by which it defends itself. To overcome this, the bacteria deploy a remarkably complex set of proteins to evade the insect host’s immune response. The bacteria then secrete a host of toxins and toxic secondary metabolites to destroy the insect. When the genome sequence of one of these bacterial species was published, it was found to encode more toxins than any other known bacterial genome.

    One highly unique toxin class in particular, the Makes Catepillars Floppy toxin (Mcf), has a size of close to 3,000 amino acids. The Mcf1 toxin contains one 900-amino acid region alone with no similarity to other proteins in the database. (Don’t you just love the name of this toxin?)

    Another toxin group produced by these bacteria, known as “toxin complexes,” has now been found to be widespread among bacteria, including those not associated with insects. The insecticidal toxin complex is comprised of four subunits, at least three of which must be present to cause toxicity. Collectively, the complexes exceed 9,000 amino acids (wow!)and show very limited homology to other known proteins. The four subunits vary somewhat among different bacteria, and achieve fixation within a species only when they confer an advantage in securing their specific nutritional needs through toxicity.

    Collectively, these massive proteins, plus numerous others I have not described, act in concert to kill animals. That’s what they do. If this is a qualitatively new function that the original bacteria in Eden lacked, then we need to think about how this highly complex killing trait evolved. If Sean wants to insist that the entire suite of toxins is no more complex than any one part, I think his argument fails. If he wants to insist that novel beneficial traits that exceed 1,000 amino acids cannot evolve within trillions upon trillions of years, I think he’s hitched himself to a very dubious argument (to put it politely).




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  65. Sean&#032Pitman: Art does not believe this [the possibility that some animals survived on floating rafts of vegetation]. He thinks all land animals died, save those on the ark… just like the Bible says.

    When did he tell you this? I have a friend who says he got the idea from Chadwick (I’m not sure whether first-hand or second-hand).




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  66. Sean

    I dont think you are really addressing the problem. You hopefully suggest

    “Many features, of dogs for example, are polygenetic – such as height or color, etc. For example, the determination of coat color and pattern is a polygenic in that these features are controlled by more than one gene or gene complex”

    Indeed that is true but at each of these polygenic sites there are only at maximum 4 possibilities in a bredding pair of 2.

    “For non-additive polygenes it is the combination of genes that makes the difference. This means that different sets of genes can combine in different ways to produce dogs who appear identical with regard to a given trait. Furthermore, a dog who is superior in any one respect may owe that superiority to his particular combination of genes more than to the specific genes themselves. Unfortunately, such outstanding animals are unable to pass on their own particular gene combinations; they simply pass on a sample of the individual genes that make up those combinations. Those genes may combine quite differently in their offspring producing very different results.”

    If you want to get taken seriously you need to provide references for these claims. I am loathe to take your word for it unless you have published it in the peer reviewed literature. Otherwise it is only hearsay.

    You then go on to provide mechanisms for genetic diversity that is quite mainstream and with which I entirely agree

    “Beside the fact that new alleles can be produced by many different kinds of mutations (besides intragenic recombination) and are fairly common in larger populations”

    But then you spoil it all with repetition of your mantra based on your particular insights that have never actually been published or subjected to peer review.

    “…they simply aren’t needed to produce a huge variety of phenotypic variations starting from just two parents.

    “.. but the potential of such a small gene pool for phenotypic variety of offspring can be truly enormous.”

    “I’m not arguing that the current range of dog breeds actually came through a recent bottleneck. What I’m saying is that the offspring from a single pair of wolves could actually be bred to produce a very wide variety of domesticated dogs, very similar to what we have now, in relative short order – i.e., just a few hundred years. The current diversity of domesticated dog breeds simply doesn’t require long periods of time or very many novel allelic options beyond what can be found within an original pair of wolves.”

    I am again confused. Are you arguing for dogs derived from 2 wolves or not? If you take the genesis account literally which I understand you do, dogs are unclean and you must consider that they are therefore derived from the most severe genetic bottleneck possible.

