Except in your own mind dependence on empirical evidence to …

Comment on Ted Wilson: No Room for Evolution as Truth in Adventist Schools by Sean Pitman.

Except in your own mind dependence on empirical evidence to determine all belief has very little to do with the activity of the disciples as described in Acts. They preached about Christ as the messiah they did not discuss empirical evidence; to imagine they did is to project back onto that time a modern concept that has evolved with modern science.

You forget that the faith of disciples of Jesus, as well as James (the brother of Christ) and Paul, were significantly affected by the empirical demonstration of the Resurrection of Jesus. They cited the empirical evidence of the empty tomb constantly as a primary basis for their faith and a very good reason why others should take on faith in Jesus as their Risen Lord as well. The Gospel of John is filled with empirical observations to support John’s claim that Jesus was God. Paul specifically explains the importance of this evidence in his argument, “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless” (1 Corinthians 15:17). Peter also cites the empirical basis for his faith, “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.” He then goes on to explain that he personally heard the empirically audible voice of God, along with James and John, and saw the empirical transfiguration of Jesus. Then, to conclude his argument he cites the empirical evidence of prophecy as trumping everything else (2 Peter 1:16-19). Even the heathen are left without excuse when it comes to the existence of God because of the weight of empirical evidence, according to Paul who argues, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” (Romans 1:20).

Why do you think the Bible writers consistently cite so much empirical evidence for their claims if such evidence has no necessary part to play in establishing a reliable faith? – a faith that goes beyond gestalt feelings of truth? What do you think would have happened to the faith of the disciples in Christ, in Christianity itself, if they had not seen the empirical evidence of the Resurrection? You know as well as I do that Christianity would not exist today if they had not seen such dramatic empirical evidence. I’m sorry, but the Bible is not at all fideistic. It does not promote your feelings-based or gestalt-based approach to faith free of the need for a logical empirical basis to support itself.

Yet, you write:

Somehow I dont think that Peter being filled with the holy spirit was one scientific observation away from atheism. I cannot ever imagine one who had received the spirit of God saying “I, personally, would have to go with what I saw as the weight of empirical evidence. This is why if I ever honestly became convinced that the weight of empirical evidence was on the side of life existing on this planet for hundreds of millions of years, I would leave not only the SDA Church, but Christianity as well”

Do you speak directly with God in the privileged manner of a prophet? Does the Holy Spirit directly tell you what is or isn’t true regarding all that you believe? What about the Divine origin of the Bible as superior to all other religious books? Has the Holy Spirit told you that neo-Darwinism is true? that those passages in the Bible where Jesus talks about the literal creation week, Adam and Eve as real people, and Noah’s Flood are all lies? Has the Holy Spirit told you that animals will continue to suffer and die throughout eternity because they are carbon-based life forms? When is the last time the Holy Spirit worked through you to raise someone from the dead or speak fluently before crowds of foreigners in languages that you didn’t know before (which would also be a form of empirical evidence for those witnessing such empirical demonstrations of Divine power by the way)? Does the Holy Spirit really fill you with such privileged knowledge and power as He did for Peter?

I think not. After all, if the Holy Spirit did speak to you and work through you in such a privileged manner, why would you need the Bible? You wouldn’t need the Bible at all given your very privileged communications with the Holy Spirit (which is the primary danger with feelings-based fideistic faiths where one’s feelings are always interpreted as coming directly from God).

Now, I do believe that the Holy Spirit does help to guide the minds of those who are honestly seeking after truth. However, generally speaking, the Holy Spirit does not spoon feed doctrinal knowledge regarding the credibility of the Bible’s origin or claims, the history of Jesus on this planet, the reality of the Virgin Birth or the Resurrection of Jesus, or the literal 6-day creation week. These doctrinal concepts are not discovered through emotional feelings or gestalts. They are discovered with the use of the intellectual mind based on the weight of empirical evidence as various claims are tested against that evidence.

Of course, one could argue that the Holy Spirit suggests to us, and even to the heathen, that there is something bigger than we are – that a Divine power of some kind exists beyond ourselves. The very existence of the Moral Law written on our hearts from early childhood is evidence along these lines which has convinced a number of atheists of the existence of a Law Giver. However, this internally-derived evidence for the existence of a God of some kind isn’t the same thing as evidence that the various claims of Christianity are true or that Jesus was all that He claimed to be or did all that the gospel writers claimed He did.

