The Adventist Accrediting Association is Still Reviewing LSU

From the Adventist Review:

Still under review is La Sierra’s accreditation by the Adventist Accrediting Association, or AAA, associated with the General Conference’s Education Department. AAA is reviewing its endorsement of La Sierra, an approval that is important within the Seventh-day Adventist community and may be linked to church financial aid to the university.

According to the AAA handbook, “Accreditation is concerned principally with the improvement of educational quality in institutions operated by the Seventh-day Adventist church around the world. Accreditation of an institution by AAA signifies that the institution has a purpose appropriate to service the educational needs of those in its constituency and has the resources, programs, and services sufficient to accomplish the institution’s goals.”

Lisa Beardsley-Hardy, a veteran Seventh-day Adventist educator who directs the General Conference’s Education Department, told Adventist Review the AAA review is continuing.

“At its October 9, 2013 meeting, the board of the Adventist Accrediting Association will consider the report of the review team that conducted a Focused Visit to La Sierra University from April 16-18, 2013,” Beardsley-Hardy said. “The AAA board will also consider the by-laws that were voted since that site visit, as well as any other significant matters that may occur prior to the AAA board meeting.  It will take time to know whether the recently voted by-laws will strengthen accomplishment of mission.”

She added that the La Sierra board has substantial responsibilities in keeping the school faithful to its mission: “The board needs to clearly express the goals, means, and primary constituents served, and as a Seventh-day Adventist institution, explain what makes La Sierra University distinctive from … secular and private universities.  The board needs to determine and monitor programs and ensure they are consistent with the mission and purposes of a Seventh-day Adventist university. The board holds administration accountable for carrying out the mission on a day-to-day basis.  Ultimately, the faculty are essential partners in accomplishing mission, not only because of the power they hold based on academic freedom, but because learning, and the integration of faith and knowledge in the various disciplines takes place under the direction of the faculty.  They need to be fully converted, God-fearing mentors and guides who live out the mission every day,” Beardsley-Hardy said.

 

I for one find it hard to imagine how the AAA could approve accreditation or funding for a school that continues to maintain and hire professors of science and religion who strongly oppose, with essentially no opposition or challenge, the Seventh-day Adventist position on a literal 7-day creation week – who actively teach their students that the best and most rational “scientific” view of origins is the neo-Darwinian view where life has existed and evolved on this planet over the course of many hundreds of millions of years.  These same professors tell their students that there is no real empirical evidence to challenge this story or support the Biblical perspective on origins and that if they want to hear the Church’s position, they need to go to the religion department (also run by professors who do not believe in the literal 7-day creation week).

How can such an institution continue to bear the name “Seventh-day Adventist”?  If this is not a clear example of false advertising, I don’t know what is?  If our church is willing to sell out its fundamental principles because of pressure from an agency like WASC, then we, as an organized denomination, are in real trouble.

Sean Pitman

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95 thoughts on “The Adventist Accrediting Association is Still Reviewing LSU

  1. Does anyone really believe that the church is going to kick LSU out of the church or withhold accreditation? I seriously doubt it. Do any of you know any Adventist administrator who would do what EGW did and publically tell everyone to not send their children to an errant school, or even bolder to sell the university and use the money for other more noble purposes. I know of no SDA administrator that has the spine to do that. Most, if not all administrators are too tied to political correctness and not upsetting the apple cart to do the right thing. That is the sad reality. Unfortunately, the wheat and tares seem destined to intermingle until a severe crisis happens, or Jesus comes.

    I hope none of us are so naive as to believe that LSU is the problem school in the SDA system. I’m sure there are problems, to a greater or lesser degree at all of our schools. Protect your children.




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  2. Sean, What are the options of church response? I would like to see a bio on each of the trustees who voted these new by-laws to see how closely each of them come to the qualifications for church leadership given in scripture, especially looking at their marriage and family history. Do their children support the SDA faith? Only public facts that are known to their circle of relatives and friends. No one should be trusted to be a trustee of an SDA university, if they have failed to convert their own children. This leaves a very small pool to choose from, but I believe God will bless us if we follow His instructions in choosing our leaders.




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  3. @Sean Pitman: ““The board needs to clearly express the goals, means, and primary constituents served, and as a Seventh-day Adventist institution, explain what makes La Sierra University distinctive from … secular and private universities”….”

    This represents the basic question for which there seems to be no reasonable answer. I do not see how the AAA can continue to accredit an institution that feels no interest nor willingness to support the church’s fundamental belief in the biblical doctrine of creation.

    If our common ancestor is an ape, then the entire doctrinal edifice of Adventism rests on sandy soil and will eventually collapse.

    Jesus told us that our common ancestor leads us to God, the Creator of the entire universe. Jesus did believe in a real Adam and Eve, a real weekly Sabbath, a real moral fall, and a real need of a Savior.

    Jesus said: “Without me you can do nothing!”

    LSU science teachers teach their science students that what we see could have arisen out of natural selection instead of the direct action of a Divine Intelligent Designer.

    LSU has taken a definite step toward atheism. This cannot continue. We need to pray for LSU and for the people in charge of AAA.




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  4. “If our church is willing to sell out its fundamental principles because of pressure from an agency like WASC, then we, as an organized denomination, are in real trouble.”

    This is very true. We need only look at other denominations to see what effect going down such a slippery slope has.




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  5. ‘I for one find it hard to imagine how the AAA could approve accreditation or funding for a school that continues to maintain and hire professors of science and religion who strongly oppose, with essentially no opposition or challenge, the Seventh-day Adventist position on a literal 7-day creation week’.

    Wow! Maybe you are not fully ‘up to speed’ as to what is happening at Adventist institutions around the world. In my experience, not only does AAA approve of it, they give such administrators their full support and all the ticks. Those who are continually facing an uphill battle at Adventist institutions, are not those who are practicing (as administrators) and teaching evolution. The ‘total onslaught’ are against the very people who stand as creationists. La Sierra is certainly not the only institution- yes, those who are Creationists and stand firm on the literal 7 day creation week, not only finds it hard that the AAA approves funding- we find it hard that the overwhelming majority of decision makers are, it appears, completely on the other side, and continue, as part of the ‘total onslaught’, it’s support for those who strongly oppose the literal 7 days of creation. The big question is: Why are they allowed to continue to head up institutions and slowly get rid of creationists, one by one? They are clearly, it seems to me, in conflict with their own beliefs…But then, of course…Ted Wilson did bring in his own list of names, and those in positions of power are stroking each other’s back. Plain simple English calls it ‘HYPOCRISY’.




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  6. While the Creation/Evolution debate continues regarding LSU, it is interesting to note that by Louie Bishop’s choice to follow the biblical model of settling disputes between brethren, rather than the legal system, the respondsibility of what has transpired at LSU shifts to leadership. Elder Wilson, Lisa Beardsley and other leaders now are the defenders of God’s truth at LSU and need to stand for the truth rather than compromise. The “enlightened left” does not appreciate simple truth, God writing with his own finger, and will rebel at any sanctioning of its behavior. But the time is now for leadership to stand up and be counted on this issue! May we all pray for God’s guidance to be upon them!

    MLB




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    • @MLB:

      What a tough place to be as an administrator! If they cave in to political correctness and acquiesce to the Progressives and allow LSU to continue in its errant ways, they will be responsible before God for the young people who lost their faith in God and the SDA church. But if they do the right thing and really fix the problem at LSU, they will offend the Progressives and there could be a schism in the church.

      But who knows what is really in an administrator’s heart or mind? Maybe they were put into office for such a time as this. We shall see.




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  7. It continues to amaze people like me how the principles and truths we know in the administration of our nation’s republican government as well as our SDA church are being “repudiated”… not necessarily being formally or legally rejected but rather repudiated as in “To refuse to recognize”. EGW specifically declared this would happen with respect to our USA’s constitution (5T pg 451) and also “the confederacy of apostasy will demand that the loyal subjects of God shall renounce the law of Jehovah, and repudiate the truth of his word…”. (RH 11-18-1892)

    How many of the organizations and leaders are involved in actually playing their adverse part in this struggle? The judgement will reveal the answer.




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  8. I must add my name to the list of those who are not optimistic that AAA will actually withdraw Adventist accreditation from La Sierra. If AAA, or the church leaders on the board of trustees, or the larger constituency, or anyone or anything else, were able to correct La Sierra, it would have happened by now.

    I am sadly coming to the conclusion that most Adventists do not conceive of our church as being a community of shared faith or shared beliefs. The majority of Adventists seems to conceive of us as being a community of shared subculture, to which belief and most kinds of behavior are all but totally irrelevant. Certain behavior, mostly related to health principles, is required, but for the most part neither doctrine nor behavior defines Adventism.




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    • @David: “The majority of Adventists seems to conceive of us as being a community of shared subculture, to which belief and most kinds of behavior are all but totally irrelevant.”

      —That is a sad commentary about our church. If behavior is irrelevant, then out goes God’s Rule for human behavior enshrined in the Ten Commandments.

      When I was young, the Ten Commandments were displayed in my local church where I grew up.

