UNST/UHNR 404B Syllabus (LSU)

syllabusUNST / UHNR 404B: Religious, Moral, and Social Aspects of Biology—Spring Qtr 2009

CH 206; 1-3 pm, Mondays & Wednesdays

Instructors: Dr. Gary Bradley, Dr. Lee Greer, and invited guest lecturers

Phone numbers: 951-785-2011; 951-785-2101 (Office); 2512 (Lab)

E-mail: gbradley@lasierra.edu; lgreer@lasierra.edu

Course objectives

Our senior Biology capstone course provides a journey in three parts, completing your Bachelor of Science degree. Each part will be based on the peer-reviewed scientific and scholarly literature and books by scientists and scholars in their respective academic fields. You should be able to understand, discuss, and synthesize the following categories of information:

I. Scientific evidence of the natural history and evolution of life on earth from comparative biology, geology, paleontology, and genomics – capped by your Major Field Achievement Test (MFAT). You will have an opportunity to reflect on the data in a paper.

II. The emerging dialogue between science and religion – a synthesis of history, epistemology, philosophy, laying emphasis on current discussions, and the history of thought on science and religion from the late Medieval-Renaissance Europe, to the Scientific Revolution & Enlightenment of the mid-17th -18th centuries, and the expanding world of science since Darwin and into the 21st century. You will have an opportunity to reflect on the issues in a paper.

III. Environmental ethics – the roots of our current ecological crisis and individual and societal approaches for becoming more sustainable in a time of planetary stress. You will keep up with breaking developments in the planetary environmental crisis and participate in campaigns on Internet.

Requirements

Attendance & participation

You are expected to attend all class sessions and to actively participate as biologists approaching your baccalaureate degree! The optimum success of a discussion course like depends on the involvement of every student. Records of attendance and participation in discussion will be taken in every class.

You will be required to keep up with breaking developments in the planetary environmental crisis on Ecological Internet (www.ecologicalinternet.org/), and actively participate as an informed citizen in various campaigns dealing with atmospheric-climate, ocean, forest, biodiversity, and freshwater supply issues under the various respective internet portals. E-mail documentation will be added to special Dropboxes on D2L.

Optional Service Learning

You may receive optional service learning credit for participating in these assignments, and for going for the extra step of setting up your own blogspot on My.EcoEarth.Info, which is affiliated with Ecological Internet. Then you will periodically post thoughtful pieces on your blog on current campaigns and / or your insights on the current state of our planet, and what we ethically owe to our planet and its inhabitants – our fellow voyagers on the long odyssey of this spaceship we call Earth. You will share the links to your blogspots with classmates and professors, and the world, after editing.

Reading

This is a reading and writing course. You should read the day’s assigned reading before coming to class. Assigned papers may be handed out, posted on D2L, linked from the Internet, or put on reserve in the library. We will make them available at least one week before they will be discussed.

Writing

Learning to think and to write critically is a lifelong process, and you will be asked to work hard in this course to seriously advance your skills. You will also be challenged to further develop the art of integrating, synthesizing, and interpreting what you know.

The writing required in this course will entail a major paper (5-7 pages in length exhibiting clear writing and scholarship with bibliography) and a final exam.

Bonus points for interesting new references from NCBI Pubmed or PubMed Central on the relevant topics, along with a half-page submission introduction about why the paper is relevant.

Major paper

You will submit a major paper over the course of the quarter. The purpose of this assignment:

a) To Identify and define the issues

b) To Summarize the methods and data from the scientific (or peer-reviewed academic) literature on the current status of the discipline about which you are writing.

c) To Reflect on the broad implications with specific reference to the data.

In the light of geochronology and modern biological techniques, present the

1. Evidence and interpretation of the natural history and evolution of life on Earth from paleontology,

2. Evidence and interpretation of the natural history and evolution of life on Earth from biology.

MFAT

The Major Field Achievement Test (MFAT) is required of all senior Biology majors and will be administered as part of this course. As you participate to the best of your ability on this test, remember that your score memorializes your baccalaureate degree in the scientific field of Biology.

Final Examination

A structured essay and short answer exam with questions on parts I-III of the course.

Grade weighting

Class attendance, participation, & Internet environmental involvement . . . . . . . . 33.3%

A Paper. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33.3%

Final Exam. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33.3%


>93% = A; 90-93% = A–; 87-90% = B+; 83-87% = B; 80-83% = B–; 76-80% = C+; 70-76% = C; 66-70% = C–; 63-66% = D+; 57-63% = D; <57% = F

Spring Qtr Schedule for 2009

Date

Topic

Lecturer

30 Mar

Mon

Introduction; syllabus & course

Lee Greer

01 Apr

Wed

PART I

How old is planet Earth and its life?

