The Full History of La Sierra University vs. Louie Bishop

.

MY STRUGGLES AS A CREATIONIST AT LA SIERRA UNIVERSITY

Louie Bishop

.

Members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church leadership have encouraged me that laymen in the church, especially those alumni with first-hand experience like me, should be actively involved in bringing about change to the crisis at La Sierra University. It is my hope that the following information will enlighten, awaken, and help church leaders and laymen alike play their part in bringing about this much needed change.

I will first convey my personal experience as a student at La Sierra University.  The following information and corresponding exhibits constitute a factual account of my experience as a student of La Sierra University under the administration of current LSU President Randal Wisbey.

While a student at La Sierra University, my academic freedom and civil rights were repeatedly violated because I exposed the truth about what was being taught in LSU classrooms.  I was subjected to multiple unjust disciplinary actions for merely speaking up, stating my concerns, and defending the Adventist doctrine of Biblical Creation.

In February of 2009, I passed out a paper at La Sierra University Church on Alumni weekend describing what was being taught in LSU’s Biology Department.  This resulted in a confrontation for which I later apologized.  I assumed all was well and registered for classes spring quarter without incident.  However, at the beginning of the next school year in September of 2009, the Wisbey administration tried to prevent me from registering for classes by placing my student account on a “Disciplinary Hold.”  I was told I would not be allowed to register for classes or attend the University because I had “passed out information” at Church without permission.  On September 21, 2009, I wrote a letter to the Discipline Committee asking for the reasons why I was not allowed to attend La Sierra University to be provided to me in writing.  See Exhibit 1.

When the responsibility of my case was given to the Dean of Students, she told me that she did not know the reasons why I was being held out of school!  It took several days for the Dean to provide me with a list of my alleged offenses.  When I did receive a list of allegations, the list did not identify who was making these allegations.  I was then told I had to write a letter apologizing for my alleged “bad behavior.”  A copy of my letter in response is attached as Exhibit 2.

Although the Admissions Committee voted in my favor and removed the Disciplinary Hold on my student account, and I was allowed to register for classes, I missed more than a week of important science classes because of this unjust disciplinary action.  Preventing me from registering for school under these circumstances is not supported by any of the University policies.  Also, this action was taken against me despite the fact that the Church is not owned by the University and is not even located on the University campus property.  In reality, the University had no jurisdiction over what I did while on Church property.  I viewed this as merely an attempt to intimidate and silence me.  While not wanting to cause any trouble, my motive in sharing letters with LSU Alumni was to reveal what was actually being taught in LSU classrooms.

During the fall quarter of 2009, I became particularly concerned when I attended the General Biology Freshman Seminar.  This was the same seminar that the Wisbey administration had promoted as being the course that would help resolve the Creation/Evolution controversy at LSU, by “…introducing students to Seventh-day Adventist understandings of creation, centered in the Genesis account, which reveals the Creator as a personal and loving God.”  See Exhibit 3.  This sounded good to me and I was looking forward to the seminar!

I was very upset, however, when the Freshman Seminar blatantly undermined the Seventh-day Adventist belief in creation, rather than supporting it, as had been promised by President Wisbey.  I was especially concerned by a lecture given by the LSU Dean of the School of Religion, and his invited guest from Loma Linda.

For example, Dr. Webster told the students the literal (Historical-Grammatical) method of Biblical interpretation is “not particularly helpful.”  He suggested creation might not have happened in seven literal days.  Dr. Webster also suggested that the apparent threats that contemporary science presents to SDA beliefs can be harmonized using various options.  He told us the “more helpful” figurative methods of Biblical interpretation suggest “the opening chapters of Genesis might not really be about how the world came into being, but might be about how we understand the world as God’s dwelling place, as the temple of God.”

During the seminar, the SDA belief that the world was created in seven literal days was clearly called into question.  Dr. Webster’s guest also told us that Genesis 1 and 2 are not really about how God created the earth.  Instead, he said, Genesis is describing how the temple was dedicated in seven days.  In other words, Genesis 1 and 2 are talking about the dedication or inauguration of the earth as God’s temple.

To illustrate his point that the earth was not really created in seven literal days, Dr. Webster’s guest gave an analogy.  He said after we graduate we will say we got our degrees on a certain day, while in reality it took a much longer period of time to earn our degrees.  He concluded his presentation by stating, “It’s the same way with the days of creation.  They are inaugurated, set apart as special, but there was a lot of work that went on beforehand.”

I was deeply concerned by what I heard at the seminar, especially because this particular lecture was organized and presented by the Dean of the School of Religion!  That evening, on November 17, I decided to send a letter to members of the Board of Trustees expressing my concerns regarding the lectures.  See Exhibit 4 to read this letter.

In the days following, I also wrote a short note, which I gave to a few of my classmates, sharing my concerns regarding the promotion of evolution in the Biology classes.  In my note I offered to provide peer-reviewed work from a top SDA scientist supporting the Biblical version of creation.  This note stated the following in its entirety:

 

Dear Friend,

I am writing you in regards to the promotion of the theory of evolution in La Sierra’s Biology classes. We are being told that we are a product of millions of years of gradual change. We are also being told that the theory of evolution and the Bible are entirely compatible. Yet, as we have seen (Biology Seminar on 11/17), in the eyes of many the Bible is significant chiefly because of its cultural richness. As Mr. Webster suggested, the figurative or “realistic” models of Bible interpretation may be helpful, but the literal model of interpretation is not. This is hard for me to accept, especially when I read what Jesus Himself said: “But from the beginning of the creation, God ‘made them male and female.”‘ Mark 10:6. ln context, Jesus is speaking of humans, and He is quoting directly from Genesis! Jesus also said “For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me.” John 5:46. Evolution teaches that humans were “created” at the end of the world timeline. Jesus teaches that humans were made at the beginning of the creation of the world, not at the end. Who will YOU believe? If you are wrestling with doubt or wondering even why things like this are being taught at a Christian university; if you want answers; scientific answers, Biblical answers—then email me and share your concerns. I have permission from a top SDA scientist to share his peer-reviewed work that has been published in leading scientific journals. My email is louiebishop64@gmail.com.

God Bless,  

Louie

 

Although my actions were the exercise of my academic freedom and civil rights, my case was taken before a disciplinary “judicial” committee.  I was not allowed to attend the hearing to defend myself.  I was instructed to write a statement which required me to admit that I had done something wrong before my case was even considered.  On December 8, 2009 the “Judicial Committee” ruled against me and punished me by issuing an official “Letter of Censure.”  This letter charged me with violating University policy for distributing material that had not been previously approved by the Office of Student Activities.  See Exhibit 5.

This punishment was in clear violation of the University policies, including its policies on academic freedom.  It was also a violation of my student rights which promises the following in the Student Handbook:

 

“La Sierra University students have the right to expect a Christian university to be a place of spiritual nurture. A Christian learning environment nurtures spiritual growth of all members of its community while teaching the faith and traditions of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.” 

“La Sierra University students have the right to freely and without fear of reprisal express their opinions, beliefs, and questions, including expressions about University student life and academic experiences. A Christian learning environment supports respectful expression of diverse ideas through appropriate means.” 

 

A few weeks later my student rights and academic freedom were again violated when I was again punished for publicly disclosing what was being taught in one of the Biology classes.  The Wisbey administration again failed to follow their own regulations when initiating disciplinary actions against me.  I was again denied my right to appear before the disciplinary committee to defend myself regarding alleged charges against me.  I was told to submit a written statement which again required me to admit guilt before my case was even considered.

This time my punishment was very serious.   On January 6, 2010, the “Judicial Committee” voted to discipline me by putting me on a form of probation called “Citizenship Probation” which is reserved for only the most serious violations of policy.  See Exhibit 6.

This harsh punishment prevented me from ever holding a student office or any leadership role during the duration of my time at La Sierra University.  I was also not allowed to participate in extracurricular activities or even attend mission trips sponsored by LSU.  Worst of all, the “Citizenship Probation” became a permanent part of my student disciplinary file which would be shared with any transferring or graduate schools which I later applied to, for the rest of my life.  In short, this unfair punishment could destroy my hopes to attend Loma Linda University.

Because this disciplinary action taken against me could affect my future after leaving La Sierra University, I appealed all of the disciplinary actions taken against me.  See Exhibit 7.  I was told I could ask a LSU faculty member to represent me.  During this appeal process, however, the Wisbey administration again denied me my right to appear before the committee to defend myself.

The faculty member who agreed to represent me for my appeal was warned if he advocated for me it could cost him his job.  We discussed this possibility together.  He was unwilling to believe the administration would fire him as retaliation for representing a student.  He was also very secure in his employment at the University based on his outstanding performance and records of success.  Yet, when I talked with him a short time later, he had been notified that his job would be terminated at the end of the school year.

During this extremely stressful disciplinary process I struggled to understand exactly what the charges against me were, who my accusers were, and what evidence the University had against me, so I could try to defend myself.  When I was not given this information, I asked for copies of my entire student records according to my rights under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) of 1974.  See Exhibit 8.

Randal Wisbey’s administration withheld and later admitted to destroying documents concerning me that I had a legal right to see and review. This action violated my rights as a student under FERPA, and is just plain wrong.

I began requesting documents I was entitled to review in January 2010.  Although I was initially promised I would receive the information I requested, it was not provided.  Nevertheless, the LSU administration and its legal counsel repeatedly represented that they had delivered my entire student file, including all documentation regarding me and the disciplinary process I had undergone.  In a letter dated March 4, 2010, LSU’s lawyer Kent Hansen stated, “The education records that you have been provided constitute your entire student file.”  This was untrue.  In reality I was only given a small number of documents, most of which were my own correspondence with LSU.  See Exhibit 9.

Because of Randal Wisbey’s administration’s unjust and persistent retaliation against me, I was forced to obtain legal help, just to try to find what the University was withholding from me!  Once my attorney began insisting that LSU deliver to me all documentation I was entitled to review, LSU finally admitted that they had begun destroying documents that they had been withholding from me.   Eventually, I was given a list that allegedly included all of the destroyed documents.  In the list were many documents relating to the disciplinary actions taken against me, which I had never seen and was never provided.  Additionally, internal emails and other documents exchanged between the LSU officials, faculty and administration, which I had a right to review under FERPA, were never produced.

Why would LSU admit to destroying documents in June 2010 when LSU’s legal counsel Kent Hansen told me I had been given my entire student file in March 2010?  The inference is they knew what they had done to me was wrong and decided to destroy the evidence, regardless of the cost.  Sadly, the University has never offered me an apology for their actions toward me.

I was told La Sierra University was anticipating litigation as a result of their actions against me.  Although I certainly had the right (and the evidence) to initiate litigation against La Sierra University, I instead decided to follow the counsel in 1 Corinthians 6:1-8 and bring my case before the brethren.

1 Corinthians 6:1 says “Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints?”   Following this scripture, my efforts have been toward making those in the Church aware, who are able to actually accomplish something towards resolving the problems at La Sierra.

On November 12, 2010, I had my attorney send a long letter addressed to Elder Dan Jackson, President of the North American Division, which was also copied to officials at the General Conference and North American Division who are responsible for SDA education.  This 22-page legal letter describes in detail the abuse I suffered as a La Sierra University student.  As evidence supporting its truthfulness, the letter is supported by over 200 pages of exhibits.   I would urge the reader to review this letter and its supporting documentation.  See Exhibit 10.

While representing openness to diversity of opinion and views, under the leadership of Randal Wisbey, LSU has done quite the opposite.  Strangely, yet truthfully, it is the views of the Seventh-day Adventist Church which are especially opposed by the Wisbey administration.

The handling of the situations and events described in this letter took placed under the leadership, direction, and oversight of Randal Wisbey, current president of La Sierra University.  These details paint a sad picture of what Randal Wisbey is willing to put students through in order to attempt to intimidate them into silence.

Unfortunately, my case is not an isolated example of the abuses at LSU.  Others have been mistreated by Randal Wisbey and his administration in recent years, as described below.

Because years had gone by without the Creation/Evolution crisis at La Sierra University being resolved, members of the Biology faculty decided to try on their own to suggest a possible resolution, for the consideration of the Board and the administration.   Professor Lee Greer drafted a proposal suggesting an “approach in principle” to incorporate the teaching of the SDA belief in Biblical creation into the Biology curriculum on origins.

On October 5, 2010, the Chair of the Biology Department, along with all but one of the Biology faculty, individually signed this faculty-initiated proposal (known as the Joint Proposal) as an exercise of their academic freedom.  Four trustees also signed as individuals in order to show their support for this faculty-initiated proposal.  The document specifically said they were signing as individuals who were not speaking on behalf of the University or the Board.  See Exhibit 11.

The leadership of the Seventh-day Adventist Church was very pleased by this development.  The officers of the North American Division issued a statement praising the Joint Proposal as a positive step forward and expressing appreciation for those who signed the document.  See Exhibit 12.

The Adventist Review also published a very positive article, which quoted several Church leaders who supported the efforts of these Biology professors, including Elder Dan Jackson, President of the North American Division, Elder Larry Blackmer, North American Division Vice President for Education, and Elder Ricardo Graham, President of the Pacific Union Conference and also Chairman of the Board of Trustees for La Sierra University.  See Exhibit 13.

Despite this unprecedented support from the Church, the Wisbey administration was angry.  Incredibly, LSU issued an official press release which condemned the actions of the North American Division for supporting and publishing the Joint Proposal, saying it was “precipitous.”  See Exhibit 14.  Additionally, three members of the Board Trustees were removed from the Board of Trustees for signing the Joint Proposal as individuals, “who support this faculty-initiated proposal.”

Likewise, a couple of months later, LSU Professor Lee Greer, who initiated the Joint Proposal, was told his employment at La Sierra University was being terminated.  Dr. Greer had done nothing wrong.  He had only attempted to communicate with his fellow professors, LSU board members, and Church leaders to find a way to incorporate SDA teachings on creation into LSU’s classrooms that was acceptable to all.  Please refer to several published articles on this matter, attached as Exhibit 15.

Sadly, there is a pattern of President Wisbey doing all in his power to prevent the teaching of the Seventh-day Adventist view of Creation alongside secular evolution in LSU classrooms.  If history is to be repeated, Randal Wisbey will also punish, fire, and remove anyone who tries to resolve this long-standing crisis in the future.

Greater transparency must be demanded on behalf of President Wisbey.  A strong message must be sent that dishonesty and misrepresentation will not be tolerated in any form.  President Wisbey, the officers, the Board, and the faculty all must be held fully accountable for their actions and representations towards students, parents, faculty, and church members alike.

While Randal Wisbey publicly represents “openness” to diversity and opinion, in reality he is intolerant of the views of others.  He has both openly and covertly removed professors and Board members for trying to resolve the creation-evolution controversy, and persecuted and harassed students who set forth opinions and ideals differing from his ideology.

I realize it can be difficult for church leaders, accrediting bodies, constituents, and the parents of LSU students to accept the sobering reality of what the University’s administration is doing, and what is being taught in LSU classrooms.  After all, La Sierra University is supposed to be a truly Seventh-day Adventist institution, and President Wisbey is an ordained minister.  In view of these startling realities, it is my sincere hope that this documented information will help the reader to realize the gravity of the current condition of LSU.

On May 23rd, the La Sierra University Constituents will meet in a specially called meeting to vote to approve or disapprove changes to the LSU Bylaws.  An approval of the proposed LSU Bylaw changes would bring about extreme change at LSU, as they will remove most of the oversight authority from the Board of Trustees and transfer much of its power to the President of the University, who under the proposed changes will be deemed “Chief Executive Officer.”
During this crisis at LSU, the efforts of various church members and leaders have been directed toward creating greater transparency between LSU’s Biology and Religion departments, the LSU administration, and the members and leaders of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church.   In contrast, you will note on lines 234 and 235 of the proposed LSU bylaw changes that the Board of Trustees’ designated authority “To order and control all affairs and business, and to be informed of the work of the various schools, departments, committees and programs” will be terminated if the proposed bylaw changes are approved.

Other proposed changes will give the President the power to have control over the operations of the University, including the hiring, reviewing, and firing of officers and faculty members, and will allow him to unilaterally administer all of the programs of the university, without the oversight of the Board.  The Bylaws changes, proposed by President Wisbey, are attached in their entirety as Exhibit 16.

These proposed Bylaw changes are very dangerous!  World history has already illustrated what happens when more and more power is invested in one man.  Even under the best of circumstances, this type of power should be given only as a last resort, and only to individuals who have demonstrated they are completely trustworthy and above reproach.

President Wisbey has already proven he cannot be trusted with the power he hopes to transfer from the Board to himself.  As demonstrated above, Randal Wisbey and his administration have abused their power by the unjust treatment of students, faculty, and even members of the Board of Trustees.  Most importantly, President Wisbey has proven himself to be disloyal to the religious mission of the University and the teachings of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.  It is not a surprise, then, that he now seeks to concentrate in himself as much power over LSU as is possible.

Members and leaders of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church must decide whether or not to allow this Seventh-day Adventist University to remain under the control of an individual who has an ideology so different than the fundamental Biblical beliefs and values of the Church.

I urge you to individually do all you can to persuade the members of the La Sierra University Constituency to vote “NO” on May 23.   We must do everything in our power to not allow President Wisbey to have even greater power and authority over this Adventist institution.  Most of all, we must pray!

The good news is that this crisis at La Sierra University is carried upon God’s heart (Testimonies to the Church, Volume 7, page 298.1). It is my hope that this information will enable the Adventist Accrediting Association and the constituent members of La Sierra University to exercise their duty of upholding correct principles at LSU. “…Take care lest in their efforts to prevent discord, they surrender truth; lest in warding off division, they sacrifice principle. True brotherhood can never be maintained by compromising principle.” (Review & Herald, 1/16/1900, Par. 6)

Very Sincerely,

.

.

.

Louie Bishop

.

Letter to Elder Jackson from Bishop’s Lawyer:

.

Short excerpt from Dr. John Webster’s lecture at LSU on how to correctly interpret the Bible:

Share on Facebook229Pin on Pinterest0Share on LinkedIn0Tweet about this on TwitterDigg thisShare on Google+0Share on Tumblr0Share on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Print this pageEmail this to someone

255 thoughts on “The Full History of La Sierra University vs. Louie Bishop

  1. How ironic that this scholar, graduate of one of the great campuses of UC, distinguished as possibly the greatest golfer in the history of the Davis campus (my brother in law was one of his coaches), also widely recognized there for his high morals and his spiritual integrity, chooses to continue his education at a school of his own faith and is assaulted and stigmatized when he discovers that the college is not living up to those principles of faith and attempts to tactfully remind them of the problems. How sad. How terribly sad. Take comfort.Jesus was himself rejected and was finally crucified when he warned the pharisees and saducees of their errors and tried to reach them.




    0
    View Comment
  2. Pingback: My struggles as a creationist at La Sierra University | ADvindicate

  3. It is a sad truth that when you speak up and uphold the biblical teachings you become a minority and this is not new in our organization. Keep the faith, hold fast for we are at the end of time. The devil has a hard time attacking from the outside. He is having far more success attacking from the inside.




    0
    View Comment
  4. WOW!

    A major assault upon our faith has sadly been too effective.
    ====================================

    1 Kings 19:

    9 And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?

    10 And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.

    18 Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.
    ===================================

    You are not alone, our brother.




    0
    View Comment
  5. This issue concerning evolution being taught in some SDA schools as fact as opposed to creation is has been a growing concern since my undergraduate years at a different SDA university in the early to mid 1990’s. I truly wonder if the regional accreditation of Adventist schools and universities have much to do with this. The accrediting agencies are authorized by the US Department of Education, and the US government has had a fairly recent history of taking God and biblically based principles out of our nation’s education, and has slowly marginalized anyone or institution who promotes those principles.




    0
    View Comment
    • @Glenn: Glenn, the answer is no. The problem is not secular accreditation. The problem is liberal administrators who have followed an intentional policy of liberalization. (La Sierra has had three zealous Darwinist presidents in succession.)

      But the liberals desperately want us traditional Adventist believers to think that we cannot have both (1) colleges that are faithful to the mission of the church, and (2) secular accreditation. They want us to think that, but again it is not true.

      The only Adventist college that has had an issue with secular accreditors is La Sierra, and that is because university insiders have very assiduously solicited WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges ) interference. Even after receiving much soliciting, hand-holding and courting from extremely well-placed LSU insiders, WASC has not dared to directly interfere on the substance of science teaching, but has approached from the angle of board autonomy, encouraging changes to the structure of the Board of Trustees that would loosen church control of the school.

      It is crucial that we not cave on the issue of board structure, as I discuss here:

      http://advindicate.com/?p=2793.




      0
      View Comment
      • I simply do not understand the lack of response to this issue by the NAD or the GC ED dept. In the days of Ethel Young (VP Ed) and others , I doubt this would have reached this magnitude. It probably would not have escaped the doors of the Boardroom.




        0
        View Comment
        • @Dan Kelly: Dan, under the system of interlocking committees by which our church is governed, power flows in both directions, but mainly from the ground up. There are NAD and GC representatives in the Pacific Union executive committee and in La Sierra’s constituency, but there are also Pacific Union people on the NAD and GC governing committees.

          The GC’s options for intervening in this situation are limited. Elder Wilson has influence over the Adventist Accrediting Association–I think he appoints the head of that agency–and removing Adventist accreditation from La Sierra would send a very strong signal. But, as I said, political pressure flows in both directions, and the pressure on AAA not to remove Adventist accreditation from La Sierra is enormous. If not, it would already have been done, because AAA is fully informed about the inculcation of Darwinism at La Sierra. Beyond AAA, the GC has little leverage other than public criticism, and, at least thus far, Elder Wilson hasn’t viewed this situation as extreme enough to warrant that.

          Correcting the problem at La Sierra will require a committed constituency, which will have to elect a conservative Board of Trustees. Wisbey has had a strong hand in the selection of the current board of trustees, and they are mostly his supporters. (Recall that Wisbey managed to get his three most persistent critics on the Board of Trustees–Drs. Marta Tooma and Carla Lidner-Baum, and Amabassador Kathryn Proffitt–kicked off of the Board.) A new Board of Trustees would then need to fire Wisbey and bring in a president committed to transforming an institution that liberals have controlled for about 25 years. That new president’s hands would be tied by the fact that tenure has been granted to much of the liberal faculty. He would be able to replace some department heads, but wouldn’t be able to fire too many people without a bunch of lawsuits.

          But, again, this process can’t even get started until the constituency is convinced that La Sierra has gone badly wrong.




          0
          View Comment
        • David: Having sat on EXCOMM for more years that I would like to admit I am, unfortunately, aware of the the functionality, or perhaps DIS-functionality of the “flow.” There IS a legal process, especially in today’s legal climate. That process, I would hope, is in process as we banter pro and con here, but still in process – behind the committee room doors. Hopefully, there will be sufficient processes to be able to bring the matter to consensus by 2015 so that substantive changes can be made at PUC and LSU levels so that the process of change, retro tho it may be, can be instituted at the level of the Board.




          0
          View Comment
        • Yes, George, but ultimately, it will be taken to the GC in 2015. Why? Because the issue, while currently confined to LSU will not remain there. It is an agenda that will be pushed from every quarter until it has so permeated the system that “they” will say, it can’t be discarded now, we must incorporate it into the curriculum!” Overwhelm the system until the system collapses then rebuild it the way you want it. That cannot happen in this can nor in at least two others currently being flooded into the Denomination.




          0
          View Comment
      • @David Read: David,

        WASC interference regarding institutional autonomy: Something doesn’t sound right about that.

        Would the WASC actually favor removing a university president from board oversight? I would think the WASC would instead demand that a university president have board oversight. Am I wrong?




        0
        View Comment
        • @Bob Pickle: Bob, you are right. This is also something that I addressed in my article.

          The proposed bylaw changes, at least the substantive ones, can be divided into two general areas: 1) changes to the structure of the Board of Trustees, and 2) a transfer of governing power from the Board of Trustees to the president of the university; this second category of changes transforms the board into an advisory, vision-setting body, while transferring all real power (except for the power to hire and fire the president) to the president.

          The changes to the structure of the board of trustees have been demanded by WASC (again, after much solicitation by LSU administration), but the transfer of governing power has not been demanded by WASC. In fact, WASC wants college and university boards to exercise active governing power in key areas, especially included finances and academics. WASC wants strong boards that can help the institution stay sound and on track. Thus, the second category of bylaw changes actually works against WASC policy. This second category of bylaw changes makes apparent that Wisbey wants these bylaw changes for his own reasons, not necessarily because WASC is demanding them.




          0
          View Comment
  6. Reading through the documents provided, it seems clear that the “Citizenship Probation” disciplinary action taken against Louie was out of line. According to the LSU student handbook, the worst form of discipline should have been a written warning or minimal fine, although passing out letters to classmates doesn’t seem to be in the same category as posting unapproved fliers.

    The fact that upon discussion with Louie’s lawyer, the administration admitted to destroying some of Louie’s student file and documentation is unsettling. In light of the administration’s concern that he might file litigation, destroying documentation would not be unintentional, and certainly makes one question the reasons behind doing so.

    Can’t help but make a parallel with Jesus on trial as Art did above.

    Had Jesus broken the policies of men? Yes.
    Had he broken the commandments of God? No. Was his “crime” worthy of the punishment he received? No.
    Were the Jews in blatant rebellion against God? Yes.




    0
    View Comment
  7. I simply cannot comprehend why Pope Wisbey still reigns at La Sierra?! Is the Denomination that much of a Milk-Toast that it cannot [remove him]? He has apparently manufactured evidence against this kid and a number of his professors and board members, give him, now, a little Quid pro quo! By the time I finished reading, I was red in the face with smoke emanating from my ears!! Sincerely now, God Forgive us! And God help us!!




    0
    View Comment
    • @Dan Kelly: I agree. The destruction of FERPA protected documents should be grounds for action against Wisbey’s administration. That implies guilt.

      It seems clear that the reason Greer got the boot while trying to mediate the conflict is that Wisbey didn’t like the exposure. He wanted to keep the wool pulled over the constituencies eyes.

      I have talked to people who still insist that evolution is not being taught at LSU. That’s because the administration has been effective at portraying this false two-faced appearance.

      One things for sure though. The cat is out of the bag. Greer said clearly that evolution is being taught at LSU exclusively.




      0
      View Comment
    • @Dan Kelly: Let’s not get carried away. Mr. Bishop is not Jesus. He is just a student who, like others, has been on a thorn on the institution’s side. I applaud his efforts but rather than being crucified, he is becoming a celebrity.




      0
      View Comment
      • Not carried away. As stated, it is not only “this kid,” but staff, professors and others who are involved. In addition, the whole institution of the Church, ultimately, is, or should be, involved. Should they not be?




        0
        View Comment
  8. Thank you, Louie, for your brave stand against tyranny at such a great expense. It is shameful that this has been allowed to continue for so long. The issue extends well beyond the president of La Sierra. As you stated, the board of trustees and the faculty of the school are also responsible for the sad state of affairs at La Sierra University. What happened to you is only the tip of a very large iceberg.

    David has stated the problem very pointedly, “La Sierra has had three zealous Darwinist presidents in succession.” This cannot be laid at the feet of Wisbey. The president of La Sierra sits at the pleasure of the board of trustees. They are accountable for all that has transpired at the school since its inception. The board selected these presidents and has allowed the teaching of evolution to continue and has allowed Wisbey to retain his position despite what they have known to be happening at the school.

    Louie has provided very complete records that indicate the board of trustees has been informed of the malfeasance on the part of the school in depriving a student of his rights. The letter from Louie’s attorney is dated November 12, 2010.

    How can the board of trustees stand by and watch a faithful teacher be fired and a courageous student undergo such blatant unChristian persecution, and expose the school and the church to litigation?

    Just three days ago we sent out our April newsletter in which we pointed out the seriousness of the failure of the leadership of La Sierra University. The situation that David has pointed out, the board having appointed three successive Darwinist presidents, reveals that the Pacific Union Conference is not capable of providing the leadership necessary to insure our young people receive a Seventh-day Adventist Christian education. We pray that no more more students or teachers are injured, and that the world will not continue to witness what is called a Seventh-day Adventist university teaching evolution. Great reproach has been brought upon the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the Bible, and our God.

