Comment on Faith & Science Sabbath School examines LSU’s apology by Professor Kent.
Bob, here is the point-by-point response you requested:
BobRyan: 1. I note that you have taken this up over at Spectrum with an â€œOpen Letter to Educate Truthâ€ published at Spectrum instead of posting your thoughts here â€œat Educate Truthâ€.
2. Since I am named in the above â€” I will also point out that Spectrum has kindly asked that I not respond to questions put to me at Spectrum. (It is a new slant on their â€œBig Tentâ€ idea I think.)
3. Both you and Brantley have tried to conflate hermeneutics (of which the H-G model is an example) with epistemology as if the two are the same thing â€” they are not. You have even stated here that you â€œbelieveâ€ that hermeneutics encompasses epistemology. Yet Davis states that hermeneutics by definition deals just with the rules for accurately rendering the text.
You’ve pointed this out before and it’s been discussed ad nauseum. You might be right. Perhaps we are misinterpreting Dr. Davidson. Perhaps Dr. Davidson’s understanding is wrong. However, Dr. Davidson makes crystal clear that a basic presupposition of the H-G method is “The Bible is the ultimate authority and is not amenable to the principle of criticism: biblical data is accepted at face value and not subjected to an external norm to determine truthfulness, adequacy, validity, intelligibility, etc. (Isa 66:2).” You and your pals here enthusiastically reject this. If you disagree with this presupposition, take it up with Dr. Davidson. I’m finished with it.
4. You debate and complain on almost EVERY observation in nature found to support the Bible teaching on creation â€œas ifâ€ this is helping in some way.
There are many things beyond my expertise that I have chosen not to comment on. You exaggerate.
5. You have clearly stated that we should simply turn a blind eye to the overwhelming evidence in support of 3SG90-91 showing that evoutionism leads to atheism. (As even Darwin, Provine, Meyers and Dawkins can be seen to admit).
I’ve addressed this. I’ll add that I’m not a big fan of Darwin, Provine, Meyers, or Dawkins. I’m surprised you haven’t figured this out yet. I don’t know why you so often refer to them as authorities on matters of origins, since you yourself detest their philosophies.
6. In the above example you are simply twisting the context to make your case â€“ but are not addressing the substantive issues listed in this post.
If Spectrum were not so fearful of having this response posted on Spectrum at this point â€” I would post it there.
Your post was very frightening.
Professor Kent Also Commented
BobRyan: But a point in your favor is that you are right to point out that your method is probably more effective at Spectrum than Educate Truth.
Your final point pretty much summarizes why I’m going to ignore the remainder of your post. You twist and bend and reconfigure–and then twist and bend and some more–what I and anyone else has written.
Conversation with you is useless. It would be helpful if you tried to dialog with the other person rather than your own imagination.
BobRyan: 1. You are ignoring the detail points listed in my points.
I had to go to work and didn’t have time to respond to everything. I’m sure you used to have similar constraints.
2. You have suggested an â€œeither-orâ€ strategy where we dump one truth in favor of another â€œas ifâ€ admitting that evolutionism undermines Christianity just as 3SG 90-91, and Darwin, and Dawkins et al â€“ say it doesâ€¦ means we must then deny the importance of a personal relationship with Christ.
Only in your imagination.
I’ll get to the rest of your “points” shortly.
Faith & Science Sabbath School examines LSU’s apology
Bob, we’ve covered this ground over and over and over again. Do we really need to continue?
Frankly, I don’t understand many of your claims. Among them:
You have clearly stated that we should simply turn a blind eye to the overwhelming evidence in support of 3SG90-91 showing that evoutionism leads to atheism. (As even Darwin, Provine, Meyers and Dawkins can be seen to admit).
Where have I stated this? I don’t believe the support is “overwhelming,” but I have never stated that we should turn a blind eye to all evidence. I think we should deal honestly with the evidence, but more importantly, I feel we should encourage young people to develop a personal relationship with Jesus rather than hit them over the head with so-called facts about origins. I’m convinced that one’s faith will be stronger if it is developed on one’s knees rather than by reading creationist apologetics. Why does this make me such a bad guy?
Recent Comments by Professor Kent
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.