GC Votes to Revise SDA Fundamental #6 on Creation

By Educate Truth Staff:

June 30 2010, during GC session general vice president Gerry D. Karst introduced the following motion to the floor:

Part A, I move that the [59th] session of the General Conference endorse the 2004 Annual Council statement, reaffirmation of creation. Part B, further, that the General Conference administration be requested to initiate a process to integrate Fundamental Belief Number 6 and the statement ‘A [Response to An Affirmation] of Creation’ as provided for in the 2005 General Conference Session protocol for amending a Fundamental Belief.

Both motions passed despite being split at the suggestion of Southern Adventist University president, Gordon Bietz.

____________

An article by Keith Lockhart, published by Spectrum, is quite interesting concerning more details of this vote.  Here are a few excerpts from his article:

[New GC President Ted] Wilson appealed to delegates to allow the General Conference to initiate a process to integrate the 2004 affirmation with the church’s current fundamental belief no. 6. This states that in “six days the Lord made the heaven and the earth and all living things upon the earth and rested on the seventh day.” But the leadership now thinks it is too ambiguous on biblical origins.  The president said: “It is absolutely critical that we accept Scripture as it reads. Personally, and I know in the Seventh-day Adventist Church we believe, that the first 11 chapters of Genesis are not allegorical, not symbolic in some abstract way, but they represent an authentic, a true literal explanation of how God created this earth and also those events following creation, including a global flood of massive proportions.”

Holding up a Bible he added: “We are facing a critical time. The devil is trying his best to undermine the very foundations of our beliefs that are derived from this Word.”…

Southern Adventist University president Gordon Bietz urged that the vote be split into two sections. The first would be a vote on the reaffirmation of the affirmation of creation, and the second, which he opposed, would be opening up the doctrine for a rewrite.

 

Ben Clausen of the Geoscience Research Institute said that Ted Wilson’s statement put science teachers in Adventist schools in an untenable position. Quoting from the statement, Dr. Clausen said that “it is impossible,” to teach students “scientifically rigorous exposure to and affirmation of our historic belief in a literal, recent six-day creation.”

He added: “There are no available models.”…

With very little time set aside for debate and only a few delegates publicly opposing any modification of the church’s current statement on creation, the proposals easily cleared the floor…

As a participant in the International Faith and Science Conferences in Colorado in 2002-2004, Larry Geraty, president emeritus of La Sierra University… was responsible for drafting the original fundamental belief 6 when he taught at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary thirty years ago. He adds:

I fear that the proposal will result in a more literalistic interpretation that will serve to exclude members who love the church, believe in the authority of the Bible, but interpret it in harmony with accepted standards of interpretation for God’s revelation in both nature and Scripture.

(read the full article)

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277 thoughts on “GC Votes to Revise SDA Fundamental #6 on Creation

  1. The moving of the Holy Spirit in this vote is to be praised. The compassionate Creator is honored. Significantly, by this Holy-Spirit-led-vote by the world Seventh-day Adventist Church in General Conference session, the Holy Spirit has just publically endorsed to the world the historical, literal interpretation of Genesis 1-11. With Zecharias, we can say, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel” (Luke 1:68).




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  2. Praise God for the courage and clarity of our new General Conference President, Elder Ted Wilson! Perhaps, at long last, the eera of ambiguity and pluralism is coming to an end in the Seventh-day Adventist Church. These misguided souls who wish for some compromise with Darwinism will simply have to either repent of their delusions, humbly surrender their speculation and vaunted “scholarship” to the sovereignty of the written Word, or find another church to join.

    It is as simple as that.

    May the end-time revival and reformation of God’s church come at long last, is my prayer!

    God bless!

    Pastor Kevin Paulson




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  3. The moving of the Holy Spirit in this vote is to be praised. The compassionate Creator is honored. Significantly, by this Holy-Spirit-led-vote by the world Seventh-day Adventist Church in General Conference session, the Holy Spirit has just publicly endorsed to the world the historical, literal interpretation of Genesis 1-11. With Zecharias, we can say, “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel” (Luke 1:68).




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  4. I am not surprised at the comments of Lawrence Geraty, since he has been fairly clear on his skepticism regarding the scientific validity of a literal creation week. However, I am disappointed in the comments of Gordon Bietz – the pastor of Southern College when I was there and a brilliant man and gifted speaker. But, I am most disappointed by Ben Clausen’s statement:

    It is impossible to teach students scientifically rigorous exposure to and affirmation of our historic belief in a literal, recent six-day creation… There are no available models.

    Besides the fact that this statement isn’t true, Ben Clausen works for the Geoscience Research Institute and should be doing everything he can to promote the significant weight of evidence that does in fact favor the biblical model of origins – to include overwhelming evidence for design within both living and nonliving aspects of this universe and planet, a recent arrival of life on this planet, and the abundant evidence for a very rapid catastrophic formation of much of the geologic column and fossil records.

    If Dr. Clausen really cannot see this evidence for what it seems to represent for other scientists with the SDA Church, to include many at GRI, perhaps he is working for the wrong employer? I really like Ben and think he is honest and sincere. However, he seems more in line with those who are extremely skeptical if not outright hostile against creationist interpretations of the scientific evidence that does, for me and a number of other well-educated scientists and thinkers within and even without the SDA Church, clearly support a literal interpretation of the Genesis account of Creation.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  5. Dear Sean:

    You are so right! Gordon Bietz ought to be ashamed of himself, and Ben Clausen even more so. It is obvious the Geoscience Research Institute is under tepid and unclear leadership, not willing to emphatically affirm God’s Word as the basis of all true science. These men have betrayed the honor of Israel, and now this is clear in the presence of the entire world church.

    They, and Lawrence Geraty along with the entire Spectrum/Adventist Today crowd, need to go join the Episcopalians where they belong.

    God bless!

    Pastor Kevin Paulson




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  6. Sean and Kevin, I so agree with you about Ben Clausen’s remarks. They are disheartening. GRI is deeply compromised and is an ineffective witness, as I’ve said here and at other sites several times.

    It is GRI’s responsibility to work on a scientifically rigorous model of earth history that is consistent with Adventist Christianity. To say that there are no such models is a abject confession that the millions spent on GRI over the decades have been wasted.




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  7. But on a brighter note, it is fantastic that Ted Wilson is setting in motion the machinery to revise fundamental belief no. 6.

    According to the article at Spectrum, any such revision shall be available for review at least 2 years before the GC session at which it shall be voted upon. So the FB would have to be revised within the next three years, and cannot be revised until the 2015 GC session.

    And we can expect the same forces that waylaid the last statement will fight with maniacal intensity to preserve ambiguity in the language. So we can expect that in the next three years, the controversy over origins within the SDA Church will only intensify, not subside.




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  8. @Michael Prewitt:

    Michael Prewitt says:
    June 30, 2010 So what was the final voted wording of FB #6?

    The motion was initially a two-part motion:

    A. to affirm the prior 2004 “Affirmation of Creation” statement. (Officially sanctioning that statement via the GC in session adds more weight to the statement).

    B. To request that the GC Exec Comm come up with new wording for Belief #6 that incorporates the added specificity found in the Affirmation of Creation statement. The new form of FB 6 would then be voted on by the 2015 GC session five years from now.

    ============

    It is true that the motion was later split into two motions at the request of one of the delegates who stated that he was not in favor of the 2nd part but was in favor of the first part.

    The motions were both passed with overwhelming majorities – only a few dozen in dissent and “thousands” in approval.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  9. @Kevin Paulson:

    Praise God for the courage and clarity of our new General Conference President, Elder Ted Wilson! Perhaps, at long last, the eera of ambiguity and pluralism is coming to an end in the Seventh-day Adventist Church

    That is true – Elder Wilson’s out-of-the-gate initiatives have been bold, clear and unambiguous. This is exactly the kind of vision and leadership that is needed at crisis points on our denomination’s history.

    Ben Clausen of the Geoscience Research Institute said that Ted Wilson’s statement put science teachers in Adventist schools in an untenable position. Quoting from the statement, Dr. Clausen said that “it is impossible,” to teach students “scientifically rigorous exposure to and affirmation of our historic belief in a literal, recent six-day creation.”

    He added: “There are no available models.”…

    Indeed that was very surprising. Dr Clausen also gave a 20 min lecture at the Creation-Evolution (Yes, Creation) meeting today in which he basically argued that all of the science is on the side of evolution, but that we should believe in Bible creation no matter what the science evidence against it. This is very odd given that Dr Roth and many others have given a number of science arguments in favor of both a young earth and young life at the GRI’s “Yes, Creation” event.

    For some reason Clausen also brought up many of the agenda items on Fritz Guy’s list of reasons to change doctrinal statements including the history about changes related to our understanding of 1844, and a comparison to the RCC in the dark ages dealing with Gallileo.

    I talked to him about this later – using the illustration of the “Flat earth”. I gave the example of having someone show you a round earth and then having you respond with “Yes, I agree all the science evidence points to a round earth – but I believe by faith the Bible over science and I think the Bible says the earth is flat – so while I will teach that good science states the earth is round – Bible religion tells me it is flat – so it is flat”. And Clausen agreed that evolutionist have no such direct evidence nor observable evidence in favor of their views so it is in fact less than accurate to claim that science is actually showing us that they are correct.

    I made the point that teaching the standard model for geology and the geologic column may indeed be a requirement (so students have an accurate understanding of that particular story) – however it would be equally important to expose each of the gaps in that story, so that at the very minimum, students have insight regarding ideal projects for graduate research, and at best they may see an actual “solution” that is real and not just wishful thinking.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  10. I really don’t know how far Ben Clausen takes his views on this but I do know that some other people in the past have expressed views that tend to bolster Richard Dawkin’s complaints that informed Christians are fully aware that real science shows evolution to be true – and they teach that as fact, and innexplicably yet choose to “believe the Bible” on the subject of origins when not talking about science.

    Most people would see that as a kind of insanity – affirming the earth is indeed round but then insisting that your “Bible belief” is that it is flat when you are in church.

    Usually the “other people” I have found making those “Creationist but not really” arguments are very opposed to any evidence in favor of recent life, a recent earth or even intelligent design. (Not saying this is true of Ben Clausen – just talking about other exchanged in the past).

    Ben gave a fairly robust “big tent” presentation today saying that we all need to be accepted as having views pretty much equally valid and one questioner in the room hinted that other theistic evolutionists in non-SDA contexts “exist” and maybe we should be willing to allow for that kind of thing inside the SDA church, to which Clausen “appeared” to agree.

    Again – I could have been missing something in the exchange – but I thought I was following the point rather closely at the time.

    😉

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  11. Larry Geraty said:

    I fear that the proposal will result in a more literalistic interpretation that will serve to exclude members who love the church, believe in the authority of the Bible, but interpret it in harmony with accepted standards of interpretation for God’s revelation in both nature and Scripture.

    Larry may want to get out more. The above statement applies equally well to someone in our church that happens to prefer to believin the immortal soul instead of soul sleep and we could always whine that our insistence on soul sleep based on the literal statements of scripture “result in a more literalistic interpretation that will serve to exclude members who love the church, believe in the authority of the Bible, but interpret it in harmony with accepted standards of interpretation for God’s revelation ” – after all a lot of non-SDA Bible scholars think it is legit.

    We could go down that same path for “Sunday instead of Sabbath” for “universalism” for “infant baptism” … in fact WHAT doctrinal error could not be tossed into the “big tent” using the criteria Larry Geraty has suggested above?

    I can’t think of any errors that could not easily be accomodated using his model.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  12. @Sean Pitman:
    Sean,
    You have been vindicated. When the newly elected GC president, and the world church in session, echo your long-standing concerns and goals – how can anyone say otherwise.
    It’s time for the skeptics, revisionists, and rebels to surrender to God’s Word and to heed His voice.
    It’s time for those who have spoken nothing but ill faith toward our church leaders, and their ability to do right, to cease and desist – and to begin praying with and for them.




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  13. @Kevin Paulson:

    Dr. Bietz may not be ashamed of himself, but he ought not be in the employ of the church. Having had personal audience with him while attending Southern, I’m not at all surprised at his words.




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  14. @Adam Hendron: Let us remember also that the first great apostate was both brilliant, sincere, and a great orator. It takes more than these things, or perhaps much less, to be a follower of Jesus.




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  15. Dr. Bietz is a La Sierra alumni and when he returned to SAU from visiting La Sierra last fall during alumni weekend, he reported in the SAU employee newsletter that he had spent about an hour personally visiting with Randal Wisbey. He then admonished SAU employees to be supportive of LSU and believe Randal Wisbey who had assured him that only teaching ABOUT evolution was occurring. According to Dr. Bietz, since none of us were in the classrooms, we needed to believe what Randal was saying. I wondered at the time if Randal Wisbey had actually been in the classrooms as much as Louie Bishop and other students had been, or why the teachers’ own writings and words weren’t considered credible evidence. There was something awry in Bietz’s analysis.

    It was almost immediately after that when the Higher Education article came out with the infamous quotes from Gary Bradley in direct contradiction to what Randal Wisbey had told Gordon Bietz. There has been no mention of any type of retraction, or any further comments from Gordon Bietz to SAU employees on the matter. In light of his latest actions, his ready defense of LSU and Randal Wisbey are consistent with a personal bias it appears, sad to say.




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  16. Well, where is it written that every SDA member must necessarily interpret each and every scripture exactly the same way as the GC president does?

    Why can’t we emulate Christ and “let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind”? We need to give our brethren room to exercise the free will with which they’ve been created. Freedom to make mistakes, if necessary. We can’t rigidly require every person to believe every jot and tittle in the same interpretation as Ted Wilson does.

    Even the various translations of the Scriptures are all, in themselves, interpretations! No two scholars interpret a Scripture exactly identically. For heaven’s sake, let’s let the members worship and believe in the way which they best understand each teaching.

    It frightens me to read that the GC Autumn Council will be “rewriting” one of the Fundamental Beliefs. Give me a break! For the past hundred years of our history, we {SDAs] prided ourselves in not having a creed! And now we’re doing a 180? Totally becoming rigid peons now that we have an autocratic new president??




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  17. Kevin,

    Why do you refer to Episcopalians as a better place for these men? I understand why you’d say they don’t belong in the SDA church. But is there something about the Episcopalians in particular that makes a good fit? Why not the Presbyterians, Baptists, Lutherans, or Methodists? Or did you just choose another denomination?

    I guess what I’m really asking is, would one of the other denominations make a good fit for former SDAs who don’t believe in a Biblical creation?




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  18. @BobRyan:

    Yes Bob it is much like the people on this site who say that the bible and Ellen White are inerrant but are not prepared to assume the consequence of that belief. In reality they practice a life style that assumes naturalistic causes and accept the naturalistic paradigms in science for almost everything including their ready acceptance of evidence based medicine but hold as an exception the first chapter of Genesis. A little duplicitous I would suggest.

    When is Sean Pitman going to tell us what is his practice for his patients who have mental disease? Does he take a detailed history of self abuse and treat accordingly , after all we know for sure it is one of the major causes of mental illness? As I have asked before does he follow the Bible literally and treat seizures at spirit possession complete with the biblical admonition of prayer and fasting? Oh yes I have heard your fanciful response but I am curious on how he reconciles miracles and naturalistic causation of disease in real life in his medical practice if indeed he does see live people? Does he practice miraculous medicine just as he selectively practices miraculous science in the area of origins.

    I agree entirely with Clausen and am still waiting for a response to the question I posed to Sean Pitman some time ago on the miraculous content of genetic information that was present in the animals taken on to the ark. He has posited that this is not at all due to increase in genes by duplication and it surely cannot be because there are magically more than 4 alleles per locus in a population of 2 so I am still waiting for his testable hypothesis. Or perhaps it was indeed entirely miraculous and cannot be tested by known science. This is exactly what Clausen was referring to. It is very easy to be critical of science and define yourself by attacking what you are not in the expectation that if you can show that wrong then naturally your own solution no matter how fanciful must be correct. Just look at the enthusiasm for Mary Schweitzers work on Dinosaurs. Unfortunately the principals of this site have not manifest the wit to produce an alternative that fulfills the simple criteria of testability. After all these events happened only 30 times longer than the Adventist church has been in existence. Is that really so great a time one would expect all evidence remaining to support these events to have disappeared.

    I would be most interested to see the miraculous medicine alternative that is the consequent of the stated position of inerrancy. After all the Adventist Universities are doing so poorly perhaps Arise could expand their teaching roles from simply generating theologians to generating scientists and medical practitioners. How many of Sean Pitmans supporters would go there for management of their chest pain of leukaemia? Perhaps their conviction of Faith does not extend to caring for their own health? Where is your faith guys. Or is is it all bluff and you don’t really believe the bible except when it is convenient and has some political value. Perhaps Sean Pitman could for one moment drop his mantra of “this is not a moral issue” “I’ve known blacks, gays and evolutionists and we get on great” “Its all a matter of law and order”. Yes Sir. Ill get down and do 50 right now!

    Perhaps Sean Pitman you could give us an outline of the curriculum of the history of science, the nature of faith and science, and the content of a course on biology and earth history that he would like to have taught. He ought to get practiced because once your campaign to purge the Universities they may be little short staffed for competent scientists. Bit like the University of Kabul I suspect.




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  19. We can applaud leadership that re-affirms our historic stand on the creation issue. But like many truths affirmed, it has no real dynamic unless something is done in a dynamic way to stop the false teaching going on, not only at LSU, but other institutions as well.

    As the saying goes, “Actions speak louder than words.” Many SDA truths are affirmed in our 28 fundamentals. But it is what is taught in the pulpit that really carries the weight of influence. And the same goes for our schools.

    Unless some real disciple is forthcoming concerning the fiasco at LSU, it will have little influence or effect on the denomination as a whole.

    Words spoken and printed on paper are just that. It sounds good, but has little dynamic. But as I said, our leaders no doubt have little authority when it comes to LSU and this is probably true concerning our hospital systems and many other instrumentalities.

    The time will come when pastors must put their jobs on the line and defend the faith with more than words. We know at some time it will come to all of us. A statement of faith must be backed by action in harmony with the commitment.

    Bill Sorensen




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  20. Dear George:

    I refer to Episcopalians as I have because in recent years they have gone significantly in the direction of devaluing Scripture as their authority. They have lately ordained practicing homosexuals as bishops, and have long tolerated in ther midst those who deny the virgin birth of Christ and His bodily resurrection. Such theologians as John Shelby Spong, who has openly endorsed certain types of nonmarital sex as “holy” and claims the resurrection was “never meant to be taken literally,” remain in the bosom of that denomination.

    God forbud that we should ever become so ambiguous in our own clarity as Seventh-day Adventists!

    God bless!

    Pastor Kevin Paulson




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  21. Dear Bill:

    I agree with you fully that actions speak louder than words. But the kind of words we are now hearing from our new General Conference president are decidedly stronger than those of his predecessor. I am thrilled that he is not–at least so far–“cushioning” his clarity by attacks on so-called “legalism” or implying that the church needs to steer itself down the “middle” of the road between those who would deny our faith and those who uphold it.

    Let us keep him in prayer, and continue to labor for the practical application of our new president’s words in the life of our church and its institutions, such as La Sierra University.

    God bless!

