George Hilton says, “Clearly, what is going on here is …

Comment on Dr. Geraty clarifies his “Challenge” to literal 6-day creationism by David Read.

George Hilton says, “Clearly, what is going on here is more painful to face than many of us have been willing to admit before now. There are two “churches” within the church. The liberal “church within the church” is no longer a minority in some places, and it is no longer safe to assume that it does not involve at the very least a significant minority of leadership in some Conferences. The employees of LSU don’t buy our “you must be loyal to your boss” arguments simply because from their point of view they ARE being loyal to their boss. The lack of decided action on the part of anyone with real jurisdiction over them gives some credence to their viewpoint.”

George, I have come to exactly the same conclusion over the past few days, and recently said so on the Spectrum site. But you said it better and more eloquently than I ever could have.

I have wanted to believe that the Seventh-day Darwinians are a tiny minority within the church. I have wanted to believe that those self-identified Adventists who reject the traditional Adventist high view of Scripture and who reject the prophetic authority of Ellen White were a very small minority. But given the outpouring of support for LaSierra–a completely unrepentant LaSierra–this view is no longer tenable. The fact is that the liberal “church within a church” is very large. It may well be close to a majority in the Southern California Conference, and almost certainly is a majority in the Southeastern California Conference.

There are those who have objected that the action of the Michigan Conference threatens church unity, but the truth is that this entire LaSierra controversy has exposed–not created but exposed–a profound, utterly unbridgeable disunity. There is no hope of reconciliation, because there is no common authority to appeal to; the liberal church within the church does not read Scripture as the traditionalists do and does not recognize the prophetic authority of Ellen White. To what common authority could either faction appeal to settle our disputes?

This is a very depressing epiphany, but it is always better to know the truth than not know it.

David Read Also Commented

Dr. Geraty clarifies his “Challenge” to literal 6-day creationism
@Geanna Dane:
Geanna, I understand that you think you are scoring points by pointing out that creationists believe in far more rapid speciation than mainstream Darwinian scientists. But I really don’t view it as a serious problem, because the change in a creationist model is limited, intrabaraminic speciation. Also, even for the limited change we can infer, I’m hypothesizing a different genetic mechanism or mechanisms, not natural selection of random mutations, which if it worked at all would necessarily work extremely slowly.

And you’re still missing the main point. Disputes about rates of evolution aside, the creationist model is very, very different from the Darwinist model. Even if I believed that, given enough time, natural selection acting upon random mutations COULD HAVE created the world, I still would NOT believe it was created that way. I’d still believe the biblical account. Even if I believed, “Yep, the world absolutely could have created itself through random DNA copying errors, no doubt about it,” I still wouldn’t believe that’s what actually happened, because the Bible teaches a radically different history.

Now that I’ve conceded that speciation happens many times faster in a creationist model, can I get you to concede that the young earth creationist model, in which God creates the living world in six literal days just a few thousand years ago is very different from the mainstream scientific model, in which all living things descended from a single living cell over the course of roughly 600 million years? If you won’t concede that, I really don’t see how further dialog will be useful.


Dr. Geraty clarifies his “Challenge” to literal 6-day creationism
@Geanna Dane:

“Professor Kent and I are simply saying that anyone who believes in exceptionally rapid evolution is as much or more so a Darwinist. . .”

No, not by the common understanding of the term “Darwinist.” If you want to define Darwinism as any type of organic change over time then, sure, I’m a Darwinist. In fact, if Darwinism is so defined, then there are only Darwinists on earth. But it is silly to pretend that there is not a real conflict of visions between those who believe that God created the world in six literal days a few thousand years ago, and those who believe that life evolved from one or a few “simple” organisms over the course of a few hundred million years. This is a real conflict that cannot be defined away. So label the parties however you want to label them, but for me, I’m sticking with creationists and Darwinists.

On the issue of the frogs, the ones that hopped out of the ark had the genetic potential to vary their coloration and behavior to adapt to the various different environmental niches they would encounter in the post-Flood world. But I doubt that any modern frog would have a deep enough gene pool to re-diversify into the many different frog species, because I believe the clock is running down, and harmful mutations have accumulated over the course of thousands of years.