      Every Sabbath I would see and read them, and the pastor would remind us that those rules were meant to protect us from doing bad things which hurt both us and God.

      Now that I am old, I have to remind myself of those rules, because I no longer hear anything said about them from the pulpit anymore. What happened? Are we still the Remnant of God who keep God’s Commandments?




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  9. Ken Ham has developed a wonderful Creation Museum near Cincinnati, Ohio. It is full of evidence of God’s creation of this world (he does not subscribe to Intelligent Design, and neither do I, because this opens the door to some other entity having created the world). The museum experience ends with a beautiful narrative of Jesus death, paying the full price for sin, thus offering salvation for each and every one.

    It is incongruous for one to be a Christian while adhering to a theory that denies God’s creation. Why would Jesus die on the cross to save a bunch of creatures that simply “evolved”?

    Perhaps church administrators should send ALL LSU professors (including LSU administrators) for a 3-day Creation Museum experience, listening to lectures, videos, etc. At the conclusion, they should indicate whether they believe in a literal 6-day creation by the God of the Bible. If they do not, one can safely assume they are not Christian.

    One would assume that if an institution of higher learning is to be labeled “Christian”, its professors and leadership would be believers.




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    • @Kenneth: “Why would Jesus die on the cross to save a bunch of creatures that simply “evolved”?”

      —Excellent question. Why die for creatures which are evolving and getting better every millions years or so? If our common ancestor was an amoeba, then look at the progress we have made without any help from above.




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  10. Never say die, friends. LSU may well be kicked out at last. However, we loyal SDAs are to put pressure on the AAA and GC to deal decisively with LSU. Next we are to make sure our children and churches do not support LSU with one dime. This school has gone the way of the apostates, White says they should be scrapped. If the organisation does not do it officially, then we must, and by golly I will in all my churches and influence. It is as simple as that!




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    • @Ron: “Next we are to make sure our children and churches do not support LSU with one dime.”

      Yes, and there is something far more effective that that: We need to start voting with our tithes and offerings.

      We need to send our money to entities that are opposed to a church which tolerates infidelity in our own Adventist institutions. I have been doing this already for some time.

      There are many independent ministries that do not agree with the status quo regarding evolution [edit].




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      • One might as well leave the church if one sends one’s tithes and offerings to an “independent” institution. I for one do not see the church organization as having forsaken it’s primary goals and mission even though I may not always agree with how things are being handled. That is why I still support the Seventh-day Adventist Church with my tithes and offerings and believe that this Church is ordained by God and has been given a commission to reach the world during these last days with the Good News of the Gospel of Hope. Remember, we have been told that the SDA Church may appear as if it is about to fall, but that it will not fall.

        Withholding tithes and offerings from God’s Church is not the answer…




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        • Sean, I have a double reason for diverting my financial contributions to independent ministries: The General Conference is contributing millions of dollars to Adventist education. This includes LSU, which teaches evolution as the best explanation for origins. I cannot in good conscience support this! My other reason is our SDA participation in the killing of innocent unborn babies. The day the GC stops these two evil practices, I will channel again my funds through the regular channels of the church.




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        • The organized church is God’s church, not yours or mine. It is not therefore up to us to tell God where our tithes and offerings are to go. Not even Jesus did this when the church leadership of His day was doing many bad things with the money given to the church. We are simply asked to give to God’s work and leave it up to God as to how to deal with the church leadership.

          So, as long as we call ourselves Seventh-day Adventists, and believe that this church was ordained by God to do a special work for the last days, it is our duty to support the church with our tithes and offerings and leave the rest up to God. We can write our leadership and speak up about those things that we think should be improved or corrected in the church, but tithes and offerings are not ours to control (especially tithes). These moneys are God’s and He’ll take care of how they are used or misused.

          Sean Pitman




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        • Sean,

          I am following Ellen White example on this. My reason is double: The teaching of evolution as fact at LSU, and the violation of the Sixth Commandment in our Adventist hospitals. Read the following:

          “And where I see workers in this cause that have been true and loyal to the work, who are left to suffer, it is my duty to speak in their behalf. If this does not move the brethren to help them, then I must help them, even if I am obliged to use a portion of my tithe in doing so.’ …

          “In many instances her requests have been responded to, and the needed help given. But in some cases the lack of funds and the absence of appreciation of the worthiness and the necessities have left the needy workers without help, and have left her to face the burden. Then she has said to me or to the bookkeeper, ‘Send help as soon as you can, and if necessary take it from my tithe.’ In many cases we found it possible to respond to her requests by gifts from her personal funds, and in some cases a portion of her tithe has been used. …

          “Some cases have been kept before me for years, and I have supplied their needs from the tithe, as God has instructed me to do. And if any person shall say to me, Sister White, will you appropriate my tithe where you know it is most needed, I shall say Yes, I will; and I have done so.

          “But for years there have now and then been persons who have lost confidence in the appropriation of the tithe, who have placed their tithe in my hands and said that if I did not take it they would themselves appropriate it to the families of the most needy ministers they could find. I have taken the money, given a receipt for it, and told them how it was appropriated.

          http://www.whiteestate.org/issues/Tithe-H&U.html#Ellen G. White and the Tithe




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        • You skipped certain key elements of this letter Ellen White wrote about ministers with special financial needs that she supported with tithe monies.

          First off, she was directly told by God what to do. I certainly am not in the position of a prophet of God where God directly tells me what to do with His tithe money contrary to the general directive to support the organized church – and I doubt you’re in such a position either. Also, you skipped the part where Mrs. White herself explains that she does not recommend that others gather up tithe money outside of the organized church structure. She writes, “I would not advise that anyone should make a practice of gathering up tithe money.” Of course, those who did send their tithe money to Mrs. White did so knowing that she was a prophet of God and was being directed by God, in a very privileged manner, as His messenger. We do not have such a prophet among us at the present time. And, even while she was doing this sort of personal ministry with the tithe monies that she had, she did not advertize this particular ministry nor wish it to be well known, nor was it her usual practice – and for good reason.

          In this light, consider also the comments of her son, Arthur White, regarding this particular letter:

          “It should be noted that as Mrs. White speaks of the use of the tithe in this and similar cases, it is always in the setting of money that was to be used for the support of the ministers. Any tithe money she handled was used as tithe money should be used. The one whom the Lord used as His messenger, and to whom had been given special enlightenment regarding the necessities of worthy laborers, at a time when there was inadequate provision for these ordained ministers, was authorized to meet those necessities, even to the use of her tithe.

          But there is not one phrase or sentence in this letter that would neutralize or countermand the clear and full instruction concerning paying tithe or its use. Any such use of the letter addressed to the conference president is a misuse.

          Link

          Again, I submit to you that if one wishes to call oneself part of the Seventh-day Adventist Church that it would be wrong of one to withhold tithes and/or offerings from the organized church. I think, as Arthur White points out, that it is not appropriate to use Mrs. Whites comments here to argue otherwise.

          In any case, this is about as far as I wish to continue this discussion within this particular forum.

          Sean Pitman




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        • @Sean: “She writes, “I would not advise that anyone should make a practice of gathering up tithe money.” …”

          —I am not gathering up tithe money. I am diverting them to ministries that teach the full Gospel of Jesus Christ, including the Good News that the unborn are entitled to life as you and me are, and that the fundamental doctrine of creation is the only credible explanation for origins.

          I don’t want my tithes to be used for the support of the teaching of evolution as the best explanation for origins nor the honoring of men like Edward Allred, the most infamous abortionists in California.

          @Sean: “We do not have such a prophet among us at the present time.”

          —True! But we have what is described in Joel 1:28. Young and old men and women having dreams from heaven—which includes you and me.

          @Sean: “Again, I submit to you that if one wishes to call himself part of the Seventh-day Adventist Church that it would be wrong of one to withhold tithes and/or offerings from the organized church.”

          —I have no doubt that, if Ellen were alive today, she would do what I am doing. [edit].




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        • First off, it is a very serious thing to claim to be a prophet of God and to have received direct privileged messages from Him – as Ellen White claimed. Such a claim is equivalent to treading on Holy Ground. I certainly would never make such a claim. It’s a fearful thing to do so if it isn’t absolutely true. While I certainly believe Joel where he wrote that in the last days more prophets would come along to help the church, such a form of direct inspiration has not come to me as of today – and I don’t think it has come to you either.

          Also, if Mrs. White were alive today, she would not be doing what you’re doing – i.e., essentially arguing that all tithe monies should be diverted from the church organization to independent ministries that you personally think are doing a better job. If that were to happen, the order and organization of something that God has established would be harmed or even destroyed. Such was never the will or object of Mrs. White’s use of God’s funds. She always used His money to support and build up the order and organization of the church. She never acted to undermine the order and government of the church that God had set up even when she happened to disagree with various decisions of the church – unlike your actions in this case. She specifically admonished church members to give a faithful tithe to the church organization – regardless of if one was not in complete alignment with all decisions and actions of the church. Otherwise, I’ll say it again, you might as well not call yourself a Seventh-day Adventist.