    Richard Myers, administrator The Remnant-online




    0
    View Comment
    • @Sabbath Sermon: President Ted Wilson is doing a great job! What would be if there were more persons like him?
      From what I understand, there is not only a problem with the president of LSU, the Board of Trustees of that University, but there is also a (big) problem with the Pacific Union Conference and perhaps the NAD as well. The immediate remedy to all those problems, I believe, is to pray to God that He will intervene mightily at the 2015 GC Session in order that the next “generation” of top Church leaders would be men that REALLY fear God and His commandments and have no fear to put things in order within the remnant Church of God! People like the president of LSU and others like him MUST BE FIRED from their positions of leadership in the Church of God, because by their fruits we can know for sure that they “are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:13; NKJV).




      0
      View Comment
  9. I say that it is about time for more students to stand up and hold our Adventist institutions accountable to deliver what they promise, especially when the pricetag on what they are being promised is so high. The financial security of these institutions depend on the pockets (or loans) of the students they are taking advantage of. If more students had the courage to stand up for the Bible, administrators would be forced (if no other reason than financially) to be held accountable. I commend this young man for putting his reputation on the line to make a difference.




    0
    View Comment
  10. Comments and questions continue to refer to the issue, “What are the church leaders doing about any of this?” As you can see from the attorney’s letter many church leaders were provided with copies by e-mail, but what is really disturbing is that from the very beginning of Louie’s issues with LSU, church leaders were aware of the details of what was happening. The LSU Chairman of the Board and Pacific Union President recieved e-mails, phone calls, and personal meetings, but chose to believe President Wisbey and Kent Hansen. NAD and GC officials iniated meetings to gain insight, some as far back as spring 2009, the beginning. As of now, nothing apparently has been done. It is quite possible that if leadership had responded and dealt with the LSU Creation issue at the outset they would have avoided the current LSU litagation issue over the resignation of three faculty members.
    At a time when it was needed, Esther stood up to point out Haman’s error, not knowing the consquences of entering the King’s court. Please pray for just one leader to stand up for the church against the LSU rebellion.




    0
    View Comment
  11. Pastor Wilson is not directly responsible for what happens at La Sierra, the Pacific Union Conference is. We do not have a hierarchy as some think. We have a world church that is bound together by the constitutions and bylaws of the various churches and conferences. Pastor Wilson does not have authority to fire Wisbey. But, he has influence. While La Sierra University is a most serious problem, it is as I stated in my last message, only a symptom of a much greater problem. Pastor Wilson understands this and is praying for guidance from God as to what steps to take. He is not a king, but a godly leader. He is working with the leadership of the world church to quell a rebellion. There is no easy answer.

    What we do as church members is vital to correcting the problems in the church. Revival and reformation begins with us, not with Pastor Wilson. He has made the call for revival and reformation and put Jesus in the center of all of his messages. For this we are very thankful. It is an answer to the prayers of millions of faithful Seventh-day Adventists around the world.

    Louie Bishop has done his part. He has been faithful to follow Scripture in his dealings with La Sierra University. His refusal to follow through with court proceedings is illustrative of that faith.

    Let us do the same. The leadership of the Pacific Union Conference is dependent upon the leadership of the conferences within that union. The local conference officers are elected by us who live in the Pacific Union and send our church delegates to the conference constituency meetings. We are responsible for the conference leadership.The problem cannot be solved by Pastor Wilson, it falls to the church member to send consecrated delegates to their constituency meetings to elect consecrated conference officers. When this is done, we shall see revival and reformation at the union level and therefore in our schools, hospitals, and all church institutions that are dependent upon church leadership.

    Let us pray and work toward that end. God is with us. It is His church.




    0
    View Comment
  12. I am not at all suprised by this. Whille I attended Andrews University I received similar treatment from the University administration, though to a lesser extent, after expressing my beliefs about required chapel attendance. It was that experience and several others with church administration that lead me to leave the Adventist church. The church administration may wonder why 70+% of youth leave the church, here is why.




    0
    View Comment
  13. It is simply impossible for me to fathom ANY Seventh-day Adventist school teaching evolution, or anything relating to it. If they are not teaching the Bible, they should not be allowed to teach!! The way this young man has been treated because of his objections is nothing but Satanical, and is an undermining of our church. Where are our church leaders? What DOES President Ted Wilson think? What about Jay Gallimore and others who stand for truth. I pray that none of them will back up for fear of their “positions” being lost here on this earth, and will realize what is going to be lost for eternity if this trend is continued. Also, how many others will you lead down the wrong paths? You will be responsible for their loss, too!!




    0
    View Comment
  14. Personally, I am a little disturbed by the judgmental nature of both sides. Sitting back and reading these comments, I wonder how Christ would respond. Thoughts on that?

    Also, I welcome a broad range of ideologies and do not need nor expect to be taught something “I already know” while attending a university-level class.

    Oh, and by the way, on the MCAT, evolution is the status quo. If you don’t want Adventism to continue to operate as a health-focused, medical machine, than by all means, ignore that fact. But the rest of us who want to help people instead of being selfishly self-absorbed into the whole superficial argument presented here will learn about the theory of evolution, so we can promote our position as missionaries of Christ.

    In short, many of us just simply need to get over ourselves and minimize the level of insult we feel when approached by those who disagree with us or do not meet our expectations of service (which is, in of itself, un-Christian). Do what Jesus did, and just be a good person, living a moral, ethical life that others will want to emulate.




    0
    View Comment
    • There is a difference between teaching about evolution vs. promoting neo-Darwinism as the true story of origins.

      All of our schools should teach about evolution while promoting the SDA perspective on creation at the same time. Our schools need to provide just as much as secular schools provide, plus the extra light we have been given from the Seventh-day Adventist perspective. The problem here is that LSU has been telling students that the SDA perspective is out dated, based on ignorance, and is simply wrong – i.e., rationally untenable. That is a big problem for the church (not to mention the moral problem of false advertising on the part of LSU).

      Also, Jesus stood for more than just good behavior. He made extraordinary claims about His own identity as well as the past, present and future. He claimed to be God. Also claimed to be the Creator. He claimed that the Genesis account was literally true. Was He just a good moral teacher, but otherwise confused? Or did He know what He was talking about on other issues as well? Does it matter?

      If you want to be like Jesus, what story of origins and the Creator are you going to want to promote to the world? Or, would you make Jesus out to be a liar?

      Sean Pitman
      DetectingDesign.com

      Jesus was not a “Great Moral Teacher” – C.S. Lewis

      “A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg – or else the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at him and kill him as a demon, or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great moral teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

      C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

      C.S. Lewis




      0
      View Comment
    • @Johnny Logic: Johnny wrote, “Oh, and by the way, on the MCAT, evolution is the status quo.”

      I took the MCAT and don’t remember anything about evolution. The TOE is not foundational to the medical professions. They deal with present, real world problems of only one “species”. If the whole world went creationist the medical professions wouldn’t even notice.




      0
      View Comment
      • @George Evans:

        I took the MCAT and don’t remember anything about evolution. The TOE is not foundational to the medical professions. They deal with present, real world problems of only one “species”. If the whole world went creationist the medical professions wouldn’t even notice.

        I would urge you to look at the AMCAS published document of content covered on the MCAT. Evolution is a very basic concept covered in every general biology class and is covered on the MCAT. Not every test is the same. Your test may not have directly tested evolution but one of your classmates might have been tested on it.




        0
        View Comment
        • Evolution at very low levels of functional complexity is indeed basic to biology and medicine (i.e., antibiotic resistance, etc.). However, the extrapolation of these low-level examples of evolution in action by neo-Darwinists and their story telling about how random mutations and natural selection produced very high levels of functional complexity, to include all the various forms of living things we see today, over hundreds of millions of years, is simply fantasy. Such fairytale stories are not “science”. They are not testable in a falsifiable manner and they are not fundamental to biology or medicine – not at all. In fact, based on the evidence that we have in hand about the nature of sequence space and the exponential reduction of the odds of discovering novel beneficial systems within that space with each step up the ladder of functional complexity, the neo-Darwinian story quickly becomes statistically impossible, rationally untenable, beyond very very low levels of functional complexity (i.e., for qualitatively novel systems of function that require a minimum of more than 1000 specifically arranged amino acid residues).

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




          0
          View Comment
    • @Johnny Logic: You said: “just be a good person, living a moral, ethical life that others will want to emulate”. This is simply NOT enough! The apostle Paul said: “For if I preach (not live!) the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity (not option!) is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!” (1 Corinthians 9:16) And in these last days we are living in, the gospel MUST be preached in the context of the three angels’ messages!




      0
      View Comment
    • @Johnny Logic:
      Johnny,

      When I stand up in defense of truth, it is to stand up for my best Friend, Jesus. Sadly, in this world, if one does so, they are made to feel they are the enemies of society and of peace.

      When someone within the family of God is opposing truth, does love require me to maintain the status quo, not to rock the boat? We are never to condemn, but we are required to warn, plead, entreat. If my brother is about to fall over the edge of a precipice while distracted, will I remain silent and watch him die or will I make an attempt to save him? Every time people embrace error in the form of Satan’s lies (no matter how much truth is attached to it)their eternal life is in jeopardy. We are our brothers keepers. See Zechariah: Speak everyone the truth with your neighbours and exercise the judgment of peace within your gates. Love rejoices not in iniquity but rejoices in the truth. There is no neutral ground on this planet. Friend of God = Enemy of Satan (and those he controls)and vice versa.




      0
      View Comment
  15. Bob Pickle:
    @David Read: David,

    WASC interference regarding institutional autonomy: Something doesn’t sound right about that.

    Would the WASC actually favor removing a university president from board oversight? I would think the WASC would instead demand that a university president have board oversight. Am I wrong?

    WASC is facilitating what Wisbey is requesting, they are only responding to the things Wisbey is pointing out as problems. That is why no other schools are having this issue, no other administration has the goals and objectives of pulling away from church affiliation.




    0
    View Comment
    • @MLB: MLB, this is true according to what I’ve heard. Lenny Darnell recorded himself planning to send a letter to WASC demanding that the board structure be changed. WASC is responding to complaints by LSU administration, including complaints about this website. Of course, this website is not part of, nor supported by or affiliated with, the official SDA Church, and hence changes to the structure of LSU’s Board of Trustees to loosen church control over the university will have no effect on the criticism coming from this website. And yet, Wisbey has complained to WASC about this website. Astonishing!




      0
      View Comment
  16. Richard Myers: Elder Wilson is the right man “for such a time as this”. We need Godly men like him and many more. Normal operating procedure for the SDA Church is to keep this type of issue quiet and deal with these issues internally. But there are roadblocks within the system that may have his hands tied. Legal counsel at the GC and legal counsel at LSU are friendly, and may have similar views. Elder Wilson doesn’t need to fire people or flex the GC’s muscles, but make the case to the Adventist people, stating what we stand for, what we disapprove of, form a committee to look into what actually took place at LSU, and present the findings to the people. Creation does not have to be the issue of this investigation, just look at the hard evidence, who was involved, and report the findings publicly. This will be helpful in unifying the church because people on either side of the creation debate won’t tolerate or try to defend what has been going on at LSU. Then we can have a robust, transparent debate about creation and evolution within Adventism, for institutional policy to be set, and for each individual to decide for themselves.




    0
    View Comment
    • While I agree in principle, the abuse of power continues in the interim. That is damaging not only to the students and professors involved, but to the institution and the church as well. Is there no instrument that would arrest the alarming activity until the matter can be “Brought before the people” presumable in 2015 for some sort of resolutuin?




      0
      View Comment
    • @MLB: MLB wrote, “Legal counsel at the GC and legal counsel at LSU are friendly, and may have similar views.”

      Do you have independent knowledge of this? “The more I think about it, old Billie [Shakespeare] was right, let’s kill all the lawyers. Let’s kill them tonight.” –Don Henley

      This isn’t a time to go slow. We have until May 28 to stop this mad man.




      0
      View Comment
    • @MLB: MLB, my understanding is that Wisbey has been able to use the lawsuit by the LSU-3 to prevent internal communication by GC officers regarding the the substance of that lawsuit. Wisbey’s lawyer, Kent Hanson, is apparently friends with Karnik Deutmeztian, the general counsel for the GC, and Hanson has been able to use that lawsuit to protect Wisbey’s malfeasance from scrutiny.

      That said, that lawsuit, brought by three of the four people who recorded themselves plotting against the church (and, pointedly, planning to importune WASC about the structure of LSU’s Board of Trustees), has nothing whatsoever to do with the treatment of Louis Bishop; the two issues aren’t even related. So Elder Wilson should be free to talk to whoever he wants to about the Louis Bishop case.




      0
      View Comment
  17. John Webster is very dear to me as a friend and as a youth pastor during my student years. What is stated in this article that stuns me is what he and the visiting lecturer from LLU expressed. Those of you who know the Alpha deception, will remember that it was driven by demons who worked through Dr . Kellogg inspiring him to write the book, The Living Temple, in which was promoted the ideas of pantheism. We are told through the SoP that the Omega deception will be of a most startling nature. I cannot but see a high level of correlation between the title of the book Kellogg wrote and the ideas promoted in the lecture at LSU. It is startling and it makes me tremble for the spiritual safety of those spiritual leaders that I hold dear.

    Concerning LSU, I believe we need to follow the path Jesus took. As the owner of the earth, did He just hand it over to the devil when His children changed allegiance? NO!!!!!!!

    He continued to exercise lovingkindness, judgment and righteousness in the earth for in these things He delights.
    He would preserve TRUTH and the remnant, those who choose to serve Him than follow the crowd, redeeming the earth and His children who would return their allegiance to Him from the power of Satan.

    STAND UP and BE COUNTED as men who will stand true to God and His eternal principles of Truth as the needle of the compass is to magnetic north.

    We need to for the sake of those who are new in the faith and for those that are weak in faith. Most of all we need to stand up because we will have to give an account for souls before God in the final judgment.




    0
    View Comment
    • “The greatest want of the world is the want of men—men who will not be bought or sold, men who in their inmost souls are true and honest, men who do not fear to call sin by its right name, men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole, men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall.” Ed. 57

      Well stated. Where are they? They are there, few though they may be! Pray that their numbers may be multiplied.




      0
      View Comment
  18. There will be overwhelming agreement from church members around the world with what is being said in this discussion. There will be a few who have had influence that will object. But what has happened at La Sierra is now in the open. In the light of day, Seventh-day Adventists will not tolerate it. Yes, some conference leaders have, but they now are seen to have been very wrong to ignore the abominations that have taken place.

    I have attempted to keep the discussion of the problems at La Sierra out of public view because it brings reproach upon God and His church. But, that is in the past. The national news media has been following some of what is going on in our church. We must now show the world that what they have seen at La Sierra does not represent God’s church nor the Bible.

    This is where we can be so thankful that the world church has taken a stand in direct opposition to what La Sierra is teaching that is contrary to Scripture. That Louie has presented the evidence of the continuing malfeasance at La Sierra and the refusal of the board of trustees to remove Wisbey and others, gives us good reason to now stand up and be counted in public. Too much has happened to just accept an “I am sorry”. No, there must be significant change made on the board and in the school.

    As Nic said, we must exercise loving kindness, judgment, and righteousness if we are to be true to Jesus and an encouragement to those in our church.




    0
    View Comment
  19. George Evans: @MLB: MLB wrote, “Legal counsel at the GC and legal counsel at LSU are friendly, and may have similar views.”Do you have independent knowledge of this? “The more I think about it, old Billie [Shakespeare] was right, let’s kill all the lawyers. Let’s kill them tonight.” –Don HenleyThis isn’t a time to go slow. We have until May 28 to stop this mad man.

    On a scale of 1-10, 9 is my opinion for reliable independent knowledge.




    0
    View Comment
  20. 1 Corinthians 6:1 says “Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints?”

    So what does this really mean? And how does it apply to the internet?




    0
    View Comment
    • @Professor Kent: Jeff Kent, so far the only ones to “go to law” are the three LSU professors who were recorded bad-mouthing Larry Blackmer, Dan Jackson, and other church officials, dismissing creationism as so much nonsense, and planning to use secular accreditation to separate LSU from effective church control. If you’re upset about church members “going to law” I suggest you direct your ire where it rightly belongs: against the three LSU professors.

      Those that haven’t “gone to law” include Louis Bishop who, although he obviously retained counsel, did not file a lawsuit. From the foregoing article, he would have been well justified in doing so.

      Also, Lee Greer didn’t file a lawsuit, even though Randal Wisbey wrongfully fired him for his discussion with NAD education leader Larry Blackmer, and a “joint statement” about science pedagogy that he crafted, and that was approved of by his department head and signed off on by all biology instructors except for the Muslim. He would have been justified in filing suit for his mistreatment, but he didn’t.

      Then there are the three board members whom Wisbey had kicked off of the Board of Trustees for their constant attempts to see La Sierra reform its inculcation of Darwinism. None of them has filed suit, yet, although they were treated absolutely atrociously.

      No, the only ones to sue were the ones who were manifestly in the wrong–the rebellious, anti-Adventist La Sierra professors who were recorded bad-mouthing church officers and plotting to loosen the chruch’s control over the university (in exactly the way the proposed bylaw changes would loosen it, by the way). They’re the ones who have no case (and no monetary damages) yet they’re the ones who sued. And, as MLB reports, Randal Wisbey and Kent Hanson have been able to use their lawsuit to prevent the church at the GC level from doing anything about Randal Wisbey’s reign of error.




      0
      View Comment
  21. Contacted General Conference Education Dept. was told they would not comment because of on-going legislation. What a cop-out. Will not pay tithe to an organization that does not have the courage of their convictions. This must be stopped in our SDA schools at all levels. These instructors take an oath to uphold the Bible teachings. They should be fired forth-with. Our young people have enough to cope with without this added to their plate.




    0
    View Comment
  22. @ Nic Bleeker: Are you sure this is talking about John Webster? He is a DR. John Webster, not a Mr. Also, he is a very deep-thinker and fast talker. It is entirely possible that he could have been misunderstood by Louie.

    @Louie Bishop: If the person in question is Dr. John Webster, he is also a dear friend of mine and was my lecturer. I never perceived him to believe in evolution at a macro-scale. From the quotes you use, I don’t perceive him to deny a literal 7-day creation, but merely that it took alot of preparation before God spoke things into existence. (kinda like planning). Also, as for the idea that Genesis can have another meaning corresponding with establishing the temple: As long as it’s a 7-day cycle, what does that matter? I think that is a deeper meaning into scripture and a valid thought. I don’t think it denies a literal, Biblical creation. Please rethink your strong stance on this matter. People are not always saying what you suppose them to. Sometimes new or fresh thoughts are seen as falling into another camp (i.e. macro-evolution and Darwinism), when it is merely another or deeper way to see the same traditional view. Those are my thoughts on the matter.

    On another topic: It is SHAMEFUL how you were disciplined, and I’m deeply sorry that you were treated like that. I can understand the university feeling that you were trying to cause trouble by stating that the classes were teaching evolution, but I also understand that you were merely trying to share/enlighten people at church. I’m sorry for the miscommunication and consequent battle that ensued. May things be resolved soon, and may you all be at peace, is my sincere prayer. And may all students in the classes evaluate and think clearly what they are being taught, and not just swallow it hook line and sinker or outright reject it, but give each thing serious consideration and personal research.
    LJ




    0
    View Comment
    • This isn’t true. I have the video of Dr. John Webster’s lecture at LSU (the one Louie mentioned). Dr. Webster is very much in line with life existing and evolving and dying on this planet for hundreds of millions of years of time. His arguments were very direct and clear along these lines. Here is a short 3 minute “fair use” clip from the lecture (the rest of which cannot be posted at the request of Warren C. Trenchard, who regards the posting of this video as copyright infringement):

      So, if you still don’t believe me (or Louie Bishop), why not ask Dr. Webster directly yourself what his position is on origins and the literal creation week?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
      • @Sean Pitman: Sean, I wish you post the whole video and dare somebody at La Sierra to sue you for “copyright infringement.” Any lawsuit would cause a tsunami of publicity, which is the last thing in the world that Randal Wisbey wants. I think I can arrange for your legal expenses to be covered.

        Randal Wisbey is still in power at La Sierra, still personally causing untold mischief and covering up for others’ mischief, because the overwhelming majority of Adventist are like LJ: people of good faith and good will who are very badly informed, or misinformed, about what is actually happening at La Sierra. They are the Adventist equivalent of “low information voters.” A lawsuit would be the quickest way to get the truth out about what is actually happening.




        0
        View Comment
        • You’re probably right, but I’m too busy at my own job right now to be distracted by a lawsuit if I can help it. It’s not so much about the money, but about the time it would take. Thanks for the offer though.

          Sean




          0
          View Comment
        • @David Read:
          David I think there has already been a lawsuit on the issue of creation vs evolution in Dover and it probably didnt go the way you wanted. Why do you think you can do better next time? I for one would be interested to see your fanciful theories of amalgamation and antediluvian genetic engineering subjected to the scrutiny of reality in any sort of public context legal or otherwise.

          If you accept the premises of science ie methodological naturalism then evolution is unquestionably the best scientific basis for the origin of species and should appropriately be taught as such in biology. To say it is taught as truth completely misunderstands the nature of science which is only every about the most likely model that is not yet falsified.

          That does not at all say anything about God as creator and us as his created creatures. That is a metaphysical question and a truth that we accept by faith. It is a position that appropriately should be taught in a Christian or Adventist educational institution but as what it is religion not as science.

          If the issue is whether or not LSU administration acted appropriately in attempting to defend itself against a clearly disruputive individual who gives every indication of being on a religious jihad and considers his judgement and knowledge superior to that of anyone else then that is a different issue. I have my doubts on whether there would be any consequence to LSU if you pursue your suggested legal course and the full circumstance of these events are presented in an non-partisan way.

          I add one further item to my list of good things and appreciate that in Australian Universities we at least are not subject to the primitive idea that superior eye hand coordination defines ones alpha status and worth to the academe and as a human being.




          0
          View Comment
        • If you accept the premises of science (ie methodological naturalism) then evolution is unquestionably the best scientific basis for the origin of species and should appropriately be taught as such in biology. To say it is taught as truth completely misunderstands the nature of science which is only every about the most likely model that is not yet falsified.

          The problem here is that the modern theory of evolution is not even supported by the concept of methodological naturalism. It is not a demonstrable theory beyond very low levels of functional complexity. Beyond this, it’s mechanism (i.e., random mutations/natural selection) is statistical untenable, statistically falsified, beyond very low levels of functional complexity as well. There simply is no scientifically rational basis to support the claimed creative potential of the evolutionary mechanism beyond just-so story telling, smoke and mirrors. There’s no science here.

          There at least some rational basis for the theory of common descent, based on sequence similarities and nested hierarchical patterns. Clearly, such similarities certainly support the concept of a common origin of some kind. However, these pattern similarities do not, by themselves, favor the notion of common descent vs. common design. These two options must be distinguished based on the ability of the proposed mechanism to actually produce what it is claimed it produced. Again, that’s the main problem for the ToE once one starts considering levels of functional complexity that go beyond 1000 specifically arranged amino acid residues. Beyond this level, qualitatively novel systems simply do not evolve and statistically are extremely unlikely to ever evolve this side of a practical eternity of time.

          You yourself admit that you do not know and cannot explain how your proposed evolutionary mechanism works at higher and higher levels of functional complexity. You base everything on the authoritative claims of scientists without any real personal understanding of the issues in play. In other words, you base everything on blind faith, not science. So, we’re back to square one since your own arguments and understanding of the issues in play here really aren’t based on science, but faith.

          That does not at all say anything about God as creator and us as his created creatures. That is a metaphysical question and a truth that we accept by faith. It is a position that appropriately should be taught in a Christian or Adventist educational institution but as what it is religion not as science.

          If religion is nothing more than an internal feeling or a form of wishful thinking, what’s the point? Teaching our students in our own schools that our religious concepts are in fact rationally untenable would be, for most intelligent people, very counter productive.

          The fact is that if faith and science do not walk hand-in-hand you end up with a meaningless religion and a worthless science. They are not entirely separate enterprises. They are, by their very nature, dependent upon each other in order for rational learning and understanding and love of God and nature to advance and grow.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




          0
          View Comment
        • @pauluc: Paul wrote,

          If you accept the premises of science ie methodological naturalism then evolution is unquestionably the best scientific basis for the origin of species and should appropriately be taught as such in biology.

          In your comment the important word is IF. If you accept methodological naturalism, i.e. if you exclude God as a possible cause, then evolution could be as you say. But there is no reason to exclude God. A philosophy of science can just as easily include God. And why wouldn’t an Adventist institution want to include God?




          0
          View Comment
    • @LJ:
      Dear LJ

      The omission of John’s title is not a slap in his face because he is a dear brother and friend to me, though distance may separate us. God used his input, and that of his wife, in my life during my youth to keep me in the church, to keep seeking after God and to experience God in a personal way. I had the privilege of visiting with him at Maluti Hospital when he was there on a holiday not long back.

      By the way, I’m not sure if it is the same in the USA but here in SA when a medical doctor specializes, his title reverts from Dr. to Mr. Maybe it is because the older we get and more mature in our thinking we become, we come to realize that the more we know, the truth is clear how little we know. Humility characterizes wise godly men, because they glory in God and in the truth. They prefer to be approachable by all classes. They also acknowledge, like Job of old, that they are not infallible and are willing to accept correction.




      0
      View Comment
  23. I am proud and pleased that we have young people willing to stand for truth, though the heavens fall. It is a shame that Louie must stand for truth against great opposition at a school proclaiming itself to be a Seventh Day Adventist school. This school however, does not act or speak the teachings or values of the Seventh Day Adventist church, and therefore is not Seventh day Adventist school.




    0
    View Comment
  24. last week i saw a sermon on youtube by Trisha Famisaran, who is assistant professor of philosophy and theological studies and director of the honors program at La Sierra University. She talked about not only accepting gays in the church, but she quoted lady gaga as a justification for being gay among other things; and now i read this article about this young man being subjected to this unjust actions and it has confirmed my fears. This is not an isolated incident, it is the fruits of a long time apostasy practices in this university and we as the people of God need to pray for divine intervention because i believe the situation is so entrenched we cannot even begin to deal with the root cause.




    0
    View Comment
    • @dalton: Hi Dalton

      If something is entrenched, dealing with the root cause is the only way of solving the issue. Any other way will be equal to trying to kill a tree by plucking off its leaves. John the Baptist said that the axe is to be laid to the root in terms of the sin issue and conversion. In Malachi 4 we see the final steps God takes regarding the Great Controversy after having done all He could to save.




      0
      View Comment
      • Thank you brother, like you said we need to deal with the root cause but we also have to ask for divine help because we cannot, in our humanity, deal with this apostasy in its entirety




        0
        View Comment
        • Hi Dalton

          I fully agree. Without the True and Living Christ of Creation at our side we will be overcome by Satan’s sophistries. I am not yet certain if what is being encountered in the ideas being presented here by some, particularly pauluc, is the Omega deception, but one thing I am certain about is that it is a manifestation of Christian Spiritualism which I encountered in the early 1980’s and which I battled against on my own. Were it not for the True Jesus standing by my side I would have been overcome. When Satan tried to overwhelm me with evolutionary ideas at an evolutionary university, Jesus lead me back to the Bible and showed me the truth that shows up the falsehoods of evolution. When Satan tried to overwhelm me with hopelessness associated with the fundamental philosophies of evolution, Jesus turned the valley of despair into a door of hope. When Satan tried to seduce me to believe in the immortality of the soul and that there is no need to resist temptation and overcome sinful ideas, habits and practices, Jesus pointed me back to the unfailing, reliable Word of God helping me to discern the eternal issues at stake. When Satan tried to push me into homosexuality, Jesus helped me to resist him through the Scripture weapons. When Satan mocked me in my bed in the middle of the night and said God will never accept me & my case was hopeless, Jesus drove out the enemy and spoke to me Psalm 23, giving me a peace beyond human description. When Satan tried to get me to reject the writings of Ellen White, along with my friends who followed Desmond Ford, Jesus drew near to me and said “Ellen White is dead and buried. You are not fighting against her. You are fighting against Me.” When Satan tried to get me to commit suicide, surrounding my soul with impenetrable darkness, Jesus took control of my car, challenged my thinking with the question after a vision of my mother weeping at the news of my death,”If this is how much your mother, with all her faults and failures loves you, think of how much I, your Creator, loves you.” When Satan would on countless occasions have taken my life, Jesus has stepped in and preserved me, warning me of danger, taking control of my car and removing me out of death’s path, etc. When Satan tried to get me to reject the validity of God’s eternal law, Jesus kept me anchored by the Scripture “Circumcision is nothing, uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.”