    Pastor Kevin Paulson




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  22. Dear Pauluc:

    You really do your cause a disfavor by raising such strange arguments against advocates of transcendent inspired authority. To imply that those who believe in a miraculous creation in six literal days must also believe the practice of medicine must necessarily be attended by miracles of the sort we read about in Scripture, is nonsense. Where is the inspired authority for this? Neither Scripture nor Ellen White promise that the kind of miracles we read about in the Bible must invariably accompany the medical practice of Christian physicians. Nor does one’s belief in a miraculous, literal creation in six literal days necessitate the expectation of miracles in other aspects of our lives.

    You speak disparagingly of “self abuse,” implying–I am sure–a dismissal of Ellen White’s counsel regarding the root causes of sexual immorality and the practices which often produce this. Again I recommend all on this forum, including you yourself, to read my review of Graeme Bradford’s books which question the authority and accuracy of the writings of Ellen White, on this and other issues. Since I can’t seem to list that Web address here without getting it deleted, just Google the names of Kevin Paulson and Graeme Bradford and you’ll find this material.

    And where do you get the idea that all mental illness and siezures must be viewed as demonic if one takes the Bible literally? Where does the Bible say this? Where does Ellen White? Again you have created a straw man. Both Scripture and Ellen White give a completely balanced picture of medical and scientific issues. And the fact that miracles do not always attend the Christian practice of medicine in no way implies that belief in a miraculous creation approximately 6,000 years ago is somehow untenable.

    God bless!

    Pastor Kevin Paulson




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  23. Just a word of affirmation – without EducateTruth, this vote may never have happened. Praise God for those who will stand for truth.




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  24. Dear Jeannie:

    It was the apostle Paul who said, “Let every one be fully persuaded in his own mind” (Rom. 14:5), and the issue he is addressing in context has nothing to do with key doctrinal or lifestyle issues addressed in Holy Scripture. Rather, Paul is speaking here of the Jewish feast days rendered obsolete by the death of Christ. To use this verse to support some general tolerance of doctrinal or moral ambiguity within the church, especially regarding such a core issue as creation, is to dreadfully misuse the Word of God.

    No one is saying the words of our General Conference president should be treated as infallible. I certainly would never say such a thing, nor–most assuredly–would Elder Wilson. It is the eternal, transcendent Word of God which must be upheld as supremely authoritative. The Bible is is own interpreter, and does not require scholars and theologians to explain it to us. Jesus declared that God had hidden things from the wise and prudent, and had revealed them unto babes (Matt. 11:25). And Ellen White is clear that the Bible was written primarily for the common people, not for scholars (see 5T 331).

    Let us not get distracted with negative talk about “creeds.” The pioneers of this movement who opposed a creed were NOT saying that the church should not have incontrovertible statements of truth to which disagreement is disallowed. These men were not postmodern relativists. Rather, their opposition to a creed was a resistance to popular church traditions which had no basis in Scripture. This is most definitely not the same as having a statement of Bible-based beliefs to which all who belong to our fellowship of faith must adhere.

    Again, let us praise God for the clarity of our General Conference president, and the courage by which he is leading us even in the early days of his presidency. Pluralism and ambiguity have sapped the church’s strength and stunted its growth in First World countries. It is time to return, without shame or embarrassment, to the truths of Holy Scripture and their amplification in the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy.

    God bless!

    Pastor Kevin Paulson




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  25. @pauluc:

    I agree entirely with Clausen and am still waiting for a response to the question I posed to Sean Pitman some time ago on the miraculous content of genetic information that was present in the animals taken on to the ark. He has posited that this is not at all due to increase in genes by duplication and it surely cannot be because there are magically more than 4 alleles per locus in a population of 2 so I am still waiting for his testable hypothesis.

    Genetic duplications, along with many other types of genetic mutations, can and do happen all the time – very commonly in fact. However, genetic duplications almost never result in the production of qualitatively novel genetic functionality beyond what was already present in the ancestral gene pool of functional options. When a qualitativley novel genetic function is realized by the gene pool, it is always at a very low level of functional complexity – requiring no more than two or three hundred averagely specified amino acid residue positions at minimum. Nothing beyond such low levels of functional complexity is known to evolve nor is it statistically likely for anything to evolve beyond the 1000aa level this side of trillions upon trillions of years of time.

    I really don’t think you grasp the concept of levels of functional informational complexity or how such information can be produced outside of deliberate intelligent design…

    This is exactly what Ben Clausen evidently doesn’t understand either. So, you’re in good company ; )

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

    P.S. By the way, Mary Schweitzer’s work with soft tissues within dinosaur bones is fascinating and strongly supports the SDA perspective of a recent and catastrophic formation of the geologic column and fossil record. Her work is completely at odds with the mainstream understanding of the rate of spontaneous soft-tissue and molecular decay. For further information on her most interesting discoveries, see the following videoclip:

    http://www.detectingdesign.com/fossilizeddna.html#Fresh




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  26. We can applaud leadership that re-affirms our historic stand on the creation issue. But like many truths affirmed, it has no real dynamic unless something is done in a dynamic way to stop the false teaching going on, not only at LSU, but other institutions as well.

    Leaders at every level have been entrusted with the authority to exercise discipline in theological situations. Egregious opposition to the foundational theology of creation is certainly grounds for discipline (in spite of ‘big tent’ cries of religious freedom infringment).

    Having the foundational doctrine of creation more explicitly articulated should make it easier for leaders to act in cases where this belief is being undermined or opposed. Whether leaders exercise disciplinary authority in these cases is another story. With a more explicit doctrinal definition it should at least be more difficult for leaders to give tacit approval to theistic evolution.




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  27. @Sean Pitman:

    I would prefer to look at the papers and their critical reviews.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19407199
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.edu.au/pubmed/18436782
    http://www.expert-reviews.com/doi/abs/10.1586/14789450.4.6.695
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17823333
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15790853

    What do these papers show? There is material that has the appearance of connective tissue in ancient fossils. There is no DNA but there is collagen that can be sequenced by mass spec. When we modify our analysis to account for amino acid modification this sequence clusters with birds which a comparator mastodon clusters with elephantine species.

    Or maybe it is all an artifact?

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18174420
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18665236

    Is this simply a contaminating biofilm and anyway the sequence really is not long enough to have any statistical power. Incidently the latest paper does argue against the criticisms based on the modification of amino acids of the ancient proteins. Reminds me of your obnoxious blog exchange with Patti Hare after you essentially called Peter Hare an ignorant fool whose work was useless.

    Your conclusion and enthusiasm for this data illustrates precisely my point about arguing the validity of your position from the error of another. This is the logic YEC strategy of arguing for 6000 years and 6 days. If you visit the AIG of ICR websites this is the staple fare. How does it go

    1] You completely disregard the sequence data supporting a phylogenetic relationship that was the main observation of the study. Fair enough I agree the data is far from compelling and many evolutionists would also not accept it as statistically valid.
    2] You then argue that the evolutionists are wrong and cant see the truth clearly as you can because they are obviously caught in their biased world view. They say the bones are millions of years old but it has protein so cant possibly be millions of years old.
    3] It therefore must be 6000 years old. To suggest anything else just shows your biased evolutionary mindset
    4] We win and all the scientists know nothing. Once again we are right and it is a great example supporting our creationist position.

    Repeat this a thousand fold and that is the evidence for YEC.




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  28. @pauluc:

    @Sean Pitman:

    I would prefer to look at the papers and their critical reviews.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19407199
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov.edu.au/pubmed/18436782
    http://www.expert-reviews.com/doi/abs/10.1586/14789450.4.6.695“
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17823333
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15790853

    What do these papers show? There is material that has the appearance of connective tissue in ancient fossils. There is no DNA but there is collagen that can be sequenced by mass spec. When we modify our analysis to account for amino acid modification this sequence clusters with birds which a comparator mastodon clusters with elephantine species.

    There is more than collagen. There is sequencable hemoglobin. And, modern reptilian proteins often cluster closer to avian proteins rather than elephantine sequences. Your point?

    Or maybe it is all an artifact?

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18174420
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18665236

    Is this simply a contaminating biofilm and anyway the sequence really is not long enough to have any statistical power.

    You’re looking at outdated papers. The original biofilm counter hypothesis has since been falsified by Schwietzer and Jack Horner. Why don’t you actually watch the 60 Minutes videoclip? It is very interesting and you might actually learn something…

    Incidently the latest paper does argue against the criticisms based on the modification of amino acids of the ancient proteins. Reminds me of your obnoxious blog exchange with Patti Hare after you essentially called Peter Hare an ignorant fool whose work was useless.

    Noting that a scientist’s conclusions have been falsified isn’t the same thing as calling him/her an “ignorant fool”. I never called Peter Hare an ignorant fool. I simply pointed out that his theories were no longer accepted as tenable – not even by mainstream science. Patti Hare evidently isn’t up to date on the fact that amino acid racemization dating is not longer considered to be the independent dating technique that Peter Hare thought it was.

    Your conclusion and enthusiasm for this data illustrates precisely my point about arguing the validity of your position from the error of another. This is the logic YEC strategy of arguing for 6000 years and 6 days. If you visit the AIG of ICR websites this is the staple fare. How does it go

    1] You completely disregard the sequence data supporting a phylogenetic relationship that was the main observation of the study. Fair enough I agree the data is far from compelling and many evolutionists would also not accept it as statistically valid.

    I don’t ignore this data at all. I fully accept that there are statistically significant sequences similarities between various groups of living things. In fact, all living things are strikingly similar in many interesting ways – not the least of which is a shared genetic code. I just interpret these similarities to mean something very different than mainstream science does. For me the striking similarities indicate a common origin, but a common origin from a common Designer – not from common descent beyond very low levels of functional complexity.

    Hint: The problem isn’t in explaining the similarities. The problem for the ToE is in explaining the functional differences beyond very very low levels of functional complexity…

    2] You then argue that the evolutionists are wrong and cant see the truth clearly as you can because they are obviously caught in their biased world view. They say the bones are millions of years old but it has protein so cant possibly be millions of years old.

    Exactly. Large stretches of intact sequencable proteins, flexible/elastic soft tissues, and even viable reports of sequencable DNA fragments within sediments supposedly many millions of years old, all dramatically counter very strong assertions by mainstream scientists, just a few years ago, that such things were physically impossible. Such findings therefore speak very strongly in favor of the young-life model of origins… (watch the video clip).

    3] It therefore must be 6000 years old. To suggest anything else just shows your biased evolutionary mindset

    The mainstream evolutionary mindset is extremely biased against catastrophic explainations of the geologic and fossil records. This bias allows them to essentially ignore the soft tissue evidence and numerous other evidences that cannot reasonably be explained given the evolutionary time frames suggested. There is way too much radiocarbon in fossil coal, oil, and soft tissues for example. Erosion rates are way too high for another. There is so significant bioturbation within the fossil record for another… and the list goes on and on.

    Who’s ignoring evidence here? Sure, not everything is understandable yet from a young-life model, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a viable young-life model or that it isn’t supperior to the evolutionary model.

    4] We win and all the scientists know nothing. Once again we are right and it is a great example supporting our creationist position. Repeat this a thousand fold and that is the evidence for YEC.

    Why not at least address the evidence presented instead of simply dismissing it with a wave of the hand and your usual pejorative comments? There is a great deal of evidence that is very mysterious if not impossible to answer from the evolutionist perspective. Your suggestion that there is no such evidence only shows your ignorance or avoidance of what is otherwise quite obvious to the candid mind.

    Beyond this, even if you really don’t see things as I see them, why try to stay in such a backward organization? Why not simply move on and join a church that is more in line with your own perspective? What is your burden to undermine the SDA Church on the SDA Church’s dime? Do you not consider that to be a form of theft on your part – of deliberate misrepresentation?

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  29. Pastor Paulson,

    While the context in Romans refers to ceremonial issues, none the less, there is a moral law application as well. Notice how EGW uses this scripture….

    ” The words of Paul reveal the true dignity and honor of the Christian life: “Though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all,” “not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.” 1 Corinthians 9:19; 10:33. {DA 550.5}
    In matters of conscience the soul must be left untrammeled. No one is to control another’s mind, to judge for another, or to prescribe his duty. God gives to every soul freedom to think, and to follow his own convictions. “Every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” No one has a right to merge his own individuality in that of another. In all matters where principle is involved, “let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.” Romans 14:12, 5. In Christ’s kingdom there is no lordly
    551
    oppression, no compulsion of manner. The angels of heaven do not come to the earth to rule, and to exact homage, but as messengers of mercy, to co-operate with men in uplifting humanity.” {DA 550.6}

    But, I think we agree, this does not mean the church has no authority to discipline and demand accountability of those who attack its teachings. It does mean people are free to join and support any church they agree with and must not be coerced against their conscience as Rome does, and will do when she has the opportunity.

    So again, we agree. Paul allows a Christian may or may not participate in certain ceremonial law issues and can be a Christian either way.

    But this same application in the same context does not apply to the moral law, even though there is a generic moral law application as EGW points out.

    Bill Sorensen




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  30. Kevin Paulson,

    So, when you say that those you disagree with (Lawrence Geraty along with the entire Spectrum/Adventist Today crowd) need to go join the Episcopalians where they belong, you chose Episcopalians because they are the least Biblically based Christian group that comes to mind?




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  31. Dear George:

    There are other denominations they could join, with a similarly ambiguous approach to Scripture. The Dsciples of Christ and the Unitarians could have been mentioned. And perhaps others. But because of the recent, blatant compromises made by the Episcopalians, they came more quicly to my mind than others.

    God bless!

    Pastor Kevin Paulson




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  32. @Sean Pitman:

    ” Why not at least address the evidence presented instead of simply dismissing it with a wave of the hand and your usual pejorative comments? There is a great deal of evidence that is very mysterious if not impossible to answer from the evolutionist perspective. Your suggestion that there is no such evidence only shows your ignorance or avoidance of what is otherwise quite obvious to the candid mind.

    Beyond this, even if you really don’t see things as I see them, why try to stay in such a backward organization? Why not simply move on and join a church that is more in line with your own perspective? What is your burden to undermine the SDA Church on the SDA Church’s dime? Do you not consider that to be a form of theft on your part – of deliberate misrepresentation?”

    A few points in the faint hope that it will be contemplated as a valid Adventist perspective for more than a millisecond. My perception is that you have clearly made up your mind on who I am and what I represent just as you bring a conclusion to your reading of science. I think I regret this already but a scientist is nothing if not hopeful.

    1] You will know from reading Cochrane reviews that there are levels of evidence. As my post-doctoral supervisor said it does not exist until it has been published in a peer review. I would add to this the online databases. I therefore am loath to take journalistic spin from 60 minutes as having any evidentiary value

    2] You are correct in that there is now sequence data that has been matched with hemoglobin but as a pathologist I would hope you recognize that the antibody binding data that Schweitzer presents in her science paper is suggestive but is not really compelling. Here in Australia adventist well remember Lindy Chamberlain who spent several years in jail on the basis of bogus immunochemical finding of large amounts of fetal haemoglobin in the car used by the Chamberlains.

    3] The original mass spec data has been reanalysed independently and supports the original conclusion that there is sequence matching haemaglobin and collagen in the sample from bone and the surrounding soil. Bern M, Phinney BS, Goldberg D (2009) Reanalysis of Tyrannosaurus rex Mass Spectra. J. Proteome Res 8:4328-4332.

    4] What is the actual data on the sequences and what is the scientific argument from which you are deriving so much support for a 6000 year earth history?

    Mastodon [estimated 160-800,000 years]

    1 gfsgldgakx xxxxxxxxge pgspgengan gqmgprxxxx xxgrpgapgp agargndgat
    61 gaagppgptg pagppgfpga vgakxxxxxx xxxgsegpqg vrgepgppgp agaagpagnp
    121 gadgqpgakg angapgiaga pgfpgargap gpqgpggapg pkxxxxxxxx xxxxgdtgak
    181 gepgpvgiqg ppgpageegk rxxxgepgpt glpgppgerx xxxxxgfpga dgvagpkgap
    241 gergsvgpag pkgspgeagr pgeaglpgak gltgspgspg pdgkxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx
    301 xxxxxxgqag vmgfpgpkxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx
    361 xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxgvq
    421 gppgpagprx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx
    481 xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxgltgp igppgpagap gdkgeagpsg pagptgarxx xxxxxxxxxx
    541 xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxgsa
    601 gppgatgfpg aagrvgppgp sgnagppgpp gpagkxxxxx xxgetgpagr pgevgppgpp
    661 gpagekxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxgfpglpgp sgepgkxxxx
    721 xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxegap gsegapgrdg apgpkxxxge tgpagapgpp
    781 gapgapgpvg pagksgdrge tgpagpsgpv gpsgsrgpag pqgprxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx
    841 xxxgfsglqg ppgppgspge qgpsgasgpa gprxxxxxxx xxxxdglngl pgppgppgpr

    T rex [ 68 million years]

    1 gatgapgiag apgfpgarga pgpqgpsgap gpkxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx
    61 xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx
    121 xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx
    181 xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx
    241 xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxgv qgppgpqgpr
    301 xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx
    361 xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx
    421 xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxgs agppgatgfp
    481 gaagrxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx
    541 xxxxxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxx xgvvglpgqr

    B Canadensis [80 million years old]

    1 gsngepgsag ppgpaglrgl pgesgavgpa gppgsr

    Why all the XX s in the T rex and only a 36 aa fragment for the Brachylophosaurus canadensis sequence?

    The scientific argument is whether or not the Trex and B Candensis should be all Xs which was the conventional understanding although the idea that protein can be present in fossils is not new ( see for example; Semal, P.; Orban, R. Collagen extraction from recent and fossil bones: quantitative and qualitative aspects. J. Archaeol. Sci. 1995, 22, 463–467.) and was the underlying premise of Peter Hares work of which you are so dismissive.

    I think it is fair to say that the consensus is swinging to the view that Schweitzer and her colleauges are correct and that there is protein even in conventionally very old fossils. Does Schweitzer and others who do this work interpret this as suggesting that the earth is therfore 6000 years old?

    If you accept the premise that Mastodon, T rex and b Canadensis are all less than 6000 years old then you still have to explain the differences in the frequency of Xs in the sequence data. The emerging scientific view is that these reflect difference in age of the material and a decay in protein with time.

    5] You have not addressed the point of my last post which was that it is illogical to assume that your position of 6000 years is correct simply because proteins persist longer than has been conventionally thought.

    6] I do not leave the Adventist church probably for the same reason you do not leave the Adventist Church and go join Jerry Falwell and the Thomas Road Baptist Church where I am sure your views on literalism and biblical inerrancy would find ready acceptance and you would feel completely at home.
    Since I was baptized in an Adventist church as a teenager and joined the community of faith I have sought to uphold the principles of that community and to live honesty before my God. As a University student I had a crisis of faith when I realized that some of the things such as a literal sanctuary in heaven weres not biblical. I was challenged by the message of salvation by faith as presented by people like Desmond Ford and confronted by the perfectionism of Robert Brinsmead that is finding reexpression in the last generation theology of today. I was appalled by the Churches actions in the 1980s when a large number of committed laypersons and ministers were rejected by the administration. I did not attend Adventist church for a time but with the arrival of children began to appreciate that belief in isolation missed an important part of being a Christian. The participation in the life of the church of God the body of Christ. It was the message of Grace and salvation and the presence of a community of believers that expresses the goodness of God in word and action that compels me to continue to seek to belong and to invite others to experience the Grace of God in community.

