Comment on Faith without Evidence: Are we really a bunch of ‘Flat Earthers’? by Sean Pitman.
LSU and the GRI are Adventist institutions, not secular ones. Their scientists are Adventist scientists, not secular ones. It appears as if the science taught and researched at these Adventist institutions is in opposition to yours. Is the answer really to entirely purge those institutions of their personnel? Why not try to persuade them of the veracity of your science from within rather than try and force those individuals out of the church?
I’m not trying to block anyone from attending the SDA Church. However, expecting a paycheck from the SDA Church is a whole different story. The science taught and the conclusions of the research presented by those who support the mainstream conclusions of the scientific community at large are not just in opposition to my own views; they are in opposition to the foundational goals and pillars of the SDA Church as an organization – an organization which pays the salaries of these people who are in public opposition to the clearly stated position of the Church.
As far as persuasion goes, it doesn’t often work for someone whose mind is already made up. This is why we do no hire Catholic priests to pastor our own SDA churches if they remain convinced that Catholic doctrine is superior to our own. Likewise, there is no point in continuing to pay the salaries of those who are ardently convinced that the SDA Church is clearly mistaken in certain of its fundamental views while waiting until they become convinced to the contrary. That suggestion simply makes no sense.
Your suggestion that if the SDA Church does not go along with mainstream science that it is in danger of “marginalization” should be irrelevant to the Church. The Church should not present ideas as the “truth” simply because they are popular. After all, a great many spiritual leaders throughout history were not popular in mainstream society, to include scientific circles. Yet, they were right and spoke the truth as God gave them to speak it – regardless of any fears of marginalization.
The real fear of the SDA Church should be that if it starts allowing the promotion of just any idea from the pulpit or classroom that it will rapidly decay into irrelevance. What’s the point of having an organization if it really has nothing unique to offer compared to society at large?
Sean Pitman Also Commented
Faith without Evidence: Are we really a bunch of ‘Flat Earthers’?
More Arguments for Blind Faith Trumping Evidence and “Last Thursdayism”
You start by asserting that the clear weight of evidence is strongly supportive of the SDA position on origins. Ervin Taylor disagrees with you. You dismiss Ervin Taylorâ€™s comment by calling him an ardent evolutionist. You reply with an Ad hominem attack. You attack Ervin Taylor, not his assertion.
Obviously, it is only my personal opinion that the weight of evidence is clearly in favor of the SDA perspective on origins.
You are also in the same boat I’m in by the way. You do realize that the majority of modern scientists also disagree with your personal opinion that the weight of scientific evidence supports the need for a God or a God-like power to explain the origin of certain features of the universe and life on this planet?
As far as presenting personal pejorative attacks against Erv Taylor, I’ve done no such thing. I’ve only presented his true personal views on origins as being clearly opposed to the stated fundamental position of the organized SDA Church on origins – which is a fact. I’ve also specifically addressed many of his old-life arguments on my website – to include his arguments for the ancient age of many of the Earth’s ice sheets, his assumptions on amino acid racemization dating, and his arguments for radiocarbon and tree ring dating. You can review my counter arguments on my website if you wish…
The crux of this argument appears to be whether or not the scientific evidence supports young age creationism (YEC) or not. You assert that it does. You are in the distinct minority view on this. Said more strongly, you are wrong.
You are certainly with the majority in that opinion. However, your opinion is against the opinion of the SDA Church organization… which is my whole point in this particular forum.
I have read your website. It contains many interesting points that reveal the weaknesses in the scientific evidence, but it does not rewrite the scientific consensus on plate tectonics, geology or other sciences that can inform a scientific evaluation of the claims of YEC.
It is one thing to make bald assertions like this. Any specific counter-arguments to anything I’ve actually said on these topics? in particular?
Here’s a list of just a few of my arguments for evidences that seem to me to clearly demand a young-age of life on this planet and a recent world-wide watery catastrophe as the origin of much of the geologic column and fossil records. I’d be most interested in your counter arguments to some of these points…
You are not wrong that the data are most consistent with a superhuman intelligence (God) creating the universe and life.
Why are you so willing to disagree with the mainstream consensus of modern scientists here (telling me that my arguments in opposition to mainstream science are correct in this case), but tell me that I’m nuts for disagreeing with mainstream scientists when it comes to my interpretations of geology and the fossil record?
There is no way that inanimate matter could become alive due to random natural processes. An early insuperable obstacle is the homochirality problem, but that is merely one impregnable barrier. Many others follow.