By the way, the issue is the same with humans: only two generations of one family were preserved on the ark, yet we now have several distinct living races (as well as some extinct ones, like the Neandertals). It would seem that Noah and wife had the genetic potential to diversify into the several races.


Dr. Geraty clarifies his “Challenge” to literal 6-day creationism
Kent, we’ve been over all this ground before. I use the term “Darwinism” to mean the idea that all life developed from a few simple organisms over the course of some 550 million years, unaided by God or providence. Obviously, someone who holds to the biblical model of earth history can never be a Darwinist, regardless his views on rapid post-Flood speciation.

It seems like you and Geanna and several others have gotten the idea that creationists disbelieve in evolution because we are unconvinced as to the efficacy of the currently proposed evolutionary mechanism, and that if we could just be convinced that DNA copying errors could lead to complex new biological mechanisms, organs, and systems, we would be Darwinists. Wrong. We are creationists because we believe in the Bible, read straightforwardly as Adventists have always read it.

Now, as it happens, I don’t believe that DNA copying errors could lead to complex new biological mechanisms, organs and organ systems, but that’s not what’s driving the bus. It’s because I believe Scripture that I deny Darwinism.

Now with regard to the rapid post-Flood speciation that is part of the creationist model, most of that does not entail evolving new biological mechanisms, organs and organ systems. Even there, however, I don’t place much stock in the DNA copying error theory, nor the randomness of mutations. Clearly, there was a great deal of horizontal gene transfer in the past. There are genetic mechanisms that allow for environmentally enduced genetic changes, and possibly environmentally enduced gene transfer among species. The main difference in the models is that the creationist model has the clock running down–the older the creatures, the better their genes, the more genetic variability. Thus, of the stock that left the Ark, each created “kind” had the potential to diversify into many different species.

I think you and Geanna have the idea that the creation/evolution controversy is between those who believe in fixity of biological forms and those who don’t, but it isn’t. Rather, it is between models of earth history that are 180 degrees apart, completely opposite of one another. In the Darwinist model, everything is always slowly getting better and more complex. In the creationist model, every created plant and animal was better on the day of its creation than any of its descendants would ever be again. They are just completely different models, mind sets, worldviews. It really isn’t a debate about whether things can “evolve” and how fast.


Recent Comments by David Read

The Reptile King
Poor Larry Geraty! He can’t understand why anyone would think him sympathetic to theistic evolution. Well, for starters, he wrote this for Spectrum last year:

“Christ tells us they will know us by our love, not by our commitment to a seven literal historical, consecutive, contiguous 24-hour day week of creation 6,000 years ago which is NOT in Genesis no matter how much the fundamentalist wing of the church would like to see it there.”

“Fundamental Belief No. 6 uses Biblical language to which we can all agree; once you start interpreting it according to anyone’s preference you begin to cut out members who have a different interpretation. I wholeheartedly affirm Scripture, but NOT the extra-Biblical interpretation of the Michigan Conference.”

So the traditional Adventist interpretation of Genesis is an “extra-Biblical interpretation” put forward by “the fundamentalist wing” of the SDA Church? What are people supposed to think about Larry Geraty’s views?

It is no mystery how LaSierra got in the condition it is in.


The Reptile King
Professor Kent says:

“I don’t do ‘orgins science.’ Not a single publication on the topic. I study contemporary biology. Plenty of publications.”

So, if you did science that related to origins, you would do it pursuant to the biblical paradigm, that is pursuant to the assumption that Genesis 1-11 is true history, correct?


The Reptile King
Well, Jeff, would it work better for you if we just closed the biology and religion departments? I’m open to that as a possible solution.


The Reptile King
Larry Geraty really did a job on LaSierra. Personally I think it is way gone, compromised beyond hope. The SDA Church should just cut its ties to LaSierra, and cut its losses.

As to the discussion on this thread, round up the usual suspects and their usual arguments.


La Sierra University Resignation Saga: Stranger-than-Fiction
It is a remarkably fair and unbiased article, and a pretty fair summary of what was said in the recorded conversation.