          I had an encounter one day with the Real Jesus, not on the Damascus road, but on the premises of Alcatel Altech Telecoms, in Boksburg, South Africa. Psalm 39:11 aptly describes the human encounter with the Divine. “When thou with rebukes dost correct man for iniquity, thou makest his beauty to consume away like a moth: surely every man is vanity. Selah”

          The Christ of the New Age, of Christian Spiritualism and of Evolution can convert Christians into New Agers, Buddhists, Spiritiualists and Atheists. (I know. My friends that burnt EGW books went that way.) Satan has converted himself after a similitude of Christ, and shaped the ideas of Christians who are unguarded, twisting the Scriptures to teach a lie, so that when he appears as Christ, they will be prepared to receive him and deny the True Christ.

          The True Christ converts people (sinners) into loving and lovable Bible believing intelligent Christians. He did it for me. I am not a perfect reflection of Jesus yet, but if I do not interpose a perverse will, when He comes I will be like Him. If I should die before then, when I awake I will be satisfied with His likeness.




          0
          View Comment
  25. Patricia Holy:
    Contacted General Conference Education Dept. was told they would not comment because of on-going legislation.What a cop-out.Will not pay tithe to an organization that does not have the courage of their convictions.This must be stopped in our SDA schools at all levels.These instructors take an oath to uphold the Bible teachings.They should be fired forth-with.Our young people have enough to cope with without this added to their plate.

    Patricia,
    The current litigation has frozen GC action under the advise of their legal counsel, which was confirmed by your phone call. Remember, the LSU attorney and GC attorney maybe friendly and may have similar views. A very well qualified attorney familar with the case, adamantly disagreed with the GC position of inaction. We need a bold leader to stand up, we all need to pray for the Lord to bring us that leadership.




    0
    View Comment

  26. Professor Kent:
    1 Corinthians 6:1 says “Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints?”

    So what does this really mean? And how does it apply to the internet?

    Nic Bleeker: Professor Kent, I would appreciate it if you would expand on your thoughts expressed here.

    What is wrong with “go to law before the unrighteous?” Was Paul concerned about how non-believers in a courtroom would view the tussle, or was he concerned about the public in general seeing the church and its leadership in a negative light?

    I suppose some would say that the principle espoused by Paul is not met by a church battle waged on the World Wide Web and via newspaper coverage, which is what this website is all about. Some would say it is far more damaging than a court case. What do you think?




    0
    View Comment
    • I believe that when we go to the worldly judicial system as a church to judge an issue amongst us we are saying to the world that the wisdom of God is not sufficient in dealing with the issue and we put our trust in the judgment of men who possibly do not fear (love and respect) God, nor believe in or uphold the principles He has taught us. This is a statement of distrust in God and submission to worldly systems. I believe we can only invite disaster by following such a route.

      With respect to this matter being discussed publicly on the internet, it is not something I like to see and am cautious because I would like to see a positive outcome and not put a stumbling block in the path of any party on either side. However, because of the nature of the issue being a public matter (anything stated in an audience, whether it be youthful students, mixed or senior people, is public), to which many can testify, the matter needs to be dealt with, (and not ignored, i.e. being left to fester so that it threatens the life of the body of Christ), in such a way that in the eyes of the public it may be seen that God’s ways are the best and kindness and truthfulness are the laws to be upon our lips at all times. It needs to be dealt with, with firmness and love, with respect for all parties and the principles of Truth being upheld. All harshness, criticism, pettiness, etc. is to have no place in our dealings, and an appeal made to all parties concerned to act according to the higher spiritual nature God has quickened within us and not according to the lower nature which we daily need to die to.

      Am I making sense?




      0
      View Comment
  27. When I was at La Sierra in the 1990’s, I was taught that evolution was true.

    It would be interesting to take a poll of alumnists to determine how many of them were taught that evolution was true.

    While we’re at it, I think the higher criticism that was taught in the religion department was more harmful than what I learned in the biology department. It would be nice to expose that too.




    0
    View Comment
  28. let us remember that the world is watching how we handle matters like this and i agree with Nic Bleeker that if we go to the world to solve our issues then it is going to diminish from the power of our message to the world, for if we cannot help our own how can we preach to the world?




    0
    View Comment
  29. The title of this thread is not strictly correct. The causal relationships are not correctly stated. It should really be Louie Bishop vs La Sierra University not the other way round. LSU seems to be in the defensive position and responding to the aggression from Bishop. The “Mien Kampf” allusion in the title “MY STRUGGLES AS A CREATIONIST AT LA SIERRA UNIVERSITY” may not have been intentional but certainly fits with the war motif. Certainly the engagement has not been constructive on either side but that it what you expect in a war which is what David Read et al wish this to be.
    I’m afraid I have to disagree with Art and suggest that between the war against LSU in which Bishop is a foot soldier and the consistent gracious redemptive actions of Christ there is a great gulf.




    0
    View Comment
    • Whose civil rights were violated here? Who is the one destroying documents in order to try to cover up illegal and immoral actions against the other party? Who is the one publicly claiming and advertising to be one thing (an Adventist institution in full support of all of the fundamental Adventist doctrinal beliefs as stated by the church) when, in fact, the very opposite positions are being promoted behind closed doors? – and anyone who voices any concern is severely “disciplined”?

      I’m sorry, but I just don’t follow you…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
  30. pauluc: The title of this thread is not strictly correct. The causal relationships are not correctly stated. It should really be Louie Bishop vs La Sierra University not the other way round…

    Pauluc,

    Just in case you hadn’t noticed, Louie’s attorney wrote a letter that accommodated your wishes (i.e., the attached Scribd file at the bottom of Louie’s article). In the title to his letter to Elder Jackson he wrote, “Louie Bishop vs La Sierra University”.

    Maybe you are the one who is a little defensive and a little offensive? – re: your implied comparison to Hitler’s “Mien Kampf” and Nazism?! please…




    0
    View Comment
      • @Dan Kelly: I’m sorry but you must be new around here if you do not think that the attacks on Diaz, Greer, Wisbey etc have not been personal. This site is dedicated to one task. Attack LSU and its staff to transform it to what? An institution where religion is taught as science where truth is strictly prescribed according to one literalistic interpretation of the canon. Where there is no concept of openness or conflict of ideas; an sine qua non for an academic institution. In short there has always been and continued to be a desire to destroy LSU as a university and make it a madrassa. From this I cannot see that this site has ever waivered. Sean wants truth in advertising and LSU says it is a University and anyone attending a University is expected to be taught in an open environment where you are expected to think for yourself and be confronted with a diversity of ideas. I can appreciate that Bishop coming from an Amazing Facts the transition to institution of learning with University status would be completely overwhelming.




        0
        View Comment
        • Forget about the fact that LSU is supposed to reflect and support SDA ideals for a moment. The reality of the situation is that LSU isn’t even presenting a “diversity of ideas” regarding origins. It is only presenting one idea – the mainstream neo-Darwinian just-so story of origins. LSU isn’t teaching students to “think for themselves” on this issue either. What is being taught at LSU is that there is basically no rational alternative to neo-Darwinism. And, anyone who questions this dogma, out loud, is severely disciplined in an effort to shut out any question or criticism of their chosen paradigm. If this isn’t a literalistic interpretation and ardent defense of a particular cannon or creed, I don’t know what is? Where is even the allowance for a “diversity of ideas” here? – outside of the central dogma of Darwinism?

          In any case, if this is what some of our church schools have turned into, one might as well save one’s money and go to a publicly-funded secular institution. At least at a public university there is no pretense about what is and isn’t being taught; there’s no false advertising.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




          0
          View Comment
        • @Sean Pitman: Sean
          Lest this stream continues its trajectory as home for a coterie of self congratulatory warriors marching against LSU and modernity I ask a few specific fundamental questions to see where we agree.

          1] Do you think there should be a particular standard for a University in terms of its curriculum?

          2] Do you think a University should educate students in what is most likely not false?

          3] For science what is your criteria for determining content based on your assumptions and the way you practice medicine? Is there a Christian science and a secular science?

          4] Should traditional and historically accepted ideas like Phrenology, Animal Magnetism, Dianetics, Homeopathy, Astrology and Alchemy be taught within the science curriculum?

          5] Should methodical naturalism be assumed as the biological basis of medicine?

          6] Should methodical naturalism be the basis of science.

          7] Do you agree that under the assumptions of science ie methodological naturalism; the origin of species by natural process is not the most likely explanation for the diversity we see around us?

          8] You have already previously conceded that the vast majority of the genetic diversity that differentiates species within kinds has arisen by natural process albeit on a time frame which has negligible observational support.

          I have never been to LSU and know little about it but I have heard people from there speak and preach and I do not think what they say would be at all confused with the ethos of a secular institution. I suspect that Fundamentalism and a University are ideas that cannot mesh and I think Bishops experience illustrates this well. I think LSU are doing the best they can in delivering a Christian education that is at University standard. Your contention that LSU is a waste of time and you would be better off at a secular institution is indeed consistent with your stated position

          “…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”

          http://www.educatetruth.com/theological/the-credibility-of-faith/

          Which I interpret as a very brittle faith with which I as a committed follower of Christ personally could never live.




          0
          View Comment
        • Darwin’s Dilemma examines what many consider to be the most powerful refutation of Darwinian evolution – the Cambrian fossil record.

          Charles Darwin realized that the fossil evidence did not support his theory of gradual, step-by-step evolutionary development. He hoped that future generations of scientists would make the discoveries necessary to validate his ideas.

          Today, after more than 150 years of exploration fossil evidence of slow, incremental biological change has yet to be excavated. Instead, we find a picture of the rapid appearance of fully developed, complex organisms during the outset of the Cambrian geological era. Organisms that embody the major animal body plans that exist today. This remarkable explosion of life is truly Darwin’s Dilemma and is best explained by the existence of a transcendent intelligence.

          http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=eKsQlq_oFvc&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DeKsQlq_oFvc




          0
          View Comment
        • 1] Do you think there should be a particular standard for a University in terms of its curriculum?

          Sure, but a university should not be limited to presenting only this minimum standard. A university should be free to go above and beyond this minimum standard. Adventist universities, in particular, should present the minimum standard and then go on to present the unique Adventist perspective on the various topics in question . . . to include rational reasons why one should consider the Adventist perspective on origins.

          2] Do you think a University should educate students in what is most likely not false?

          An Adventist university should educate students as to what various opinions of “truth” one might expect to see within popular cultures – to include the popular opinions of the majority of the scientific community. However, an Adventist university need not support or promote popular opinions as “most likely true”. An Adventist university should be free to challenge the popular opinions of the day with its own unique perspective and interpretation of the available evidence at hand.

          Why try to shield students from the Adventist perspective or arguments in favor of it? If it is so obviously “false”, why not let the students be the judge? Why only present them with arguments from popular culture? Why not at least let them compare arguments from different perspectives presented by those who actually believe in and subscribe to the Adventist perspective?

          3] For science what is your criteria for determining content based on your assumptions and the way you practice medicine? Is there a Christian science and a secular science?

          Science is based on a very simple logical argument or set of arguments which attempt to predict the future with the use of testable potentially falsifiable hypotheses. If a proposed hypothesis resists falsification upon testing, it gains predictive value. If not, it loses predictive value. It’s as simple as that. It doesn’t matter if a scientific hypothesis happens to suggest the activity of a God or God-like entity that matches the Christian paradigm. Such is not an automatic exclusion of scientific investigations (outside of Ia priori philosophical assumptions that are not based on science). All that matters is if the hypothesis is able to establish a useful degree of predictive value. That’s it.

          4] Should traditional and historically accepted ideas like Phrenology, Animal Magnetism, Dianetics, Homeopathy, Astrology and Alchemy be taught within the science curriculum?

          These are falsified theories from the mainstream scientific perspective and are also outside of the Adventist perspective. So no, I see no need to present these theories outside of historical interest. However, your implication that the Adventist perspective on origins is in the same boat as phrenology or astrology is nonsense. There is a great deal of very good evidence favoring the Adventist perspective on origins as well as a great deal of very good evidence calling into question the fundamental claims of neo-Darwinism – evidence which you yourself admittedly cannot dispute (nor can anyone else from the neo-Darwinian perspective). This evidence should be presented in our own schools.

          5] Should methodical naturalism be assumed as the biological basis of medicine?

          Only as far as it can be supported by scientific methodologies. The problem with the notion that only mindless natural mechanisms must be proposed to explain any and all observations is that this notion isn’t scientific. Scientific methodologies are not limited to only proposing mindless mechanisms to explain observations. All that limits a scientific hypothesis is that it be testable in a potentially falsifiable manner and that it have the ability to gain predictive power upon testing. That’s it. Anything beyond this isn’t science, but philosophy or a form of blind-faith religion that cannot be tested or falsified.

          6] Should methodical naturalism be the basis of science.

          This is a repeat of the same question asked above. Useful medicine is based on science… as are all forms of useful endeavors – to include useful religions. Again, for all of these science and faith must walk hand-in-hand if one wishes to go beyond mere wishful thinking or just-so story telling.

          7] Do you agree that under the assumptions of science ie methodological naturalism; the origin of species by natural process is not the most likely explanation for the diversity we see around us?

          Based on the empirical evidence in hand, the theory of the origin and diversity of species via mindless naturalistic mechanisms alone is not rationally tenable. The most rational scientific conclusion for the origin and diversity of life, beyond very very low levels of functional complexity, must include the input of a very high level of intelligence and creative power that is not readily distinguishable from a God or God-like intelligence. In my opinion, that is the most rational scientific conclusion that the empirical evidence supports.

          8] You have already previously conceded that the vast majority of the genetic diversity that differentiates species within kinds has arisen by natural process albeit on a time frame which has negligible observational support.

          Again, it’s not quantity, but quality that is important here. And, there is overwhelming observational support to explain rapid diversity at low levels of functional complexity. The problem is that there is no observational support to explain diversity beyond low levels of functional complexity without appealing to high level intelligent design.

          I have never been to LSU and know little about it but I have heard people from there speak and preach and I do not think what they say would be at all confused with the ethos of a secular institution. I suspect that Fundamentalism and a University are ideas that cannot mesh and I think Bishops experience illustrates this well. I think LSU are doing the best they can in delivering a Christian education that is at University standard. Your contention that LSU is a waste of time and you would be better off at a secular institution is indeed consistent with your stated position

          “…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”

          http://www.educatetruth.com/theological/the-credibility-of-faith/

          Which I interpret as a very brittle faith with which I as a committed follower of Christ personally could never live.

          You’re only a limited follower of Christ. You don’t believe everything that Jesus said or taught. You claim that His teachings were altered over time regarding various doctrinal claims and concepts. You don’t believe what Jesus (and the prophets) said regarding the Genesis account of origins or even life after death. You don’t believe in carbon-based life without the existence of a cycle of life and death for sentient creatures. You claim that death really isn’t so bad for sentient creatures – to include human beings. In short, you seem to be a very limited believer in what Jesus is quoted as teaching. You take that which you want and discard the rest at your own whim. No wonder your faith is so robust. It can withstand whatever comes along because it seems to be entirely internal to yourself – i.e., a self-generated faith where you worship an image of your own creation.

          Now, I do think you take on certain Christian ethical principles and I’m sure your motives are pure and that, if so, you are in a saving relationship with God. However, this is not enough to qualify one as an Adventist. Adventism goes beyond the promotion of Christian ethics and social interactions. Adventism also promotes certain doctrinal concepts regarding the reality of the “Good News” of the Gospel message – which includes doctrines such as the literal creation week and the physical resurrection of the dead, etc.




          0
          View Comment
        • @Sean Pitman: Sean
          Thanks for the response.

          You and I differ in both our understanding of science and of faith.

          You do not seem to accept that the peer reviewed literature is the canonical literature of science. You seem to equate a youtube video as equivalent to a research article in the journal Science. I do not and have some criteria for ranking evidence.
          Although you seem to be coy about acknowledging it you do not accept methodological naturalism as the basis for science and seem to think that science can legitimately invoke a magical cause. I do not.

          Your criteria for claiming that I am only a limited follower of Jesus seems to be because I do not accept a cultic paradigm of a scriptural hermeneutics that accepts the fundamentalist perspective of inerrancy and a canonical view of EGW.

          In this I do not think I differ from most educated scientists and theologians in Adventism. We accept the Adventist understanding that scripture was written by men inspired by God not written verbatim by the hand of God. And there is the core of the problem you, David Read and his ilk see at LSU. LSU is not Amazing Facts. It is an institution run by educated people who are faithful to God but recognize that whatever the field of knowledge it is never as simple and certain as the naive neophyte believes it to be. We are all asked to make decisions based on incomplete information to weigh and evaluate and make a leap of faith in acknowledging God as creator and us as his creation.

          As I have said many times before I have a consistent hermeneutic between Matt 17:14-21 and Genesis 1-2. Yours I do not think is so. As far as I can tell you see me as denying Gods power in accepting that the evidence in the canonical literature of science vastly favours a natural mechanism for the origin of species. You claim a miracle. I see my work as a physician to involve understanding and treating disease as a natural process. I suspect you, like me, interpret Matt 17 less than literally and do not see the miraculous as the only way of healing despite the clear unequivocal statement of that scripture. In the same way as I interpret Matt 17 for my vocation as a physician as a scientist I interpret Gen 1-2 and see it as a monotheistic restatement of understanding origins that was not uniquely Jewish and had no understanding of any alternative.
          You seem to want a miracle working God for the creation but deny his power when it comes to responding to prayer for personal healing. Why the inconsistency?

          The argument that the men inspired by God had an understanding of the creation that was commonly held and must per se be true is like saying that quantum mechanics must be wrong because God did not in the OT expound the principles of relativity and the framework for understanding of sub-atomic particles. This is precisely the argument used for geocentric models of the solar system. Like the vast majority of educated Christians I see the bible as being about God and salvation not about science. For that I make no apology and believe that above all we must with authenticity acknowledge the basis of our faith.




          0
          View Comment
        • You do not seem to accept that the peer reviewed literature is the canonical literature of science.

          Science isn’t based on the published opinions of scientists. Science is based on the scientific method(s). All kinds of nonsense gets published all the time. Just because it’s published doesn’t make it science. What makes a hypothesis “scientific” is if it’s testable in a potentially falsifiable manner. Can it gain or lose predictive value? That’s it.

          Although you seem to be coy about acknowledging it you do not accept methodological naturalism as the basis for science and seem to think that science can legitimately invoke a magical cause. I do not.

          Since when is the detection of intelligent manipulation equivalent to the invocation of “magic”? By your logic many mainstream sciences would be guilty invoking magic – like forensic science, anthropology, and even SETI science. The fact of the matter is that the ability to detect intelligently produce artifacts is not outside of the realm of real scientific investigation.

          Your criteria for claiming that I am only a limited follower of Jesus seems to be because I do not accept a cultic paradigm of a scriptural hermeneutics that accepts the fundamentalist perspective of inerrancy and a canonical view of EGW.

          You’re a limited follower of Jesus, not because you reject the claims of Ellen White, but because you reject many of the claims of Jesus Himself – as quoted directly from the Bible.

          In this I do not think I differ from most educated scientists and theologians in Adventism. We accept the Adventist understanding that scripture was written by men inspired by God not written verbatim by the hand of God.

          Jesus was directly described by His own disciples who wrote of what He said and did – as “verbatim” as it gets when it comes to the testimony of witnesses who are willing to put their very lives on the line for validity of their testimony. This is not some vague mystical experience that they’re describing. They’re describing real events and real statements that they saw with their own eyes and heard with their own ears and validated with their own blood.

          We are all asked to make decisions based on incomplete information to weigh and evaluate and make a leap of faith in acknowledging God as creator and us as his creation.

          That’s right. However, a rational “leap of faith” requires a rational basis in empirical evidence. Making up your own religion out of thin air isn’t any more rational than wishful thinking or making your own God out of wood or stone.

          As I have said many times before I have a consistent hermeneutic between Matt 17:14-21 and Genesis 1-2. Yours I do not think is so. As far as I can tell you see me as denying Gods power in accepting that the evidence in the canonical literature of science vastly favours a natural mechanism for the origin of species. You claim a miracle. I see my work as a physician to involve understanding and treating disease as a natural process. I suspect you, like me, interpret Matt 17 less than literally and do not see the miraculous as the only way of healing despite the clear unequivocal statement of that scripture. In the same way as I interpret Matt 17 for my vocation as a physician as a scientist I interpret Gen 1-2 and see it as a monotheistic restatement of understanding origins that was not uniquely Jewish and had no understanding of any alternative.

          There you go. Jesus is recorded as performing a miracle in very literal terms and you reject this testimony because it does not fit with your view of science. You reject the possibility of God acting in a miraculous way to heal outside of mindless naturalistic mechanisms if He so chooses. Everything must only be explained via mindless naturalistic mechanisms with you. Yet, for some strange reason, you have no problem using your own intelligence and creative power to assist in the healing of patients who are sick and who would, without your assistance, not do as well if left entirely to the mindless natural processes alone. Why do you give yourself greater ability to act in a creative and intelligent manner than God?

          You seem to want a miracle working God for the creation but deny his power when it comes to responding to prayer for personal healing. Why the inconsistency?

          What? I’ve never denied the miraculous power of prayer for personal healing. I’ve seen miracles happen before my very eyes in response to the earnest prayers of doctors and patients, friends, and pastors… to include my own prayers. I pray on a daily basis for my patients, and I know that God hears me and answers me. Often the answer is “No”, or somehow different than what I requested. However, sometimes the answer is “Yes”, and He again performs a miracle of intelligent design that is clearly detectable as such.

          I’m sorry, but if you yourself had witnessed the event described in Matthew 17:21 with your own eyes, and it happened exactly as described, you would no doubt also recognize God’s signature in such a demonstration of Divine power – as would any sane person.

          Like the vast majority of educated Christians I see the bible as being about God and salvation not about science. For that I make no apology and believe that above all we must with authenticity acknowledge the basis of our faith.

          There is no “salvation” without the miracle of Divine power. There is no rational hope of salvation without the historical reality of the physical resurrection of Jesus from the dead – a guarantee of the future physical resurrection of all the righteous from the dead.

          “if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.” – 1 Corinthians 15:17

          But, of course, you don’t believe in a physical resurrection from the dead… because that would violate natural law as you understand it. What kind of “Good News” is that?

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




          0
          View Comment
        • @pauluc: Although I don’t frequently agree with your position, I must say that I appreciate your eloquence and the challenge that you bring to the discussions. I’ve learned a lot as a result.

          We have been given two books: the scriptures and nature or science. They both have the same author and are compatible. When they at times appear to be at odds this can be a result of either a misinterpretation of the scriptures, a misinterpretation of science, or both. I think we would both agree that false hermeneutics and true science are incompatible and vice versa. But, I suggest that you have done to science what you claim fundamentalists have done to the Bible.

          You say “You do not seem to accept that the peer reviewed literature is the canonical literature of science.”

          And then “Your criteria for claiming that I am only a limited follower of Jesus seems to be because I do not accept a cultic paradigm of a scriptural hermeneutics that accepts the fundamentalist perspective of inerrancy and a canonical view of EGW.”

          I agree with you that it is problematic to substitute man’s commentary on the Bible in place of the Bible itself. But, it appears that you are inconsistent by substituting peer reviewed literature (man’s commentary on science) for science itself. We must be cautious not to uplift the intellect of man beyond its limitations as it applies to both the scriptures and science.




          0
          View Comment
        • @pauluc: I think Sean did a masterful job answering your criticisms. I would just add these three additions.

          Paul wrote to Sean “…[you] seem to think that science can legitimately invoke a magical cause. I do not.”

          How would you have done practicing science as a disciple of Jesus. Would your instruments cease to function when Jesus performed a miracle? Could you not weigh the baskets of food collected after feeding the crowds?

          You say you “…accept the Adventist understanding that scripture was written by men inspired by God not written verbatim by the hand of God.”

          Except for passages like Exodus 20:11, right?

          You say, “I interpret Gen 1-2 and see it as a monotheistic restatement of understanding origins that was not uniquely Jewish and had no understanding of any alternative.”

          Isn’t that exactly what you would predict if it were true? Since it would have happened to people that weren’t Jews and those it happened to would obviously not look for an alternative unless they disbelieved the God they routinely conversed with.




          0
          View Comment
        • @pauluc: Paul wrote, “Where there is no concept of openness or conflict of ideas; an sine qua non for an academic institution.” A university gets to determine it’s overall philosophy. Methodological naturalism is too confining for an Adventist university.




          0
          View Comment
      • @Dan Kelly: Have you read David reads comment below?

        “In a crucial way, this story is a personal attack on Wisbey, but a richly deserved and justified attack. It shows that Wisbey is not personally fit to run La Sierra, even if he were a conservative. Even if he weren’t secularizing La Sierra as fast as he can manage, the fact would remain that he is a bad person.”

        Of course David himself is being extremely modest in his part in all this of course. He seems to have left his lucrative and successful law practice to serve full time to stir the passions of the conservative element of Adventism where-ever he can. And now he imagines that the understandable and predictable response of the administration of LSU to this concerted attack is a sign of agression. Who is it that is calling for war. Who has been attacking people at LSU for the last 10 years? Who first involved lawyers? Who is now crying crocodile tears for Greer?

        I am sorry I do not think that Sean and David are being entirely transparent in their actions and intentions in this sustained attack on LSU.




        0
        View Comment
        • One more question that you may have left us asked: “Who is it that began the undermining of the principles of Adventist education in the first place eliciting the defense.” Just sayin’.




          0
          View Comment
  31. Jonathan Zirkle: While we’re at it, I think the higher criticism that was taught in the religion department was more harmful than what I learned in the biology department. It would be nice to expose that too.

    Jonathan, I think you’re right about higher criticism of scripture. But you should be aware that the operator of this website actually insists that scripture must be put to the test of science and human reason. He belittles those who do not accept this position. He relegates simple trust in God’s word–sola scriptura–to the same level of stupid belief in the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, and Spaghetti Flying Monster. He insists that belief without scientific evidence is utterly useless.

    So if you agree with Dr. Pitman, you have no basis for criticizing the LSU Religion faculty. According to both, scripture can only be believed and accepted based on the subjective interpretation of evidence.




    0
    View Comment
    • God never asks for belief or faith without first providing sufficient evidence for a rational intelligent trust in His Word. God does not expect or desire blind faith or wishful thinking. He gave us brains for a reason. I think He expects to use them.

      God never asks us to believe without giving sufficient evidence upon which to base our faith.

      The truthfulness of God’s Word is established by testimony that appeals to our reason, and God has given ample evidence for faith in His Word. The evidence God gives us must be carefully investigated with a humble mind and a teachable spirit; and all should decide from the weight of evidence.

      Since the book of nature and the book of revelation bear the impress of the same master mind, they cannot but speak in harmony.

      Science brings from her research nothing that, rightly understood, conflicts with divine revelation. The book of nature and the written word shed light upon each other. They make us acquainted with God by teaching us something of the laws through which He works.

      Those who really desire to know the truth will find plenty of evidence on which to rest their faith, because the Holy Spirit guides us into all truth (John 16:13).

      God requires of His people faith that rests upon the weight of evidence, not upon perfect knowledge.

      We should know for ourselves what constitutes Christianity, what is truth, what is the faith that we have received, what are the Bible rules–the rules given us from the highest authority. There are many who believe, without a reason on which to base their faith, without sufficient evidence as to the truth of the matter. If an idea is presented that harmonizes with their own preconceived opinions, they are all ready to accept it. They do not reason from cause to effect. Their faith has no genuine foundation, and in the time of trial they will find that they have built upon the sand.

      (Ellen White, MR Vol. 9, No. 724; Education, chapter 14 “Science and the Bible”; Mind, Character, and Personality 536)




      0
      View Comment
    • @Professor Kent:

      “So if you agree with Dr. Pitman, you have no basis for criticizing the LSU Religion faculty.”–Professor Kent

      Professor, you now know better than that. You know this gives Jonathan even more reason to criticize LSU. Namely, they are promoting fideism.




