By Sean Pitman, M.D.
While Larry Becker makes it appear that LSU is substantially addressing this issue and that the Adventist Review did not publish the whole story, Becker himself left out a few key details and misstated several facts.
1. While it is true LSU’s board of trustees has spent many hours considering and addressing this issue, to include the establishment of committees, a new freshman-level introduction to science/religion class, and various other recommendations, it is not true that anything substantive has changed at LSU regarding the actual promotion of theistic evolution and the direct undermining of the church’s clearly stated position on a literal six-day creation week. The new freshman class that was setup to supposedly help address the issue of science and religion is actually being taught by many of the same science professors who were actively promoting theistic evolutionary views to begin with. Most of the guest speakers asked to present in this new class are also theistic evolutionists who are questioning the literal interpretation of the Genesis account as interpreted by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. If anything, this new class only makes things worse when it comes to the active undermining of the faith of students in the reality of a recent, literal creation week.
2. Becker makes it appear that LSU puts no pressure on, much less censures, any student who thinks to make public what is really taking place in the LSU classrooms. This is absolutely untrue.Â In fact, LSU has put extreme pressure on Louie Bishop and others to keep quiet about the theistic evolutionary ideas being promoted at LSU which actively undermine faith in a literal six-day creation week–a fundamental doctrinal position of the SDA Church. Why is it that LSU is so resistant to having what is actually being taught in their classrooms presented, even in part, to the church membership at large? If LSU wanted to be helpful in this regard, it should release relevant portions of lecture notes and even videos of lectures for open review. Instead, it puts its own students under academic probation for doing this very thing despite the student’s legal right to publish portions of such materials for academic review.
3. Although the reaction of the secular media to this particular issue at LSU has indeed been limited, it has been quite telling. The comments of Gary Bradley in the public press were dramatic examples of the view of many of science professors at LSU. Only the most mild of which were actually repeated by the Adventist Review. Such views have been presented to LSU students, not so subtly, for decades. This fact should be openly presented before the church membership at large since potential parents, students, and the church membership have a right to know what they are really obtaining with their hard-earned dollars for what is being advertised as real “SDA” education.
4. Regardless of the claims of Becker to the contrary, the comments of Dr. Larry Blackmer (GC Vice President of Education), were not taken out of context or presented other than they were received by Dr. Blackmer.Â As far as publishing only a portion of the comments Dr. Blackmer made before a large group of educators, this was done to protect Dr. Blackmer from his own mistaken comments. Â In fact, Dr. Blackmer, even though he made his own comments before a large public forum, did not wish these comments to be published, in full, or in part, by Educate Truth. Â So, we agreed to remove these comments at his request.
5. Educate Truth does edit extreme comments, for and against, the actions of LSU. However, it is not true that Educate Truth removes comments that are supportive of LSU just for that reason. Many such comments are commonly presented for review and response as are these particular comments by Larry Becker in support of LSU’s actions on this issue.
In short, the steps taken by LSU to respond to the concerns of many regarding the active promotion of theistic evolutionary ideas at LSU have done nothing to increase support of or faith in the church’s fundamental doctrines at LSU.Â If anything, the undermining of these fundamental ideas has increased at LSU over the past year.Â The reason for this seems rather obvious. How can those who do not really believe in the fundamental ideals of the church regarding a literal creation week actually “bring our students back home at the end of the day”? as GC President Jan Paulsen put it? Â
Even LSU’s current president, Randal Wisbey, has expressed doubt regarding the validity of the literal creation week suggesting, in public forum, that perhaps the SDA fundamental doctrine on creation should be re-evalutated. The same thing is true of past presidents of LSU, Lawrence Geraty and Fritz Guy, who have both expressed public support for theistic evolution occurring over the course of hundreds of millions of years on this planet while directly challenging the notion of a literal creation week as being an outdated or “fringe” notion. Is it any wonder theistic evolution is actually an issue at LSU?
For further information and references to the validity of these statements see: