The Adventist Accrediting Association to Approve LSU’s Accreditation

by: Sean Pitman
 

I have it on good authority that the Adventist Accrediting Association plans to approve accreditation for La Sierra University at its October 9, 2013 meeting (as per the recommendation of its review team that conducted a “Focused Visit” to La Sierra University from April 16-18, 2013).

The argument is that LSU has made significant improvements as to how it teaches the topic of origins in its science and religion departments and has even hired two creationists to teach in the biology department to make sure that the Adventist position on origins is given appropriate consideration.

LSU’s current biology faculty can be seen at:

http://lasierra.edu/biology/faculty-and-staff/

 

Personally, I would like to know who the “two creationists” are that were hired by LSU’s biology department?  and if they are actually supportive of and promote the Adventist position on a literal 6-day creation week?  or any arguments opposed to the neo-Darwinian story of origins?  If so, I would love to see some of the lecture notes and/or handouts along these lines.

Unfortunately, as far as I’m aware, no such support for the Adventist position on origins is being presented at LSU in either the biology or religion departments.  And, I don’t see this situation changing any time soon.  Certainly the new hire, Dr. Raul Diaz, is not at all supportive of the Adventist position on origins.  Also, the department chair, Dr. Lee Grismer, who is very much opposed to the Adventist notion of a literal 6-day creation week, isn’t going to be leading out in any effort to actually promote the truth of a literal creation week over mainstream Darwinian story of origins (Link).

I have been unable to directly contact Lisa Beardsley-Hardy, the director of the General Conference’s Education Department, for her thoughts on this issue.

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141 thoughts on “The Adventist Accrediting Association to Approve LSU’s Accreditation

  1. I firmly believe that anyone who is not able to teach the doctrines of our church should not be teaching in any of our schools or universities. To do so is going against everything that we hold to be true in the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy.




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  2. This is absolutely unacceptable. We expect the General Conference to maintain accountability of Adventist institutions. Remember this when you elect your representatives to the 2015 General Conference Session.

    And I agree that proof of change in syllabi or lecture notes is necessary. Remember that the last three years have shown repeated political showmanship on the part of LSU. Remember the “La Sierra 4”? Does anyone really expect the fox to guard faithfully the henhouse?




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  3. I am not surprised by this, but have been expecting it. There was never any appetite at the GC level for trying to reform La Sierra. And truthfully the church isn’t set up to bring pressure from the top down. If the Pacific Union and the constituency are happy with La Sierra, and they seem to be, there is little anyone else can do about it.




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    • Money talks. If we can’t vote them out, we can choke them out, by not supporting them financially. Close the school(s) if need be. Stop the accreditation. And while we’re at it…how much did LSU pay the accrediting “team”? There are plenty of “independent” ministries who could benefit from all the thousands of dollars that pour into conference institutions that go contrary to Bible and SoP. That includes AU who teaches spiritual formation, contemplative prayer, NLP, etc. That all came out of Vatican II.




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      • @Wayne: The tithe money comes from the Pacific Union, not from anywhere else in the church. Pacific Union President Ricardo Graham is on the board at La Sierra and, until the bylaw changes were voted in May, he chaired the board. He is fully aware of the issue with Darwinism at La Sierra. If he cannot be bestirred to do anything about it, why would we think that some other church official, whose connection to the situation is remote, would swoop down and right all the wrongs?

        People who thought that electing Ted Wilson as President of the General Conference was going to somehow solve all the church’s problems with liberal drift were fooling themselves. There’s only so much he can do. Conservatives need to get involved with church government at all levels, including the local, conference, and union levels. A conservative GC president can do little when the NAD, the unions, and the conferences are dominated by liberal church officers.




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        • @David Read: I have to disagree that the title comes from the Pacific Union. The tithe comes from the MEMBERS of the Pacific Union. If the members were to STOP giving their tithe (as happened during the Babylonian captivity; remember in Nehemiah 13:10-14 Nehemiah had to get the Israelites to start paying tithe again for the Levites to live on. Otherwise the Levites had to go to farming, they, in fact, had to farm to live) the recipients of the tithe, from the top down might just have to go to “farming” to get a paycheck. In the corporate world if you don’t do your job you get fired. If a pastor, or conference president for that matter, is not doing their job and can’t get it done, maybe there is a used car lot that would hire him. The reason I use the used car illustration is because there was a pastor at a church I attended who made the statement to me that he “could make more money selling used cars”. He split the church down the middle, and the last I heard he was fired and went to selling used cars. True story!

          Now, I’m not suggesting that people stop paying tithe, but you know as well as I that almost every Sabbath there is an appeal for tithes and offerings. Then we read a report that tithe is down. Is that because of the economy or the leadership? I would say that a faithful tithe payer is going to pay tithe in spite of the economy. So it must be the leadership. The only way we have to make a statement sometimes is by withholding money and hit them where it hurts the most…the pocket book!




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  4. Its saddens us when our church leaders appear to fail in faithfulness to stand firm against the challenges to our fundamental truths. Our trust and Hope remains in the ultimate victory of truth. May this come quickly.




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  5. Sean, keep monitoring this situation. We need the information, since we are in effect shareholders in the Corporation of the Adventist Church. We want to know what our funds are “buying”. We also want the “board” of Directors to be faithful to the clearly stated purpose of the “company”. No other thrust, or direction will be acceptable. In this case, I will not withdraw my support because it is God’s church, but it is important that I know what is happening.

    Richard Gates




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    • @Richard Gates: I agree that the church is God’s church, but the school(s) are corporations, (as is each conference) as Richard brings out. The thing is, the school is NOT the church. It is only an “arm” of the church. I think it was Jesus that said “if your eye…or hand (arm) offend thee, cut it off…” paraphrased. Who is in charge here anyway? The conference corporate officers or those who support it. It kind of reminds me of another entity I know of that is supposed to be “of the people, by the people, and for the people.” And the people keep getting fleeced and not getting what they thought they were paying for.




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  6. Don’t support evolutionists of any sort, whether they come under the guise of atheism/agnosticism, Christianity, or even under the banner of the SDA church.

    There is NO science to support evolutionary theory. Thus, it will always remain only a “theory”. It is directly contrary to God and the Biblical story of Creation. One cannot reconcile this theory with the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ. Why would Jesus have died a cruel death on the cross if He had not created man in the first place?




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    • Dr. Christman: Very strong comment, I like it. If the devil is not alive and well on planet earth I don’t know who is creating all the stir. Here is one of my favorite quotes:

      “The greatest want of the world is the want of men–men who will not be bought or sold, men who in their inmost souls are true and honest, men who do not fear to call sin by it’s right name, men whose conscience is as true to duty as the needle to the pole, men who will stand for the right though the heavens fall.” Education page 57.

      I do believe this goes for women as well. This is a problem in the SDA church, as I see it. So many people have bought into the lie of evolution (among other things). They don’t stand for the RIGHT in the scriptures because there is too much philosophical thinking and wrestling the scriptures (most of which comes from all the “modern” translations). If we all were to exercise our FAITH and stop listening to the theologians and their sophistries (a theologian may not be a pastor and a pastor may not be a theologian), the young people would STAND for the RIGHT though the heavens fall. How are our young people going to stand if their “mentors” (parents, teachers, pastors, pathfinder leaders, etc.) don’t? We have a heaven to win and a hell to shun. What are we waiting for? In the church we are told not to “rock the boat”. We are told in the Bible to “give the trumpet a CERTAIN SOUND”. If we give the trumpet that certain sound we are called “trouble makers”. I believe that is why there are so many “independent” churches, then those attending are called “off shoots”. Looks like the devil has us all running in circles. We need to get on the “straight and narrow” or we may be wondering where everyone else is when we wake up in the second resurrection.




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  7. Those who continue to pay their tithe to the Pacific Union Conference entities are going to continue to get what we are getting from our “leaders”–heresy, apostasy, and destruction of our
    SDA Church. There are plenty of other places in the world church to put God’s money. While these guys sit in their padded chairs, behind closed doors, our Church is being rotted out from WITHIN!




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    • Holly, it is not easy to define and/or interpret just how the church has come into the spiritual condition it is in today. Suffice it to say, when the leaders opted for “Pluralism”, it was the beginning of the end, so to speak.

      This came about when the controversy over Questions on Doctine surfaced by way of M.L. Andreason. The leaders did all in their power to undermine his influence and challenge his credibility publically. And I don’t believe everything Andreason held was flawless. But the attitude of leadership was so obvious in their high handed way of dealing with the issue, it caused the beginning of a revolt by people who recognized their duplicity.

      It gendered the beginning of a multitude of independent ministries from various points of view. And when Dr. Ford finally stirred the pot, it started the self destruction of Adventism that we see in what appears to be the final process and culmination of the original controversy and how it was dealt with.

      Politics now rules Adventism. The bible is no longer the final word, and EGW is only an icon they use on occasion when they can find some quote that suits their agenda. They simply ignore huge portions of her writings that clearly and openly condemn their spirituality and agenda. But they sell the idea that they support EGW.

      I don’t think anyone knows for sure just exactly how God will eventually accomplish His goal. Waiting is not an easy virtue. But while we “wait”, we need not remain silent. Let’s just hope and pray we have the spiritual discernment to see the hand of God in what ever framework He uses. We have yet to see the “terrible ordeal” that EGW calls “the shaking”. But it must be near. I’ve seen this transition for 40 years. It can’t last much longer.




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  8. Some of us knew or at least suspected that there was no authority above LSU that could do anything about the situation. In reality, it is not a SDA school even if it has some official ties to the organized church.

    We should not only be prepared to consider what is necessary on an individual basis concerning this issue, we must be ready for more of the same on many other levels as well. Let’s not be so “trusting” with our “head in the sand” as to how exactly God can or will eventually “finish His work” by any instrumentality of His own choosing.

    There is no “unconditional election” for any church instrumentality, past, present, or future. Such a theology and philosophy will necessarily destroy all moral accountability by way of scripture, and opt for a spirit ethic based on “The church has decided.”

    Not a few church members are even now ready to defend “the church” no matter what it does, says, or teaches. And as David pointed out, Elder Wilson can not “save the church” even if he has a more biblical view and spirituality than the over all liberal agenda that now controls the church.




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  9. @Wayne, The NCC is begging people to PLEASE pay your tithe to us. They even essentially admit they are as bad or worse than in the worst days of the Old Testament, but claim we “sheeple” should ante up anyway. The main reason “tithe is down” is because many have absolutely no confidence or trust in the present pseudo-leadership of the Pacific Union, NCC, SCC, or SECC. Thousand see the many independent ministries following the Bible, while our Conferences “thumb their nose” at God.




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  10. The most embarrassing part of our horrible pseudo-leadership out here in California is that they have the nerve to demand that we continue to fund them. They don’t even try to defend their miserable record.




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    • @Holly Pham:

      A church that will not discipline itself in leadership, will always eventually discipline the members who challenge leadership duplicity. So, if you want to to get attacked by leadership, just challenge “the church”, and if and when you have any influence to “rock the boat” they will deal with you accordingly eventually. As long as you don’t have much influence, they will leave you alone, since no one takes you seriously and they can maintain the statis quo without feeling threatened.

      As soon as they feel threatened, watch out!!!!




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  11. Sean when are you going to do the right thing by quitting your job and getting hired at LSU or one of our other universities? Bringing updates to our attention is one thing but I’m keenly disappointed you do not feel called to make changes more directly in how our universities teach origins. Why would you consider pathology a more important career? What makes you think God has called you to work in a dungeon of a lab for much of the week without interacting with people whose faith would be bolstered if they had a proper understanding of origins? Obviously your impact on the future of our young people would be much greater if you moved into academia – or even in the Geoscience Research Institution.




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    • @Shawna Moses: Now Shawna, I believe that God desires to guide Sean to do His will, and that Sean wants to do God’s will.

      It is certainly not necessary for Sean to be employed by LSU for him to express concerns about it. Many other SDAs have similar concerns. Any Adventist who firmly believes the Genesis 1 account to be literal fact would not be happy for our church funds to finance an institution dedicated to undermining this basic value. Sean has just as much right to share his concerns as anyone else, regardless of where he works or the calling the Lord has given him. Surely you can see light in this.




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    • @Shawna Moses: Shawna: Why would Sean want to give up a good paying job to go to work for LSU, take a major pay cut, and get “crucified” at the same time? Personally, I think Sean is doing what God wants him to do. Although I don’t know him personally, Sean appears to be a well grounded man who wants to do God’s will. He reminds me of Elijah telling King Ahab what’s what. To Sean I would say: keep up the good work, don’t let the devil take you down, do God’s will and you’ll have a crown of life. God bless you brother! And you too Shawna.




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  12. @Bill Sorensen, I know a number of people who have challenged our leadership. The usual result, if one is simply a “member” is to ignore and marginalize you. Those employed, such as pastors, by the Church are subject to psychological pressure, intimidation, and worse.




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    • @Holly Pham:

      That’s right, Holly. As we look at the history of “God’s people”, it has always come down to “who is the authority” over the people?

      In most cases, the one who God is speaking through, is not part of the statis quo. Even in Adventism, the 1888 fiasco was two ministers against the established authority. Had not EGW been alive to support a discussion, Jones and Waggoner would have been “swept under the rug” like the leaders did to Andreason and anybody and everybody who followed him in challenging any issue in the church.

      We have no EGW alive today to demand open and free discussion on every level. We have a political system of Pluralism that will tolerate anything and everything except a challenge to church leadership and their authority. So, it is teach and believe what ever you want, just don’t challenge the system of authority, or, you will find yourself being threatened and undermined by a powerful “machine” that knows how to intimidate and/or destroy anyone opposed to the system and its dogmas.

      EGW labeled it as “rule or ruin”. And this is how she described the church leaders of her day. Ignorance can not tolerate challenge. Simply because it exposes the ignorance of those are supposed to be “in the know”.

      This is why Jesus was in so much trouble in His day. He was exposing ignorance and superstitions that were advocated by church leaders, and then Jesus would present the clear and obvious truth of scripture.