          It isn’t that I have no serious problems with certain decisions that have been made, or not made, by the church. I have very serious problems with certain situations in particular, as you are well aware. That is what this website is all about. However, I would not feel at liberty to speak as I do about these problems if I were not also striving to support the church with the time and means that God has put in my power for His service – for the service of a Divinely appointed organization.

          Sean Pitman




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      • Nic Samojluk:

        There are many independent ministries that do not agree with the status quo regarding evolution [edit].

        From experience I know that some independent ministries that tend to attract tithes don’t always use their monies in ways that glorify God. Opposing evolution attracts money. But too many never ensure that the ministry they donate to is really reputable. Popularity isn’t an identifying mark. Integrity is.

        The Adventist Church is a global church. Certainly there must be a way to return tithe to a denominational entity that is upholding the Adventist message.




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  11. It seems to me that the real key to the problem under discussion here is the majority view of the constituency of LSU. What do the majority of SDAs in S CA believe regarding the topic of origins? If the majority is faithful to SDA belief, then the rest will fall into line.

    Then arises another question: If the majority is not faithful to our historic message, what is being taught in our elementary and secondary schools? What is being preached in the churches? The answers to these questions could be sobering.

    These are problems that are above our human abilities to tackle. These are problems that were foretold to us by a prophet raised by God for our end times. (There, I said it) Yes, she said that our church would appear as “about to fall”.

    Selected Messages Book 2, Page 380

    “Satan will work his miracles to deceive; he will set up his power as supreme. The church may appear as about to fall, but it does not fall. It remains, while the sinners in Zion will be sifted out—the chaff separated from the precious wheat. This is a terrible ordeal, but nevertheless it must take place. None but those who have been overcoming by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony will be found with the loyal and true, without spot or stain of sin, without guile in their mouths. We must be divested of our self-righteousness and arrayed in the righteousness of Christ.”

    There is abundant evidence that our organization has been infiltrated by those who would destroy us from within. This, we MUST put into God’s hands. Lift up your heads: the end is unfolding just as we have been told would happen.

    Look at the church. Look at world events. Compare to what EGW wrote and understand that she was indeed inspired by God. Will you wait until there is a national Sunday law enforced by the threat of death to believe that She was given these messages by God to share with us? Do you not see the end unfolding before our very eyes?




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    • @Shane: “What do the majority of SDAs in S CA believe regarding the topic of origins?”

      —If we look at the last constituency voting, then the situation might appear to be rather grim! Didn’t they vote to diminish the influence of the GC over LSU?

      @Shane: “Yes, she said that our church would appear as “about to fall”….”

      —Yes, but she also warned that we were in danger of becoming “a sister to Babylon.”

      [edit – off topic]




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  12. Regarding:
    No one should be trusted to be a trustee of an SDA university, if they have failed to convert their own children.

    – I am a dedicated home-schooling father and fully understand and support the fundamentals of the above statement, however this must be balanced with the reality that children will ultimately decide for themselves, who they will serve, often, despite even the best upbringing.

    Consider the players in the Great Controversy – God, Satan and the numerous fallen angles. Is God to be held responsible for the apostasy of Satan?

    How about Christ and Judas? Did Christ “fail” in His attempts to convert Judas?

    Again, there is a very good point in the above statement, and certainly it should play a valuable role in assessing the leadership potential of any academic leader, but in light of the Great Controversy, it should likely not be the final authority.




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  13. Let us not forget that God is in charge of this work and of his church. And yes, we do suffer for our negligence, procrastination and compromise. But God is still in charge. If the men at the helm of his church on earth are delinquent and refuse to rock the boat, then they will be removed in His good time. In the mean while we must be faithful and do all in our power to correct the situation in our sphere of control, regardless of the ‘feelings’ of the ‘peace, peace’ lovers in the church.




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  14. I would not withhold the returning of God’s portion of my income(tithe) to the SDA church. However I will place my church membership in one that is being faithful to the fundamental SDA messages (they are still in the majority) and that is where I will pay my tithe.

    In similar manner, I will support faithful SDA educational institutions (like SAU) and avoid those who are unfaithful. And I do support faithful SDA – related ministries: But not with tithe.

    1 Kings 19:
    13 And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?
    14 And he said, I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.
    …………
    18 Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him.




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  15. Brothers and Sisters

    Be forgiving and loving of all and you will feel the spirit of the Prince of Peace. Too many here think they are right and are prepared to crucify those with whom they disagree. Do you think God appointed you to know more than your fellow Man?

    God bless you, may you find the grace of humility and love for your fellow Man no matter what they believe.




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    • All are free to believe, teach and preach as their consciences dictate in this free country of ours. However, one should not consider one’s self free to actively subvert one’s employer on the employer’s dime. That’s called stealing – a clear moral wrong in anyone’s book.

      That is what is so upsetting about professors in one of our Seventh-day Adventist schools taking it upon themselves to promote neo-Darwinism as the true story of origins. This is fundamentally in conflict with Adventist teachings on this topic. Those professors who disagree with the Adventist position on origins should do the ethical thing and go work elsewhere rather than to attack the church on the church’s dime. This activity is no less than robbery of the church and should be called out as such in no uncertain terms.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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    • @Jorge: Jorge, so here are a couple of questions for you.

      Do you believe that there are rock solid Biblical beliefs that the church has studied since before 1844 that should count as our Fundamental Beliefs? If so, are people who call themselves SDA church members free to pick and choose among those beliefs (Smorgasbord Adventism) as they want? Are they free to believe and teach beliefs contrary to the stated Fundamental Beliefs? If they go against the church’s beliefs and then cause others to doubt their belief in God, can they still be a member in good standing?

      Your “warm and fuzzy” love everyone and have no judgement for anyone and everyone do as they please doesn’t work in REAL life. God is not a God of disorder. The church has to run on order or it falls apart.

      The real problem is unethical people who won’t leave an organization when they no longer believe in it’s beliefs. But that is par for the course in this evil world. Maranatha!




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  16. “Your “warm and fuzzy” love everyone and have no judgement for anyone and everyone do as they please doesn’t work in REAL life”

    My friend, I think this is what love is all about. It rises above doctrine, differences and tolerates and accepts. And thus I extend that love to you and humbly ask you to look deep in your heart at those that may differ in opinion from you.




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    • There’s a difference between loving a person and loving what they do or letting them continue in their path as a leader in the church. Jesus loves everyone and wishes that all come to repentance and forgiveness. However, Jesus also set up rules for church order and government.




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    • @Jorge: Jorge, do you have children? If so, where will you send them to school? How about a school where they don’t believe that God created the earth and that we evolved. And not only would your children believe that we were not created by God and there is no God, they are free to marry someone from their own gender. It REALLY doesn’t matter what you believe. Only love matters, right? Ridiculous.

      Jesus loved the people, but he also ran the money changers out of the temple.




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    • @Jorge: Jorge, so rules, doctrines and beliefs don’t matter, just love? Is that what I hear you saying?

      God Himself gave us the 10 Commandments and told us to follow them, but following them doesn’t really matter, only love? So Jesus died in vain because when Adam and Eve sinned, disobedience to God shouldn’t have mattered, God should have just overlooked it because only love matters. Is that what you are saying?

      And God shouldn’t have rejected Cain’s sacrifice, because Cain brought his best right? Obedience shouldn’t have mattered?

      What our experience here is based on is one of two choices – obedience or rebellion. Love is directly tied to obedience. “Love” that is not obedient is a lie and directly linked to rebellion.

      So what is going on here on Educate Truth is not about love and hate of our brothers and sisters. It’s about truth and error and REBELLION. . There is error going on at LSU in multiple departments. Is that supposed to be overlooked? Should Jesus just have left the money changer alone? Should EGW have ignored the problems at Battle Creek College and let parents send their children there to be taught error? Aren’t we called to counteract error, especially when young people’s faith in God and the church is involved?




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      • When it comes to salvation (what makes a person savable) rules, doctrines and beliefs don’t really matter. The only question that will be asked in the Judgement is, “What did you do for the least of these?” In other words, regardless of your doctrinal beliefs or the correctness of your knowledge about God or the Bible or evolution vs. creation, did you love your fellow man? Did you treat others as you would like to be treated? If so, you are savable. If not, if you acted contrary to the Royal Law of Love, you are not savable.

        Doctrinal knowledge is only important when it comes to establishing hope in the reality of the Gospel Message. Such knowledge is not, however, the basis of salvation. Salvation is entirely based on selfless love for one’s fellow man – a law that is written on the hearts of all so that no one has any excuse for breaking this law. It is in this way that even the heathen can be saved – even honest atheists who are sincerely ignorant of the existence of a personal God.

        Sean Pitman
        http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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    • @Jorge: Jorge, you are wrong. Jesus mingled with sinners, he gained their confidence, and then he healed them of their sins. He told them to go and sin no more. I see no place where Jesus said to embrace sin and continue in a life of sin and rebellion against God the Creator.

      If love rises above doctrine and differences and tolerates and accepts, why didn’t God just overlook Adam and Eve’s disobedience and let them stay in the Garden? Why didn’t God overlook the Antedeluvian sins and not bring a flood to the earth? Why did God institute the sanctuary service that caused innocent animals to be killed if things could just be overlooked? Why did Jesus have to die on the cross if things could just be overlooked?




