Liberty Works Both Ways @Ken: Dear Sean If you cherish the truth …

Comment on La Sierra University Continues Deceptive Spin Tactics by Sean Pitman.

Liberty Works Both Ways


Dear Sean

If you cherish the truth and freedom you should not attempt to shackle academic freedom. As long as La Sierra fairly presents both sides of the issue then it remains objective. Once it starts ramming one version of origins down the throats of inquiring young minds it cloaks itself in the strait jacket of dogma. There is no problem with teaching six day creation as religious belief as well as evolution in the classroom. In fact the juxtaposition of both is important for students to experience to decide on the issue for themselves. But when institutions become dogmatic and inflexible in fields of learning they lose pedagogical objectivity.

Best Regards

First off, LSU is not presenting “both sides” in this creation/evolution debate in the science classrooms. The science professors at LSU are being very dogmatic in their promotion of the modern mainstream evolutionary perspective as the true story of origins in their classes. There simply is no support at all given for the SDA position of a literal 6-day creation week in LSU science classrooms. On the contrary, the concept of a literal six-day creation week is actively derided and scoffed at by many of LSU science professors as “lunacy” – both within the classroom and in other public forums.

Beyond this, the notion of pure “academic freedom” is nonsense. Not even public universities would tolerate a biology professor promoting intelligent design or creationists theories as viable alternate scientific theories in his/her classroom. The same thing is true for pastors in our churches. A pastor would be let go if he got up into the pulpit and said, “I don’t want to be ‘dogmatic’ here so I’m simply going to give you guys several competing theories regarding a few doctrinal ideas, like the “Virgin” birth, and let you all make up your own minds without letting my own opinions influence your decision…”

The fact of the matter is that there would be no point in the SDA Church hiring pastors or teachers if these pastors and teachers went around undermining what they were hired to support from the pulpit and classroom. The SDA Church has a particular perspective on many doctrinal issues that are not necessarily popular. If it simply went with the popular view, paying pastors and teacher to teach and preach whatever they wanted independent of the view of the Church as an organized body of believers, the Church would soon collapse into irrelevance.

Viable organizations simply do not work like you are suggesting. Viable organizations stand for something and maintain internal control over paid representatives – letting those go who no longer support the stated goals and ideals of the organization.

Is this a restriction of “liberty”? Not really. You are always free and go elsewhere to get paid by those who actually wish to pay you for your ideas. Remember, liberty works both ways. The people who pay your salary are also free to not pay your salary if you are no longer providing the product that they wish to buy…

Sean Pitman

Sean Pitman Also Commented

La Sierra University Continues Deceptive Spin Tactics

Present all points of view and and give people the freedom of choice, and certainly the “truth” shall prevail.

Please do present one example of any institution or organization that teaches all points of view without bias…

Also, your idea that it is always an easy thing for our youth to separate truth from error is mistaken. It is quite easy to trick young inexperienced minds with very convincing arguments that seem logically, even scientifically, sound, but which are mistaken and will ultimately result in harm to the individual.

Beyond this, why should the SDA Church spend time and money presenting, on an equal footing, all points of view? No organization that believes in a particular mission, goal or ideal presents all points of view without any indication of preference. If you believe that one particular pathway is the most ideal pathway, why wouldn’t you want to share this with your friends so that they can experience the very best instead of having to wade through all the other stuff to discover the best the hard way?

Also, the mere presenting of a particular opinion doesn’t remove a person’s freedom of choice. A person can always choose to reject the opinion presented by the Church and consider others. Also, no one is forced to teach or preach in or attend an SDA institution. Yet, the SDA Church does indeed support particular opinions. It does not present, on an equal footing, all opinions. This is why the SDA Church has a unique set of “fundamental” doctrinal positions that define it as a unique entity or organization.