      The same with Luther and any and all “reformers” who spoke for God and His kingdom. In conclusion, we need not be so shocked at the present day fiasco. She called the Omega a shocking development. Not so “shocking” when you consider how history always repeats itself if and when enough time is allowed for all elements to be developed. A precious few are waking up to this reality.




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  13. I think Shawna has a valid point.

    Everyone knows that being a denominational employee, particularly in positions requiring an advanced degree, demands a sacrifice in terms of income, retirement benefits, and job security. University faculty, particularly at our institutions, are grossly underpaid.

    It’s exceptionally easy to find fault in others, and some truly excel at this. It’s more difficult to step up and do the job that you criticize others at doing, particularly when the sacrifices are great. As Wayne astutely pointed out, who would want to leave a cushy physician job with good pay, solid retirement benefits, and no one going on line to publicly criticize you and demand your firing?

    As Anthony Campolo once put it, SDA physicians for the most part go where the money is. Where is their sense of mission, he implored? Do they flock to the inner cities? Do they go overseas to work in developing countries? Do they give up their lucrative practice to help educate others in our institutions?

    It’s much easier to play Elijah than it is to be a Mother Teresa.




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  14. A servant: Any Adventist who firmly believes the Genesis 1 account to be literal fact would not be happy for our church funds to finance an institution dedicated to undermining this basic value. Sean has just as much right to share his concerns as anyone else, regardless of where he works or the calling the Lord has given him. Surely you can see light in this.

    The only problem is that Sean actually does not accept a literal reading of Genesis 1 and is a Young Life Creationist rather than accept the traditional Adventist position of Young Earth Creationism that was also accepted by almost all Christians in the 19th century. This position of YEC was clearly endorsed by EG White and was accepted by Adventists until George Macready Price’s prevarication on this subject. As far as I can determine Sean has accepted that the earth is billions of years old not because the bible says so or as a position of faith but because of his acceptance of scientific evidence as prempting the literal words of the Bible.
    Are you sure you want such a teacher in an Adventist institution to represent your traditional Adventist views?




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    • The only problem is that Sean actually does not accept a literal reading of Genesis 1 and is a Young Life Creationist rather than accept the traditional Adventist position of Young Earth Creationism that was also accepted by almost all Christians in the 19th century. This position of YEC was clearly endorsed by EG White and was accepted by Adventists until George Macready Price’s prevarication on this subject.

      I do actually accept a literal reading of the first chapters of Genesis as describing real historical events as witnessed from a limited Earth-bound perspective.

      As far as the “Passive Gap Theory” is concerned, Mrs. White does not say that the entire universe was created during our creation week. Rather she specifically says that the universe pre-existed our creation week – and that angels and intelligences on other inhabited worlds witnessed the creation week of our planet (Job 38:7). This is consistent with the “Gap Theory” where the “stars”, mentioned on Day 4 of our creation week, already existed and simply became visible through the atmosphere on Day 4 (as did the Sun and the moon). She never once says that the basic material of our planet was created during creation week. What she specifically spoke against was the notion of the long ages of the evolution of life on this planet:

      I have been shown that without Bible history, geology can prove nothing” (3SG, 93). While she acknowledged that “the bones of human beings and of animals found in the earth, are much larger than those of men and animals now living,” she added, “The time of their existence, and how long a period these things have been in the earth, are only to be understood by Bible history” (Ibid.). And Bible history for her was to be measured in terms of “about 6000 years” (LHU, 52).

      By the way, the passive gap theory has long been popular in Adventism, and still is – contrary to your assertions. In fact, this view was predominant among Adventist pioneers. For example, M. C. Wilcox wrote in 1898:

      “When did God create, or bring into existence, the heaven an the earth? ‘In the beginning.’ When this ‘beginning’ was, how long a period it covered, it is idle to conjecture; for it is not revealed. That it was a period which antedated the six days’ work is evident.”

      M.C. Wilcox, “The Gospel in Genesis One,” The Signs of the Times, 24.27 (July 7, 1898): 16.

      In fact, from the 1860s on, many of the pioneers of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, aside from J.N. Andrews, had been discussing this issue in favor of the Passive Gap Theory. Uriah Smith, editor of the Review and Herald, in published several pages from a book or pamphlet in 1860 entitled The Bible True which stated:

      “Nor is there anything in revelation which forbids us to believe that the substance of the earth was formed long before it received its present organization. The first verse of Genesis may relate to a period millions of ages prior to the event noticed in the rest of the chapter. Commentators who wrote hundreds, and some of them fifteen hundred years ago, seem to have understood the first verse as relating to a period far anterior to the creation of man. This interpretation, therefore, is not modern, nor made merely to obviate a difficulty. But if it were, it is so perfectly coincident with the just rules of interpretation, that there can be no just objection to it.”

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • @Sean Pitman:

        Thanks for directly lifting your quotes from the article from Gerhard Pfandl

        https://adventistbiblicalresearch.org/sites/default/files/pdf/EGW%20Earth%20Science.pdf

        Do you always follow the ATS line or do you occasionally think for yourself?

        Pfandl makes it clear that the evidence was that Ellen White regarded the creation of heaven and earth as occurring about 6000 years ago; To quote

        “1. God created the globe on day one of the creation week.
        2. God was not indebted to pre-existing matter when he created the globe itself millions or billions of years ago.

        Considering all her writings on the topic, it is unlikely, though not impossible, that she made a distinction between the Precambrian or pre-fossil material of the earth and the fossil bearing strata of the earth.

        Many Adventist theologians and scientists today hold to the two-stagecreation theory. Millions of years ago God created the core globe of our earth, and 6–10,000 years ago he created all living organisms and their habitations in six days. W. H. Shea, for instance, writes, in reference to Genesis 1:1, “The text acknowledges the fact that the inert earth was in a watery state before the events of the creation week, but it is not especially concerned with identifying how long it may have been in that state.”

        However, a straightforward reading of Fundamental Belief number six, which is largely a quote from Exodus 20:11, gives the impression that the globe itself was created during the six days:
        God is Creator of all things, and has revealed in Scripture the authentic account of His creative activity. In six days the Lord made “the heaven and the earth” and all living things upon the earth, and rested on the seventh day of that first week.

        If “all living things” refers to the organic creation, “heaven and earth” could refer to the inorganic creation.”




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        • How does any of this counter anything I said? The fact remains that a number of the early Adventist pioneers believed and promoted some form of the passive gap theory and that many modern Adventist scholars believe the same. It is also true that neither the Bible or Ellen White make definitive statements to the contrary… i.e., there are no statements that necessitate the creation of the material of the Earth or of the universe during creation week. In fact, there are statements in both the Bible and the writings of Ellen White which claim that the universe, to include stars and inhabited worlds, pre-existed our creation week.




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      • @Sean Pitman:

        Sean, your endorsement of the “passive gap theory” disqualifies you as a conservative SDA by more than a few in that camp.

        To quote some historic SDA scholar as an authority is not going to impress anyone. And to appeal to the fact that the universe was not created on the first day is equally impotent as an argument. No one I know of claims the universe was created on day one. It is a false dilemma to try and create an argument by bringing up this point.

        Many of the early pioneers of Adventism held false views of various things. Some even denied the deity of Christ. So, to quote some early scholar to support the gap theory will not help your cause.

        The first five verses of Gen. are a complete and flowing explanation of the beginning of the creation of this world. Neither does it suggest that on day one, God began the process of altering this earth and remodeling it for the habitation of life. Creation is not a re-modeling job.

        And one of the main problems with the gap theory is this. It challenges the clear biblical account and assumes obscurity in that which is clearly stated and revealed. Once you begin this process of bible study, you soon find yourself re-applying many more ideas and in the end, the bible is not able to communicate the clear testimony of truth, and all we have in the end is human speculation with no real authority based on clear biblical stated truth. Simply put, you undermine bible authority by claiming it is not clear in its meaning and drift off into oblivion with no viable authority. And the final end is always a “spirit ethic” over and above scriptual revelation.




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        • Sean, your endorsement of the “passive gap theory” disqualifies you as a conservative SDA by more than a few in that camp.

          Then I guess I’m not the only one disqualified – since I’m by no means the only one who thinks that holding this position is a reasonable interpretation of the texts available.




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        • @Sean Pitman:

          Sean, the issue of liberal vs. conservative in a general way in Adventism is based on non-negotiable and definitive biblical concepts, vs, negotiable and non-definitive concepts that are not clearly defined by scripture.

          The gap theory is a liberal conclusion based on a non-definitive and/or a clear biblical presentation of what was exactly “created” on the first day. If the bible is not clear and definitive, then we can speculate as to what it means and draw conclusions for several ideas based on speculative knowledge.

          A conservative, on the other hand, believes the first five verses in Gen. are a clear, concise, and flowing continuity of the creation of this world, ex-nilo, on day one. Confirmed by Ex. 20:11. “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea and all that in them is…..”

          If “the earth” was not “made” on the first day, why should we believe that “the sea and all that in them is….” was “made” during creation week?

          According to your theory, things in the “sea” may have already been here and were simply adapted according to the “re-modeling” of God during creation week.

          The gap theory challenges the whole testimony of Gen. 1 as being unclear so we can speculate on various levels as to what was “created (made)” and what was already here and simply adapted in the re-modeling process as the earth was prepared to support life in our present state of existence.

          The theory presents doubt, skepticism, and even unbelief as to what scripture states as less than definitive about conclusions. On this issue, the bible is clear and needs no speculative challenges as to what it states, or, what it means.




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        • That’s just not true. I have many very conservative Adventist friends who tend to favor the Passive Gap Theory (PGT) of creation – friends like Ariel Roth, David Asscherick, several friends at 3ABN, Clifford Goldstein, several friends at Andrews, SWAU, SAU, and ATS, etc., who also share this view.




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    • @Pauluc: As a Seventh-day Adventist graduate student, I would be happy to have a teacher like Dr. Pitman in my program. As can be seen by his reply, he is by no means the first Adventist leader to suggest that the earth existed for a long period before the creation of life. If you have any objective dispute or material counterarguments to what he presented in his reply to you, I’d like to hear them. I’m open-minded, but I find that he has made a strong logical case for his position.

      At this time, I would respectfully suggest that Dr. Pitman’s teaching far better represents traditional Adventist views than the teaching of many of the biology faculty at La Sierra. This should come as no surprise to long-time readers of this website.




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      • @A servant:

        On this issue I disagree that Sean represents traditional Adventism. Traditional adventism was YEC and is a position I think Bill Sorensen articulates. Sean represents modern Adventist orthodoxy which is YLC. This is the position accepted by Clifford Goldstein who in his talks ridicules the YEC position as a denial of the reality of the clear evidence for age of the earth.

        The real issue is that Sean rejects the traditional YEC position not because the bible is clear on this but because of his perception of the science. In this he is no different in trajectory to those who accept theistic evolution based on their perception of the science. He is only different in degree of acceptance of the conventional scientific position. If he accepts the science as preemptive over a literalist position unlike Bill Sorensen he really has no basis for criticism of the biology department at LSU who do no more than he does. Its called hypocricy




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        • You can claim all you want that YEC represents “traditional Adventism” despite the fact that many of the founders of Adventism supported the Young Life position and believed that the universe and most likely the basic material of the Earth pre-existed creation week. This has always been true throughout the history of Adventism – and for good Biblical reasons.




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  15. “I certainly agree that useful religion and true science have the same Source and therefore should be in harmony. However, when scientists start arguing for the magical appearance of biological complexity by appeals to some mystical kind of “emergence”, that’s not science or useful religion. That’s just blind faith in some kind of naturalistic philosophy.”

    “As far as the “Passive Gap Theory” is concerned, Mrs. White does not say that the entire universe was created during our creation week. Rather she specifically says that the universe pre-existed our creation week – and that angels and intelligences on other inhabited worlds witnessed the creation week of our planet (Job 38:7). This is consistent with the “Gap Theory” where the “stars”, mentioned on Day 4 of our creation week, already existed and simply became visible through the atmosphere on Day 4 (as did the Sun and the moon). She never once says that the basic material of our planet was created during creation week. What she specifically spoke against was the notion of the long ages of the evolution of life on this planet:”

    Now pard, as an empirical chap, do you see any problem comparing your two statements above? What is the science, or mathematical odds, you are relying upon wholeheartedly when you accept the Passive Gap Theory? What is the magic you conjecture or agree to when stars become visible through the atmosphere on Day 4?




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    • What is the magic you conjecture or agree to when stars become visible through the atmosphere on Day 4?

      I don’t understand your question? Clearly, I believe that God directly formed our planet, within a literal week, to be able to support complex life and also intelligently created life on this planet. That’s not any more “magical” than arguing for intelligent design behind any other features of the universe – to include the radio signals SETI scientists are looking for.




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  16. Sean Pitman:
    How does any of this counter anything I said?The fact remains that a number of the early Adventist pioneers believed and promoted some form of the passive gap theory and that many modern Adventist scholars believe the same.It is also true that neither the Bible or Ellen White make definitive statements to the contrary… i.e., there are no statements that necessitate the creation of the material of the Earth or of the universe during creation week.In fact, there are statements in both the Bible and the writings of Ellen White which claim that the universe, to include stars in an inhabited worlds, pre-existed our creation week.

    Yes and as you have repeatedly suggested the majority is no measure of truth. The question however remains what did the first readers of the text understand and what was the intention of the writers. I am confident that EG White understood the world was created on day 1 of the creation week. That you can say she did not exclude the possibility that it was actually pre-prepared billions of years earlier says only that you think we as modern readers should second guess her commentary and vision according to what we think is reasonable.

    By the time of EG White the industrial revolution with its dependence on coal and road and rail building was well advanced and the science of geology was not at all secret. So was the discussion of the age of the earth and it is no surprise that many Christians seized upon the gap theory as a mechanisms both to accommodate the long age of the earth and a short chronology of life on earth. Rather than deny all long age one had only to deny the age of fossils.

    One can only deny the obvious for so long and such belief remains to me an example of rearguard action on the part of a literalist who reluctantly accepts the validity and incontrovertible value of science and who progressively concedes that literalist position in the face of the obvious.

    Unfortunately this does mean that you are seen by the likes of Bill Sorensen as eroding the authority and inerrancy of EG White and the bible.

