Comment on Faith & Science Sabbath School examines LSU’s apology by Sean Pitman.
The Bible claims that an axehead can float on water. Human reason and all physical evidence says this is not true. It’s a fairy tale. It’s total nonsense.  Evidence! Evidence!
Indeed human reason and all physical evidences says that axeheads cannot “float” without outside help… i.e., without intelligent design and manipulation of the situation as described in the Bible. This is why such an event, if it happened as described in the Bible, would be instantly recognized as requiring the outside input of a highly powerful intelligent force behind the phenomenon in question.
Is such deliberate manipulation possible? Have you not been to “magic” shows where the magician makes it appear like solid iron bars float on water? I have.
Such stories of “miracles” or other “acts of God” from the Bible are believed to be credible based on those elements of the Bible that can actually be directly tested in a potentially falsifiable manner. Those testable elements of the Bible have shown themselves to be so consistently reliable (at least for me) that those elements that are not directly testable also gain credibility.
Yet, you somehow appeal to the historical-grammatical method of biblical interpretation as countering my appeal to the weight of evidence as something that is vital to biblical credibility. Do you not understand that the H-G method is simply a method of interpreting what the author was trying to say? – that this method says absolutely nothing about if the author was or wasn’t correct in what he said? Do you not realize that the H-G method says nothing about the credibility of the Bible vs. the Book of Mormon or any other claimed source of Divine inspiration? The H-G method can be used to understand the desired communication of any type of text… not just the Bible. Therefore, the H-G method is not a basis for determining the credibility or truthfulness of a given text. Do you not see that?
Sean Pitman Also Commented
Those like myself, Eddie, Pauluc, OTNT Believer, KrisSmith, Frederick, Phil Brantley, and others are NOT insisting on blind, empirically-based allegience to belief in God’s word.
You and Brantley in particular have been saying that empirical evidence is irrelevant to one’s belief in the Bible as the Word of God. According to your interpretation of the historical-grammatical method of biblical interpretation the Bible cannot be subject to question or criticism “by definition” – to quote Brantley.
I’m sorry Prof., but isn’t that the very definition of empirically-blind faith in the Bible as the Word of God? – that empirical evidence is not needed, at all, to support your faith in the Bible’s credibility?
Pick your position and stick with it already. Stop trying to speak out of both sides of your mouth. If you think empirical evidence is required to support a rational faith in the Bible’s credibility, then say so. If you do, then say so. But don’t try to play both sides…
Moreover, just because we disagree with Sean’s unique position on “the weight of evidence” does not mean we advocate the evangelizing of theistic evolution in our schools. To the contrary, I believe we all agree that the Church’s teachings must be presented and treated with respect, and most of us accept those teachings.
Wonderful! We have no argument on this particular point…
What is the ability of your proposed mechanism to explain this vast array of biodiversity over approximately 4000 years? Rapid mutation by intelligent design? How exactly does that work at a molecular level?
Much of the biodiversity within various types or “kinds” of animals (which I generally draw at the level of “order” in the classical hierarchical nomenclature) is based on various forms of variation, such as Mendelian variation, which are not dependent upon adding anything qualitatively new to the gene pool. In other words, the information needed for the diversity that is seen within a species was already pre-programmed into the ancestors of that kind of creature. The genetic information needed for all the various forms of dogs, for example, was pre-programmed into the original ancestral pair of dogs.
This “front-loading” of genetic information allows for extremely rapid diversification of various phenotypic expressions of essentially the same original gene pool of phenotypic options. For example, essentially all of the large number of modern breeds of dogs were produced within the last 300 years. Consider also that the very same set of human parents have the genetic potential to give rise to trillions of different children with unique phenotypic appearances – all without the need for qualitatively novel mutations that go functionally beyond what was already there to begin with.
Such is the power of Mendalian variation of front-loaded information within a given gene pool of a vast array of pre-programmed options.
I would indeed argue that certain aspects of Creationism are “overwhelming” – such as the need for a highly intelligent Agent to explain certain features of the finely tuned anthropic universe as well as high levels of qualitatively novel functional complexity within living things. However, many other aspects of SDA Creationism, such as the recent arrival of life on this planet, have abundant evidence which, while not necessarily “overwhelming”, do outweigh mainstream theories of origins.
