By Dr. Wesley Kime
About a year ago Dr. Ervin Taylor, founding editor-publisher of Adventist Today, emeritus professor of Anthropology at UC Riverside, pioneer apostle of progressive Adventism, famous curator of scientific evidence for eonic Evolution, theistic or otherwise, came over here to proclaim rather formally that Dr. Pitman had undertaken a truly heroic crusade. Dr. Taylor recognized Dr. Pitman’s leading out against mainstream science by undertaking to provide, in the words of the citation, “solid modern scientific evidence to support the conclusions he has reached because of his religious beliefs,” notably a literal Genesis 1 Creation. Though heavy with cheery irony, with Pitman sounding more like Don Q flailing windmills than Daniel standing against Babylonians, as many of us saw him and blessed him for, and always will, Taylor’s encomium spotlighted the crusade.
That was a year ago. Another crusade has taken over these pages, warranting as formal a recognition as last year’s.
This crusade is not Dr. Pitman’s. Rather he is the butt of it, thrown smack into the den of lions. A flash mob, of good diversity, from all poles of this here big tent, has materialized from among the lecterns and from deep within our own pews.
Dr. Pitman, erstwhile defender of the faith, wielder of the Sword of Evidence “to support [as the citation says]…his religious beliefs,” is now denounced as the repudiator of religious belief. A heretic worse than Arius or Canright, perpetuator of a heresy worse than Sunday observance or dancing, plus he’s mean-spirited. An embarrassment to E.G. White and Ted Wilson, even.
Last year the very idea of using scientific evidence against Evolution or for a literal 6-day Creation was a violation of science itself, a perversion of science, junk science, a crime against science. A judge had said so. Science falsely so called. That was last year.
But now such employment of science, rather than just texts, in support of Creation is not just a crime against science but a sin against the Creator.
This is the thrust of this year’s crusade: Genesis 1 is to be accepted not from evidence but by faith. Science is, in the Latter Rain, to be as dreaded and eschewed as images of Baal by Israel of old. O turn ye! Turn ye!
Now hold it right there! Weren’t science and religion supposed to be irreconcilable? Yet here they are, both science and religion, ganging up on this guy just for using science.
From the pew is heard, “Though the whole world of science be for Creation, yet will I not hear those other voices.” From the lectern the cry, even more urgent (“HELL-O-O-O-O!”) and sans a nanogram of irony, “Though the whole world of science be against Creation, yet will I believe.”
The lecternists’ altar call, with synthesizer organ background, devolves solely (we trust there’s no hidden agenda) upon Creation being 100% unprovable and Evolution 100% proved, air tight, hermeneutically sealed. Dr. Taylor drops by ever so often to offer his Erv’s Odds. Last I saw, he (cheerily) grants like 1.48% of the data as not inconsistent with Genesis 1, but over here not a shredy-shred-shred-shred is granted or permitted.
And inasmuch as there’s not a shred of evidence, it is alleged, for Genesis 1, which we are stuck with, it follows logically and otherwise that we have no recourse but to proceed on faith only. If Pitman’s heroic crusade is powered by the likely existence of scientific evidence, high faith’s holy campaign hangs on the absolute nonexistence of it, and we’ll swing our sword at any little lizard of evidence for Creation that shows its head. If Dr. Pitman has vested interest in evidence, ours is in quashing it.
And furthermore Genesis 1 is to be reverenced not just despite the evidence being against it but because all the evidence is against it. Alas for your doctoral thesis, if thus structured. We’re all, all sides of us, relieved that Galileo wasn’t.
Hmmmm. In this campaign against Dr. Pitman, he is singled out as the epitome of the evil doctor. In Dr. Pitman’s behalf, in God’s behalf, I object. If St. Paul in his crusade could not gloat before the Lord, neither can S. Pitman. The case for evidence doesn’t hang on Dr. Pitman; it hangs, arguably (but elsewhere), on the very character of God, as Dr. Graham Maxwell (prof. of theology, deceased, LLU) taught. It hangs on science itself, as I was taught long before Sean was born, back in the days of Victorian legalism, at, of all places, LSU (nee LSC), by, of all people, my major biology professor, who shamelessly de-promoted Evolution in the context of evidence. Don’t recall he mentioned faith once. Faith was confined to religion class, as it should be. But that was before evidence had to be downgraded and faith updated.
I propose that the next crusade, heroic and holy, be to reunite faith with evidence as equals integral and integrated, like the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, like frontal cortex and brain stem, like breathing in and breathing out, systole and diastole, the left and right ventricles, one balancing and empowering the other, like male and female, and what God hath joined together let no man put asunder.