Kevin Nick (LLU)

06 Apr

Mon

Radiometric dating

Carbon 14 dating

Ben Clausen (GRI)

Erv Taylor (UCR)

08 Apr

Wed

Evidence from ice cores

“What About God?”—PBS film

Lee Greer

lecture: McCloskey

13 Apr

Mon

Origin of life (DVD lecture)

Origin of life studies – a summary

Donald Prothero (Occidental, Caltech)

Lee Greer

October 2008 Origins Conference, Caltech

Prothero (2007), ch. 6, 145-59

15 Apr

Wed

Fossils and the fossil record – Dating the paleontological evidence

Gary Bradley

lecture: McCloskey

20 Apr

Mon

Evolution of life – selected vertebrate fossils

Lee Grismer

22 Apr

Wed

Human Evolution – the fossils

Gary Bradley

27 Apr

Mon

Geological evidence from ancient lakes and early life

Paul Buchheim (LLU)

29 Apr

Wed

Human Evolution – the molecules

Evolution and genomics – fossils in the molecules

Lee Greer

Cooper & Kehrer-Sawatzki (2008)

Koonin (2009) review

04 May

Mon

“Judgement Day” – ID on trial in Dover

Discussion

06 May

Wed

MFAT

11 May

Mon

Mammalian evolution

Cenozoic magnetic stratigraphy

Donald Prothero (Occidental; Caltech)

13 May

Wed

PART II

Science & Religion – Intro

John Webster

18 May

Mon

So many sagas – a biologist looks at creation stories

Lee Greer

20 May

Wed

The legacy of the Enlightenment (mid-17th – 18th centuries)

Lee Greer

Paper due

27 May

Wed

PART III

Environmental ethics – an overview

Gary Bradley

01 Jun

Mon

Crafting a sustainable world-view

Gary Bradley

03 Jun

Wed

Film documentary

TBA

10 Jun

Wed

Final Examination

TBA

Readings and references

Readings will be assigned as we proceed through the course. Here is a list of reference books which we will put on reserve at the library:

  • Baker, Catherine. 2006. The evolution dialogues: Science, Christianity, and the quest for understanding. Washington, DC: American Association for the Advancement of Science.
  • Clayton, Philip (ed.), Simpson, Zachary (assoc. ed.). 2006. The Oxford handbook of religion and science. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
  • Collins, Francis S. 2006. The language of God: A scientist presents evidence for belief. New York, NY: Free Press.
  • Cooper, David N., Kehrer-Sawatzki, Hildegard (eds.) 2008. Handbook of human molecular evolution (2 volumes). West Sussex, England: J Wiley & Sons.
  • Des Jardins, Joseph R. 2004. Environmental ethics; An introduction to environmental philosophy, 4th edition. Wadsworth Publishing Co.
  • Falk, Darrel R. 2004. Coming to peace with science: Bridging the worlds between faith and biology. Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press.
  • Giberson, Karl W. 2008. Saving Darwin: How to be a Christian and believe in evolution. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers.
  • Miller, Kenneth R. 2008. Only a theory – Evolution and the battle for America’s soul. New York, NY: Penguin Group (USA), Inc.
  • Prothero, Donald R. 2007. Evolution: What the fossils say and why it matters. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.

Internet Resources:

National Center for Biotechnology Information: PubMed and PubMed Central (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?db=PMC&itool=toolbar)

American Scientific Affiliation: A fellowship of Christians in Science (www.asa3.org).

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23 thoughts on “UNST/UHNR 404B Syllabus (LSU)

  1. Wow – that Spring Quater alone is stacked to the hilt with SDA devotees of all-evolution all-the-time bible-is-less-than-trustworthy adherants.

    Surely LSU knew that “someone might notice”.

    Or did they?

    in Christ,

    Bob

    View Comment
  2. Spring Qtr Schedule for 2009

    Date
    Topic
    Lecturer

    30 Mar

    Mon
    Introduction; syllabus & course

    Lee Greer

    01 Apr

    Wed
    PART I

    How old is planet Earth and its life?

    Kevin Nick (LLU)

    06 Apr

    Mon
    Radiometric dating

    Carbon 14 dating
    Ben Clausen (GRI)

    Erv Taylor (UCR)

    08 Apr

    Wed
    Evidence from ice cores

    “What About God?”—PBS film
    Lee Greer

    lecture: McCloskey

    13 Apr

    Mon
    Origin of life (DVD lecture)

    Origin of life studies – a summary
    Donald Prothero (Occidental, Caltech)

    Lee Greer
    October 2008 Origins Conference, Caltech

    Prothero (2007), ch. 6, 145-59

    15 Apr

    Wed
    Fossils and the fossil record – Dating the paleontological evidence
    Gary Bradley
    lecture: McCloskey

    20 Apr

    Mon
    Evolution of life – selected vertebrate fossils
    Lee Grismer

    22 Apr

    Wed
    Human Evolution – the fossils
    Gary Bradley

    27 Apr

    Mon
    Geological evidence from ancient lakes and early life
    Paul Buchheim (LLU)

    29 Apr

    Wed
    Human Evolution – the molecules

    Evolution and genomics – fossils in the molecules
    Lee Greer
    Cooper & Kehrer-Sawatzki (2008)

    Koonin (2009) review

    04 May

    Mon
    “Judgement Day” – ID on trial in Dover
    Discussion

    06 May

    Wed
    MFAT

    11 May

    Mon
    Mammalian evolution

    Cenozoic magnetic stratigraphy
    Donald Prothero (Occidental; Caltech)

    So … was there ANYONE in that list that actually accepted the Bible account for origins????

    Not even ONE???

    Hmm – talk about unbalanced.

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  3. One thing I just noticed — they actually delve into “Judgement Day” – ID on trial in Dover”.