    I believe the Adventist church is a movement that arose to call us to see within this world another dimension. To live within hope and to practice the principles of the Kingdom of God now as we wait for the coming when this carbon based life form will be changed and will put on immortality. Adventism has I believe more than other protestant groups stressed the significance of living a life in this body temple that is according to kingdom principles of peace compassion and Grace. I believe the writings of EG White have been of great value in this call to orthopraxy but I view her as lead by the same holy spirit which informs all men and was lead not inerrant. I believe that the last generation theology is an abberation to the spirit of this church as I believe your call for purging is an abberation to the story of the unfolding Grace of God I see in the Adventist tradition.

    I write on this blog not because I wish to destroy the church but because I do not wish you to destroy the church with your platitudes of certainty and hostility to one of the least of these who wish to come to salvation through the God of Grace.




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  33. I write on this blog not because I wish to destroy the church but because I do not wish you to destroy the church with your platitudes of certainty and hostility to one of the least of these who wish to come to salvation through the God of Grace.

    pauluc, what you wrote at the end is admirable (in a sense). It is good that a person not want another to destroy the church….but whether you understand it or not, or believe it or not, that really is the point of this website.

    Scriptures speak of “grievous wolves” in Acts 20:29 “entering among you, not sparing the flock”, and the administrators of this site believe, along with many of the rest of us here, that indeed that has happened at LSU.

    Personally, I believe there is an agenda which many in Adventist education are a part of. This agenda is (I believe) part of a counter-reformation, and is intended to destroy the faith of Adventist youth. Do I know who is behind it all? Well, ultimately, yes, it is the adversary of Christ: Satan. I believe the teaching of evolution is a part of that agenda, and unwittingly or not, teachers that espouse that view are buying into it lock, stock, and barrel (aka: Completely). It is being used as a means to undermine the validity and force of Scriptures as being the Inspired Word of God.

    This is a ‘tug of war’ in a certain sense, and there is much at stake. Will we continue as a church to subscribe to the complete and total authority of Scriptures or not? Will we go the way of the rest of the world, and place science above scriptures? Many in academics would have us believe Scriptures are an allegory, and unworthy of respect as being Divinely authored. If we surrender on this point, where does it end? Do we then surrender the Sabbath? Do we surrender the sanctity of marriage as given in Eden? Do we surrender the idea of One Creator God? Where does it end?

    Being a Seventh-Day Adventist is more than merely being part of a social organization, or club (whether your parents were part of it or not). There is no nepotism in Adventism, and there is no nepotism in the kingdom of God. Ezekiel 14:20 makes that abundantly clear when it says that “Though Noah, Daniel, and Job, [were] in it (the land), [as] I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall [but] deliver their own souls by their righteousness.”

    The same is true of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church. Don’t be an Adventist because your parents or your friends were Adventists, or even because you were raised a Seventh-Day Adventist. Please, only be an Adventist if you really believe what the Seventh-Day Adventist Church teaches and believes.

    If we want harmony within the church, it must be around one and only one guiding principle, and that is the doctrinal inerrancy of the Inspired Word of God. Everything else leads off from this, and yes, even the concepts of love and brotherhood/ sisterhood.

    If we build our ‘house’ (Church) on the shifting sands of skepticism (including evolutionism), what do we really have? We only have an apostate church ready for the vials of wrath and destruction spoken of in Revelation because we haven’t kept the ‘Words of this testimony’ (Scripture).

    Pauluc, If you really want to keep from destroying this church, and if you really want to keep others from destroying it too, then please place your efforts on the side of building up this Church from its true foundations: The inerrancy of Scriptures (Sola Scriptura), which this church was built upon and exists by.




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  34. Pauluc, I greatly appreciate your appeal to grace. I fail to understand why the “keepers of truth” are so derisive of others and eager for a purge. To you, myself, and many others, it’s one of the biggest turn-offs in my admittedly young experience.




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  35. @pauluc:

    1] You will know from reading Cochrane reviews that there are levels of evidence. As my post-doctoral supervisor said it does not exist until it has been published in a peer review. I would add to this the online databases. I therefore am loath to take journalistic spin from 60 minutes as having any evidentiary value

    I would think that you would consider the comments of Mary Schwitzer and Jack Horner on their own work at least of some relevance. They’ve also written papers specifically rebutting several of your arguments – such as your quoted biofilm argument which they convincingly falsified.

    2] You are correct in that there is now sequence data that has been matched with hemoglobin but as a pathologist I would hope you recognize that the antibody binding data that Schweitzer presents in her science paper is suggestive but is not really compelling. Here in Australia adventist well remember Lindy Chamberlain who spent several years in jail on the basis of bogus immunochemical finding of large amounts of fetal haemoglobin in the car used by the Chamberlains.

    Antibody binding evidence is very compelling when it comes to the specific argument that large sections of intact hemoglobin molecules were present in the dinosaur bones analyzed. Beyond this there is the electrophoresis evidence which shows a spectrum of hemoglobin molecular sizes from small to large fragments. The paper you cite below is also supportive of this conclusion. So, I really don’t understand your efforts to discredit the conclusion of Schwitzer and Horner in this regard.

    3] The original mass spec data has been reanalysed independently and supports the original conclusion that there is sequence matching haemaglobin and collagen in the sample from bone and the surrounding soil. Bern M, Phinney BS, Goldberg D (2009) Reanalysis of Tyrannosaurus rex Mass Spectra. J. Proteome Res 8:4328-4332.

    More supportive evidence of intact protein sequences…

    4] What is the actual data on the sequences and what is the scientific argument from which you are deriving so much support for a 6000 year earth history?

    My ideas for the age of life on Earth is not based on sequence data. In fact, I consider the molecular clock hypothesis to be fraught with so many problems as to be quite unreliable. The circularity of this hypothesis has also been demonstrated by showing that estimates based on evolutionary assumptions are off by 20 to 100 fold when compared to real time phylogenetic analysis of historically known family relationships.

    Why all the XX s in the T rex and only a 36 aa fragment for the Brachylophosaurus canadensis sequence?

    The scientific argument is whether or not the Trex and B Candensis should be all Xs which was the conventional understanding although the idea that protein can be present in fossils is not new ( see for example; Semal, P.; Orban, R. Collagen extraction from recent and fossil bones: quantitative and qualitative aspects. J. Archaeol. Sci. 1995, 22, 463–467.) and was the underlying premise of Peter Hares work of which you are so dismissive.

    Peter Hare’s premise was that amino acid racemization rates could be used as an independent molecular clock. This view has been clearly falsified since his death. Even mainstream scientists no longer use AARD as an independent dating technique. At the very best it is only considered useful as a local dating technique once it has been calibrated against another dating method – like radiocarbon.

    I think it is fair to say that the consensus is swinging to the view that Schweitzer and her colleauges are correct and that there is protein even in conventionally very old fossils.

    If you knew that the consensus view now favored Schweitzer’s view, why did you attempt argue otherwise at first?

    Does Schweitzer and others who do this work interpret this as suggesting that the earth is therfore 6000 years old?

    No. They still believe in the mainstream chronology because of their confidence in other forms of radiometric dating. However, neither Schweitzer nor anyone else has been able to explain how molecules that were long thought to self-degrade in well less than 100,000 years could still be around 60-90 million years later. According to mainstream science this is still a seeming impossibility which Schweitzer herself admits. She doesn’t understand how it could possibly happen and nobody else does either.

    If this was the only bit of evidence in line with young-life creationism, there might be more room for suggesting some unknown alternative to explain this evidence. However, there is a great deal more evidence favoring the young-life model of origins to the point where the great weight of evidence, scientific evidence, is actually strongly in favor of the young-life/catastrophic model of the origin of the geologic/fossil records.

    If you accept the premise that Mastodon, T rex and b Canadensis are all less than 6000 years old then you still have to explain the differences in the frequency of Xs in the sequence data. The emerging scientific view is that these reflect difference in age of the material and a decay in protein with time.

    Or it could represent differences in temperature exposure over time or local differences in acidity, etc. This is yet another problem with AARD that Hare didn’t seem to fully appreciate. Time isn’t the only factor that affects racemization or protein decay.

    5] You have not addressed the point of my last post which was that it is illogical to assume that your position of 6000 years is correct simply because proteins persist longer than has been conventionally thought.

    Again, this is by no means the only evidence for a young age of life on Earth. There is a great deal more evidence. It is just interesting that this particular piece of evidence is so strikingly contrary to everything that mainstream scientists had observed and claimed about the rate of protein and DNA and soft tissue decay over time – by several orders of magnitude. It is so far off based of these claims as to be quite a mystery for mainstream science – as Schweitzer herself repeatedly points out in the 60 Minute interview as well as many other news interviews and various published articles and papers.

    6] I do not leave the Adventist church probably for the same reason you do not leave the Adventist Church and go join Jerry Falwell and the Thomas Road Baptist Church where I am sure your views on literalism and biblical inerrancy would find ready acceptance and you would feel completely at home. Since I was baptized in an Adventist church as a teenager and joined the community of faith I have sought to uphold the principles of that community and to live honesty before my God. As a University student I had a crisis of faith when I realized that some of the things, such as a literal sanctuary in heaven, were not biblical. I was challenged by the message of salvation by faith as presented by people like Desmond Ford and confronted by the perfectionism of Robert Brinsmead that is finding re-expression in the last generation theology of today. I was appalled by the Churches actions in the 1980s when a large number of committed laypersons and ministers were rejected by the administration. I did not attend Adventist church for a time but with the arrival of children began to appreciate that belief in isolation missed an important part of being a Christian. The participation in the life of the church of God the body of Christ. It was the message of Grace and salvation and the presence of a community of believers that expresses the goodness of God in word and action that compels me to continue to seek to belong and to invite others to experience the Grace of God in community.

    I believe the Adventist church is a movement that arose to call us to see within this world another dimension. To live within hope and to practice the principles of the Kingdom of God now as we wait for the coming when this carbon based life form will be changed and will put on immortality. Adventism has I believe more than other protestant groups stressed the significance of living a life in this body temple that is according to kingdom principles of peace compassion and Grace. I believe the writings of EG White have been of great value in this call to orthopraxy but I view her as lead by the same holy spirit which informs all men and was lead not inerrant. I believe that the last generation theology is an abberation to the spirit of this church as I believe your call for purging is an abberation to the story of the unfolding Grace of God I see in the Adventist tradition.

    I write on this blog not because I wish to destroy the church but because I do not wish you to destroy the church with your platitudes of certainty and hostility to one of the least of these who wish to come to salvation through the God of Grace.

    The early founders of the SDA Church, to include Mrs. White, proposed an interesting concept of “present truth”. I do not make claims of absolute certainty. In my view there is no such thing from the perspective of a subjective human being. What I do claim is to support what I consider to be “present truth” as best as I can understand “truth”.

    I do not consider this knowledge or “truth” in and of itself “salvational”. In other words, I don’t believe that knowledge or the lack thereof is the basis of morality. Morality, in my opinion, is based only on motive – i.e., the presence or lack of love toward one’s neighbor. I believe that God will not base his judgment on what we knew, but on the Royal Law of Love alone. The only question He will ask is, “What did you do for the least of these my brothers and sisters?”

    However, this does not mean that knowledge is pointless. If it was, God wouldn’t have given us such big brains with the ability to appreciate many aspects about Him and His nature as He reveals these to us. Knowledge has the power to provide a solid hope to those who would otherwise be hopeless in this world of sin, pain and suffering. Knowledge is the basis of a solid hope in the validity of the Gospel’s “Good News”. If the evidence behind this “Gospel” message is shown to be clearly in error in a fundamental degree, then the very basis of the Gospel’s hope is also called into question within the intelligent mind.

    So, this is why I’m an Seventh-day Adventist. I think that the SDA message is a very hopeful message that is based on a great deal of very reliable scientific evidence. I believe that the organization of the Church, as inspired by God Himself, is more effective at spreading this message than any one person could be by his/her self.

    In order to maintain the relevance and power of an organization, there must be rules that are internally maintained within the organization. No viable organization functions without rules of internal order and government. Your notion that the SDA Church, as an organized body, should financially support a person as a teacher or preacher regardless of his/her views on the clearly stated ideals and goals of the organization is a recipe for chaos, not a viable organization.

    So, if you really do value the organized aspect of the SDA Church, and you are working to “preserve” and not destroy the Church as an organization, you should really join me and my efforts to maintain some sort of order within the Church based on the Church’s view, as a collective body of believers, of “present truth”.

    If you as an individual have progressed significantly beyond the Church’s view, as a body, regarding its own clearly stated goals, ideals, and Pillars of Faith, then why do you support opposition to the Church on the Church’s dime? I think it is fine to oppose to SDA Church, but not while one is getting paid by the Church to do the Church’s work. In my book this is stealing of the Church’s time and money… a moral wrong in anyone’s book.

    Anyway, I do thank you for your thoughts and your time. I simply think that you are promoting a position of anarchy which will eventually erode the very thing you think you are striving to protect…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  36. @Geanna Dane:

    Pauluc, I greatly appreciate your appeal to grace. I fail to understand why the “keepers of truth” are so derisive of others and eager for a purge. To you, myself, and many others, it’s one of the biggest turn-offs in my admittedly young experience.

    I’m all for Grace. I don’t think anyone here wants to remove anyone else from the Grace of God. I think everyone who is alive on this planet is under God’s Grace and Love. I even think that many non-SDAs, to include agnostics and atheists, who do not have a proper understanding or knowledge of God and his Grace will be saved by it someday. That’s right, I think that there will be a significant number of very surprised atheists in Heaven someday.

    However, the idea of Grace does not remove or replace the idea that Church order and government is also important. Without such internally enforced order and government the Church, as an organized body, would not long remain viable.

    For those who consider an organized body more effective in achieving a particular goal compared to individual elements of the body acting alone, Church order and organization is very important. This order cannot be maintained by any organization who starts hiring paid representatives who do not support the stated goals and ideals of the organization – who go about actively undermining, in a very public way, the clearly stated goals and ideals of the organization who pays their salaries.

    Yet, this seems to be the very idea that you and Pauluc and several others who frequent this forum support – a complete hand-off approach to Church government. Your arguments for complete “academic freedom” and even complete “pastoral freedom” are self-defeating. While such freedoms are certainly needed when it comes to civil government as a society at large (which we already have to large degree in these great United Stated of America), Church government and other organizations within civil society at large should be free to hire only those who actually represent the organization accurately and effectively.

    Remember, civil liberty works both ways. While freedom of speech is very important in civil society at large, the freedom to be able to selectively pay only those who you want to pay for their “product” is also very important. No one should be forced to pay someone for something that is not desired. In other words, no group of people should have to pay a teacher or preacher if that teacher or preacher isn’t supporting what the group wants to pay for. No appeal to “academic freedom” should be used against such a group in order to get them to pay for something they just don’t want to pay for. And, no preacher or teacher should be free to take money from such a group while doing contrary to what he/she is being paid to do. That’s called stealing by most people. If a person wants to get paid for teaching or preaching, that person needs to find a group of people who are actually willing, freely willing, to pay for his/her services.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  37. @JohnB:

    I appreciate your sincerity but it is entirely possible to be sincerely wrong. Am I sincerely wrong? I recognize that possibility every day in my profession and my scientific understandings. Knowledge about the physical universe is always tentative and provisional. I do not condemn you or ask you to leave the church because you may hold untenable understandings of science because to me that does not matter since the life of faith is not contingent on features of the natural world unless we limit our understanding of God and believe it to be so. It did not matter that the church in the past embraced a geocentric universe and it will not matter if we are also wrong in clinging to a 6000 year earth history. what concerns me is the damage done lost opportunities to advance the Gospel of Grace that attends the argument for error.

    I have written previously here on the dangers of pretending that we have complete understanding and knowledge of scripture, viewing it as inerrant and judging others accordingly. Sola Scriptura was never a call to biblical inerrancy but was a protestant call to accept only the scripture as the basis for belief and was a response to the catholic position of tradition as equal with the bible in determining doctrine and the practice of the church. It was a polemic against the Catholic position on authority within the church. If you also view EG White as inerrant and authoritative you are violating the sola scripture dictum. I would add that taking the GC vote as authoritative would also appear to violate this principle and would be tantamount to accepting the Catholic position on tradition and Vatican pronouncements.

    In the 1980’s the Adventist Church in Australia under K Parmenter and the GC under Neal C Wilson’s driven by the agitation of the “Concerned Brethren” a group much like those on this site, saw the purging of the Adventist ministry and laity in the 1980s. Church employees were asked to sign a document agreeing to a literal sanctuary in heaven and a literal investigative judgment starting there in 1844 and extending to the second coming. If you disagreed you either in desperation rationalized some position of agreement or were honest in rejecting these 2 tenants and were dismissed from church employ. A large proportion of the ministry took the second option and were purged from the Church through this instrument. If you want a glimpse of the future you seem determined to produce you should consult the history as it is recorded in the book on Desmond Ford by Milton Hook that was published by Adventist today. 30 years later the hurt is palpable.

    I heard a superb sermon today on Philipians in particular Philipians 1:12-18.

    It is excellent advice. We as a community of faith are never saved by orthodoxy but by Gods Grace and whatever our motives for preaching that good news we should rejoice that it is being preached rather than attacking those we do not understand who call on the name of God. Why do you think Adventism is going backwards in the developed world? Why are inner city churches near empty and rapidly aging? Do you think it may perhaps be because we are so busy retreating from engagement with the real world. Arguing positions that are intellectually untenable, attaching fellow believers that may differ from us in their understanding of the relationship of the world of the spirit and the naturalistic world. We do not even engage the real enemy of the soul, the alienation, loneliness. lack of hope that characterized modernity. We are too busy with internicine warfare that we do not provide the community of faith that accepts the reality of the Goodness and Grace of God and responds with an ethic and a politic of the Kingdom of God.

    Paul goes on in Phillipian 2:1-18 to call for us to imitate Christ in his selflessness. I am surely condemned by this call and I would apologize if I have offending in not responding with this Christ like attitude to what I may see on this site as error. I for one seek a community of faith such as Paul calls for in his writings. I am an Adventist because I see in Adventism the basis for such community. For that I praise God.




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  38. Yet, this seems to be the very idea that you and Pauluc and several others who frequent this forum support – a complete hand-off approach to Church government.

    Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.

    Church government is subverted when a small group decides on its own to attack Church organizations and leaders, judging them as thieves and liars and cheats, and subjecting them to public ridicule and humiliation. Pauluc and I and others deplore the methods used here. We believe the Church government structure should function as a church government structure with its own rules of governance and without being held hostage to your style of external pressure. We actually seek to protect the Church and its unity. Many of us have stated repeatedly that the employees must respect the Church’s doctrines. We have no disagreement there. We find your approach hypocritical to the extreme. But go ahead and continue accusing us of the worst. We expect plenty more. You guys have quite the gift for accusing the brethren.




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  39. If you people really want to “save” the youth of the church, you need to understand that young people have always been and always will be inclined to resist control. It’s our inherent nature–we naturally progress to where we must become independent of the control of our parents. Have you ever met a teenager who not to some degree rebellious?

    Control has always been and always will be the biggest turn-off to organized religion. If you do’nt get this point and continue to push for relentless control of the church, revising its doctrines and policing loyalty to “truth” of its membership, you will cut off the church’s nose to spite its face. You will see dwindling numbers of youth remaining within the flock. And I am certain you will continue to blame others rather than yourselves. Nothing any of us say will persuade you otherwise.