After all, you yourself do not believe or have faith in many of the claims of the Bible. Why then do you believe that Jesus, in particular, was God incarnate? – beyond a gestalt feeling? Did an angel show up and explain this truth to you? Or, do you just have some deep-seated feeling very similar to the “burning in the bosom” that my LDS friends have when they “hear the truth”? I’d really like to know how your gestalt feelings of truth are based on something superior compared to theirs? Yet, you’ve never responded to this question. So, I’ll ask it again:

How do you know that you are moved by the Holy Spirit in a reliable manner when it comes to your faith in some of the claims of the Bible? – while my LDS friends are not? Why are your feelings of truth so much superior to theirs?

Until you address this question, I’m really not interested in continuing this discussion with you.

Sean Pitman Also Commented

Ted Wilson: No Room for Evolution as Truth in Adventist Schools
As I’ve pointed out before, there are a lot of books claiming to be “The Word of God”. How do you know that the Bible’s claim, among so many competing options, is true? – based on a feeling? That’s how you know? Did an angel show up and tell you that the Bible’s claims are true? – or how to interpret it? Were you born with this knowledge? or did you have to learn it? If you had to learn that the Bible’s claims are true, upon what did you base your learning? – and how did this basis of your learning help you distinguish the true from the false?

At first approximation, the Bible is just a book making a bunch of claims. How can you tell the difference between the origin of the Bible and the Book of Mormon or the Qur’an? In order to determine that God had anything to do with its creation, you have to read it and make judgments about it. If you base your judgments on some kind of deep feeling or gestalt sensation of truth, I say that this isn’t a reliable basis for a leap of faith. However, if you base your acceptance of the claims of the Bible on rational arguments that make sense given what you already think you know to be true, then you have yourself a much more useful and helpful basis for faith… as the Bible itself recommends.

God does not expect us to believe or have faith without sufficient evidence to establish a rational and logical faith in the claims of the Bible. Have you not read where the Bible challenges the honest seeker for truth to “test” even the claims of God? (Judges 6:39; Malachi 3:10; John 14:11; etc…). We are not called to blindly accept anything as true, not even the Bible. The claims of the Bible must be tested to see if they truly are what they claim to be – i.e., the Words of God.


Ted Wilson: No Room for Evolution as Truth in Adventist Schools
I haven’t changed my mind. I still see atheism as the most logical alternative to Christianity and any other view of God if such views of God are only based on a wishful-thinking type of fideistic faith. Why should one be a Christian or believe that the Bible is anything more than a good moral fable? – or believe that God exists any more than Santa Claus or the Flying Spaghetti Monster exists? For me, it’s because I see real empirical evidence for God’s existence as well as His Signature within the pages of the Bible and within the universe and the world in which I find myself.

You see, we are called to have an “intelligent trust” in God’s Word – a trust that is based on something more than a deep feeling or internal gestalt. Otherwise, you’re really in the same boat as my LDS friends with their “burning in the bosom” argument for faith in what is or isn’t true.

Now, it is possible to doubt the Divine origin of the Bible while still recognizing the Divine origin of the universe – based on the weight of empirical evidence. This is where quite a number of modern physicists are in their view of God. And, it is a reasonable position given the honest conviction that life and its diversity can evolve via the Darwinian mechanism of random mutations and natural selection over long periods of time to produce what we have today on this planet.

So, there are different “levels” of recognition when it comes to seeing God’s hand behind various phenomena. And, once His Signature is recognized at a different level, the implications and responsibilities change for us. It’s a “first step” toward God to recognize a Divine Signature behind the origin of the universe and the natural laws that govern it. However, once one recognizes the Divine Hand behind the origin of the Bible and the credibility of the Bible’s empirical claims, one is called to experience different responsibilities and privileges in a higher level walk with God – “in Spirit and in truth”.