    Now THERE would be an interesting lecture to audio tape!!

    Notice that in Romans 1 – Paul argues that even “pagans” (he calls them barbarians in Romans 1) are “without excuse” because the “invisible attributes of God are CLEARLY SEEN (yes even by barbarians) through that which has been MADE”.

    Thus the Bible argues for a level of “insight” and awareness for barbarians — that just “might not” be perceptible to those conducting the “ID on Trial” seminars at LSU. How instructive to have the audio – to know if they made it all the way up the level of what Paul calls “Barbarians” in Romans 1 on the subject of ID.

    in Christ,

    Bob

    View Comment
  4. Bob, your comments are too often judgmental, rude, ignorant, and slanderous. Ben Clausen of GRI, Kevin Nick of LLU, and Paul Bucheim of LLU all accept the Biblical account on origins; I know these people personally and can vouch for that. How instructive to the unbiased observer your term “unbalanced” is and should be applied.

    View Comment
  5. Frank – your unproven accusations are much too kind – really you must stop, I will be tempted toward a sense of pride if you do not. I must insist.

    As for my part — I was just pointing out the obvious as it turns out.

    Greer, Taylor, Bradley, McCloskey .. are all on record here – so no real surprise for the unbiased objective reader.

    I notice that your well crafted – less than substantive – statement did not include a response to the question that was asked about the ID section of 404B.

    Is there something you’re not telling?

    Since the people in your list do not appear to speak to the same topics as the evolutionists – it would appear that this is NOT a balanced “hear the evolutionist side — THEN hear the creationist side on the same topic” format. But the list of topics and speakers might be misleading – so feel free to let us know if that is the case.

    If your pointy statement above about being “judgmental’ is a reference to my affirmation of 3SG 90-91 — please indicate for me the proper way to reject the statements found there.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  6. Introduction; syllabus & course — Lee Greer

    A sacrifice all for evolutionism – context and perspective for the entire 404B course – expectations set by Greer?

    How old is planet Earth and its life? Kevin Nick

    Frank appears to be arguing that he has information that Nick is stating in this lecture that Earth is 6,000 years old and that Life on earth — was created in 6 days, and is 6000 years old at most.

    Some “details” supporting such an assertion on Frank’s part would be helpful.

    OR – could this be a case of someone opening the door to long ages for earth and for life on earth??

    Radiometric dating Ben Clausen (GRI)

    Frank appears to “want” to claim that THIS is the part of the course arguing for creationism — so Clausen arguing for life on earth less than 10,000 years old in this class??

    Some “details” supporting such an assertion on Frank’s part would be helpful.

    Carbon 14 dating Erv Taylor

    A clear “sacrifice all critical thinking on behalf of evolutionism” indoctrination again.

    I don’t think Frank is defending this one in his “how dare you say they are not creationists” complaint.

    Evidence from ice cores Lee Greer lecture: McCloskey

    A clear “sacrifice all critical thinking on behalf of evolutionism” indoctrination again.

    I don’t think Frank is defending this one in his “how dare you say they are not creationists” complaint.

    “What About God?”—PBS

    Hmm — appears to be a classic “let PBS tell you how to downsize your belief in God in order to accept evolutionism as your religion on origins”.

    I don’t think Frank is defending this one in his “how dare you say they are not creationists” complaint.

    Origin of life (DVD lecture) Donald Prothero
    (Occidental, Caltech)

    Prothero did not make Frank’s list – so he is a candidate for my list of all-evolutionism all-the-time sources??

    Origin of life studies – a summary Donald Prothero, Greer
    Caltech Prothero (2007), ch. 6, 145-59

    More “I just can’t get enough of evolutionism” Just in case one student is still hodling out for trust in the Word of God on the doctrine of “origins”??

    Fossils and the fossil record – Dating the paleontological evidence
    Gary Bradley lecture: McCloskey

    Well I realize this looks like YET ANOTHER “all evolutionism all the time” course – but who knows – what if this is the ONE time when LSU professors tell the truth about what Collin Patterson observed as “stories EASY ENOUGH TO MAKE UP but they are not science” – regarding the fossil record and stories of “one thing coming from another”? Yes? —

    nahh! Not gonna happen! After all Collin Patterson is a world renowned atheist biologist at the British Museum of Natural history for the last half of the 20th century. We should not expect our OWN LSU teachers to be that up front and honest about some of the flaws in evolutionist storytelling should we?

    so ok then – more drowning the students in “all evolutionism all the time” –

    Evolution of life – selected vertebrate fossils Lee Grismer

    Ooops! Another speaker/author that did not make Frank’s list of “who actually believes in the Bible doctrine of origins” — so must be missing “from my list” of who is trying to sell evolutionism to LSU students”.

    (or maybe this guy was going to show via a review of vertebrate structure – how amazing and complex they are and how unlikely that they just “happen” given enough time. How only God could have formed them from the dust of the ground!??)

    Human Evolution – the fossils Gary Bradley
    More “I won’t compromise in my promotion of evolutionism at LSU” from top evolutionist evangelist at LSU – Bradley?

    Oh well – it is LSU after all. What did parents “expect”?

