Re Sean’s Quote “Scientific investigations and interpretations will be warped against …

Comment on Faith without Evidence: Are we really a bunch of ‘Flat Earthers’? by Ken.

Re Sean’s Quote

“Scientific investigations and interpretations will be warped against their otherwise obvious implications. Subjective interpretations are an integral part of science. The original motive of the scientist strongly affects his/her interpretation of the available data. Science is not some cold hard process of discovering truth that is devoid of the personal passions and motives of the scientist. This is why the background experience and motives of the scientist will always come into play… The same thing is true of religion. We all have our biases. It is good to at least be aware that such biases do exist within ourselves and within others – to include scientists who may seem to come across as Spock-like creatures but who are in fact just as prone to personal subjective bias as are the rest of us.”

Dear Sean

This worries me. Do we think that the theory of relativity is biased because of Einstein’s Jewish background? Do we think that evolution might have a bit of Anglican bias because of Darwin’s background? The goal of science and scientists is to be objective This is why men like Dr.Clausen should be admired and have credibility. He is making his findings, independent and irrespective of his faith, not because of it.

In order for science to have a rational basis, thus universal credibility, it must not concede that ” Subjective interpretations are an integral part of science” Otherwise it will become wagged by the tale of religion or atheism and lose its virtue.

Science ‘is’ a cold, hard process of discovering truth. That ‘is’ its great virtue. Do some scientists, because they have biases and subjectivity, fail in the pursuit. Absolutely. The good ones recognize the bias and attempt to correct or remove it. Otherwise it will be routed out in time by future, relentless, objective inquiry.

Sean, I value your scientific inquiry – irrespective, not because of your faith. Are you saying that all of your research and work is entirely subjective to your faith? I’m OK with that but I need to know how to appraise your work from my agnostic viewpoint.

As always, thanks for the considerable amount of time and energy you devote to this frorum.

Best regards

Ken Also Commented

Faith without Evidence: Are we really a bunch of ‘Flat Earthers’?
Dear Sean

I think it is an absolute travesty if your ideas are not getting published. You deserve a forum for your ideas.

As an agnostic with an open mind, is there anything I can do to help you in this regard?

Best Regards

Faith without Evidence: Are we really a bunch of ‘Flat Earthers’?
Dear Sean


I think our issue here is more semantics than substance. Please see the following excerpt regarding definitions of subjective v. objective

“Subjective versus Objective

Schools of philosophy and psychology have long debated the value of thoughts and ideas by the nature of approach to their investigation. It would seem that the validity of concepts, ideas and information is often judged by our notion of which of these classifications it is deemed to fit—Subjective or Objective. To attempt any understanding of these attitudes or arguments, it is first necessary to find a suitable definition of these terms. Webster’s New World Collegiate Dictionary provides some interesting insights into the vast diversity of what our language has come to signify by these terms.

Subjective: relating to or determined by the mind as the subject of experience; characteristic of or belonging to reality as perceived rather than as independent of mind; phenomenal; arising out of or identified by means of one’s awareness.

Objective: existing independent of mind; belonging to the sensible world and being observable or verifiable especially by scientific methods; expressing or involving the use of facts; derived from sense perception.”

In short Sean, what I am referring to as objective reality is that which is observable or verifiable by independent scientific methods, not methods seen through the prism of faith or atheism. I see faith or atheism as subjective because they are reality as personally believed, as opposed to observed or tested by independent scientific methods. I understand and appreciate your point that it is virtually impossible to rule out all human bias. Point graciously conceded. But I think relentless scientific methodology overcomes these human short comings over time. Did we learn more about gravity from Newton to Einstein? From Einstein to Hawkings? I think so, yet I think all of them were being objective in their observations at the time.

However if I was to argue too strenously and not consider the merits of your position, I would lose my objectivity. Thus I’ll let our gentle readers way in further on the matter.