    I make no secret of the fact that I think the neo-orthodox position has a much more consistent view of biblical authority and is consistent with a properly defined science based on methodological naturalism.




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    • Yes and as you have repeatedly suggested the majority is no measure of truth.

      That’s true. However, I didn’t say that I believed anything because it was the majority opinion. I’m just showing that your statement that historical Adventists did not support the passive gap theory is mistaken. Many of them did support the idea that the Bible strongly suggests that the universe pre-existed creation week – and likely the raw material of the Earth as well. This is historical fact.

      The question however remains what did the first readers of the text understand and what was the intention of the writers. I am confident that EG White understood the world was created on day 1 of the creation week. That you can say she did not exclude the possibility that it was actually pre-prepared billions of years earlier says only that you think we as modern readers should second guess her commentary and vision according to what we think is reasonable.

      It has nothing to do with second-guessing her or what her personal opinions might or might not have been. The fact remains that nothing she wrote “under Divine Inspiration” or otherwise, is in clear conflict with the passive gap theory.

      Unfortunately this does mean that you are seen by the likes of Bill Sorensen as eroding the authority and inerrancy of EG White and the bible.

      One can find people on both sides of pretty much any question. The fact remains that many very conservative Adventists have always believed, throughout the history of the Adventist Church, that the Bible allows for and even promotes the idea that the universe pre-existed the creation week. Even the writings of Ellen White (where she describes the conflict in Heaven and Lucifer’s jealousy over not being included in the Divine counsels regarding the creation of this planet, or the existence of other created worlds) support this position.

      I make no secret of the fact that I think the neo-orthodox position has a much more consistent view of biblical authority and is consistent with a properly defined science based on methodological naturalism.

      The problem is that you go far far beyond the current and historical Adventist perspective so as to make the Bible little more than a collection of moral fables – that the Bible isn’t to be trusted as far as literal historical narratives are concerned. That’s fine and all if you want to do this. People should be free to believe in and promote any religious idea. However, it isn’t fine to misrepresent yourself as a “Seventh-day Adventist”. That’s a misrepresentation – especially for anyone who wishes to promoted views similar to yours as a paid representative of the Adventist Church. That would be a moral wrong – i.e., stealing from the Church.




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  17. You can discuss it and explain it any way you want to. But the “gap theory” simply denies that in “six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth……”

    As soon as you contend the earth was already here before creation week, you are no longer in the camp of those who believe in the literal six day creation week.

    This is an irrefutable fact. Either “the earth” was created on day one, or, it was not. If not, then it is not correct to claim you believe in a literal six day creation week. You simply believe the earth was “remodeled” and prepared for the habitation of life. Don’t play “word games”. Admit what you believe and then support it if you want to. But don’t pretend you agree with a six literal day of the creation of this world and then advocate a “gap theory” that denies this concept.

    I would suggest that if there is anything God hates the most, it is duplicity. This was the devil’s game in heaven. It creates confusion because the clear and obvious meaning of what is said, is obscured to create doubt and skeptcism as to any clear meaning on any issue. And this is exactly how Satan deceived Eve in the garden. And this is how Satan always works to undermine clear and definitive teaching in the bible.

    Honest people are led astray because they are often too lazy or trusting to carefully consider all the implications of what is being said and assume it must be OK because some truth is advocated. But “the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” is obscured by “word games”. Most people will lose heaven because they were too lazy and indifferent to accept the moral accountability God has demanded to “prove all thing, hold fast that what is good.”




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    • You can discuss it and explain it any way you want to. But the “gap theory” simply denies that in “six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth……”

      As soon as you contend the earth was already here before creation week, you are no longer in the camp of those who believe in the literal six day creation week.

      Not any more so than people who believe in Revelation where John says,

      Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. – Revelation 21:1

      Consider that many reasonable conservative Christians and Adventists understand that in the Hebrew mindset there were different kinds of “heavens”. Consider also that both the Bible and Ellen White are quite clear that the universe and the stars pre-existed our creation week. The Bible also seems to leave open the option that even the material of our planet was already here in an unformed ‘raw’ state of existence. There is no definitive passage that claims otherwise in the Scripture or in the writings of Ellen White.

      This line of reasoning is very convincing to many of the most conservative leaders and evangelists in the Adventist Church today.




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      • @Sean Pitman:

        “The line of reasoning is very convincing to many of the most conservative leaders and evangelists in the Adventist Church today.” (Sean)

        Your “gap theory” and its “line of reasoning” is a perfect parallel to the “line of reasoning” Sunday keepers use to support a “spirit ethic” over the word of God.

        So I personally reject your “line of reasoning” as do at least some others who can clearly see such a view is a blatant denial of a six day literal creation of the earth.

        And sad to say, there is no reason to suggest any “gap theory” in light of the clear scriptural declarations about how, when and why God created this world.




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    • Bill,

      Here is gen 1:1

      Genesis 1
      Young’s Literal Translation (YLT)
      1 In the beginning of God’s preparing the heavens and the earth —
      2 the earth hath existed waste and void, and darkness [is] on the face of the deep, and the Spirit of God fluttering on the face of the waters,

      Does not the syntax infer that the earth did exist in the past? Why is that a theological problem?




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  18. Sean Pitman: That’s true. However, I didn’t say that I believed anything because it was the majority opinion. I’m just showing that your statement that historical Adventists did not support the passive gap theory is mistaken. Many of them did support the idea that the Bible strongly suggest that the universe pre-existed creation week – and likely the raw material of the Earth as well. This is historical fact.

    You started off arguing that YEC is not the traditional Adventists position by arguing that there was a small minority that did not accept YEC. This seems to one of your regular strategies; arguing from the exception.

    Just read the Wiki commentary on Young earth creationisms http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Young_Earth_creationism

    In particular I would commend the origin and decline sections that gives an overview of the history of YEC.

    Read also the Old earth creationism and gap creationism wiki entries.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Earth_creationism
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gap_creationism

    Note the initial entry on the timing of popularity of gap creationsism;

    “Gap creationism became increasingly attractive near the end of the eighteenth century and first half of the nineteenth century, because the newly established science of geology had determined that the Earth was far older than common interpretations of Genesis and the Bible-based Flood geology would allow. Gap creation allowed religious geologists (who composed the majority of the geological community at the time) to reconcile their faith in the Bible with the new authority of science. According to the doctrine of natural theology, science was in this period considered a second revelation, God’s word in nature as well as in Scripture, so the two could not contradict each other.[4]”

    There are several points of note

    1] YEC was the dominant view in Christian thought until the 19th century.

    2] Gap creationsism which is what you are advocating became popular as a result of accommodations to science particularly geology.

    3] It was popular in the 19th century before being supplanted by a revival of YEC in evangelical and fundamentalist groups in the 20th century

    4] In keeping with this your cited supporters of of YLC apart from a statement by Smith in 1860 (always somewhat of a maverick) come from the 1890s or later
    Wilcox 1898
    Price 1902
    EG White 1904 8T 258 “in the formation of our world, God was not indebted to pre-existing matter”

    5] YEC is the position now adopted by CMI, AIG and ICR. By virtue of this as well as the clear evidence of EG White endorsement of a young earth and 6000 year chronology I think you will find that YLC and gap creationism is only popular as you indicate among evangelists and educators including GRI who recognize the implications of science but who also recognize that the biblical innerrancy accepted by CMI AIG and ICR contradicts the Adventist fundamental belief on inspiration.

    6] It may not have influenced your particular view of the the history but I am sure you have read Ron Numbers book the creationists but for historical overview of creationism it is still unsurpassed.




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    • You cite Wiki articles dealing with the history of YEC and OEC and certain forms of gap theories for Genesis 1 as a response to Darwinism in the late 1800s – and I agree. The problem of course, is that most of the gap theorists argue that life, suffering, and death (i.e., the fossil record) pre-existed the creation week on this planet. That is not the type of gap theory promoted by the early Adventist pioneers nor is it promoted today by conservative Adventist leaders or scholars. The passive form of the gap theory promoted by conservative Adventists (historical and modern) argues that no life existed prior to creation week and that all life and all structure necessary to support complex life was in fact created in six literal days – according to the claims of the Biblical authors. This view is and has always been non-controversial within conservative Adventism – to include all the founders of the Adventist Church.

      And, most importantly, this view is not at all friendly toward or an effort to compromise with Darwinism. So, it could hardly be in response to Darwinism.

      Your repeated comments that Ellen White clearly supported the idea that the entire universe was created on Day 1 of the creation week described in Genesis 1 simply isn’t true. Her main comment that touches on this topic simply says that God was not indebted to pre-existing material in the formation of this planet. This comment can rationally be interpreted in many different ways. It can be interpreted as meaning that God originally formed the material of this planet out of nothing well before the creation week of Genesis. It can also mean that He could have added additional materials during the modification process described in Genesis 1. What it is not is a clear endorsement of the de novo creation of the Earth and the entire universe on Day 1 (i.e., the YEC position) that you suggest it to be.

      Consider also the reality that Ellen White personally held to various ideas that may have been mistaken and are downright wrong. She was only human and subject to errors in her own personal ideas and perspective – as were the writers of the Bible. I do believe, however, that what she “was shown” in visions from God are true Divine revelations. She specifically says that she “was shown” by God that our creation week was a literal week, “like any other”. That revelation simply confirms the clear language of the Genesis account and undermines anything other than YLC in no uncertain terms for those who accept that her revelations, and those of the Biblical authors, really are of Divine origin.




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  19. Sean Pitman:
    You can claim all you want that YEC represents “traditional Adventism” despite the fact that many of the founders of Adventism supported the Young Life position and believed that the universe and most likely the basic material of the Earth pre-existed creation week.This has always been true throughout the history of Adventism – and for good Biblical reasons.

    You are changing the goal posts. I said YEC is the “traditional Adventist” position and now it is YLC. By this I meant that influential leaders such as Clifford Goldstein, members of the ATS, BRI and GRI now advocate a gap creationist view. I do not know what Ted Wilson thinks on this but suspect he may be torn between EG Whites clear endorsement of a YEC position and acceptance of BRI as the repository of Adventist orthodoxy.

    You however cannot with any sincerity at the same time say that because a few people like Uriah Smith accepted the growing acceptance of gap creationism in 1860 the traditional Adventism position was not YEC, and yet at the same time say that a minority view that advocates theistic evolution such as advocated by some biologists at Adventist Universities is not contemporary Adventist position.

    You have to either reject both or accept both.

    You either accept that there was and is plurality of views in which case your action against LSU is completely hypocritical, or you reject as heretical any variation from the historical Adventist position of YEC and your position is as Bill Sorensen would, and has characterized it, a distortion of traditional Adventist YEC view.

    Your support of changes in FB may I suspect come back to bite you if in changing the FB there is a return to a clear articulation of the traditional Adventist position of YEC that aligns with the groups such as CMI AIG and ICR that are highly influential among Adventist creation warrior but support both biblical inerranncy and YEC. What would you do if YEC is indeed enshrined in FB#6? Will you then agree that you were in error in your YLC views?




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    • You are changing the goal posts. I said YEC is the “traditional Adventist” position and now it is YLC. By this I meant that influential leaders such as Clifford Goldstein, members of the ATS, BRI and GRI now advocate a gap creationist view. I do not know what Ted Wilson thinks on this but suspect he may be torn between EG Whites clear endorsement of a YEC position and acceptance of BRI as the repository of Adventist orthodoxy.

      Again, Ellen White never presents a clear endorsement of the YEC position where the entire universe was created on Day 1 of the Genesis creation week. That idea simply is not clearly present anywhere in her writings nor did she ever say that God revealed to her the truth of such a concept. There is simply no reason then, from the Bible or what one considers the “inspired” portions of Ellen White’s writings, to feel compelled to accept this notion. On the other hand, both the Bible and Mrs. White are quite clear that God directly revealed that He created all life on this planet, and made it habitable, within just six literal days. There is no question here and no room for argument within Adventism.

      You however cannot with any sincerity at the same time say that because a few people like Uriah Smith accepted the growing acceptance of gap creationism in 1860 the traditional Adventism position was not YEC, and yet at the same time say that a minority view that advocates theistic evolution such as advocated by some biologists at Adventist Universities is not contemporary Adventist position.

      You have to either reject both or accept both.

      On the contrary, just because you can name one or two founders of Adventism who did clearly support the YEC position (like J.N. Andrews, for instance), does not mean that this therefore represents “traditional Adventism”. After all, the Adventist Church was formed during the late 1800s… a time when many where accepting some form of a gap interpretation of Genesis 1.

      Of course, most accepted a gap interpretation of Genesis 1 at that time in an effort to try to harmonize Darwinism and the ancient ages that Darwinism assigned to the fossil record with the Bible. This isn’t the reason why Uriah Smith and other founders of Adventism accepted the YLC position. Obviously, the YLC position is not in harmony with Darwinism at all. Therefore, acceptance of the YLC position would not be any kind of effort to match the new “science” of the day with the Bible. Rather, it is simply a way to reasonably interpret all the statements within the Bible with each other – to include Biblical statements that strongly suggest that the universe and intelligent beings, “sons of God” pre-existed the creation of life on our little planet.

      You either accept that there was and is plurality of views in which case your action against LSU is completely hypocritical, or you reject as heretical any variation from the historical Adventist position of YEC and your position is as Bill Sorensen would, and has characterized it, a distortion of traditional Adventist YEC view.

      Your support of changes in FB may I suspect come back to bite you if in changing the FB there is a return to a clear articulation of the traditional Adventist position of YEC that aligns with the groups such as CMI AIG and ICR that are highly influential among Adventist creation warrior but support both biblical inerranncy and YEC. What would you do if YEC is indeed enshrined in FB#6? Will you then agree that you were in error in your YLC views?

      I don’t see that happening since the YEC position is not and has not been favored over the YLC position in the Adventist Church – either by the church leadership or by conservative academics. And, even if, for some very strange reason, the YEC position were to be clearly supported by the language of FB#6, that wouldn’t change my position. What it would do is force me to no longer advocate for my YLC views if I were to become a paid representative of the church. I would actually have to advocate for the YEC position as the most reasonable interpretation of the Genesis account – something I could not do. Therefore, I could not work for the SDA Church in good conscience.