    Geological evidence from ancient lakes and early life
    Paul Buchheim (LLU)

    Hey we finally got to one of Frank’s “creation is true – not evolutionism” topics from an LLU professor.

    Hmm – wonder how that would sound. “Earth is not more than 6,0000 years old as we can see from the geological evidence in the ancient lakes and early life?”.

    Any student still clinging to the idea that the Bible is trustworthy by the time of this lecture – will surely appreaciate the “Bible history is trustworthy” conclusion they will surely get in this class.

    Human Evolution – the molecules Greer

    Another “all for evolutionism” and “abandon critical thinking regarding science unless you do it on your own” class? Oh well… it is LSU after all.

    Evolution and genomics – fossils in the molecules Greer
    — Cooper & Kehrer-Sawatzki (2008)

    No wait! Maybe THIS is where Greer suddenly decides to openly admit that what his doctrine on origins – that he has been preaching all during the course is completely NOT what is found in the Bible!

    “Judgement Day” – ID on trial in Dover Discussion – Greer

    Having fully prepared the students to understand the truth and beauty of the science behind the idea that “God is intelligent” and “intelligence can be detected by design” and “the design found in nature” — our evolutionist-yet-still-open-minded LSU professors now engage in some critical thinking with students????

    Not a chance! The course so far shows very little other than “all evolutionism all the time” evangelism with almost no critical thinking.

    What leads the reader to wildly guess that they suddenly reverse course here?

    Mammalian evolution: Cenozoic magnetic stratigraphy
    Donald Prothero (Occidental; Caltech)

    One last “evolutionism for the road” lecture before the break?

    —-

    And this is what Frank calls “balanced”???

    amazing!

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  7. WHAT?!?!? I didn’t see this until just now. Bob, how can you possibly slander people you obviously know NOTHING about? I can personally vouch that Frank L., whoever he is, knows exactly what he is talking about. I, too, know all three of those guys (took a course from one) and if you personally knew them you never would have written what you wrote. You should be careful not to judge all SDA biologists and geologists as closet evolutionists, especially people whose private views you know nothing about. And Dr. Stone, they ARE doing something directly about it! They have dedicated their professional careers to searching for evidence in support of Biblical creationism.

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  8. It’s becoming very clear that the only kind of course that would be acceptable to many on this site would be:

    – not simply a clear course on creation from a Biblical perspective
    – not simply a course that describes evolutionary theory but tells students it is simply a useful heuristic that is not true

    Rather, it would have to be a course full of bile, contempt and ridicule, that pours excoriation on the very notion of anything other than recent creationism and brands anyone who is not a recent creationist as a communist, satanist or worse.

    View Comment
  9. I said

    Greer, Taylor, Bradley, McCloskey .. are all on record here – so no real surprise for the unbiased objective reader.

    You said

    I, too, know all three of those guys (took a course from one) and if you personally knew them you never would have written what you wrote. You should be careful not to judge all SDA biologists and geologists as closet evolutionists

    I find your logic illusive at that point.

    in Christ,

    Bob

    View Comment
  10. @Bravus:

    Bravus says:
    December 22, 2009 It’s becoming very clear that the only kind of course that would be acceptable to many on this site would be:

    – not simply a clear course on creation from a Biblical perspective
    – not simply a course that describes evolutionary theory but tells students it is simply a useful heuristic that is not true

    Any attempt to view the MCloskey, Greer, Bradley, Erv Taylor course described above as merely “describing evolutionary theory as something that is not actually true” is an attempt at wishful thinking “at best” — an attempt to misdirect is another possibility for that bit of fiction.

    Rather, it would have to be a course full of bile, contempt and ridicule

    How facinating that having a science course that just sticks to “actual science facts” instead of engaging in overt evolutionist dogma about “birds evolving from reptiles” is now to be re-cast as “a course full of bile, contempt and ridicule”.

    How “instructive” for the unbiased objective reader.

    But then Bravus STARTs his perspective with “Ellen White was wrong” in reference to her statements about evolutionism in 3SG 90-91 and what God apparently showed HER about HIS OWN literal 7 day creation week.

    From there it was apparently a “short trip” to getting around to “and Moses was wrong too” and then finally “birds came from reptiles”

    Again – instructive data points all around.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  11. Frank L.: Bob, your comments are too often judgmental, rude, ignorant, and slanderous. Ben Clausen of GRI, Kevin Nick of LLU, and Paul Bucheim of LLU all accept the Biblical account on origins; I know these people personally and can vouch for that. How instructive to the unbiased observer your term “unbalanced” is and should be applied.  

    Kevin Nick, from my own personal conversations with him, seems to strongly support the idea that life has existed and evolved on this planet over the course of hundreds of millions of years of time.

    Ben Clausen is sometimes difficult to interpret since he is often very apologetic in how he presents his lectures, sometimes seeming to favor evolutionary thinking, even though he is personally a young-life creationist.