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  40. I am pleased that the church organization is reaffirming the Bible. When I read Hebrews 11:1-3 it is plain to me that we must accept creation in faith. (v3) “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.”

    We could argue into eternity about evidence of creation & scientific methods. When humans define what scientific methods are it all becomes circular reasoning. To me the quotes below expand on Hebrews and make it abundantly clear that we humans do not and will not have the answers. Do we believe what the Bible says or not? We have plenty of evidence to support what the Bible says is true in numerous historical facts (prophecies and archaeological) and from discoveries in nature. Creation even though supported by enough evidence to validate our faith is going to require faith–God said so! Lets not think we know more than God.

    We must pray for strength to protect our youth, pray for our leaders and especially pray that the measure of faith God has given to each one of us will grow.

    This is from the compilation Lift Him UP.

    It has been the special work of Satan to lead fallen man to rebel against God’s government, and he has succeeded too well in his efforts. He has tried to obscure the law of God, which in itself is very plain. He has manifested a special hate against the fourth precept of the Decalogue, because it defines the living God, the Maker of the heavens and the earth. The plainest precepts of Jehovah are turned from, to receive infidel fables. {LHU 59.3}
    Man will be left without excuse. God has given sufficient evidence upon which to base faith if he wish to believe. In the last days the earth will be almost destitute of true faith. Upon the merest pretense, the Word of God will be considered unreliable, while human reasoning will be received, though it be in opposition to plain Scripture facts. Men will endeavor to explain from natural causes the work of creation, which God has never revealed. But human science cannot search out the secrets of the God of heaven, and explain the stupendous works of creation, which were a miracle of Almighty power, any sooner than it can show how God came into existence. {LHU 59.4}
    “The secret things belong unto the Lord our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever.” . . . God’s ways are not as our ways, neither are His thoughts as our thoughts. Human science can never account for His wondrous works. God so ordered that men, beasts, and trees, many times larger than those now upon the earth, and other things, should be buried in the earth at the time of the Flood, and there be preserved to evidence to man that the inhabitants of the old world perished by a flood. God designed that the discovery of these things in the earth should establish the faith of men in inspired history. But men, with their vain reasoning, make a wrong use of these things which God designed should lead them to exalt Him (Spiritual Gifts, vol. 3, pp. 94-96).

    The Lord made the heavens. . . . Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name. 1 Chronicles 16:26-29. {LHU 60.1}

    There are men who think they have made wonderful discoveries in science. They quote the opinions of learned men as though they considered them infallible, and teach the deductions of science as truths that cannot be controverted. And the Word of God, which is given as a lamp to the feet of the world-weary traveler, is judged by this standard, and pronounced wanting. The scientific research in which these men have indulged has proved a snare to them. It has clouded their minds, and they have drifted into skepticism. They have a consciousness of power; and instead of looking to the Source of all wisdom, they triumph in the smattering of knowledge they may have gained. They have exalted their human wisdom in opposition to the wisdom of the great and mighty God, and have dared to enter into controversy with Him. {LHU 60.2}
    God has permitted a flood of light to be poured upon the world in discoveries in science and art; but when professedly scientific men lecture and write upon these subjects from a merely human standpoint, they will assuredly come to wrong conclusions. The greatest minds, if not guided by the Word of God in their research, become bewildered in their attempts to investigate the relations of science and revelation. The Creator and His works are beyond their comprehension; and because they cannot explain these by natural laws, Bible history is considered unreliable. Those who doubt the reliability of the records of the Old and New Testaments will be led to go a step farther, and doubt the existence of God; and then, having let go their anchor, they are left to beat about upon the rocks of infidelity. Moses wrote under the guidance of the Spirit of God, and a correct theory of geology will never claim discoveries that cannot be reconciled with his statements. The idea that many stumble over, that God did not create matter when He brought the world into existence, limits the power of the Holy One of Israel. {LHU 60.3}
    Many, when they find themselves incapable of measuring the Creator and His works by their own imperfect knowledge of science, doubt the existence of God and attribute infinite power to nature. These persons have lost the simplicity of faith, and are removed far from God in mind and spirit. There should be a settled faith in the divinity of God’s holy Word. The Bible is not to be tested by men’s ideas of science, but science is to be brought to the test of this unerring standard. When the Bible makes statements of facts in nature, science may be compared with the written Word, and a correct understanding of both will always prove them to be in harmony. One does not contradict the other. All truth, whether in nature or revelation, agrees (Signs of the Times, Mar. 13, 1884).




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  41. Geanna,

    As a young person myself, I could not help but respond to your latest, rather strange post. Your views on youth are fatally flawed, as far as my own young heart is concerned. I am 20 years old, and hope to graduate next year from Thomas Edison State College in D.C.

    You said, “You need to understand that young people have always been and always will be inclined to resist control… have you ever met a teenager who was not to some degree rebellious?”
    I am shocked you would say such a thing! Not only is this not true — I as a young guy can testify to that fact — but it shows that you have truly deceived yourself. It is only, only, only, the un-consecrated, un-converted, un-saved youth, under the influence of the world and satan, who are ever and always inclined to rebellion and resistance to ecclesiastical control. What saith Scripture sister?!

    “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.” 1 Samuel 15:23.

    Let the Bible repeat:

    “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.” 1 Samuel 15:23.

    Now what did you say? You said, “If you people really want to “save” the youth of the church, you need to understand that young people have always been and always will be inclined to resist control. It’s our inherent nature–we naturally progress to where we must become independent of the control of our parents. Have you ever met a teenager who not to some degree rebellious?”

    Indeed that is the way many young people are, but thank God, not *all* young people. God says that, the kind of youth you described, are engaging in witchcraft, iniquity and idolatry. Unfortunately, *most* young people are that way. And, the vast majority of young people will not be saved. Only a remnant will be saved; in fact, the Bible says that it will *almost* seem as though everyone is finally lost. Read Revelation 6:15, Revelation 1:7, Revelation 13:3.

    By the way, Ellen White wrote, “I question whether genuine rebellion is ever curable.” 2SM 393 Just something to think about…

    Again, you said, “Control has always been and always will be the biggest turn-off to organized religion. If you do’nt get this point and continue to push for relentless control of the church, revising its doctrines and policing loyalty to “truth” of its membership…you will see dwindling numbers of youth remaining within the flock.”

    I believe that you are 100 percent wrong. And I am a 20 year old guy; and a 7th generation Adventist; and I’ve preached full evangelistic series’s in 5 different countries. Both the Bible, Spirit of Prophecy, and my own experience has convinced me beyond a shadow that, the church loses its youth when it compromises with the world. The church crumbles and erodes, loosing members of every age when it allows its standards to *fall,* when it *loosens* its controls, when it allows the world to infiltrate the church, even in the smallest measure.

    Just look at the Bible. Look at Protestant history. God’s church experiences the most explosive growth when it is the *most* dedicated to a strict, literal, rigorous, and uncompromising faithfulness to the Bible, and the Bible’s standards and boundaries and confines. (We still see this, btw, today: check out The Generation of Youth for Christ, http://www.gycweb.com )

    When the church becomes lax, loose, “progressive,” lenient, permissive, liberal, etc., *all throughout the Bible* we see that the sure result is disaster and ruin.

    The only reason we are loosing our youth is because we are not challenging our youth with the pure, undiluted standards of the Bible. We are encouraging youth to be comfortable in our church, while they are not 100 percent dedicated and committed to God. We mix the world and God to try to make God more attractive. We bring the world into our worship services, standards, and lives. And a half-hearted religion is a miserable thing. That is why they are leaving the church.

    I just had to give a 20 year old guys view on this. God Bless.




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  42. @Glenda:

    I am afraid the church is not reaffirming the bible but is reaffirming one particular interpretation of the Bible and is rejecting all others. The position that is being accepted is one of inerrancy of the bible and the writings of EG White. They are rejecting a position on biblical interpretation that I suspect many theologians would support that is both more consistent with the evidence and what we know of the provenance of the holy writings and of the writings of EG White.

    None who reads the bible seriously would suggest that the writers of Genesis were intending to convey anything but a literal view of the creation and that the words of Genesis 1 reflect an ancient system of cosmology. Similarly one would be obstuse not to see EG White as supporting a view of creation that was literalistic for that was the dominant popular Christian view at the time of her writing. Like most of her contemparoraries she does fear science and I would suggest sees Kelloggs pantheism that denies the importance of the incarnation and a personal God as a threat to faith. The question is how much of this is a reflection of her humanity and the social and intellectual context in which she lived and wrote. The same is true of the writers of Genesis. You would see it as verbal inspiration. In contrast I accept the Adventist fb#1 which quotes the scriptural position that the bible was written by men moved to write by the holy spirit. They wrote of spiritual things from a human perspective. There is a vast difference between these 2 views.

    In reality however we interpret the scriptures whether we would like to admit it or not. For example can I take both Genesis 1 and 2 as my literal account of the creation? If I do then there is conflict with Genesis 1 unless we do not read them both literally. This is indeed what you will find on this site. The interpretation here is that Genesis 1 is the true account of the time and order but Genesis 2 is not literally true and simply gives an account of the relationships and should not be taken literally for the order of creation. What is this but an interpretation? Arbitrary at that. What if I want to accept Genesis 2 as the true order and in some way interpret the Genesis 1 account. Why is that not valid? Maybe Genesis 1 really is just a retelling of the earlier Gilgamesh epic with a monotheisitic spin.

    What concerns me is that the polemics on this site against a rationalistic view and naturalistic explanations are all very interesting as intramural flag waving but they do not have any traction in the real world of the 21st century.

    Sean Pitman has according to his web site had a couple of guerilla raids into Loma Linda University at the request of univeristy students but has he gone to Stanford, UCLA or other secular univerisities and tried to convince people knowledgable in the biological sciences of the science of YEC? Even among medical students in Australia which is a much more secularized society than the USA belief in God among medical students is very high but they do not change their views based on any scientific evidence (Short RV. Darwin, have I failed you? Lancet 1994 Feb;343(8896):528-529).
    Sean Pitman presenting at Stanford. I would like to see the success of that.

    We are deceiving ourself if we think that starting with facts is or ever has been the basis of evangelism in a post-modern world. Every scientist who is a YEC who I have ever met became a christian because of the spiritual values that I would see as the working of the spirit of God. Only then accepted the baggage of literalism and YEC because they saw no alternative. Certainly they then argue the position of literalism as best they can just like Sean Pitman. Was not this Michael Behe’s evidence in the Dover trial and helped convince the judge that indeed ID was religious? You can see the working of God once you accept God for other reasons.

    We need to accept that the basis of Christianity is the Goodness and Grace of God and acceptance of the call to membership of the community of faith. I agree with Sean Pitman and Ted Wilson in that we need revival but it is not a return to a vision of exclusion, literalism and doctrinal purity but an acceptance of faith in a God who is revealed in the community of God. To me Christianity is simply summarized as Grace and Ethics. We like the woman caught in adultery are not condemned but are forgiven and called then to be disciples, to go and sin no more. We are saved by Gods pre-emptive Grace and are called to accept an ethic that is consistent with that salvation. To me that involves such things as non-violence and redemptive love to all. Sean thinks that taking Jesus at his word and forgiving is dangerous to church structure. Indeed it may be but I am first of all a follower of Jesus and am called to participate in the culture of turning the other cheek, giving more than is asked, going further than is required forgiving seventy times seven. Overcoming evil with good. Will my generosity be abused? Of course but Jesus himself took on the form of a servant and was obedient unto death. As a follower can I expect anything else?




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  43. @Brad:

    Sean writes that “genetic duplications almost never result in the production of qualitatively novel genetic functionality beyond what was already present in the ancestral gene pool of functional options”. Here is a relatively recent survey of biological thought on this matter, on which I invite Sean to comment: http://www.umich.edu/~zhanglab/publications/2003/Zhang_2003_TIG_18_292.pdf

    As usual, this article bases its conclusion on assumed evolutionary relationships based primarily on sequence similarities. This article is not based on real time demonstration in the lab or within nature over observable time. The authors do not explain how the minimum changes needed to achieve the qualitatively novel functional differences can likely be explained by their assumed mechanism of RM/NS. Similarities are easy to explain. It’s the required differences that are the problem for the RM/NS mechanism.

    In short, there simply are no examples given in this paper, or anywhere else in literature, of a gene duplication event, or any other type of mutational change, producing any qualitatively novel system of function that requires more than 1000 specifically arranged amino acid parts at minimum. Assumptions and just-so story telling, while interesting and perhaps somewhat entertaining, are not science. They simply do not support the notion that the mechanism of RM/NS is remotely likely to be able to do the job the authors suggest that it did…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  44. @Geanna Dane:

    Many of us have stated repeatedly that the employees must respect the Church’s doctrines. We have no disagreement there. We find your approach hypocritical to the extreme. But go ahead and continue accusing us of the worst. We expect plenty more. You guys have quite the gift for accusing the brethren.

    If a church employee must respect the Church’s doctrines, what do you suggest that the Church, as a body, needs to do with those employees who do not respect Church doctrines? – who go about very publicly and unapologetically attacking those doctrines? What if this has been going on for many years under the cover of slick and deceptive language at one of our universities? This isn’t being done in secret you know. This is a very bold attack on the Pillars of the SDA Faith by those working on the Church’s dime!

    Many speak out strongly for “academic freedom” suggesting that such paid representatives should be untouchable – free to do and say whatever they want on the Church’s dime.

    What do you say to this argument of “academic freedom”? Is it really your position that the constituency of the Church should have no voice? – that no one should say anything even if their own children are being taught non-SDA doctrines as the “truth” in our own schools with the use of our own money? Is that really your position?

    By the way, those who would wish to hold paid representatives accountable to the doctrines of the SDA Church are not the minority within the Church – but the overwhelming majority. This is clearly testified by the fact that Ted Wilson won such an overwhelming majority of the vote during this GC session. His overwhelming support is due, in no small part, to the efforts of those trying to address the LSU situation in particular.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  45. @pauluc:

    Sean Pitman has according to his web site had a couple of guerilla raids into Loma Linda University at the request of univeristy students but has he gone to Stanford, UCLA or other secular univerisities and tried to convince people knowledgable in the biological sciences of the science of YEC? Even among medical students in Australia which is a much more secularized society than the USA belief in God among medical students is very high but they do not change their views based on any scientific evidence (Short RV. Darwin, have I failed you? Lancet 1994 Feb;343(8896):528-529).

    Sean Pitman presenting at Stanford. I would like to see the success of that.

    I’ve presented in a number of secular venues. It is very difficult to change the minds of those whose minds have already been made up, or who have been brought up from childhood constantly taught that a certain view of the world was “the truth”. However, many at these secular venues did admit to me a great deal of surprise in the difficulty they found in being able to challenge what I had to say – that I wasn’t like any other creationist that they had ever heard. Like your apparent inability to bring much to counter the evidence for design or even a catastrophic model of fossil record origins, they had a very similar problem which left them somewhat confused – admittedly so.

    As an example, I’ve even been asked back to the local university where I live here in Northern California to present a series of lectures to the biology department by the biology faculty in the fall – all of whom are strong believers in Darwinian evolution and naturalism in general. This is because, after my first talk at their university, they found my arguments intriguing enough to consider them further within the venue of their own classrooms…

    Ultimately though, it isn’t about numbers. It is about the truth as one is personally given by God to perceive the truth. In other words, it isn’t my job to convict or to worry about the numbers that I have or have not convinced of my own view of “the truth”. Conviction is God’s job, not mine.

    We are deceiving ourself if we think that starting with facts is or ever has been the basis of evangelism in a post-modern world. Every scientist who is a YEC who I have ever met became a christian because of the spiritual values that I would see as the working of the spirit of God. Only then accepted the baggage of literalism and YEC because they saw no alternative. Certainly they then argue the position of literalism as best they can just like Sean Pitman. Was not this Michael Behe’s evidence in the Dover trial and helped convince the judge that indeed ID was religious? You can see the working of God once you accept God for other reasons.

    You need to read Stephen Meyer’s new book on the Signature in the Cell where he talks about what happened at the Dover Trial and the judge’s circular effort to appease the mainstream scientific community. The judge’s arguments behind his exclusion of ID theories from “real science” where circular and nonsensical given the fact that ID theories are already very much a part of science – to include forensic science, anthropology and SETI “sciences”. His argument, therefore, that the detection of design behind various phenomena in nature are beyond the realm of science, was clearly misguided and driven, not by scientific thinking, but by political motivation and evident brainwashing that science cannot address questions of deliberate design.

    Let me also say that I’m not a Christian or a Seventh-day Adventist because of the “spiritual values” or basic “ethics” of Christianity. I see these very same values outside of Christianity as well – even among very non-religious people. I am in the Church because of the evidence in support of the Gospel’s “Good News” – the scientific evidence. If I thought that the weight of evidence countered the doctrinal statements of the Church, I would leave not only the SDA Church, but Christianity as well.

    I know many others would feel the very same way. If you remove the rational basis for a belief in the existence of God and His personal care for the individual, you remove the basis of the Gospel Hope itself.

    We need to accept that the basis of Christianity is the Goodness and Grace of God and acceptance of the call to membership of the community of faith. I agree with Sean Pitman and Ted Wilson in that we need revival but it is not a return to a vision of exclusion, literalism and doctrinal purity but an acceptance of faith in a God who is revealed in the community of God. To me Christianity is simply summarized as Grace and Ethics.

    I am very surprised that so many people make this argument – that Christianity is nothing more than “Grace and Ethics”. What? How does this argument make sense to so many people?

    Do you not understand that Christianity is not needed to make people graceful or ethical? I personally know many people who subscribe to many non-Christian religions who are both graceful and very ethical. I even know non-religious people, to include agnostics and even a number of atheists who are graceful and ethical – some of these are my very good friends who would give me the shirt off their backs if I needed it.

    So, what’s the point of Christianity if Christianity is not needed to give a person grace or ethics? The point is the Gospel’s “Good News” – to make people’s lives more hopeful and brighter in the true knowledge of God here and now. The viability of the Gospel is based on the evidence that the message of a bright future reality is actually true – based in real historical events and the trustworthiness or established credibility of the sources of the Gospel Message.

    This is the point of Christianity – to spread the “Good News” to the world that does not have the conscious solid hope in the future that the Gospel Message offers…

    It seems to me that you are working to remove the basis of this hope while I am working to establish it. You are working to reduce Christianity to something that is not unique to Christianity, while I am working to preserve the unique gift that Christianity has to offer to the world… the Gospel…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  46. @Sean Pitman:

    Your initial claim was that “genetic duplications almost never result in the production of qualitatively novel genetic functionality beyond what was already present in the ancestral gene pool of functional options”. In the Zhang article there are several examples of this, which the article calls “neofunctionalisation”. For example, the genes responsible for trichromatic vision in primates (including humans) were produced by gene duplication from dichromatic ancestors (for those interested in a popular presentation of the evidence for this case, I strongly recommend Sean Carroll’s book The Making of the Fittest).