    It would help your argument if you could point to an example of a reintroduction program where there was success with 2 genetically isolated animals. I certainly cannot find any.

    If you care to read the paper on reintroduction of wolfs into yellowstone
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17877715
    You will see they followed the standard practice built up based on long experience and reintroducing around 40 animals. [It is argued whether sustainable populations are around 30 or if 50 are needed)

    The experience with 4 avian species again shows that populations with low genome equivalents are subject to significant and life threatening inbreeding and loss of genetic diversity
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20825445

    2 genome equivalents is clearly in the unsustainable range according to all the current practical and theoretical models of population genetics.

    If I am wrong pleas give the examples.

    I really dont know why you seem to be continually arguing for naturalistic mechanisms for scenarios around the miraculous global flood account. Cant you accept that derivation of all populations from the ark is genetically untenable and accept it as miraculous. Creation science is intrinsically miraculous; turtles all the way down. Just accept it and dont pretend it is some scientific hypothesis that can be tested by experiment. As prof Kent argues it is even worse because you not only try to argue a particular interpretation is scientifically valid but then pin your faith on your ability to argue the scientific validity. Its a miracle. Move on to the consequences and you might not find it is so foundational.




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    • I dont think you are really addressing the problem. You hopefully suggest, “Many features, of dogs for example, are polygenetic – such as height or color, etc. For example, the determination of coat color and pattern is a polygenic in that these features are controlled by more than one gene or gene complex.”

      Indeed that is true but at each of these polygenic sites there are only at maximum 4 possibilities in a [breeding] pair of 2.

      That’s right, but a polygenic trait is not governed by a single site. It might help to get a few concepts straight here. “Quantitative traits refer to phenotypes (characteristics) that vary in degree and can be attributed to polygenic effects, i.e., product of two or more genes… Polygenic inheritance refers to inheritance of a phenotypic characteristic (trait) that is attributable to two or more genes and can be measured Quantitatively… Unlike monogenic traits, polygenic traits do not follow patterns of Mendelian inheritance (separated traits). Instead, their phenotypes typically vary along a continuous gradient depicted by a bell curve… Most phenotypic characteristics are the result of the interaction of multiple genes.” (Link)

      Sometimes hundreds of genetic loci are involved in governing the expression of a given trait or feature. For example, height in humans is governed by the interaction of some 200 genetic regions. Genome-wide association studies in humans, laboratory animals, and outcrossed domesticated plants such as maize show that the genetic architecture of most phenotypes tested to date—including body size, body mass index, lipid level, and flowering time—appear to be under the control of hundreds of genes, each contributing a very modest amount to the overall heritability of a given trait. This makes a great deal of variety of expression of a given trait possible – even starting with a very small population (such a just two individuals). This is why my brother and I look so different despite having the very same parents. He has dark skin. I have light skin. He is hairy. I’m not. He has dark green eyes. I have light greenish blue eyes. etc. The is also why two dogs can produce a mix of very different looking puppies within the same litter – to include significant differences in color, hair texture, size, etc…

      Of course, it not always the case that a wide variety of a phenotypic trait expressions is the result of a large number of genes. When it comes to modern dog breeds in particular, it seems like relatively few genetic regions of large phenotypic effect underlie most traits.

      For example, dog size (the variation of which is greater across dog breeds than in any other terrestrial species) seems to be controlled mainly by six genetic regions (CFA15.44226659, CFAX.106866624, CFA10.11440860, CFAX.86813164, CFA4.42351982, and CFA7.46842856) – with a few dozen other more minor genetic influences. “The signal on CFA15 corresponds to the location of IGF1 which encodes a growth factor previously described to control a significant proportion of size variation across dog breeds. The CFA10 signal corresponds to the location of HMGA2, a gene known to affect body size variation in humans and mice. Both HMGA2 and a locus corresponding to the CFA7 signal, SMAD2, have been previously associated with dog body size. In contrast, the signals on CFA4 and CFAX hits have not previously been associated with body size variation in dogs. Interestingly, the CFA4 signal contains (among other genes) the STC2 locus, a known growth inhibitor in mice. The two signals on the X chromosome lie in separate LD blocks that each contains dozens of genes.”

      http://www.plosbiology.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pbio.1000451

      So, although such traits in dogs are controlled by fewer genetic regions, it seems quite clear that far more than just “4 possibilities” could be produced by a single breeding pair when it comes to most phenotypic traits – depending upon the combination of these genetic loci and how they control the expression of a given trait.

      Of course, “in all six regions, wolves are not highly polymorphic” – as would be expected since wolf morphology is fairly uniform (not having been bred to highlight unique morphologic features that could be isolated in relatively short order). Of course, there are additional allelic options, based on unique mutations, within modern dogs, as compared to the wolf…

      For example, the short stubby legs of Dachshunds, Basset Hounds, Corgis, and the like have an extra copy of a gene that codes for Fibroblast Growth Factor 4 (FGF4). This extra gene is a mutated retrogene. Neither the introns nor the upstream promoter sequences of the gene are present in the inserted retrogene. However all exons are present, with no alterations in the coding sequence, as well as the 3′ UTR and poly-A tail – characteristic of retrotransposition of processed mRNA. The lack of introns normally found in FGF4 genes causes the retrogene version to malfunction. In short, this malfunctioning retrogene results in the overproduction of FGF4 transcript. The “atypical expression” of the FGF4 transcript in the chondrocytes apparently causes the inappropriate activation of one or more of the fibroblast growth factor receptors – such as FGFR3. An activating mutation in FGFR3 is responsible for > 95% of achondroplasia cases, the most common form of dwarfism in humans, and 60–65% of hypochondroplasia cases, a human syndrome that is more similar in appearance to breed defining chondrodysplasia (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2748762/). In other words, this overproduction of FGF4 is thought to disturb the normal process of limb growth during fetal development, such as turning on key growth receptors at the wrong time, leading to short legs in dogs. What happens is that the development of long bones is curtailed due to calcification of growth plates, resulting in short legs with a curved appearance.

      This example illustrates the fact that dramatic phenotypic differences can be produced by gene dosage alterations – i.e., an increase or decrease in gene products. Mutations that cause an over or under production of gene products are not uncommon and can be realized in relatively short order – especially in larger populations.

      Remember, it is far far easier for mutations to cause a loss or disruption or even a gain of the same basic type of pre-established functionality vs. the evolution of entirely novel, qualitatively novel, functionality – which does not happen at all beyond very low levels of functional complexity.

      This is why such novel features in various breeds, such a dog breeds, or even “species” that were derived from the same ancestral gene pool, can be realized in such short order. They really have nothing truly new, qualitatively new, beyond very low levels of functional complexity – compared to what their original parents had. Almost all examples of the evolution of “new” functional traits or alleles are based on the disruption or loss of a pre-existing trait or functional system. And, those occasional examples of evolution where qualitatively novel functional systems are produced in observable time are all at very very low levels of functional complexity (requiring a minimum of no more than a few hundred specifically arranged amino acid residues).

      That is why I argue that the current phenotypic variety of breeds, such as dogs, is based on front-loaded genetic information with very little if any qualitatively novel traits evolving which were not based on the quantitative increase or decrease of expression of pre-existing genetic elements – something that can be achieved in very short order.

      I am again confused. Are you arguing for dogs derived from 2 wolves or not? If you take the genesis account literally which I understand you do, dogs are unclean and you must consider that they are therefore derived from the most severe genetic bottleneck possible.

      What I’m saying here is that it would be possible to produce all or nearly all the phenotypic diversity of modern dog breeds within a very short time starting with only two individuals. I’m not quite sure why you think longer periods of time would be required for selective breeding to produce essentially the same degree of phenotypic variety that we see today? Where is the limiting factor here?

      It would help your argument if you could point to an example of a reintroduction program where there was success with 2 genetically isolated animals. I certainly cannot find any.

      If you care to read the paper on reintroduction of wolfs into yellowstone

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17877715

      You will see they followed the standard practice built up based on long experience and reintroducing around 40 animals. [It is argued whether sustainable populations are around 30 or if 50 are needed)

      Which brings us back to our previous discussion about declining genomic quality over time. As already explained in some detail, this decline is due to the continual build-up of detrimental mutations in the gene pools of all slowly reproducing creatures far far faster than natural selection can get rid of them. The death rate required for natural selection to deal with this problem is simply far too high. That is why inbreeding within small groups of animals or people is such a big problem today. It enhances odds of the fixation of detrimental mutations within a population – resulting in a greater chance of genetic meltdown and extinction within a shorter time span. This is also why many modern dog pure-breeds suffer from far more genetic diseases than do hybrid dogs.

      There is also, of course, the problem of the dangers of living in the wild – of dealing with random accidents, injuries, sickness, disease, infertility, ext. Increasing the population size helps to alleviate these problems when trying to start a new colony.

      The experience with 4 avian species again shows that populations with low genome equivalents are subject to significant and life threatening inbreeding and loss of genetic diversity

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20825445

      2 genome equivalents is clearly in the unsustainable range according to all the current practical and theoretical models of population genetics.

      In modern times, yes. Thank you for highlighting my point. This was not the situation, however, when gene pools were much closer to their original creation and had not yet built up so many detrimental mutations…

      I really don’t know why you seem to be continually arguing for naturalistic mechanisms for scenarios around the miraculous global flood account. Can’t you accept that derivation of all populations from the ark is genetically untenable and accept it as miraculous. Creation science is intrinsically miraculous; turtles all the way down. Just accept it and don’t pretend it is some scientific hypothesis that can be tested by experiment. As prof Kent argues it is even worse because you not only try to argue a particular interpretation is scientifically valid but then pin your faith on your ability to argue the scientific validity. It’s a miracle. Move on to the consequences and you might not find it is so foundational.

      There is no need to invoke God to explain the phenotypic diversity of living things beyond His original programming of the parental population – His “front-loading” of the gene pools if you will. God did not need to step in and create novel alleles within wolves or dogs in order for the diversity of dog breeds to be realized in very short order via natural processes that have been in place since the beginning of life on this planet. It is simply your lack of understanding that makes you think that a subsequent Divine miracle, or an ongoing series of miracles of deliberate design, would have to have been required. What? would you really have me believe that God was the one who stepped in and deliberately created the retrovirus FGF4 gene for the “inappropriate activation” of FGFR3? so that modern dogs could have stumpy legs? I suppose God also causes achondroplasia in humans? Come on now…

      The same is true for the nature of the geologic / fossil records. No Divine miracle is required to explain most of their features from a Biblical perspective. Sure, there are still unanswered questions. However, the weight of evidence, science itself (true science that is), strongly supports the claims of the Bible. Faith in the reliability of the Bible as the true Word of God need not be blind or indistinguishable from wishful thinking…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • @Sean Pitman:

        “There is no need to invoke God to explain the phenotypic diversity of living things beyond His original programming of the parental population – His “front-loading” of the gene pools if you will.” – Sean Pitman

        I clearly lack your gift. It must be wonderful to be always right even when I’m wrong.

        It seems that your position is that in creationism there are no miracles except when there are miracles. I can accept that. but lets consider the turtles.

        God created ex nihilo in 6 24hr contiguous days. We can of course define that as natural if we want.
        This life was totally unlike the carbon based life form we see today as there was no death so there is none of the normal concepts of ecology we understand today.

        He then miraculously introduced death associated with the many genes associated with cellular and organismal control of death (apoptosis and necrosis). Or maybe this was created by a alternative bad creator with similar power to the original good creator

        He then dispersed the animals terrestial from a boat in the middle east to the rest of the world over a period of a few thousand years, 500 year of which was an ice age with an ice sheet covering all of the northen and southern regions of the planet. Truly a miracle.