    I do not personally know Paul Bucheim, but his published work seems to strongly argue for a non-catastrophic long-age origin for much of the geologic and fossil records.
    http://www.nature.nps.gov/GEOLOGY/paleontology/pub/grd3_3/fobu1.htm

    As far as the rest on the list of lecturers, all are very strongly in support of ancient and evolving life on Earth – perhaps guided by God along the way (i.e., theistic evolutionists at best, with some being essentially agnostic in their thinking). I’m simply amazed that this list of lecturers is the “best” that an “SDA” institution, like LSU, could come up with to present these topics…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  12. Frank L.: Bob, your comments are too often judgmental, rude, ignorant, and slanderous. Ben Clausen of GRI, Kevin Nick of LLU, and Paul Bucheim of LLU all accept the Biblical account on origins; I know these people personally and can vouch for that. How instructive to the unbiased observer your term “unbalanced” is and should be applied.  

    Kevin Nick, from my own personal conversations with him, seems to strongly support the idea that life has existed and evolved on this planet over the course of hundreds of millions of years of time.

    Ben Clausen is sometimes difficult to interpret since he is often very apologetic in how he presents his lectures, sometimes seeming to favor evolutionary thinking, even though he is personally a young-life creationist.

    I do not personally know Paul Bucheim, but his published work seems to strongly argue for a non-catastrophic long-age origin for much of the geologic and fossil records.
    http://www.nature.nps.gov/GEOLOGY/paleontology/pub/grd3_3/fobu1.htm

    As far as the rest on the list of lecturers, all are very strongly in support of ancient and evolving life on Earth – perhaps guided by God along the way (i.e., theistic evolutionists at best, with some being essentially agnostic in their thinking). I’m simply amazed that this list of lecturers is the “best” that an “SDA” institution, like LSU, could come up with to present these topics…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

    View Comment
  13. Frank L.: Bob, your comments are too often judgmental, rude, ignorant, and slanderous. Ben Clausen of GRI, Kevin Nick of LLU, and Paul Bucheim of LLU all accept the Biblical account on origins; I know these people personally and can vouch for that. How instructive to the unbiased observer your term “unbalanced” is and should be applied.  

    Kevin Nick, from my own personal conversations with him, seems to strongly support the idea that life has existed and evolved on this planet over the course of hundreds of millions of years of time.

    Ben Clausen is sometimes difficult to interpret since he is often very apologetic in how he presents his lectures, sometimes seeming to favor evolutionary thinking, even though he is personally a young-life creationist.

    I do not personally know Paul Bucheim, but his published work seems to strongly argue for a non-catastrophic long-age origin for much of the geologic and fossil records.

    As far as the rest on the list of lecturers, all are very strongly in support of ancient and evolving life on Earth – perhaps guided by God along the way (i.e., theistic evolutionists at best, with some being essentially agnostic in their thinking). I’m simply amazed that this list of lecturers is the “best” that an “SDA” institution, like LSU, could come up with to present these topics…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

    View Comment
  14. In my humble opinoin I believe this website is doing more harm than good. Some of you obviously don’t know individuals who you are very quick to pass judgement upon. Bob Ryan, you should be ashamed of yourself for dismissing all of those scientists are “SDA devotees of all-evolution all-the-time bible-is-less-than-trustworthy adherants”. Some of them are, but definitely not all. And Mr. Pitman, it’s obvious that you never took a course from Dr. Buchheim, who was one of my favroite teachers and a devout believer in a recent creation. I hope and pray that the theistic evolutionists will resign from our colleges and universities, but I don’t think that harsh, judgemental nature of mamy comments here reflect the character of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who will be the ultimate judge of your misbehaviors. Merry Christmas and happy new year to all.

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  15. Geoffrey Barnes: In my humble opinoin I believe this website is doing more harm than good. Some of you obviously don’t know individuals who you are very quick to pass judgement upon. Bob Ryan, you should be ashamed of yourself for dismissing all of those scientists are “SDA devotees of all-evolution all-the-time bible-is-less-than-trustworthy adherants”. Some of them are, but definitely not all. And Mr. Pitman, it’s obvious that you never took a course from Dr. Buchheim, who was one of my favroite teachers and a devout believer in a recent creation. I hope and pray that the theistic evolutionists will resign from our colleges and universities, but I don’t think that harsh, judgemental nature of mamy comments here reflect the character of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who will be the ultimate judge of your misbehaviors. Merry Christmas and happy new year to all.

    I’m very glad to hear that Dr. Buchheim is in fact a young-life creationist. Also, I mean no disrespect to any of the other teachers at LSU or elsewhere – to include those who believe in and support Darwinian-style evolution. I’m sure all are honest and sincere men and women who believe what they are doing is good and right.

    It seems obvious to me, however, that transparency is very important. Parents, students, and church members at large deserve to know what our young people are being taught by all of the teachers at LSU and other SDA schools and universities. Producing this needed transparency is the primary goal of EducateTruth.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

    View Comment
  16. Dr. Buchheim may have been a young-life creationist and may still consider himself to be a young life creationist in some sense of the word. However, it is difficult for me to imagine why a young life creationist would make the arguments that Dr. Buchheim has made in published literature favoring an ancient origin of life on this planet to the tune of many millions of years? – without any counter argument or explanation? If someone could explain this to me, I’d be most grateful…

    Here are a couple of abstracts from papers or presentations given by Dr. Buchheim for consideration:
    __________

    H. Paul Buchheim. Loma Linda University:

    The Meentheena Carbonate Member of the Tumbiana Formation (Fortescue Group; Late Archean) with its abundant and diverse stromatolites and rare microfossils represents an important unit with significant exobiological implications for understanding ancient life in lakes. The Meentheena was deposited some 2715 Ma [million years] ago within an intracratonic basin, either as one large lake over 350 km across or in a series of smaller lakes.