    Now, as you point out, the evidence for this of course depends on inferring duplication events from the molecular structure of the genes in question, and inferring the phylogenetic relationships between primates in part on the basis of molecular evidence contained within entire genomes. If your objection is simply that no one has observed every stage of the evolution of trichromatism, then you also have an objection to, for example, any theory of how stars or galaxies form. And if that’s your problem, then it’s really of little scientific interest, since it amounts to a generalised scepticism about the reach of inductive inference. On the other hand, perhaps your objection is that there is no reasonable model for: i) how the originally duplicated gene was modified at the molecular level to produce the new function; or ii) the selective advantage this would likely have had. If so, I recommend reading Carroll’s book.

    In your response however you suggest a different claim, which is that “there simply are no examples […] of a gene duplication event, or any other type of mutational change, producing any qualitatively novel system of function that requires more than 1000 specifically arranged amino acid parts at minimum”. If you mean a single duplication event, then (if I understand your use of “amino acid parts” correctly) of course there are no examples of this, since no-one thinks it likely that a thousand useful substitutions occur at once. But if you mean that there are no examples of successive duplication events resulting in a genetic sequence with that degree of divergence, and new function, this paper provides a counterexample (I haven’t counted the number of substitutions, but it looks to be in the ballpark; I am not sure why 1000 is supposed to be significant):

    Liu, Renyi and Howard Ochman. 2007. “Stepwise Formation of the Bacterial Flagellar System”, in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 104, No. 17, April 2007, pp. 7116–7121. URI: http://www.biochem.arizona.edu/ochman/Papers/Liu_PNAS2007.pdf




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  47. @Sean Pitman:

    If a church employee must respect the Church’s doctrines, what do you suggest that the Church, as a body, needs to do with those employees who do not respect Church doctrines? – who go about very publicly and unapologetically attacking those doctrines? What if this has been going on for many years under the cover of slick and deceptive language at one of our universities? This isn’t being done in secret you know. This is a very bold attack on the Pillars of the SDA Faith by those working on the Church’s dime!

    Many speak out strongly for “academic freedom” suggesting that such paid representatives should be untouchable – free to do and say whatever they want on the Church’s dime.

    What do you say to this argument of “academic freedom”?

    I think this was addressed here

    “IF we or angel from heaven should present a gospel other than you have received from us, let him be accursed” Gal 1:6-11.

    “To the Law and to the Testimony, if they speak not according to this word there is no light in them” Is 8:20.

    “Any man who seeks to present theories which would lead us from the light that has come to us on the ministration in the heavenly sanctuary should not be accepted as a teacher. A true understanding of the sanctuary question means much to us as a people. When we were earnestly seeking the Lord for light on that question, light came. In vision I was given such a view of the heavenly sanctuary, and the ministration connected with the holy place, that for many days I could not speak of it.” {UL 199.5}

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  48. Hello Sean

    I appreciated your comments on the grace and ethics of your non-religious friends. As an agnostic, I can certainly attest to the grace and ethics of my religious friends, including adventists.

    I am encouraged that you can lecture at secular universities and I support your right to do so. But should not that same freedom be accorded to the biologists at LSU?

    Regards
    Ken




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  49. By the way, those who would wish to hold paid representatives accountable to the doctrines of the SDA Church are not the minority within the Church – but the overwhelming majority. This is clearly testified by the fact that Ted Wilson won such an overwhelming majority of the vote during this GC session. His overwhelming support is due, in no small part, to the efforts of those trying to address the LSU situation in particular.

    Give yourself another well-deserved pat on the back, Sean.

    If Elder Wilson had in mind holding leaders accountable by attacking them and assassinating their characters on internet sites, then he is no more a man of God than you and many of your supporters are.

    Let’s see, who has been attacked here: the former GC president, former NAD President, NAD vice-President of Education, several conference and union presidents, the current and a past LSU President, the Southern Adventist University President (a real shocker), other LSU administrators, numerous former and newly elected LSU board members, the entire Geoscience Research Institute and one scientist in particular, numerous LSU faculty, numerous LLU faculty, Canadian Union College University faculty…will this list ever end?

    I wonder whether the revised Church Manual will endorse cyberbullying as an effective means for holding paid representatives accountable? What do you think?




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  50. @Brad:

    In your response however you suggest a different claim, which is that “there simply are no examples […] of a gene duplication event, or any other type of mutational change, producing any qualitatively novel system of function that requires more than 1000 specifically arranged amino acid parts at minimum”. If you mean a single duplication event, then (if I understand your use of “amino acid parts” correctly) of course there are no examples of this, since no-one thinks it likely that a thousand useful substitutions occur at once.

    I’m not asking for 1000 useful substitutions or changes occurring at once. I’m not asking for 1000 changes at all. The 1000aa level of functional complexity refers to the minimum part requirement needed to produce the system in question so that it actually works to do a particular function – regardless of the number of mutational changes needed to achieve this minimum structural threshold.

    For example, lactase enzyme function requires a minimum of over 300 averagely specified amino acid residues. If you have less than this minimum, you will not be able to produce a selectable level of lactase functionality in a biosystem like a bacterium in a lactose rich environment – period.

    Now, such a system may be just one point mutation away from some other system within the gene pool. The minimum mutational distance in such a case would be just one character change in order to achieve beneficial lactase activity.

    Now, the odds that the minimum likely distance will be just one point mutation, or one mutation of any kind (even an indel-type mutation) drop exponentially as the minimum structural threshold requirement increases for higher and higher level systems.

    For example, a rotary flagellar motility system requires a minimum of around 10,000 fairly specified amino acid parts (distributed in a few dozen structural proteins which work together in specific arrangement at the same time). Without this minimum in place the motility function of the flagellar system will not work to a selectable level of activity. The odds that this structural minimum will be a short distance in sequence space from anything else within a given gene pool are extremely remote this side of a practical eternity of time.

    But if you mean that there are no examples of successive duplication events resulting in a genetic sequence with that degree of divergence, and new function, this paper provides a counterexample (I haven’t counted the number of substitutions, but it looks to be in the ballpark; I am not sure why 1000 is supposed to be significant):

    Liu, Renyi and Howard Ochman. 2007. “Stepwise Formation of the Bacterial Flagellar System”, in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 104, No. 17, April 2007, pp. 7116–7121. URI: http://www.biochem.arizona.edu/ochman/Papers/Liu_PNAS2007.pdf Brad(Quote)

    This paper does not provide a counterexample at all. This paper, like many others, simply assumes that the minimum gap distances between the suggested steppingstones are small enough for RM/NS to cross over from one to the next. There are no statistical calculations for the likely time or numbers of mutational events that would be required to cross from one to the next.

    The fact is, if you actually sit down and do the math for the ratio of beneficial vs. non-beneficial for higher and higher levels of functional complexity you will notice that this ratio declines in an exponential manner. This means that the likely minimum gap distance increases in a linear manner with each step up the ladder of functional complexity. And, that means that the average time involved for RM/NS to cross the gap distance increases exponentially with each step up the ladder.

    This is why there are no real time examples of evolution in action at or beyond the 1000 fsaar level of functional complexity. None of the steps in your flagellar evolution scenarios have been demonstrated in real time – not one. Given the common assertions that the gap distance involved are very small, why has no one demonstrated such an evolutionary step between any of the proposed steppingstones at these higher levels of functional complexity?

    Think about it…

    For a much more detailed discussion of flagellar motility system evolution arguments and my own arguments for the exponentially stalling effect of evolutionary progress with increasing functional complexity see:

    http://www.detectingdesign.com/flagellum.html

    Assumptions and Calculation for Exponential Gap Problem:

    http://www.detectingdesign.com/flagellum.html#Calculation

    I appreciated your comments on the grace and ethics of your non-religious friends. As an agnostic, I can certainly attest to the grace and ethics of my religious friends, including adventists.I am encouraged that you can lecture at secular universities and I support your right to do so. But should not that same freedom be accorded to the biologists at LSU?
    Regards
    Ken  

    It may be fine to invite an evolutionary biologist to lecture in order to produce some sort of foil for further discussion within the class. However, the hired professor at an Adventist University should actively support the ideals and goals of the SDA Church. Otherwise, there simply would be no point in having SDA Church schools if these schools went about actively undermining the goals and ideals of the Church…

    Remember now, while one should be free to say whatever one wants in a free civil society, one is also free not to pay a person for his/her ideas if one doesn’t like such ideas. Freedom works both ways you know. It is therefore a privilege, not a civil right, to be hired and paid by the SDA Church to present your ideas.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  51. Again, you said, “Control has always been and always will be the biggest turn-off to organized religion. If you do’nt get this point and continue to push for relentless control of the church, revising its doctrines and policing loyalty to “truth” of its membership…you will see dwindling numbers of youth remaining within the flock.”

    I believe that you are 100 percent wrong. And I am a 20 year old guy; and a 7th generation Adventist; and I’ve preached full evangelistic series’s in 5 different countries. Both the Bible, Spirit of Prophecy, and my own experience has convinced me beyond a shadow that, the church loses its youth when it compromises with the world. The church crumbles and erodes, loosing members of every age when it allows its standards to *fall,* when it *loosens* its controls, when it allows the world to infiltrate the church, even in the smallest measure.

    Robert, I applaud your rebellion against the popular mindset. But if you will look more closely at what I wrote, I said nothing about compromise with the world or allowing standards to *fall*. Once again I am chastised for statements I never made.

    I simply believe the best witness to youth is by example, not by control or coercion. “Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit says the Lord.” If you insist that our youth blindly accept all of the church’s teachings and forbid questioning, you have created a cult. If you want our youth to show obedience without a conversion of the heart, you have created a cult. If you require our youth to make a choice between believing every “official” church interpretation without question and adhering to every prescribed standard (no dancing, no jewelry, no caffeine, no swimming on sabbath, no wearing makeup, no attending movies, no pop music, and blindly following EGW, no bowling, no riding a bicycle, etc, etc, etc) or immediately departing from the church, they will continue to walk away in droves. Like it or not, you won’t stem the tide, no matter how many evangelistic series you give in different countries.




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  52. Robert, many of our “standards” have little to no bearing on our salvation. The message has far to often been, and will continue to be, stupid statements like “if you wear makeup or jewelry you can’t be an Adventist”. And increasingly “if you question how to explain what we see in the natural world with a literal interpretation of every single word in Genesis you can’t be an Adventist”. These are NOT God’s tests of fellowship and should NEVER be made tests of membership in the remnant church.

    I think the mindset of many people here is that a young person who is a homosexual, or engages in premarital sex, or masturbates on occassion, should no longer consider herself a Seventh-day Adventist. And simply asking- just asking- questions that challenge the beliefs of mainstream Adventists who know nothing about evolution is, of course, the worst form of infidelity and should be treated with contempt and exclusion from church membership. It is really tough to interact with people who throw stones and are without sin themselves.




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  53. Dear Pauluc:

    It is clear from your earlier posts on this forum that you are an unreconstructed disciple of the un-Biblical teachings of Desmond Ford concerning salvation and the sanctuary. It is for this reason that you find it easy to accept evolution, which Ford clearly promotes in his new book For the Sake of the Gospel, and why you find the idea of doctrinal purity and accountability within the church so offensive.

    I hope no one in this discussion thinks the issues of the gospel and salvation are unrelated to the issues of origins we have been addressing on this forum. They are intimately related. The principal reason for this is the fact that if one considers doctrinal belief or knowledge to be irrelevant to salvation, the teaching of any number of false theories–including evolution–becomes acceptable. “Grace” becomes permissiveness, which is quite contrary to the portrait of true grace found in Holy Scripture.

    I was a theology student at Pacific Union College during the time Ford was there, and saw for myself the shipwreck of faith he caused for so many that I knew and loved. For over thirty years I have been an in-depth student of Ford’s teachings and those of his fellow travelers, and have been appalled at how so many of our people have embraced ideas that have no foundation whatsoever in Scripture. The saddest thing about that era was that the church undertook an incomplete cleansing of its ranks. Now, perhaps, with courageous leadership in command of the world church, perhaps this task can finally be finished.

    God bless!

    Pastor Kevin Paulson




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  54. @Sean Pitman:

    Let’s distinguish three claims.

    First, there is the claim, defended by Liu and Ochman, that the physical structure of the flagellum maps smoothly onto the phylogenetic structure of the bacterial species, in the sense that phylogenetically prior species possess fewer flagellar genes than phylogenetically later species, and that as we look further back in time, the genes possessed correspond to physically upstream elements of the flagellar system. As they write, “the flagellum represents a case whereby its order of assembly recapitulates its evolutionary history” (p. 7119).

    Second, there is the claim, also defended by Liu and Ochman, that these genes arose primarily through gene duplication. This is an inference made purely from the molecular data.

    Third, there is the claim, not explicitly defended by Liu and Ochman, that these genes persisted and diversified in this way in part due to the action of natural selection.

    Now, your arguments concern the third claim. You claim that no one has reconstructed the functional history of these stages to a level of detail that tracks reasonable probabilities for actual evolutionary transitions. As far as I know, this is correct. You also seem to have an in-principle reason for thinking that this cannot be done, but I am unclear what it is. It’s very difficult to establish the claim that precursors are non-functional, for the simple reason that it is very difficult to formulate all of the possible functional hypotheses. And as I expect you know, the fact that removing a certain number of components results in a non-functioning flagellum does not support the inference that the associated structure is without function, due to the possibility of exaptation.

    More relevant to the original claim you made is the fact that you have not given any reason to doubt the first and second points. The evidence in Liu and Ochman supports the inference that gene duplication was in part responsible for the evolution of complex novel function. It does so independently of any particular selectionist hypothesis. If you doubt this, I’m interested in your alternative hypothesis for why the phylogenetic structure maps so smoothly onto the physical structure, or for the molecular similarities between the flagellar core genes.




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  55. Dear Geanna:

    You keep claiming to have been chastised for statements you never made. I apologize if this has happened. The problem is, you are clearly making statements in your recent posts for which godly rebuke and chastisement are most appropriate.

    I am truly appalled by the statements you have made above. Are you saying that such clearly unscriptural choices as premarital sex and homosexuality fail to disqualify people from church membership? If this is how loose you are prepared to be with the clearest counsel of God’s Word, it is obvious to any objective student of current issues why you see no problems with people teaching evolution in Adventist schools.

    When you claim some of our standards “have no bearing on salvation,” you are partaking of a popular–though fully unscriptural–mindset in contemporary Adventism. Anything that the inspired writings teach is from God, and He wouldn’t waste our time giving us counsels that were irrelevant to salvation. This is why Jesus declared that man shall live “by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4).

    No one is saying that honest questions should be prohibited. Nor is anyone saying that obedience should be forced in the absence of conversion. Here it is YOU who are creating a straw man, and chastising people for statements they never made. What we ARE saying here is that if men and women choose to reject the answers to life’s questions–including the question of origins–as provided in both Scripture and the writings of Ellen White, they are in the wrong church. The Seventh-day Adventist Church is neither a culture nor a social club. Rather, it is a movement of men and women who believe a line of unchangeable truth.

    And by the way, just for clarification, Ellen White NEVER told people not to ride bicycles!! This is part of the Ellen White apocrypha for sure!! What she did was to condemn the bicycle “craze” (her word) of her time which was taking large sums of money which could better have been placed in the Lord’s work. The counsel of Ellen White regarding any and all issues is fully Biblical and balanced. Fanaticism occurs only when her counsel and that of Scripture is taken out of context and not compared with the inspired consensus.

    God bless!

    Pastor Kevin Paulson




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  56. Hello Sean

    “It may be fine to invite an evolutionary biologist to lecture in order to produce some sort of foil for further discussion within the class. However, the hired professor at an Adventist University should actively support the ideals and goals of the SDA Church. Otherwise, there simply would be no point in having SDA Church schools if these schools went about actively undermining the goals and ideals of the Church…

    Remember now, while one should be free to say whatever one wants in a free civil society, one is also free not to pay a person for his/her ideas if one doesn’t like such ideas. Freedom works both ways you know. It is therefore a privilege, not a civil right, to be hired and paid by the SDA Church to present your ideas.”

    Sean, I certainly concede this is a valid point for SDA schools. Here is the problem. This position taken to the extreme will marginalize faith based science being at best, subjective. A better alternative is to allow evolution to be taught at SDA school as mainstream science with the proviso that it is considered to be antithetical to SDA religious tenets.

    Moreover I think criticism of evolution should be taught and you provide a valuable service to the scientific community by doing so. You are obviously a learned person in science and I enjoy reading your comments. Nothing wrong with debate, versus dogmatic acceptance of any position: be it SDA # 6 or evolution. If enough mainstream scientists can be swayed by rational arguments on the facts that the earth is 6000 years old then so be it.

    The tail of faith should not wave the dog of science or vice versa. They are different disciplines. Science can no more tell us if there is a God, than faith can straitjacket science into subjectivism. Theories of theistic evolution abound for a reason; because there is strong evidence of evolution but this not solve the problem of the origins of the universe. Creationists make very valid arguments about the initial cause before the effect of the big bang. It is human to deify that initial cause for lack of any rational explanation. That’s OK, both Einstein and Hawkings understood, and understand, this. Faith is both a belief and explanation for the unknown. Science offers a service by continuing dispelling superstition with observable, testable facts and theories. Science must strive to be objective and free from bias to maintain its integrity. Otherwise it becomes the tools of those with ulterior motives be they faith based or secular.

    Human frailty knows no boundaries.

    Your frail friend in debate.
    Ken

    Best regards
    Ken




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  57. Dear Kevin

    “The saddest thing about that era was that the church undertook an incomplete cleansing of its ranks. Now, perhaps, with courageous leadership in command of the world church, perhaps this task can finally be finished.”

    “Cleansing of the ranks”! Kevin, are you really sure you want to use that language? There are many historical precedents of disaster when groups have attempted such, euphemistic, “cleansing”

    Regards
    Ken




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  58. Pastor Kevin Paulson,

    If you are overweight, you and every other overweight church employee is a sinner actively undermining the church’s doctrine on health, showing complete disregard for Biblical and spirit of prophecy counsel, and setting an inexcusable example of idolatry to food. You should immediately resign from the church because you are actively undermining the church’s doctrines on the church’s dime.

    If you eat chocolate, which contains caffeine, you and every other caffeine-consuming church employee is a sinner actively undermining the church’s doctrine on health, showing complete disregard for Biblical and spirit of prophecy counsel, and setting an inexcusable example of idolatry to food. You should immediately resign from the church because you are actively undermining the church’s doctrines on the church’s dime.

    I could go on and on. Why would the sin of gluttony be any less than sexual sin? But then you have set yourself up as one qualified for godly rebuke and chastisement and have declared me deserving of the same. Who am I to tell a Church leader he is a sinner? That’s your self-appointed job! And that of dozens or hundreds of others who applaud your judgements.




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  59. Proverbs 23:20-21 warns us, “Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.” Proverbs 28:7 declares, “He who keeps the law is a discerning son, but a companion of gluttons disgraces his father.” Proverbs 23:2 proclaims, “Put a knife to your throat if you are given to gluttony.” SHALL WE TAKE THIS LATTER COMMAND LITERALLY, ALL YE BIBLICAL LITERALISTS AND PURISTS?

    Physical appetites are an analogy of our ability to control ourselves. If we are unable to control our eating habits, we are probably also unable to control other habits, such as those of the mind (lust, covetousness, anger) and unable to keep our mouths from gossip or strife. We are not to let our appetites control us, but we are to have control over our appetites. (See Deuteronomy 21:20, Proverbs 23:2, 2 Peter 1:5-7, 2 Timothy 3:1-9, and 2 Corinthians 10:5.) The ability to say “no” to anything in excess—self-control—is one of the fruits of the Spirit common to all believers (Galatians 5:22).




