Comment on The Adventist Accrediting Association is Still Reviewing LSU by Sean Pitman.
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 Also Commented
The Adventist Accrediting Association is Still Reviewing LSU
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.
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.
The Adventist Accrediting Association is Still Reviewing LSU
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
The Adventist Accrediting Association is Still Reviewing LSU
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.
Recent Comments by Sean Pitman
Science and Methodological Naturalism
Very interesting passage. After all, if scientists are honest with themselves, scientific methodologies are well-able to detect the existence of intelligent design behind various artifacts found in nature. It’s just the personal philosophy of scientists that makes them put living things and the origin of the fine-tuned universe “out of bounds” when it comes to the detection of intelligent design. This conclusion simply isn’t dictated by science itself, but by a philosophical position, a type of religion actually, that strives to block the Divine Foot from getting into the door…
Why is it that creationists are afraid to acknowledge the validity of Darwinism in these settings? I don’t see that these threaten a belief in God in any way whatsoever.
The threat is when you see no limitations to natural mindless mechanisms – where you attribute everything to the creative power of nature instead of to the God of nature.
God has created natural laws that can do some pretty amazing things. However, these natural laws are not infinite in creative potential. Their abilities are finite while only God is truly infinite.
The detection of these limitations allows us to recognize the need for the input of higher-level intelligence and creative power that goes well beyond what nature alone can achieve. It is here that the Signature of God is detectable.
For those who only hold a naturalistic view of the universe, everything is attributed to the mindless laws of nature… so that the Signature of God is obscured. Nothing is left that tells them, “Only God or some God-like intelligent mind could have done this.”
That’s the problem when you do not recognize any specific limitations to the tools that God has created – when you do not recognize the limits of nature and what natural laws can achieve all by themselves.
Since the fall of Adam, Sean, all babies are born in sin and they are sinners. God created them. Even if it was by way of cooperation of natural law as human beings also participated in the creation process.
God did not create the broken condition of any human baby – neither the physical or moral brokenness of any human being. God is responsible for every good thing, to include the spark or breath of life within each one of us. However, He did not and does not create those things within us that are broken or bad.
“The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?'” Matthew 13:27-28
Of course, all humans are indeed born broken and are in a natural state of rebellion against God. However, God is not the one who created this condition nor is God responsible for any baby being born with any kind of defect in character, personality, moral tendency, or physical or genetic abnormality. God did not create anyone with such brokenness. Such were the natural result of rebellion against God and heading the temptations of the “enemy”… the natural result of a separation from God with the inevitable decay in physical, mental, and moral strength.
Of course, the ones who are born broken are not responsible for their broken condition either. However, all of us are morally responsible for choosing to reject the gift of Divine Grace once it is appreciated… and for choosing to go against what we all have been given to know, internally, of moral truth. In other words, we are responsible for rebelling against the Royal Law written on the hearts of all mankind.
This is because God has maintained in us the power to be truly free moral agents in that we maintain the Power to choose, as a gift of God (Genesis 3:15). We can choose to accept or reject the call of the Royal Law, as the Holy Spirit speaks to all of our hearts…
Remember the statement by Mrs. White that God is in no wise responsible for sin in anyone at any time. God is working to fix our broken condition. He did not and does not create our broken condition. Just as He does not cause Babies to be born with painful and lethal genetic defects, such as those that result in childhood leukemia, He does not cause Babies to be born with defects of moral character either. God is only directly responsible for the good, never the evil, of this life.
Again, your all-or-nothing approach to the claims of scientists isn’t very scientific. Even the best and most famous of scientists has had numerous hair-brained ideas that were completely off base. This fact does not undermine the good discoveries and inventions that were produced.
Scientific credibility isn’t based on the person making the argument, but upon the merits of the argument itself – the ability of the hypothesis to gain predictive value when tested. That’s it.
Gary Gilbert, Spectrum, and Pseudogenes
Don’t be so obtuse here. We’re not talking about publishing just anything in mainstream journals. I’ve published several articles myself. We’re talking about publishing the conclusion that intelligent design was clearly involved with the origin of various artifactual features of living things on this planet. Try getting a paper that mentions such a conclusion published…