        He miraculously altered all concepts of genetics so that a population of 2 had enough genetic information and were so perfect (apart from the aforementioned introduction of death pathogens and immunity) that they could give the total diversity of the large number of species that exist now derived as they were from a few baramin that populated the ark.




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        • @pauluc:

          I clearly lack your gift. It must be wonderful to be always right even when I’m wrong.

          Don’t sell yourself short! You’re certainly no less “gifted” in this regard than I am. 😉

          It seems that your position is that in creationism there are no miracles except when there are miracles. I can accept that. but lets consider the turtles.

          The “God-did-it” hypothesis can actually explain anything and everything… and therefore nothing. It is therefore not a very useful or meaningful argument.

          On the other hand, the “God-only” hypothesis is useful in that it is testable in a potentially falsifiable manner. If it can be shown that some mindless force or process of nature could produce the phenomenon in question, the argument that only a God could do it is effectively falsified…

          God created ex nihilo in 6 24hr contiguous days. We can of course define that as natural if we want.

          There is no known natural process that could create in such a manner. Therefore, it is reasonable to argue that only a God or God-like being could create in such a manner.

          This life was totally unlike the carbon based life form we see today as there was no death so there is none of the normal concepts of ecology we understand today.

          There was no death for sentient creatures, true. However, there was death for plant-based life and other cellular life, such as bacteria and individual cells within the body, where such cells and organisms do not have a sense of self and are not able to appreciate suffering, pain, or the fear of death.

          It is true that such a world would have to be maintained by Divine intervention on a supernatural level in order to avoid decay over time via informational entropy. Certainly this type of maintenance would be truly miraculous from our perspective.

          He then miraculously introduced death associated with the many genes associated with cellular and organismal control of death (apoptosis and necrosis). Or maybe this was created by a alternative bad creator with similar power to the original good creator.

          Again, cellular death is not the same thing as the death of the animal that can appreciate pain and suffering. I’m sure there was cellular death, to include programmed apoptosis, before the Fall. There just was no death for sentient creatures before the Fall.

          Also, death for sentient creatures is not the result of a “miraculous” act on the part of God. It can be explained without the need to invoke God. All that has to happen is for God to stop working to maintain the quality of genetic information within living things and they will start to die quite naturally – from the natural inevitable build up of deleterious mutations that corrupt the underlying genetic code over time. By the time an average person reaches 60 years of age, each cell in his or her body carries approximately 60,000 mutations.

          Obviously, this results in aging and eventual death for the entire organism – not just on a cellular level. This decay process does not require the guidance of a Divine hand or any other form of deliberate intelligent design for that matter. Informational entropy is simply part of non-intelligent nature acting over time.

          He then dispersed the animals terrestial from a boat in the middle east to the rest of the world over a period of a few thousand years, 500 years of which was an ice age with an ice sheet covering all of the northen and southern regions of the planet. Truly a miracle.

          Right after the Flood the continents had yet to completely separate from each other. There were land bridges between them that would allow for animals to populate all the continents before they completely separated from each other. Continental drift was much more rapid in the early post-Flood years compared to today. This drift carried animals who had populated these continents long distances over time and also created isolated habitats around the globe. This contributed to unique specialization among different groups of animals that were once part of the very same gene pool.

          Also, ice sheets covering most of the northern and southern hemispheres would create a thin habitable band around the Earth’s equator and would dramatically lower ocean water levels, which would also aid in the rapid disbursement of animals around the Globe.

          There simply is no compelling need, therefore, to invoke the God-only hypothesis when it comes to explaining the disbursement of animals around the globe.

          He miraculously altered all concepts of genetics so that a population of 2 had enough genetic information and were so perfect (apart from the aforementioned introduction of death pathogens and immunity) that they could give the total diversity of the large number of species that exist now derived as they were from a few baramin that populated the ark.

          You have produced no examples of novel alleles or traits evolving, in observable time, beyond very very low levels of functional complexity. It just doesn’t happen and statistically is impossible to achieve, outside of deliberate design, this side of a practical eternity of time.