And, I happen to know quite a few SDA scientists myself who do not agree that professors in SDA schools should be promoting mainstream evolutionary theories while on the payroll of the SDA Church – that professors in our SDA schools should actually be able and willing to promote the rational superiority of the SDA perspective on origins compared to modern evolutionary theories. Those like Arthur Chadwick and Ariel Roth have voiced their concerns along these lines in this forum and others… as have a number of others who have done so anonymously, but do not wish to be directly named (though you’d probably be surprised at a few of these names).
Beyond this, the debate here isn’t about numbers. I don’t really care if the vast majority of even “SDA scientists” disagree with me. It would still be counterproductive for the SDA Church to hire scientists who declare the Church’s position on origins is scientifically untenable. This is so clearly self-evident that I’m at a loss to see why someone like you, a professor at one of our schools, cannot seem to admit how your suggestions are actually at odds with the Church’s currently stated goals and ideals?
Recent Comments by Sean Pitman
Science and Methodological Naturalism
Very interesting passage. After all, if scientists are honest with themselves, scientific methodologies are well-able to detect the existence of intelligent design behind various artifacts found in nature. It’s just the personal philosophy of scientists that makes them put living things and the origin of the fine-tuned universe “out of bounds” when it comes to the detection of intelligent design. This conclusion simply isn’t dictated by science itself, but by a philosophical position, a type of religion actually, that strives to block the Divine Foot from getting into the door…
Why is it that creationists are afraid to acknowledge the validity of Darwinism in these settings? I don’t see that these threaten a belief in God in any way whatsoever.
The threat is when you see no limitations to natural mindless mechanisms – where you attribute everything to the creative power of nature instead of to the God of nature.
God has created natural laws that can do some pretty amazing things. However, these natural laws are not infinite in creative potential. Their abilities are finite while only God is truly infinite.
The detection of these limitations allows us to recognize the need for the input of higher-level intelligence and creative power that goes well beyond what nature alone can achieve. It is here that the Signature of God is detectable.
For those who only hold a naturalistic view of the universe, everything is attributed to the mindless laws of nature… so that the Signature of God is obscured. Nothing is left that tells them, “Only God or some God-like intelligent mind could have done this.”
That’s the problem when you do not recognize any specific limitations to the tools that God has created – when you do not recognize the limits of nature and what natural laws can achieve all by themselves.
Since the fall of Adam, Sean, all babies are born in sin and they are sinners. God created them. Even if it was by way of cooperation of natural law as human beings also participated in the creation process.
God did not create the broken condition of any human baby – neither the physical or moral brokenness of any human being. God is responsible for every good thing, to include the spark or breath of life within each one of us. However, He did not and does not create those things within us that are broken or bad.
“The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?'” Matthew 13:27-28
Of course, all humans are indeed born broken and are in a natural state of rebellion against God. However, God is not the one who created this condition nor is God responsible for any baby being born with any kind of defect in character, personality, moral tendency, or physical or genetic abnormality. God did not create anyone with such brokenness. Such were the natural result of rebellion against God and heading the temptations of the “enemy”… the natural result of a separation from God with the inevitable decay in physical, mental, and moral strength.
Of course, the ones who are born broken are not responsible for their broken condition either. However, all of us are morally responsible for choosing to reject the gift of Divine Grace once it is appreciated… and for choosing to go against what we all have been given to know, internally, of moral truth. In other words, we are responsible for rebelling against the Royal Law written on the hearts of all mankind.
This is because God has maintained in us the power to be truly free moral agents in that we maintain the Power to choose, as a gift of God (Genesis 3:15). We can choose to accept or reject the call of the Royal Law, as the Holy Spirit speaks to all of our hearts…
Remember the statement by Mrs. White that God is in no wise responsible for sin in anyone at any time. God is working to fix our broken condition. He did not and does not create our broken condition. Just as He does not cause Babies to be born with painful and lethal genetic defects, such as those that result in childhood leukemia, He does not cause Babies to be born with defects of moral character either. God is only directly responsible for the good, never the evil, of this life.
Again, your all-or-nothing approach to the claims of scientists isn’t very scientific. Even the best and most famous of scientists has had numerous hair-brained ideas that were completely off base. This fact does not undermine the good discoveries and inventions that were produced.
Scientific credibility isn’t based on the person making the argument, but upon the merits of the argument itself – the ability of the hypothesis to gain predictive value when tested. That’s it.
Gary Gilbert, Spectrum, and Pseudogenes
Don’t be so obtuse here. We’re not talking about publishing just anything in mainstream journals. I’ve published several articles myself. We’re talking about publishing the conclusion that intelligent design was clearly involved with the origin of various artifactual features of living things on this planet. Try getting a paper that mentions such a conclusion published…