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      • Sin is based on knowledge of the truth. Without knowledge of the truth, there is no sin or moral culpability. It is somewhat ironic then that knowledge, by itself, saves no one. Knowledge, without a love of the truth, is worthless when it comes to salvation. Satan, for example, knows more about the truth than any one of us, yet he will not be saved because he hates what he knows is true. Love, on the other hand, will cause one to follow all truth that is comprehended. Love does not discard the truth. Love gives motive to follow the truth. Love also accepts others where they are without condemnation for sins of the past – and then presents a better path for the sinner to consider and makes this path as appealing as possible. Love then is primary. Love trumps everything else – as Paul pointed out:

        “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” – 1 Corinthians 13:13

        This does not mean, of course, that love makes no judgements between right and wrong or that love accepts error or evil without rebuke. Not at all. It is just that love rebukes evil and strives to correct error in the spirit of redemption.

        Sean Pitman
        http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  17. Dear Dr. Pitman

    Clearly, the Christian spirit infuses your soul. God bless you, but even more. those that do not yet understand this essential need.




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    • @Jorge: Jorge, why do you imply that one can only be a loving Christian if they ignore the sin around them and accept everyone and every institution irregardless of what they say or do?

      Jesus didn’t do that. He was very forward to rebuke sin and evil, especially in institutional places. The teaching of evolution as the best explanation of our origins by the religion and biology departments [edit] is evil and deserves rebuking.




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    • Both…

      However, when it comes to the question of which one the church should hire to teach our young people in it’s schools, the answer is the creationist – certainly not the evolutionist.

      Everyone has basic human rights and everyone deserved to be treated with kindness and respect. However, no one has an automatic right to be hired as a teacher or pastor or any other kind of official representative by the Seventh-day Adventist Church… which is the real issue under discussion in this particular forum.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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    • @Jorge: This is a fundamental problem in America today that is ruining our country. For some strange reason Progressives and Liberals cannot make the distinction between disagreement and hate. This is implied in Jorge’s post. It is a very small minded position that says if someone disagrees with me, they hate me. It is implied in Jorge’s post that because Sean is a creationist, he would not help the evolutionist.

      It is entirely possible to disagree on the subject of our origins – whether we were created by God or whether we evolved – and still be a loving Christian.




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  18. Actually my friend, the Good Samaritan post was impliedly directed to you, not Sean who had already espoused the Royal Law of Love. I knew Sean’s answer before he responded and I liked the last paragraph of your response. Religious or doctrinal disagreement should not be the source of enmity if love is in the human heart. By your response, you appear to agree. Thank you!




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  19. Pitman has an evil obsession with LSU and is a prideful SOB that needs to do more as a Christian to be positive and uplifting to those who need it. Those you who live with a death wish on others will end up reaping it yourselves.




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  20. I love how many people hated this post about love. Shows the the morale character of the goofy folks that support Pitman.

    Jorge:
    Brothers and Sisters

    Be forgiving and loving of all and you will feel the spirit of the Prince of Peace. Too many here think they are right and are prepared to crucify those with whom they disagree. Do you think God appointed you to know more than your fellow Man?

    God bless you, may you find the grace of humility and love for your fellow Man no matter what they believe.




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  21. If no human can know the exact truth why do we climb on pedestals and proclaim it? Why do we vilify others that differ in opinion? Pride and fear. Be gentle with those that differ in opinion. It is not what we believe but how we behave towards each other that counts. Although I think Dr. Pitman is acculturated to his position – is he perhaps the son of a pastor? – he demonstrates a good heart. In time he may view empirical knowledge differently….




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    • I agree. There is no need to vilify the motives of those who might disagree with our own personal opinions of truth. I’ve always said that the debate over creation/evolution isn’t about morality. It’s simply about presenting the churches position on origins.

      However, there certainly is a moral problem when it comes to those who are willing to take money from an employer while going around undermining what they are being paid to do. That’s a form of stealing. It doesn’t matter if you think your employer is wrong. It is morally wrong to do contrary to what you’re being paid to do. If you want to do your own thing, go and work for yourself or for an employer who is in line with your own position. Why work for and expect to get paid by someone with whom you have a fundamental disagreement?




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  22. Can’t argue against that fundamental proposition pard.

    Perhaps the answer is simply to stop teaching biology at Adventist institutions? Why not call it creationism and teach it as an academic subject. As long as theologically based science is not taught in public schools, religious institutions should be free to teach what they want.

    Nothing wrong with challenging evolution, Big Bang theory or one and one is two for that matter. Have at er’ . Over time the exquisiteness of the rationali mind and the scientific method sorts things out. Our present level of knowledge vs that of early mystical Man is proof of that.




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    • The vast majority of biology topics and concepts have absolutely nothing to do with the notion of the evolution of complex functions taking place by random mutations and natural selection over hundreds of millions of years. In fact, the neo-Darwinian fable has nothing at all to do with practical biological science. Nothing. Neo-Darwinism isn’t really testable or falsifiable or practical to biology. It is just-so story telling for grown ups that has no useful predictive power or scientific usefulness. It isn’t science and shouldn’t be given the title of science. It is only by popular convention that it is actually taught as science in private or public schools. However, that fact doesn’t make it valid as a real science.

      The real weight of evidence strongly supports the conclusion that complex machines of any kind, biological or otherwise, simply aren’t built by any kind of mindless naturalistic mechanism. All such machines require the original input of high level intelligence and intentional creative power. That’s the most rational scientific conclusion that the weight of evidence supports.

      So, if our schools wish to be teaching the best science available in this modern age, at the very least they should be promoting the concepts of intelligent design as the most rational explanation for biological complexity and diversity at higher levels of functional complexity.

      Of course, you refuse to substantively address questions dealing with how true artefacts are rationally identified…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  23. Well ole pard,

    To beat a dead horse, the only true artefacts I am know of are man made, plain and simple. Tell me what other ones exist out there?

    Why would the design criteria for a God like being be the same as a human like being? Can’t your God hypothetically make matter out of nothing? What other critters can do that? Strikes me the design criteria for that sort of magic maker would be a bit different that the ole granite cube carver. 🙂

    Always good to chew the fat with ya pard.

    And Jorge, you seem like a good cowpoke even if you don’t want to mix it up much. I am curious what you believe in science wise though?




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    • I’ve already explained to you that the very same features you claim are clearly artefactual, the product of human-level design (even if they were to be found on an alien planet), are found in living things – the same basic types of machines with the same basic types of mechanics. Yet, when found in living things you don’t recognize them as true artefacts of intelligent design. Why not? You’d recognize them as designed if the parts were made out of plastics and/or metal even if found on an alien planet, but not if the parts were made out of organic materials and found within a living thing? – even though there is no known naturalistic mechanism that can produce such machines in living things or in any other kinds of materials. You’re simply not being consistent.

      The fact that you don’t apply scientific arguments for detecting intelligent design consistently strongly suggests that you have ulterior motives for your conclusions that go beyond what the science itself can rationally support. This is why most mainstream scientists are more philosophical or religious in their conclusions about origins than they are scientific.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  24. OK pard, let’s put granite cubes, big bangs and the origins of life to the side for a moment. Let’s chat about micro evolution, which even the most hardcore creationists admit occurs. What is the intelligent design behind micro evolution that can be detected by the scientific method?




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    • There is indeed no detectable intelligent design behind random mutations and natural selection that produces low-level functional changes in living things. Such low-level or “micro” evolution occurs without the need for intelligent intervention beyond the basic mindless laws of nature that are already in place.

      Part of the problem with micro-evolution, of course, is that the vast majority of functionally relevant random mutations that do occur are functionally detrimental to one degree or another. And, there are far too many of these detrimental mutations for natural selection to deal with in each generation. The death rate required for natural selection to effectively work would be far too high for humans, or any other slowly reproducing species, to effectively deal with. That means that all slowly reproducing species are gradually headed downhill. We are devolving, not evolving, over time – headed toward eventual genetic meltdown and extinction.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  25. George,

    Science is knowledge which use can be put to good or evil. It is morally neutral but helps Man rise out of superstition and ignorance.

    The capacity and choice for Love lies in each human heart irrespective of religious belief or non belief. Man, to trancend doctrinal tribalism, needs to eschew entrenched positions and practice humanism. Dr. Pitman understand this but sees more hope in promoting and supporting his YLC position over mindless Nature or hybrid concepts such as theistic evolution. Whether I disagee or agree with him is not at all important in my mind.

    Your arguments are very interesting and I enjoy your posts. If all is cosmic accident why is there even a possibility of same if there is no hidden design?




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  26. “There is indeed no detectable intelligent design behind random mutations and natural selection that produces low-level functional changes in living things. Such low-level or “micro” evolution occurs without the need for intelligent intervention beyond the basic mindless laws of nature that are already in place.”

    Well pard, we agree on this point. So, what scientific proof exists that life was not always like this?