      This is exactly what I’m suggesting to those who are advocating for the long existence and evolution of life on this planet – that they do the honest thing and resign their positions as teachers or pastors within the church.




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  20. Sean said……”Again, Ellen White never presents a clear endorsement of the YEC position where the entire universe was created on Day 1 of the Genesis creation week.”

    Sean, you keep appealing to a “false dilemma” by implying if you believe this earth was created on day one, you must necessarily believe the whole universe was created on day one.

    No one I know who embraces the YEC scenario believes this is also the day God created the universe. So it is not only absurd to keep harping on this idea, it is a deliberate attempt to obscure the issue at hand.

    We don’t know when God created the universe and don’t need to know. We do know by the biblical record when He created this world. Namely, day one. And as I have already pointed out, this whole discussion lends itself to causing people to doubt the clear biblical teaching, not only on this issue, but any and all other biblical documentation.

    There is nothing obscure about the biblical record in Genesis one, and affirmed again and again throughout scripture. But, if you are bound and determined to hold to the “gap” theory, then at least stop mis-representing those of us who disagree, by claiming we believe the whole universe was created on day one.

    We hold no such view and never did. Again, this earth was created on day one, not the whole universe.




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    • Sean, you keep appealing to a “false dilemma” by implying if you believe this earth was created on day one, you must necessarily believe the whole universe was created on day one.

      No one I know who embraces the YEC scenario believes this is also the day God created the universe. So it is not only absurd to keep harping on this idea, it is a deliberate attempt to obscure the issue at hand.

      You’re mistaken. This is the general Christian view of YEC – that the entire universe was created during the Genesis creation week. In case you are not aware, this is the position of organizations like Answers in Genesis and Creation Ministries International. It was also the position of some of the founders of Adventism – like J.N. Andrews for instance.

      http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Young_Earth_creationism

      This is because of the interpretation of the statement in the first chapter of Genesis were it says, “He made the stars also” – Genesis 1:16. That passage has been interpreted by many Christians to mean that no stars existed prior to Day 4 of the creation week – that the entire universe was created on Day 4.

      Therefore, anyone who thinks otherwise is in fact subscribing to some form of a gap theory where a gap in time is inserted between the first two verses of Genesis 1 – a certain amount of time between when God made the universe and everything in it and when God started making the material of this planet habitable.




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  21. Sean Pitman: I’m just showing that your statement that historical Adventists did not support the passive gap theory is mistaken.

    Sean you are being deceptive. I did not make any blanket statement about “:historical Adventists”. I only made the statement

    “The only problem is that Sean actually does not accept a literal reading of Genesis 1 and is a Young Life Creationist rather than accept the traditional Adventist position of Young Earth Creationism that was also accepted by almost all Christians in the 19th century. This position of YEC was clearly endorsed by EG White and was accepted by Adventists until George Macready Price’s prevarication on this subject.”

    You clearly have no real critique of this statement and instead make an argument against the proposition that no traditional Adventists disagreed with YEC, a position with which I absolutely agree and have never contradicted.




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    • It seems to me like you are mistaken on several accounts.

      1) I don’t see that you are correct in your claim that Ellen White clearly and unambiguously endorsed the position that the Earth, Sun, moon, stars and/or universe at large where created on Day 1. There is no clear statement to this effect nor does she claim Divine insight into this question.

      2) You are also mistaken in your suggestion that it was Darwinism or popular science in general that caused a shift in Adventist thinking on this topic. This is clearly not the case since the Young Life position is still fundamentally at odds with Darwinism and mainstream geology. It is also at odds with the gap theories that were generally accepted by many Christians toward the end of the 1800s that allowed for the pre-existence of life and death on this planet. Such gap theories were indeed accepted in an effort to try to harmonize the Darwinian view of the fossil record with the Biblical account – something that the passive gap/young life position does not do.

      3) For the same reasons you are mistaken that George McCready Price felt forced by popular science to favor the passive gap theory or that he was the first influential Adventist to allow for the pre-existence of the raw materials of the Earth. Many Adventists before him also favored this position, believing that the basic raw material of the Earth likely existed prior to the creation week – all without any attempt to harmonize Darwinism with the Bible. The conclusion of a “passive gap” is based on the internal evidence within the Bible itself. In fact, according to Richard Davidson, the passive gap concept has long been the most common conclusion among both Christian and Jewish interpreters of the original Hebrew text:

      “Against the suggestion that all the words in Genesis 1:2 simply imply “nothingness,” it must be observed that verses 3 and following do not describe the creation of water, but assume its prior existence. The word tehom “deep,” combined with tohu and bohu together (as in Jeremiah 4:34) do not seem to refer to nothingness, but rather to the earth in an unformed-unfilled state covered by water.

      This leads us to the initial unformed-unfilled position. A straightforward reading of the flow of thought in Genesis 1:1-3 has led the majority of Christian and Jewish interpreters in the history of interpretation to this position, hence this is called the traditional view.”

      http://dialogue.adventist.org/articles/06_3_davidson_e.htm

      That’s my critique of your statement and why I disagreed with your original comment.

      In short, there is nothing within the history of Adventism that has ever put YEC up as a pillar of faith or a fundamental doctrinal belief or that removes the possibility of YLC, based on the passive gap theory, from Adventist fundamental beliefs.




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  22. Sean

    I am really not sure where are you heading with this?

    “Consider also the reality that Ellen White personally held to various ideas that may have been mistaken and are downright wrong. She was only human and subject to errors in her own personal ideas and perspective – as were the writers of the Bible.”

    “There is simply no reason then, from the Bible or what one considers the “inspired” portions of Ellen White’s writings, to feel compelled to accept this notion.”

    You now accept that there are inspired portions of EG White? Whatever happened to picking and choosing as the Devils work?

    It is very clear that you live in a very confused world where you clearly feel compelled to accept literal interpretation with attendant functional innerrancy for the biblical text and yet are drawn to an empiricism that places personal understanding and “science” above belief and faith.

    You seem compelled to accept long ages for the earth such that you need to read back into scripture and EG White a passive gap creationist perspective. But unlike other gap creationist that place fossils at near conventional ages into this gap you have nothingness for billions of years until the creation week. Why do you even need to depart from conventional YEC that says everything was created during week 1? You depart from literal creationism for what gain? To pay token homage to conventional geological ages? I can understand you as a physician trained in evidence based medicine are reluctant to invoke miracles to explain events for which there can be a naturalistic explanation but you invoke miracle for the creation week and for the flood including the deposition of all the fossil record why be reticent to invoke miracles for the creation of the heavens and the earth as modern supporters of YEC do. At least they are completely consistent with a literal reading of the text rather than the weaselly worded support

    “..it is unlikely, though not impossible…”

    “Ellen White never presents a clear endorsement of…”

    Do you really hang your hope on loopholes in the Bible and EG White that allow the coulda, maybe says, gap creation is true.

    I think you are very optimistic if you think the lay members of the church are impressed by an appeal to academics and church leadership:

    “..the YEC position is not and has not been favored over the YLC position in the Adventist Church – either by the church leadership or by conservative academics.”

    Particularly when people like you and David Read spend a fair bit of time trashing them.

    The clear clarion call of YEC support sites drown out any nuanced discussion you may like to have. Their simple and clear opposition to ID also works against you with their clear appeal to a thus saith the Lord.




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    • You now accept that there are inspired portions of EG White? Whatever happened to picking and choosing as the Devils work?

      Mrs. White herself argues that not everything she says or wrote was inspired by God. She advises people that they must make a distinction between what is Divine and what is common. For example, she once said that there were X number of rooms in the Sanitarium when there were in fact Y number of rooms. Some people used this as an example of how she wasn’t really Divinely inspired or she wouldn’t have made such a mistake. She pointed out to these people that she simply overheard someone say that there were X number of rooms – not that she got this information from God. In other words, she claimed to be human like the rest of us – prone to mistakes and errors as with any other prophet living during Biblical times.

      What you can’t do is accept a prophet as Divinely inspired and then reject certain claims that he/she said came directly from God. This is what is rationally inconsistent.

      It is very clear that you live in a very confused world where you clearly feel compelled to accept literal interpretation with attendant functional innerrancy for the biblical text and yet are drawn to an empiricism that places personal understanding and “science” above belief and faith.

      I see no confusion at all. Ellen White herself speaks for the necessity of a rational, empirical, testable basis for faith/belief – that God always supplies sufficient evidence upon which to base one’s faith if one is searching for truth with all of one’s heart. She also notes that all true science will be in harmony with Scripture since both have the same author. Because of this faith and true science can and must walk hand-in-hand, “shedding light on each other.”

      “The truthfulness of God’s Word is established by testimony that appeals to our reason, and God has given ample evidence for faith in His Word. The evidence God gives us must be carefully investigated with a humble mind and a teachable spirit; and all should decide from the weight of evidence.” – Ellen White, MR Vol. 9, No. 724

      You seem compelled to accept long ages for the earth such that you need to read back into scripture and EG White a passive gap creationist perspective. But unlike other gap creationist that place fossils at near conventional ages into this gap you have nothingness for billions of years until the creation week. Why do you even need to depart from conventional YEC that says everything was created during week 1? You depart from literal creationism for what gain? To pay token homage to conventional geological ages? I can understand you as a physician trained in evidence based medicine are reluctant to invoke miracles to explain events for which there can be a naturalistic explanation but you invoke miracle for the creation week and for the flood including the deposition of all the fossil record why be reticent to invoke miracles for the creation of the heavens and the earth as modern supporters of YEC do.

      Which is exactly my point. I gain nothing to garner the favor of the neo-Darwinists with my gap interpretation for Genesis 1 – nothing at all. I therefore do not hold this position because I feel compelled to do so by the “science” of mainstream geologists. That’s not the basis for my position at all. I hold to my position because I think it is the most reasonable Biblically-based interpretation of the available texts. That’s it. I think it is the most internally consistent view.

      At least they are completely consistent with a literal reading of the text rather than the weaselly worded support

      “..it is unlikely, though not impossible…”

      “Ellen White never presents a clear endorsement of…”

      Do you really hang your hope on loopholes in the Bible and EG White that allow the coulda, maybe says, gap creation is true.

      Not at all. This is not a fundamental issue for me or for Adventism – which is the point I’ve been trying to make all along. The point is that the Bible does not definitively say that the universe, the stars, or even the material of the Earth was created during creation week – that there was nothing pre-existing this week. In fact, various other passages within the Bible suggest otherwise. Compare this to the Bible’s very difinitive claims on the existence of life and the origin of suffering and death on this planet. For this concept there is no “weasel room” given by the Bible or by Mrs. White.

      I think you are very optimistic if you think the lay members of the church are impressed by an appeal to academics and church leadership:

      “..the YEC position is not and has not been favored over the YLC position in the Adventist Church – either by the church leadership or by conservative academics.”

      Particularly when people like you and David Read spend a fair bit of time trashing them.

      It’s not my goal to impress anyone – only to point out what seem to me to be inconsistencies in certain claims about the positions of the church leadership, to include those whom most would label as “conservative” leaders within the church.

      The clear clarion call of YEC support sites drown out any nuanced discussion you may like to have. Their simple and clear opposition to ID also works against you with their clear appeal to a thus saith the Lord.

      Many use the “thus saith the Lord” comment to support all kinds of positions that are not clearly Biblical given the entire context of the available statements or texts on the topic or which are not at all clearly supported as far as I can tell, in an unambiguous manner, by the Bible taken as a whole. Of course, different honest people and denominations disagree over what is and isn’t clearly stated or supported by the Bible. That is why there are different religious groups, churches, and denominations. If one doesn’t agree with the Adventist interpretation, that’s fine, go and join another church group or form your own. Just don’t call yourself something you’re not.




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  23. Sean Pitman: Obviously, the YLC position is not in harmony with Darwinism at all. Therefore, acceptance of the YLC position would not be any kind of effort to match the new “science” of the day with the Bible. Rather, it is simply a way to reasonably interpret all the statements within the Bible with each other – to include Biblical statements that strongly suggest that the universe and intelligent beings, “sons of God” pre-existed the creation of life on our little planet.

    Again you are incorrect about traditional YEC views. The best statement of Adventist belief on this is in the book “Seventh Day Adventist Believe”

    http://www.sdanet.org/atissue/books/27/27-06.htm

    Which states;

    “What Are the “Heavens”? Some people are puzzled, and understandably so, by the verses that say that God “created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1; cf. 2:1; Ex. 20:11) and that He made the sun, moon, and stars on the fourth day of Creation week 6, 000 years ago (Gen. 1:14-19). Were all heavenly bodies brought into existence at that time?

    Creation week did not involve the heaven that God has dwelt in from eternity. The “heavens” of Genesis 1 and 2 probably refer to our sun and its system of planets.

    Indeed, the earth, instead of being Christ’s first creation, was most likely His last one. The Bible pictures the sons of God, probably the Adams of all the unfallen worlds, meeting with God in some distant corner of the universe (Job 1:6-12).”

    That is the Adventist YEC position. It is entirely consistent with Job and with EG White’s position on other worlds. It is not an endorsement of gap creationism in any way.

    Where Adventist differ from other YEC advocates such as the main literal creationist sites is in degree of correspondence of heavens and earth with the universe. Other accept the literal words of scripture and accept the plain reading that says that God created the universe Oct 4004 BC.

    Adventism takes a YEC position that limits “the heavens” in this account to our solar system/galaxy. It traditionally has not taken a gap creation view until less scientifically naive people such as yourself accepted some sort of gap creation theology as a mechanism to salvage a degree of scientific respectability with the rise of scientific creationism in the 20th century.

    This traditional view is likely the YEC view that will be articulated in the revised FB#5 and I think will leave you, Clifford Goldstein, and Randy Younker as gap creationists in a heretical position. Will you also call for Clifford to take the honest approach and resign as gatekeeper for Adventist belief as the lesson pamphlet editor?




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    • That is the Adventist YEC position. It is entirely consistent with Job and with EG White’s position on other worlds. It is not an endorsement of gap creationism in any way.