Thanks again, your agnostic friend

Faith without Evidence: Are we really a bunch of ‘Flat Earthers’?
Re Sean’s quote

“You misunderstand the concept argued by Kuhn here. Just because objective reality may exist does not mean that it can be understood objectively by subjective creatures like you and me – subject in our understanding of objective reality via the incomplete interpretation of that reality as it is given to us to perceive it in a limited way. Because of such limitations there is always a subjective component to our understanding. That is why scientific conclusions are always subject to potential falsification and why they can never be known, with perfection, to truly represent objective reality.”

Dear Sean

Thanks for your further comments on the topic.

I respectfully, and emphatically disagree. Do we conclude the world is round subjectively? Is the law of gravity subjective?

Simply because we cannot perceive or understand all of reality does not mean we are not achieving objective milestones along the way. The fact that there is more of reality that we have scientifically investigate does not impair the objective scientific conclusions determined to date. When it comes to reality I think you might be confusing subjectivity with finality.

Best objective regards

Recent Comments by Ken

God and Granite Cubes
@ Sean

I enjoyed your article. As I’ve stated before, I think Intelligent Design is a more modern form of Deism and do not think it is irrational. However, as science on an ongoing basis shows what matters are explainable by cause and effect, less is attributable to conscious design. The question of course is what are the limits of science in this regard? For example, will it ever be able to explain First Cause/

Below is a more fulsome quote of Professor Townes, an self acknowledged Protestant Christian. Please note what he has to say about literal creation and evolution. Do you think he is being more reasonable than you on the nature of design?

“I do believe in both a creation and a continuous effect on this universe and our lives, that God has a continuing influence – certainly his laws guide how the universe was built. But the Bible’s description of creation occurring over a week’s time is just an analogy, as I see it. The Jews couldn’t know very much at that time about the lifetime of the universe or how old it was. They were visualizing it as best they could and I think they did remarkably well, but it’s just an analogy.

Should intelligent design be taught alongside Darwinian evolution in schools as religious legislators have decided in Pennsylvania and Kansas?

I think it’s very unfortunate that this kind of discussion has come up. People are misusing the term intelligent design to think that everything is frozen by that one act of creation and that there’s no evolution, no changes. It’s totally illogical in my view. Intelligent design, as one sees it from a scientific point of view, seems to be quite real. This is a very special universe: it’s remarkable that it came out just this way. If the laws of physics weren’t just the way they are, we couldn’t be here at all. The sun couldn’t be there, the laws of gravity and nuclear laws and magnetic theory, quantum mechanics, and so on have to be just the way they are for us to be here.
Charles Townes
‘Faith is necessary for the scientist even to get started, and deep faith is necessary for him to carry out his tougher tasks. Why? Because he must have confidence that there is order in the universe and that the human mind – in fact his own mind – has a good chance of understanding this order.’
-Charles Townes, writing in “The Convergence of Science and Religion,” IBM’s Think magazine, March-April 1966
Some scientists argue that “well, there’s an enormous number of universes and each one is a little different. This one just happened to turn out right.” Well, that’s a postulate, and it’s a pretty fantastic postulate – it assumes there really are an enormous number of universes and that the laws could be different for each of them. The other possibility is that ours was planned, and that’s why it has come out so specially. Now, that design could include evolution perfectly well. It’s very clear that there is evolution, and it’s important. Evolution is here, and intelligent design is here, and they’re both consistent.

They don’t have to negate each other, you’re saying. God could have created the universe, set the parameters for the laws of physics and chemistry and biology, and set the evolutionary process in motion, But that’s not what the Christian fundamentalists are arguing should be taught in Kansas.

People who want to exclude evolution on the basis of intelligent design, I guess they’re saying, “Everything is made at once and then nothing can change.” But there’s no reason the universe can’t allow for changes and plan for them, too. People who are anti-evolution are working very hard for some excuse to be against it. I think that whole argument is a stupid one. Maybe that’s a bad word to use in public, but it’s just a shame that the argument is coming up that way, because it’s very misleading. “

Dr. Ariel Roth’s Creation Lectures for Teachers
Re Sean’s Quote

“Yes, I am suggesting that our scientists should also be theologians to some degree. I’m also suggesting that our theologians be scientists to some degree as well. There should be no distinct dividing line between the two disciplines…”

Hello Sean

First of all, thank you Holly for your comments. You have always treated me with civility and charity for which I am most grateful.