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  60. Very often those who wish to complain about Bible believing Christians who accept the teaching of God’s Word on the doctrine of origins, takes the form of objecting to a “literal interpretation of the Bible” as follows:

    @Geanna Dane:

    Robert, many of our “standards” have little to no bearing on our salvation. The message has far to often been, and will continue to be, stupid statements like “if you wear makeup or jewelry you can’t be an Adventist”. And increasingly “if you question how to explain what we see in the natural world with a literal interpretation of every single word in Genesis you can’t be an Adventist”. These are NOT God’s tests of fellowship and should NEVER be made tests of membership in the remnant church.

    Yet it is obvious that the same historical grammatical methods were used to sola-scriptura test and define our doctrines on the nature of Christ, the virgin birth, the resurrection of Christ, the future 2nd coming, the future bodily resurrection of the saints, the future millennium, the future new Jerusalem, the latter rain, the Trinity, raising Lazarus from the dead, the seventh-day Sabbath, the assumption of Moses, Enoch and Elijah taken to heaven, spiritual gifts as found in 1Cor 12, the gift of prophecy (and on and on).

    The wild idea that we should question that same method if it happens to be used to define the Bible doctrine on origins just because it conflicts with by-faith-alone arguments of evolutionists on that same subject – makes no sense at all.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  61. @ken:

    Hello Sean

    I appreciated your comments on the grace and ethics of your non-religious friends. As an agnostic, I can certainly attest to the grace and ethics of my religious friends, including adventists.

    I am encouraged that you can lecture at secular universities and I support your right to do so. But should not that same freedom be accorded to the biologists at LSU?

    Regards
    Ken ken(Quote)

    Surely as an agnostic you must see the logic and consistency in Darwin’s statement that he found no way to reconcile evolution with the Bible. So also the same statements made by Richard Dawkins, Provine, and Meyers on the same subject.

    How then can we expect a denomination dedicated to a Bible-based view of the doctrine of origins, to promote evolutionism as if “they are compatible” or as if “evolution is true and the Bible is false”. Both options are total nonsense for such an organization.

    (I say this in the context of the clear fact that even Southwestern and Southern Adventist Universities teach evolution in their biology courses – but they do not teach it as proven fact, or as “revealed truth”, or as compatible with scripture).

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  62. Here is what Ellen White has to say about those of you who are gluttons:

    The word of God places the sin of gluttony in the same catalogue with drunkenness. So offensive was this sin in the sight of God that He gave directions to Moses that a child who would not be restrained on the point of appetite, but would gorge himself with anything his taste might crave, should be brought by his parents before the rulers of Israel, and should be stoned to death. The condition of the glutton was considered hopeless. He would be of no use to others, and was a curse to himself. No dependence could be placed upon him in anything. His influence would be ever contaminating others, and the world would be better without such a character; for his terrible defects would be perpetuated. None who have a sense of their accountability to God will allow the animal propensities to control reason. Those who do this are not Christians, whoever they may be, and however exalted their profession. The injunction of Christ is, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” He here shows us that we may be as perfect in our sphere as God is in His sphere. {CD 133.2}

    I think the injuction from the Spirit of Prophecy is crystal clear. Those of you who indulge your appetites and eat to an excess, and do so on the church’s dime, have clearly disqualified yourselves for employment. Please follow your own advice to so-called Seventh-day Darwinists and resign your positions immediately. Perhaps you should join another church which looks more benignly on gluttony. And considering how many of our church’s leaders and teachers are gluttons (easily identified via Google Images), it’s clear that we need a genuine rewrite of fundamental belief #22 on Christian Behavior–which shockingly makes no specific mention of gluttony. Ellen White makes very clear that gluttony = drunkenness, and to be internally consistent the church must remove from leadership not just those who imbibe alcohol but also those who lack control of their appetite.




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  63. @Geanna Dane

    Let’s see, who has been attacked here: the former GC president, former NAD President, NAD vice-President of Education, several conference and union presidents, the current and a past LSU President, the Southern Adventist University President (a real shocker), other LSU administrators, numerous former and newly elected LSU board members, the entire Geoscience Research Institute and one scientist in particular, numerous LSU faculty, numerous LLU faculty, Canadian Union College University faculty…will this list ever end?

    Actually Geanna, it should be “the current and TWO past LSU Presidents.” Fritz Guy served as LSU president before Dr. Geraty, and has certainly taken his share of criticism here, though thankfully not as much as previously. As for your query as to whether or not the list will end, I doubt it. In my casual and un-scholarly look through purges of many types, modern and historical, it seems that an ideological purge is a process very hard to stop once started. As the great Jewish philosopher Jonathan Stewart said about political purges, “the problem with requiring tests of purity is that you will eventually become the one who is impure.”

    I am only a music professor and thankfully do not have to (at this time) defend my curriculum and methods to a governing body (though we all do this somewhat indirectly in accreditation procedures by the National Association of Schools of Music). The real issue is whether I am ready to defend my curriculum and methods before Christ. After that is settled, any human official inquiry will become utterly superfluous.

    Pax,

    David Kendall, PhD
    Adjunct Professor of Music
    La Sierra University




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  64. @Kevin Paulson:

    I think you and Sean have a very low view of Grace and a simplistic understanding of the ethic that comes as a response to Gods redemptive acts. Personally I find it highly offensive that a Christian should claims to be following the Christ who calls us to be a servant to all and to love our enemies can so easily dismiss these claims as optional and be part of an armed force designed to efficiently kill simply on a political whim. I believe the anabaptist pacifist tradition from which certainly Ellen White drew inspiration, most closely reflects the Christian ethical response of peace in the face of violence.

    I also find it offensive that someone should ostensibly in the name of Christ publish homophobic rhetoric as though it spoke for God. What ever happened to following Christ’s example of compassion for the outcast and the oppressed. The grace of God would compel us to recognize that we all are indeed not without sin and show mercy forgiveness and compassion.

    I also find it offensive that someone should presume to think that I am a disciple of anyone except Jesus Christ. You like Sean Pitman on this an other sites presume more knowledge than the collective understanding of a multitude of scholars in theology or science both inside and outside the church. By your own claim you have

    “For over thirty years I have been an in-depth student of Ford’s teachings and those of his fellow travelers, and have been appalled at how so many of our people have embraced ideas that have no foundation whatsoever in Scripture”.

    Indeed, and you know for certain that Des Ford and most evangelical scholars are incorrect in their view that the Investigative Judgement of 1844 cannot be sustained from the bible? At least be honest enough to acknowledge that this position is sustainable only if you claim EG White as canonical which I do appreciate you seem to do.

    From your comments and their rigour I suspect scholarship did not come easy for you at PUC. I have observed that people who are truly knowlegeable are low on hubris and willing to admit the limitations of their knowledge and the many areas and subjects on which we all are ignorant and for which there are no easy answers. To admit there is a question is not a manifestation of personal failure.

    We are, in the face of a great deal of uncertainty, nevertheless called to live a life either of hedonistic, nihlistic, nothingness or a life of Faith and belief in the divine. I choose a life of Faith because of the Goodness I do still see in the world, in the moments of transcendence in worship and contemplation, in the Grace I see in the community of Faith and in the ethic of the Kingdom of God and in the story of Jesus. An ethic that calls us to deny ourselves to be the servant of all. This is a call way beyond the graceful and ethical veneer of the worlds respectability that you and Sean confuse with the life of Faith. There are many good people, some saintly people, but there are few if any saints. We are called to live Kingdom principles and an ethic of the very God who calls us to emulate him. Phillipians 2:5

    3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

    5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
    6 Who, being in very nature[a] God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
    7 but made himself nothing,
    taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
    8 And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    and became obedient to death—
    even death on a cross!

    This is the message of Christianity, a call to a life that is way beyond the platitudes of this world of selfishness and conceit. Can we ever achieve that? Can we ever really be completely selfless and totally committed to others. We can practice self deceit and pretend that the bar is not really so high and accept the platitudes of perfection of LGT or we can be realistic and recognize that we are ever sinful and selfish to our very core and cling to Gods grace and forgiveness and live by faith as we live disciplined lives of a servant of God.

    The church will be the community of God and a haven of rest for the weary soul when we protest against the Greed, selfishness and excess of our secular humanist society and return to this primitive Godliness based on Grace and Discipleship. It will not come because we raise our voices in self-righteous anger and rant about Gays and sabbath breakers and evolutionists and non-literalists and peace protesters and greenies and abortionists and preachers of “cheap grace” and people who play drums and clap in church and any number of other compliances we need for a form of Godliness that denies its power.




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  65. Dear Ken:

    When I speak of cleansing the ranks of God’s church, I am speaking of what Ellen White describes when she mentions the purge of Judah and Jerusalem undertaken by Ezra and Nehemiah:

    “In the work of reform to be carried forward today, there is need of men who, like Ezra and Nehemiah, will not palliate or excuse sin, nor shrink from vindicating the honor of God. Those upon whom rests the burden of this work will not hold their peace when wrong is done, neither will they cover evil with a cloak of false charity. They will remember that God is no respecter of persons, and that severity to a few may prove mercy to many. They will remember also that in the one who rebukes evil the spirit of Christ should ever be revealed” (PK 675).

    Many more examples from the sacred record could be cited. If men and women refuse to submit themselves to the written counsel of God, after having been lovingly labored with, the body of Christ has the duty to remove such a one from employment and/ore membership. As a pastor I have had to do this. The purpose of such a course is redemptive, not punitive. Its purpose is to help the erring one see the error of his or her ways, and to thus claim God’s power for a change of mind and heart.

    I realize this is anathema to postmodern permissiveness, but it is nevertheless the Bible way to deal with false doctrine and errant behavior within the fellowship of professed believers.

    God bless!

    Pastor Kevin Paulson




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  66. Dear Geanna:

    I am glad you are raising the issues of which you speak. Your observations reveal serious problems of understanding which are rampant within the contemporary church, which are settled when one simply allows the written counsel of God (both Scripture and Ellen White) to define our duty as Seventh-day Adventist Christians.

    What troubles me most about your reasoning, and that of so many others who think along similar lines, is that the end result is to almost totally eliminate any form of church discipline. The argument seems to go something like this: “We’re all sinners, and your sin is just as bad as mine, so let’s just leave each other’s beliefs and practices alone and learn to get along.” This may sound agreeable in our postmodern setting, but it is not Biblical. And frankly, I doubt that you yourself would wish to live with the ultimate consequences of such an argument. I am sure there are beliefs and practices you would not tolerate in a church member either. The point is that we need to let the written Word, not our personal preferences and prejudices, guide our thinking in such matters.

    I grew up at a time in the church when the exposure and ridicule of hypocrisy was almost a sport for certain ones. Hypocrisy is a terrible thing, to be sure. But it seems that so many who attack hypocrisy within the church seem to offer no solution except to imply a very loosely-structured, open-ended “tolerance” whose limits and parameters they never quite clarify. This may offer a certain catharsis to those who have suffered at the hands of hypocrites in the church, but it offers no practical help to the body of Christ in addressing issues of faith, identity, purpose, and practice.

    Again, there may be some who think such issues lead as far afield from the topic of creation and evolution. I frankly disagree. It is imperative that we understand the ranking of issues among us, and how as end-time Christians it is our responsibility to help one another on the upward path toward holiness and victory.

    Inspiration defines certain lifestyle issues as tests of fellowship and others as issues of Christian growth. This is not something arbitrary that the church has invented. Ellen White, for example, speaks of alcohol, tobacco, tea, and coffee as sinful indulgences, but says we cannot say the same about the consumption of flesh meat and other animal products, even though the abandonment of the latter is to be our eventual goal (see 3SM 287-288). In other statement she writes of how meat and dairy products are “not to be classed with flesh meat” (7T 135).

    In other words, there are degrees in health reform. Some practices (like smoking and drinking; see Te 166) are to be abandoned as prerequisites for church membership, while others are to be areas of growth which the body of Christ must facilitate and encourage.

    You are quite correct in quoting those verses which speak of the indulgence of appetite. This is an area where many, including the present writer, experience struggle. The point is, however, that we have no inspired mandate to measure the physical weight of church employees or members so as to ascertain their level of progress in this area. This is simply one of those areas where the counsel of fellow believers, individual effort, and most of all the empowerment of divine grace are to be decisive.

    One point you raise deserves clarification. The writings of Ellen White do not teach total abstinence from caffeine. The fact is that caffeine is not even mentioned in the writings of Ellen White. The reason tea and coffee are condemned is because they are stimulants, and of course the stimulating agent in these drinks is the volume of caffeine present. By contrast, the amount of caffeine found in chocolate is minuscule by comparison. No one, as you well know, drinks hot chocolate to wake up in the morning or to stay up late at night to study for an exam! It is interesting that while hot chocolate was a more popular drink in the days of Ellen White than either tea or coffee, Ellen White says nothing about chocolate despite her many warnings against both tea and coffee.

    At the bottom line, to bring our discussion back to the central issue of this forum, the question of how we got here in the first place is very much an issue on which the church has the right to expect clarity from its workers and its members. To compare this key issue of faith and worldview to whether one drinks chocolate or is overweight is not likely to be persuasive to objective observers of this dialogue. There are mountains and valleys, weighty and less weighty matters (no pun intended!), in the faith and practices of the striving faithful. That does not change the fundamental reality that belief in theistic evolution is completely out of bounds for one claiming to be a Seventh-day Adventist, especially as an employed worker.

    God bless!

    Pastor Kevin Paulson




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  67. @Brad:

    @Sean Pitman:
    Now, your arguments concern the third claim. You claim that no one has reconstructed the functional history of these stages to a level of detail that tracks reasonable probabilities for actual evolutionary transitions. As far as I know, this is correct. You also seem to have an in-principle reason for thinking that this cannot be done, but I am unclear what it is. It’s very difficult to establish the claim that precursors are non-functional, for the simple reason that it is very difficult to formulate all of the possible functional hypotheses. And as I expect you know, the fact that removing a certain number of components results in a non-functioning flagellum does not support the inference that the associated structure is without function, due to the possibility of exaptation.

    If you remove parts below the minimum structural requirement for flagellar motility, for example, the motility function will not be realized even if some other functionality still exists for the simpler structure. An example of this is the TTSS system which has 10 protein parts that are essentially identical to the corresponding parts in the 50-protein flagellar system. The fact that the TTSS system is functional does not mean that the rotary flagellar motility system can be realized with just 10 unique protein parts. And, contrary to the original suggestions of those like Kenneth Miller and PZ Meyers that something like the TTSS system was in the evolutionary pathway of the flagellar system, just the opposite has proven true. The TTSS system has recently been shown, in real time, to have degenerated from the fully formed flagellar system.

    The problem here is the non-beneficial gap distance between the proposed steppingstones in these evolutionary stories of how the flagellar system and other such systems evolved. These stories simply do not discuss the odds of crossing the minimum structural differences needed to get from one functionally beneficial steppingstone to the next within sequence space. They also do not discuss the fact, and it is a fact, that the ratio of potential steppingstones vs. non-steppingstones decreases exponentially as one considers systems with higher and higher minimum structural threshold requirements… producing ever wider and wider minimum gap distances.

    As far as your first two points, I discuss nested hierarchical phylogenetic patterns below. But, in short, phylogenetic patterns do not explain how the mechanism of RM/NS is remotely likely to have done the job that evolutionists assume it did beyond very very low levels of functional complexity.

    More relevant to the original claim you made is the fact that you have not given any reason to doubt the first and second points. The evidence in Liu and Ochman supports the inference that gene duplication was in part responsible for the evolution of complex novel function. It does so independently of any particular selectionist hypothesis. If you doubt this, I’m interested in your alternative hypothesis for why the phylogenetic structure maps so smoothly onto the physical structure, or for the molecular similarities between the flagellar core genes.

    Phylogenetic differences and similarities and the formation of nested hierarchies can be explained by intelligent design. These same sorts of nested hierarchical patterns are seen in human designed systems all the time – especially when dealing with the formation of functionally interacting and integrated systems. Consider Object Oriented Computer Programming (OOCP) for example.

    So, how does one tell the difference between patterns that require intelligent input and patterns that do not? If one can find a feature associated with a particular pattern that cannot be explained by any known non-deliberate process in nature, yet is within the realm of intelligent production, that is a very good hint that the associated pattern was also the product of intelligent design.

    In the case of biosystem phylogenetic patterns, the associated functionality of these patterns can only be explained, beyond very low levels of functional complexity, by the input of high-level intelligent design and manipulation – this side of trillions upon trillions of years of time.

    The timing of these patterns is also assumed, by your authors, based on various molecular clock hypotheses which themselves are based on assumed evolutionary relationships. Not only is this a form of circular reasoning, but the molecular clock hypothesis has been called into question again and again, and show numerous times, via real time studies of mutation rates, to be off by as much as 20-100 fold.

    The assumed age of some phylogenetic and phenotypic differences based more on the fossil record is based on radiometric dating assumptions – assumptions which are also problematic in the face of other features of the fossil record and geologic column which are far more consistent with recent catastrophic formation.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  68. Geanna,

    Again, we are not talking about “sins” here with that people are struggling to overcome. We are talking about deliberate, decided, and open rebellion against Pillars of the SDA Faith for which the individuals involved are not struggling to overcome or which they are discussing in private, earnestly seeking to sort out some personal questions. We are talking about individuals who have made up their minds and who are bold in their public rebellion against the clearly stated goals and ideals of their employer, the SDA Church in this case.

    It is fine to think that the SDA Church is wrong regarding this or that Pillar of Faith and to publicly say so. However, it is not fine to publicly say so while expecting, at the same time, to be paid by the SDA Church for attacking the SDA Church. How does this not make sense to you? How is this argument not overwhelmingly obvious to the candid mind?

    I’m sorry, but you are equating two very different things. Your suggestions strike directly as the basis of Church order and government. You are arguing for anarchy here, not the maintenance of a viable organization.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  69. @pauluc:

    You like Sean Pitman on this an other sites presume more knowledge than the collective understanding of a multitude of scholars in theology or science both inside and outside the church.

    I presume to know what makes sense to my own feeble mind. I’m not going to believe based on a majority opinion that makes no sense to my own mind – just because it is the majority view. I may be wrong, but what good does it do me to go along with the majority view when I have no personal understanding of the validity of that view? – and think that the weight of evidence, as far as I can personally understanding it, is clearly against the majority view?

    If you have answers to my questions, why not present them? So far, the very best you have done, is quote majority opinions without a clear understanding of the arguments yourself. You use outdated information as it if was up to date and even use arguments that you already knew were mistaken. What are you trying to do here?

    If Christianity is, as you claim, only about ethics and grace, what’s the point of presenting any of the rest of the Gospel’s message of hope? What’s the difference between a graceful and ethical Christian compared to a graceful and ethical atheist? I’m really curious to hear your answer to this question…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  70. If Christianity is, as you claim, only about ethics and grace, what’s the point of presenting any of the rest of the Gospel’s message of hope? What’s the difference between a graceful and ethical Christian compared to a graceful and ethical atheist? I’m really curious to hear your answer to this question…

    Many graceful and ethical atheists express more love and compassion than the typical “graceful and ethical” Christian, including you and many here who are certain they are in the latter category. Ellen White actually speaks of how Satan uses the “good” non-believer to his advantage when such an individual, by comparison, makes many Christians look unappealing and uninspiring to others. Too many Christians have doctrinal purity but their love for Christ is conspicuously absent in their dealings with others.