      It is an endorsement of a form of the gap theory in that it acknowledges that the Bible argues for the pre-existence of the universe and of unfallen worlds and their stars. This concept is a gap concept between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 where God is noted as the creator of everything in the universe in the first verse and then as the creator of the structure of our planet in the second verse onward.

      The only difference between this form of the gap theory and the one I subscribe to is that I don’t think the Bible makes it clear that the material of the Earth or the Sun or our moon or any of the planets in our solar system were created on Day 1 or any other Day of creation week. They may have been modified, but their basic raw materials could have existed, along with the rest of the universe (and the stars that were not visible until Day 4), well before the creation week for our planet began.

      Beyond this, you really don’t know what Mrs. White’s position was on this topic, as I’ve already explained. No one does. She simply does not make her position clear nor does she claim special Divine insight here.




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      • @Sean Pitman:

        It is clear what Luthers position on the age of the earth is;

        “These days were distinguished thus. On the first day the unformed mass of heaven and earth was created to which light was then added. On the second day the firmament. On the third day the earth was produced out of the waters and its
        fruits created. On the fourth day the heavens were adorned by the creation of the sun, moon and stars. On the fifth dav the fishes of the sea and the fowls of the air. On the sixth day the beasts of the earth were created, and Man was made. I say nothing of the other views which divide these sacred matters into the work of creation, of distinction, and of ornation,
        because I do not think such divisions of the subject can be made to harmonize in all respects with each other.”

        pg 42

        Not those elements which now are, but the original rude and unformed suhstances Moses calls “the heavens and earth.”
        The water was dark, and because it was by nature the lighter element it surrounded the earth, itself also as yet unformed was a kind of mud. God formed this first material, if I mav so call it, of his future work, not before or apart from the six days, but, according to the express words of the Decalogue, in the “beginning” of the first day.

        As I view the matter therefore Moses docs not mention here the first day, because these confused substances of the hitherto rude heavens and earth were afterwards formed, and as it were fully adorned and distinguished. For what he immediately calls the “deep” and the “waters ;” that is, the rude and unformed water which was not yet distributed nor adorned with its proper form, he here calls “the heavens ;” whereas, had Moses spoken otherwise and had said, “In the beginning God said, Let there be the heavens and the earth ;” there would have been no need of afterwards saying, “God said ;” seeing that these unformed waters would have been already illuminated and the light would have been already created.

        The meaning of Moses therefore in all simplicity is that all things which now exist were created by God and that “in the beginning” of the first day were created the mass of mud or of earth, and of dark mist or of water; on which afterwards, in the after part of the first day, God shed the light and caused the day to appear, which might discover this rude mass of “the heavens and the earth ;” which was in all respects like undeveloped seed, and yet adapted to produce whatever God should require.

        Pg 43 Luther on the creation
        http://archive.org/stream/LutherOnTheCreationACriticalAndDevotionalCommentaryOnGenesis1-3/LutherGenesis1-3_djvu.txt

        This understanding was the understanding of the creation until geologists began in the 18th century to talk of long ages. The acceptance of gap creationism was an accommodation to the geology in the 18th century not the biology of the 19th century.

        EG White did not discuss in detail the age of the physical earth or a gap creation because it was not an issue for her. It was only when gap creation, or other long ages for days was discussed that she wrote of infidel geologists.

        On this she was absolutely clear no accommodation was to be made ofr long ages.

        “Infidel geologists claim that the world is very much older than the Bible record makes it. They reject the Bible record, because of those things which are to them evidences from the earth itself; that the world has existed tens of thousands of years. And many who profess to believe the Bible record are at a loss to account for wonderful things which are found in the earth, with the view that creation week was only seven literal days, and that the world is now only about six thousand years old.”

        Are you now saying that the Passive Gap Creation refers only to the gap between the creation of the Universe and the creation of “heavens and earth on the first day of the creation week”?

        Are you now saying that you accept the traditional Adventist position of YEC?




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        • EG White did not discuss in detail the age of the physical earth or a gap creation because it was not an issue for her. It was only when gap creation, or other long ages for days was discussed that she wrote of infidel geologists.

          Indeed, because the popular geologists of her day claimed that life has existed, suffered, died and evolved on this planet for hundreds of millions of years. Mrs. White rightly understood such claims as directly undermining a key pillar of the Christian faith which claims that all suffering and death on this planet, for sentient creatures, was the result of the moral Fall of mankind. This is one of the most fundamental positions of Christianity because it ties in sin with suffering and death and argues that the Redemption offered by God required the suffering and death of Jesus on the cross.

          Beyond this, I do not see such statements from Ellen White as any more definitive regarding the age of the raw material of the Earth or the universe, nor does she claim that she was shown, by God, that no raw unformed material pre-existed creation week. Such statements simply are not there – as I’ve already explained. She also never remonstrated with or called to task any one of the leaders of the church in her day for promoting and writing about the passive gap concept. Given her keen interest to deal with various important “heresies” espoused by the leadership of her day, the fact that she did not counter the passive gap theory is quite interesting and suggestive to me that she did not consider this theory to be fundamentally at odds with any key elements of the Adventist faith nor did she feel herself directed by God to counter this particular concept. Therefore, this particular question remains open for me (and for most of the conservative leaders and educators of the church today).

          Are you now saying that you accept the traditional Adventist position of YEC?

          As I’ve already explained, there is no “traditional Adventist YEC position”. Many of the founders of Adventism held to the passive gap theory of creation and the YLC position from the earliest days of the formation of the church. In fact, very very few in early Adventist leadership went as far as J.N. Andrews did in supporting the standard YEC position that the entire universe was created during the Genesis creation week.

          The reason I personally favor the passive gap position is because the very same language is used to describe the first appearance of the stars. The stars themselves evidently did not become visible from the author’s perspective until the Sun and the moon also became visible on Day 4. I do not believe this to be coincidental. Clearly, the Bible promotes the idea that the stars and other created worlds pre-existed our creation week. Ellen White also promotes this idea in her writings. Therefore, if the stars were not visible until Day 4, it only stands to reason that whatever blocked them from being viewed (like a non-transparent or cloudy atmosphere) would likely have also blocked the Sun and the moon from being viewed from the author’s perspective as well. This leaves open the possibility, even the likelihood, that the Sun and moon were already there – but were simply blocked from view in the same way the stars were blocked from view from an Earth-bound perspective.

          In this light, the language of the opening verses of Genesis already contain a gap in time between the first two verses. Therefore, any definitive argument that the Bible rules out any kind of raw material from forming our planet before the creation week is not clearly supported by the available texts as far as I can tell. There simply is no way for me to definitively make this claim – either from the Bible or from the writings of Mrs. White. This is hardly an “infidel” position since it is a literal interpretation of the text that assumes that the author wrote a literal historical narrative of what he saw, from a limited human perspective, regarding creation week. This position is also not an effort to promote mainstream geology or neo-Darwinism. Not even close. It is in perfect harmony with the key elements of Christianity, the cause of sin, suffering, and death on this planet, and the reason for the suffering and death of Jesus on the cross for our Redemption.

          And, I really don’t care what Martin Luther believed. Martin Luther, while he did some great work for God and was a man for his time, still held to many doctrinal errors. He is hardly an authority regarding numerous Adventist doctrines and interpretations of the Bible.




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  24. What’s going on Sean? I thought you were leading out the effort to reign in heresy on origins teachings in the schools. How could you NOT believe “For in six days God created the heavens and the earth”. If he did not create the earth in six days then how many days or years or whatever did it take him? I thought you and this website advocated young earth creationism. I pray that you will reconsider your error.




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    • I have no idea how old the raw material of the universe or of the basic raw materials of this planet may or may not be. The Bible simply doesn’t say in definitive language, and therefore leaves this question open. The primary concept that the Bible is definitive on is that all life on this planet was created during just six literal days – a concept which is fundamentally opposed to neo-Darwinism.

      The goal of this website is to inform the church at large that Darwinian concepts are being promoted as the true story of origins within some of our schools, primarily La Sierra University, in direct opposition to the position of the Seventh-day Adventist Church on the topic of origins.




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  25. Well, Sean, you and your gap theory will leave you with no defense in the end that life itself was created on this planet during creation week.

    How do you know life was created during creation week? You already doubt the earth was created during creation week. No, you deny the earth was created during creation week. You don’t “doubt it” you clearly deny it.

    With word games and manipulation of the obvious, you abandon the clear biblical testimony and opt for human reasoning. Once you start, there is no stopping place. So, let’s consider one the the ten commandments….

    “Honor your father and mother, that your days may be long on the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.”

    This commandment “proves” the ten commandments only apply to the Jews, since God gave them a specific land, Palestine, but did not give Christians any particular land or country.

    We see the context of all the ten commandments were simply “Jewish”. “I am the Lord thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt……..”

    God never brought us out of any “land” and therefore, His instructions can not apply to the Christian community. This is the same kind of “reasoning” you and others use to deny a clear biblical account of creation including this world.

    The bible clearly says God made this “earth, the sea and all that in them is…..”

    By what authority do you and others remove “the earth” from this statement and claim “the earth” was already here, it just needed remodeling for the habitation of life?

    Your “human reasoning” over clear biblical revelation will lead you into more and more challenges of just what the bible means, since it will not fit “human reasoning” to suit human speculation.

    That God created our solar system on day four is in harmony with what the bible states. But we need not try to prove it in opposition to some who may think otherwise, since it is not clearly stated.

    None the less, “the earth” was clearly created on day one as the bible has stated and affirmed in Gen. 1, and the Sabbath commandment. As well as many other affirmations through out scripture.

    We should beware of duplicity and false conclusions that we state as being an absolute fact, when it can not be affirmed by the clear testimony of scripture.

    You and other state as an absolute fact that the earth itself was here before creation week, and then claim God simply altered it and remodeled it for the habitation of life. No such conclusion is possible by way of a clear and unambiguous reading of scripture.




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    • How do you know life was created during creation week? You already doubt the earth was created during creation week. No, you deny the earth was created during creation week. You don’t “doubt it” you clearly deny it.

      There is no need to put words in my mouth or misrepresent my position like this. I’ve never denied the possibility that God created this planet de novo during creation week. That’s certainly a very real possibility. My position is that the Bible also leaves open the possibility that at least some of the raw material of this planet pre-existed the creation week in a “formless” and “empty” state – in a condition that was unable to support complex life. I see no definitive passages that clearly rule out this possibility.

      And, in this conclusion, I am in good company among most of the conservative leadership, educators, and evangelists of the Adventist Church today.




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      • @Sean Pitman:

        ” There is no need to put words in my mouth or misrepresent my position like this.”

        Well, Sean, as others have noted, “your position” is more than a little difficult to define or comprehend as you seem to move first left, and then right, to explain what you mean.

        And I for one believe any person should be allowed to state and qualify and re-qualify what they mean as often as necessary, so as not to be mis-understood.

        If you believe it is possible this earth was actually “created” on day one, and not simply remodeled for the support of life, I haven’t seen this in your statements. For myself and some others, we don’t believe anyone can be loyal to scripture by suggesting any other possibility based on what we consider clear and unambiguous declarations.

        So, at best, what you suggest as a more practical possibility is rejected by more than a few. And your view as a viable option only creates more and more confusion without actually helping establish the authority of the bible. There is no need to “force” science to fit the biblical testimony. And we don’t need to patronize science with some explanation of how a rock could be millions of years old. God could have created a rock a million years old on day one, just like He created Adam a mature man, as well Eve and other animals. Trees and other created vegetation were also mature with no hint as to their age on the day they were created.

        Christians need no credibility with the carnal world. Nor should we compromise to create any. The fundamental church position is YEC, and not just YLC. And this should remain the church position.




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        • There is no need to “force” science to fit the biblical testimony.

          True science and correct Biblical interpretation will fit with each other since both Scripture and the empirical world have the same Author. That is why, as Ellen White pointed out, “Ignorance may seek to support false views of God by appeals to science; but the book of nature and the written word shed light upon each other.” (EGW, CE, p. 196).

          Beyond this, as already explained, this has nothing to do with forcing neo-Darwinism to fit with the Bible. The Young Life position is completely at odds with the age estimates for the fossil record which are based on radiometric dating methods. The passive gap theory is only proposed because it seems to best explain all the passages in the Bible that deal with the creation of our planet vs. the creation of our universe.

          And, when God says that He will create a “new heaven and a new earth” (Isaiah 65:17, 2 Peter 3:3, Revelation 21:1), certainly that should not be interpreted to mean that God starts out with nothing. It is simply talking about taking an Earth that will be “formless and void”, yet again, and reforming it to be able to support life yet again – as it was originally designed to do. There simply is no need to force interpretations onto such passages in the Bible that aren’t clearly there. Could God completely destroy even the basic materials of the Earth and recreate it “from nothing”? Certainly. Is this His usual practice of how he creates things? No. It isn’t. He tends to like to start with what is already there. This pattern is pretty consistent throughout the Bible.




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    • This is all interesting dialog. So here’s another thought: Since the sun, moon, and stars were created on the fourth day, how is it that the earth is considered to “rotate” on it’s “axis” at 1000 mph and circle the Sun. Not to mention that the earth is “tilted” on it’s axis. Now, simple physics says that when something is spinning there is centrifugal force which causes an object to be “flung” away from the center and into space. If that is the case (as in the example of a playground merry-go-round. A child is on the merry-go-round and a couple of big football players start spinning it. Pretty soon the child is thrown into space because of centrifugal force and crashes to the ground because of gravity.) I’ve heard the argument that we stay on the earth because of gravity. If that is the case, why does the child not stay on the merry-go-round then, because of gravity?

      We are told in Joshua 10:12-13 that the sun stood still. “So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven and hasted not to go down about a whole day.” vs 13. Then there is the text about the sun going back 10 degrees for Hezekiah. There are texts saying that the sun goes up and goes down. If that is the case according to Scripture, then the earth must be fixed and the sun, moon, and stars rotate around the earth.

      We are told by “scientists” that that is not true; that the earth rotates around the sun. We are told that the sun is 93 million miles away, etc. If the earth is on an “axis”, WHO determined this? Was it the same “scientists” who say that there is no literal six day creation? Was it done by Copernicus and Galileo because they were afraid of the Vatican?