    http://www.threeangels.com.au/CreationDebate/LomaLinda.pdf
    __________

    The Interplay of Tectonic and Climatic Forcing Factors in the Deposition of a Hydrologically-Closed Basin Fill Sequence: Copper Canyon “Formation”, Death Valley National Park

    Nyborg, Torrey, Paul Buchheim; Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA

    The evolution of the Copper Canyon “formation” (CCF) basin fill sequence represents an excellent example of a hydrologically-closed basin controlled by tectonic (uplift rate, duration and spatial distribution) and climatic (precipitation/ evaporation ratios-P/E) factors. The CCF is a transtensional fault-bounded Tertiary basin associated with right steps within a low angle normal fault system that extended Death Valley and uplifted the Black Mountains and portions of the Funeral Mountains. Three basalt flows occur within the CCF constraining the age between ~5 and 3Ma [million years]. The CCF is divided into the fanglomerate, fluvial-lacustrine, and basalt “units”. Initial CCF deposits represent active uplift recorded by numerous fanglomerates deposited as debris flows fining upward into mud-drapes. The fanglomerate provenance suggests a local source and rapid episodic deposition. Fanglomerates become less dominant up section and interfinger with trangressive-regressive playa-lake deposits. Cyclicity of lacustrine sequences is interpreted as humid-wet and arid-dry climate cycles consisting of: evaporite facies (reflecting a hypersaline lake); alternating beds of calcimicrite and dolomicrite (representing alternating fresh and saline conditions); and bioclastic carbonate and limestone beds containing tufa mounds (reflecting active spring deposition). The CCF deposits end abruptly ~3Ma reflecting basin in-filling (loss of accommodation space), probably due to a decline in tectonic activity in Death Valley. The CCF is an excellent example of the interplay between tectonic and climate driven deposition within a hydrologically-closed basin.

    http://www.searchanddiscovery.com/abstracts/html/2007/annual/abstracts/lbNyborg.htm

    _____________

    Paul Buchheim also acknowledges birds nested throughout Green River time in Fossil Lake likely represent in situ formation. Buchheim studied three different Presbyornis nesting sites and found that they spanned 160 meters of vertical rock. They also commented that such nesting sites are quite common in the shore facies of the Green River Formation. His team writes (Legitt, Buchheim and Biaggi, 1998):

    “Autochthonous Presbyornis sp. (Aves: Anseriformes) eggshell from three Eocene Fossil Lake sites is strong evidence for multiple avian nesting sites within Fossil Basin. Two of these nesting sites (the Bear Divide and Warfield Creek sites) occur near the base of the lower unit of the Fossil Butte Member of the Green River Formation. The third nesting site (the Powerline site) occurs near the top of the upper unit of the Fossil Butte Member. The Presbyornis nesting sites span Green River Formation time in Fossil Basin.”
    _______

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  17. The History of Evolutionism in the Adventist Church:

    Also interesting in this regard is a story of the support of “progressive Adventism” to include a belief in the evolution of life on this planet over hundreds of millions of years of time, by prior LSU president Lawrence Geraty. Geraty was in full support of retired GC vice president Richard Hammill in his conversion to an evolutionary understanding of origins over vast periods of time. His published comments are most interesting in this regard (and explain a great deal as to why LSU has hired professors who actively support Darwinian thinking as they do), as is the overall story of Evolutionism with the Adventist Church:

    http://www.spectrummagazine.org/files/archive/archive21-25/25-3hayward.pdf

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  18. Dear Pastor Gary McCary,

    You’ve written a very interesting blog regarding the evolution/creation controversy surrounding LSU ( http://tsdachurch.org/rant.htm ). Since I’m pretty closely associated with this particular controversy, I hope you don’t mind if I respond to a few of your thoughts on this issue:

    Does our faith depend on biblical literalism? There are many in Adventism who want to see our universities purged of evolutionary biologists. These conservatives don’t want evolution taught in any way, shape or form in Adventist institutions. Are you worried that your child might learn of Darwin and his theories?

    This is a sensationalized mischaracterization of conservative Adventism. I personally don’t know any conservative SDAs who don’t want our schools to teach about the theory of evolution (ToE) in all of its strengths. Clearly our students should indeed be taught about the opinions of mainstream science. However, SDA education should not end here. It should go beyond the teachings of mainstream science to explain the pitfalls with the modern synthesis view of the ToE. SDA science education should also present the significant weight of evidence that currently favors a recent a catastrophic formation of much of the geologic and fossil records as well as the genetic evidence that strongly indicates the necessity for high-level intelligent input in fairly recent history (by those teachers who actually believe in and support the stated SDA perspective on origins by the organized church).

    So, to answer your question, conservative Adventists, like myself, are not worried that our children might learn of Darwin and his theories. We want them to learn of Darwin and his theories and why they are limited; why the popular extrapolation of certain features goes way beyond what can truly be called “science” (entering into the realm of philosophy and even blind faith religion); and why hypotheses and theories of intelligent design and catastrophism do in fact have the support of the significant weight of available evidence.

