Martha Kay: I am surprised that no one has called out …

Comment on La Sierra University Resignation Saga: Stranger-than-Fiction by Professor Kent.

Martha Kay: I am surprised that no one has called out Prof Kent on what clearly illustrates his intemperance with alcohol as a church employee. THis no doubts explains why he is so eager to support TE’s and homosexual’s and drinker’s in the church. I wonder if his student was drinking alcohol with him. Shame on the prof.

Just now saw this post from Martha Kay. Sadly, her comments exemplify the unfounded conclusions that many EducateTruth supporters reach from just a wee bit of information.

Yes, as touched on in my July 3 post above, it’s true that I consumed alcohol while on a SCUBA trip in Mexican waters with an SDA student–and while I was technically an SDA employee. However, this was nothing more than a sip. My first drink aboard the boat was an apple juice from a large cooler. Upon grabbing another bottle later in the day, I was shocked by the horrible taste with the first swig and spit it into the sink. A number of divers began laughing at me, and asked if I had not realized it was beer. I took a closer look at the label, and someone kindly explained to me that “cerveza” was the Spanish word for “beer.” This was only my second sip ever, both times unaware of what I was drinking. So far as I know, my student at the time had no interest in alcohol either.

Sorry, Martha, but your conclusions, so typical of what I read here at Educate Truth, fall well short of reality.

Professor Kent Also Commented

La Sierra University Resignation Saga: Stranger-than-Fiction
I personally appreciated Dr. Sean Pitman’s frank assessment of the benefits of alcohol consumption at Spectrum (

From my own experience as a pathologist I can tell you that those who are heavy alcohol drinkers tend to have very clean arteries at autopsy. They may have had terrible liver disease, horrible diets rich in trans fats, have been very overweight, feeble, and in general poor health, but their coronary arteries and aortas in particular are very clean and healthy looking at autopsy. Given this personal observation, it is fairly easy for me to believe that moderate alcohol consumption may actually reduce overall atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease. Several long-term studies seem to have confirmed this observation. Of course, the risk of alcoholism and the resulting dangers seem to outweigh this particular health benefit for many people. – Sean Pitman

I concur with Sean that there may be benefits to moderate alcohol consumption, but that the risks can also outweigh any benefits. Perhaps Sean imbibes on occasion, but the last sip of alcohol I had was more than a decade ago while on a SCUBA expedition with a student. (Somewhat ironically, I was actually a contract employee that summer with the SDA Church–the last such contract in my career–and my student was also an SDA). Perhaps Sean, leading by example, could declare his complete abstinence from alcohol, and how long it’s been since his last drink.

La Sierra University Resignation Saga: Stranger-than-Fiction

Charles: SAU Student Handbook, p. 53
Alcohol and Other Drug Use
…Violations constitute grounds for disciplinary action, which may include
permanent dismissal.

I have known a handful of individuals who were at Southern Adventist University over the past three decades, including relatives who attended there more recently. Some interesting stories pieced together from emails shared with me the past year:

1. The men’s dean once got an anonymous phone call that 20 or 30 students were in a local bar, so he rounded them up. The Student Association president was among them. Final decision: if the S.A. president resigned, there would be no discipline for him or the other students. Done deal. (Other students were much less fortunate for milder “sins,” such as wearing earrings.) I’m told this was the early 1990s, and that Sean Pitman himself might have been there at the time.

2. The Student Handbook declared that rock music of any type was not tolerated (does it still say this today, Charles?). However, one could eat at two different locations on campus while listening to it, and it was blared loudly at all Student Association functions.

3. Church attendance was not required, but students were kicked out of the dorms on Sabbath mornings. The local theater loved this policy because it filled with SAU students on Saturday mornings, in spite of the fact that theater attendance, according to the handbook, was not permitted.

4. The Handbook said that shorts could not be worn on the campus. Of course, there was never discipline for the many who wore them.

I don’t know of any comparable issues at La Sierra, but there will be discipline inconsistencies on any Christian or secular campus. That’s life. Far as faculty are concerned, I know of colleagues at Christian universities who have had affairs with or even sexually harrassed students. Some with milder offenses were immediately fired. Others with much worse offenses were mildly reprimanded or outright ignored (the latter putting the university at risk of a major lawsuit). Today, California law requires that any university employee in a supervisory position must participate in a sexual harrassment education seminar–a very good idea.

Alcohol was not the real reason these men were forced to resign. If you believe that, I could sell you property adjacent to a nuclear facility in Japan.

Recent Comments by Professor Kent

Gary Gilbert, Spectrum, and Pseudogenes

Sean Pitman: Science isn’t about “cold hard facts.” Science is about interpreting the “facts” as best as one can given limited background experiences and information. Such interpretations can be wrong and when shown to be wrong, the honest will in fact change to follow where the “weight of evidence” seems to be leading.

Much of science is based on highly technical data that few other than those who generate it can understand. For most questions, science yields data insufficient to support a single interpretation. And much of science leads to contradictory interpretations. Honest individuals will admit that they have a limited understanding of the science, and base their opinions on an extremely limited subset of information which they happen to find compelling whether or not the overall body of science backs it up.