      We people, SDA or not, put a whole lot of faith in science when in many cases science goes in direct conflict with scripture. Plus faithful SDA’s even say that when the Bible was written there was not the “technology” to prove what was said. So they would opt to believe science over the Bible.

      I am sure that I will get some responses saying that science has proven that the earth rotates around the sun. But logic defies theory.

      Mind you, these questions are not to create argument only to satisfy curiosity. And to question the authority of “science so called”.




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  26. Pard,

    I know you avow that science needs to support theories of origins of life. For example you say that evolution flies in the face of mathematical probability.

    Just wondering whether YEC or YLC has more mathematical probability and how you calculate that?




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    • I just believe that the YLC concept is more clearly supported by the various Biblical texts dealing with the creation of the universe, stars within the universe, other inhabited worlds, and the creation of our world. It’s a matter of interpreting the claims of a given text or witness. What was the witness trying to say? What is the credibility of the witness? How do all the statements of the witness compare? What do they collectively suggest?




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  27. Dear Dr. Pitman

    I’m so confused by how you approach origins. Most of the time you seem to approach things as a scientist but then at other times purely theologically. It is as if you have your own unique, hybrid view that no one else supports. Am I mistaken in this regard?




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    • I consider my view to be quite similar to a number of other conservative leaders within the Adventist church. I believe that rational faith and science (empirical evidence) can and must walk hand-in-hand. I don’t believe that one functions well, if at all, without the other. So, you see, I do not consider any of my arguments to be “purely” theological (faith driven) or “purely” empirical (based only on definitive facts without taking a leap of faith into areas which cannot be absolutely known or proved). There is always a mix of both leaps of faith and empirical evidence upon which to come to rational conclusions regarding concepts that cannot be absolutely known.

      Also, the question of Biblical interpretation (what were the Biblical authors trying to say?) is a different question than asking if what the Biblical authors were trying to say is actually true? The second question is dependent upon establishing credibility – which, for me, must be based in some kind of empirical demonstration or evidence – a type of scientific investigation and support.




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      • @Sean Pitman:

        Do you accept the traditional Adventist flood geology as articulated by EG White and fleshed out as science by McCready Price?

        If so then most of the work is done and you need no gap creation because all interesting geology is a product of the deluge. You can as the book “Seventh-Day Adventist Believe” says accept that the earth was created by the will of God on day 1 with our solar system/galaxy as perhaps the final of Gods creations.

        Of course as I have tried to indicate this Adventist flood geology or catastrophism and its attendent YEC eventually formed the foundation of modern YEC creationism that is now widespread in fundamentalist Christianity?

        Do you support any or all of ICR, CMI AIG? If not why not?

        I know you support ID but that covers a multitude of sins and its protagonists are an heterogeneous group with the DI far from literalist in scriptural views.

        Of course in asking these questions I am assuming that you are literalist in your approach to the scriptures. A view I think effectively equivalent to inerrancy.

        If you want to discard literalism then none of these issues apply. But literalism is like pregnancy; an all or nothing affair. You cannot be a little bit literalist and you cant wander far in your exploration of truth.

        It seems to me you are struggling with this wall of literalism that surrounds and constrains you and provides for an uncomfortable mix of nascent empirical science, gap creationism, intelligent design and doctrinaire literalism.

        You say the right words about FB#1 and acknowledge that EG White was not canonical or inerrant but then are drawn back to a fundamentalism that effectively asserts all of these things.

        I guess 4 generations has an ability to restrict iconoclastic activity to ultimately fairly inconsequential things. I acknowledge that fundamentalism is immensely comforting and provides a certainty that is highly compelling.

        On the other hand there is spiritual and intellectual fulfilment beyond in accepting that we are ignorant in many things and as we explore that the edges of that ignorance while accept by faith that a God of Grace was made incarnate and called us to live a life of faith. To live as his disciples and witness to the Kingdom of God in a world where most now assume that there is nothing beyond the natural.




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        • Do you accept the traditional Adventist flood geology as articulated by EG White and fleshed out as science by McCready Price?

          You mean that much of the fossil record can be explained by a Noachian-style Flood? Yes – as you already know.

          If so then most of the work is done and you need no gap creation because all interesting geology is a product of the deluge. You can as the book “Seventh-Day Adventist Believe” says accept that the earth was created by the will of God on day 1 with our solar system/galaxy as perhaps the final of Gods creations.

          I do not accept that this position is clearly supported by the Biblical texts.

          Of course as I have tried to indicate this Adventist flood geology or catastrophism and its attendent YEC eventually formed the foundation of modern YEC creationism that is now widespread in fundamentalist Christianity?

          Do you support any or all of ICR, CMI AIG? If not why not?

          Of course I do not support the YEC concept where the entire universe was created during the creation week. I don’t think this concept is Biblical.

          I know you support ID but that covers a multitude of sins and its protagonists are an heterogeneous group with the DI far from literalist in scriptural views.

          Of course in asking these questions I am assuming that you are literalist in your approach to the scriptures. A view I think effectively equivalent to inerrancy.

          You know that this is not my position. As I’ve explained to you, in this very thread, it is my view that God’s prophets were all human and subject to error. The Bible contains errors since it was written by humans with limitations. It was not dictated word-for-word by God Himself. That’s not how inspiration works. God gave the visions and humans wrote down what they saw from a limited perspective using the best limited language that they could. The same is true of the writings of Ellen White. Yet, I agree with Ellen White in her arguments against the thinking of the mainstream geologists of her day. As detailed by Gerhard Pfandl of the BRI, Ellen White disagreed with the “infidel geologists” on three main points:

          1. That the six days of creation were six vast, indefinite periods.
          2. That the day of God’s rest was another indefinite period.
          3. That the world was populated long before the record of creation, by a race of beings vastly superior in size to men now upon the earth (ibid., 92, 93).

          Ellen White dismissed all three propositions as out of harmony with God’s Word. The Bible recognizes no long ages in which the earth was slowly evolved from chaos, (PP 112) she declared. Each successive day of creation… consisted of the evening and the morning, like all other days that have followed (ibid.). This was not something she believed because she took Genesis 1 seriously; she “was shown”, she wrote, “that the first week, in which God performed the work of creation in six days and rested on the seventh day, was just like every other week” (3 SG 90). The first and second proposition, of course, made “senseless the fourth commandment of God’s holy law” (ibid., 92).

          They aimed directly at the foundation of the Sabbath commandment. Ellen White called it, “the worst kind of infidelity” (ibid., 91), because with many who professed to believe the creation record yet accepted these claims, “it is infidelity in disguise. It charges God with commanding men to observe the week of seven literal days in commemoration of seven indefinite periods, which is unlike his dealings with mortals, and is an impeachment of his wisdom” (Ibid.).

          Concerning the third proposition she wrote, “I have been shown that with-out Bible history, geology can prove nothing” (Ibid., 93). While she acknowledged that “the bones of human beings and of animals found in the earth, are much larger than those of men and animals now living,” she added, “The time of their existence, and how long a period these things have been in the earth, are only to be understood by Bible history” (Ibid.). And Bible history for her was to be measured in terms of “about 6000 years” (LHU 52).

          http://www.scribd.com/doc/166388630/Ellen-G-White-and-Earth-Science

          If you want to discard literalism then none of these issues apply. But literalism is like pregnancy; an all or nothing affair. You cannot be a little bit literalist and you cant wander far in your exploration of truth.

          That’s not true. My view of literalism it not at all like pregnancy. It’s not all or nothing. It requires interpretation and investigation into the time, place, culture, intent, etc., of the author. I view the Genesis account, for example, as an attempt to describe literal history. However, this attempt was a limited human attempt from a limited Earth-bound perspective. He wrote what he saw. That’s it. I believe what he saw was real history. However, different people seeing the very same historical event will remember it and describe it differently – with different errors regarding various points. For example, the writers of the Gospels in the New Testament often describe the very same event with different details. And, when describing the very same detail, there is occasional disagreement between the different witnesses (such as how many times the rooster crowed at Jesus’ trial before Peter denied Him three times… etc.). Such errors would be impossible if God had written these texts. Such is the nature of Inspiration.

          It seems to me you are struggling with this wall of literalism that surrounds and constrains you and provides for an uncomfortable mix of nascent empirical science, gap creationism, intelligent design and doctrinaire literalism. You say the right words about FB#1 and acknowledge that EG White was not canonical or inerrant but then are drawn back to a fundamentalism that effectively asserts all of these things.

          There are two ditches that one may fall into. One can fall into the ditch that claims that every word of the Bible or of Ellen White is without any error of any kind. The other ditch, your ditch, is the ditch that claims that because errors exist that everything is subjective and open to what one personally desires the text to mean.

          The truth, I believe, is that the Bible is a book written by humans who were Divinely inspired with the ideas, but not the words, to write. I believe that when the authors are trying to describe real historical events that they are actually describing real historical events. Are their descriptions always without any kind of errors? No. There are errors as there would be for any witness trying to describe a historical event. However, this does not mean that the historical event didn’t happen pretty much as described or that the witness was not being honest in trying to describe the event as well as he/she possibly could given his/her limitations.




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        • @Sean Pitman:

          We will pass on trying to elicit an answer to my specific question that called for 3 founders that articulated the gap theory. It is very hard to get a response from you that is not of the form;
          “I dont know the answer to that, but let me give you an answer to a question you did not ask”

          Lets be very specific and keep on the topic of YLC and gap theories; as David Assherick would say Yes or No;

          1] Do you believe as has been articulated; Ellen White personally held to various ideas that may have been mistaken and are downright wrong. She was only human and subject to errors in her own personal ideas and perspective – as were the writers of the Bible?

          2] Do you think that Luther’s idea that the earth was created on day 1 of the creation week was the dominant Christian idea at the time?

          3] Do you think Luther and his Christian predecessors could read and interpret the text accurately?

          4] Do you think that Luther, in stating his claim that the verses Gen 1:1-3 are literal and that the earth was created on the first day and the sun moon and stars were created in the first week mean that he though that the entire universe was created in the first 6 day?

          5] Do you think that an acceptance of YEC can only be invoked if you claims that the entire universe perhaps including God himself was created on days 1-4?

          6] Do you think that the Adventist YEC position articulated in “SDAs believe” becomes legitimate if you relabel it a gap theory?

          7] Do you think that the YEC position of modern creationists such as CMI AIG and ICR is that the entire universe including perhaps God Himself was created with the earth during the creation week?

          8] Do you think that the miraculous flood geology is true?

          9] Do you accept as accurate the Wiki statement that “The Gap Theory”) is a form of old Earth creationism that posits that the six-day creation, as described in the Book of Genesis, involved literal 24-hour days, but that there was a gap of time between two distinct creations in the first and the second verses of Genesis, explaining many scientific observations, including the age of the Earth”?

          10] Do you accepting long ages for the existence of the earth?

          11] Do you believe that the science of geology including radiometric dating is the basis for accepting long ages for the material of the earth?

          12] Is accepting long ages for the earth the criteria for a gap theory?

          13] If you personally accept a passive gap theory do you then accept that others may also legitimately have a different gap theory?

          14] Are all other gap theories that would include fossils in the gap incorrect even though they are based on same scientific arguments you have used to justify a gap theory?

          15] Is it not capricious to accept one gap theory and not others even though they are based on the same process?




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        • Sean says

          I’ve already answered these questions in some detail in this very thread. I don’t feel the need to answer the very same questions over and over again…

          To clarify then my understanding of your implied answers to these questions:

          1] Do you believe as has been articulated; Ellen White personally held to various ideas that may have been mistaken and are downright wrong. She was only human and subject to errors in her own personal ideas and perspective – as were the writers of the Bible?

          SEAN; YES

          2] Do you think that Luther’s idea that the earth was created on day 1 of the creation week was the dominant Christian idea at the time?

          SEAN: YES

          3] Do you think Luther and his Christian predecessors could read and interpret the text accurately?

          SEAN; YES

          4] Do you think that Luther, in stating his claim that the verses Gen 1:1-3 are literal and that the earth was created on the first day and the sun moon and stars were created in the first week mean that he though that the entire universe was created in the first 6 day?

          SEAN; NO

          5] Do you think that an acceptance of YEC can only be invoked if you claims that the entire universe perhaps including God himself was created on days 1-4?

          SEAN; NO

          6] Do you think that the Adventist YEC position articulated in “SDAs believe” becomes legitimate if you relabel it a gap theory?

          SEAN; YES

          7] Do you think that the YEC position of modern creationists such as CMI AIG and ICR is that the entire universe including perhaps God Himself was created with the earth during the creation week?

          SEAN; NO

          8] Do you think that the miraculous flood geology is true?

          SEAN; YES

          9] Do you accept as accurate the Wiki statement that “The Gap Theory”) is a form of old Earth creationism that posits that the six-day creation, as described in the Book of Genesis, involved literal 24-hour days, but that there was a gap of time between two distinct creations in the first and the second verses of Genesis, explaining many scientific observations, including the age of the Earth”?

          SEAN; YES

          10] Do you accepting long ages for the existence of the earth?

          SEAN: YES

          11] Do you believe that the science of geology including radiometric dating is the basis for accepting long ages for the material of the earth?

          SEAN; YES

          12] Is accepting long ages for the earth the criteria for a gap theory?

          SEAN; YES

          13] If you personally accept a passive gap theory do you then accept that others may also legitimately have a different gap theory?

          SEAN; YES

          14] Are all other gap theories that would include fossils in the gap incorrect even though they are based on same scientific arguments you have used to justify a gap theory?

          SEAN; YES

          15] Is it not capricious to accept one gap theory and not others even though they are based on the same process?

          SEAN; YES

          There that wasnt so hard was it.




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        • 1] Do you believe as has been articulated; Ellen White personally held to various ideas that may have been mistaken and are downright wrong. She was only human and subject to errors in her own personal ideas and perspective – as were the writers of the Bible?

          SEAN; YES

          2] Do you think that Luther’s idea that the earth was created on day 1 of the creation week was the dominant Christian idea at the time?

