Comment on The Full History of La Sierra University vs. Louie Bishop by PhilCromwell.
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.
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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.
The Full History of La Sierra University vs. Louie Bishop
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.
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.
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.
Recent Comments by PhilCromwell
Bringing the Real World to Genesis: Why Evolution is an Idea that Won’t Die—IV [A Review]
Prof Kent you still do not appear to appreciate what Sean is trying to do here. You see him as simply attacking LSU’s atheistic scientists but you completely miss the point of what a Christian perspective on science and evidence is. He has been crystal clear all along that scientific evidence is not restricted to the self serving world view that is perpetuated in the peer reviewed literature but he is basing his empirical evidence that forms the basis for Christian belief on the scientific approach of hypothesis testing. This people anywhere can use and communicate if they wish whether that is on blogs twitter, books, videos or if you want the scientific literature. The value of the communication is not based on where it is but on the content. Anything that comes from a true understanding of God can build us up and is from God.
What he is doing is truly a great thing for Adventism, at least as far as I can see. He is in effect democratizing science by taking the kernel of science the true science that EG White talks about and is discarding the ossified thinking of scientists like Pauluc and yourself who seem to think that legitimate science is only what scientists do and which by an arbitrary definition assumes there is no God. Such science is very self referential and justified by a circular argument that says we assume there is no God and that we do not need him as an explanation. You then explain something without God and then say see there is no God as the cause. You are simply proving what you have already assumed. Smoke and mirrors. Experts and sophistry.
You seem to think that somehow Sean cannot use the original “scientific” literature because that would mean he has to accept everything in the “scientific” literature or even the premise of that literature. That is simply illogical. You don’t accept everything in your literature why hold him to a different standard. It is just that he has a different standard for judging that literature than you do.
Gary Gilbert, Spectrum, and Pseudogenes
You will obviously have a better understanding than me but I thought that the Barthian neo-orthodoxy and fundamentalism were really both derivative of the enlightenment. My understanding was that higher criticism which was the enlightenment approach to scriptures led to a reaction with an emphasis on the fundamentals of Christian faith, a high view of scripture and a characterization of higher criticism as illegitate approach since scripture was beyond “scientific” investigation. In contrast neo-orthodoxy responded to the enlightenment by recognizing the legitimacy and findings of higher criticism but maintaining that Christian faith and the revelation of God does not come through scientific understanding or investigation but through a direct revelation from God or as you characterize it a leap of Faith.
Some in Adventism (including for example George Reid ) may not think we fit comfortably with fundamentalism particularly the foundational belief concerning scripture
The 66 books of the Bible are the written Word of God. The Bible is divinely inspired and inerrant throughout. Its assertions are factually true in all the original autographs. It is the supreme authority, not only in all matters of faith and conduct, but in everything it teaches. Its authority is not limited to spiritual, religious or redemptive themes but includes its assertions in such fields as history and science.
That is how Creation Ministries International phrase it. I do think that summarizes our belief as historical Adventists and as it is enshrined in our fundamental beliefs on inspiration of scripture. It is from that position that we must address questions on origins as Sean has done so well.
Gary Gilbert, Spectrum, and Pseudogenes
@Sean Pitman: Sean you are so right although I think the authors you cite are wrong in their contention that the alu repeats are somehow important in evolution and recombination. Exonization of alu as you said is critical for the fine control of gene expression by inclusion of alu in mRNA. That there are a million copies that are maintained by retrotransposition in humans obviously means that there is many opportunity for alu to participate in this frequent and important process of gene regulation It is clearly designed to allow flexibility and fine control of gene expression. I agree though that their statements about the phylogeny of alu is really just a reflection of their preconceived ideas about evolutionary origins that doesnt even consider the design implied by the pervasive function.
Nic, I appreciate your core summary of the views that Sean, and David and other are expressing. I am new coming here with a bible based perspective that does resonate with what you have said.
My only disagreement probably is that I am not sure that a divorce of the Church from LSU is going to be the best approach in the long term. I think there must be some way for bringing unity within the church short of simply chopping off institutions. I think we can trust Ted Wilson to help reformation in the schools. After all I do think the church should have loyal educational institutions to train its people. This site should be at the forefront in strategies to do that.