This is why the SDA Church calls itself the Seventh-day Adventist Church – because it has a particular perspective to promote that is unique from all others. Your notion that all people should always present all perspectives on equal footing is itself a promotion of a particular opinion to the exclusion of other opinions. This is the biggest reason why your postmodern argument just doesn’t work. It is inherently self-contradictory. There simply is no argument until one actually has a biased opinion on the topic at hand – and you certainly have a biased opinion on the topic at hand…

Sean Pitman

Recent Comments by Sean Pitman

The Arguments of Adventists Opposed to Vaccines
The LORD does not suffer fools who deliberately put themselves in paths of known dangers. If you deliberately jump off a cliff, putting the LORD to the test, this is not virtuous faith, but presumption – a sin against God.

The Arguments of Adventists Opposed to Vaccines
After extensive review of the available data, the FDA issued “emergency use authorization” for the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA vaccines. Pfizer, in particular, is planning on applying for full FDA approval as early as the middle of this month (April 2021).

As far as the length of immunity, it is currently known that robust immunity following mRNA vaccination lasts “at least” six months, and probably years (Link). However, if additional variants arise that aren’t effectively covered by the current vaccines, additional booster shoots would be needed.

Are mRNA Vaccines for COVID-19 helpful or harmful?

1. I assume some defective mRNA strands and lipid layers can be generated during the myriad of involved complex chemical processes. Do we understand percentage of defective nanoparticles / mRNA strands? Does process include QA that somehow reduces or eliminates potentially harmful defects. What is risk of defective mRNA strands that could encode for harmful proteins? Any other associated risks here that I am not addressing?

Given that the mRNA sequences in the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are synthetically produced, I would say that there are very few defective mRNA sequences. And, when it comes to producing proteins based on these few defective sequences, the additional risk from such defective sequences for the human body would be, effectively, zero. In fact, a few slight variations in the protein sequence for the spike protein would only result in slight variations in the immune system response. And, producing such slight variations are already part of how our human immune system is programmed to work – automatically producing slight variations in the antibodies produced against a particular type of foreign antigen, for example.

2. How much independent review occurred with these vaccines? Is the Global Advisory Committee on Vaccine Safety the only body that reviewed. Do scientiests get hands-on and eyes-on access to the actual chemical processes to verify what is happening (in vitro and in vivo), or are they just provided with white papers and reports for review?

A great many scientists were involved in the production and review of the mRNA vaccines. These vaccines, how they work, and their effects on human biochemistry are very well known by a great many scientists who work in this field of immunochemistry. There are no fundamental secrets here.

3. Some papers and FAQs claim the generated viral “spike protein” is presented on the cell surface. Some of your dialogue here seems to indicate that this is not the case. Which is it? How is it presented? Is it presented in a variety of ways?

Here are a few diagrams that illustrate what’s happening within different cells of the body where the mRNA sequences are decoded and presented:

Mechanism of action of mRNA vaccines. 1. The mRNA is in vitro transcribed (IVT) from a DNA template in a cell-free system. 2. IVT mRNA is subsequently transfected into dendritic cells (DCs) via (3) endocytosis. 4. Entrapped mRNA undergoes endosomal escape and is released into the cytosol. 5. Using the translational machinery of host cells (ribosomes), the mRNA is translated into antigenic proteins. The translated antigenic protein undergoes post-translational modification and can act in the cell where it is generated. 6. Alternatively, the protein is secreted from the host cell. 7. Antigen protein is degraded by the proteasome in the cytoplasm. The generated antigenic peptide epitopes are transported into the endoplasmic reticulum and loaded onto major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I molecules (MHC I). 8. The loaded MHC I-peptide epitope complexes are presented on the surface of cells, eventually leading to the induction of antigen-specific CD8 + T cell responses after T-cell receptor recognition and appropriate co-stimulation. 9. Exogenous proteins are taken up DCs. 10. They are degraded in endosomes and presented via the MHC II pathway. Moreover, to obtain cognate T-cell help in antigen-presenting cells, the protein should be routed through the MHC II pathway. 11. The generated antigenic peptide epitopes are subsequently loaded onto MHC II molecules. 12. The loaded MHC II-peptide epitope complexes are presented on the surface of cells, leading to the induction of the antigen-specific CD4 + T cell responses. Exogenous antigens can also be processed and loaded onto MHC class I molecules via a mechanism known as cross-presentation. (Link)