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  71. The point is, however, that we have no inspired mandate to measure the physical weight of church employees or members so as to ascertain their level of progress in this area.

    Pastor Paulson, I appreciated your response, as you raise some good points. This one in particular should not be overlooked. There are many who insist that all church employees sign on to a specific creed to qualify for employment. Because that will never happen, the call (that I have heard trickle down from on high) is for biologists and theologians in particular to sign a specific creed. Where is the inspired mandate to measure the amount of evolution- micro, macro, mega- that one is permitted to believe or even teach and where is the inspired mandate (other than Pitman’s gospel) that specifies where this line is drawn?

    The point I wanted to make with the indulgence of appetite- which, for the literalist and purist, Ellen White leaves NO DOUBT as to one’s disqualification for Christian fellowship- is that one can use inspired writings to chastise and exclude others for virtually every single category of sin. The force you people weld with reckless abandon has opened the door for more judgement and division within the church. You have perfected the arguments (like “on the church’s dime”) and method (outright cyberbullying) to do all the damage that Satan delights in. God will hold you accountable for the spirit of rife you are creating among his people.




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  72. The church will be the community of God and a haven of rest for the weary soul when we protest against the Greed, selfishness and excess of our secular humanist society and return to this primitive Godliness based on Grace and Discipleship. It will not come because we raise our voices in self-righteous anger and rant about Gays and sabbath breakers and evolutionists and non-literalists and peace protesters and greenies and abortionists and preachers of “cheap grace” and people who play drums and clap in church and any number of other compliances we need for a form of Godliness that denies its power.

    Paulic, your beautiful prose exemplifies the message that a true Christian- not just a “graceful and ethical” Christian- should aspire to share, even though it no doubt will incite further anger and intolerance among many here.




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  73. @myself: Many graceful and ethical atheists express more love and compassion than the typical “graceful and ethical” Christian, including you and many here who are certain they are in the latter category.

    Oops, sorry, I get the point now that Sean would not consider himself merely a “graceful and ethical” Christian. I will add that a further distinction, and very important one, between the “graceful and ethical” Christian and the graceful and ethical atheist is that the former acknowledges Jesus Christ as Lord of his life and longs for the salvation that can never be earned by obedience or knowledge alone. The distinction makes all the difference in the world.




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  74. Some good comments have been made concerning the role and function of the church. To clarify a little more, the church is like a “city set on a hill” to give light and guidance to those who belong as well as attract those who are not saved.

    As has been mentioned, the church defines some standards as non-negotiable and others more relative to Christian growth. But even these areas are not simply ignored as being non-salvational, but are in the area of personal responsibility and accountability to God who will judge in the end everyone’s experience.

    Those statements made by “The church” as non-negotiable should carefully be considered by any and everyone one who wants to join the fellowship. If you don’t agree, don’t join. If you haved joined, and later see points that you no longer agree with, leave. This is simple honesty and a Christian duty.

    For a SDA, some of these areas are how we view creation, the Sabbath, state of the dead, certain issues concerning the second coming, investigative judgment in relation to 1844 and the time prophecies…….etc. As mentioned above, certain health issues, what you eat, wear and various other issues are important and salvational, but not subject to church discipline. We don’t send “church cops” to your house to see what you view on TV. None the less, we (should) preach earnestly concerning all these private issues and warn of God’s judgment to come.

    Geanna seems to have difficulty understanding the difference concerning these issues, and apparently, not a few other church members have the same trouble. So they doubt the church has any authority to discipline in any area since they can not and do not discipline in every area.

    But the problem is no problem at all when you understand that some issues are non-negotiable to remain and retain membership in the SDA church and others are. Can the church change these non-negotiables? Yes. But if it does, it is no longer the SDA church. Those of us who understand this reality are not going to abandon any non-negotiable that we hold as biblical and definitive of who and what the SDA church is. And we suggest those who want to abandon any or all of them should in all honesty leave the church. If not, it is right and proper for “the church” to discipline and even dis-fellowship those who refuse to repent, or at least leave of their own free will.

    Many, instead of accepting this principle, hope to destroy the non-negotiables and re-define what is, and what is not the acceptable norm.

    The final end is war in the church, just as there was war in heaven. There can be no patronizing and condesending attitude in this “war”. There was none in heaven, and there will be none in God’s church on earth. The liberals cry “love and tolerance” because they do not yet have control enough to discipline those who oppose them. Let me make it very clear, if and when they get control, we will see they are the meanest, most demanding and intolerant people on the face of the earth.

    We are not all deceived even though many apparently are who fail to see the issues and implications.

    Keep the faith

    Bill Sorensen




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  75. @Sean Pitman:

    1. As I noted earlier, showing that a functional system does not decompose into a subsystem serving the same function does not show that the subsystem serves no function at all. You seem to be under the false impression that natural selection can only build a functional system by moving through transitions each of which serve the same function.

    2. As I noted earlier, the fact that no-one has constructed the actual series of transitions for a structure at the grain of likely mutation size provides no evidence at all that the system did not pass through the structures at higher grains that have actually been discovered. If you disagree, I invite you to write a reply to the Liu and Ochman paper and submit it to PNAS. (If you do, I hope you post a copy of the referee reports here so we can see them).

    3. You have not answered the specific question of why an intelligent designer would construct the flagellum in a way that mirrors the information contained in the phylogeny. I can see no design rationale for doing so.

    4. I’m not going to discuss dating methods. I will say that if your arguments, as they seem to, turn out to depend in part on scepticism about these methods, you are really in bad shape. It has been unreasonable to believe in “recent catastrophism” for more than a hundred years. For those who are interested in a popular presentation of the present scientific evidence for dating methods, I recommend Chapter 4 of the Richard Dawkins book The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution. For those interested in the historical story of how the denial of the young earth became justified, I recommend Martin Rudwick’s magisterial book Bursting the Limits of Time: The Reconstruction of Geohistory in the Age of Revolution. I particularly recommend the second to you, Sean.




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  76. Dear Bill and Kevin

    Re: Bill’s quote

    “The final end is war in the church, just as there was war in heaven. There can be no patronizing and condesending attitude in this “war”. There was none in heaven, and there will be none in God’s church on earth. The liberals cry “love and tolerance” because they do not yet have control enough to discipline those who oppose them. Let me make it very clear, if and when they get control, we will see they are the meanest, most demanding and intolerant people on the face of the earth.”

    Re Kevin’s Quote

    “Many more examples from the sacred record could be cited. If men and women refuse to submit themselves to the written counsel of God, after having been lovingly labored with, the body of Christ has the duty to remove such a one from employment and/ore membership. As a pastor I have had to do this. The purpose of such a course is redemptive, not punitive. Its purpose is to help the erring one see the error of his or her ways, and to thus claim God’s power for a change of mind and heart.”

    Gentleman I have read your comments with great interest. Respectfully,in my mind there is only one issue for all to consider: Is this what a good, compassionate God would want?

    For the gatekeepers of the SDA I cite Lord Acton’s quote: “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely”

    I sincerely hope you find in Jesus’s example the way to reconcile your differences.

    Regards
    Ken




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  77. Dear Ken:

    If the “good, compassionate God” of which you speak is the God of the Bible and not the fabrication of postmodern “spirituality,” you must clearly acknowledge the role of church discipline–including, when necessary, the removal of workers and members–as part of the divine plan. When people deliberately live a lie by disbelieving the Bible-based teachings of the church, including literal creationism and the sanctuary doctrine and all the rest, the proper response of the body of Christ is to apply the disciplinary process. If the result is not repentance, separation becomes the only redemptive answer.

    God bless!

    Pastor Kevin Paulson




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  78. Dear Geanna:

    The bottom line regarding eligibility for employment and/or membership in the Seventh-day Adventist Church is that Scripture, the writings of Ellen White, and the Church Manual make clear which doctrines and standards of living are to be made tests and which are not. They are also clear which other issues are to be considered areas for Christian growth. The length of time required, according to Inspiration, for the creation of this earth, as well as the scope of the Genesis Flood, clearly falls into the first category.

    You really don’t help your case by insisting that the church must define exactly how much micro- or macro-evolution is tolerable in one’s view of origins. Certainly there are questions we may never answer this side of heaven. But the six literal, consecutive, continguous, 24-hour days of creation, following which God rested on the seventh day, approximately 6,000 years ago, is plainly defined by the counsel of Inspiration. This is our supreme, transcendent authority as God’s church. No hysterical talk of “creeds”–that noxious umbrella word used to dismiss any attempt at accountability in the church–can alter this reality.

    I continue to be mystified by all the talk of “grace” from those who advocate the acceptance of Darwinism within the church. Perhaps you can tell me: Where is the role of grace if one believes in evolution? How do grace, mercy, and forgiveness fit in with the brutal, merciless process of natural selection? If you believe in macro-evolution and the necessity of long ages for the development of life on earth as we know it, and if you also believe God directed this process, how do grace and compassion and mercy come into the picture?

    No one has yet answered that question for me, in the lengthy discussion we have had on this Web site regarding the incompatibility of evolution with the Biblical message.

    God bless!

    Pastor Kevin Paulson




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  79. Dear Pauluc:

    You have frankly done the church, and the present discussion, a great service by making clear just how far from God’s Word and fundamental Adventism your thinking has strayed. It is not only evolution with which you choose to compromise, but other blatant departures from the Biblical worldview, such as homosexual practice. And your apparent embrace of Desmond Ford’s understanding of the gospel, with its denial of complete victory over sin and its disbelief in 1844 and the sanctuary doctrine, make equally clear the illegitimacy of your connection–if indeed you still have one–with the Seventh-day Adventist Church.

    And please don’t throw around such ridiculous words as “homophobic.” No one here is advocating any such thing. We are talking about loving the sinner while hating the sin. I know postmoderns don’t like that distinction, but it is Biblical nonetheless. It is truly fascinating how Adventists who embrace the popular evangelical gospel go far beyond even non-Adventist evangelicals in denying God’s Word. Most mainstream evangelicals outside Adventism would be appalled at your apparent tolerance of the homosexual lifestyle within the church. But as was the case in King Manasseh’s time, when God’s people go the way of the world, they end up doing “worse than the heathen” (II Chron. 33:9).

    You speak at the end of your recent post of the “form of godliness” without the power (II Tim. 3:5). That, whether you realize it or not, is the evangelical gospel in a nutshell. Forgiveness without victory, pardon without power. You don’t need Ellen White quotes to dispute this imperfectability nonsense. Just read Psalm 119:1-3,11; Zeph. 3:13; Rom. 8:4; I Cor. 15:34; II Cor. 7:1; 10:4-5; Eph. 5:27; Phil. 4:13; I Thess. 5:23; I Peter 2:21-22; 4:1; II Peter 3:10-14; I John 1:7,9; 2:1; 3:2-3,7; Jude 24; Rev. 3:21; 14:5).

    Very simply, my friend, when you speak against “LGT” (Last Generation Theology), you are speaking against the Bible itself. Neither Ellen White nor conservative Adventists invented this teaching. They copied it straight out of Scripture.

    You can speak all you like against greed, oppression, and injustice in the world, but without the power of God for total victory over sin, you must learn to live with a certain measure of all of the above. And the truth is that nearly every sinner out there, even the most heinous ones, only indulge their sins occasionally. So if your “gospel” makes room for occasional sin, and claims such is inevitable even for the sanctified Christian, you have no meaningful moral standard to share with anyone.

    I can’t quite figure out why you brought up “greenies” and “peace protesters.” Who mentioned any of these?

    I can speak quite confidently that all the evangelical scholars you mention, along with Des Ford and his fellow travelers whether in or out of Adventism, are mistaken in their denial of the 1844 theology and the investigative judgment. They are wrong in their stance on this just as they are wrong concerning the Sabbath, the state of man in death, “once saved always saved,” the secret rapture, eternal torment, and much more. When the Bible is permitted to be its own interpreter, classic Adventism becomes the best way of showing how all of Scripture fits together. Theological error, by contrast, is the end product of any attempt to blend theology and fabricated spirituality with the clear teachings of God’s Word.

    If you are interested, may I direct you to my own series of online articles which demonstrate the Biblical faithfulness of the Adventist sanctuary doctrine, as opposed to the denials of Desmond Ford, Dale Ratzlaff, and others. Just go to greatcontroversy dot org and go to “The Sanctuary Doctrine: Cultic or Biblical?” Parts 1 to 3. Or read my article on the same Web site titled, “1844: Embattled Yet Enduring,” for a briefer analysis.

    God bless!

    Pastor Kevin Paulson




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  80. Dear Kevin

    Thanks for your comments.

    Unfortunately, with all due humility, I do not claim I have the ability to comprehend the nature of God. Many claim that they do through faith, prophecy, interpretation of holy books etc. That’s fine, everyone has a right to believe what they wish and we should all embrace that freedom.

    Here is the problem. Is it God deciding who is deliberately living a lie and following the divine plan or fallible Man?

    You see I read what you, Sean, Geanna, Bill, Pauluc and others wrote, and I think you are all sincere in your beliefs. But, heaven help me – if you will excuse my agnostic, metaphoric irony- I certainly would not want to judge and penalize any of you for diverse opinions.

    Would not a compassionate God look at legitimate, well meaning debate and not sanction the debaters? I enjoyed Sean’s ironic comment that ethical atheists may be surprised to find themselves in heaven one day. Now wouldn’t that be the sign of a compassionate God!

    On the other hand I wonder how a compassionate God will treat us that choose not to be good Samaritans to others of different, well meaning opinions?

    So, on that note I thank for your time, patience and wisdom for this fallible agnostic.

    Regards
    Ken




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  81. @ Pastor Paulson

    You really don’t help your case by insisting that the church must define exactly how much micro- or macro-evolution is tolerable in one’s view of origins.

    Excuse me, I have not insisted on this. Sean Pitman and others of you are the ones who create your own imagined definitions for these terms and who tell us in no uncertain terms what undermines SDA doctrines(anything above “microevolution” which so many of you define improperly and reveal complete ignorance of what science really teaches).




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  82. Pastor Paulson,

    I lean heavily toward a recent seven-day creation, but you and others here are highly selective in what you interpret to be literal from inspiration and must be adhered to by a “true” Seventh-day Adventist. Here are but two examples of MANY:

    (1) Exodus 31:14 “Observe the Sabbath, because it is holy to you. Anyone who desecrates it must be put to death; whoever does any work on that day must be cut off from his people.” You folks insist we are to continue observing the Sabbath but I don’t recall anyone being put to death recently for desecration of it.

    (2) Ellen White says “the infidel supposition that the events of the first week required seven vast, indefinite periods for their accomplishment … is the worst kind of infidelity.” She also says “The condition of the glutton was considered hopeless…Those who do this are not Christians, whoever they may be, and however exalted their profession.” So you folks attack theistic evolutionists and completely ignore the gluttons among us–whom Ellen White very clearly labels as non-Christians and there is absolutely no getting around her pronouncement. Do we really want non-Christians on the church’s dime? Yet we have thousands! Talk about a crisis in the Adventist church! Where does Ellen White say that theistic evolutionists must be excluded from leadership or membership but that non-Christians are okay? As Bob Ryan would say, “inquiring minds want to know.”

    If you guys want warring factions within the church, you’ve created them–and with much glee I might add. You have enthusiastically redirected the focus of the church within while neglecting the very command to go “go ye into all the world having the everlasting gospel.” If any of you are sincere about preaching the everlasting gospel, give up your tyrade of everlasting condemnation here and abandon this ungodly website. Now go and do the right thing.




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  83. Hint: All of our evangelistic series start out with God as Creator according to Genesis 1-2, and the Bible as reliable and true – as compared to man made fictions about “birds coming from reptiles”.

    The wild notion that the foundational message to the Gospel found in John 1:1-6 is opposed to Gospel evangelism is an idea that only lives in the limited view of a “big tent” circus context where all views are to be proclaimed inside the “big tent” and nothing to be consered “wrong”.

    That big tent is its own little world living by the rule “I’m ok and you’re ok as long as your view is not in favor of Bible creation to the point of saying that by-faith-alone acceptance of evolutionism over the Bible is wrong.”

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  84. @Ken:

    Ken says:

    You see I read what you, Sean, Geanna, Bill, Pauluc and others wrote, and I think you are all sincere in your beliefs. But, heaven help me – if you will excuse my agnostic, metaphoric irony- I certainly would not want to judge and penalize any of you for diverse opinions.

    You have stated the big tent idea well and it clearly is consistent with your agnostic aproach, with no one view being any more valid than another.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  85. @Brad:

    @Sean Pitman:

    1. As I noted earlier, showing that a functional system does not decompose into a subsystem serving the same function does not show that the subsystem serves no function at all. You seem to be under the false impression that natural selection can only build a functional system by moving through transitions each of which serve the same function.

    If you had actually read my essay on flagellar evolution, you would know that I never made this claim. In fact, just the opposite is true. NS can and does often move through a series of functionally beneficial steppingstone transitions, none of which have the same qualitative function (as with unique three-letter words: cat-hat-bat-bid-did-dig-dog). It just doesn’t do so beyond very very low levels of functional complexity where the steppingstones are actually within reach in a reasonable amount of time (i.e., less than trillions upon trillions of years on average).

    The reason why NS works so well at low levels of functional complexity is because, as with 3-letter word sequence space, the ratio of potential targets vs. non-targets is relatively high. However, as one move up the ladder this ratio of what might be beneficial vs. what would not be beneficial declines exponentially.

    I apologize for being so repetitive in restating this particular concept so many times with you, but it is quite significant to my overall argument here. Hopefully this time I have made myself more clear…

    2. As I noted earlier, the fact that no-one has constructed the actual series of transitions for a structure at the grain of likely mutation size provides no evidence at all that the system did not pass through the structures at higher grains that have actually been discovered. If you disagree, I invite you to write a reply to the Liu and Ochman paper and submit it to PNAS. (If you do, I hope you post a copy of the referee reports here so we can see them).

    The actual series of transitions is not needed before the problem can be known to be insurmountable. The reason for this is because the exponentially declining ratio of potential targets vs. non-targets is known. This problem destroys the basic assumptions behind the Liu and Ochman paper – that the intermediate steppingstone systems remain essentially the same distance apart in sequence space regardless of their minimum structural threshold requirements. This notion simply isn’t true.

    3. You have not answered the specific question of why an intelligent designer would construct the flagellum in a way that mirrors the information contained in the phylogeny. I can see no design rationale for doing so.

    Did you read about OOCP?

    There are all kinds of reasons for doing do in an integrated information-based system of function. There are also aesthetic reasons for doing so. Regardless of the reason, however, the RM/NS mechanism is not tenable whereas the intelligence-driven mechanism are.

    4. I’m not going to discuss dating methods. I will say that if your arguments, as they seem to, turn out to depend in part on scepticism about these methods, you are really in bad shape. It has been unreasonable to believe in “recent catastrophism” for more than a hundred years. For those who are interested in a popular presentation of the present scientific evidence for dating methods, I recommend Chapter 4 of the Richard Dawkins book The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution. For those interested in the historical story of how the denial of the young earth became justified, I recommend Martin Rudwick’s magisterial book Bursting the Limits of Time: The Reconstruction of Geohistory in the Age of Revolution. I particularly recommend the second to you, Sean.