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    • The most simple living thing is at a level of functional complexity that far surpasses the maximum level of functional complexity that evolutionary mechanisms can produce this side of trillions of years of time. That’s the problem. The evolutionary mechanism of random mutations and natural selection (RM/NS) can only produce qualitatively novel biological systems that require no more than a few hundred specifically arranged amino acid residues. This mechanism completely stalls out well before the level of 1000 specifically arranged residues is reached. Many molecular machines within every living thing require far more than 1000 specifically arranged residues. None of these machines could have been produced by RM/NS in what anyone would consider to be a reasonable amount of time.

      Beyond this, there is the problem of a very high detrimental mutation rate in slowly reproducing species. Natural selection works by killing off inferior organisms in a population before they can reproduce and pass off their inferior genes. This means that a certain death rate is required for natural selection to effectively perform this weeding out process. The higher the detrimental mutation rate, the higher the required minimum death rate needed to avoid an overall deteriorating gene pool within the population at large. For humans, the detrimental mutation rate is so high that the average woman would have to give birth to thousands of offspring so that natural selection could kill off all of them except for the two most fit to populate the next generation. Clearly, humans cannot reproduce at this rate and cannot sustain the 99%+ death rate needed to keep the gene pool from deteriorating over time.

      And many geneticists agree (but end up attributing the problem to a reduction in natural selection because of modern medical science and other modern ways of keeping people alive and able to reproduce).

      1. Dr. Crow – “We’re inferior to cavemen.”
      2. Dr. Kondrashov -“No human geneticist doubts man is degenerating.”
      3. Dr. Lynch – “Even assuming a lower mutation rate, we are degenerating at 1%-5% per generation.”

      http://www.pnas.org/content/107/3/961.full

      For a summary of the details of this problem see: http://www.detectingdesign.com/dnamutationrates.html#Summary

      In any case, these two problems fundamentally undermine the basic claims of the Theory of Evolution – of modern neo-Darwinism.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  27. Thanks pard, I read your referenced material with great interest. But it doesn’t answer my question as to when life was intelligently designed and not subject to RMNS?

    Evolution does not predict any particular species, including Man, will survive. Species come and go and change as the adaptive mechanisms selects those more fit for a particular environment. The potential genetic degeneration of Man does not militate against Evolution, it supports it. Who knows what life forms will inherit the earth based on changing environments?. What we do know is Life in the most extreme environments adapts. Man is not at the top of any evolutionary ladder, which is a common misperception, and, frankly a red herring. Man is merely another species with opposable thumbs and a big brain that has allowed it to thrive and adapt very well to a variety of environments.

    Now don’t get me wrong Pard, Man’s a wonderful, self conscious creature, but still subject to the same mechanisms of evolution as every other critter.




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    • I’m not just talking about humans here, but about all slowly reproducing species (like all mammals and all birds for example). You see, the detrimental mutation rate is so high, and always has been, that no such slowly reproducing species could long survive. And, this has always been going on. Mankind, and all other slowly-reproducing species, have always been degenerating since we (and they) first arrived on this planet. We’ve always been headed for extinction.

      Beyond this, novel systems simply do not evolve, and cannot evolve, beyond very very low levels of functional complexity. There simply is no observation of evolution producing any qualitatively novel system that requires more than 1000 specifically arranged amino acid residues to function. It just doesn’t happen because of the extreme rarity of potentially beneficial sequences in sequence space at this level of functional complexity.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  28. of course the amazing biodiversity on earth, specifically adapted to different environments ( kangeroos in Australia) does not support your argument but rather the evolution of progressive life forms from common ancestor antecedents.




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    • Gene pools have been pre-programmed with a huge potential for phenotypic variation in response to different environmental conditions. Mendelian genetics, for example, allows for huge variations in form and function that are not dependent upon random mutations or the generation of novel alleles that were not already in the parental gene pool. That is why my brother and I have some significant differences in appearance even though we both descended from the very same parental gene pool of options. No mutations, no novel alleles, where required to produce our phenotypic differences in form and function.

      So, you have to distinguish between the types of variation you’re talking about. Based on Mendelian-style variation alone, you’re not going to get from amoebas to man. You see, the Darwinian story requires the creation of novel alleles with novel functionality beyond low levels of functional complexity.

      And, that’s the problem for the ToE. Such evolution simply doesn’t happen via random mutations and natural selection beyond very very low levels of functional complexity. There are no examples in literature where RM/NS generates any novel system of function that require more than a few hundred specifically arranged amino acid residues to do its job. Certainly nothing beyond the 1000 saaar level has ever been observed and statistically this level is very very unlikely to be crossed this side of trillions of years of time.

      The reason is that as one considers higher and higher level systems, the non-selectable gap distances in sequence space between sequences that could produce such systems grows in a linear manner. And, with each linear increase in the minimum non-selectable gap distance in sequence space, the average time required for random mutations of any kind to achieve success increases exponentially.

      That is why what we see is an exponential stalling effect of the evolutionary mechanism of RM/NS with each step up the ladder of functional complexity.

      If you’re going to make the ToE rationally tenable, you have to explain how the mechanism of RM/NS actually works at different levels of functional complexity. Otherwise, what you have isn’t science. It’s nothing more than imaginative just-so story telling.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

      P.S. As far as kangaroos, or their marsupial ancestors, being limited to Australia, consider that fossilization is a fairly rare event. For example, monotremes were once thought to be unique to Australia as well, but a discovery in 1991 of a fossil platypus tooth in South America stunned the scientific community and proved that monotremes were not actually unique to Australia after all.




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  29. Why, then, do 4000 yo mummies show no signs of superiority? They weren’t taller or stronger than we are today and suffered from the same maladies we suffer from. The famous Iceman (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%96tzi) even carried a gene causing a higher risk of arteriosclerosis (if I remember correctly). Fortunately, his presumable lifestyle should have offered some protection.




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    • Lifestyle does not offer significant protection from the inevitable build up of detrimental mutations within the germline of every human and every other slowly reproducing species.

      As far as advanced health, geneticists are in general agreement that modern humans are less healthy, genetically, as a population, that were the cavemen of old. We have more genetic diseases now than ever before. As an interesting aside, consider that Neandertals were stronger, more fit, could run farther and faster, and had bigger brains, on average, than modern humans.

      In any case, the real threat to the human gene pool is the build up of near-neutral detrimental mutations. Such near-neutral mutations have a practically undetectable effect on the organism, but, over long periods of time and the build up of tens of thousands of these near-neutral mutations, the detrimental changes become more and more apparent, and are irreversible. The eventual extinction of the human race is inevitable outside of some very high level intelligent manipulation of our gene pool.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • @Sean Pitman: I wonder about the evidence of these accumulated near-neutral detrimental mutations. Mummies (from only some centuries after the flood, if one accepts YEC chronology) were no different form us – as far as I’ve read. And I’d bet that bushmen still following their traditional way of life are just as healthy as any Neanderthal or Cro-Magnon clan. To keep our gene pool clean we’d have to resort to some strict eugenics policy, which nobody wants (hopefully).




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        • You have some lovely hunches. Unfortunately, the currently available evidence strongly suggests that you’re quite mistaken. In every single generation every single person born on this planet is genetically inferior to his/her parents. Modern bushmen simply aren’t as healthy, genetically, as were the Neandertals. That’s the reality of the situation. Every single person suffers detrimental mutations that his/her parents did not have. And, the detrimental mutation rate is far far higher than can be dealt with, even theoretically, by a eugenics policy that removes more than 99.9% of the “less fit” population in every generation before reproduction. In other words, the required death rate needed to simply keep the genetic fitness of the population neutral is far far higher than slowly reproducing species, like humans or mammals in general, or birds, could remotely keep up with.




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        • @Sean Pitman: I didn’t state any hypothesis (except,maybe, the bushmen-statement). As far as I’ve seen, there’s simply no archaeological or paleontological evidence showing our ancestors had a better genetic equipment. Neanderthals were stronger and well adapted to living in a harsh environment, but payed a price by burning a lot more calories. Is there any direct archaeological evidence that people, say, 4000 years ago were noticeably superior to us?




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        • The evidence is genetic evidence, not archaeological. And, near-neutral detrimental mutations are not going to make a significantly noticeable phenotypic difference in just 4000 years. However, they would make a huge difference in a million years. The evidence for the inevitable build up of such detrimental mutations is found in modern studies of genetic mutation rates.

          For more information on this topic, see: http://www.detectingdesign.com/dnamutationrates.html#Summary




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    • I’m not sure I follow you? What does this comment have to do with the creative potential and/or limitations of the Darwinian mechanism of random mutations and natural selection? – and the limits of the “raw” mindless mechanisms of nature in general? It seems to me like you’re being inconsistent again. You don’t seem to want to apply the very same rules you yourself use for determining intelligent design to biological systems. Why not?

      In short, humans are indeed subject to lots of things. However, why would you want to live with that, with the notion that we came from nothing and will end up as nothing as we are tossed randomly by the fortunes of time and chance in the meantime? if there is actually very good evidence that we were deliberately designed by an extremely intelligent creator? and that we are loved and cared for by someone who is not subject to the whims of a mindless uncaring nature or of time and chance?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  30. Of course Disneyland is preferable to reality. But, notwithstanding the apologetics of theodicy, the idea that sentient life that is subject to disease and death was created by an intelligent, loving creator is at best wishful thinking and at worst regressive irrationalism. Oh I know the biblical mantra: everything was perfect before the fall. But where is the science to support that fantastic notion?