Now, The mRNA-1273-encoded prefusion stabilizes the S protein (Moderna Vaccine) consists of the SARS-CoV-2 glycoprotein with a transmembrane anchor and an intact S1–S2 cleavage site. The presence of the transmembrane anchor would seem to enable some of the spike proteins to remain attached to the surface of the cell that produced them, such as a muscle cell, but would still be recognized as “foreign” by the immune system. (Link)

See also: Link

Are mRNA Vaccines for COVID-19 helpful or harmful?
The following commentary by organic chemist Derek Lowe is also helpful in understanding this question (December 4, 2020):

Bob Wachter of UCSF had a very good thread on Twitter about vaccine rollouts the other day, and one of the good points he made was this one. We’re talking about treating very, very large populations, which means that you’re going to see the usual run of mortality and morbidity that you see across large samples. Specifically, if you take 10 million people and just wave your hand back and forth over their upper arms, in the next two months you would expect to see about 4,000 heart attacks. About 4,000 strokes. Over 9,000 new diagnoses of cancer. And about 14,000 of that ten million will die, out of usual all-causes mortality. No one would notice. That’s how many people die and get sick anyway.

But if you took those ten million people and gave them a new vaccine instead, there’s a real danger that those heart attacks, cancer diagnoses, and deaths will be attributed to the vaccine. I mean, if you reach a large enough population, you are literally going to have cases where someone gets the vaccine and drops dead the next day (just as they would have if they *didn’t* get the vaccine). It could prove difficult to convince that person’s friends and relatives of that lack of connection, though. Post hoc ergo propter hoc is one of the most powerful fallacies of human logic, and we’re not going to get rid of it any time soon. Especially when it comes to vaccines. The best we can do, I think, is to try to get the word out in advance. Let people know that such things are going to happen, because people get sick and die constantly in this world. The key will be whether they are getting sick or dying at a noticeably higher rate once they have been vaccinated.

No such safety signals have appeared for the first vaccines to roll out (Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech). In fact, we should be seeing the exact opposite effects on mortality and morbidity as more and more people get vaccinated. The excess-death figures so far in the coronavirus pandemic have been appalling (well over 300,000 in the US), and I certainly think mass vaccination is the most powerful method we have to knock that back down to normal.

That’s going to be harder to do, though, if we get screaming headlines about people falling over due to heart attacks after getting their vaccine shots. Be braced.

Are mRNA Vaccines for COVID-19 helpful or harmful?
I know that various European countries, including the Netherlands, Denmark, and Spain, have reported outbreaks of COVID-19 in mink pelt farms – leading to the culling of more than a million animals. From laboratory experiments, it’s also clear that ferrets (a relative of the mink) are also readily infected with the “novel coronavirus”. Aside from this, however, I’m not aware of any “issues” with animal experiments regarding COVID-19 in particular. However, in 2008 there was an interesting experiment involving ferrets that were given the flu vaccine against the H1N1 virus – who then became sicker once exposed to the live virus as compared to those ferrets that weren’t vaccinated. The reason for the effect was unclear, and Skowronski, the lead author, urged other research groups to take up the question.

“Skowronski likened the mechanism to what happens with dengue viruses. People who have been infected with one subtype of dengue don’t develop immunity to the other three. In fact, they are more at risk of developing a life-threatening form of dengue if they are infected with one of the other strains.”

Skowronski called the second theory the infection block hypothesis. Having a bout of the flu gives the infected person antibodies that may be able, for a time, to fend off other strains; flu shots only protect against the strains they contain. So under this theory, people who didn’t have flu in 2008 because they got a flu shot may have been less well armed against the pandemic virus.”

While interesting, such an effect has not been identified in the animal or human trials for the mRNA vaccines against COVID-19. Also, subsequently updated flu vaccines to the H1N1 strain haven’t had this problem either (Link).