Again, most modern scientists think you’re wrong here…
You are capable of arguing this point effectively, because the evidence is not in debate, even in scientific circles. The only debate revolves around opinions wholly unsubstantiated by anything other than the most scant of data. Scientists do not have a mechanism for the ignition of life from matter. They simply claim it happened. And without a universe that includes God, they resort to untestable ideas about selection based upon multiple universes with this universe being observed â€œbecauseâ€ an observer exists, rather than because God created it. (Anthropic principle)
Obviously, I agree with you here, but the same thing is true, in my opinion, for the mainstream interpretation of the fossil record and the geologic column…
However, YEC and flood geology cannot be supported by the available data. It is possible that God created a young earth to look old, much older than 6000 years. It is also entirely possible that the creation and flood were miraculous and that we cannot use human observation to answer these questions at all and we must simply believe.
It is also possible that God made everything “Last Thursday“, or even 5 seconds ago, and just made it look like it has been here longer. Such arguments are simply not helpful when it comes to establishing a solid basis for a rational hope or faith in the Gospel’s “good news”.
You are also not considering the possibility that what looks old to you only looks that way because you are not reading the evidence correctly. As I see the available evidence, the significant weight of evidence is inconsistent with the old-age arguments for the ancient age of either the geologic column or the fossil record. Both of these records literally scream “recent catastrophe”.
If you disagree, by all means list off some specific argument that I’ve made, either here or on my website, and why you think I’m wrong. Again, the above link would be a good place to start.
An honest scientist who works for the church is being demanded by you to hew to a dishonest position, and yet you call him/her a thief. This is untenable and wrong.
A honest scientist who disagrees with the SDA Church should not work for the SDA Church. It is not honest to take money from any organization that you honestly think is so wrong that you would be forced to undermine what they are trying to promote. It is dishonest to take money from anyone while going about promoting just the opposite of what you were paid to promote.
It is not a â€œworldviewâ€ problem. It is a data problem. Adventist GRI scientists honestly acknowledge the science does not support YEC, and yet they support fundamental belief #6, choosing to place faith above human interpretation of data and humbly acknowledging their inability to provide a scientific explanation that agrees with YEC. You follow by stating that Ben Clausen â€œhas done and is doing the Church a disservice in his employment with GRI.â€
If all that was needed was “faith” without any appeal to evidence, what’s the point of spending the Church’s money on the GRI institute? The GRI was not set up by the Church to argue that the best we have is “faith without evidence”. That’s not the point of the GRI. The point of the GRI, clearly, is to present the world with actual evidence in support of the Church’s position on origins. If you or anyone else, as a scientist, cannot, in good conscience, support the Church’s position on origins, the Church is not obliged to hire those who disagree. It doesn’t matter if the Church’s opinion is in the distinct minority when it comes to the modern scientific consensus. The Church is not required to support the majority view. If the Church wishes to remain viable, however, it definitely needs to hire only those who can, in good conscience, support the Church’s view…
Please stop the attacks. They are not thieves. They are not stupid. They are not dishonest. They are in the same position that I and many other committed Adventists are in. We love and support our church, we believe itâ€™s message, we accept the bible for what it says.
I never said that they were stupid or dishonest in their views on origins. What I said is that they are being dishonest toward their employer – the SDA Church in this case. The Church hired them to support the SDA perspective on origins, not with arguments of blind faith, but with arguments of empirical evidence. If a person cannot fulfill such a request in good conscience, then it would be dishonest of such a person to take such a job; to take money for doing one thing while doing just the opposite…
At times, science seems to disagree with revelation. In those circumstances I refuse to rise to the bait. I refuse to submit my belief in God and His creative power to the test of whether or not He is observable in the eyes of Richard Dawkins. This does not make me a believer in his flying spaghetti monster, nor does it make me a flat-earther. It makes me a person who is willing to wait for God to reveal this mystery to me in His own time, if necessary during eternity.
There are many who believe that faith trumps all forms of empirical evidence – that one can believe via faith even if all the available evidence is completely opposed. The problem with this notion is that it leaves one with no rational basis to distinguish between different faiths. Why is your faith in the existence of God better than someone else’s faith in the Flying Spaghetti Monster? or the Book of Mormon? or the Qur’an? or even the faith of most mainstream scientists that everything ultimately came from nothing via mindless mechanisms?
Upon what rational basis should anyone accept your “faith” as being any more credible than any of these other “faiths”?
What can I say? Iâ€™ll let the reader decide whether you are undermining a fundamental SDA doctrine, and whether you yourself would be a liar and a thief if employed by the SDA church.