      0
      View Comment
  32. I agree with Sean.

    Our problem as Seventh-day Adventists is that we fail to demonstrate the courage of our convictions. In other words, we dishonour our Creator by our cowardice in the face of patent, blatant acts of perfidy on the part of institutionalized authority against the ideals and principles which define us, principles which we can and must be able to defend by reason before any rational court of inquiry. John the Baptist was but an example of the principles of Jesus Christ.

    The validity, the credibility or accreditation of institutionalized authority must live or die in the perpetual spotlight of criticism. This is the foundation of authority. This is Romans 8. The moment that authority stretches forth its finger to dim the light of any criticism, it loses its validity as an authority. The only valid defense of truth is more truth, stronger light. As a creationist and a firm believer in the Adventist Sanctuary-based mission to proclaim the CREATIONIST based, namely fourth-commandment based three angel’s messages challenging the entire world by an anti-ecumenical message to “COME OUT OF HER, MY PEOPLE”, I have never shied away from criticism. I joined the SDA Church in the Spirit of searching for Truth, and that sanctified (by motive and principle) critical Spirit has continually rewarded my faith by rational evidence, piled up and overflowing beyond all that I could expect or think.

    This kind of commitment to truth is a sure ticket to persecution by institutionalized authority, which binds its members together by bribes, threats and sanctions, usually under a black cloak of secrecy operating in public under professed principles which are the lying opposite of what is in fact believed and practiced by its leadership. This is Jesuitism. This is the nefarious, self-promoting principle of many university fraternities – just look at the influence of such fraternities in the composition and activities of members of the US Congress and Senate. This is also the self-promoting principle of university science departments, the most widely honoured and respected mass media, and Government at the highest levels most remote from direct control and criticism of its nominal constituents. This is hijacking by a corrupt Mafia of institutions which originally earned their reputations honestly, but were corrupted by the Foundations of the money barons, in turn controlled by the secret societies, controlled by the Jesuits whose top leaders have been proven to secretly worship Lucifer. It’s that bad.

    Under the attack of ecumenical, Orwellian “democratization” in Government, the corporate economy, and education, the freedom to be different, and to associate with like-minded believers adhering to freedom of belief and expression founded on rational and non-coercive principles is crumbling to dust in out “Brave New World” before our eyes.

    The greatest offense against the genuine freedoms which define humanity at its best comes not from tyrants, but from good men and women content to do nothing about them, falsely interpreting Romans 8. We have this sacred obligation to act in defense of freedom. LSU offers us our golden opportunity.




    0
    View Comment
  33. Sean
    There seems to be an underlying assumptions in all your writing articulated yet again in your last comment where you question me on my acceptance of the tenents of fundamentalisms that you do base your religion on the 5 Christian fundamentals
    1] the inerrancy of the text of the canon (and writings of EGW).
    2] the virgin birth of Christ
    3] Christs death was the atonement for sin
    4] the bodily resurrection of Christ
    5] The historical reality of Christs miracles.
    I am happy that you can accept the fundamentalist perspective but none of these positions are addressed by conventional science based on methodological naturalism. Like many evangelicals and neo-orthodox I am happy to admit I accept most of these based on faith but do not seek evidentiary basis for them in science.

    Your wish for scientific validation and concomitant deprecation of faith means that you have invented both a distorted definition of science and idiosyncratic approach to faith. Your definition of science excludes the canonical writing and synthesis of models by scientists as the core knowledge of science and cedes the centre of scientific understanding to the masses of journalists and youtube videos. I cannot see why you feel compelled to do that but do see that it is entirely consistent with your reluctance to even try to engage with the process of science by writing for the peer reviewed journals.

    I clearly have not articulated the question about Matt 17 well as you completely missed my point. I simply ask; to whom was Jesus words directed? In the context after healing a boy which the father described as epileptic and from whom Jesus cast out a demon he said;

    “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. 21 However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”

    The plain reading of this text is that Jesus as God was telling us that healing of epilepsy/demon possession is by pray and fasting. This is clearly the normative process for healing and He makes no mention of natural cause or therapy at all. Surely if there was a natural cause for epilepsy he would have revealed it at this point just like if Evolution was true he would have said so in Gen 1. Is that not logical? Plain reading of both Genesis 1 reveals a description of instantateous creation by divine fiat and a description of healing in Matt 17 by divine fiat. In both instances the process is described as supernatural or a miracle. I interpret both in the same way you interpret one and not the other. I see it as high level descriptions by inspired prescientific minds of natural process they did not understand and see that we now describe both healing and causes of disease as natural process and do not seek the divine as the normative response. You probably agree with me in the case of health care but clearly cling to a miraculous cause for speciation and origin of diversity of life forms. That you pray over your patients is commendable but how much effect has at the molecular level of a disease process I do not know. Certainly I can find no instances in the medical literature of clear evidences of divine intervention and do not think that you are confident enough in the plain reading of Matt 17 to forgo any evidence based interventions to rely entirely on divine intervention and prayer for the miraculous. I am sure you will present a whole raft of sophistry to say why we can use naturalistic medicine now but that comes down to interpretation.

    As for salvation there are more than Anselm’s model of the atonement within Christian thought. Personally I prefer the Christus Victor model but that is a whole different discussion. The nature of the resurrected body is also not as clear as you suggest as I have yet to see a carbon based life form walk through a wall or b transported instantaneously from place to place. I also have to respect for Pauls writings 1 Cor suggesting we shall all be changed and interpret this as indicating a change beyond carbon based life which can only exist with death as an integral and essential component.

    Lest you monopolize neologisms I would suggest rather than mindless natural mechanisms I am a firm believer in mindful natural mechanisms.




    0
    View Comment
    • Sean
      There seems to be an underlying assumptions in all your writing articulated yet again in your last comment where you question me on my acceptance of the tenents of fundamentalisms that you do base your religion on the 5 Christian fundamentals
      1] the inerrancy of the text of the canon (and writings of EGW).

      There are errors in both the Bible and in the writings of Ellen White. However, these errors are not errors with regard to the basic concepts being presented and observations made. The Bible has proven itself to be extremely accurate and reliable in this regard. For example, the Gospel accounts seem to disagree as to how many times the rooster crowed before Peter denied Jesus three times. But, that is hardly relevant to the main point that Peter denied Jesus in no uncertain terms that that Jesus predicted this denial and that Peter realized what he had done when he remembered Jesus’ prediction of the rooster crowing… You get my point.

      2] the virgin birth of Christ

      Without the virgin birth of Christ, Jesus is not God and Christianity is pointless. The virgin birth of Jesus is a key element to the validity of the Christian Gospel message to the world. If you don’t believe in the virgin birth, you really truly aren’t a complete Christian regardless of what title you may go by and regardless of what other particular elements you may or may not accept.

      3] Christs death was the atonement for sin

      Again, this is a key element of the Christian Gospel.

      4] the bodily resurrection of Christ

      I know you don’t believe in a physical resurrection, but without the physical resurrection of Jesus, everything else is pointless. This historical event was the main central element that established the early Christian Church. Without it, there would have been no Paul and there would have been no Christian Church.

      5] The historical reality of Christs miracles.

      That’s right. If you don’t believe that God can act within our world with deliberate intelligence and design, there’s no point to Christianity or the Gospel message.

      All of these elements are in fact “fundamental” to the Christian Gospel message.

      I am happy that you can accept the fundamentalist perspective but none of these positions are addressed by conventional science based on methodological naturalism. Like many evangelicals and neo-orthodox I am happy to admit I accept most of these based on faith but do not seek evidentiary basis for them in science.

      You accept most of these? Which ones do you accept and which ones do you deny? I only ask because you seem to reject the concept of a physical resurrection. . . claiming that carbon-based life forms could not avoid the natural order of things to include the cycle of life and death – and that death isn’t such a bad thing anyway (as you repeat again at the end of this post). Given this position, it seems like you must also reject the physical Resurrection of Jesus? You seem to also reject the idea that the death of Jesus was an atonement for sin. You also seem to reject that many if not most of the miraculous stories described in the Bible really happened as described. It seems, then, like you actually reject most, if not all, of these “fundamentals” you’ve listed.

      What then do you accept as “fundamental” to Christianity? Do you really accept the truly “virgin” birth of Jesus? – because others, like Kenneth Miller for example, do not. Kenneth Miller refers to both the Virgin Birth and the Resurrection of Jesus as “allegorical”. What is your view?

      As far as evidence is concerned regarding these fundamentals of Christianity from my own perspective, if there were no more evidentiary basis for these elements of Christianity, no more evidence for them than the existence of Santa Claus for example, again, why would I choose to put my faith in this vs. that? – just because of wishful thinking? That’s the very definition of fideism. This isn’t real Biblical faith as I read it.

      I’m a Christian not simply because I’m desperate for the hope that Christianity claims to offer, but because of the evidence that I see in its favor. Lot’s of religions claim fantastic things. However, only Christianity has the detectable Signature of the Divine in support of its claims – evidences to include dramatically fulfilled prophecies throughout the Bible, general historical accuracy, the willingness of the Biblical witnesses to put their lives on the line for what they claim they saw, the consistency of the Bible’s claims regarding human nature and sin with my own experience of the same, and the consistency of the Bible’s descriptions of nature and its origin with what I myself see in nature. All of these elements come together to give the Bible’s Gospel message superior credibility.

      Your wish for scientific validation and concomitant deprecation of faith means that you have invented both a distorted definition of science and idiosyncratic approach to faith. Your definition of science excludes the canonical writing and synthesis of models by scientists as the core knowledge of science and cedes the centre of scientific understanding to the masses of journalists and youtube videos. I cannot see why you feel compelled to do that but do see that it is entirely consistent with your reluctance to even try to engage with the process of science by writing for the peer reviewed journals.

      Why build a strawman like this? I have nothing against scientific journals. I read them and use them all the time in my practice of medicine and in reference to other interests outside of medicine – to include the topic of origins. Of course, I do not consider scientific journals to be “canonical”, the very definition of science, because of the fact that many things get published which simply aren’t scientific – which are nothing more that just-so stories that aren’t testable in a falsifiable manner. This happens in medical journals as well as other fields of science. It seems to be part of human nature to want to tell some kind of story in an effort to explain some phenomenon – regardless of if the story can or cannot be tested.

      Again, science isn’t based on publishing this or that story and calling it “science”. Real science is based on if your story can be tested in a potentially falsifiable manner so as to establish some kind of useful predictive value. If your story cannot do that, then it isn’t science, regardless of if you got it published in some “scientific” journal and regardless of your fideistic “faith” in the validity of the story.

      I clearly have not articulated the question about Matt 17 well as you completely missed my point. I simply ask; to whom was Jesus words directed? In the context after healing a boy which the father described as epileptic and from whom Jesus cast out a demon he said;

      “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. 21 However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”

      The plain reading of this text is that Jesus as God was telling us that healing of epilepsy/demon possession is by pray and fasting. This is clearly the normative process for healing and He makes no mention of natural cause or therapy at all. Surely if there was a natural cause for epilepsy he would have revealed it at this point just like if Evolution was true he would have said so in Gen 1. Is that not logical?

      No, it’s not logical for several reasons. One reason is that Jesus had to deal with the level of technology and medical understanding of the day in which He was living. Jesus could have revealed how to cure cancer or treat diabetes or deal with post-menopausal bleeding, etc. But, he didn’t. He lived with and dealt with the technology of the day, just as we must live and deal in our day.

      The point Jesus made is that when we come to the limits of human understanding and creative power, we need to turn to God for assistance. Even in this modern age, there are cases of epilepsy which simply go beyond our modern ability to effectively treat, but no case is beyond God’s power to treat. And, when it comes to demon possession (which I believe was truly the cause in the case presented in Matt 17), no human power then or now or in the future is going to be able to deal with that. Such can only be dealt with by God. Our part to play in such cases is entirely dependent upon “prayer and fasting”.

      In any case, Matt 17 is not an indictment against medical practice or human efforts to use medicines and various technologies to heal our fellow man. Not at all. Jesus also referenced the necessity of caring for the physical needs of others using what one knows about such care – such as the medical care given by the “Good Samaritan” to the wounded man along the road. Jesus is not suggesting that when we see someone injured or in need of care that we should just say, “I’m praying for you”, and do nothing more. That’s a ridiculous conclusion from the reading of the Gospels.

      Plain reading of both Genesis 1 reveals a description of instantateous creation by divine fiat and a description of healing in Matt 17 by divine fiat. In both instances the process is described as supernatural or a miracle. I interpret both in the same way you interpret one and not the other. I see it as high level descriptions by inspired prescientific minds of natural process they did not understand and see that we now describe both healing and causes of disease as natural process and do not seek the divine as the normative response.

      No natural disease process causes an insane person to say, when asked for his/her name, “My name is legion for we are many”, and then ask Jesus if they could go and invade some pigs after they depart from the man – and then, when Jesus gives His permission, the pigs run into the sea. That’s not a description of some natural disease process. That’s a description of true demon possession.

      Also, it doesn’t matter if one does or doesn’t understand the underlying cause of what one is describing. Regardless, the description of what is being observed is still valid. As I’ve pointed out before, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to notice that when it gets light and dark – as in a description of “evenings and mornings”.

      You probably agree with me in the case of health care but clearly cling to a miraculous cause for speciation and origin of diversity of life forms. That you pray over your patients is commendable but how much effect has at the molecular level of a disease process I do not know. Certainly I can find no instances in the medical literature of clear evidences of divine intervention and do not think that you are confident enough in the plain reading of Matt 17 to forgo any evidence based interventions to rely entirely on divine intervention and prayer for the miraculous. I am sure you will present a whole raft of sophistry to say why we can use naturalistic medicine now but that comes down to interpretation.

      I’m still at a loss to see how anyone could seriously reference Matt 17 as suggesting that we must only pray to help others in need – that we have no part to play in helping others with our own hands and our own God-given abilities to assist in healing and general medical care. Your suggestion that God is telling us to say, “I’m praying for you, but I’ve been told not to do anything else for you”, is utter nonsense. Jesus himself said to the lawyer, “Go and do likewise”, in reference to the actions of the Good Samaritan. The same is true today. We work with God. We do not expect God to do everything for us or to completely circumvent natural laws on a routine basis in this fallen world. If He did this, there would be no basis to distinguish between the natural and the supernatural, between the non-intelligent workings of natural law and the activities of deliberate intelligence manipulating nature.

      As for salvation there are more than Anselm’s model of the atonement within Christian thought. Personally I prefer the Christus Victor model but that is a whole different discussion. The nature of the resurrected body is also not as clear as you suggest as I have yet to see a carbon based life form walk through a wall or be transported instantaneously from place to place. I also have to respect for Pauls writings 1 Cor suggesting we shall all be changed and interpret this as indicating a change beyond carbon based life which can only exist with death as an integral and essential component.

      Then you do in fact reject the physical Resurrection of Jesus? – and the fact that He Himself claimed to have a physical body of flesh and blood after His Resurrection? Your notion that life can only exist with death as an integral component strikes at the basis of the Christian Gospel message of hope for a new world where death and suffering for all sentient creatures is no more. I’m sorry, but your vision and your faith are very limited in this regard – falling short of full Christianity.

      Lest you monopolize neologisms I would suggest rather than mindless natural mechanisms I am a firm believer in mindful natural mechanisms.

      So am I. It is just that mindful natural mechanisms, like human-level intelligence and creative power, comes at different levels. Just as human-level intelligence is “natural” to us, so is God’s level of intelligence and creative power “natural” to Him. It’s all relative. What is “natural” vs. what is “supernatural”, is all dependent upon one’s perspective.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
      • @Sean Pitman:
        Sean

        You are of course correct when you say

        “One reason is that Jesus had to deal with the level of technology and medical understanding of the day in which He was living. Jesus could have revealed how to cure cancer or treat diabetes or deal with post-menopausal bleeding, etc. But, he didn’t. He lived with and dealt with the technology of the day, just as we must live and deal in our day.”

        In precisely the same way, when the writer of Genesis wrote of the creation they were using the technology and scientific understanding of their day. Be that 1400 or so BC if you believe Moses the author or if you accept other authorship 3-6th century BC.

        Of course neither were eye witness accounts.




        0
        View Comment
        • They were eyewitness accounts as Moses was given a vision of what took place during creation week – as was Ellen White. As already noted, the descriptions are valid despite not understanding how that which is being described was actually produced. Again, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand “evenings and mornings” and write down such an observation.

          Really now, if you don’t believe in empirically detectable answers to prayer, the physical resurrection of the dead, the virgin birth of Jesus, or any other miraculous creative act on the part of God interacting with this world, why claim the title of Christian?

          Without a physical resurrection of the dead, why the need for a “second coming” in order to “raise the dead” to life? What about the whole, “from dust you are and to dust you will return”? Why create carbon-based humans to begin with if God is going to recreate humans in some other form later on?

          Have you not read Luke 24:36-43?

          “While they were telling these things, He Himself stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be to you.” But they were startled and frightened and thought that they were seeing a spirit. And He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? “See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself; touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” And when He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. While they still could not believe it because of their joy and amazement, He said to them, “Have you anything here to eat?” They gave Him a piece of a broiled fish; and He took it and ate it before them.”

          Does this not sound like Jesus took on carbon-based body after his Resurrection? – the same as before? Or, is this just another passage that has been altered over time?

          Read also:
          2 John 1:7
          1 John 4:2

          Again, I don’t see how you can pick and choose what is and isn’t a valid observation with regard to what was written of the life, miracles, death, and resurrection of Jesus? – and still call yourself a Christian with a straight face? something other than building a religion, and a god, of your own creation and out of your own imagination? something you yourself made to put your own fideistic faith in?

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




          0
          View Comment
    • @pauluc: Paul you said, “Like many evangelicals and neo-orthodox I am happy to admit I accept most of these based on faith but do not seek evidentiary basis for them in science.” This makes you a fideist, the same heresy being spread around at LSU. Your statement, “Your wish for scientific validation and concomitant deprecation of faith…” exposes the fideist error. Scientific validation does not depreciate faith.

      Another thing. You said, “The nature of the resurrected body is also not as clear as you suggest as I have yet to see a carbon based life form walk through a wall…” You are limiting yourself to three dimensions. Given additional spacial dimensions a carbon-based life form could go from one room to another avoiding the wall entirely.




      0
      View Comment
  34. Sean, you shouldn’t let Paul Cameron and Jeff Kent bait you into a philosophical debate that has been thoroughly mooted a dozen times or more on this site and other sites.

    This thread should be about the atrocious treatment of Louie Bishop. And the atrocious treatment of Lee Greer, which is also discussed in detail in the above article. This sort of behavior should be beyond the pale regardless what side of the ideological/religious fence a person is on. This amounts to bullying of a student who has no power by an administration which has all the power. You can take the ideology out of it, and the behavior is still atrocious.

    Same thing for Lee Greer, and in his case the ideology has been completely taken out of it, because Greer is a Darwinist. Yet he was fired for refusing to knuckle under to Wisbey’s tyranny.

    In a crucial way, this story is a personal attack on Wisbey, but a richly deserved and justified attack. It shows that Wisbey is not personally fit to run La Sierra, even if he were a conservative. Even if he weren’t secularizing La Sierra as fast as he can manage, the fact would remain that he is a bad person. Good people don’t bully others who happen to be within their power, and they don’t fire their own ideological compatriots for being insufficiently obsequious and cowed. [edit]




    0
    View Comment
    • @David Read:

      Some of us feel that as scientists we have an obligation to respond to attacks on the integrity of a process we engage in on a daily basis. That this attack comes from within our own community of faith that ostensibly holds a high regard for honesty and integrity is both depressing and sad.

      As Bruce points out in his book “Fundamentalism” and Aslan in his book “How to win a Cosmic war” the way of the zealot is largely impenetrable to logic and reason and change is infrequent and slow but there are indeed some who will change and for the sake of those I comment here.

      I am astounded at your modesty in seeing yourself as simply a commenter in all these proceedings. You have been a leading light in the sustained attack on LSU and particularly the science department. You must of course then take credit for much of the response by LSU to the attacks by the highly conservative fundamentalist element of the SDA church for which you are undoubtedly a though leader.

      It seems to me rather duplicitous for you to have been calling for strong GC action against those that would go against the previous policy of womens ordination but when Wisbey does exactly that and tries to act for the good of LSU he is a bad man.

      You have been baying for war against modernity and scholarship at LSU but now you seem to be abdicating responsibility with a “who me?”. Perhaps you imagine that your are gaining credibility with your position on the study committee and that being seen as a rabid LSU attack dog is bad for your statesmanship?




      0
      View Comment
      • @pauluc: Pauluc, this story isn’t about me. It is about Louie Bishop.

        Do you favor official, administrative, disciplinary bullying creationist students at Seventh-day Adventist colleges?

        Do you favor preventing a student from registering, causing him to miss a week of classes, because he tried to tell the alumni about what is really being taught as truth at La Sierra?

        Do you favor disciplining students at Adventist colleges for passing out creationist literature to a small number of friends and acquaintances on a Seventh-day Adventist college campus?

        Do you favor the administration at La Sierra refusing a student permission to start a creation club on campus?

        Do you think professors at Adventist colleges should be fired for openly and honestly communicating with NAD education officials, as Lee Greer was fired?

        Is this really what you’re in favor of, Paul Cameron, or do you think perhaps Wisbey has been heavy handed in his treatment of Louie Bishop and Lee Greer?

        If La Sierra would just come out officially admit to what they’re doing, it would be hard to gin up much sympathy for Louie Bishop. I would be inclined to say, “Hey, Louie, LSU makes no bones about the fact that they’re inculcating Darwinism in the biology department and higher criticism and liberalism in the theology department. What made you think that creationism would be taught there, or that your Adventist faith would be affirmed there?”

        But, as we all know, La Sierra is not honest about what they’re doing. They spin and dissemble and mislead and misdirect and . . . well, they’re just not honest about what they’re doing. They claim to be a Seventh-day Adventist institution when they’re anything but that. Until they tell the truth about what they are, I have to side with any Adventist kid who mistakenly wanders into that place.




        0
        View Comment
    • Relatively few people read this far down into a thread. I don’t mind letting the topic of a thread drift a bit once the main topic of the article has been well covered in the first several dozen comments or so…




      0
      View Comment
    • @David Read: David, I disagree with your criticism in that it is imperative that we use every opportunity to demonstrate the heresy of fideism which has allowed the Religion Department to shelter the Biology Department. Every time pauluc comments along these lines, I intend to call him on his fideistic nonsense.




      0
      View Comment
      • @George Evans: George, I share your disdain for fideism. I believe in a reasonable faith, and in Christian apologetics. Paul said, “always be ready to give a defense [gr: apologian] for your faith” 1 Pet. 3:15.

        But let’s be clear that fideism is not what is being promoted at La Sierra. If in fact the religion department (or, the HMS Richards School of Religion) were teaching that the Genesis narrative should be understood literally, while the biology department was teaching Darwinism, then La Sierra would be promoting fideism (defined as believing something while at the same time rejecting any basis in reason or evidence for believing it). But in fact the religion department and the biology department are in complete agreement that Genesis should not be understood literally. They are not advocating fideism. They are working hand in glove: the religion department teaches that Genesis is not to be understood literally while the biology department gives the “apologian,” that is, the evidence and arguments, why Genesis should not be taken literally. In effect, the biology department is doing apologetics for the religion department.

        Sadly, as much as I dislike fideism, fideism would be a huge improvement on the actual situation at La Sierra. The actual situation is that, in the religion department, they’re teaching kids to reject the Adventist faith, and in the biology department, they’re giving the reasons and the arguments for rejecting the Adventist faith.




        0
        View Comment
        • @David Read: I am basing my charge on responses that Sean often gets that he is damaging students faith by teaching them to look for evidence in science. I maintain that the Religion Department is promoting fideism in telling them not to worry about the facts they here in the Biology Department. They can still believe in creation. Then these kids go home and say the school is teaching creation.




          0
          View Comment
        • @George Evans: George, I’m not sure how I could have been clearer, but I’ll try again.

          The Religion Department is not, repeat NOT, telling La Sierra students not to worry about what is taught by the biology faculty. To the contrary, the religion faculty is telling the students that the what the science faculty is teaching is right, true and correct; hence, the students must abandon belief in a literal creation.

          Please read in the above article where Louie Bishop talks about what Dean Webster said in the seminar class. Dean Webster said that a literal approach to the Bible’s origins narrative was “not helpful” and that the Genesis narrative is best understood as something that those in the Ancient Near East believed, but not something we should believe. Webster is the dean of the school of religion.

          So, again, the religion faculty and the science faculty are not in disagreement; they are cooperating hand in glove. To whatever extent either the religion faculty or the biology faculty promotes the idea of “creation,” they mean the term “creation” in a mystical, theistic evolution sense, not a recent creation in six literal days as per the Genesis narrative sense. Neither department tells the students they should take the Genesis narrative literally.

          Again, sadly this is not about fideism. This is about an institution that is united from bowsprit to stern, from topgallant to keel, in its rejection of the Adventist origins narrative.




          0
          View Comment
        • @David Read: Take it easy, David. I’m not a hostile witness.

          “…the religion faculty is telling the students that the what the science faculty is teaching is right, true and correct…”

          Correct about science. They tell them there is no evidence in science for their belief in creation.

          “…hence, the students must abandon belief in a literal creation.”

          They don’t tell them they have to abandon a belief in creation. They say a literal approach is “not helpful”. They are not telling them to give up on creation. That’s important.

          “To whatever extent either the religion faculty or the biology faculty promotes the idea of ‘creation,’ they mean the term ‘creation’ in a mystical, theistic evolution sense, not a recent creation in six literal days as per the Genesis narrative sense.”

          Exactly. And that does the trick. It is masterful. That’s how the kids can come home at Christmas and tell their parents that LSU teaches creation, which they unbelievably do, in hoards.

          The way I understand fideism is it can be blind faith in anything. In this case it is in “creation”.




          0
          View Comment
        • @George Evans: I agree with you as to the substance of what you’re saying, George. What we’re both saying is that some at La Sierra use the term “creation” to mean something very different from what Seventh-day Adventists normally think of when they hear the term “creation.” It is a case of deception through vague, undefined, or esoterically defined terms, what Cliff Goldstein called the “anfractuosities of language.”

          That’s a completely different issue from fideism.




          0
          View Comment
  35. Mark Brown

    You suggest

    “I agree with you that it is problematic to substitute man’s commentary on the Bible in place of the Bible itself. But, it appears that you are inconsistent by substituting peer reviewed literature (man’s commentary on science) for science itself. We must be cautious not to uplift the intellect of man beyond its limitations as it applies to both the scriptures and science.”

    I suggest I am not substituting mans commentary on science for science itself since there is no science outside the peer reviewed literature of science.

    You seem to misunderstand my use of the word canonical literature of science. Let me try to explain this and my concern with Sean’s view of the process of science.

    Science is a community process in which scientists propose a model to explain some observation by some natural process (methodological naturalism). The predictions from this model are tested by experimental work and the results of these experiments are published after peer review in the literature of science. Now of course peer review can be of varying levels of rigour. It could be simply getting a couple of mates to agree as for example with Richard Sternberg’s review of Stephen Meyer paper in Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington or as in most journals a blinded review of the paper before publication by experts in the field.

    There are now indexing systems such as pubmed and ISI that rank the status of peer reviewed journals such that to be considered for indexing there must be clear evidence of a process or rigorous peer review.

    If you want the best record of the experimental testing of science these peer reviewed journal are the place to search and represent the best and most accurate account of the work that has been done in a specific area of research. As such they represent the “canonical” literature of science. Of course I am using the term canonical in the sense of authorized; recognized; accepted: as in canonical works.

    To a scientist this does not at all mean it is inerrant or accurate merely that it has past some level of scrutiny. It is accepted on good faith that the authors are honestly reporting what they have done. Whether or not it is so will depend on others testing and replicating your results. If you are wrong and the question is important you will soon find out and your reputation as a scientist will depend on how robust your findings are to further scrutiny.

    Below this primary research data is peer reviewed critical literature reviews where scientist and experts in the field provide overviews critiques and syntheses of the literature. Most scientists would include this as canonical scientific literature although it may not report new primary data. It would certainly need to have novel interpretation or synthesis to pass peer review.

    This canonical literature is where science is done. Youtube videos, blogs and journalistic commentary on the science is irrelevant to science although unfortunately that is all most people outside science see of science.

    As my mentor would say if it hasnt been published in the peer reviewed literature it has not been done.