    Yes yes, I’ve read these and discussed these arguments many times before in fair detail. They simply do not answer nor do they even address the many seemingly overwhelming difficulties for mainstream assumptions regarding the age of the fossil record and geologic column… and neither have you as far as I can tell.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  86. @Geanna Dane:

    Sean Pitman and others of you are the ones who create your own imagined definitions for these terms and who tell us in no uncertain terms what undermines SDA doctrines(anything above “microevolution” which so many of you define improperly and reveal complete ignorance of what science really teaches).

    Scientists create definitions all the time. What is wrong with my definition of “micro” vs. “macro”? – with a dividing line at gene pools with qualitatively unique systems that require a minimum of at least 1000 specifically arranged amino acid residues? What do you not understand about this concept?

    In comparison, your referenced definitions are considered to be quite subjective. Even within mainstream science there is heated debate on how to consistently define “species” groups. Your “cryptic species” reference is a classic example of this problem as are your references to the various defunct phylogenetic clock theories.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  87. Dear Geanna:

    You give every evidence of being an intelligent person, yet you make comments which demonstrate substantial ignorance of Biblical themes and history. Certainly you know that while death was the penalty for violating the Sabbath commandment, and other commandments also, in ancient Israel’s theocracy, that God has not authorized such a mandate for His church today. But this hardly means that the church is not to exercise discipline toward members who stray from Bible truth or morality. Laboring with the erring, public censure, as well as removal from employment and/or membership, are the Biblical means whereby the church is to deal with problems such as those we are addressing in this context (see II Thess. 3:14-15; I Tim. 1:3). But the difference between what God expected of His ancient theocracy and what is expected of His church today, is very clear in the writings of Inspiration.

    Again I urge you to consider the logic of your thinking and where it will lead if you are consistent with your arguments. You seem very clearly to be saying that because the church contains one–indeed, many–types of sinners, that therefore we can’t discipline anyone or we will all be thrown out. Surely you recognize the peril in such reasoning. Using this logic, we could argue for the retention of pedophiles, wife beaters, and members of the Ku Klux Klan in the church. After all, we’re all sinners, so if one sin excludes a person from the fellowship of faith, what about all the other sins that remain unrebuked?

    There is a big difference between dealing with one who by voice or pen espouses error of belief, such as theistic evolution, and one who indulges a sin such as overeating. In the latter case, God alone is often the determiner of when and how one has indulged in this regard. This is not to diminish the egregious nature of the sin of gluttony, which as you say Ellen White is very clear about. But the fact remains that regarding certain sins, only God can determine when wrong has been committed because only He knows when innocent pleasure gives way to harmful indulgence. That is a far, far cry from one who teaches false doctrine, which can be determined simply by comparing a person’s statements to the written counsel of God.

    You also appear to have partaken of that foolish spirit which says that reaching the world with the gospel is somehow more important than keeping the church consistent and faithful within its own ranks. But the secret to true evangelistic success is revival and reformation INSIDE the church. That is the purpose of this Web site, as well as the agenda of our new General Conference president. And godly church members everywhere praise the Lord for the faithful witness of those who have dared to speak up for truth in this context.

    God bless!

    Pastor Kevin Paulson




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  88. @Ken:

    You see I read what you, Sean, Geanna, Bill, Pauluc and others wrote, and I think you are all sincere in your beliefs. But, heaven help me – if you will excuse my agnostic, metaphoric irony- I certainly would not want to judge and penalize any of you for diverse opinions.

    Likewise, I wouldn’t think of “penalizing” you for your agnostic beliefs either. This is a free country after all (thank God for that!). The question here is: Why should the buyer of products be required to buy what he/she does not want to buy? Doesn’t freedom work both ways?

    To put it another way: Say I don’t want to buy what you’re selling. Am “penalizing” you simply because I don’t want to buy what your selling? What right do you have (or does anyone else have) to demand money from me to train my children as you see fit? Do I not have the right to hire whomever I wish to teach my own children those ideas and perspectives that I wish to pay for?

    Does a person with this or that idea deserve to be paid for simply having an idea and wishing to get paid for presenting it – regardless of if anyone is actually wanting to hear it much less pay for it?

    Think about the implications of what you’re saying…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  89. Re Bob’s Quote:

    “That big tent is its own little world living by the rule “I’m ok and you’re ok as long as your view is not in favor of Bible creation to the point of saying that by-faith-alone acceptance of evolutionism over the Bible is wrong.”

    Dear Bob

    Respectfully, I cannot remotely understand what you are trying to say. I think your problem is syntactical versus conceptual. Perhaps you could simplify your sentences for clarification.

    Thanks
    Ken




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  90. @Geanna Dane:

    Oops, sorry, I get the point now that Sean would not consider himself merely a “graceful and ethical” Christian. I will add that a further distinction, and very important one, between the “graceful and ethical” Christian and the graceful and ethical atheist is that the former acknowledges Jesus Christ as Lord of his life and longs for the salvation that can never be earned by obedience or knowledge alone. The distinction makes all the difference in the world.

    “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” – 1 Corinthians 15:14.

    In other words, if physical reality does not match your belief in Jesus Christ, your beliefs and my beliefs are worthless.

    Of course, the difference between the righteous atheist/agnostic and the righteous Christian is that the Christian has a conscious sense of hope in a bright future whereas the atheist does not have a conscious hope (though in reality the reward may be there anyway, but not yet perceived).

    However, this conscious Christian hope is only worthwhile when it is based on solid empirical evidence. Without the reality of this evidence, there really is no basis for the conscious Christian hope over the non-hope of the atheist – besides a hefty dose of wishful thinking I suppose. And, wishful thinking just doesn’t cut it for those who are able to be honest with themselves about what the available evidence is and is not able to reasonably support…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

    P.S. I do consider myself to be far far less graceful and even ethical compared to many agnostics and atheists that I personally know or know of. The only sense that I think of myself as being more blessed is in the sense that I have a conscious hope in a bright future, as undeserving as I am, whereas they do/did not (though they may be saved anyway and be very surprised to find themselves in the reality of heaven someday). It is, therefore, my goal to share this conscious hope with everyone who does not yet have it because I think it makes life much more tolerable and bearable here and now…




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  91. Dear Ken:

    The only definition of God’s compassion that I acknowledge is the one found in God’s Word. We cannot take our own standard of compassion and apply it to what Inspiration says. Rather, we must define our own standards of compassion and morality by the counsel of Inspiration.

    Inspiration is clear that the will of God as revealed in its pages is knowable by finite man and must be applied by God’s servants to the faith community (see II Thess. 3:14-15; I Tim. 1:3). The testimony of Biblical history is that the will of God as proclaimed by His prophets and written in the Sacred Pages was understandable by finite beings, and that the latter were held accountable–by man as well as God–for their response to the same.

    Let us beware of defining “humility” as ambiguity of conviction. This is a false form of humility not found in the Word of God. I like what Ellen White says on this point:

    “Skepticism and unbelief are not humility. Implicit belief in Christ’s word is true humility, true self-surrender” (DA 535).

    Elsewhere she writes of the contrast between the style of teaching Jesus used, which exuded authority, with that of the rabbis in His day who made the Bible seem unclear and equivocal:

    “But while His teaching was simple, He spoke as one having authority. This characteristic set His teaching in contrast with that of all others. The rabbis spoke with doubt and hesitancy, as if the Scriptures might be interpreted to mean one thing or exactly the opposite. The hearers were daily involved in greater uncertainty” (DA 253).

    It is fascinating how so many associate the mindset of the Jews in Christ’s day with inflexible dogmatism. It would seem the above statement portrays the Jews who rejected Jesus in a very different light–one with which today’s “progressive” Adventists might find more harmony than they realize!

    God bless!

    Pastor Kevin Paulson




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  92. Hi Sean

    Thanks for your comments.

    I’ve thought through the implications.

    When I was studying philosophy and law at university, no concepts or ideas were banned. I studied with those of different mind sets, races, gender and opinions. Those that believed in the inerrant word of the bible were not banned, nor ridiculed. Professors were not hired or fired due to their respective opinions. We students often disagreed with them and were actually encouraged to think independently.

    Are students at Adventist universities buyers of products or seekers of knowledge? Are you worried about them thinking for themselves and coming to their own conclusions without inculcation? Public universities have religious departments and biology departments. They don’t kick Adventists, Muslims, Agnostics, Atheists, etc out of biology class, nor do they kick biologists out of religious studies classes.

    So Sean, if Adventist professors are fired at La Sierra for teaching biology that they scientifically think is correct, then I say they are indeed being penalized. Moreover, if qualified professors are not being hired due to their faith, then I think that is discriminatory.

    I’ll be the first guy in line to argue your right to teach biology or medicine at a secular university, based upon you qualifications, irrespective of your religious beliefs. And would you deserve to be paid for it, even if others in the university did not think so? Absolutely.

    Here are some simple analogies. I’m a family man. I have certain fundamental beliefs that I practice. My children don’t accept all those beliefs. I don’t kick them out of the family as a result. I, and two other fathers, coach my son’s basketball team. All three coaches have different fundamental beliefs on coaching. Do any of us quit or get fired? No,we reconcile our fundamental beliefs for the betterment of the team, as each coach has something of value to add. Well Adventists – fundamental or progressive – as well as other Christians, are followers of Christ. As an agnostic, impartial to Christian denominations, I wonder why any Christian should be excluded from Christian grace? I certainly wouldn’t do that if I was a compassionate God.

    I hope that clarifies the implications of what I’m saying and you realize I am not being trite.

    With great regard
    Ken




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  93. Dear Kevin

    Re humility:

    Well said, I better understand your position.

    Respectfully, I think real humility crosses the boundaries of faith and non faith alike. When one thinks one is absolutely right and all others not having the same set of beliefs are wrong, I do not see humility. I have great conviction in that belief.

    Take care
    Ken




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  94. @Ken: Sean can speak for himself, but I wanted to respond to your comment.

    Are students at Adventist universities buyers of products or seekers of knowledge?

    I would hope they are seekers of truth. So the product would be the truth according to the Bible. The Seventh-day Adventist Church is not interested promoting theories and world views that are false and contradictory to what we believe is true.

    Are you worried about them thinking for themselves and coming to their own conclusions without inculcation?

    No one that I’m aware of is worried about our students thinking for themselves. While the influence on the students is a very important consideration, it is the the professors who are undermining what we believe to be true by proselytizing our students with their own beliefs about origins and life.

    Public universities have religious departments and biology departments. They don’t kick Adventists, Muslims, Agnostics, Atheists, etc out of biology class, nor do they kick biologists out of religious studies classes.

    Public and Adventist universities have very different agendas and world views being pushed. Once again this isn’t about kicking Muslims, agnostics, or atheists out of the classroom. We certainly shouldn’t being hiring professors with those world views.

    if Adventist professors are fired at La Sierra for teaching biology that they scientifically think is correct, then I say they are indeed being penalized. Moreover, if qualified professors are not being hired due to their faith, then I think that is discriminatory.

    Yes, it is discriminatory. LSU is a private religious university owned by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Surely you recognize their right to discriminate who, what, and how things should be taught. It’s a shame LSU hired these professors in the first place. Unfortunately they have placed themselves in a very difficult place. Ultimately because of their negligence in upholding the beliefs of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the institution and the professors could possibly pay a price that could have been easily avoided.

    Lastly, your analogies are like comparing apples and oranges. You’re comparing employment with being a family member. You’re not following your analogy to its logical conclusion. Of course you wouldn’t disown your children if they believe differently than you. However, if one of your employees keeps stealing from you, are you just going to keep him? Fundamental beliefs about coaching and fundamental beliefs about truth are two different things. We’re not talking about flavors of ice cream, or styles. We’re talking about what we believe to be true.




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  95. What is wrong with my definition of “micro” vs. “macro”? – with a dividing line at gene pools with qualitatively unique systems that require a minimum of at least 1000 specifically arranged amino acid residues? What do you not understand about this concept?

    Are you serious? Not a single textbook uses your definitions. NOT ONE! How can you possibly communicate with scientists when you choose not to speak in their language? Are ye daft or what?

    What do I not understand about your concept? You can’t put it into any readily interpretable context. You refuse repeatedly to explain how many “fsaars” it would take to construct a rattlesnake’s fangs, venom glands, venom ducts, venom gland musculature, rattle, or facial pits for one simple reason: you don’t have a clue. When Professor Kent challenged you on this at Spectrummagazine.com, you basically hand-waved by declaring all of these traits were based on “front-loaded information” and well under the 1000-fsaar threshold.

    You further stated “The same is true of the modification of musculature size and the specialization of heat-sensing organs (which were already there to begin with) via Mendelian-style variation of information that was front-loaded in the beginning.” Well I have news for you: numerous phylogenetic reconstructions show that venom evolved before infra-red vision in snakes. Now how do you explain that? So if the rattlesnake’s facial pits were already there in the beginning, then God made them venomous as well with everything functionally in place to kill. Is that your God we’re talking about? Here are the papers: read ’em and weep.

    N. Vidal, Colubroid systematics: evidence for an early appearance of the venom apparatus followed by extensive evolutionary
    tinkering, J. Tox. Tox. Reviews 21 (2002) 21–41.

    B.G. Fry, H. Scheib, L. van der Weerd, B. Young, J. McNaughtan, S.F.R. Ramjan, N. Vidal, R.E. Poelmann, J.A. Norman, Evolution of an arsenal: structural and functional diversification of the venom system in the advanced snakes (Caenophidia), Mol. Cell. Proteomics 7 (2008) 215–246.

    N. Vidal, B. Hedges, The molecular evolutionary tree of lizards, snakes, and amphisbaenians. C. R. Biologies 332 (2009) 129-139.

    W. Wüster, L. Peppin, C. E. Pook, D. E. Walker, A nesting of vipers: Phylogeny and historical biogeography of the Viperidae
    (Squamata: Serpentes), Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 49 (2008) 445–459.

    Oh yeah, that’s right, you don’t believe in phylogenetic inferences based on sequence data because, of course, they don’t support conclusions that you claim can be reached from “evidence” in the Bible. You have argued ad nauseum that species definitions are too subjective and therefore meaningless. You support the view that the 30+ species of rattlesnakes, 400 species of plethodontids, 400 species of tyranid flycatchers, and so forth are mere subspecies that evolve quite readily. Well I have been communicating with someone who knows more about rattlesnakes than I will ever know in my lifetime and he tells me that reptile breeders produce hybrid rattlesnakes all the time–and they are essentially all “mules”. Can you spell i-n-f-e-r-t-i-l-e? How about that, Sean? You really know your facts when it comes to operational delineation of species, don’t you! Oh yeah, they can’t be species unless there have “qualitatively functional differences”, or so you have argued. So a real systematist says that a Timber Rattlesnake and an Eastern Diamondback which occur in the same habitat are true species because they cannot successfully interbreed. But you reject their definitions in favor of your own: but I challenge you to tell me JUST ONE QUALITATIVE FUNCTIONAL DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THESE TWO SPECIES that provides more compelling support for why YOUR definition is better than that used by thousands of evolutionary biologists.




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  96. @Sean Pitman:

    Once again I am goaded against my better judgement to respond.

    I admit I am fallible and that I know only what I know which is only a small subset of what there is to know. I admit that this argument on origins is not the basis of my life or my faith. After my initial post about Schwietzers work I responded to your suggestion that there was dramatic new information of which I was unaware by looking further at the primary literature. I have been aware of Schweitzers papers from 2005, 2007 and 2009 and some her response to the comments but have not done exhaustive analysis of this field. I am happy to accept her view on the significance of this as she has spent much of her life on this and I certainly have not. I admit I was sceptical of her original data but did find subsequently that there was indeed independent verification of her data from 2009 that supported the validity of the sequence data. I am happy to admit I was wrong in this instance.

    I have a life outside this site and do not trawl the scientific literature looking for error so do not pretend to have all the creationist or evolutionary literature at my fingertips. In 2009 there were 613 publication in my specific area of research which consists of the intersection of a specific area of immunology containing 12703 publications and an area of infectious diseases containing 43694 publications. My response to this vast literature is to investigate questions as I have opportunity and time or if they are directly pertinent to my research. Outside my area of research I start with the premise that I am naive in this area and the consensus has a high probability of being right.

    In terms of answering your questions. I can only suggest the scientific approach. I have previously suggested that if you want to provide compelling scientific evidence or test your hypothesis on a recent creation or some aspect of the extraordinary genetics of the original inhabitants of the ark you should propose a model and be prepared to test it. Ted Wilson I am sure would be only too happy to sack someone like Ben Clausen and repurpose some money to pursue this evidence. But did you propose a model to which you would commit and perform the necessary experiments? No you simply return to the SOP of creationists.

    1] Trawl the literature for error in conclusion or process or for evidence of changing opinion or paradigm.
    2] Look how wrong those evolutions are! They think that fossils are very old and could not possibly contain protein.
    3] Here is data from Schweitzer that shows there is protein.
    4] Proteins obviously only occur in recent material.
    5] Therefore the fossils must be recent and come from a flood 4000 years ago.

    If you cannot see that your argument about how Schweitzers work on soft tissue in fossils does not provide one iota of evidence for a 6000 year chronology for the universe then I do not think there is any hope of meaningful scientific dialogue. Even in your critique of me you are still arguing from the position that error of others represents the strongest basis for the validity of your view.

    You argue that the incompleteness of both the B Canadensis and T rex data compared to mastodon is absolutely independent of a time factor. Do you seriously think that this is the final study in this area? If you do, I do not think you have been much of student of the history of science. I would predict that there will be many more studies on proteomics of fossils and that the proteomics database in the next 5-10 years will contain many many examples of fossil protein sequence. Further I predict there will always be a difference between conventionally old and conventionally recent fossils or biological material in keeping with deep time. This is the conclusion of most scientists. If you really believe your model of time independence you would predict that you will find some examples of fossils conventionally dated at 50-18 millions years that contain similarly complete sequence to that of mastodon. You can then immediately prove all the scientists such as Mary Schweitzer wrong in their assumption that age is directly related to soft tissue degradation. I cannot see why you would not be doing that?

    I may be right or I may be wrong in my prediction. Unlike you I do not really care if I am right or wrong in this prediction for it is not a matter of eternal consequence. If I am wrong unlike you I will not reject my faith. I can accept that there may well be a scientific study that will change a paradigm in science and negates the current models. There could be some observation that does show that all life on earth is 6000 years old. I somehow doubt that will be the case but if it stands scrutiny I will happily accept that as the best evidence available. As I have tried to convey in way too many previous posts the basis of my faith is not dependent on the next paper in the scientific literature. I have no paranoia of open enquiry or of scientific progress for that lies outside the life of the spirit though for me my integrity and honesty in science is informed by my framework of Grace and discipleship.




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  97. your referenced definitions are considered to be quite subjective. Even within mainstream science there is heated debate on how to consistently define “species” groups. Your “cryptic species” reference is a classic example of this problem as are your references to the various defunct phylogenetic clock theories.

    Sean, I suppose if I had half your intelligence I could make up my own definitions, hold a conversation with myself, and convince myself that everyone else’s definitions were wrong. Of course defining a “species” is difficult for one simple reason: animal populations and lineages continually change (ie evolve) which results in new species. Precisely when two groups diverge enough to become distinct enough to be recognized as distinct species is NOT resolved any better by your own definition.




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