          SEAN: YES

          3] Do you think Luther and his Christian predecessors could read and interpret the text accurately?

          SEAN; YES

          No. I don’t think Luther interpreted many Biblical concepts accurately. Adventism has discovered additional Biblical truths and insights that were not apparent to Luther. This should be obvious or I would be Lutheran.

          4] Do you think that Luther, in stating his claim that the verses Gen 1:1-3 are literal and that the earth was created on the first day and the sun moon and stars were created in the first week mean that he though that the entire universe was created in the first 6 day?

          SEAN; NO

          Yes. This is what I would think is suggested by a belief that the stars were created during creation week. After all, this is the standard YEC position today – that the whole universe was created during creation week.

          5] Do you think that an acceptance of YEC can only be invoked if you claims that the entire universe perhaps including God himself was created on days 1-4?

          SEAN; NO

          The standard YEC position promoted by the most prominent YEC organizations is in fact that the entire universe was in fact created during the creation week. That God was all alone all by Himself for eternity past prior to this point in time.

          6] Do you think that the Adventist YEC position articulated in “SDAs believe” becomes legitimate if you relabel it a gap theory?

          SEAN; YES

          I have no idea what you mean by “becomes legitimate”? The fact of the matter is that arguing that the universe pre-existed creation week is based on a gap theory of creation. It is not the YEC position.

          7] Do you think that the YEC position of modern creationists such as CMI AIG and ICR is that the entire universe including perhaps God Himself was created with the earth during the creation week?

          SEAN; NO

          God is not claimed to have had a beginning as far as I’m aware. However, it is the position of these organizations that the entire universe was created during creation week.

          8] Do you think that the miraculous flood geology is true?

          SEAN; YES

          I don’t think Flood geology is miraculous nor does it require intelligent design to explain.

          9] Do you accept as accurate the Wiki statement that “The Gap Theory”) is a form of old Earth creationism that posits that the six-day creation, as described in the Book of Genesis, involved literal 24-hour days, but that there was a gap of time between two distinct creations in the first and the second verses of Genesis, explaining many scientific observations, including the age of the Earth”?

          SEAN; YES

          Not exactly. There are many different gap theories, most of which are indeed an effort to explain many mainstream so-called “scientific” explanations. This is not the case, however, for the Passive Gap Theory (PGT). The PGT is not based on any effort to harmonize the Bible with mainstream geology or Darwinism – not at all.

          10] Do you accepting long ages for the existence of the earth?

          SEAN: YES

          11] Do you believe that the science of geology including radiometric dating is the basis for accepting long ages for the material of the earth?

          SEAN; YES

          As I’ve explained several times already, to you, I do not believe that radiometric dating assumptions have anything at all to do with the PGT of creation.

          12] Is accepting long ages for the earth the criteria for a gap theory?

          SEAN; YES

          Accepting the existence of anything, besides God, prior to creation week is the acceptance of some kind of Gap Theory.

          13] If you personally accept a passive gap theory do you then accept that others may also legitimately have a different gap theory?

          SEAN; YES

          Again, I don’t know what you mean by “legitimate”? There are many gap theories that are not consistent with the Adventist perspective. No gap theories, for example, that hope to explain death and suffering before creation week are consistent with Adventism or with Christianity in general.

          14] Are all other gap theories that would include fossils in the gap incorrect even though they are based on same scientific arguments you have used to justify a gap theory?

          SEAN; YES

          They are incorrect from the Adventist perspective. And, yet again, the PGT is not dependent upon mainstream scientific arguments for the age of anything on this planet.

          15] Is it not capricious to accept one gap theory and not others even though they are based on the same process?

          SEAN; YES

          They aren’t based on the same process.

          There that wasnt so hard was it.

          I’m truly at a loss to understand how you still do not seem to understand concepts that I’ve explained several times – unless you’re just not reading through all of my responses to your posts?




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  28. Sean Pitman: Many of the founders of Adventism held to the passive gap theory of creation and the YLC position from the earliest days of the formation of the church.

    Weasely words. “Many” Name 3 other than Smith that were “founders” that articulated your ideas before 1865.

    It was a minority view held by better educated people just like the gap creationism is today.

    The problem with your gap creationism as you have articulated it is; a pre-existing earth more than 4 billions year old, the 4 billion year old sun and moon and the stars tens of billions of years old suddenly appearing on the fourth day is that as has been well discussed on Spectrum you now open the way to say that the animals that had millions of years of ancestory also were made to appear in a 6 day period. Certainly the older Genesis 2 account would fit with this.

    Why can you allow for a billion year old earth and sun moon and stars that suddenly appeared but call for the resignation of those that might accept the second scenario of sudden “appearance” of preexisting life as the accurate reading of the text.

    You might not care about Luther but then again you do not really seem to care much about accounts of history at all. Whatever you imagine is true. You have already dissed the Wiki entries on the chronology of ascendance of YEC and YLC. I merely pointed out that this (Luthers view) was and remained the prostestant view up to the 18th century when the gap theory and day age theories became prominent. It was to both these that EG White was responding in talking of infidel geologist. By the time of the Schofield bible with its marginal entries for both Usher Chronology and the gap theory gap was widespread and you therefore imagine that EG White was convinced or equivocating on this. Most of traditional Adventists were slow in adopting there non-traditional view. The premillenialist view of EG White from the 1840s undoubtedly influence her views on the age of the earth. Her views are I think more accurately reflected in the ICR, CMI and AIG theology and YEC than in your gap theology no matter how many scholars and pop star theologians you can cite as supporters.

    As Bernard Ramm suggests
    “Now we shall pass on to the great revival of flood geology in the twentieth century. This revival was carried on principally by the Seventh-Day Adventist apologists and was termed the new diluvialism or the new catastrophism to distinguish it from the older flood geology of Cuvier and Agassiz [theories of successive floods over the ancient past which explain geological layering]… One of the strangest developments of the early part of the twentieth century was that George McCready Price, a Seventh-Day Adventist with very limited professional training, became American fundamentalism’s leading apologist in the domain of geology. Even this had a most peculiar quirk, because most fundamentalists accepted the gap theory as taught in The Scofield Bible, a theory which the Seventh-Day Adventists vigorously reject. At any rate, the influence of Price is staggering.”
    Bernard Ramm The Christian View of Science and Scripture

    Henry Morris states;
    “The smaller fundamentalist churches, such as the so-called Plymouth Brethren and various independent churches, for the most part retreated to the “gap theory,” inserting the geological ages in an imaginary gap between the first two verses of Genesis.”
    Morris History of modern creationism pg38

    But Morris in his critical book did follow the Adventist tradition and initially was concerned about revealing his true indebtedness to the Adventist tradition of EG White and MacCready Price.

    In reality modern YEC is the progeny of EG Whites visions. Stoner writes

    “The connection to Price and the Adventists worried Whitcomb and Morris. Unfortunately their actions reflected more concern with the outward appearance than with the substance. Fearing that Price’s Adventist-tinted reputation might hinder the acceptance of The Genesis Flood, Whitcomb and Morris tried to avoid any visible connection with Price. Although they left the substance of their arguments unchanged, they removed nearly every mention of Price’s name from their book. This irritated many of Price’s friends who felt Whitcomb and Morris had not given him sufficient credit for the intellectual debt they owed him… The Genesis Flood, as it has been variously described, is essentially an “updated version” of Price’s New Geology or a “reissue of G.M. Price’s views brought up to date.”
    Don Stoner, A New Look at an Old Earth: Resolving the Conflict Between Bible & Science pg 126

    The connection between the Adventist apocalyptic vision and the creation should not be underestimated. Just as a literal interpretation of Revelation with the Adventist futurist vision cannot at all be subject to science so the creation must be an act of God accepted as it is literally described. Why critique the beginning by science when you cannot critique the end. Whatever you might like to say as a Church, Adventism’s tradition of YEC is bound up with its premillenial understanding of the future. Miraculous end – miraculous beginning. You do not critique the miraculous end why do so for the beginning with gap creationism which has only even been an acquiescence to the geology.

    Jorge is right you do have a very idiosyncratic if not egocentric view of much of knowledge and science.




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    • Weasely words. “Many” Name 3 other than Smith that were “founders” that articulated your ideas before 1865.

      It was a minority view held by better educated people just like the gap creationism is today.

      By the end of the 1800s “gap creationism” was not a minority view, but the majority view for many conservative Christian denominations. As you yourself point out, by the early 1900s it gained general acceptance when the Scofield Bible discussed it in the reference notes for Genesis. Bernard Ramm wrote about the popularity of gap creationism during this period of time noting: “The gap theory has become the standard interpretation throughout hyper-orthodoxy, appearing in an endless stream of books, booklets, Bible studies, and periodical articles. In fact, it has become so sacrosanct with some that to question it is equivalent to tampering with Sacred Scripture or to manifest modernistic leanings.”

      In fact, even if Ellen White did personally believe that the material of the Earth was created during creation week, she clearly did not accept the YEC position that the entire universe was created during this time. So, even she clearly endorses, in no uncertain language, at least some form of the gap interpretation of Genesis 1 – as was commonly done during her day.

      The YEC notion that everything was created during the creation week, the entire universe, declined in popularity throughout the 1800s and into the early 1900s, only to be revived after the 1920s.

      It was to both these that EG White was responding in talking of infidel geologist. By the time of the Schofield bible with its marginal entries for both Usher Chronology and the gap theory gap was widespread and you therefore imagine that EG White was convinced or equivocating on this. Most of traditional Adventists were slow in adopting there non-traditional view. The premillenialist view of EG White from the 1840s undoubtedly influence her views on the age of the earth. Her views are I think more accurately reflected in the ICR, CMI and AIG theology and YEC than in your gap theology no matter how many scholars and pop star theologians you can cite as supporters.

      ICR, CMI, and AiG support the standard YEC position that everything, the entire universe, was created during creation week of Genesis 1. Not even Ellen White supported that position. She clearly argued that the universe existed before creation week – even describing other worlds that pre-existed our creation. This is simply not a standard YEC concept and most certainly requires at least some form of a gap interpretation of Genesis 1.

      The problem with your gap creationism as you have articulated it is; a pre-existing earth more than 4 billions year old, the 4 billion year old sun and moon and the stars tens of billions of years old suddenly appearing on the fourth day is that, as has been well discussed on Spectrum, you now open the way to say that the animals that had millions of years of ancestory also were made to appear in a 6 day period. Certainly the older Genesis 2 account would fit with this.

      You’ve got to be kidding. It is one thing to argue that an Earth-bound perspective could reasonably limit one’s view of the Sun, moon, and stars through a thick or cloudy atmosphere. It is another thing entirely to argue that all the animals that were always there were also obscured from view when the text clearly says that the planet was entirely covered by water and was “formless and empty”. The Bible also makes it very clear that there was no suffering or death on this planet, for sentient creatures (were not talking about planet cells or non-sentient bacteria and the like), prior to the moral Fall of Adam and Eve.

      Your concept that Adam and Eve were somehow made of a different material than were the animals and where therefore not subject to the same type of biology or natural decay is simply not supported by the Bible by any stretch of the imagination. The same thing is true for the re-creation of the Earth after Jesus comes again to “make everything new”. You argue that death and suffering will continue on this planet after this re-creation. How could anyone call that “good”?

      Why can you allow for a billion year old earth and sun moon and stars that suddenly appeared but call for the resignation of those that might accept the second scenario of sudden “appearance” of preexisting life as the accurate reading of the text.

      Because your interpretation is not the Adventist interpretation – that’s why. You are free to interpret things however you want, but not as a paid employee of the Adventist Church. Do whatever you want on your own dime.

      You might not care about Luther but then again you do not really seem to care much about accounts of history at all. Whatever you imagine is true. You have already dissed the Wiki entries on the chronology of ascendance of YEC and YLC. I merely pointed out that this (Luthers view) was and remained the prostestant view up to the 18th century when the gap theory and day age theories became prominent.

      And I never argued otherwise. What I was arguing against is your assertion that YECism is the historical Adventist position. Remember that the Adventist Church was organized in the late 1800s… during a time when the gap interpretation of Genesis was becoming quite popular and most certainly influenced many within the early Adventist Church as well.

      Why critique the beginning by science when you cannot critique the end. Whatever you might like to say as a Church, Adventism’s tradition of YEC is bound up with its premillenial understanding of the future. Miraculous end – miraculous beginning. You do not critique the miraculous end why do so for the beginning with gap creationism which has only even been an acquiescence to the geology.

      As I’ve pointed out to you time and again, young-life creationism (i.e., the passive gap theory) is in no way “acquiescent” to the interpretations of mainstream geology. The YLC position does not accept the popular ages assigned to the geologic/fossil records nor does it accept the popular understanding of radiometric dating as reliable or credible. How then can you say that my position is at all acquiescent to any form of Darwinism or theistic evolution or mainstream geology? That’s simply not true – obviously.

      Jorge is right you do have a very idiosyncratic if not egocentric view of much of knowledge and science.

      As does the Adventist Church… historical and modern. Clearly, my views are shared by a significant number of the conservative leadership, evangelists, theologians, and scientists within the Church today. I’m not entirely alone on this one 😉




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  29. Sean, you can not make the bible and science of equal authority by showing a perfect unity between the two. Science is subject to scripture as the final authority. Precisely because they do not clearly harmonize and never will by way of human reasoning. By doing this, you undermine scripture and make it subject to science. Because of the contrast, science must bow to scripture even if and when scripture may seem to contradict science.

    And you state, credibility “must be based in some kind of empirical demonstration or evidence – a type of scientific investigation and support.”

    This is not how we study scripture. And the method you use will not keep you faithful to the bible, but will eventually lead you into doubt, skepticism and unbelief. There is no “scientific investigation” of how God created the world, or, when He did it. So, if you use science to determine how and when, you will never reach a conclusion in harmony with the bible. How and when are beyond science.