          Also, it is well known that novel alleles are not needed to get from just two individuals in a gene pool to a vast array of different phenotypes among the offspring. This is due to the polygenic nature of most traits in most plants and animals which can be selected along a long continuum of phenotypic options… along a “bell-shaped” curve. Of course, many new allelic variations have and do evolve all the time – quite rapidly in fact. However, the vast majority of these naturally evolved changes to pre-existing alleles are based on increasing or decreasing the expression of the very same trait. In other words, the evolved changes are functionally quantitative, not qualitative. Very few examples of the evolution of something qualitatively new, on a functional level, are known. And, among these, none are known that go beyond very very low levels of functional complexity.

          The only thing preventing the success of such a demonstrating (starting with just two individuals) is starting with a gene pool that is already damaged… starting with individuals that share the same or similar regions of damaged DNA. As you yourself point out, such damage within very closely-related individuals makes it far far more likely that their offspring will not be as viable. However, if you start with two individuals that have little or no damage within their own genes, they will produce healthy virile and vital offspring without any problem…

          Your problem is that you simply can’t imagine that modern gene pools are and have always been declining in informational quality since the Fall. It is truly “turtles all the way down”. There is no overall evolutionary progress when it comes to slowly reproducing creatures – like all mammals on the planet. Overall, there is only a gradual decline in genetic quality toward an eventual state of inevitable genetic meltdown and extinction.

          Neo-Darwinism simply has no rational answer for this fundamental problem that completely undermines the entire Darwinist perspective. Natural selection is not a very creative force, not at all beyond very low levels of functional complexity, and it is not a perfect maintaining force either. It does help to slow down the loss of genetic information, but it does not actually stop this loss completely. There is always a gradual build-up of detrimental mutations in each and every individual in every generation…

          This is devastating to the naturalistic perspective while being perfectly in line with the claims of the Bible…

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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        • @Sean Pitman:

          You suggest

          “Don’t sell yourself short! You think you’re just as right in your opinions and that I’m clearly mistaken. You’re certainly no less “gifted” in this regard than I am.”

          No Sean this is really the core of the differences between you and me. It is not a matter of opinion but a matter of statistical probability. In almost all of what I have posted on this site I have reflected the evidence for the consensus view rather than my opinion.

          Dismiss me as kowtowing to authority if you will. I have faith in the process of hypothesis driven science and the community of scientists that seeks to arrive at objective truth by free and open communication of ideas by publication and peer review. In this process I continue to participate for I do think it is one of the most noble human endeavours.

          As a outsider to this process and as one who has never had formal training in science you uncritically accept the paranoid meme that says you must be somehow blessed by some scientific inner circle to have your papers accepted. You feel excluded but have you actually tried to participate?

          I accept in good faith the work of scientists and the derivative consensus view in most areas of science but like all good scientist understand it is always a tentative synthesis. I maintain a cynical attitude which unfortunately taints the way I view your claims. I nonetheless can appreciate the elegance of a solution to a conundrum and an hypothesis that has huge explanatory value while still accepting its tentative nature. I understand my limitations and have some inkling of the extent of the biomedical literature. I recognise expertise and am therefore happy to defer to the expertise of others with an appropriate track record.

          In contrast because of your religious views you do not accept the consensus view of scientists in a vast number of areas including geology, climatology and paleoclimatology, volcanology, oceanography, genetics, paleontology, cladistics, and molecular biology. In all these areas you imagine that you have more expertise and insight than the people who have dedicated their lives to the study of the content of these areas.

          In spite of the way you construct it I am not suggesting I am more righter than you and I have only ever suggested that you have some respect for the history of the current consensus view in science and a little more realism in your perception of mastery of these areas. You may view this as a contest and that you easily best some fool from the antipodes but in rejecting my appeals to the evidence and the orthodox consensus view in areas in which I have some expertise you are essentially claiming you know it all.