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    • The science for this “fantastic notion” is what we were just starting to discuss. I’m not sure why you seem to want to avoid getting into the actual evidence for the intelligent design of living things? What is your naturalistic explanation to explain complex biological machines? How do random mutations and mindless selection actually work beyond very low levels of functional complexity? What are the actual odds, some real math here, for the discovery of novel beneficial sequences in the vastness of sequence space at various levels of functional complexity?

      These are just a few questions to get things started. If you cannot or will not at least try to recognize design in nature or the need for the existence of an intelligent creator of any kind (besides humans that is), then you’re not going to ever even start to approach God or appreciate His existence – much less His personal love and care for you as an individual (and the very very bright eternal future in store for you).

      So, why not start with the questions I’ve just posed?




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  31. Sean and George

    Gentlemen, I don’t know which of you or if either of you is right or wrong but am enjoying your respectful debate. I too struggle with the concept of a caring creator. However, notwithstanding our biology, humanity under many religious umbrelllas and secular humanism, presses forward. Is this in itself evidence of a spiritual dimension in Man, or rather altruism than can be explained away as part of our sociobiological makeup?

    Be well my friends and continue your respectful, courteous dialogue.




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    • I’m so glad you referenced this paper as it perfectly illustrates my point. Here is the key passage in your cited paper:

      A more appropriate model is the following: After guessing each of the letters, we are told which (if any) of the guessed letters are correct, and then those letters are retained. The second round of guessing is applied only for the incorrect letters that remain after this first round, and so forth. This procedure mimics the “in parallel” evolutionary process. (Wilf and Ewens, PNAS, 2010 – Link)

      If you read this key passage, and the rest of the paper you cited, very carefully, you will notice something very interesting. Surprisingly, your authors make a very similar argument to that Richard Dawkins made with his fairly well known “Methinks it is like a weasel” evolutionary algorithm in his 1986 book, The Blind Watchmaker. The only real difference is that Wilf and Ewens merge “beneficial” mutations regardless of where they might occur within the population. That’s not the problem, of course. The problem is in getting the beneficial mutations to begin with anywhere within the population.

      Richard Dawkins tried to illustrate the power of natural selection in this regard. What he did was very interesting. He first set up a target phrase, taken from Shakespeare, “Methinks it is like a weasel” as the goal of his evolutionary algorithm. Then, starting with a random sequence of the same length programmed into his computer as the “parent” sequence, he had the computer make 100 copies of the parent sequence (a rather high reproductive rate), each copy with exactly one additional random mutation compared to the parent sequence. Then, Dawkins had the computer analyze the “offspring” to see which ones were a closer match to the target phrase, “Methinks it is like a weasel”. Very quickly, in just 40-50 or so “generations”, the target phrase was evolved.

      http://www.detectingdesign.com/methinksitislikeaweasel.html#Dawkins
      http://www.evolutionnews.org/2011/12/me_thinks_hes_like_a_dawkins053651.html

      Aha! Evolution of meaningful functional complexity in action – neatly and conclusively proved!

      Not so fast. If it were this easy, computers could randomly generate all the works of Shakespeare without the need for human authors or intelligence – which would certainly prove the reality of the neo-Darwinian claims (and would put a lot of authors out of business at the same time). So, you see, there must be a small little problem with this scenario. And, of course, there is. There is a basic fundamental problem that is so obvious that I’m very surprised that such nonsense scenarios keep being published in literature as being remotely comparable to what takes place in biological evolution.

      The problem is that the authors of your article (Wilf and Ewens) and Richard Dawkins assume, wrongly, that every single match to their target sequence will be functionally selectable all along the way. Their algorithm is set up to tell them if any additional mutation produces another “match” to the target sequence – or not. If this were the case in real life, then evolution at all levels of complexity would happen easily and very very quickly. The problem is that this does not reflect reality, and for good reason. The reality of the situation is that there is an exponentially stalling effect, with each step up the ladder of functional complexity, that is realized by all valid evolutionary algorithms that are based on functionality rather than sequence matching – to include computer generated algorithms or in real live biological systems (i.e., living things). The reason for this exponentially stalling effect is that not every character match to a target sequence is selectably beneficial by an algorithm that can only select based on the functionality or the meaning of the sequence – not on how many of its characters match a pre-determined target sequence (i.e., a reduced Hamming distance).

      As an illustration, consider the random meaningless sequences “quiziligook”. What is the selectable difference between this meaningless sequence and “quiziliguck”? Nothing. They are both equally meaningless (in the English language system or “environment”) and therefore equally non-selectable by any function-based selection algorithm (which is what natural selection is).

      This is where my concept of minimum structural threshold levels for functional systems comes into play. A sequence will not be beneficially selectable until a certain minimum structural threshold level of sequence size and specificity is realized which effectively produces a beneficial function/meaning. For lower-level systems, like meaningful 3-letter words for example, the minimum requirements for a novel meaningful 3-letter word are easily and commonly met by single or multi-character mutations (the odds of success are about 1 in 18 at this level). However, the odds of successfully finding a novel selectably meaningful 7-character sequence in sequence space are not nearly so good. The odds change exponentially to around 1 in 250,000.

      You see, the basic problem is the changing ratio of potentially beneficial vs. non-beneficial sequences in sequence space. As the minimum size and/or specificity requirement of a system increases linearly, the ratio beneficial vs. non-beneficial sequences decreases exponentially. Very quickly, this creates a non-beneficial gap between what currently exists and what might exist to some benefit within the “gene pool”. And, as this gap increases linearly, the average time required to cross this gap, via any kind of random mutations, increases exponentially. By the time one considers sequences of a required length of more than 1000 characters, the average time required to cross the gap distances between beneficial islands within this level of sequence space is trillions upon trillions of years.

      You really do need to read through the arguments I’ve given you before on this concept. You said you did read through them, but I don’t think you have. I’ve read your article, why not try reading my mathematical response?

      http://www.detectingdesign.com/flagellum.html#Calculation

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com

      P.S. Consider also that your article did not deal with the inevitable build up of detrimental mutations, which far outpaces the beneficial mutation rate, in each generation – a detrimental build up that far outpaces the maximum possible reproductive rate (and required death rate needed for natural selection to remove these detrimental mutations) for slowly reproducing species.




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  32. By the way pard, thanks for your kind Christian wish for my welfare. I hope for your sake you are right as my view of reality is certainly less rosy. I’m afraid Science and Religion are two different disciplines which don’t mix. I don’t begrudge anyone a belief in God, power to them. However I think the Hebrew God depicted in the Bible is a human creation and not supported by evidence. Time and time again, Man through the arduous application of scientific principles has been able to root out the cause and effect nature of phenomena in our universe. I believe that trend will continue notwithstanding the wide variety of religious beliefs as to ours and the universe’s origins. Dr. Pitman’s approach, including the use of ID to wedge open the door connecting the rooms of Science and Theology is quite impressive and rhetorically persuasive, especially with the added subtle sweetener of eternal salvation 🙂 It’s a lovely sentiment. But apart from man made artifacts he has not demonstrated what artifacts or how organic life was intelligently designed. Nor has he demonstrated why or how God like design would be comparable to human design. Like mixing apples and oranges.

    The great value of this forum is that it is not merely limited to the narrow examination of what is taught at LSU. That is the tip of the larger ontological iceberg. But Dr. Pitman has an agenda, to marry Science to biblical creation and that needs to be critically examined. Most interesting.




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    • I’m already well aware of your atheistic views. What I don’t understand is the reason why you hold so strongly to such views? Why not present some actual evidence that substantively counters what I’ve presented? You say that you recognize no designed artefacts beyond what humans have produced. Yet, you clearly use a double standard in the way you define true artefacts. You don’t apply your methods the same way for biological machines. You say that biological machines can be easily formed by known naturalistic mechanisms (random mutations and natural selection), yet the single paper you’ve presented thus far to support such a fantastic claim makes the very same fallacy that Richard Dawkins made back in 1986 with his “Methinks it is like a weasel” evolution algorithm – an algorithm which even he says does not and was never intended to be analogous to biological evolution.

      So, what do you really have to support your atheistic view regarding the origin of biological machines? – beyond just-so story telling and popular philosophical/religious assertions? Where is your “science”? Where is the relevant math and predictive value to support your theory?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  33. By the way pard, what are your academic credentials regarding mathematics? I’m afraid mine are restricted to high school and a bit of statistics in university. However if you are going to argue with Ph’d’s in mathematics it seems to me you need the math chops to do so.




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    • 2 + 2 = 4, therefore Neo-Darwinism is true?

      You don’t need a Ph.D. in mathematics to understand the relevant math in play here. The math used by Wilf and Ewens in their 2010 PNAS article you referenced is fairly straightforward – and correct. There is no problem at all with their math as far as they use it. The problem with the article is that the assumptions behind the math are incorrect.