Ted Wilson: No Room for Evolution as Truth in Adventist Schools
Again, there are somethings that, if seen in vision, cannot be easily misinterpreted. If you see that “there was light” then “there was darkness” and that this pattern of was used to mark off a series of seven days, that’s pretty hard to get wrong or misinterpret. Mrs. White also confirms these biblical claims by arguing that God specifically showed her that the creation week was a literal week “like any other”.

So, what needs to happen now is see which claims among competing claims are most likely true. Where does the “weight of evidence lie”? If the claims of neo-Darwinism are true, then the claims of the Bible aren’t just a matter of honest misinterpretations – they are either completely made up fabrications or they are outright lies – from God.

I will say, however, the Darwins observations did help to shed light on the Bible. For example, there were those who believed in the absolute fixity of the species – that nothing could change and that no new species of any kind could be produced by natural mechanisms. Darwin showed, quite clearly, that this interpretation of the Bible was false. So, Darwin’s discoveries did shed light on the Bible’s comments about reproduction “after their kind”. However, the Bible sheds light on Darwin’s claims by showing the clear limitations of Darwinian-type evolution – to very low levels of functional complexity over a short period of time (i.e., not hundreds of millions of years of evolution).

Again, we have science and Scripture shedding light on each other…


Recent Comments by Sean Pitman

“For such a time as this”
Again, while a good diet and great health are important, this just isn’t enough to effectively prevent disease during a viral pandemic. As I’ve already explained, this is why Ellen White took the smallpox vaccine herself and advised the others who were with her to do the same. Such vaccines are, in fact, part of the most effective ways of “keeping well” rather than “curing disease” after the fact…


Are mRNA Vaccines for COVID-19 helpful or harmful?
Regarding the recent situation where 23 nursing home patients died in Norway following vaccination the mRNA vaccines of Pfizer and/or Moderna (given to 30,000 people so far), these patients were all over the age of 80, were very frail. It is also somewhat difficult to determine a link in this particular population between the vaccine and any other potential cause of death – since around 400 nursing home patients die in Norway every week. However, at this point, it is not ruled out that adverse reactions occurring within the first days following vaccination (such as fever and nausea) may contribute to a more serious course and fatal outcome in patients with severe underlying disease and general frailty.

Steinar Madsen, medical director with the Norwegian Medicines Agency, said: “We are not alarmed by this. It is quite clear that these vaccines have very little risk, with a small exception for the frailest patients.” (Link)

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health said concluded that “for very frail patients and terminally ill patients, a careful balance of benefit versus disadvantage of vaccination is recommended.” (Link)

Consider this also in the light that more than 30% of nursing home residents are likely to die if an outbreak of COVID-19 occurs. So, weighing the risks and benefits of taking the vaccine vs. being exposed to a potential COVID-19 outbreak seems to weigh heavily in favor of taking the vaccine – with the exception, perhaps, of those who are already very frail.


“For such a time as this”
It’s a serious mistake to compare the advances of modern medicine to the prophecies of Ellen White regarding the activity of Satan during the Last Days – where Satan appears as a powerful angel of light, even taking on the form, appearance, and attitude of Christ (making fire come down from the sky and healing the sick and speaking words of grace and comfort in order to deceive the world). Are you really suggesting that the modern mRNA vaccines against COVID-19 are actually part of these final “benevolent” works of Satan? How is this anything but extremist nonsense? – a rejection of a gift of God to help humanity by claiming that it is actually the work of Satan himself? This sort of thing reminds me of this passage in Matthew:

But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.” (Matthew 12:24)

You do realize, after all, that Ellen White took the smallpox vaccine herself during an outbreak? as did her son William White? and that she recommended that all of the others who were with her at the time take the vaccine as well? (Link) Contrary to some claims that I’ve heard regarding her actions here, it wasn’t that the vaccines in her day were less risky or more “pure” than they are today. They were actually riskier compared to modern vaccines, but still far far less risky compared to getting the actual infection itself. That’s why she took the vaccine. She also recommended that missionaries in areas infested with malaria take quinine – that we should, “do the best we can” in such situations (Link). When medications are beneficial and are appropriate, they may be used. When surgery is called for, it should be performed. In 1905 Ellen White wrote:

“Those who seek healing by prayer should not neglect to make use of the remedial agencies within their reach. It is not a denial of faith to use such remedies as God has provided to alleviate pain and to aid nature in her work of restoration…. God has put it in our power to obtain a knowledge of the laws of life. This knowledge has been placed within our reach for use. We should employ every facility for the restoration of health, taking every advantage possible, working in harmony with natural laws… It is our privilege to use every God-appointed means in correspondence with our faith, and then trust in God,… If there is need of a surgical operation, and the physician is willing to undertake the case, it is not a denial of faith to have the operation performed… Before major surgery, the entire body is saturated with a powerful and, in a sense, harmful drug [the anesthetic], to the point of complete unconsciousness and to complete insensibility. By the same token, after surgical procedures, the physician may find it necessary to administer medications that almost certainly include drugs to give relief and prevent the patient from lapsing, from sheer pain, into a state of surgical shock and, in some instances, possible death.” (Link)

Ellen White also recognized that blood transfusions could save lives. She herself had radiation therapy — X-ray treatments at Loma Linda for a skin problem. In short, she was not opposed to reasonable advances of modern medicine, accepting them as gifts of God, not sinister plots of Satan. We should remember her example in this regard and no turn away from the gifts of God that He has granted us through the advances of modern medicine.


Are mRNA Vaccines for COVID-19 helpful or harmful?

As promised, I took a look at Sangers Sequencing and I found a 43 page PDF from the FDA who is complicit in the scam–it’s simply the entirety of the PCR test they all are using…

You don’t know the first thing about PCR or genetic sequencing. Did you even watch the video about Sanger Sequencing that I recommended?

Why would I need to study science for years to be able to break down all of these 43 pages of information, and critically analyze it?

Because, you don’t know the first thing about these scientific tests, not even the basics. Yet you feel yourself free to make claims about them that are absolutely false. You even claim that you’re guided by the Holy Spirit when you make these false claims – which is a very dangerous thing to do. You’re treading on holy ground with your presumptuous claims.

John_16:13 However, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come.

This doesn’t mean that the Holy Spirit gives you knowledge about things that you are unwilling to seriously study or investigate or that He will guide you when you are unwilling and too arrogant to change when errors are revealed to you. You’re simply wrong with your understanding of PCR and how it is used. You don’t understand the first thing about genetic sequencing, and you’re even wrong about Mrs. White and her own use and recommendation of vaccines for others. Almost nothing you’ve said is true. Yet, you claim to be guided directly by God in this nonsense of yours? Please…

There’s simply no point in discussing these things further with you. It’s just no longer useful to me.


Are mRNA Vaccines for COVID-19 helpful or harmful?

Wow, I got this from you on this first day that I looked at your information on Dr. Wakefield–I had never heard of BrandNewTube until I saw this video. Watch out what you link to–now according to you, I’m into “conspiracy theories” because I got BrandNewTube from you.

I cited the Wakefield video as an example of a conspiracy theorist with ideas and claims that simply aren’t credible, even outlandishly wrong, given what we actually know about mRNA vaccines. And, this same website hosts many other conspiratorial videos as well. Christians should strive to avoid being associated with such conspiracies.

Then you proceed to shoot down the PCR inventor’s own testimony about his own test because he was into astrology. So what. Has Satan ever had any part into you? or me? Absolutely–and you dare to speak nonsense and garbage about someone who is dead and cannot defend themselves? Wow, Sean, how far will you go to defend your false science?

Showing that someone is “into” a whole lot of non-credible beliefs and conspiracies plays into that person’s overall credibility – especially given the very relevant nonsense claims of Mullis regarding HIV/AIDS. This is something to consider when someone is cited as an “authority” or “expert” to support this or that sensational claim that supposedly falsifies the vast majority of scientists and medical experts on a particular topic.

Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re wrong in your claim. In fact, your claim that PCR cannot, by itself, prove the existence of a new virus is absolutely true! I agree with you here! However, what you don’t understand is that, as I’ve explained in some detail already, PCR wasn’t used, by itself, to demonstrate the existence or genetic makeup of the COVID-19 virus. The genetic sequencing that was done to initially detect the COVID-19 virus and its genetic makeup is quite involved and very interesting (and goes well beyond PCR) – if you care to actually learn something. I recommend starting the “Sanger Sequencing” (watch the short video explaining it that I posted in my comment above).