    Our children should also be taught that unless the Bible is based on some sort of determinable historical reality, it really isn’t anything other than another good moral fable. The reason why we can see the Supernatural within the pages of the Bible is because the Bible is demonstrably reliable – to include its statements about physical and historical reality. This is the reason why the Bible is so clearly superior as a revelation of Divine will vs. the statements of other religious texts which do not accurately reflect physical reality – such as the Book of Mormon for example.

    I have a suggestion. I’m sure it’s been considered before. Why can’t evolutionary biology be taught in biology classes for what it is—the current “science” on the whole issue of existence? And why can’t 6-day creationism be taught in religion classes for what IT is—the historic “faith” of the biblical literalist. Each viewpoint is “true” based on each sides’ presuppositions. I want my children to learn what the science is on the subject, AND what the faith-position is. Does this not seem reasonable? Certainly our institutions of higher-learning shouldn’t be considered institutions of lower-learning! Or are we afraid that our young people will leave the church if they learn the current science?

    It is a very common, but misguided suggestion that science and faith are completely different enterprises or paths to truth. Both cannot be true if they say opposing things about the same physical feature or historical event. As the well-known Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias once pointed out, “Even in India people look both ways before they cross the street.” – in other words you can be hit and not hit by a bus at the same time.

    The notion that evolutionism is “science” while “creationism” is religion is nonsense. If evolutionism is true, it most certainly has religious implications. And, if creationism is true, it most certainly has scientific implications. Useful religion cannot be as schizophrenic as you are suggesting here and remain viable beyond mere lip service. Pretty soon, no one would belong or support the church outside of thinking of church as a nice social club – but certainly not anything worth putting one’s life or fortune on the line for when it comes to doctrinal issues or the basis for a solid hope in a bright literal future.

    Also, the notion that science isn’t reliant upon leaps of faith is a fundamental misunderstanding of how science works. Science is based on taking a very limited data set and predicting the future based on this limited set of information. Such a prediction, while carrying a certain degree of predictive value, is a leap of faith that can never be known with perfection. The very same thing is true of religious faith. While a certain degree of predictive value can be established to support even a religious faith in a future reality, the future cannot be known with absolute perfection – even with the use of religious faith. Because of this, science uses leaps of faith and religion can have a scientific basis for faith (at least if one’s faith isn’t completely blind – i.e., is based on something more than wishful thinking or a strong feeling or desire).

    It’s HOT here at the epicenter. There are rumors of possible “loyalty oaths” and “witch-hunts” in the future. Some feel that the purity of the church is at stake. I say “humbug” to all the hysteria. And I’m reminded of a couple of startling Ellen White statements: “There is no excuse for anyone in taking the position that there is no more truth to be revealed, and that all our expositions of Scripture are without an error.” “If the pillars of our faith will not stand the test of investigation, it is time that we knew it!” (Counsels to Writers & Editors, pages 35 & 44).

    Although Mrs. White does indeed use the phrase “unity in diversity”, and stated that, “Instructors in our schools should never be bound by being told that they are to teach only what has been taught hitherto”, she also maintained that the landmarks and pillars of the Adventist message were to ever remain. Concepts that impact the science of geology which she “was shown” to be identified as permanent include six literal, empirical, historical 24-hour days of creation, culminating with a literal 24-hour Sabbath day rest, and human life on Earth non-existent before the literal creation week described in Genesis. – Spiritual Gifts, Vol. 3. pp 90-93.

    She also referred to theories of evolution prevalent in her own day as “science so called” and had some of the strongest language against accepting long age notions for the creation and/or evolution of life on this planet in a Darwinian manner. In one of her primary works, Patriarchs and Prophets, she even wrote a chapter entitled, “The Literal Week” ( Link ). The very name Seventh-day Adventist speaks to the SDA stand on a literal creation week as the basis for key doctrinal beliefs of our church.

    Given such clear statements from Ellen White on this topic in particular, I’m simply amazed at those who actually try to invoke her in support the efforts of those who are trying to undermine the most important doctrinal ideals she stood for and wrote about…

    So yes, in a very real sense the unique contribution of the SDA Church to the understanding of the Scriptures does in fact stand or fall based on a literal reading and understanding of the very first chapters of these Scriptures. Without this understanding, their really is no basis for the SDA Church to exist as a unique entity – other than, perhaps, a nice social club…

    Sean Pitman, M.D.
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  19. @Sean Pitman M.D.:

    Sean Pitman M.D. says:
    December 27, 2009 The History of Evolutionism in the Adventist Church:

    Also interesting in this regard is a story of the support of “progressive Adventism” to include a belief in the evolution of life on this planet over hundreds of millions of years of time, by prior LSU president Lawrence Geraty. Geraty was in full support of retired GC vice president Richard Hammill in his conversion to an evolutionary understanding of origins over vast periods of time. His published comments are most interesting in this regard (and explain a great deal as to why LSU has hired professors who actively support Darwinian thinking as they do), as is the overall story of Evolutionism with the Adventist Church:

    http://www.spectrummagazine.org/files/archive/archive21-25/25-3hayward.pdf

    First of all – thanks to Sean for sharing that link.