There is no point in discussing with someone who is trying to be deliberately obtuse. FB#6 is clearly talking about the existence of all things good… as at the end of Creation Week when God said that it was “very good”. Genesis 1:31 NIV
The suggestion that God made the bad as well as the good, the Ying and the Yang as some religions believe, is very clearly not a position of the SDA Church. As Prof. Kent very well knows, the SDA Church presents God as only being responsible for all that is good and none of that which is bad or evil in this world and universe…
I believe that reading the Bible can change a person. It changes me. Itâ€™s changed many of my family members and friends. I believe the Holy Spirit plays an important role in this. When I read the accounts of the apostles, who portray themselves as bumbling fools, I am moved by how little they gained and how all of them were willing to give up their lives for what they claimed they saw and heard. There are aspects of history portrayed in the Bible, and Biblical prophecy, that ring very true. These are but some of the evidences I choose to believe in, and from them, I am willing to accept the Bible in entirety as Godâ€™s inspired word and even much of the Creation account as true.
So, you do appeal to actual empirical evidence to support faith in the Bible… using similar arguments to the ones I use myself. That’s great!
However, at this point, I really don’t understand your efforts in opposition to my efforts to actively promoted additional evidences for faith? – specifically in reference to those empirically testable aspects of the Genesis account of origins? …
And none of us need quantitative scientific data to prove beyond doubt that all major life forms were created in only 6 days less than 6,100 years ago.
That’s not the issue. The issue is that given an understanding of the data that indicates that it is overwhelmingly evident that life has in fact existed and evolved on this planet over the course of hundreds of millions of years, the Genesis narrative cannot be true. It is effectively falsified and therefore looses a great deal of credibility given such a scenario – a loss of credibility which significantly impacts many other aspects of the Bible and various metaphysical claims that cannot be tested or falsified in such a direct manner.
Recent Comments by Sean Pitman
“For such a time as this”
Again, while a good diet and great health are important, this just isn’t enough to effectively prevent disease during a viral pandemic. As I’ve already explained, this is why Ellen White took the smallpox vaccine herself and advised the others who were with her to do the same. Such vaccines are, in fact, part of the most effective ways of “keeping well” rather than “curing disease” after the fact…
Are mRNA Vaccines for COVID-19 helpful or harmful?
Regarding the recent situation where 23 nursing home patients died in Norway following vaccination the mRNA vaccines of Pfizer and/or Moderna (given to 30,000 people so far), these patients were all over the age of 80, were very frail. It is also somewhat difficult to determine a link in this particular population between the vaccine and any other potential cause of death – since around 400 nursing home patients die in Norway every week. However, at this point, it is not ruled out that adverse reactions occurring within the first days following vaccination (such as fever and nausea) may contribute to a more serious course and fatal outcome in patients with severe underlying disease and general frailty.
Steinar Madsen, medical director with the Norwegian Medicines Agency, said: “We are not alarmed by this. It is quite clear that these vaccines have very little risk, with a small exception for the frailest patients.” (Link)
The Norwegian Institute of Public Health said concluded that “for very frail patients and terminally ill patients, a careful balance of benefit versus disadvantage of vaccination is recommended.” (Link)
Consider this also in the light that more than 30% of nursing home residents are likely to die if an outbreak of COVID-19 occurs. So, weighing the risks and benefits of taking the vaccine vs. being exposed to a potential COVID-19 outbreak seems to weigh heavily in favor of taking the vaccine – with the exception, perhaps, of those who are already very frail.