      There are two key mistakes in this paper. The first mistake is the author’s assumption that novel beneficial alleles are easy to evolve. They aren’t easy to evolve beyond very very low levels of functional complexity. The second mistake is that the authors assume that a linear combination of beneficial alleles will add up to produce higher and higher levels of functional complexity – with each addition being sequentially selectable.

      As I’ve already explained, the assumption that every single change that matches a pre-established target sequence will be sequentially selectable by a function-based selection mechanism is simply not true. This is a definitively false assumption which completely undermines their math. They use correct math to answer an incorrect assumption. This is true regardless of if you’re talking about 3-character sequences with single letter changes or 20,000 character sequences with larger word or phrase multi-character mutations.

      It is a proven fact that not every mutational change that matches a larger system is sequentially beneficial. The vast majority of mutations, even those that might match a partial sequence of a larger functional system, are neutral or functionally detrimental – NOT beneficial compared to the parent population. And, this only becomes exponentially more and more true with each step up the ladder of functional complexity.

      Given the author’s assumption that multiple strongly beneficial mutations are realized in a population, of course it would be true that these mutations would be fixed and would rapidly build up over a short period of time. That’s not the problem! The problem is with the odds of realizing the beneficial mutation to begin with – anywhere within the population. These odds get exponentially less and less likely with each step up the ladder of functional complexity.

      Why not answer the question I asked you which is fundamental to this error?

      What is the functional difference between the sequences “quiziligook” and “quiziliguck”?

      If you honestly answer this one question, you will no doubt see the fundamental error behind the math used by Wilf and Ewens – and Dawkins. Do you honestly see a relevant difference between the “Methinks it is like a weasel” algorithm and the Wilf and Ewens paper? If so, please do explain it to me because, for the life of me, I can’t see much of a difference in the argument.

      If, on the other hand, you cannot understand it yourself so that you can intelligently discuss it, where is your own personal understanding of the science behind your own position?

      Tell me, why does answering such a question require a Ph.D. in math? Are you telling me that you really don’t understand the article you cite? That the arguments are too far beyond your own ability to grasp? If so, upon what are your conclusions based? Is your atheistic position entirely based on faith in the claims of others? – claims which you don’t personally understand? How is that a “scientific” position from your own perspective? Sounds entirely like a faith-based position to me… i.e., a religious or philosophical position. If not, then why not explain to me how I’m wrong in my understanding of Wilf, Ewens, and Dawkins?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  34. “Tell me, why does answering such a question require a Ph.D. in math?”

    So. do you think laypersons are qualified to advise you on pathology, or is that a field for which you have been specifically trained and have expertise?

    If you seriously think that you have just as much acumen in fields that are not your specialty such as trained mathmaticians, physicists, biolgists, geologists, etc., you are suffering from excess hubris pard.

    Quiziligook and quizilguck
    A layman can understand that muck?




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    • What are you trying to say? That no one can question or even understand the opinions of “experts” in any field outside of their own? How is this not a faith-based statement? an argument from authority? How does such a position have anything to do with personal understanding or explanatory power?

      You’re basically saying, are you not, “Here’s my authority. I don’t question it and neither should you.”

      That’s the very same argument religious fundamentalists use when someone questions their views of what the Bible or the Qur’an or the Book of Mormon says. Are you really arguing along these same lines? If so, how is that scientific? How does that even remotely help me to understand the error of my ways? beyond telling me that a bunch of experts disagree with me? something I already know quite clearly?

      Now, if you want to get me to understand how this paper clearly falsifies my position, why not start by answering the questions I’ve presented?

      For example, is there any possibility of function-based selection between equally meaningless sequences? If not, upon what basis is selection made between apparently meaningless sequences in the papers and books published by Wilf, Ewens, and Richard Dawkins? Do they not all assume a smooth gradient of selectability from nonsense sequences to their final target goal? – a fully meaningful sequence? If there is some other basis for selection, what is it?

      If their assumption of a smooth selectable gradient were true, why are there no examples of evolution in action producing anything that requires more than 1000 specifically arranged amino acids to work? – not a single example? Why not? What’s going on here? If the assumptions of Dawkins, Wilf, and Ewens were correct, why aren’t their predictions actually observable beyond very very low levels of functional complexity? Does this not suggest a significant error on their part? If not, what is the explanation?

      Look at the argument presented and see for yourself if it matches real life or not. Real life does not appear to me to work like this – not in any language system and not in biological systems.

      So please, tell me how a function-based selection mechanism is going to be able to tell the difference between something like:

      sj oal ekcithap wjsh

      and

      eozcp tsq pmvjas eost

      What is the functional difference between these sequences upon which selection, function-based selection that deals with function and/or meaning, is going to preferentially select? Are they not equally meaningless? and therefore equally non-selectable? What difference is something like “natural selection” going to make here?

      It’s a very simple question that does not seem to me to be at all addressed by the paper you presented. Please help me understand…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  35. Strange that you agree that the RMNS mechanism works at the micro evolution level. In other words you agree that mindless natural selection works in nature. But then you appeal to math and probabilities to indicate it won’t work at the macro level. Well then you need to provide your actually mathematical formulae to demonstrate or counter the extant papers. I don’t turn to mathematicians to give me expert advice on pathology pard, but I would certainly seek your advice on that topic 🙂




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    • Strange that you agree that the RMNS mechanism works at the micro evolution level. In other words you agree that mindless natural selection works in nature.

      Why is that strange? It’s like saying that it is statistically possible, even very likely, to have random mutations produce novel 3-letter words in very short order. That’s not hard to demonstrate in even a small population experiencing average mutation rates – since the ratio between meaningful vs. meaningless 3-letter sequences in 3-character sequence space is about 1 in 18. However, the ratio of meaningful vs. non-meaningful 7-character sequences is about 1 in 250,000. And, it gets exponentially worse and worse with each linear increase in the minimum size requirement. And, the very same thing is true for functional sequences of DNA or proteins… or any other language system you wish to name that is based on the proper order and number of a sequence of individual characters.

      There’s an exponentially stalling effect, you see, with each step up the ladder of functional complexity when it comes to the odds of any kind of random mutation to a given sequence hitting upon a novel meaningful, much less beneficial, sequence in sequence space. This is why there is no observed evolution producing anything that requires more than 1000 specifically arranged amino acid residues to function. There are no such examples in literature simply because such a demonstration is so extraordinarily unlikely this side of trillions of years of time.

      Your authors do not address this problem… at all. Beyond this, they assume in their calculations that selection can actually take place between equally meaningless sequences in real life – something which natural selection simply cannot do in real life.

      But then you appeal to math and probabilities to indicate it won’t work at the macro level. Well then you need to provide your actually mathematical formulae to demonstrate or counter the extant papers.

      I already did provide it to you – and you said you read it.

      http://www.detectingdesign.com/flagellum.html#Calculation

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  36. “The problem is with the odds of realizing the beneficial mutation to begin with – anywhere within the population. These odds get exponentially less and less likely with each step up the ladder of functional complexity”

    So if the problem is with the “odds” it is a math problem isn’t it?




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    • So if the problem is with the “odds” it is a math problem isn’t it?

      Yes, it is. However, this problem deals with a completely different issue that the one that was dealt with by Wilf and Ewens (and Dawkins). This problem deals with the odds that something just one character change away from a particular random sequence will be functionally beneficial. Wilf, Ewens and Dawkins completely ignore this problem and treat every single mutational change that happens to match a character position in a target string as “selectable”. This is their key mistake.

      For example, say you generate a random sequence of 20 characters (using the English alphabet of 26 letters plus a space). Something like:

      ajdf jai elamdi pwnc

      What are the odds that any single character mutational change (like to ajdf jai elamdi pwnz) will be meaningful much less beneficial?

      The authors you cite don’t address this question at all. They simply define any character match to their target sequence as “selectable”. Obviously, this does not reflect how natural selection is able to select in real life. Natural selection is only capable of making a preferential selection among mutated strings of characters (strings of DNA) that actually produce some survival/reproductive advantage among peers.

      See the problem?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  37. “What are the odds that any single character mutational change (like to ajdf jai elamdi pwnz) will be meaningful much less beneficial?”

    Gentleman,

    Even though I am not a scientist and do not have an advanced understanding of mathematics wouldn’t the odds here be 50/50? If an added single character mutational change, no matter how long the string preceding it, has the chance of being either beneficial or non beneficial is that not like a coin toss each time?




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    • Even though I am not a scientist and do not have an advanced understanding of mathematics wouldn’t the odds here be 50/50? If an added single character mutational change, no matter how long the string preceding it, has the chance of being either beneficial or non beneficial is that not like a coin toss each time?

      The odds are not 50:50 because they are dependent upon the meaning produced by the addition to or change of the sequence in question and the likelihood that any random change will produce some selectable beneficial function/meaning.