Secondly, on reflection, I do hope I was not strident or offensive in my recent remarks. I am a guest here and should behave with the utmost respect regarding my Adventist hosts. After all I was proposing the Chair of ID at an ‘Adventist’ institution! What gall and temerity from an agnostic!

However something Dr. Kime said struck a very strange chord in me: that a Chair in ID at Harvard would be a quantum leap ( forward – my edit) while such a Chair would be a step backward at LSU. I’ m very sorry Wes, but for me to honestly investigate reality such double standard is not acceptable.

I am sad today, because I think I’m coming to the end of my Adventist journey. I really did see ID as a sort of bridge between your faith and objective inquiry about a ‘Grand’ Design. (apologies Mr. Hawkings). Oh Wes , perhaps I am ontological Don Quixote after all, comically tilting towards immovable Adventist windmills. 🙁 .

However all is not forlorn because I’ve made excellent friends of the heart here. ;). I won’t forget you.

Good luck in your pursuit of God.

Your agnostic friend

Dr. Ariel Roth’s Creation Lectures for Teachers
Re Wes’s Quote

“. But for a Christian, a great devolution, a great recidivation, a tragic forfeiture, foreclosure, worse. If I were to use the vocabulary of some of our recent posters, I’d not put it as delicately.”

Hi Wes and Sean

I just read again portions on ID from Sean’s website Detecting Design. I am very confused by both of your responses. Why the heck is Sean promoting ID as a scientific theory if this is such a Christian retreat? Perhaps you two differ here? I apologize if I am missing the obvious but I see a tremendous disconnect between what Sean is saying about ID and what he is prepared to do to promote it within the subset of Adventist education.

Your agnostic friend

Dr. Ariel Roth’s Creation Lectures for Teachers
Re Sean’s Quote

“Public association is one thing. Private association is another. While many do not feel at liberty to publicly associate themselves with our work here (for obvious reasons), most who still believe in SDA fundamentals (and who are aware of the longstanding situation at LSU and other places) feel that our work in providing enhanced transparency for what is being taught to our young people in our schools was/is necessary on some level.”

Hi Sean

The irony here is that those that are supporting institutional enhanced transparency are hiding behind cloaks of anonymity. That’s not how you, I, Wes, Bob Ryan, Wes, Bill Sorenson and many others here behave. Imagine if Jesus hid behind a cloak and didn’t proclaim his nature. What legacy of respect would he have left?

Conviction requires courage period.

Your agnostic friend

Dr. Ariel Roth’s Creation Lectures for Teachers
Re Intelligent Design

Gentleman, thanks to all for your fulsome replies.

Yes Wes, I remember your cogent analysis of November 14/11. I appreciared it then and its reiteration now. indeed I was waiting to hear from others especially Sean whose site is named Detecting Design. And, here I agree with Bob, ID
does not necessarily rule out any particular design i. e. fiat
creation ot theistic evolution.

But quite frankly I am disaapointed with Sean’s response, not Sean himself for whom I have deep admiration, because I see this as a step backward. Why? Because if you burn the bridge between science and biblical faith it will not be science that suffers.

Ironically Sean makes many fine, cogent arguments for design in nature so I find his reluctance to promote it formally in Adventist education troubling. Respectfully, I don’t think serious enquiry about reality can creep around the periphery or sneak in through the back door. I’m afraid I see a double standard here.

Yes Wes, I understand why Adventists are nervous on this issue. But if one is seeking the truth about reality one can’t wall it in or burn bridges of enquiry. Wes, perhaps the Hellenic maxim should have not so much: Know thyself, but rather Think for thyself. My park bench in Pugwash is a welcome one but does not feature ontological dividers. It is well designed for truth seekers.

Your agnostic friend