    Sean seems to think that what he writes on his website, his book or here has some scientific validity. It has not. Only if he publishes in the peer reviewed literature has he presented his ideas in the forum of science. His ideas may be true but they are not science until he has published them in proper form and place.

    There are essential differences between the canonical literature of science and the canon of the bible. The former is never complete, its content is continually expanding at an exponential rate, it is always tentative and it represent the data, interpretations and models that are not yet false. The latter represents a complete defined text, fixed in time at the second century, accepted by the community of faith as sufficient basis for belief and action. Theology like science is an activity of man; the formation of theories based on the holy text. Although the text does not change in 2000 years our understanding interpretation of the text has undoubtedly changed.




    0
    View Comment
    • If science were only a community process (i.e., valid science could not be done on an individual basis without the need for peer review), then some of the greatest scientists in history weren’t really doing science – like Galileo, Leonardo da Vinci, and even Darwin for that matter.

      Science simply isn’t based on if the idea presented is immediately popular or even published in this or that particular journal. Science is based on if the idea is testable in a potentially falsifiable manner and if it can be demonstrated to generate useful predictive value. Trying to limit science only to that which is published by particular journals, journals which often block the publication of potentially valid scientific hypotheses, is a dogmatic sectarian view of science where a select group of the “priests of science” determine what is and isn’t real science or part of the “sacred texts” or “dogma” of science.

      I’m sorry, but that’s a religious organization, a church group dedicated to upholding a particular philosophical or religious perspective – come what may. That’s not science.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
      • @Sean Pitman:
        Sean
        Dont write nonsense. Of course there has been a tradition of publication of science in monographs and presentation of data before learned societies. Galileo, Da Vinci and Copernicus and Darwin wrote for a learned audience. For the scientific community of their time and were judged by their peers. Name one observation that has won a nobel prize that has not been published in the peer reviewed literature.




        0
        View Comment
        • That’s not true. Many of these early pioneers of science worked largely on their own and published their own books – outside of any peer review or official recognition in any scientific journal or any Nobel Prize. Another example is Gregor Mendel, generally considered the father of modern genetics, never won a Nobel Prize nor did he publish the vast majority of his work in a peer reviewed journal during his own lifetime (he only managed to publish a single forgotten paper on genetics before his death). Yet, he was still doing real scientific investigations.




          0
          View Comment
        • @Sean Pitman:

          Sean unfortunately this is typical of your scholarship and logic. You did not at all address my question. The Nobel prize has been awarded since 1901 and according to Nobel’s instructions could not be awarded posthumously. Mendel died in 1884. Did you bother to even see what his education actually was and note that he was not at all a loner who eschewed the peer reviewed literature. Most of his publications were in meteorology and were published in the the peer reviewed literature.

          That he published only one paper on genetics is perhaps the reason that his work actually never made any difference to the field of genetics because his conclusions were independently reached by Correns and DeVries albeit 35 years later and it is arguable if genetics would have been any different if he had never published anything in this area.

          See http://scientopia.org/blogs/guestblog/2012/08/02/gregor-mendel-and-the-art-of-mis-communication/ for an interesting discussion of his style of presentation of his genetic work.

          Contrast Mendel with Barbera McClintock some hundred years later. Did she write a best selling book or a tract to distribute on the street? Of course not she did what scientists do, published in the peer reviewed journals.

          You seem to miss the point. People at one time wrote on parchment and transmitted knowledge by ballad and word of mouth but that does not represent the standard for the 21st century. For the last 100 years science has been published in the peer reviewed literature. Comment on science outside this is just so much chatter.




          0
          View Comment
        • I am well aware of the life and work and publications of Gregor Mendel on meteorology and his single long-forgotten paper on genetics… and that he died well before the Nobel Prize came along.

          The point is that science, good science, has long been done well before the Nobel Prize came along or before journal publishing was vogue. When their ideas were unpopular, some scientists even kept their notes in a form of code so no one else could easily read them – like Leonardo da Vinci did. Good science is therefore not dependent upon peer review or popularity.

          As far as modern journals are concerned, they are not free of confirmation bias or the suppression of ideas that are unpopular among mainstream scientists. Just look what happens when someone even tries to publish ideas favorable to intelligent design in science journals. Look what happened to Richard Sternberg for example when he published a peer-reviewed paper by Stephen Meyer (Link)

          As far as your own views on the fundamentals of Christianity, why don’t you respond to my questions?

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




          0
          View Comment
      • @George Evans: Or how many alchemist? [edit]

        As a reviewer you are asked to judge Three things
        The novelty of the observation
        The methodology including the statistical methods.
        The logical of the conclusions relative to the results.

        To do this you do not have to have any particular world view expect that your are honest knowledgable about the process of science and able to understand and critique the processes including the statistics.

        I suspect creationists, atheists, fundamentalists, and new age philosphers are performing this task every day.




        0
        View Comment
        • @Sean Pitman:
          Which is precisely why there are usually 2-3 reviewers and the submitter can specify reviewers to avoid because of conflict of interest.

          Sorry Sean in this area you are speaking from a position of relative ignorance as I suspect you have not reviewed for a journal though you may have published.




          0
          View Comment
        • I have reviewed, once, for a medical journal. The problem is that even two or three reviewers often share the same basic paradigm and biases – especially when chosen by the a particular journal. The journal is likely to pick reviewers that shares its own biases. This was confirmed not too long ago when E-mails were exposed along these lines showing that various journals did in fact actively suppress the publication of certain perspectives with which they happened to disagree.

          I’m sorry, but not even peer-reviewed journals are free of bias or error or the publication of non-scientific papers with non-scientific hypotheses and conclusions.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




          0
          View Comment
        • @Sean Pitman:

          1] Sorry Sean I guess it must be that I muddied the waters by using the term science which I assumed most people would know was science in the last 200 years and in reality should have been much more explicit and used the word modern science to exclude the exception that you so eagerly want to use as normative. Science is about knowledge and communication of that knowledge to allow for the development of the corpus of knowledge that is science. Keeping it hidden and encrypted seems to defeat the purpose. I am merely saying the corpus of scientific knowledge is the peer reviewed literarure for better or for worse.

          2] So did you in your vast experience as a reviewer do as you suggest all reviewers do and impose your particular worldview and reject it because it followed a methodological naturalist approach with which you disagree? If so it is no surprise that you have never been asked again.

          3] Sean you shouldnt advertise your ignorance so blatantly. Do you seriously suggest that a journal whose ranking depends on how much impact its publications will have will reject a paper because it is novel and interesting and challenges the established paradigm? Peer reviewed journal are like newspapers in that their standing depends on publishing first and avoiding rubbish. They accept that the openness of science means that some fraud and rubbish will slip through but the editorial and peer review is designed to minimize this. It is all about reputation. It is h indexes and citation indexes.

          4] If Richard Sternberg wanted a job in my lab or wanted to collaborate I for sure would have nothing to do with him. In my view the evidence strongly suggests he was and remains severely compromised. That you hold him up without critically evaluating the events says more about your intense desires for vindication at the expense of critical judgement

          5] I will say it once again. You are duplicitous if you accuse journals of not taking your favourite type of ID research because in your view they are prejudiced against it and yet you have not bothered to submitted an original paper and shown us that it has been rejected on the grounds that it has an unpopular conclusion. You cannot have it both ways you cannot say the journals will publish all sorts of nonsense and yet your own sort of nonsense is rejected or at least would be if you cared to submit it.




          0
          View Comment
        • @Sean Pitman:
          What emails? Are you referring to the discussion in NEJM about publication of research performed in the concentration camps during WW2? This work was appropriately rejected because of an idealogical dislike of fascism and human rights abuse even though the methodology was first rate. I do hope you are not cynically using this as an example of how journal reject work based on ideology. A bit more specificity rather than broad accusation would be in order lest my estimation of you suffers further.




          0
          View Comment
        • Don’t tell me you aren’t aware of the global warming E-mail scandal?

          They [editors of various science journals] have been engaged in a political war, using science as a weapon. The E-mails reveal the dangers inherent in relying on “approved science” as the last word on anything, especially if—as it now appears—some of the more influential supporters of the idea of global warming tried very hard to make sure that contrary theories and evidence that countered their assumptions and projections were never allowed to see the light of day, at least in any reputable scientific journal.

          Link

          A new batch of 5,000 emails among scientists central to the assertion that humans are causing a global warming crisis were anonymously released to the public yesterday, igniting a new firestorm of controversy nearly two years to the day after similar emails ignited the Climategate scandal.

          Three themes are emerging from the newly released emails: (1) prominent scientists central to the global warming debate are taking measures to conceal rather than disseminate underlying data and discussions; (2) these scientists view global warming as a political “cause” rather than a balanced scientific inquiry and (3) many of these scientists frankly admit to each other that much of the science is weak and dependent on deliberate manipulation of facts and data.

          Link

          And scientists are never collectively biased for political or philosophical reasons? to the point of blocking otherwise valid publications that contradict or at least question the rational foundation of their own personal views?

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




          0
          View Comment
        • @pauluc: I have been thinking of coming out of the closet and this is as good a time as any. I will quote Ellen White, Review and Herald, January 15, 1914, par. 8:

          “The history of King Ahaziah’s sin and its punishment has in it a warning which none can disregard with impunity. Men today may not pay homage to heathen gods, yet thousands are worshiping at Satan’s shrine as verily as did the king of Israel. The spirit of idolatry is rife in the world today, though under the influence of science and education it has assumed forms more refined and attractive than in the days when Ahaziah sought to the god of Ekron. Every day adds its sorrowful evidence that faith in the sure word of prophecy is decreasing, and that in its stead superstition and satanic witchery are captivating the minds of many. All who do not earnestly search the Scriptures, submitting every desire and purpose of the life to that unerring test; all who do not seek God in prayer for a knowledge of truth, will surely wander from the right path, and fall under the deception of Satan.”

          Paul, evolution is a pagan religion. Peer reviewed journals are it’s literature. I will not bow down!




          0
          View Comment
        • @George Evans:
          I am not sure if you are a physician or not since you reference MCATs but do not seem to include MD in you name.

          Whether or not, you seem to have some knowledge of some part of the scientific literature. If indeed you are an MD or PhD it is astonishing that you should write your last sentence with any level of sincerity and cognition.

          Are you seriously rejecting all of the peer reviewed literature? Which of the journals here that deal with evolution are you rejecting?

          http://evolution-textbook.org/content/free/notes/box_journal_list.html

          Are you asking me to stop reading or citing papers from PNAS, Science, Nature, Nature genetics because it is a pagan religious material?

          That certainly seem to be a cultic position. In terms of Ellen White do you think that we should interpret her writings. Was Fred Veltman correct in reporting back in ministry on the analysis of the “Desire of Ages”? Should scholarship be applied to the writings of EG White or the Bible. Was Arthur Patrick correct in comparing Paradise lost to EG White writings?

          http://adventiststudies.com/2013/02/26/post-98-elen-whites-inspiration-in-view-of-her-use-of-the-writings-of-john-milton/

          Should we ban Ronald Numbers biography of EG White? And forbid any rational assessment of here statements and prophecies?

          You accuse me of fideism but I have an understanding of inspiration that allows for scholarship both in theology and in science.
          I have faith in the Christ as the Logos of God but I do not pretend I examine my faith and beliefs while judging all by that text that I see as inerrant and completely immune to analysis.




          0
          View Comment
        • @pauluc: Paul, you have it just about right. I would estimate I use “peer reviewed” material in the area of evolution about like you use the writings of Ellen G. White.




          0
          View Comment
  36. George Evans: Professor, you now know better than that. You know this gives Jonathan even more reason to criticize LSU. Namely, they are promoting fideism.

    Make up your mind, George. Is La Sierra promoting higher criticism–that scripture including Genesis 1 should be subject to and tested by human reason (which is the antithesis of fideism)–or that God’s word should be accepted at face value?

    Did you notice Sean Pitman’s response? He clearly believes God’s word cannot be accepted at face value.

    Here is the Church’s official position. According to the “Rio” document, approved and voted by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Executive Committee at the Annual Council Session in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, October 12, 1986
    (http://www.adventist.org/beliefs/other-documents/other-doc4.html): “Even a modified use of this [historical critical] method that retains the principle of criticism which subordinates the Bible to human reason is unacceptable to Adventists.

    This position is defended elsewhere by Biblical Research Institute Scholars (Richard Davidson, Edward Zinke) and even Ellen White herself: “The opinions of learned men, the deductions of science, the creeds or decisions of ecclesiastical councils, as numerous and discordant as are the churches which they represent, the voice of the majority–not one nor all of these should be regarded as evidence for or against any point of religious faith. Before accepting any doctrine or precept, we should demand a plain ‘Thus saith the Lord” in its support.’” (Great Controversy, p. 595)

    And then there was a wise man who wrote, “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding.” Proverbs 3:5

    I pray that you are not advocating the same heterodox views that Sean Pitman has fallen into.




    0
    View Comment
    • Your yourself reject the very clear statements of Ellen White and the Bible were it is noted that faith must be based on the weight of evidence. You’ve disingenuously reinterpret these passages to mean that “belief”, not faith, must be based on evidence. Yet, this wasn’t the word chosen. Clearly, both the Bible and Ellen White tie both faith and belief to a basis in evidence, empirical evidence, that appeals to rational candid intelligent minds. I’m sorry, but your fideistic view of faith is not a Biblical form of faith. Rather, your view of faith is indistinguishable from wishful thinking.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
    • @Professor Kent: You wrote, “Make up your mind, George. Is La Sierra promoting higher criticism–that scripture including Genesis 1 should be subject to and tested by human reason (which is the antithesis of fideism)–or that God’s word should be accepted at face value?”

      I am not a theologian but I suspect you are mixed up. I don’t think higher criticism is the antithesis of fideism. I think you are mixing up fideism with literalism.

      I have found Sean Pitman to believe in a literal reading of Genesis. I don’t know what your smoking!




      0
      View Comment
  37. Anent Sean’s succinct acknowledgement that the purpose and content of this site and specifically this thread have again been redirected by regulars Pauluc & Kent with Sean actively joining, like retroviruses commandeering and redirecting the host’s expression, to an ostensibly inapposite topic, namely evidence-free faith vs. evidence-empowered faith, and David Read’s gentle slap of Sean’s hand for letting it happen.

    I get the drift. I think it is especially apposite. I’m always on the lookout for this particular sub-thread, which not infrequently is woven into a fine fabric adorning the site. If annoying it’s because of gratuitous codas to otherwise informative and scholarly posts, like, “Sean, dude, you are a demonic threat and insult to inquiring minds and to our church, and everybody is laughing or cringing.”

    With diffidence, then, may I insert a one-time bolus into this ongoing dialog?

    To what shall I liken blank faith (calling it blind faith is a hate crime) stripped of all reason or evidence? It is like unto an ascetic, cachectic holy hermit, fasting many days, self-stripped of all possessions and tools, thus to disencumber his soul for spiritual journey. It is like unto the Asian mystical mental states, in celebrity and academic circles increasingly yearned and trained for, to wit, nirvana, satori, samadhi, and finally moksha, and, in the West (especially the West Coast), emergent “centering and clearing, labyrinthine spiritual formation,” all being degrees of blankness of mind (“liberation”), states of oblivious bliss that achieve direct connection with the god within you, shunting the God in heaven. After untangling himself from the lotus position and slapping his head to regain consciousness, the now even more open-minded scientist may resume his evidence-only posture and stride back to his lectern.
    More like this: http://www.iessaythere.com




    0
    View Comment
  38. Sean Pitman: Your yourself reject the very clear statements of Ellen White and the Bible where it is noted that faith must be based on the weight of evidence.

    What kind evidence was Ellen White speaking of? Polonium halos? Radiometric dating? Fossil layers? Phylograms? Or…pray tell…was it experiential evidence? Evidence from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?

    You need to face some fact, Sean. The Church rejects your heterodox theology. People like David Read and Art Chadwick do not come to your defense of “potentially falsifiable empirical evidence” and human reason because they are embarrassed by your views. The top people in the GC are well aware of your views and reject them outright. You’ve got your disciples hear who believe every word you right, but there are many who cringe at your arguments. If you want to change the way the Church views science, scripture, and faith, you need to influence the Church’s leadership and set them straight. Your bottom-up approach using turtles-all-the-way-down reasoning ain’t cutting it. I know this must frustrate you.




    0
    View Comment
    • What kind evidence was Ellen White speaking of? Polonium halos? Radiometric dating? Fossil layers? Phylograms? Or…pray tell…was it experiential evidence? Evidence from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ?

      As I’ve already explained to you at least a dozen times now, both the Bible and Ellen White reference the weight of empirical evidence as a basis for faith. The New Testament writers cite the physical resurrection of Jesus, and the evidence for it, as the linchpin of their faith. Biblical prophecy is also constantly cited as a basis for faith throughout the Bible. The Biblical authors also cite various features of the natural world as evidence of God’s signature and claim to Authorship.

      “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 men are without excuse.” – Romans 1:20 NIV

      “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” – Psalms 19:1 NIV

      The same is true for the writings of Mrs. White. And, as you well know, she also cites evidence in geology as well to support a rational faith in the Biblical account of origins.

      “In the days of Noah, men, animals, and trees, many times larger than now exist, were buried, and thus preserved as an evidence to later generations that the antediluvians perished by a flood. God designed that the discovery of these things should establish faith in inspired history; but men, with their vain reasoning, fall into the same error as did the people before the Flood–the things which God gave them as a benefit, they turn into a curse by making a wrong use of them.” – Ellen White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 115

      Of course, in the past, you’ve scoffed at such comments arguing that Mrs. White is clearly mistaken here. The problem, of course, is that she does is fact cite the fossil record as evidence of the Noachian Flood and as a basis for faith in the Biblical account of origins.

      The fact is that God does not trump our God-given ability to think and reason by overwhelming us with some metaphysical “personal experience” when it comes to understanding the Biblical account as credible and worthy of faith and trust. A personal experience with God, all by itself, will certain establish faith in God’s existence, but when it comes to establishing faith in the credibility of the Bible, God generally lets us work a bit for that one. It doesn’t come automatically. God lets rational people read through the book and weigh the evidence for and against its claims and authenticity. God usually doesn’t rush this process either. He lets different people progress at different rates as they are able to grasp this or that concept.

      You need to face some fact, Sean. The Church rejects your heterodox theology. People like David Read and Art Chadwick do not come to your defense of “potentially falsifiable empirical evidence” and human reason because they are embarrassed by your views.

      If the Adventist Church did in fact reject my “heterodox” theology on origins and the importance of empirical evidence as a basis for rational faith, the leadership wouldn’t have any problem with what has been going on at La Sierra University. They wouldn’t have any problem with science professors promoting neo-Darwinism as the “best empirically-based theory of the day”. Of course, you know this isn’t true. The Church, as an organization, has specifically asked all professors in all of its schools to promote the Adventist perspective on origins and the evidence for it. In line with this sentiment, the Executive Committee of the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist Church issued the following mandate to all boards and educators working for the Church:

      We call on all boards and educators at Seventh-day Adventist institutions at all levels to continue upholding and advocating the church’s position on origins. We, along with Seventh-day Adventist parents, expect students to receive a thorough, balanced, and scientifically rigorous exposure to and affirmation of our historic belief in a literal, recent six-day creation, even as they are educated to understand and assess competing philosophies of origins that dominate scientific discussion in the contemporary world.

      As a response to the “An Affirmation of Creation–Report”, this document was accepted and voted by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventist Church Executive Committee at the Annual Council in Silver Spring, Maryland, October 13, 2004.

      Also, David Read is no Fideist and Art Chadwick is a good friend of mine, constantly writing me notes and letters of encouragement as I post articles and discuss this particular topic. He’s never once said that he’s “embarrassed by my views”.

      The top people in the GC are well aware of your views and reject them outright. You’ve got your disciples hear who believe every word you right, but there are many who cringe at your arguments. If you want to change the way the Church views science, scripture, and faith, you need to influence the Church’s leadership and set them straight. Your bottom-up approach using turtles-all-the-way-down reasoning ain’t cutting it. I know this must frustrate you.

      You really don’t know what you’re talking about on this one. Many of the top leaders of the church have written me personal letters of support. If you have some specific statements from the leadership to the contrary, why not present them here? The fact is, as you well know, most of our leaders do not support your strong fideistic position. They understand the influence of empirical evidence with regard to a solid faith in the credibility of the Biblical account.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
    • @Professor Kent: The professor wrote, “People like David Read and Art Chadwick do not come to your defense of ‘potentially falsifiable empirical evidence’ and human reason because they are embarrassed by your views.”

      And yet I see both their names in support of this very article.




      0
      View Comment
  39. George Evans:
    @Professor Kent: You wrote, “Make up your mind, George. Is La Sierra promoting higher criticism–that scripture including Genesis 1 should be subject to and tested by human reason (which is the antithesis of fideism)–or that God’s word should be accepted at face value?”

    I am not a theologian but I suspect you are mixed up. I don’t think higher criticism is the antithesis of fideism. I think you are mixing up fideism with literalism.

    I have found Sean Pitman to believe in a literal reading of Genesis. I don’t know what your smoking!

    George, this conversation needs to end. You should pay attention to what David Read said about fideism. And I would indeed have to be smoking to suggest Sean Pitman doesn’t believe in a literal reading of Genesis (I have never done either). I can’t continue a conversation that makes little sense.




    0
    View Comment
  40. pauluc: If the issue is whether or not LSU administration acted appropriately in attempting to defend itself against a clearly disruputive individual who gives every indication of being on a religious jihad and considers his judgement and knowledge superior to that of anyone else then that is a different issue.

    I am not a fan of Educate Truth’s confrontational approach to this issue, but I also sympathize with Louie Bishop’s treatment at LSU. I can understand how LSU would be upset at him for passing out flyers to alumni during Alumni Weekend, but as far as I’m concerned he should have had the freedom to ask questions in the classroom, to organize a creationism club, to hand out information supporting his views to fellow students, to defend himself in front of a discipline committee, and to obtain written information about the nature of LSU’s disciplanary actions. I’m very, very, very disturbed by how LSU handled the situation and would like to hear their side of the story.




    0
    View Comment
    • @Eddie:

      To pretend that the administration of LSU are completely secular as Sean seems to do is to miss the subtleties of the situation. It is essentially a religious institution containing a science department seeking to convey the accepted content of science. I would contend that we have many instances of the way in which a Church handles controversy or criticism. I recently watched the documentary “Silence in the House of God”. I would recommend for all Adventist. It is an extremely chilling account of how a religious institution handles error and criticism.

      The SDA Church has not been immune to suboptimal administrative responses. Several come to mind There was disfellowshipping of JH Kellogg despite having completely edited his “Living Temple” in response to contention that it was pantheistic. We have the exiling of EG White to Australia after disagreement with the then GC president Butler who had disagreed with Waggoner and Jones and EG White and who is reported to have said he by virtue of being GC president had special insights.
      How did the Church handle Ballinger, the role of EG White at the 1919 bible conference, the criticisms of Walter Rea, the biography of EG White by Ronald Numbers and the sanctuary doctrine reformulated by Desmond Ford?

      The events of 1980 are within my memory and I know that the administration was torn between the integrity of its structure and orthodoxy supported by highly literalist interpretations favoured by the concerned brethren and a desire to acknowledge there was some new understanding of the celestial events of 1844. As always someone needs to be sacrificed.

      Just so, at LSU there is an army of footsoldiers guided by generals such as David Read and Sean Pitman and cadre of armchair general who automatically respond with green for Sean and red for me. LSU has a predominance of non-SDA students from whence most of its income derives. They must be seen be and in reality must remain a university. It cannot afford to become a madrassa.

      Into this complex political and educational environment rides a feted athlete fresh from the school of certainty that is Amazing Facts and assumes a take no prisoners approach in his zealous campaign to save LSU. That Wisbey suggests his apologies were insincere is telling and I must say I am having trouble generating a lot of sympathy for him. I do appreciate that he has felt wounded but unfortunately that is nothing unique in Adventism or religion.

      Why kick against the pricks? Perhaps what befell him is indeed from God. After all as Rom 5 says

      “And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

      Unfortunately all the events are largely predictable in the presence of hubris and certainty and the absence of christian charity.




      0
      View Comment
      • @pauluc: So it was hubris that caused Louie Bishop to expect that an Adventist college would support Adventist beliefs, but it was not hubris for Randal Wisbey to think he could steal an Adventist college without anyone noticing or trying to stop him? This must be opposite day again. As Bill Murray said in Ground Hog Day, “It’s still only once a year, right?”

        P.S. You get style points for using “madrassa” instead of “Bible College,” which has become so tiresome.




        0
        View Comment
      • @pauluc: You wrote that LSU, “…is essentially a religious institution containing a science department seeking to convey the accepted content of science.” By accepted content you mean accepted by the high priests of evolution.

        You also wrote, “LSU has a predominance of non-SDA students from whence most of its income derives.” Did these students come because they knew evolution was promoted here and would be disappointed if it wasn’t? Or did they come to an Adventist university thinking evolution wouldn’t be promoted and would be disappointed if it was?




        0
        View Comment
  41. Sean

    You said;

    “Don’t tell me you aren’t aware of the global warming E-mail scandal?”

    Ah now it makes sense. You for sure would fit in well with the Marshall Institute as you are clearly a evolution denier and reject the scientific consensus in related areas not because of the evidence, all of which you contend you have examined and understood but because of a religious presupposition that stands in contrast with the consensus. But I would not take you as a climate change denier even though you do fit the profile; a military man highly conservative religiously and politically, probably a supporter of free enterprise and small government, demonizing Russians and socialists, advocating free access to guns and deeply suspicious of anyone who suggests that there is some civil obligation and freedoms that one must expect to forego to live in a civilized society.

    I am aware of the so call scandal but knowing the modus operandi of the Marshall Institute as documented in Naomi Oreskes book (One I think should be mandatory reading for anyone at all interested in science and faith) I have not pursued it in any detail. I simply go about my job which includes submission of research for peer review publication and peer review of research grant proposals, review journal submissions and thesis for higher degrees. This is my personal experience of science but I can appreciate that you feel an outsider and do not own any of this daily process of science and will have a different perspective.




    0
    View Comment
    • I’m not a climate change denier. I think there is very clear evidence of global warming. That isn’t at issue here though. What is at issue is the active suppression of countering views in “scientific” journals.

      Sean




      0
      View Comment
      • @Sean Pitman:

        And what you have proposed as evidence in favour of that proposition is an opinion puff piece in the conservative press from one Peter Roff.

        And who is Peter Roff;

        “he’s now affiliated with several public policy organizations including Let Freedom Ring, and Frontiers of Freedom.

        What is Let Freedom Ring;

        “A religious conservative advocacy organization, was formed in 2004 as a response to the efforts of George Soros and other liberal donors.

        Its founder, Colin Hanna, had previously been commissioner of a Pennsylvania county that was sued for its display of the Ten Commandments. In the 2004 election season, Hanna and his organization distributed videos to pastors heralding the faith of President Bush.”

        http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=94474210

        And “Frontiers of Freedom”

        “Frontiers of Freedom has received money from tobacco and oil companies, including Philip Morris Cos, ExxonMobil and RJ Reynolds Tobacco.”

        http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Frontiers_of_Freedom

        Precisely the same “Merchants of doubt” that are responsible for denial of ozone depletion, acid rain, DDT toxicity, health effects of tobacco smoking and global warming.

        Read the book. Sean you should not so naively accept the conclusions of the popular press just because it is to your liking.




        0
        View Comment
      • @Sean Pitman:

        If you are distancing yourself from climate change deniers why even use this incident to denigrate scientists and their accepted method of communication? It is cynic self serving misinformation at best and might be used by some to suggest you are not averse to telling lies for God.

        As Nature commentary said in discussing the second round of email releases.

        “None of the independent investigations that followed the 2009 release found any hints of scientific misconduct. Critics won’t find any in the new batch either — the animated discussions that the highlighted e-mails do include, not shy of strong personal opinions and the occasionally harsh judgement concerning the quality of this or that piece of work, never really stray from sound normal science.