“For such a time as this”
It’s a serious mistake to compare the advances of modern medicine to the prophecies of Ellen White regarding the activity of Satan during the Last Days – where Satan appears as a powerful angel of light, even taking on the form, appearance, and attitude of Christ (making fire come down from the sky and healing the sick and speaking words of grace and comfort in order to deceive the world). Are you really suggesting that the modern mRNA vaccines against COVID-19 are actually part of these final “benevolent” works of Satan? How is this anything but extremist nonsense? – a rejection of a gift of God to help humanity by claiming that it is actually the work of Satan himself? This sort of thing reminds me of this passage in Matthew:
But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.” (Matthew 12:24)
You do realize, after all, that Ellen White took the smallpox vaccine herself during an outbreak? as did her son William White? and that she recommended that all of the others who were with her at the time take the vaccine as well? (Link) Contrary to some claims that I’ve heard regarding her actions here, it wasn’t that the vaccines in her day were less risky or more “pure” than they are today. They were actually riskier compared to modern vaccines, but still far far less risky compared to getting the actual infection itself. That’s why she took the vaccine. She also recommended that missionaries in areas infested with malaria take quinine – that we should, “do the best we can” in such situations (Link). When medications are beneficial and are appropriate, they may be used. When surgery is called for, it should be performed. In 1905 Ellen White wrote:
“Those who seek healing by prayer should not neglect to make use of the remedial agencies within their reach. It is not a denial of faith to use such remedies as God has provided to alleviate pain and to aid nature in her work of restoration…. God has put it in our power to obtain a knowledge of the laws of life. This knowledge has been placed within our reach for use. We should employ every facility for the restoration of health, taking every advantage possible, working in harmony with natural laws… It is our privilege to use every God-appointed means in correspondence with our faith, and then trust in God,… If there is need of a surgical operation, and the physician is willing to undertake the case, it is not a denial of faith to have the operation performed… Before major surgery, the entire body is saturated with a powerful and, in a sense, harmful drug [the anesthetic], to the point of complete unconsciousness and to complete insensibility. By the same token, after surgical procedures, the physician may find it necessary to administer medications that almost certainly include drugs to give relief and prevent the patient from lapsing, from sheer pain, into a state of surgical shock and, in some instances, possible death.” (Link)
Ellen White also recognized that blood transfusions could save lives. She herself had radiation therapy — X-ray treatments at Loma Linda for a skin problem. In short, she was not opposed to reasonable advances of modern medicine, accepting them as gifts of God, not sinister plots of Satan. We should remember her example in this regard and no turn away from the gifts of God that He has granted us through the advances of modern medicine.
As promised, I took a look at Sangers Sequencing and I found a 43 page PDF from the FDA who is complicit in the scam–it’s simply the entirety of the PCR test they all are using…
You don’t know the first thing about PCR or genetic sequencing. Did you even watch the video about Sanger Sequencing that I recommended?
Why would I need to study science for years to be able to break down all of these 43 pages of information, and critically analyze it?
Because, you don’t know the first thing about these scientific tests, not even the basics. Yet you feel yourself free to make claims about them that are absolutely false. You even claim that you’re guided by the Holy Spirit when you make these false claims – which is a very dangerous thing to do. You’re treading on holy ground with your presumptuous claims.
John_16:13 However, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come.
This doesn’t mean that the Holy Spirit gives you knowledge about things that you are unwilling to seriously study or investigate or that He will guide you when you are unwilling and too arrogant to change when errors are revealed to you. You’re simply wrong with your understanding of PCR and how it is used. You don’t understand the first thing about genetic sequencing, and you’re even wrong about Mrs. White and her own use and recommendation of vaccines for others. Almost nothing you’ve said is true. Yet, you claim to be guided directly by God in this nonsense of yours? Please…
There’s simply no point in discussing these things further with you. It’s just no longer useful to me.
Wow, I got this from you on this first day that I looked at your information on Dr. Wakefield–I had never heard of BrandNewTube until I saw this video. Watch out what you link to–now according to you, I’m into “conspiracy theories” because I got BrandNewTube from you.
I cited the Wakefield video as an example of a conspiracy theorist with ideas and claims that simply aren’t credible, even outlandishly wrong, given what we actually know about mRNA vaccines. And, this same website hosts many other conspiratorial videos as well. Christians should strive to avoid being associated with such conspiracies.
Then you proceed to shoot down the PCR inventor’s own testimony about his own test because he was into astrology. So what. Has Satan ever had any part into you? or me? Absolutely–and you dare to speak nonsense and garbage about someone who is dead and cannot defend themselves? Wow, Sean, how far will you go to defend your false science?
Showing that someone is “into” a whole lot of non-credible beliefs and conspiracies plays into that person’s overall credibility – especially given the very relevant nonsense claims of Mullis regarding HIV/AIDS. This is something to consider when someone is cited as an “authority” or “expert” to support this or that sensational claim that supposedly falsifies the vast majority of scientists and medical experts on a particular topic.
Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re wrong in your claim. In fact, your claim that PCR cannot, by itself, prove the existence of a new virus is absolutely true! I agree with you here! However, what you don’t understand is that, as I’ve explained in some detail already, PCR wasn’t used, by itself, to demonstrate the existence or genetic makeup of the COVID-19 virus. The genetic sequencing that was done to initially detect the COVID-19 virus and its genetic makeup is quite involved and very interesting (and goes well beyond PCR) – if you care to actually learn something. I recommend starting the “Sanger Sequencing” (watch the short video explaining it that I posted in my comment above).