Dr. Buchheim may have been a young-life creationist and may …

Comment on UNST/UHNR 404B Syllabus (LSU) by Sean Pitman M.D..

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
www.DetectingDesign.com

Sean Pitman M.D. Also Commented

UNST/UHNR 404B Syllabus (LSU)
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.
www.DetectingDesign.com


UNST/UHNR 404B Syllabus (LSU)
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
www.DetectingDesign.com


UNST/UHNR 404B Syllabus (LSU)

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
www.DetectingDesign.com


Recent Comments by Sean Pitman M.D.

The Sabbath and the Covenants (Old vs. New)
Response to a comment of a friend of mine posted in another forum:

    “Before the way of FAITH IN CHRIST was available to us, we were placed under guard by the law. We were kept in protective custody, so to speak, UNTIL the way of faith was revealed. The law was our guardian UNTIL Christ came; it protected us UNTIL we could be made right with God through FAITH. And now that the way of FAITH has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian. For you are all children of God through FAITH IN CHRIST JESUS.” Gal3:23-26

Faith is certainly what saves. This has always been true since the very beginning. Even those righteous persons who lived before Jesus was born into this world as a human being, even Moses or David for instance, were not saved by the works of the Law, but by Faith. The purpose of the Law was never to save, but to convict the sinner of a need of a Savior – since all have sinned against the “Royal Law.” It is faith in the Savior that saves. The work of the Law, carefully considered, is to lead us to know that our only hope of salvation is faith in what Jesus, our Savior, did for us and is doing for us. Yet, this faith does not nullify the Law or make the Law pointless when it comes to its job to constantly remind us of our need of a Savior – a saving Power outside of ourselves. Rather, the Power realized through this faith actually enables us to keep the Spirit of the Law as it was originally intended to be kept – through selfless love for God and for our neighbors.

Paul, in his letter to the Romans, makes this point particularly clear:

Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law. – Romans 3:31

For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but it is the doers of the law who will be declared righteous. Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the work of the law is written on their hearts… If a man who is not circumcised keeps the requirements of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? – Romans 2:13-15, 26

What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! – Romans 6:15

What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” … So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good… For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. – Romans 7:7, 11, 22-25

For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit… The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. – Romans 8:3-4, 7

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. – Romans 13:8-10


Christians and the Sabbath
Response to a comment of a friend of mine posted in another forum:

    “Before the way of FAITH IN CHRIST was available to us, we were placed under guard by the law. We were kept in protective custody, so to speak, UNTIL the way of faith was revealed. The law was our guardian UNTIL Christ came; it protected us UNTIL we could be made right with God through FAITH. And now that the way of FAITH has come, we no longer need the law as our guardian. For you are all children of God through FAITH IN CHRIST JESUS.” Gal3:23-26

Faith is certainly what saves. This has always been true since the very beginning. Even those righteous persons who lived before Jesus was born into this world as a human being, even Moses or David for instance, were not saved by the works of the Law, but by Faith. The purpose of the Law was never to save, but to convict the sinner of a need of a Savior – since all have sinned against the “Royal Law.” It is faith in the Savior that saves. The work of the Law, carefully considered, is to lead us to know that our only hope of salvation is faith in what Jesus, our Savior, did for us and is doing for us. Yet, this faith does not nullify the Law or make the Law pointless when it comes to its job to constantly remind us of our need of a Savior – a saving Power outside of ourselves. Rather, the Power realized through this faith actually enables us to keep the Spirit of the Law as it was originally intended to be kept – through selfless love for God and for our neighbors.

Paul, in his letter to the Romans, makes this point particularly clear:

Do we, then, nullify the law by this faith? Not at all! Rather, we uphold the law. – Romans 3:31

For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but it is the doers of the law who will be declared righteous. Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law, since they show that the work of the law is written on their hearts… If a man who is not circumcised keeps the requirements of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? – Romans 2:13-15, 26

What then? Shall we sin because we are not under the law but under grace? By no means! – Romans 6:15

What shall we say, then? Is the law sinful? Certainly not! Nevertheless, I would not have known what sin was had it not been for the law. For I would not have known what coveting really was if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” … So then, the law is holy, and the commandment is holy, righteous and good… For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin. – Romans 7:7, 11, 22-25

For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit… The mind governed by the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. – Romans 8:3-4, 7

Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. – Romans 13:8-10


Updating the SDA Position on Abortion
Again, most people, including most non-Christians, consider late-term abortions (abortions within the third trimester of otherwise healthy viable babies) to be murder. There is relatively little argument about this. One doesn’t have to know the “precise point” to know that, after a certain point, abortion is clearly murder. The argument that a baby isn’t alive or really human until the moment that it is born is nonsense in my opinion.

Of course, before the third trimester, things start to get a bit more grey and unclear. Some define the beginnings of human life with the full activity of the brain’s cortex. Others define it with the earliest activity of the brain stem. Others define it as the beginnings of fetal movement or the fetal heartbeat. I might have my own opinions here, but the question I ask myself is at what point would I be willing to convict someone else of murder? – and be willing to put them in prison for it? For me, I wouldn’t be willing to do this until things are overwhelmingly clear that the baby is functioning as a full human being and is viable (which would include full brain activity).

As far as rape or incest is concerned, the resulting pregnancy should be terminated as soon as possible within the first trimester. Waiting for the third trimester is simply not an option because, at this point, it would still be murder to kill a fully-formed baby regardless of its origin…


Updating the SDA Position on Abortion
I agree with you up until your last sentence. It seems very very clear to me that a baby becomes human before it takes its first breath. A baby born at 40 weeks gestation is not somehow inherently “more human” than a baby that is still inside its mother at 39 weeks gestation. At 39 weeks, such a baby is indistinguishable from a baby that has already been born. The location inside or outside of the mother makes absolutely no difference at this point in time and development.

I think, therefore, that we as Christians should avoid both obvious extremes here in this discussion. There are two very clear ditches on both sides of the road here. We should avoid claiming that a baby is not really human until it is actually born at full term, and, at the same time, we should also avoid claiming that full humanity and moral worth is instantly realized at the moment of conception…


Updating the SDA Position on Abortion
Most would agree with you that the baby John the Baptist, before he was born, was, at some point, a real human being who could “leap for joy” (Luke 1:44). Even most non-Christians would agree that a third-trimester abortion is murder. However, this isn’t the real problem here. We are talking about if a single cell or a simple ball of cells is fully “human” and if ending a pregnancy at such an early stage of development is truly a “murder” of a real human being. After all, when conception first takes place a single cell cannot “leap for joy” – or for any other reason. It’s just a single fertilized cell that cannot think or feel or move and has no brain or mind or intelligence of any kind. The same is true of an embryo that consists of no more than an unformed ball of cells for quite some time. Upon what basis, then, is it “murder” to end a pregnancy at this early point in embryological development?