        Climategate did no lasting damage to science. In fact, it can be argued that the incident fostered climatology and improved the way the field is perceived by the general public. The anonymous onslaught — illegal and grossly low, to be sure — has forced scientists to speak more openly about the gaps, difficulties and uncertainties that they are facing. On a more general note, it served to remind scientists, and hopefully legitimate critics as well, that respect, honesty and politeness are essential qualities in any intellectual endeavour.”

        http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v480/n7375/full/480006a.html




        0
        View Comment
        • @pauluc:

          Again, I do not question the validity of the science behind the mainstream theory of global warming. I personally see the evidence as quite clear in this regard.

          What I question is the motives of some mainstream scientists who manage journals and their basis for rejecting papers submitted for publication.

          For example, consider the thoughts of Oxford zoologist and writer George Monbiot:

          It’s no use pretending that this isn’t a major blow. The emails extracted by a hacker from the climatic research unit at the University of East Anglia could scarcely be more damaging. I am now convinced that they are genuine, and I’m dismayed and deeply shaken by them.

          Yes, the messages were obtained illegally. Yes, all of us say things in emails that would be excruciating if made public. Yes, some of the comments have been taken out of context. But there are some messages that require no spin to make them look bad. There appears to be evidence here of attempts to prevent scientific data from being released, and even to destroy material that was subject to a freedom of information request.

          Worse still, some of the emails suggest efforts to prevent the publication of work by climate sceptics or to keep it out of a report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. I believe that the head of the unit, Phil Jones, should now resign. Some of the data discussed in the emails should be re-analysed.

          http://www.monbiot.com/2009/11/23/the-knights-carbonic/

          So, you see, it’s not that I’m concerned about the basic science behind global warming. I think it’s valid – as does George Monbiot. What I’m concerned about here is the same thing that George is concerned about – the suppression of minority opinions and discussion simply because they are minority opinions or challenge the consensus view.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




          0
          View Comment
        • @Sean Pitman:

          Again you seem to equate a statement by scientists with a statement by a journalist albeit with a masters degree.

          Did you read the cited email that Monbiot included. It was hilarious and if you think that is a serious challenge to science you seem as satire challenge as Monbiot.

          Do you seriously support Monbiots views? I would be extremely surprised. Perhaps you think a citizens arrest of John Bolton for his responsiblity for the Iraq war was appropriate?

          Lets have some real data and examples of rejected papers based on philosophy not chatter in the blogosphere which as I continue to maintain has no evidentiary value at all.




          0
          View Comment
        • Did you read the cited email that Monbiot included. It was hilarious and if you think that is a serious challenge to science you seem as satire challenge as Monbiot.

          I did read it and also though it was hilarious. However, you miss the main point entirely. I don’t know how many times I have to explain it to you? Yet again, I agree with the conclusions of the consensus of mainstream science on this one. I think those climate change deniers are clearly mistaken. What I don’t agree with is how minority opinions are suppressed by those who control journal publications simply for the reason that they are minority opinions or because they challenge the current paradigm. That’s the problem here.

          Do you seriously support Monbiots views? I would be extremely surprised.

          I’m only dealing with one particular topic here. You have this knee jerk reaction to accuse me of supporting every detail of a person’s views on various topics if I happen to agree with something that was said on one particular issue.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




          0
          View Comment
        • @Sean Pitman: It is a question of credibility. He has a pattern of overreacting and proposing extreme views. Great for selling copy but not good for serious science.
          Most minority opinion is minority because it is rubbish. The purveyers of rubbish are quick to complain. Those serious scientists in the minority argue their case with evidence and scholarship and end up with Nobel prizes.

          Journal editors are always looking for the latter and trying to avoid the former. I am sure they would not pretend they never get it wrong.




          0
          View Comment
  42. Sean Pitman: As I’ve already explained to you at least a dozen times now, both the Bible and Ellen White reference the weight of empirical evidence as a basis for faith.

    Give me a quote where either Scripture or Ellen White use the phrase “empirical evidence.” Just one. Again, the evidence they spoke of was more often experiential than scientific. The workings of the Holy Spirit is anything but “empirical.”

    The same is true for the writings of Mrs. White. And, as you well know, she also cites evidence in geology as well to support a rational faith in the Biblical account of origins.

    Where does Ellen White say she believed in God because of geological evidence? Does she state that her understanding of God was informed by geology, or that her understanding of geology was informed by her understanding of God, as portrayed in Genesis?

    Sean Pitman: The New Testament writers cite the physical resurrection of Jesus, and the evidence for it, as the linchpin of their faith. Biblical prophecy is also constantly cited as a basis for faith throughout the Bible. The Biblical authors also cite various features of the natural world as evidence of God’s signature and claim to Authorship.

    I have no problems with these being evidence of our faith, but Adventists accept what Scripture says even if contemporary evidence is contradictory. Adventists do not change their faith capriciously based on the latest human knowledge.

    A personal experience with God, all by itself, will certain establish faith in God’s existence.

    Of course. Stop calling it as useless as belief in the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Even a “cachectic holy hermit” (pardon the inane verbage) who discovers God in this manner can experience salvation.




    0
    View Comment
    • Of course. Stop calling it as useless as belief in the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, and the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Even a “cachectic holy hermit” (pardon the inane verbage) who discovers God in this manner can experience salvation.

      Of course. I never said otherwise. As I’ve explained many many times, this isn’t about salvation. A person can be saved without ever recognizing the Divine origin and nature of the Bible. Yet, establishing one’s faith in the Bible, while not the only path toward salvation, has many benefits. Having faith in God and His existence isn’t the same thing has having faith in Biblical credibility or that the Bible is in fact the Word of God. Such a faith requires a basis in empirical evidence – according to both the Bible and Mrs. White.

      And, by the way, the Resurrection was empirical evidence…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
  43. Sean Pitman: If the Adventist Church did in fact reject my “heterodox” theology on origins and the importance of empirical evidence as a basis for rational faith, the leadership wouldn’t have any problem with what has been going on at La Sierra University. They wouldn’t have any problem with science professors promoting neo-Darwinism as the “best empirically-based theory of the day”.

    You don’t get it. The Church wants LSU to promote Genesis as the best explanation for origins. Period. The Church itself does not promote the best explanation of origins based on contemporary science and human interpretations, and it does not want La Sierra to do the same. Get real.

    Sean Pitman: Many of the top leaders of the church have written me personal letters of support.

    Who and when? Has the chairperson of the GRI board written you personally? Those that have learned more recently about your heterodox views on subjecting scripture to the test of science and human reason have been appalled.

    Sean Pitman: If you have some specific statements from the leadership to the contrary, why not present them here?

    Get specific and I might do the same.

    Sean Pitman: The fact is, as you well know, most of our leaders do not support your strong fideistic position.

    I don’t know of a single leader who disagrees with my position, which is stated explicitly in the “Rio” document approved by the General Conference in session: “Even a modified use of this [historical critical] method that retains the principle of criticism which subordinates the Bible to human reason is unacceptable to Adventists.” If you know of a Church leader who rejects this position and prefers your position, then make it public.




    0
    View Comment
    • You don’t get it. The Church wants LSU to promote Genesis as the best explanation for origins. Period. The Church itself does not promote the best explanation of origins based on contemporary science and human interpretations, and it does not want La Sierra to do the same. Get real.

      As already referenced for you, the Church has officially asked all science professors in all Adventist schools to give a rigorous empirical defense of the Church’s position on origins in their classrooms. If they held to your fideistic views, they wouldn’t have asked this nor would they consider it important to defend the church’s position with the use of empirical evidence – which is the whole point GRI was established to begin with.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
      • @Sean Pitman:
        You are of course right about the origins of the GRI but since the time of Hare and Ritland it has been clear that lookinf for empirical evidence is a failing strategy and a waste of money that could be better used in “education”. Only Tim seems not to have realizwd that it is better to recofnize the inevitable and emphasize faith ovee facr




        0
        View Comment
        • Hare was wrong about amino acid racemization dating, just as Jan Long and Gary Gilbert were wrong about pseudogenes. It’s a shame that many people have lost their faith in the credibility of the Bible over such misunderstandings. The fact is, for those willing to do a bit of investigation and think for themselves regardless of what may or may not be “popular”, is that more the evidence is favoring the biblical position on origins… the weight of evidence.




          0
          View Comment
        • @Sean Pitman:

          Exactly. Hare was wrong but he started this work on the assumption that a new method of dating would show that life was young. After all, he accepted standard YLC chronology and thought that life was less than 6000 years old. Proteins change with age (racemize) and this would be used as a clock that would refute the traditional ages. Like you he thought the ages were such that almost all old material would have amino acids because the timeline was very short.
          He found this was not a useful method and became convinced that life was old very old and that conventional ages were correct. I heard him speak on only one occasion but he was as careful and scrupulously honest as any scientist I have ever met.

          His publication record speaks for itself. 6 papers in Science and one in Nature the most prestigious peer reviewed journals of that time and still among the top 3.

          He followed the evidence where it lead. But unlike you he remained a follower of Christ though acknowledging that life was very old and likely derived from a common ancestor.

          He was truly a great Christian, a gentleman and a first rate scientist. He more than anyone would be delighted to know that he was wrong that science has moved on and his work is no longer of any but historical interest because new and better ideas have replaced his. That is all scientist seek; to better understand.

          We will see if your pronouncements and predictions about pseudogenes and evolution are any more correct in 40 years time. But until you publish them in the peer reviewed journals you will be simply a footnote in an Adventist historians description of a painful period when fundamentalism raised it ugly head and sought to rail against reality.




          0
          View Comment
        • Hare didn’t live long enough to realize that all of his work that lead him away from an understanding of Biblical credibility on origins has since been effectively falsified. Amino acid racemization dating is no longer considered valid as an independent dating technique. Too many factors influence the rate of racemization over time so that it is only considered to be somewhat useful as a local relative dating technique.

          Beyond this, significantly intact proteins and even elastic soft tissues are now being discovered in a wide variety of fossils – to include most large dinosaur bones. And, such fossils are being found to have significant quantities of C14 within their organic components. This is right in line with the known detrimental mutation rate and the steady degeneration of slowly reproducing gene pools over time.

          Again, the weight of evidence, contrary to the conclusions of Hare and Long, remains firmly on the side of the Biblical account of origins…

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




          0
          View Comment
  44. George Evans: And yet I see both their names [Art Chadwick, David Read] in support of this very article.

    And yet I see nothing in support of Sean’s elevation of science and human reason above God’s Holy Word–scripture. Nothing. David Read has addressed this elsewhere, siding with me, and met with the same criticism from Sean. He’d like to see this issue go away, tucked back inside a closet.




    0
    View Comment
    • For what reason did you pick the Bible as the Word of God? Did God whisper directly in your ear? Did you feel a “burning in your bosom?” What reason can you give to someone approaching the Bible for the first time that they too should place their faith in the claims of this book? – vs. any other option? If you have a reason, then aren’t you placing human reason in judgement of the Bible? If you have no reason, then upon what basis can you witness for the truth of the Bible? – telling someone to believe without a rational reason?

      Fideism simply makes no sense – by definition. This is not the church’s position on faith and it is not the Bible’s position on faith.




      0
      View Comment
  45. Sean Pitman: And, by the way, the Resurrection was empirical evidence…

    The eyewitness accounts are, indeed, evidence. So too are the eyewitness accounts of alien abductions. Choosing and picking among different empirical evidences is no substitute for the sureness of personally knowing and surrending to Jesus.




    0
    View Comment
  46. Sean Pitman: As already referenced for you, the Church has officially asked all science professors in all Adventist schools to give a rigorous empirical defense of the Church’s position on origins in their classrooms. If they held to your fideistic views, they wouldn’t have asked this nor would they consider it important to defend the church’s position with the use of empirical evidence – which is the whole point GRI was established to begin with.

    Yes, the GRI was established in large part to show that the Genesis story is true. As already referenced for you, the Church didn’t establish GRI to find out IF the Genesis story is true, that God is real, and that the SDA fundamental belief is actually correct. It long ago accepted the Genesis account as real–a foregone conclusion–regardless of what the evidence was. Ellen White did the same. I have done the same.

    Call us fideists if you wish (LOL). We do not share your brittle faith.




    0
    View Comment
  47. Sean Pitman: You don’t have a whole bunch of seemingly normal chicken-hearted men putting their lives on the line for the very same “alien abduction” story…

    There are a ton of “chicken-hearted” men and women who sincerely believe in “alien abduction” stories. There are a ton of “chicken-hearted” men and women who sincerely believe in the Illuminati. There are a ton of “chicken-hearted” men and women who sincerely believe that the U.S. government shoots down commercial airlines and flies them into skyscrapers, blows up buildings such as in Oklahoma City, and manipulates hurricanes to slam vulnerable cities like New Orleans. If you hung out with “chicken-hearted” people like these, you might discover they would take a bullet for their beliefs. You might even change your tune about who has a chicken’s heart.

    People believe what they want to believe. You yourself believe that sharks and birds have been on this planet exactly one day longer than cows without a single scrap of empirical evidence. You actually believe that a 3-day dead human body can come back to life even though abundant empirical evidence shows this to be physically impossible. You believe that a human can give parthenogenetic birth to a child, again in spite of abundant empirical evidence to show this cannot happen. Yes, extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, yet you believe in these things for only one reason: you decided long ago, as a child, that what Scripture says is true. And then you decided as an adult that anyone who thinks like you once did is a “fideist.” You’re now too intelligent to accept these things on faith alone…even though, ahem, you have nothing more than that. Nothing.

    Your philosophical mechanations simply cannot convert the wild claims of scripture–which I hold to just as you do–into empirical fact. Have some humility, Dr. Pitman.




    0
    View Comment
    • There’s a difference between what you say you believe and what you’d be willing to put your life on the line for. People do not generally put their lives on the line for stories they know first hand to be false. And, when it comes to a dozen normal guys, they don’t all do exactly the same thing, for exactly the same reason, without some very very good evidence. The fact that they all were willing to suffer martyr’s deaths for what they claim they experienced regarding Jesus life, death, and resurrection, is very good evidence that they really did believe what they claim they saw and heard.




      0
      View Comment
  48. Sean Pitman: People do not generally put their lives on the line for what they know to be false. And, when it comes to a dozen normal guys…the fact that they all were willing to suffer martyr’s deaths for what they claim they experienced is very good evidence that they really did believe what they claim the saw and heard.

    Look, I’m totally with you on the witness of the 12 disciples. Nevertheless, there are people who would put their lives on the line for their convictions regarding alien abductions and government conspiracies. Even one of “our” champions of creationism–Walter Veith–is deep into government conspiracy fantasies. For some, lack of evidence IS evidence.

    As you well know, you can’t argue the point that people who rely on evidence are subject to personal experience, confirmation bias, and limited understanding of prophecy, history, and science. The vast majority of atheists on this planet take YOUR position–that evidence trumps God’s word. And they see very compelling evidence that the extraordinary claims in God’s word lack evidentiary support (much less extraordinary evidence) to back them up. And many of them would take a bullet for their convictions.




    0
    View Comment
    • And many of them would take a bullet for their convictions.

      Individually to be sure, but very unlikley for a group of a dozen guys who are obviously not eager for martyrdom. This is why this particular fact of history, this empirical evidence for Jesus’ disciples and how they all volunteerily put their lives on the line for their story, adds significant credibility to their story…

      This isn’t just about their beliefs. This is about if they were telling the truth about what Jesus said and did. People just don’t risk their lives (at least not in groups) for a story that they know is a lie.




      0
      View Comment
      • @Sean Pitman: I thought you were a soldier which I presumed meant you and your fellows were prepared to take a bullet for an ideal.

        This discussion completely misses the point that the search for the historical Jesus as an objective investigation has not been an unmitigated success. Almost all we know about Jesus comes from the account of the believers most recorded many years after the events. Outside this intercine account there is mention in Josephus but little else.

        I appreciate that in history as in science the overwhelming objective evidence is against the proposition that God was in Jesus or that God is creator yet I do believe that the revelation of God was in the incarnate God in Jesus and that God is the creator. I disagree with you on mechanisms of creation but retain a belief because God is revealed by revelation not by objective knowledge. This is the neo-orthodox position and the position that has been articulated by Jeff Kent.




        0
        View Comment
        • I thought you were a soldier which I presumed meant you and your fellows were prepared to take a bullet for an ideal.

          Of course I am willing to take a bullet for an ideal – many of them. However, I’m not willing to take a bullet for a story that I know for sure is a lie. And, I don’t think the disciples of Jesus would have been willing to do so either.

          This discussion completely misses the point that the search for the historical Jesus as an objective investigation has not been an unmitigated success. Almost all we know about Jesus comes from the account of the believers most recorded many years after the events. Outside this intercine account there is mention in Josephus but little else.

          There is more documentation about the life and death of Jesus than just about any other historical figure. There are over 5,000 manuscripts dating from less than 100 years of Jesus’ death. There are thousands more New Testament Greek manuscripts than any other ancient writing. The internal consistency of the New Testament documents is about 99.5% textually pure. That is an amazing accuracy. In addition there are over 19,000 copies in the Syriac, Latin, Coptic, and Aramaic languages. The total supporting New Testament manuscript base is over 24,000.

          Almost all biblical scholars agree that the New Testament documents were all written before the close of the First Century. If Jesus was crucified in 30 A.D., then that means that the entire New Testament was completed within 70 years. This is important because it means there were plenty of people around when the New Testament documents were penned who could have contested the writings. In other words, those who wrote the documents knew that if they were inaccurate, plenty of people would have pointed it out. But, we have absolutely no ancient documents contemporary with the First Century that contest the New Testament texts.

          If the critics of the Bible dismiss the New Testament as reliable information, then they must also dismiss the reliability of the writings of Plato, Aristotle, Caesar, Homer, and the other authors mentioned in the chart at the beginning of the paper. On the other hand, if the critics acknowledge the historicity and writings of those other individuals, then they must also retain the historicity and writings of the New Testament authors; after all, the evidence for the New Testament’s reliability is far greater than the others. The Christian has substantially superior criteria for affirming the New Testament documents than he does for any other ancient writing. It is good evidence on which to base the trust in the reliability of the New Testament. (Link)

          I appreciate that in history as in science the overwhelming objective evidence is against the proposition that God was in Jesus or that God is creator yet I do believe that the revelation of God was in the incarnate God in Jesus and that God is the creator. I disagree with you on mechanisms of creation but retain a belief because God is revealed by revelation not by objective knowledge. This is the neo-orthodox position and the position that has been articulated by Jeff Kent.

          If your metaphysical basis for faith were as valid as you and Jeff Kent argue, why then don’t you agree? Why isn’t God’s “revelation” to you consistent? If your faith has in fact been revealed to you two from the same Source, why then don’t you both have the same type of faith regarding various Biblical accounts and their authenticity, origin, and meaning?

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




          0
          View Comment
    • @Professor Kent: Your claim is that Sean’s position is “that evidence trumps God’s word.” I have never heard him say such a thing. Your attempts to build this straw man argument have been exposed before in at Spectrum. That’s where I learned the word fideism.




      0
      View Comment
  49. George Evans: @Professor Kent: Your claim is that Sean’s position is “that evidence trumps God’s word.” I have never heard him say such a thing. Your attempts to build this straw man argument have been exposed before in at Spectrum.

    In Sean’s own words: “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” (http://www.educatetruth.com/theological/the-credibility-of-faith/comment-page-1/#comment-18717). He has made similar statements elsewhere.




    0
    View Comment
    • That’s right. “If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” – 1 Kings 18:21

      We are told, by the Bible itself, to go where the evidence leads. The fact is that the evidence leads to God for those honestly searching for Truth. If it didn’t, that would be God’s fault – for how could God reasonably fault anyone for following his or her own honest and sincere investigation of the evidence He Himself provided?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
    • @Professor Kent: I think Sean stands about where I stand. We both have a strong belief that the bible is literally true and tells us that life on earth is around 6,000 years old. If, somehow, somewhere new empirical evidence cropped up that we have never seen before that contradicts this, then we would be hard pressed to maintain our belief. This is not the same thing as saying “evidence trumps God’s word.” There is no evidence that we know of that comes close to that hypothetical line I just drew. Both of us see the empirical evidence at this time overwhelmingly supporting the 6,000 year mark.




      0
      View Comment
  50. Sean Pitman: The fact is that the evidence leads to God for those honestly searching for Truth.

    Evidence comes in many forms, the most valuable being personal experience so far as God is concerned. To pick one piece of evidence as you have done–age of the earth–and say you would reject God if your understanding proved incorrect, fairly characterizes the fragility of your faith.

    One big challenge you conveniently dismiss is that you simply cannot know enough of the evidence–tens or hundreds of thousands or original articles–to have a fully informed position on the “weight” of evidence. You are also subject to confirmation bias in reviewing what little evidence you can access because you came to the conclusion that the earth is young long before you ever read a single research article.

    You didn’t form your belief because of evidence. You simply go about finding cherry-picked evidence to support your belief. Have the integrity to admit it.




    0
    View Comment
    • Evidence comes in many forms, the most valuable being personal experience so far as God is concerned.

      All evidence from an individual perspective is based on personal experience.

      To pick one piece of evidence as you have done–age of the earth–and say you would reject God if your understanding proved incorrect, fairly characterizes the fragility of your faith.

      What I said is that if neo-Darwinism proved to be true, as far as I could tell, I would reject the Christian claims for God and the Adventist interpretation of the Bible. That’s not the same thing as rejecting the existence of God. He just wouldn’t be the Christian-style God is all. Many key Christian claims would be effectively falsified – a lie.

      One big challenge you conveniently dismiss is that you simply cannot know enough of the evidence–tens or hundreds of thousands or original articles–to have a fully informed position on the “weight” of evidence.

      Science isn’t based on being “fully informed”. Science is based on doing doing the best you can with the weight of evidence that is currently in hand.

      Again, you seem to want some form of overwhelming or absolute demonstration. That’s not what God has given. We are to base our faith, not on demonstration, but on the weight of evidence that one personally is given to know and understand – not on the weight of evidence that might be out there somewhere or what someone else may know and understand. It’s all based on one’s own personal perspective. I’m not judged for what you know; only for what I know.

      You are also subject to confirmation bias in reviewing what little evidence you can access because you came to the conclusion that the earth is young long before you ever read a single research article.

      Everyone is subject to conformation bias – everyone. The fact of the matter is that I was willing to leave the church when I began studying about evolution when I joined the army after medical school. I was willing to go wherever the evidence lead me. I did not desire to fool myself or to support ideals that weren’t really true. I wanted to know the actual truth, regardless of what that meant. And, I believe that anyone who honestly and earnestly looks for truth, without a thought as to where this search will eventually lead, will eventually find God.

      You didn’t form your belief because of evidence. You simply go about finding cherry-picked evidence to support your belief. Have the integrity to admit it.

      I’m only presenting what has impressed me and lead me to a closer walk with and understanding of God. You call that cherry picking. I call it sharing the reason for the hope that is within me. 1 Peter 3:15

      I don’t understand what it makes you so upset when someone actually tries to present a rational reason for faith? I’m amazed when someone who claims to have faith in God and the Bible gets so angry and worked up when what seems to be pretty good evidence in favor of the Biblical claims is presented… when evidence that could strengthen many people’s faith is brought to the table. You seem to be so worried that God is unable to provide sufficient evidence for rational faith that you try to get people to have faith without any consideration of the evidence or any rational argument whatsoever – to the point of getting angry with anyone who even tries to present such evidence. Calm down already. It’s Ok to give a rational reason for your faith.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
      • @Sean Pitman:

        “I don’t understand what it makes you so upset when someone actually tries to present a rational reason for faith? I’m amazed when someone who claims to have faith in God and the Bible gets so angry and worked up when what seems to be pretty good evidence in favor of the Biblical claims is presented… ”

        I appreciate that you do not seem to understand why your claims may rankle. In a word it is disrespect. What have you claimed for yourself?

        1] You suggest know better and have a firmer grasp of the issues than scientists in any field related research on origins. Repeatedly you denigrate scholarship and scientists and dismiss expertise and agreement with consensus as blind faith in authority; mental weakness and gullibility if not the work of the devil.

        2] Specifically you have suggested to Erv Taylor
        with characteristic humility

        posted April 19 2012 educate truth
        @ervin taylor
        As I’ve mentioned before, I dare say that I can produce more novel points of evidence for the recent arrival of life on this planet than you can produce in favor of the ancient arrival and evolution of life. Your assertion that “98-99%” of the evidence is on your side is nothing but a baseless bluff to impress the ignorant, nothing but a bunch of hot air. The fact that you share the majority opinion with more than 99% of scientists (certainly the overwhelming majority of scientists do in fact share your opinion on the ancient origin and evolution of life), isn’t the same thing as having the weight of the actual empirical evidence on your side…
        It seems to me like you have little more than tenuous radiometric dating evidence on your side with little else to go on. As far as I’ve been able to tell, the weight of the totality of the spectrum of empirical evidence strongly supports a recent arrival of life on this planet…

        3] You claim in 10 year of intense study to have understood all of science to the point where you can easily dismiss the consensus as “just-so stories” and “baseless bluff” in almost any field you venture into.

        4] When given a list of publications you ask for a specific quote to solve a scientific discussion. You manifest no desire to see what the body of knowledge that is the canonical data of science actually says.

        5] In remarkable lack of insight you actually start your critique of science from a literalistic understanding of a sacred text but seem to quarantine that text from any scholarly investigation and yet claim that you are interested in defining your belief based on the overwhelming evidence. It thus seems illogical that you would critique faith as blind.

        6] It is my observation that the more a person does know the more they recognize their ignorance and the more their tentative deferral to expertise. In a word I don’t think you realize how much you do not know.




        0
        View Comment
        • @pauluc: pauluc charges Sean with the following: “In remarkable lack of insight you actually start your critique of science from a literalistic understanding of a sacred text but seem to quarantine that text from any scholarly investigation…”

          I, for one, hold Sean in high regard because of this. Frankly, compared to the bible, scholarly investigation is just guesswork and must be “quarantined”.

          You and Kent seemed to have lost the knack.




          0
          View Comment
        • @George Evans:
          Well at this point I should retire defeated and allow you all to get back into your self congratulatory huddle in piece.

          As Wesley would perhaps contend; perchance as Chaucer utrd wyse

          For He that is the formere principal
          Hath maked me his vicaire general,
          Right as me list, and ech thyng in my cure is
          And for my werk right no thyng wol I axe;
          My lord and I been ful of oon accord.
          ….
          Heere may men seen how synne hath his merite.
          Beth war, for no man woot whom God wol smyte
          In no degree, ne in which manere wyse;
          The worm of conscience may agryse
          Of wikked lyf, though it so pryvee be
          That no man woot therof but God and he.
          For be he lewed man, or ellis lered,
          He noot how soone that he shal been afered.
          Therfore I rede yow this conseil take:
          Forsaketh synne, er synne yow forsake.




          0
          View Comment
        • @pauluc:
          There you go again. I dont even know what that was all supposed to mean and I was in the UK before I came to NY. Ive been looking at what youve written here and see a recurring pattern. You argue from a perspective of an atheist that does not see Gods hand at all in the natural world and seems to completely disregard the biblical account of miracles. When Sean calls you on it, you eventually seem to arrogantly assume that this conversation is beneath you and leave the site. But you always come back. I think you maybe are not really convinced of your own ideas that actually uncritically reflect the conventional world view but are fighting your conscience and actually agree with Sean. At least that is the most charitable spin I can put on it.

          I must say however that your arrogance is off-putting to most here. You seem to pretend to know a lot about science and it is the be all and end all of knowledge. Perhaps that is because that is probably all you have really done in terms of achievement. It is sad really. When I google you it does seem you have published a few papers in the scientific journals but you dont seem to have written much about origins and certainly have never written anything of the caliblre of David Reads or Seans book.

          I dont think this site will really miss you. Now if Jeffrey Kent would just realize his contributions are destructive to Adventism we could get on with the reform the church really needs.




          0
          View Comment
        • @PhilCromwell: I was with you pretty much, until the last paragraph where you bared your conservative teeth. I don’t want pauluc and Professor Kent to leave. I want them to join us. They both claim to unquestioningly believe that God is the creator. Certainly they can’t, in good conscience, feel right standing with a movement designed to steal His thunder.




          0
          View Comment
        • @George Evans:

          You are right I was probably a little uncharitable in my comment true though I think it may be. I do apologize for my hostility. Objectively you do have to admit that both pauluc and Jeff Kent has really shown little capacity to acknowledge the consistency of Sean’s arguments.




          0
          View Comment
    • @Professor Kent: “Evidence comes in many forms, the most valuable being personal experience so far as God is concerned.”