    Second – after reading that article it is very easy to see why devotees to evolutionism imagine that the SDA position is shifting to a popular denial of the Bible and acceptance of atheist evolutionist doctrines on origins.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  20. @Geoffrey Barnes:

    Geoffrey Barnes says:
    December 26, 2009 In my humble opinoin I believe this website is doing more harm than good. Some of you obviously don’t know individuals who you are very quick to pass judgement upon. Bob Ryan, you should be ashamed of yourself for dismissing all of those scientists are “SDA devotees of all-evolution all-the-time bible-is-less-than-trustworthy adherants”.

    A more careful review of my full comments on the course work would have served your argument much better just then.

    I recommend attention to the “inconvenient details” – I named the examples of guys who are fully outted in terms of their embrace of evolutionism. I also stated the names of others – whom I did not have details for – so you need not “imagine” that I condemned all participants. (even though your no-attention-to-detail style response may be easier and quicker, it is not as compelling)

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  21. Sean points us to a Pastor in the LSU area that illustrates the thinking “from the pulpit” that had to have been there for an LSU type problem to have grown to the point that it is today.

    FROM:
    Gary McCary, Pastor
    Tierrasanta Seventh-day Adventist Church
    11260 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard
    San Diego, CA 92124

    …for Adventists, the fear is that the Sabbath will lose its specialness if Genesis 1 is interpreted metaphorically, and therefore Adventism will be rendered impotent.

    Is this necessarily the case? Does our faith depend on biblical literalism? There are many in Adventism who want to see our universities purged of evolutionary biologists. These conservatives don’t want evolution taught in any way, shape or form in Adventist institutions. Are you worried that your child might learn of Darwin and his theories?

    I have a suggestion. I’m sure it’s been considered before. Why can’t evolutionary biology be taught in biology classes for what it is—the current “science” on the whole issue of existence?

    Here is a facinating thought – why not “baptize evolutionism” as if that kind of “revealed truth” among true devotees of evolutionism’s dogma is actually “science” – indeed pure science??

    Why not “pretend” that “stories easy enough to make up – but they are not science” (to quote atheist evolutionist – Colin Patterson) is really “just science after all”???

    Pastor McCary suggests that we all “start believing” that evolutionism is in fact — “science” instead of the junk-science bad-religion that it is so easily seen to be.

    Pastor McCary continues —

    And why can’t 6-day creationism be taught in religion classes for what IT is—the historic “faith” of the biblical literalist.

    And here it gets even better. McCary then suggest that we all start pretending that the doctrine on origins actually found in the Bible is just the faith of some whacko Biblical literalists that just so happens to be directly contradicted by real science.

    He suggests that if we all put on our beeny caps and start “pretending” that the happy fiction he suggests above were true – that all would be much nicer for the evolutionists trying to promote their docrines on origins from inside our schools.

    Pastor McCary
    Each viewpoint is “true” based on each sides’ presuppositions. I want my children to learn what the science is on the subject, AND what the faith-position is. Does this not seem reasonable?

    His conclusion is that our children should be taught that FAITH is directly contradicted by science — (kinda like the flat earth and geocentrist universe that the Catholic church imagined in the dark ages was directly contradicted by actual science).

    Hmm – yes I am sure that is exactly why we established SDA teaching institutions — to tell our students that good solid science has proven that our faith is dead wrong.

    Why havent we thought of this before??!!!

    That way our church schools can be a carbon copy of the atheist “all-for-darwin” public school systems — and we get to call it all “higher learning”.

    McCary
    Certainly our institutions of higher-learning shouldn’t be considered institutions of lower-learning! Or are we afraid that our young people will leave the church if they learn the current science?
    http://tsdachurch.org/rant.htm

    I like that conclusion – “are we afraid” that evolutionism will do to our students exactly what Darwin SAID it did to his view of Christianity, exactly what Dawkins today SAYS it did to his view of Christianity, exactly what Provine SAID it did to his view of Christianity, exactly what Meyers SAID it did to his view of Christianity, exactly what Europe now SHOWS that it did to Christianity in Europe.

    McCary seems to be asking if we actually “pay attention” to what Evolutionism’s doctrines on origins does to faith in the Word of God.

    I think many here are ready to answer that question with something like “Yes Pastor McCary we are awake – we NOTICED what it did to Christianity in Europe and we noticed what Darwin SAID it did to HIS view of Christianity”.

    Sadly – McCary seems to imagine that most of his readers “will not notice”.

    How instructive.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  22. i truly do not understand why you Mr. Ryan, and Mr. Pitman, devote your time to construct these arguments against good people. you even commented on christmas day! if you continue to post “in christ” at the end of your posts then i suggest you try to act closer to the way you know he would handle this situation.

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  23. hmmm.. I posted “on Christmas day”.

    Guilty as charged!

    But as we all recall – Ellen White calls the act of infecting the Church with evolutionism via Theistic Evolutionism “the worst kind of infidelity”. 3SG 90-91

    It has also been posted on these threads that She says that innaction by the people of God in a time of spiritual Crisis is viewed by God as the “worst kind of hostility toward God”.

    So now – we have your complaint that something posted in defense of God’s stated views on origins given in the Bible “was posted on Christmas day”.

    I leave it as a not-so-difficult exercise for the reader to work through the task of sorting out those values for themselves.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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