          [to save time I will acknowledge this space as containing some castigation from you or Bob Ryan such as “Gotta love the appeal to authority!!!”]

          Which brings me to the question of probabilities. Statistically who do you think is more likely to be right? 1] An MD from Southern California whose ambition in life seems to be to extinguish any open discussion of views that do not align with his own views and interpretation of most all of science. 2] The consensus view of many scientists who in good faith attempt to understand the world through a process of hypothesis testing and experimentation and open communication of that information and interpretation.




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  67. Dear Professor Kent,

    Two thoughts – although it appears in the NIV, your pluperfect – “the water had gone down” – is really unwarranted, because Hebrew does not have a pluperfect tense. Gen 8:3 in the NASB simply states: “At the end of the one hundred and fifty days, the water decreased.” There is no reason to make it any more complicated than that, and this statement accords perfectly with the idea that the flood crested on the 150th day. By the way, this is not “Bob Helm’s suggestion,” as many expositors hold this position.

    Secondly, where in the world did you get the idea that every bird species was on the ark and that those ancient birds had identical diets to modern birds? Please don’t fall for the hoary falsehood that creationists believe in a fixity of species. Modern creationists agree with Darwin that new species emerge via natural selection. We do not equate baramins or “created kinds” with species, and we believe that micro-evolution occurs within the baramins.




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  68. Sean&#032Pitman: Most scientists who believe in the Biblical model of origins interpret Tertiary sediments as post-Flood sediments.

    So if Noah’s flood ended at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary, which coincides with a period of high global sea levels according to geologists, does that mean Noah’s flood is represented by the second of two worldwide floods in this graph?

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Phanerozoic_Sea_Level.png

    How would you account for the geological evidence for a worldwide flood during the Paleozoic and the lack of geological evidence for high sea levels during the early Mesozoic?




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    • @Eddie:

      The basis for sea level determinations by mainstream geologists conflicts with the evidence for very extensive and very rapid watery catastrophes that deposited Mesozoic sediments over the majority of entire continents, around the entire globe, in rapid succession… leaving very little time for expected bioturbation or erosion between layers. Also massive deposits of very pure and very thick beds of coal and huge deposits of oil cannot be explained without a truly enormous world-wide watery catastrophe of Noachian proportions.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  69. Ellen White said, “In the days of Noah, men…many times larger than now exist, were buried, and thus preserved as an evidence to later generations that the antediluvians [presumably referring to humans] perished by a flood. God designed that the discovery of these things should establish faith in inspired history…”

    Sean Pitman said, “All human fossils discovered so far are Tertiary or post-Flood fossils. There are no known antediluvian human fossils.”

    Ellen White tells us that humans and dinosaurs (presumably referred to in the statement, “a class of very large animals which perished at the flood… mammoth animals”) lived together before the flood. Evolutionary biologists tell us that dinosaurs and humans never lived together. You’re telling us, Sean, that the fossil record supports the conclusion of evolutionists rather than that of Ellen White and the SDA Church. Many of the “very large animals which perished at the flood” are found only in fossil deposits prior to or attributed to the flood, whereas hunans occur in fossil deposits only after the flood (when their numbers were most scarce).

    Should the SDA biologists, who are supposed to teach “creation science,” be fired if they teach what you have just conceded?




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    • @Professor Kent:

      Why should a professor be fired for presenting the evidence that we actually have in hand? No one is suggesting such a thing. No one is suggesting that we have all the answers to every question or observation that might be considered.

      What I am suggesting, however, is that there is abundant evidence, even the weight of empirical evidence, in favor of the Biblical account of origins. This evidence should also be presented, in our own Adventist schools, by those who actually believe in the Biblical account of origins.

      Just because unsolved questions still remain does not therefore mean that the Biblical model is not supported by the weight of empirical evidence. That’s simply not true.