      Your position is subjective rationalism. The Bible advocates objective empiricism. If the basis of truth and evidence is personal experience, then why disagree with Sean or anyone as we all have different experiences?

      Gideon asked for evidence and received it with his fleece. (Empirical evidence)

      Hezekiah wanted a sign that he would be healed, so God turned back the sun dial. (Empirical evidence)

      John the Baptist sent his disciples to verify if Jesus was in fact the Messiah. Jesus said nothing, but simply told them to share what they witnessed with John. (Empirical evidence)

      Jesus put forth his pierced hands before the disciples to show that He had been risen. (Empirical evidence)

      Rev. 20:12 – And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. (The basis of the judgment is empirical evidence)

      How are true and false prophets to be identified? Matt. 7:20 – Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. (Empirical evidence). Deut. 18:22 – When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that [is] the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, [but] the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him. (Empirical evidence).

      Sean has previously quoted Romans and Psalms to show that the Bible supports the empirical method of interpreting evidence – particularly regarding nature/science. I have not seen you provide Biblical evidence for subjective rationalism being God’s preferred method of understanding the relationship between faith and science. You have provided your own thoughts, but since you claim to believe in the scriptures, can you provide scriptural support for your position?




      0
      View Comment
      • @Mark Brown: Excellent response Mark. You have here cut through the sophistry and brought us back to understanding the true basis for faith. We as Christians are clearly expected to look for a rational basis for our faith, to look for the empirical evidence that builds up out faith. Where people like Prof Kent and Pauluc are wrong is in their emphasis on the scientific literature as somehow being the exclusive source for that empirical evidence. You dont address this but Sean has clearly been arguing that it is not the only source of objective evidence and infact is a very self serving source of evidence.




        0
        View Comment
  51. Sean Pitman: You seem to be so worried that God is unable to provide sufficient evidence for rational faith that you try to get people to have faith without any consideration of the evidence or any rational argument whatsoever – to the point of getting angry with anyone who even tries to present such evidence. Calm down already. It’s Ok to give a rational reason for your faith.

    I don’t give a rat’s hairy behind what you personally belief. What I object to is your orchestrated attacks on individuals who disagree with your views in an effort to spread your own anger to others. Your anger has motivated this entire website, not to mention the highly publicized negative light you’ve cast on the entire denomination through your machinations. Would you like to lecture me more on anger?




    0
    View Comment
    • Should I be sorry for trying to defend the church against those who are attacking it from within? for trying to defend students who are being attacked by one of our own schools when they try to stand up for church doctrines on our own campuses?

      Yet, you accuse me of being the aggressor. So be it. This problem has gone on far far too long, too many decades, to be ignored and brushed under the rug any longer. It has long needed to see the light of day. I simply could not sit by any longer and let it slide. I had to do all in my power for this very serious problem within our church to be directly confronted and addressed, if possible, in the most definitive manner.

      You, on the other hand, seem to get angry whenever anything comes along that seems to favor the church’s claims. You get upset whenever any evidence is presented which appears to support the church’s positions. That seems very strange coming from someone who claims to believe in all of the fundamentals of Adventism. However, it’s not so strange once one realizes that you are a fideist who does not believe that evidence should be given a prominent position or much of any platform for that matter within the church.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
      • @Sean Pitman: Ten years ago when we were doing “combat” on talk.origins, I never dreamed this pagan religion of evolution had made such inroads into our institutions.

        We are indebted to you and Shane and those who joined you for exposing the problem. Thank you.




        0
        View Comment
  52. Sean Pitman: I had to do all in my power for this very serious problem within our church to be directly confronted and addressed, if possible, in the most definitive manner.

    May I remind you that you appointed yourself to this task, and chose to pursue it by your own means rather than established Church channels.

    Sean Pitman: Should I be sorry for trying to defend the church against those who are attacking it from within? for trying to defend students who are being attacked by one of our own schools when they try to stand up for church doctrines on our own campuses?

    It’s the means that is the problem, not so much the end. I’m totally onboard with the need to resist those who attack the church. But two wrongs–in your case, publicly attacking others, often with hearsay and exaggerated claims, and publically in ways that make our Church look like infighting idiots–do not make a right. But I don’t think you fear judgement given the high level of confidence you place in your intelligence and reasoning.

    Sean Pitman: You, on the other hand, seem to get angry whenever anything comes along that seems to favor the church’s claims. You get upset whenever any evidence is presented which appears to support the church’s positions. That seems very strange coming from someone who claims to believe in all of the fundamentals of Adventism. However, it’s not so strange once one realizes that you are a fideist who does not believe that evidence should be given a prominent position or much of any platform for that matter within the church.

    When have I expressed anger over prophetic interpretation? When have I expressed anger over the witness of the lives of the apostles? When have I expressed anger over the internal evidences that support scripture? When have I expressed anger over the verses in scripture which support scripture’s positions?

    Just because I have a high regard for God’s word and the Church’s position regarding higher criticism of it, and believe much of the so-called science supporting origins is grossly exagerated, does not mean I don’t value evidence. Evidence and interpretation of it has its limits.

    You and your cronies are perfectly welcome to call me a fideist. Doing so says more about your tactics and how you choose to treat fellow believers than it says about me.




    0
    View Comment
    • Ok, what’s the difference between your faith and fideism? I really can’t see a difference, but would love to hear your take on why you are not a fideist…

      And no, internal consistency within a book is not evidence, by itself, of its Divine origin. Novels and moral fables can be internally consistent – as is the Book of Mormon. If it were evidence that appealed to reason, again, you’re still appealing to human reason to determine this.




      0
      View Comment
  53. Sean Pitman: you are a fideist who does not believe that evidence should be given a prominent position or much of any platform for that matter within the church.

    Interesting enough, the only mentions of “evidence” in the SDA Fundamental Beliefs include the following:

    #15 (Baptism) – “Baptism…is contingent on an affirmation of faith in Jesus and evidence of repentance of sin.”

    #19 (Law of God) – “obedience to the Commandments…is an evidence of our love for the Lord and our concern for our fellow men.”

    Curiously, in neither case does the term imply the kind of evidence you insist is so important to the Church: “potentially falsifiable empirical evidence.” Frankly, treatises of the Church’s doctrines make exceedingly brief if any mention of the kind of evidence you speak of, and what little Ellen White has to say is a microscopic percentage of the body of her work. Pauluc and I have tried to point out to you that “evidence” referred to in scripture and Ellen White is virtually always of the non-scientific kind.

    Personally, I suspect you worship evidence and the science you require your beliefs to be based upon.




    0
    View Comment
    • The truth is that the Bible and Mrs. White constantly refer to empirical demonstrations of God’s existence and power as well as the Bible’s credibility to establish meaningful faith in both God and His Word. There is no Biblical argument for the fideistic position you’ve taken on faith.




      0
      View Comment
    • @Professor Kent: An interesting moment in the gospel story happened Sunday morning, after the crucifixion. The disciples were huddled in the upper room and two Mary’s had gone up to finish the task of dealing with Jesus body.

      When they found He had been resurrected they came back with the report. Did the disciples immediately break into celebration? No. They were scientists like you and Paul. So Jesus came and gave them some evidence and then they started to believe. Physical evidence strengthens belief.

      But for 50 years the opposite idea has been leaking into the church. You have been infected. The one who wrote our FB’s have been infected. We need to repent.




      0
      View Comment
  54. “Even a modified use of this [historical critical] method that retains the principle of criticism which subordinates the Bible to human reason is unacceptable to Adventists.” – “Rio” document, approved and voted by the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Executive Committee at the Annual Council Session in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, October 12, 1986
    (http://www.adventist.org/beliefs/other-documents/other-doc4.html)

    Three questions for Sean, Nic, and George:

    1. You gleefully label me a fideist. Is this–which I have long maintained to be my position–a fideist position?

    2. Do you personally agree with this position of the SDA Church?

    3. If you disagree, can you write in one sentence what you think the wording should instead be?

    I look forward to your responses. Maybe you can convince me I’m a fideist after all.




    0
    View Comment
    • This article (i.e., the “Rio Document”) is discussing the problems with the historical-critical method (HCM) of biblical interpretation which assumes, a priori, that miracles are impossible and never happened in history. This is based on secular human reasoning that has not yet detected the Divine origin of the Scriptures or any evidence of the Divine in nature for that matter. Such human reasoning is indeed inferior to human reasoning that has actually detected evidence of the Divine in nature and especially in the Scriptures. The Bible, in particular, once it is realized for what it really is, is able to enlighten and ennoble the mind. The Bible helps the mind to grow in understanding and comprehension of the Divine and the Divine nature – God’s personal love and care for us.

      However, detecting that the Bible is in fact Divine and miraculous in origin requires evidence that appeals to the true searcher for Truth. The author(s) of the “Rio Document” do no argue against this concept. The true searcher for Truth is already being led by God and will be given the weight of evidence needed to find Him and to recognize His signature in nature and His written Word.

      You see, God is the one who created the human mind and human intelligence and the ability to think rationally. God will therefore bless the one who is honestly trying to use that which God has given to learn the Truth. God is not going to subvert this process or remove the responsibility of the individual to search and struggle and put forth personal effort to find God – to establish a rational basis for faith.

      Those who say otherwise are fideists – as you have been arguing. The Church leadership, on the other hand, certainly hasn’t been acting very fideistic or they simply wouldn’t care what was being taught at LSU. The weight of empirical evidence simply wouldn’t matter to them…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
    • @Professor Kent: To me, you are kind of mixing apples up with oranges. The “Rio” statement is concerning hermeneutics. It is violated when a person says the resurrection is not physically possible and therefore we should question the bibles reporting of resurrections.

      But normally this isn’t what’s going on when we bring evidence for 6,000 years old creation in six days. We aren’t concerned with reinterpreting scripture. We are into reinterpreting science. We think unbelievers have stolen science out from under our noses.

      You seem to have bought to evolutionary farm, and now you have built a wall between science and scripture so you can try to get the two to coexist.




      0
      View Comment
  55. Sean Pitman: Ok, what’s the difference between your faith and fideism? I really can’t see a difference, but would love to hear your take on why you are not a fideist…

    I’ve explained many times why I believe as I do. Of course you can’t “see it” because you’re selective in what you choose to believe, not just regarding evidence, but also the plainly stated positions of other people.




    0
    View Comment
    • You’ve never explained why you’re not a fideist as far as I can recall. All your explanations as to why you believe the way you believe, why you have the faith you have, always end up claiming that regardless of any of your cited reasons your faith ultimately trumps all such reasons. That your faith is not dependent upon such rational arguments. That’s a fideistic statement.




      0
      View Comment
    • @Professor Kent:

      I think you and Sean differ substantially in what you think are the sources of evidence and the use of those sources as evidence, but I think you both differ from the historical Adventist position. As David Read says Adventists have always had a high view of scripture. We believe that God as the source of knowledge has directly communicated through the Bible. Everything else including what we may understanding as empirical evidence is from God must be secondary and interpreted by the bible. By the light of the bible we can understand the data that may be found using scientific methods as Sean has so well outlined here.

      You do not seem to have such a high view of scripture and seem instead to think that the literature of science that may contain the consensus view of scientists can be given similar weight and used to argue against the veracity of the scriptural accounts. You sidestep the obvious discrepancy between what the Bible says about origins and what the consensus view of science is (I presume including your own area of research about which you have really not been forthcoming) and say that you have faith in the biblical account while acknowledging that what you think is the empirical evidence is overwhelmingly against the plain reading of scripture. I can see why George would call you a fideist since it is not clear how you balance this rejection of your scientific understanding and the scripture. I can perhaps understand that you claim that your faith is based on other evidence that you do not see as scientific but this step in your logic is hard to follow since you do not seem to have clearly stated it.

      The argument seems to be about whether scientific evidence can be used to support faith. Though I think it highly restrictive I have to admit that Pauluc has been clear on what he thinks is scientific evidence (what is in the scientific literature) but you do not seem to have done so.
      Sean has clearly said what he thinks is scientific evidence. That which is based on the approach of logic and hypothesis testing and verified to be true irrespective if it is communicated to anyone else or not and whether or not there is supernatural causation or not. I can see how Seans approach allows a wide range of empirical evidences to be used to argue for scientific support of his faith. Until you define what you mean to the same degree it is hard to get past the repetitive mutual accusation of Fideism that really are not at all helpful.




      0
      View Comment
  56. Sean Pitman: This article (i.e., the “Rio Document) is discussing the problems with the historical-critical method (HCM) of biblical interpretation

    Surely you can answer my questions. Why are you holding back?




    0
    View Comment
  57. Mark Brown: Sean has previously quoted Romans and Psalms to show that the Bible supports the empirical method of interpreting evidence – particularly regarding nature/science. I have not seen you provide Biblical evidence for subjective rationalism being God’s preferred method of understanding the relationship between faith and science.

    Good Lord. I never said empirical evidence was a naughty thing and that we should disregard it. My main point is that Adventists do not subjugate Scripture–God’s word–to science and human reason. Adventists have formed their core beliefs from scripture and scripture alone, and they will not change their beliefs based on any kind of “potentially falsifiable empirical evidence.” To claim that Adventists rightly base their beliefs on such evidence, rather than God’s word, is as heterodox as one can get.

    You folks are getting carried away.




    0
    View Comment
    • You have to understand that God’s Word is in fact God’s Word before you can then use it to evaluate other claims. God does not generally reveal the Divine origin of His Word above and beyond our God-given ability to think and reason and study out the matter based on the weight of evidence given in its favor.

      To claim then that faith in the claims of the Bible can exist independent of any and all forms of evidence (that faith can take it or leave it) is fideistic nonsense – not a position of the Church.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
      • @Sean Pitman:
        As far as I can see the difference between you and Jeff Kent is that you believe you can bootstrap faith from a rational or scientific evaluation of the basis for belief in the Bible. Kent does not believe you can.

        Once you accept the bible as the Gods word that supercedes all knowledge in any area of history of science then I don’t think you actually differ much in your belief.

        I guess the question is how important is it to have a scientific basis for accepting the Bible as Gods word? As far as I can understand Historical Adventism really doesnt make much statement about this since we all accept without question that the Bible is Gods word. To question that is to lose your way in higher criticism and is anything but Adventist.




        0
        View Comment
  58. Sean Pitman: I did answer your questions…

    You haven’t directly answered my questions, in large part I think because you need to weasel out of them to retain your lofty position of defender of Adventist truth. So here is what I assume your answers were:

    1. You gleefully label me a fideist. Is this[the Rio document]–which I have long maintained to be my position–-a fideist position?

    Apparently you do not think the Church’s position is fideist.

    2. Do you personally agree with this position of the SDA Church?

    Apparently you do. Thus, you agree that it is WRONG to subordinate scripture to human reason and apply external data to its interpretation. Obviously, we’re agreed. Neither the Church, you, or I are the f-word. Or maybe you’re not fully forthcoming.

    3. If you disagree, can you write in one sentence what you think the wording should instead be?

    Apparently you like the wording as it is, since you agree with it, though you carefully chose not to say so.




    0
    View Comment
    • iI very clearly explain why the Church’s position is not fideistic. The Church is arguing against the philosophical position of humanism or secular naturalism where God is excluded from the equation a priori. The Church is not and has not argued that human reason and intelligence have no part to play in the search to find God or to establish a rational faith in the claims of the Bible. On the contrary, the Adventist Church has historically relied very heavily on various forms of evidence in the Church’s apologetics and evangelistic efforts. Prophecy plays a prominent role as evidence for faith – for good reason. Also, the evidence of God’s signature in nature is often promoted as is the evidence favoring the Genesis account of origins.

      You completely take things out of context and interpret them contrary to their intended purpose.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
      • @Sean Pitman: When I was young I remember Friday night “star studies” conducted by astronomers, and Sabbath afternoon nature walks conducted by biologists. And earlier, in the 40’s I understand scientists would accompany evangelists and present scientific information that corroborated the scriptures. Can you imagine a LSU biologist accompanying an evangelist now?




        0
        View Comment
  59. Sean Pitman: You see, God is the one who created the human mind and human intelligence and the ability to think rationally. God will therefore bless the one who is honestly trying to use that which God has given to learn the Truth. God is not going to subvert this process or remove the responsibility of the individual to search and struggle and put forth personal effort to find God – to establish a rational basis for faith. Those who say otherwise are fideists – as you have been arguing.

    What a totally idiotic statement. Where did I say that humans should not use their mind and intelligence to think rationally? Where did I say God would subvert or remove from responsibility anyone’s personal effort to find God? Where does your supposedly rational mind come up with such irrational junk?




    0
    View Comment
    • You claim that faith need not be based on empirical evidence – that faith can take it or leave it. That faith can exist independent of empirical evidence or human reason. That is what makes the fideist position irrational – by definition.




      0
      View Comment
  60. Sean Pitman: You claim that faith need not be based on empirical evidence – that faith can take it or leave it. That faith can exist independent of empirical evidence or human reason. That is what makes the fideist position irrational – by definition.

    I claim that most of the SDA and Christian beliefs are based on faith in scripture, God’s word, not empirical evidence. Pay attention. You’re the one being irrational.




    0
    View Comment
  61. I claim that you claim that I claim that I am a fideist. And you claim that I claim that you claim that I am a fideist. So if I claim that you claim that I claim that you claim that I am a fideist, does this claim a fideist make?




    0
    View Comment
  62. PhilCromwell: Now if Jeffrey Kent would just realize his contributions are destructive to Adventism we could get on with the reform the church really needs.

    Telling people they should get on their knees and get to know God personally, instead of trying to “prove” he exists through the study of fossils, DNA, and plutonium halos, is destructive to Adventism?

    Ellen White penned an entire book, Steps to Christ. She never wrote a book, Steps to Science, or Steps to Proving God Exists. Was her approach destructive to Adventism?




    0
    View Comment
    • You can’t really get to know someone personally until you see good evidence of his/her existence and personal interest in you.

      Beyond this, you can’t begin to trust that a particular document was written or had its origin in some particular individual until you first see some very good evidence, the weight of evidence, to this effect.

      Now, it is possible to know that God exists without knowing anything about the Bible. However, the Bible reveals truths about God that could not be known if it did not exist. Also, having a personal experience with God is not enough to determine that the Bible is actually His Word. Additional evidence is required because God does not, generally, reveal this information outside of personal study, investigation, and research – comparing and weighing the evidence.




      0
      View Comment
  63. PhilCromwell: You seem to pretend to know a lot about science and it is the be all and end all of knowledge. Perhaps that is because that is probably all you have really done in terms of achievement. It is sad really. When I google you it does seem you have published a few papers in the scientific journals but you dont seem to have written much about origins and certainly have never written anything of the caliblre of David Reads or Seans book.

    Mr. Cromwell, I know nothing about you or your background knowledge, but your remarks certainly reveal a few things. Clearly, you feel as though you put Pauluc in his place, but I think you have completely mischaracterized him.

    Pauluc engages science, the methods and importance of which you, apparently, and others lavish high praise. You guys insist that science and its methodology offer incontrovertable support for Adventist faith–so clearly you must admire science. As you have acknowledged, Pauluc has published substantially in science, and deserves respect for what he does. You have no idea how difficult it is to obtain funding, generate data, analyze it, and write it up to make it available to others. You have negatively compared his scholarly accomplishments to those of David Read and Sean Pitman, whose books simply review the literature and weave in their own interpretations while adding no data whatsoever to the body of science. What you really mean to say is that the type of science Pauluc does–which provides important benefits to society particularly in terms of human health–is relatively valueless compared to the “science” which supports a young earth creationism view. No, I take that back. I think what you really mean to say is that despite your gratitude for the large volume of research that benefits society, you simply detest scientists who disagree with your views on origins–even if their research has nothing whatsoever to do with the topic. And so you feel justified in denigrating the man.

    As someone who identifies himself with Adventism, Pauluc loves the Church’s theological positions on most issues and greatly appreciates the one issue that is at the heart of Adventism: fellowship in Jesus Christ and spreading the Good News while preparing for His soon return. Because Pauluc accepts scripture largely on faith and rejects a literal interpretation of portions of Genesis, I assume you join the chorus here in denouncing him and encouraging him to dissociate himself from the Adventist Church. In doing so, I think you are working against the Holy Spirit, which has sought him out and lovingly embraces him. God’s love is unconditional, and the Church should be big enough to embrace those who find refuge in our midst and wish to be a part of us, even if they don’t see eye to eye on every single issue. If you’ll recall, Paul and Peter and other early church leaders had disagreements over larger issues, yet so far as we know they were not lobbying to have others removed from membership in the movement.

    I have more to say in the next post. But to finish this one off, I encourage you to politely agree to disagree without succumbing to the temptation of character assasination. It doesn’t reflect well on your or the ideals you claim to uphold.




    0
    View Comment
    • Pauluc (Paul Cameron) actually believes in very few of the fundamentals of Adventism. Although you both claim to have the same form of faith, faith that is not based in rationality or empirical evidence, you two have come to some very different conclusions even among yourselves (which is very strange if both of you have faith in the same God and the same Jesus – why is He telling you two different things?).

      For instance, Pauluc does not believe in a literal 7-day creation week. He believes that sentient life has existed and evolved on this planet for hundreds of millions of years. Pauluc also doesn’t believe in a literal physical resurrection of the dead or that sentient animals will not die in heaven. Evidently then, he doesn’t believe in the physical resurrection of Jesus either and has not responded to my repeated requests for him to explain his position on the Virgin Birth. He has explained that many of the miracles of Jesus were probably not really miracles at all, that they couldn’t really have happened as described, since they would be in violation of natural law.

      In short, Pauluc not only disagrees with many of the most fundamental of Adventist doctrines, he disagrees with several of the most basic tenets of Christianity in general.

      It’s great that he still believes in a God of some kind and considers Jesus to have been a great moral teacher, but that’s not quite the same thing as being an Adventist – or even what most people would consider to be a Christian in the full sense of the term.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
      • @Sean Pitman:

        Sean. Be honest with the data please.

        I accept the SDA 28 fundamental as the description of Adventist thought about the bible, the canonical literature of Christianity, but I also accept the preamble that states that this may change from time to time. I therefore accept the Adventist positions in the same way as I accept the scientific understandings. A tentative description of reality that we can change. As such I argue against the current understanding in some fields of both science and religion. In this I think I am consistent with the intention of both the scientific and the religious communities to which I belong. I do not see any conflict between the 2 but I do see conflict between a myopic fundamentalist and literalistic understanding and the objective canonical literature of science. I am like you attempting to honestly articulate the way I reconcile my engagement with the spiritual dimensions of my life and my medical and scientific vocations.

        I accept the Adventist position on inspiration that says that God spoke through the writers of scripture but see these spokesmen as fallible mortals who had a context and worldview. My basis for understanding God is the Bible and the community of faith as it is lead by the spirit in understanding that word. I accept that community of faith includes Adventists but is not exclusively Adventist so am happy to gain insight from Christians writing over the last 2000 years.

        You are of course correct in that I do not see that a literalistic 7 day creation has support in reality and do not accept that it is any more foundational to Christian or Adventist belief than is a geocentric model of the universe.

        Like you I do not accept that there was no death in the beginning but accept that it is part of all carbon based life and the escape from death intrinsic to life comes only with a change in the nature of life to something we do not understand but which is not what we know now. This I think is the biblical position accepted by most Christians. We move from a natural to a supernatural world

        I accept Christ as God incarnate and his resurrection by faith but do not think the bible teaching is that his form was of a mortal man.

        I accept the virgin birth by faith and do not accept that there is or likely to ever be any physical or scientific evidence to support this belief.

        I believe in miracles in the sense that God has intervened but have a much more expansive view of how God intervenes in the life of man than you do. I believe that God can intervene in my life in both explicable and inexplicable ways. I do not discount that inexplicalbe interventions do occur but they are by definition beyond the the purview of science which operates on the premise of methodological naturalism as a explanation of the natural not the supernatural world.

        You certainly mis-characterize me in contending that I believe in Christ as a great moral teacher. I do not. As I have contended repeatedly, theologically I am closest to the neo-orthodox tradition and accept that Jesus as God reveals himself to us by revelation not reason and the follower of Christ must take that leap of faith to be born again, born or the spirit to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

        The corollary of that leap of faith is the acceptance that we can never truly know. One must honestly examine all literature including scriptural writing using the brains and methods we have available to us which legitimizes the process of historic criticism. To quarantine the bible from scrutiny is inconsistent and to my mind dishonest.

        In a word I am thoroughly and expansively Christian but I am not a fundamentalist who accept a selective inconsistent literalism




        0
        View Comment
        • I appreciate your clarifications. However, for me, your position makes no sense.

          If a “revelation” is not reasonable or dependent upon rational arguments and evidence, how do you know it’s true? – compared to someone else’s revelation or to the various claims of the Bible, claims that are said to be Divinely inspired, that you reject? How do you know that your “revelations” are superior to those found in the Bible itself? – or even some other religious text like the Book of Mormon or the Qur’an?

          Your position makes good sense when you limit yourself to evaluating the moral claims of a text – since morality is internally derived as a gift of God “written on the heart.” However, when you start making judgements about the literal creation week or the physical resurrection of the dead that conflict with Biblical statements, you’re not longer depending upon internally derived information. You’re just picking and choosing based on what you yourself feel or desire to be true – not on some sort of privileged information you received from God in some kind of direct manner (unless you claim to be a modern prophet?).

          Also, just because the church realizes that its current position on “present truth” may change in the future does not mean that you, as an individual, are representative of the church’s position on “present truth” here and now. If your views substantially evolve faster or slower than the church’s understanding, then you will be significantly out of step with the church – which is fine and all. Having a different view from the Adventist Church, as an organization, doesn’t in itself make you good or bad. It just means that your views aren’t reflective of the Church’s views and that you would not effectively represent the Church. That’s all. So, why pretend to be something you’re not? If you believe like a Catholic, call yourself a Catholic. If you believe like an agnostic, call yourself an agnostic… etc.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




          0
          View Comment
  64. @PhilCromwell,

    It’s clear that you detest me and the overwhelming majority of SDA scientists who accept the metaphysical claims of scripture largely on faith. Our acceptance of these claims differs in no way from that of the apostles and the early SDA Church leaders, who accepted these claims having little to no knowledge of fossils, DNA, or polonium halos–“potentially falsifiable emperical evidence”–to buttress their belief. They found evidence compelling enough to believe that God’s word could be accepted at face value when it came to these metaphysical claims. They were not dangerous to the Church, and neither are we who still accept these claims largely on faith.

    What disturbs me most is how you and others here express such animosity toward me, not because of what I believe (I’m a young earth creationist, for crying out loud, and fully embrace every one of the SDA fundamental beliefs), but because I have arrived at my beliefs via reasons you think are different from yours. I accepted the Genesis account many years ago before I knew what a polonium halo was. I became convicted that God was real, and that scripture was God-breathed and trustworthy. Until recently, no one ever told me such acceptance was dangerous to Adventism. Apparently, many of you insist that you came to believe only because you saw some magical “weight” of evidence that convinced you. I have no quarrel with that, but I am chagrined at the intense animosity you express toward others who came to possess their beliefs differently.

    You think I’m dangerous because I am unwilling to say, “Hey Church members, have no fear, science clearly supports only one version of origins, and that is the SDA version. This is the only rational version and you would be irrational to think otherwise. Our views are, in fact, superior to those of anyone else.” You want to persecute me and others who honestly look at the data and see problems that challenge the Church’s position, and you insist that we are destructive to Adventism because, well, we won’t tow your particular line. I’m sorry to disappoint you, but you simply will not see a change in the way your church’s scientists view the evidence. I can tell you with absolute certainty that the vast majority of SDA scientists reject Pitman’s emphatic proclamations about the “weight” of evidence, and humbly acknowledge there are serious problems for which we do not have good answers. We don’t have the confidence (some would say arrogance) Sean has to proclaim ourselves knowledgeable enough to become convinced that every major inquiry of science provides resounding support for the Church’s position. Nevertheless, we have ample reason to believe that God’s word can be trusted. We sincerely believe this, and for the life of me, I fail to understand why you so enthusiastically belittle us. But it’s a cross that I’m prepared to carry. And Pauluc will continue to do the same.




    0
    View Comment
    • I’ve never said that no questions remain unanswered. What I said is that the weight of evidence that is currently in hand strongly supports the Adventist perspective on origins.