      For example, start with a random 3-letter sequence:

      rft

      What are the odds that a random character change to a 3-character sequence will produce a meaningful word? Well, the odds are 1 in 18 since that is the ratio of meaningful vs. non-meaningful 3-letter sequences in the English language. Consider how such a mutation would have to take place. First, the character position to be mutated must be selected at random. Then the actual character to be substituted in that position has to be chosen at random. What are the odds that the central position will be chosen in our 3-character sequence? Well, the odds are 1 in 3. What are the odds that a randomly chosen character put into this position will produce a meaningful word? You could put an “a” into the position to produce the word “rat” or an “o” to produce the word “rot” (odds of 1 in 13). Overall, however, the odds of success at this level is about 1 in 18 – pretty good odds.

      However, when you move up to 7-character sequences (to include multiple-word sequences), the ratio decreases to around 1 in 250,000. The odds of success are much much lower – exponentially so.

      As another example, consider the random sequence posed to you earlier.

      ajdf jai elamdi pwnz

      Change or add any one letter to that sequence and what happens to the meaning? Nothing. Nothing happens at all that would give it any functional meaning in the English language system.

      And, that’s the problem with the Richard Dawkins “Methinks it is like a weasel” evolution algorithm. The selection isn’t programmed based on differences in meaning or function, but upon character matching to a pre-established target sequence. Without a selection mechanism based on meaning/function, there is no comparison to how natural selection actually works. Therefore, any mathematical analysis based on sequence comparisons, while it may be correct mathematically, will not produce a correct conclusion when it comes to understanding the creative potential of random genetic mutations interacting with the selective abilities of natural selection.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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    • I’ve read a lot about it, and the basic ideas remain simple. If there is no functional difference between sequences, natural selection is simply powerless to preferentially select between them. This is a basic fact that is quite clear and simple and non-controversial. The other fact that should be obvious, but that isn’t generally recognized, is that each linear increase in the minimum size requirement for sequence space results in an exponential decrease in the ratio of beneficial vs. non-beneficial sequences within that space. This concept has been published in literature, but, for some reason, few seem to either know about it or understand its implications.

      For example, take the English alphabet of 26 letters plus a space to make 27 total characters to deal with. If you move from 3-character sequence space (i.e., 27^3 = 19,683 possible 3-character sequences) to 6-character sequence space (27^6 = 387,420,489 possible 6-character sequences) it is quite clear that the size of sequence space comprised of all possible sequences of a particular size increases exponentially with each linear increase in sequence size. The question is, then, what happens to the ratio of beneficial vs. non-beneficial sequences? Does the ratio stay the same? Does it increase? Does it decrease? Is it possible to know?

      The answer is quite clear, mathematically. It isn’t difficult or complex to understand – even for a layman. While the number of potentially beneficial sequences increases at higher levels, this increase is a linear increase while the increase in non-beneficial sequences is exponential. Of course, this disparity produces an exponential change in the ratio of beneficial vs. non-beneficial with each linear increase in the minimum size and/or specificity requirement of a sequence of characters.

      What are the implications of this? Well, as potentially beneficial islands of sequences become exponentially more and more rare in sequence space, the minimum likely gap distance between any particular steppingstone and the next closest beneficial steppingstone increases in an linear manner. And, for each linear increase in the minimum likely non-beneficial gap distance, the average time required for random mutations to cross this gap increases exponentially.

      None of these concepts are all that complex. None require a professional degree in math to understand. And, these simple concepts are devastating to the neo-Darwinian mechanism of random mutations and function-based natural selection. It just isn’t the creative mechanism that evolutionists have long claimed it to be. It just can’t do the job beyond very very low levels of functional complexity in what anyone would consider to be a reasonable amount of time (i.e., this side of trillions of years).

      And, your authors, Wilf and Ewen, do not discuss this problem. Their paper doesn’t even address it. In fact, like Richard Dawkins, they present natural selection as being able to do something that it cannot do – select based on sequence comparison to some pre-formed ideal sequence without reference to functionality along each step of the way. This has the effect of removing non-beneficial gaps between steppingstones in sequence space. And, this would be great if it actually reflected real life. The problem, of course, is that this simply is not how natural selection can work in real life. It’s nothing more than a shady trick to appeal to the gullible or to those who really don’t understand the reality of how natural selection functions.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  38. Pard,

    I hear ya but am no expert. Is there any conventional biologists that are on board with you here or is this largely an unexplored area?

    And with all due respect to your YLC stance, if conventional wisdom is correct on life being billions of years old, that’s a lot of time for functional complexity to evolve.




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    • Actually, billions of years is not a lot of time, not by a long shot, when you’re talking about trying to evolve anything beyond very very low levels of functional complexity. Any functional system that requires a minimum of more than 1000 specifically arranged characters (in any language system – English, Russian, Chinese, or computer code; or any biological system – DNA or protein sequences) is extremely unlikely to evolve via random mutations and function-based selection this side of trillions upon trillions of years of time. A few billion years is a tiny drop in the bucket compared to the amount of time that would be needed to get something as simple as a subcellular biomachine to evolve (like a rotary flagellum or ATPsynthase, etc).

      As far as “conventional biologists” who are on board with me, by definition anyone on board with me is not “conventional”. There are a number of scientists who have their Ph.D.s in biology, biochemistry, mathematics, etc., who do agree with me. Of course, these scientists are not considered “conventional” in their thinking.

      My question to you is, how much does being in agreement with popular or otherwise conventional scientists matter to you? Is your belief system with regard to evolutionary biology based on ideas that you personally understand? Or, is your position primarily based on the fact that the neo-Darwinian position happens to be popular?

      Now, it’s fine if a scientific idea happens to be popular. But, popularity alone doesn’t make an idea scientific. To be truly scientific in your own thinking you have to be able to personally present a testable, potentially falsifiable hypothesis. If you cannot do this, if the best you can do is point to others and say, “Who am I to disagree with the experts?”, they be scientific in their thinking and understanding, but you are not being scientific. You are simply believing based on faith in the credibility and authority of others – very similar to religious fundamentalists who don’t care what empirical evidence may or may not come and go for or against their faith in the trustworthiness and credibility of the Bible or the Qur’an or the Book of Mormon.

      In short, why do you believe what you believe aside from arguments from the authority of “experts”? Do you know? If not, why are you here? To tell me that I’m in the minority? I already know that…

      My advice to you, for what it’s worth: Just sit down and start doing the math for yourself. Start calculating the ratios at different levels of functional complexity (different minimum sequence size and/or specificity requirements) and see what you discover all on your own. Then, see if it makes sense compared to what the “experts” are saying. See if you can figure out why it does or doesn’t make sense – and then let me know what you’ve discovered. I’m betting that if you take this task seriously, you’re in for a huge surprise.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  39. Dear Dr. Pitman

    Are you being entirely fair with our friend George? Don’t we rely on Newton and Einstein for their expertise? We can’t all be experts in these complicated fields can we? I see no problem with experts debating experts but I don’t think we can start substituting laypeoples authority for that of experts or else their would be little purpose for higher education. We may as well start telling kindergarden children their opinions are better thsn their teachers!

    Certainly we all must come to our own conclusions about reality but to suggest we can work everything out for ourselves would likely take trillions of years. 🙂

    Respectfully
    Jorge the naive




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    • I’m just saying, if a topic is important to how you view the world and your own eternal future, I dare say putting a little of your own effort into validating the opinions of the experts is well worth it. Experts are not always right you know.

      Beyond this, if the best you have is the opinion of some experts, if you have no personal understanding of a topic or your own reasons why you believe like you do, you really are no better off than someone who who also has placed his/her unquestioning faith in some form of ultimate authority – like the Bible or the Qur’an or the Book of Mormon. You believe, like they do, based on the unquestioned authority of someone or something else outside of your own personal understanding of the topic or your own ability to explain it, in a rational way, to others. In other words, you don’t believe based on a form of “science” or empirical evidence from your own perspective. Your position is simply not testable or falsifiable outside of the opinions of others. It is possible that there are good scientific reasons to support your position, reasons which someone else may know and understand. But, for you, your position is not scientific since nothing can be presented to you that could even theoretically falsify or change your mind outside of the opinions of your experts. If they aren’t convinced, neither are you – regardless of the evidence presented. Your position, then, is nothing more than a faith position in the credibility of the experts.

      Now, faith in experts isn’t an entirely bad thing. We all rely on experts to give us advice regarding things we haven’t had the time to investigate in sufficient detail for ourselves. It’s the best we can do in may cases. And, there is good evidence that experts are usually right. However, yet again, such faith is not based on real “science” from one’s own perspective beyond the fact that experience tells us that experts are usually right. That’s about as good as one can do if one’s understanding is derived from expert opinion alone.

      So, in a discussion or debate over a controversial topic, if the very best that you can say is, “Well, the vast majority of experts disagree with you,” that’s just not helpful for someone who already knows this. How is this a substantive or scientific counter to the questions being presented which appear to fundamentally challenge expert opinion? If you don’t know how to answer the questions yourself, you just aren’t helpful. And, if you are unwilling to believe anything beyond what the experts tell you on anything, then you simply aren’t willing to think for yourself independent of the opinions of others. You are, again, subscribing to a form of blind faith and arguments from authority without any thought of questioning that authority – the same as any religious fundamentalist.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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