Comment on GC Votes to Revise SDA Fundamental #6 on Creation by pauluc.
I am stunnned and answer not a word but quietly retreat to a community where the spirit of God is manifest. I would sympathize with what Serge said in commenting on LGT www.channels.com/feeds/show/223360/The-Last-Generation I do not like what this site is making me become.
pauluc Also Commented
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.
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 Fordâ€™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 deathâ€”
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.
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?
Recent Comments by pauluc
Bob Helm: With that said, I find your views to be spiritually dangerous and often scientifically weak. I detect a lot of smoke in your posts, but very little light. I hope you will continue to ponder these issues and try to have an open mind.
You are most welcome to your opinion and I know you would like nothing better than that anyone who takes Christianity and the Bible seriously but not literally to just go away. It is much better not to know of any possible problems with one current views. It very hard to get to the science when we cannot even agree on what is science. What passes as science on this site is so completely dismissive of its methodological basis and history and is entrained in a specific supernatural world view that allows arbitrary acceptance of any observation as miraculous. I think Roger’s paper may well be relevant to Adventist that believe that Christianity has and must respond to a careful study of physical reality by reconsidering its interpretations of the word of the Lord, but as Sean has indicated you are exception to that characterization. I still do not really understand why you should be interested at all in any science. It seems a bit messy to worry about facts. It really seems an unnecessary bother to argue whether the precambrian/cambrian boundary or the upper cenzoic (is that really what you meant?) as the evidence of a divine intervention.
Dont worry I do have an open mind which is why I still peruse this site to see how more knowledgable fundamentalist Adventists think. I wont worry you further.
Sean Pitman: So, you do see the need for a police force and a military to maintain civil society, but somehow Christians should not provide what is an otherwise necessary part of that civil society? I’m with Abraham Lincoln on this one when he noted the inconsistency of such a position – like Orthodox Jews paying others to turn their lights on for them on Sabbath
On that logic you should not have any issue with working on Sabbath in any profession serving 24/7. Be that computer support, utilities firefighters. Those giving up those jobs because of inability to have sabbath observance were all deluded. They as Christians should be prepared to “provide what is otherwise a necessary part of civil society”
You cant have it both ways. You cant because of a moral postion claim that Adventists should have exception from working on Sabbath and at the same time deny me the right to consider immoral some occupations that may be very utilitarian in a world full of selfishness and the human acts of evil that comes from that.
Lets for a moment step back from lala land. Where are we and where did we come from on this thread?
1] You posted a rehash of all your usual arguments in response to an article about the more mainstream Adventist positions that may impact the way Adventism reacts to conventional science. All very straight forward.
2] The contention was that Adventism has accepted process for the orgin and evolution of the inanimate world. The birth and death of galaxys and stars and planets in black holes supernova and impacts of spiralling planets. This is where it gets really strange.
3] You contend that Adventism has always accepted the conclusions of that process but then expand on your view of the process which involves a little bit of order and natural law but large amounts of magic. God waited a few billions years until the interstellar material generated by the big band condensed into planets onto which God created life mature and complete. This included Heaven the place of his throne-room which he populated with physical being angels which it is implied have both mass and composition and metabolism.
4] When it was suggested that the same processes and natural law resulted in life on this planet this was claimed inconceivable and would never be done by any process involving life and death. Instead the life we see now is in reality designed to live for ever and has be chemically changed because it is deprived of a particular form of nutrient from a tree that existed on the Earth some 6000 years ago.
5] The inconguity of practicing medicine by the principles of process of natural law and the technology resulting from both the processes of the innanimate and the animate world rather than accepting the much more important process of divine intervention seems to be completely obsure.
6] When someone says that the process of life and death that gave us the physical substance of our universe is also the basis of the creation of life here he must be animal hating sadistic psychopath who cannot belieive in a God of love and grace and is lying when he says that non-violence characterizes the children of the heavenly father for one must always recognize that peace and freedom are only obtained over the bodies of 1/3 of the angels of heaven and the eternal physical and violent struggle against those who would practice violence.
I really cannot understand you Sean. Your ways are way beyond me. I am just sorry that Bob seems to be drawn into your twighlight zone.
Avondale College Arguing in Favor of Darwinian Evolution?
@Sean Pitman: sorry but your curious amalgam of magic and biology is not really comprehensible to me as a biologist or as a Christian . it. is neither logical or biologically feasible
Sean Pitman: However, according to the Bible and Ellen White, before the Fall God specifically directed nature so that all sentient life was protected in a manner that there was no suffering or death. By eating from the “Tree of Life” God provided constant renewal and regeneration that worked against what would otherwise be inevitable entropic changes, decay, and death. It was by deliberately stepping away from the true Source of eternal life that mankind stepped away from God and into the full workings of mindless natural law alone – which does in fact inevitably lead to suffering and death.
And this interpretation is precisely why you need a theodicy. Where is the justice in killing all for the sake of the sins of one woman+man? It makes no sense logically. If they were conditionally immortal because of eating of the tree of life then did all the animals in all the world congregate around this tree like beasts around a water hole on the serengeti. how exactly do you as you are wont to do translate the account into a literal reality. And which beast had to come and eat. Or was it symbolic? Oh now that’s a thought.
Sean Pitman: Come on now. Even I can imagine limitations to reproduction or the turnover of sentient carbon-based life. Surely you can at least imagine something similar? I know God can since such a world is described in the Bible and in the writings of Ellen White. Think about it…
Of course I have. This is not simply about reproduction. That is trivial. This is about metabolic process. Show me a carbon based life form that does not grow or metabolize anything and I will show you an organism in stasis as a spore “living” millions of year in amber. That is; effectively dead.
Real life cannot exist without metabolic process in a carbon based world and God has sanctified all this by a process of making good out of evil from the death of one comes life for others. Just as in the biological world so in the spiritual. By his death we have life. Just as God sanctified the practice of sacrifice of appeasement practiced by most cultures for thousands of years before and showed that in the Judeo-Christian tradition these same acts of sacrifice were emblematic of a monotheistic God that would become incarnate and bring life from death. So also he took the preceding accounts of creation derived as they were of the mesopotamian valley and recast it as an account of the monotheistic God who is above all but comes and dwells among us to become one of us. Participating in our life and death but showing us the importance of the transcendent life of the spirit that supercedes carbon based life and its inherent death. It is no fairy tale of 6 impossible things before breakfast. It is not pie in the sky by and by. It is rooted in a real world and it is about the transcendence of love and grace that is acted out in a real physical world by the incarnate God and us as we follow as His disciples.
That is the message I get from the images and visions of the Canon and EG White. But of course I read it for the message that it conveys not as a scientific text. That is where we fundamentally differ.