      Does this mean we have absolute proof? Of course not. Such does not exist in science. Yet, you seem to demand absolute proof from me? You keep talking about 99.9999999…% certainty – and other such nonsense. This isn’t a level of demonstration required of science. Science is about taking very limited information and doing the best you can with it. Science is not needed if absolutely demonstrability is already in hand.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
    • @Professor Kent:
      I really must contest this mischaracterization.
      Firstly I do not detest you or other Adventist scientists although I clearly do, as an Bible believing Adventist, strongly disagree with many of your contentions and assumptions. As Jesus asked us to do I love the sinner but not the sin.
      Secondly my background is in a technical field where I am required to read primary literature and analyse data so I am not naive to the scientific process and scientific methods and its many caveats and assumptions.

      What I dislike is your insistence on a single reading of science that denies the intervention of God. I cannot see why you would disagree with Sean who I think it doing the church a great favor by bringing it back to an understanding of the true science that EG White talks of.

      As I have said before Sean has clearly articulated a more expansive view of empirical evidence and science than you have and I think that his understanding and evaluation of that evidence in the light of the scriptural revelation is close to the historical adventist position. We can only understand science in all its detail the light of the biblical revelation but this does not at all stop us from using the observation of science even the “peer-reviewed” literature to understand the world around us. Sean I think is clearly taking seriously the Adventist position with its high view of scripture and does seem agree with the approach to science that CMI have articulated;

      By definition, no apparent, perceived or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the Scriptural record. Of primary importance is the fact that evidence is always subject to interpretation by fallible people who do not possess all information.

      http://creation.com/about-us

      That is the most logical and scriptural approach and makes sense of the evidence that is available to us as Christians and Adventists.




      0
      View Comment
  65. Sean Pitman: The Church is not and has not argued that human reason and intelligence have no part to play in the search to find God or to establish a rational faith in the claims of the Bible

    Sean, it’s time for you to stop misrepresenting the positions of other people. You distort them without ceasing. It’s time to put an end to this.




    0
    View Comment
    • How have I distorted your position? Do you not believe that faith must trump all forms of evidence? That no form of empirical evidence or rational argument is required for faith? That nothing, regardless of how rational or well supported by seemingly overwhelming evidence, can falsify faith?

      I’ve asked you before, many times, to explain to me how your views are not fideistic? – because they sure do seem like it to me.




      0
      View Comment
  66. Sean Pitman: Do you not believe this? – that faith can exist independent of empirical evidence and rational argument?

    Yes

    Have you not made this claim many times? that Faith may include evidence, on occasion, but is not dependent on it?

    Yes. I don’t underestimate the Holy Spirit. You yourself have conceded that the Holy Spirit can bring about conviction.

    How have I distorted your position? Do you not believe that faith must trump all forms of evidence?

    I have stated that much of what SDAs believe is accepted based solely on scripture, not scientific “evidence.” I’ve stated that Adventists, including myself, prioritize God’s word such that, if evidence and God’s word diverge, we choose God’s word or, more accurately, our interpretation of it. That’s why we believe miracles happen in spite of all physical evidence to the contrary. We reject the empirical evidence that portrays it as impossible.

    That no form of empirical evidence or rational argument is required for faith?

    I’ve already answered this. You’re repeating yourself.

    That nothing, regardless of how rational or well supported by seemingly overwhelming evidence, can falsify faith?

    I’ve never argued in favor of this.

    I have described my belief in God many, many times based on personal experience, the changes in people’s lives that I have witnessed, the conviction that grows when I read God’s word, the witness of prophecy, and the testimony of God’s 12 disciples. None of these constitute anything contemporary science would label as empirical (I know, to you everything is empirical), or as more scientifically credible than other belief systems. I arrived at my beliefs before I learned what the word “empirical” meant. Just as you did.

    If all of this makes me fideist, then continue your joyous journey of labelling me fideist. I’m laughing.




    0
    View Comment
    • Sean Pitman: Do you not believe this? – that faith can exist independent of empirical evidence and rational argument?

      Yes

      Then, you are a fideist. This is the very definition of fideism.

      Have you not made this claim many times? that Faith may include evidence, on occasion, but is not dependent on it?

      Yes.

      Again, this is a fideistic statement.

      I don’t underestimate the Holy Spirit. You yourself have conceded that the Holy Spirit can bring about conviction.

      I don’t underestimate the Holy Spirit either. However, I do happen to know that the Holy Spirit generally does not trump the need for human investigation and reason in order to determine the credibility of the Bible. The SDA Church does not support the LDS concept of a “burning in the bosom” as a basis of faith or that no research or investigation of Scripture is necessary, comparing it to the evidence available, in order to establish a rational faith in its claims.

      How have I distorted your position? Do you not believe that faith must trump all forms of evidence?

      I have stated that much of what SDAs believe is accepted based solely on scripture, not scientific “evidence.” I’ve stated that Adventists, including myself, prioritize God’s word such that, if evidence and God’s word diverge, we choose God’s word or, more accurately, our interpretation of it. That’s why we believe miracles happen in spite of all physical evidence to the contrary. We reject the empirical evidence that portrays it as impossible.

      Again, this is a fideistic position. How do you think yourself somehow separated from the fideistic position on faith? How are your views non-fideistic?

      That nothing, regardless of how rational or well supported by seemingly overwhelming evidence, can falsify faith?

      I’ve never argued in favor of this.

      You just did. Did you not say that, “If evidence and God’s word diverge, we choose God’s word or, more accurately, our interpretation of it.”

      So, does this not mean that your personal faith in your own identification and interpretation of “God’s Word” trumps everything else? – all forms of evidence that exist outside of your own mind?

      I have described my belief in God many, many times based on personal experience, the changes in people’s lives that I have witnessed, the conviction that grows when I read God’s word, the witness of prophecy, and the testimony of God’s 12 disciples. None of these constitute anything contemporary science would label as empirical (I know, to you everything is empirical), or as more scientifically credible than other belief systems. I arrived at my beliefs before I learned what the word “empirical” meant. Just as you did.

      The witness of prophecy would be meaningless without the support of empirical evidence – without real data. The same is true about the witness of Jesus’ disciples – meaningless without historical data that strongly suggests that they actually existed and lived lives as described and actually died for what they said they saw. Such is based on historical science.

      You don’t seem to believe that anything short of your oft-quoted “99.999999….% certainty” isn’t science. But that’s just not true. Science is based on the weight of evidence, not demonstration. The same thing is true of faith – faith outside of fideism that is.

      I would take some comfort in your description of these evidences if it were not for the fact that you claim if any one of these evidences diverged from your identification and interpretation of the Bible, you will deny the evidence and accept the Bible. Therefore, you are still a fideist even when you cite various forms of empirical evidence – because of the fact that these evidences are not the basis of your faith. They are not required for your faith to exist. That is faithism, a form of faith that is not based on rational thought or argument as none is required for it to exist. It is, then, non-falsifiable – absolutely robust and unchallengable.

      If all of this makes me fideist, then continue your joyous journey of labelling me fideist. I’m laughing.

      Why are you laughing? Why do you deny that you are a fideist when you go around promoting fidestic concepts? Have you not looked up the definition of fideism? I don’t understand the difference between your views vs. those of a true fideist? Really truly I don’t. I honestly don’t see why you reject the label despite supporting what seem to clearly be the basic tenets of fideism. Please do explain…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
  67. Sean Pitman: What I said is that the weight of evidence that is currently in hand strongly supports the Adventist perspective on origins.

    You repeatedly treat this statement as fact. And it is not. It’s a mere opinion, based on your interpretation of a subset of facts that bear on the issue.

    Many of your readers assume and likewise insist it is fact. You further assert that those who disagree with your opionion–your opinion only–are disqualified from employment in the Church. And you have appointed yourself to be persecutor of those who disagree with your opinion, not the Church’s position. The Church has no formal position on the so-called “weight” of empirical evidence.

    You make much to do about your lofty opinion.




    0
    View Comment
    • All hypotheses are “opinions” or educated guesses. They are not facts. Science isn’t based on definitive knowledge, but upon what one considers to be “the weight of evidence” with the most predictive value given the limited information that is currently in hand.

      And, it is most certainly true that the Church believes in the concept of “present truth” – that it takes its positions based on the best evidence that is currently in hand (i.e., the weight of evidence). The church is not fideistic like you suggest.




      0
      View Comment
  68. Sean Pitman: Sean Pitman: Do you not believe this? – that faith can exist independent of empirical evidence and rational argument?

    Yes

    Then, you are a fideist. This is the very definition of fideism

    I believe that faith in Bigfoot can exist independent of empirical evidence and rational argument. But I personally don’t believe in Bigfoot.

    You have an obvious flaw in your thinking, Sean. To believe that faith can exist independent of empirical evidence and rational argument says nothing about what I personally believe.

    Sean Pitman: Why are you laughing?

    Because your reasoning is laughable. You take this all so seriously.




    0
    View Comment
    • I believe that faith in Bigfoot can exist independent of empirical evidence and rational argument. But I personally don’t believe in Bigfoot.

      You have an obvious flaw in your thinking, Sean. To believe that faith can exist independent of empirical evidence and rational argument says nothing about what I personally believe.

      I thought it was obvious that we’re not talking about what others believe. We’re talking about what you believe and why. If your own personal faith can exist independent of evidence or a rational basis, how then is your own faith superior to that of someone who has faith in the existence of Bigfoot?

      This is a serious question that I’ve asked you many times, but have yet to get a direct answer from you. You often cite evidence that is consistent with your faith, but then go on to claim that such evidence is not required. And you seriously wonder why most people, even Pauluc, consider such statements to be fideistic? If you do not consider yourself a fideist, please do explain the difference between the type of faith your trying to promote here and fideism, a form of faith that requires no basis in evidence or rationality…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
  69. Sean Pitman: The church is not fideistic like you suggest.

    I don’t think the Church is fideistic. I think it is serious about sola scriptura (plus some wriggle room with Ellen White). The Church holds to many views that are rejected by science, like the virgin birth and resurrection of a dead body. But I’m sure you’ll find this statement (like everything else I write) objectionable.

    Peanut butter tastes good with chocolate.




    0
    View Comment
  70. Sean Pitman: All hypotheses are “opinions” or educated guesses. They are not facts. Science isn’t based on definitive knowledge, but upon what one considers to be “the weight of evidence” with the most predictive value given the limited information that is currently in hand.

    So, pray tell, is there a distinction between “weight of evidence” and personal opinion?




    0
    View Comment
    • Why don’t you tell me?

      Ultimately science is done on the individual level. One may consider the evidence available to him/her and make a personal determination as to what the weight of evidence indicates is most likely true. No one else can do this for you. You must do it for yourself. Otherwise, you’re just going with the flow without any personal reasons for doing what you’re doing besides the fact that “it’s popular”. Therefore, if one is doing real science for him or herself, the “weight of evidence” that is determined is always “personal opinion”.

      So, personal opinion can be scientific, based on the weight of evidence as one personally understands it.

      But, what does that mean to someone else? Not much if you can’t present a rational reason for your faith or “personal opinion.” And, even if you are unable to convince anyone else of the truths you think you’ve discovered, that’s not your job. That’s God’s job. Noah didn’t convince anyone despite the presentation of some pretty dramatic evidence. Jesus Himself didn’t convince most of the intelligencia of His day either, despite the presentation of very dramatic evidence – to include the resurrection of various people from the dead right in front of their very eyes.

      In short, only God knows if an individual is being honest with the evidence in hand and their mental capacity to grasp and interpret the evidence in a rational way. That is why we are not to judge the moral condition of those with whom we do not agree on various doctrinal truths. Only God can judge on such a level. However, this does not mean that sharing such truths isn’t important. It is very important as it has the power to give people a strong solid hope in the Gospel message here in this life.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
      • @Sean Pitman:

        Sean I am becoming concerned that you are ceding the point to Jeff Kent and now allowing for the definition of science as merely personal opinion, honest though that opinion might be.

        I think the arguments that you have previously made about the biblical basis for belief and faith are much more cogent and consistent with the Adventist opinion. I think you do have to say that we as bible believing Adventist start with God as the basis for order and intelligence in the Universe. We can only know about the nature of the universe because of Gods revelation about Himself in His word. That is the starting point for understanding. Science then whether we define it restrictively as does Pauluc or more expansively as you have done can only be understood by the presuppositions coming from faith in God. It is not a matter of personal opinion that bootstraps faith but an acceptance of the word of God through which all is comprehensible.




        0
        View Comment
        • I disagree. I believe that God leads us to intelligently understand and appreciate the Bible as the Word of God through the use of the reasoning powers and the weight of evidence that He has provided in its favor. We don’t start with an inherent understanding that the Bible is the Word of God. This is not some supernatural revelation that is inherent knowledge. This is learned knowledge that requires personal investigation and effort if it is to be personally meaningful beyond tradition or social religion.




          0
          View Comment
      • @Sean Pitman: I cannot let this sort of nonsense pass without some comment about reality.

        1] Science is personal opinion? You claim;

        “Ultimately science is done on the individual level. One may consider the evidence available to him/her and make a personal determination as to what the weight of evidence indicates is most likely true.”

        As I have repeatedly said science is not subjective opinion it is what has been agreed by the community of scientists examining and arguing about the data recorded in the canonical literature of science. It is objective. You can clearly disagree with the conclusion but you must then propose a model and test it to convince others using the agreed methods and data.

        2] You have expanded the concept of science with your idiosyncratic view of what is science to include all contemplation of human activity. That is absurd. Where is the rigor of statistical analysis you are so fond of when it comes to your pet idea of 1000 fsaar threshold and arguments about evolution. What is the statistical significance of a sample size of 1. Was Gideons sample size adequate? I suspect you would not suggest so unless you are being obtuse.

        3] How much cardiothoracic surgery, neurosurgery bone marrow transplants do you personally do on a daily basis. I suspect none but why is that? It is because of a thing called credentially and specialization.
        You readily seem to accept that but why do you then distort science to make it personal opinion and discount expertise. It is like you pushing aside Ben Carson and attempting to remove a glioblastoma from and the thalamus of a child with your bare hands. To do so is negligent in the extreme. For you to dismiss expertise in science and claim that personal experience trumps deep and expert study of an area of science is disrespectful in the extreme and as David Read would say makes you a “bad man”. A person whose hubris completely subjugates any care for the intellectual and religious development of anyone else.

        4] You say
        “So, personal opinion can be scientific, based on the weight of evidence as one personally understands it. But, what does that mean to someone else? Not much if you can’t present a rational reason for your faith or “personal opinion.””

        You are of course right that a person can think rationally and use hypothesis testing method of science but that is not scientific as understood by anyone but yourself. Scientific thinking has to include acknowledgement of the facts and constructs of science based as they are on methodological naturalism. You do a great disservice by your wooly thinking about what is empirical evidence and what is science. If you continually invent idiosyncratic definitions it is little wonder as Jeff Kent has suggested you are considered ludicrous by most Adventist scientists. I would certainly be interested to hear if event a heterodox scientist like Art agrees with your definition of science.

        5] You arguments would be more compelling if you actually recognized what is the accepted meaning of science [from wikipedia]

        “Science (from Latin scientia, meaning “knowledge”) is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.[1][2] In an older and closely related meaning, “science” also refers to a body of knowledge itself, of the type that can be rationally explained and reliably applied.”

        ……

        In modern use, “science” more often refers to a way of pursuing knowledge, not only the knowledge itself. It is “often treated as synonymous with ‘natural and physical science’, and thus restricted to those branches of study that relate to the phenomena of the material universe and their laws, sometimes with implied exclusion of pure mathematics. This is now the dominant sense in ordinary use.”

        Your definition of science may be loosely derivative of the more modern understanding but you should honestly acknowledge that your definition of science to include the supernatural is a private interpretation that flies in the face of the accepted definitions.




        0
        View Comment
        • 1] Science is personal opinion? You claim;

          “Ultimately science is done on the individual level. One may consider the evidence available to him/her and make a personal determination as to what the weight of evidence indicates is most likely true.” – Sean Pitman

          As I have repeatedly said science is not subjective opinion it is what has been agreed by the community of scientists examining and arguing about the data recorded in the canonical literature of science. It is objective. You can clearly disagree with the conclusion but you must then propose a model and test it to convince others using the agreed methods and data.

          Science is by no means entirely “objective”. There are objective elements, to be sure, but there is always a leap of faith and subjectivity involved when accepting any scientific hypothesis or theory as “most likely true.” Read Thomas Kuhn. Science is dependent upon the subjective interpretations of those using various scientific methodologies. Science is also affected by the backgrounds and biases of those involved. And, one can disagree with the conclusions of the majority based on one’s own personal background, experiences, and evaluation of the data without ever convincing another soul – and still be right.

          I’ve given you several illustrations of this, but you constantly argue that these are “exceptions” to the rule. Well, my friend, such “exceptions” are important because they actually say something about what science is and isn’t – about what it is capable of achieving outside of majority opinion. That it can in fact be done, just fine, on the individual level.

          2] You have expanded the concept of science with your idiosyncratic view of what is science to include all contemplation of human activity. That is absurd. Where is the rigor of statistical analysis you are so fond of when it comes to your pet idea of 1000 fsaar threshold and arguments about evolution. What is the statistical significance of a sample size of 1. Was Gideons sample size adequate? I suspect you would not suggest so unless you are being obtuse.

          The sample size in support of the 1000 specifically arranged amino acid limit to evolutionary progress is enormous – to include all evolutionary experiments to date. There is no recorded example of evolutionary mechanisms producing anything close to this level of functional complexity – not a single example in untold millions of observations. That’s pretty good evidence in and of itself – not to mention the statistical impossibility if you sit down and actually do the math.

          You yourself have admitted that you have no idea how the evolutionary mechanism works at various levels of functional complexity. You base everything on blind leaps of faith in the bold claims of scientists who also have no idea how the mechanism could do what they claim it did.

          3] How much cardiothoracic surgery, neurosurgery bone marrow transplants do you personally do on a daily basis. I suspect none but why is that? It is because of a thing called credentially and specialization.
          You readily seem to accept that but why do you then distort science to make it personal opinion and discount expertise. It is like you pushing aside Ben Carson and attempting to remove a glioblastoma from and the thalamus of a child with your bare hands. To do so is negligent in the extreme. For you to dismiss expertise in science and claim that personal experience trumps deep and expert study of an area of science is disrespectful in the extreme and as David Read would say makes you a “bad man”. A person whose hubris completely subjugates any care for the intellectual and religious development of anyone else.

          I don’t discount expertise unless that expertise starts saying and/or doing things that don’t make any sense. If a bunch of experts told you that there was absolutely no hope for your son dying of some rare genetic disease, would that do it for you? Or, would you try to find a solution for yourself despite that the experts were telling you? There are numerous examples of individuals challenging the “expert” opinion of the day and being right – despite being ridiculed at first (or even dying without the recognition that they were actually right).

          Experts aren’t always right. Remember that. It is possible for the individual to know more than the experts on occasion – and for very good reasons.

          4] You say:

          “So, personal opinion can be scientific, based on the weight of evidence as one personally understands it. But, what does that mean to someone else? Not much if you can’t present a rational reason for your faith or “personal opinion.””

          You are of course right that a person can think rationally and use hypothesis testing method of science but that is not scientific as understood by anyone but yourself. Scientific thinking has to include acknowledgement of the facts and constructs of science based as they are on methodological naturalism. You do a great disservice by your wooly thinking about what is empirical evidence and what is science. If you continually invent idiosyncratic definitions it is little wonder as Jeff Kent has suggested you are considered ludicrous by most Adventist scientists. I would certainly be interested to hear if event a heterodox scientist like Art agrees with your definition of science.

          There is nothing in any scientific methodology, outside of personal philosophy, that says that real science must be limited to proposing only mindless naturalistic hypotheses to explain various phenomena in nature. That’s nonsense. Science is fully able to discover the signature of intelligent design behind various artifacts – to include very very high levels of intelligent design reaching the level of a God or God-like Design. I’ve given you many examples of this already…

          5] You arguments would be more compelling if you actually recognized what is the accepted meaning of science [from wikipedia]

          “Science (from Latin scientia, meaning “knowledge”) is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.[1][2] In an older and closely related meaning, “science” also refers to a body of knowledge itself, of the type that can be rationally explained and reliably applied.”

          I have no problem with these definitions as they can be, and ultimately must be, fulfilled by the individual. No one else can do your science for you. The only rational reason to accept the conclusions of a majority of experts is that experts are usually right. That, in itself, is a scientific conclusion from the individual perspective with testable predictive value. However, it is not true that the experts are always right or that a single individual cannot discover how the experts are wrong from time to time – even if no one else agrees.

          In modern use, “science” more often refers to a way of pursuing knowledge, not only the knowledge itself. It is “often treated as synonymous with ‘natural and physical science’, and thus restricted to those branches of study that relate to the phenomena of the material universe and their laws, sometimes with implied exclusion of pure mathematics. This is now the dominant sense in ordinary use.”

          Your definition of science may be loosely derivative of the more modern understanding but you should honestly acknowledge that your definition of science to include the supernatural is a private interpretation that flies in the face of the accepted definitions.

          Not that it really matters, but in this case I am not remotely alone in my thinking that various features of the universe can best be explained by intelligent design on a God or God-like level of intelligence – a form of intelligence that cannot be detected, from our human perspective, as being less than God-like. The majority of physics, for example, believe that the anthropic features of the universe strongly suggest an origin in God-like intelligent design. Such is simply not beyond the realm of rational scientific detectability.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




          0
          View Comment
        • @Pauluc: You wrote of Sean, “Your definition of science…to include the supernatural is a private interpretation that flies in the face of the accepted definitions.”

          Correct. And that position should be adopted by all Adventist scientific institutions.




          0
          View Comment
  71. Sean Pitman: Again, what is your understanding of the difference between fideism and your views on faith?

    Let’s start with my understanding of something they have in common. They both annoy the heck out of a lot of people.

    I’ve been waiting this entire time for you to share your understanding. You go first.




    0
    View Comment
    • I’ve already explained my position and understanding many many times. If you refuse to explain your position on topics you constantly bring up and seemingly obfuscate, I will no longer post comments from you on this topic. Without some clearer understanding of what you’re trying to promote regarding faith, such conversations are simply a distraction.




      0
      View Comment
      • @Sean Pitman:
        Sean you appear yet again have silenced those who are espousing ideas that are anathema to Adventist church teaching. They obviously have nothing more to say. Their nonsence will not be missed.

        I would like some clarification about your response to one post by Pauluc about critiquing inspiration. You responded to this rather offensive post from Pauluc suggesting you do not examine the Bible with any sort of rigor by stating “bring it on”.

        Someone posted here a link to the BRI articles by George Reid on methods of biblical interpretation and by Edward Zinke on higher criticism.

        https://adventistbiblicalresearch.org/materials/bible-interpretation-hermeneutics/historical-criticism

        Reading it struck that the argument against higher criticism or historical criticism is really that the reader or scholar in doing this is abrogating to himself an authority that can only belong with the Word of God.

        I think in conceding to Pauluc any desire to critique the scriptures in any scientific way you are playing into his ploy. As Zinke says;

        “Biblical-critical methods are the attempt to apply to Scripture contemporary literary methods used for the study of ancient national documents and folk literature They impose an external method upon Scripture.”

        Further are you not in arguing from science for the validity not doing the same thing. I think David Read is absolutely right, we must maintain a high view of scripture that says as traditional Adventism has always said that the bible cannot be subject to any scientific scrutiny. We accept it as Gods infallable word. We move away from that at our peril. If that means dropping some subjects from our universities or even removing ourselves from University status so be it. We are to be faithful to God alone. I worry that in emphasising the scientific support for the Bible you are effectively encouraging higher criticism. That Adventists should never do.




        0
        View Comment
        • Hi Phil,

          I appreciate your desire to uphold the Bible regardless of what the external evidence might say about it. However, I think this is a mistake. The Bible has nothing to fear from true science (vs. “science falsely so called”) or from a truly rational investigation into its claims. The Biblical authors always provide empirical evidence and rational arguments as a basis for faith (as does Mrs. White). We should not be like my LDS friends who believe in the Book of Mormon regardless of the weight of evidence against it. The Bible is to be believed because of the weight of evidence in its favor – because it is the most rational choice that the intelligent candid mind can conclude. Our faith need not be blind to the weight of evidence. Rather, faith and evidence can and should walk hand-in-hand.

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




          0
          View Comment
  72. I too am glad Kent and Pauluc have given up their hopeless fight against truth. But I do think Phil is right in cautioning us against putting evidence above the Bible. Evidence and inspiration can walk hand in hand, but evidence is subject to interpretation and shifts over time. God never changes.




    0
    View Comment
    • God (and Truth) never changes. However, our understanding of Truth does change over time.

      We learn and grow in our understanding of truth – to include our understanding of Biblical truth. One is not automatically born with the knowledge that the Bible is the real Word of God or how, exactly, to interpret it and all of its statements and passages. On the contrary, this requires effort and careful investigation and rational thought on our part.

      Again, there’s nothing to fear from subjecting the Bible to careful investigation against the weight of evidence. God is the author of the Bible and true science…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment
  73. Sean Pitman: On the contrary, this requires effort and careful investigation and rational thought on our part.

    Again, there’s nothing to fear from subjecting the Bible to careful investigation against the weight of evidence. God is the author of the Bible and true science…

    I think the confusion actually lies at this point. Which to some extent is semantic. I am very uneasy if you think we should subject the Bible to rational and scientific investigation in a free and open way that is encouraged by the enlightenment enterprise. Investigation by rational and empirical methods that we associate with the concept of science.

    Do you actually want to investigate the Bible by scientific methods in that tradition you would have course have to apply the methods of redaction, form, source, tradition criticism.
    This we dont do despite the fact that they are probably the best known approaches to understanding literature. This is precisely because we cannot and do not subjugate the Bible to our own understanding. How can we critique God.

    If you do not mean the sort of science that puts man on the moon but are talking about science as more generic knowledge which is not gained by the methods of science then I totally agree with you.

    You are perhaps getting to this when you speak of true science in the EG White tradition. Perhaps we need to make a distinction between science as the current method of scientific knowledge, science as knowledge and true science which is what you are talking about when you talk about understanding of scripture.




    0
    View Comment
    • When I talk about the concept of science, I’m talking about how any new information is learned in a useful manner that is superior to wishful thinking (aka blind faith). One’s understanding of the Bible as the Word of God can be and I believe should be based on the weight of evidence that is currently in hand. Coming to the conclusion that the Bible is God’s Word requires work. It is not inherent knowledge, but must be learned based on evidence, not direct revelation.

      “God is the foundation of everything. All true science is in harmony with His works; all true education leads to obedience to His government. Science opens new wonders to our view; she soars high, and explores new depths; but she brings nothing from her research that conflicts with divine revelation. 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

      “In the days of Noah, men, animals, and trees, many times larger than now exist, were buried, and thus preserved as an evidence to later generations that the antediluvians perished by a flood. God designed that the discovery of these things should establish faith in inspired history; but men, with their vain reasoning, fall into the same error as did the people before the Flood–the things which God gave them as a benefit, they turn into a curse by making a wrong use of them.” – Ellen White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 115

      “God never asks us to believe without giving sufficient evidence upon which to base our faith. His existence, His character, the truthfulness of His word, are all established by testimony that appeals to our reason; and this testimony is abundant. Yet God has never removed the possibility of doubt. Our faith must rest upon evidence, not demonstration. Those who wish to doubt will have opportunity; while those who really desire to know the truth will find plenty of evidence on which to rest their faith . . .” Steps to Christ, p. 105;

      Consider also that, “perfect assurance . . . is not compatible with faith. Faith rests not on certainty, but upon evidence.” Letter 19d, 1892, cited in The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, pp. 1029, 1030.

      “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 men are without excuse.” – Romans 1:20 NIV

      “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” – Psalms 19:1 NIV

      God does not desire blind faith or blind obedience without the input of rational thought and understanding (which is also God-given by the way). Our faith in the Bible should be based on something more than some kind of internal warm fuzzy feeling or personal desire. Our faith in the Bible as the Word of God should be a rational faith that is based on the weight of evidence and its established predictive power – i.e., a form of scientific reasoning and understanding which forms the basis for a logical, rational leap of faith. It is in this manner that faith and science can, and I think must, walk hand-in-hand.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




      0
      View Comment

Comments are closed.