Gary Gilbert, Spectrum, and Pseudogenes

Sean Pitman: The process of detecting artefacts as true artefacts is a real science based on prior experience, experimentation, and testing with the potential of future falsification. Oh, and I do happen to own a bona fide polished granite cube.

Not from Mars. Finding the cube on Mars is the basis of your cubical caricature of science, not some artefact under your roof.

Sean Pitman:
Professor Kent: If you think my brother-in-law who loves to fish in the Sea of Cortez is a scientist because he is trying to catch a wee little fish in a big vast sea, then I guess I need to view fishermen in a different light. I thought they were hobbyists.

The question is not if one will catch a fish, but if one will recognize a fish as a fish if one ever did catch a fish. That’s the scientific question here. And, yet again, the clear answer to this question is – Yes.

I think I’m going to spend the afternoon with my favorite scientist–my 8-year-old nephew. We’re going to go fishing at Lake Elsinore. He wants to know if we might catch a shark there. Brilliant scientist, that lad. He already grasps the importance of potentially falsifiable empirical evidence. I’m doubtful we’ll catch a fish, but I think he’ll recognize a fish if we do catch one.

While fishing, we’ll be scanning the skies to catch a glimpse of archaeopteryx flying by. He believes they might exist, and why not? Like the SETI scientist, he’s doing science to find the elusive evidence.

He scratched himself with a fish hook the other day and asked whether he was going to bleed. A few moments later, some blood emerged from the scratched. Talk about potentilly falsifiable data derived from a brilliant experiment. I’m telling you, the kid’s a brilliant scientist.

What’s really cool about science is that he doesn’t have to publish his observations (or lack thereof) to be doing very meaningful science. He doesn’t even need formal training or a brilliant mind. Did I mention he’s the only autistic scientist I’ve ever met?

As most everyone here knows, I have a poor understanding of science. But I’m pretty sure this nephew of mine will never lecture me or Pauluc on what constitutes science. He’s the most humble, polite, and soft-spoken scientist I’ve ever met.

Gary Gilbert, Spectrum, and Pseudogenes

Sean Pitman: I don’t think you understand the science or rational arguments behind the detection of an artefact as a true artefact. In fact, I don’t think you understand the basis of science in general.

I’m amused by this response. I don’t think you understand the limits of a philosophical argument based on a hypothetical situation, which is all that your convoluted cube story comprises, and nothing more. Whether the artefact is an artefact is immaterial to an argument that is philosophical and does not even consider an actual, bona fide artefact.

Sean Pitman: You argue that such conclusions aren’t “scientific”. If true, you’ve just removed forensic science, anthropology, history in general, and even SETI science from the realm of true fields of scientific study and investigation.

Forensic science, anthropology, and history in general all assume that humans exist and are responsible for the phenomenon examined. Authorities in these disciplines can devise hypotheses to explain the phenomenon they observe and can test them.

SETI assumes there might be non-human life elsewhere in the universe and is nothing more than an expensive fishing expedition. If you think my brother-in-law who loves to fish in the Sea of Cortez is a scientist because he is trying to catch a wee little fish in a big vast sea, then I guess I need to view fishermen in a different light. I thought they were hobbyists.

The search for a granite cube on Mars is nothing more than an exercise in hypotheticals. Call it science if you insist; I don’t see how it is different than a child waiting breathlessly all night beside the fireplace hoping to find Santa coming down the chimney.

I guess the number of science colleagues I acknowledge needs to grow exponentially. I apologize to those I have failed to recognize before as scientists.

Gary Gilbert, Spectrum, and Pseudogenes

Sean Pitman: The observation alone, of the granite cube on an alien planet, informs us that the creator of the cube was intelligent on at least the human level of intelligence – that’s it. You are correct that this observation, alone, would not inform us as to the identity or anything else about the creator beyond the fact that the creator of this particular granite cube was intelligent and deliberate in the creation of the cube.

Your frank admission concedes that the creator of the cube could itself be an evolved being, and therefore you’re back to square one. Thus, your hypothetical argument offers no support for either evolutionism or creationism, and cannot distinguish between them.

Gary Gilbert, Spectrum, and Pseudogenes
I have taken much abuse by pointing out the simple fact that SDAs have specific interpretations of origins that originate from scripture and cannot be supported by science (if science is “potentially falsifiable empirical evidence”). The beliefs include:

o fiat creation by voice command from a supernatural being
o all major life forms created in a 6-day period
o original creation of major life forms approximately 6,000 years ago

None of these can be falsified by experimental evidence, and therefore are accepted on faith.

Sean Pitman’s responses to this are predictably all over the place. They include:

[This] is a request for absolute demonstration. That’s not what science does.” [totally agreed; science can’t examine these beliefs]

The Biblical account of origins can in fact be supported by strong empirical evidence.” [not any of these three major interpretations of Genesis 1]

Does real science require leaps of faith? Absolutely!

I think it’s fair to say from Pitman’s perspective that faith derived from science is laudable, whereas faith derived from scripture–God’s word–is useless.

Don’t fret, Dr. Pitman. I won’t lure you into further pointless discussion. While I am greatly amused by all of this nonsense and deliberation (hardly angry, as you often suggest) for a small handful of largely disinterested readers, I am finished. I won’t be responding to any further remarks or questions.