      Of course, if one still believes that the weight of empirical evidence really does favor the neo-Darwinist position, that’s fine. There are plenty of secular universities promoting such ideas. An Adventist school, on the other hand, is not the place for such a person to be applying for a job…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  70. Pauluc,

    Your questions about conservation genetics are very insightful. I don’t understand how all these life forms were able to greatly increase in genetic diversity while simultaneously winding down and losing genetic information to mutations. Sean seems to insist that both processes happen simultaneously. I had the impression he has insisted all along that the former cannot overcome the latter. But I think you must be right: God had to intervene to alter the course of nature. However, we can probably test this empirically because there must be a signature of evidence available in the DNA. I’ll bet Sean can find the evidence for this.

    I’m also glad the predators (just 2 of most such species) in the ark had enough clean animals (14 of each such species) to eat during the deluge and in the months and years after they emerged from the ark that they didn’t wipe out the vast majority of animal species through predation. Maybe they all consumed manna while in the ark and during the first few months or years afterward. Perhaps Sean can find in the literature a gene for a single digestive enzyme that is common to all predatory animals, from the lowest invertebrate to the highest vertebrate. Now that would be amazing.

    Wait a minute–I remember once being told that SDA biologists like Art Chadwick believe that some animals survived on floating vegetation outside the ark. Now that would solve some of these very real problems! I wonder whether readers here would allow for this possibility. Multiple arks without walls, roof, and human caretakers.




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    • @Professor Kent:

      Your questions about conservation genetics are very insightful. I don’t understand how all these life forms were able to greatly increase in genetic diversity while simultaneously winding down and losing genetic information to mutations. Sean seems to insist that both processes happen simultaneously. I had the impression he has insisted all along that the former cannot overcome the latter.

      The former is caused by the latter…

      As already explained, “new” alleles are almost always produced by mutations that disrupt pre-established systems of function… as in the case of chondroplasias of dogs and humans – a product of mutated alleles that disrupt pre-existing functionality (and are therefore degenerative in nature).

      The vast majority of mutations that have a functional effect on the genome are known to be degenerative / detrimental. Also, most “new” forms of genetic diversity, based on novel mutations, only have quantitative effects on functionality, not qualitative effects. That is why they can be realized so rapidly. And, those relatively rare qualitative changes are always at very very low levels of functional complexity (which means that they can also be realized in relatively short periods of time).

      But I think you must be right: God had to intervene to alter the course of nature.

      You only say this because you do not understand the nature of functionally significant allelic mutations. There simply is no need to invoke intelligent design at all – much less a Divine intelligence.

      However, we can probably test this empirically because there must be a signature of evidence available in the DNA. I’ll bet Sean can find the evidence for this.

      There is empirical evidence and this evidence does in fact effectively falsify your suggestion that God had to have been involved with the production of novel alleles after the Fall or after the Flood. That’s simply not true.

      I’m also glad the predators (just 2 of most such species) in the ark had enough clean animals (14 of each such species) to eat during the deluge and in the months and years after they emerged from the ark that they didn’t wipe out the vast majority of animal species through predation. Maybe they all consumed manna while in the ark and during the first few months or years afterward.

      You know as well as I do that intelligent people can think of many ways to feed all kinds of animals for long periods of time. If God told Noah how to build the Ark, it is certainly reasonable that He told him how to care for and preserve the animals as well… by any number of possible means.

      Perhaps Sean can find in the literature a gene for a single digestive enzyme that is common to all predatory animals, from the lowest invertebrate to the highest vertebrate. Now that would be amazing.

      Obligate predators lack enzymes. Predator-specific digestive enzymes aren’t needed. The digestion of a vegetarian diet is more complex, requiring a greater diversity of enzymes compared to a meat-based diet. Of course, I’ve explained this to you before…

      Wait a minute–I remember once being told that SDA biologists like Art Chadwick believe that some animals survived on floating vegetation outside the ark. Now that would solve some of these very real problems! I wonder whether readers here would allow for this possibility. Multiple arks without walls, roof, and human caretakers.

      Art does not believe this. He thinks all land animals died, save those on the ark… just like the Bible says.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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