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    • I see no need to get into yet another discussion of fideism with you beyond the repeat of my position that faith, for me, is based on the “weight of evidence”, not blind wishful thinking or some sense that I have spoken directly with God to gain this information. I haven’t. All I have is what seems most reasonable to me based on the evidence that I personally have in hand. And, you yourself appeal to the empirical evidence of historical science to support your contention that Biblical prophecies are the greatest evidence of the Bible’s Divine origin. You can’t have it both ways…




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      • @Sean Pitman:

        Sean, you use the word “science” in a very generic sense. And then proceed to appeal to natural law evidence for “proof” that you you use to draw conclusions.

        Yes, I use “science” to draw conclusions. But it is not the science you appeal to. It is the spiritual science of salvation based on God’s word and affirmed by bible prophecy.

        SDA evangelists generally start with Dan. 2 and the prophecies to affirm the validity of the bible and its authority. They don’t start with “natural law” and “natural science” to build faith in scripture. And then endorse a “gap theory” for creation based on their “natural law science” as the most viable conclusion of how this world came into existence.

        First they build faith in the bible by way of prophecy and then affirm and point out creation week and the weekly Sabbath. This is the “science of salvation” that does not appeal to natural law as the authority to determine any spiritual truth.

        More than a few on this forum recognize that you do not follow the “spiritual science” of how to determine truth, and opt for some natural law science over and above a clear reading of scripture.

        Yes, I appeal to “evidence”. But it is not the same evidence you appeal to. Your claim that you appeal to evidence is a “false dilemma”. People are often led into error by those who claim to be following a clear reasoning process. And this is how the devil led many into rebellion against God.

        The fact is, you want the change the church’s teaching about creation so you can affirm that your view is in harmony with the SDA church. It is not. Our fundamental beliefs on creation do not agree with the conclusion that you and others have opted for.




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        • You appeal to historical sciences as a rational basis for the credibility of Biblical prophecy. This appeal to a branch of science is an appeal to empirical evidence that exists outside of the Bible to support Biblical credibility. That’s no different from what I’m doing.




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        • @Sean Pitman:

          Historical science is not natural law science. I assume you opt for the gap theory because some elements appear to be older than six thousand years. Like rocks and other strata.

          In another post, you mention David Asscherick as an individual with spiritual discernment who also opts for your view.

          David Asscherick believes in WO. And is now advocating the “Moral influence theory” like Ty Gibson and his ministry which David is now a part of.

          That he would endorse a gap theory is not so surprising in light of the “company he keeps”. There are more than a few concepts Asscherick embraces not endorsed by the SDA church. Some may seem harmless, but as EGW has well said, “Error is never harmless……”

          And Jesus said, “A little leaven, leaveneth the whole lump.” A person may well present a lot of truth. But a little error will eventually negate what was formerly endorsed.




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        • Historical science is not natural law science.

          Historical science is based on interpretations of empirical evidence via scientific methodologies – the same as any other field of science.

          I assume you opt for the gap theory because some elements appear to be older than six thousand years. Like rocks and other strata.

          No. As I’ve already explained in this thread many times, I favor the passive gap theory because it seems to me to be more consistent with all of the the Bible passages that deal with the topic of origins. It has nothing to do with how mainstream scientist date rock or strata – nothing at all. If it did have anything to do with the mainstream “science” of dating rocks then I would be inconsistent in accepting some of their ages for some rocks while rejecting their ages for other types of rocks.

          In another post, you mention David Asscherick as an individual with spiritual discernment who also opts for your view. David Asscherick believes in WO. And is now advocating the “Moral influence theory” like Ty Gibson and his ministry which David is now a part of. That he would endorse a gap theory is not so surprising in light of the “company he keeps”. There are more than a few concepts Asscherick embraces not endorsed by the SDA church. Some may seem harmless, but as EGW has well said, “Error is never harmless……”

          David Asscherick believes in and promotes the “substitution model” of atonement while maintaining, at the same time, that a moral influence was also involved. He does believe, as do I and most other Adventists, that Jesus’ life and death did have a “moral influence” on His followers. However, this isn’t the same thing as arguing that there was no substitutional requirement involved with His death on the cross.

          As far as women’s ordination, Asscherick also supports the church’s position. While he personally sees nothing fundamentally wrong with WO, he believes that church order and government are of more primary importance and that those churches and conferences that act outside of the organization of the church (i.e., the decisions of the General Conference on such issues) are seriously mistaken in their actions.




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    • It certainly helps to be raised the son of an Adventist pastor, but I do think the evidence speaks for itself to anyone who considers it with a candid mind. David Asscherick, for example, came from a punk-rocker background. He became converted because of what he considered to be the force of the evidence in favor of the Divine origin of the Bible and of God’s signature in nature – very similar to the reasons why I didn’t leave the church when my faith was challenged while I was in the US Army. The same type of story is true for Clifford Goldstein. Cliff is not an Adventist because it comes naturally to him, but because he has become convinced by what he sees as the weight of evidence in support of the Adventist doctrinal positions.




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  30. Sean Pitman: No. As I’ve already explained in this thread many times, I favor the passive gap theory because it seems to me to be more consistent with all of the the Bible passages that deal with the topic of origins. It has nothing to do with how mainstream scientist date rock or strata – nothing at all. If it did have anything to do with the mainstream “science” of dating rocks then I would be inconsistent in accepting some of their ages for some rocks while rejecting their ages for other types of rocks.

    Mea Culpa. It looks like I have interpreted you incorrectly in answering my questions 9-14 for you I assumed apparently incorrectly that you were arguing from empirical evidence for age of the rocks in accepting the gap theory and that your appeal to the exegesis was at least related in some way historically to the geology.

    This leaves me even more confused as it appears that you now must argue that it is only you that can read the scripture correctly and that Martin Luther and their ilk before the 18th century were incapable of reading the scriptures correctly. I missed that as I assumed you did not have that level of hubris




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    • Is it brazen hubris to think that perhaps Martin Luther didn’t understand all truth in his day? – that perhaps it is possible to learn a few things that he didn’t quite understand? Are you not doing the very same thing? Do you hold as true everything that Martin Luther believed and taught about the meaning of every Scripture? Or does your “hubris” argument only apply to others?




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      • @Sean Pitman:

        The hubris is in your denial that in the absence of any other support from science or biblical scholarship and using exactly the same sources as Martin Luther (ie the bible alone) you alone can come to conclusion that the gap theory is biblically correct and that the YEC that he espoused is biblically wrong.

        Now if you concede that the evidences for the age of the earth available from the 18th century onward or a better appreciation of the provenance of the Genesis account obtained from the historical critical method of biblcal scholarhisp have lead to a change from the literalistic bible base YEC of Luther than I would be not have any concern. But this you clearly do not wish to do and I am left with no other conclusion.

        I of course take a neo-orthodox position and am happy to admit that we know much more now because of biblical scholarship and the process of science. These are clearly important in my understanding and interpretation of the bible.




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        • The hubris is in your denial that in the absence of any other support from science or biblical scholarship and using exactly the same sources as Martin Luther (ie the bible alone) you alone can come to conclusion that the gap theory is biblically correct and that the YEC that he espoused is biblically wrong.

          Which is also true of many other ideas that Luther had about the Bible. Luther didn’t like the books of James or Revelation for instance. He didn’t understand the seventh-day Sabbath or the state of the dead or many other Bible-only based concepts to which Adventists subscribe. It is only to be expected that additional truths will be discovered over time.

          Now if you concede that the evidences for the age of the earth available from the 18th century onward or a better appreciation of the provenance of the Genesis account obtained from the historical critical method of biblcal scholarhisp have lead to a change from the literalistic bible base YEC of Luther than I would be not have any concern. But this you clearly do not wish to do and I am left with no other conclusion.

          There are other ways to learn additional truths from the Bible besides mainstream Darwinism or the HCM of Biblical interpretation.

          I of course take a neo-orthodox position and am happy to admit that we know much more now because of biblical scholarship and the process of science. These are clearly important in my understanding and interpretation of the bible.

          Good for you. But, your understanding simply isn’t Adventist. You may well be far beyond what the Church has been able to learn as an organization and adopt as “present truth”. However, being so far beyond the Church puts you outside of Adventism. It is therefore disingenuous of you, or those who hold similar views to yours, to continue to claim to be Seventh-day Adventists. You simply aren’t and cannot possibly represent the primary goals and ideals of the Adventist Church. Therefore, the most honest thing for you and others like you to do is to resign your positions within the Church and go and teach or preach elsewhere under a title that more accurately reflects your position.




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  31. Pauluc commented on Sean’s position….

    “Mea Culpa. It looks like I have interpreted you incorrectly in answering my questions 9-14 for you I assumed apparently incorrectly that you were arguing from empirical evidence for age of the rocks in accepting the gap theory and that your appeal to the exegesis was at least related in some way historically to the geology.”

    And along with him, we could all ask, “Where is your ‘scientific evidence’
    you have been touting as the basis of your conclusions, Sean? Have you now abandon your ‘scientific evidence’ for scriptural continuity as you see and understand it?

    I would hope you will stay with this scenario if it is really your real basis of faith instead of ‘scientific evidence’. If you do this, you will eventually see there is no “gap theory” possible if you simply adhere to scripture. There can only be one final authority. Either natural law science, or, the bible.

    Neither does the bible teach that the whole universe was created on day one. But this world was. As in “for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea and all that in them is…..”

    There is no “wiggle room” nor ambiguity in this statement. There is no possible “gap theory” that can be supported in light of this clear declaration which is in harmony with all the bible says concerning creation.

    The SDA church is “self destructing” by way of Pluralism and political expediency. When our self image in the world is more important than bible truth and a defense of the same, there can be no final outcome except a final rejection as God can and will opt for other means of grace to finish the work He has outlined for the SDA church. God has rules He goes by, and He will not violate those rules for anyone or anything. But He will find a people who care more about truth than human acceptance. I don’t think our church believes this. And presumption is now the norm instead of faith and submission.




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    • And along with him, we could all ask, “Where is your ‘scientific evidence’ you have been touting as the basis of your conclusions, Sean? Have you now abandon your ‘scientific evidence’ for scriptural continuity as you see and understand it?

      The credibility of Scripture is based on the “weight of evidence” that can be tested and evaluated. Does this mean that every statement of the Bible can be empirically tested? Of course not. If it could, we wouldn’t need the Bible. Again, you also appeal to empirical evidence, to historical science, as a basis for Biblical credibility.

      I would hope you will stay with this scenario if it is really your real basis of faith instead of ‘scientific evidence’. If you do this, you will eventually see there is no “gap theory” possible if you simply adhere to scripture. There can only be one final authority. Either natural law science, or, the bible.

      Science and Scripture shed light on each other. God is the author of nature, scientific reasoning and rational thought in general, and the Bible through inspiration. That is why they can all be in agreement. God does not desire blind faith without a basis in evidence and rational thought and understanding.

      Neither does the bible teach that the whole universe was created on day one. But this world was. As in “for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea and all that in them is…..”

      This is in conflict with the standard YEC interpretation of Genesis – a position which does in fact argue that the entire universe was created during creation week. From Wiki:

      “Young Earth creationism (YEC) is the religious belief that the Universe, Earth and all life on Earth were created by direct acts of the Abrahamic God during a relatively short period, sometime between 5,700 and 10,000 years ago. Its primary adherents are those Christians and Jews who, using a literal interpretation of the Genesis creation narrative as a basis, believe that God created the Earth in six 24-hour days.”

      This is the standard YEC position. This is also the position promoted by J.N. Andrews, one of the founders of Adventism. The notion that the universe pre-existed creation week assumes a gap between the first two verses of Genesis. This concept did not become generally prevalent until the 1800s.

      There is no “wiggle room” nor ambiguity in this statement. There is no possible “gap theory” that can be supported in light of this clear declaration which is in harmony with all the bible says concerning creation.

      That’s not true for many conservative thinkers who have honestly considered all the texts available on this topic. The Bible seems to me to leave open the possibility and even seems to suggest the likelihood that the basic raw materials of the Earth and the solar system could have already been here prior to creation week.




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  32. Sean

    I have read all your comments on this site and clearly do not follow some of your ideas as they seem so utterly strange and at times incongruous to me.

    It is clear from the questions that I did not appreciate your ideas.

    To summarize………………..expected…real SDP

    1 EGwhite != inerrant ………………Yes……Yes
    2 YEC before 18thC………………..…Yes……Yes
    3 Bible -> YEC valid pre 18thC……….Yes……No
    4 YEC = YUC……………………………….No……Yes
    5 YEC == YUC…………………………….No……Yes
    6 If YEC != YUC = PGT………………..…No……Yes
    7 modern YEC == YUC ………………….No……Yes
    8 God -> flood geology……………………Yes……No
    9 Wiki GT = true…………………………..Yes……No? (PGT!=GT?)
    10 earth = old ……………………………..Yes……Yes
    11 geology(radiometrics) -> old………..Yes …..No
    12 old age -> GT…………………………Yes…….Yes
    13 SP -> GT | others -> GT……………Yes…….No?
    14 geology-> PGT and GT = True…….Yes……No

    YUC = young universe creationism
    GT = gap theory
    PGT = passive gap theory
    -> results
    = equals/equivalent
    == identical
    != not equal/equivalent

    Looking at this summary the problem largely lies in your apparent assumption that YEC is equivalent to Young universe creationism. A position I have never heard explicitly articulated.

    You are attacking a strawman and as Bill Sorensen has said (and indeed the cited reference I have given from SDAs believe about heaven and earth) this is not the position of any Adventist YEC. I would also be surprised if any would think that God’s dwelling place was created Oct 4004 BC but they certainly would affirm the Biblical statement that the earth sun moon and stars (likely the milky way galaxy) was created in the creation week. I suspect if you removed the milky way you would effectively see no stars by the naked eye.

    I would be very surprised if modern YEC of other religious persuasion went any further than affirming that plain biblical statement of what was created.




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    • Looking at this summary the problem largely lies in your apparent assumption that YEC is equivalent to Young universe creationism. A position I have never heard explicitly articulated.

      I’m very surprised to hear this given your many references to Wiki articles on this topic. As noted by Wiki, the standard YEC position is that the entire universe was created during creation week.

      “Young Earth creationism (YEC) is the religious belief that the Universe, Earth and all life on Earth were created by direct acts of the Abrahamic God during a relatively short period, sometime between 5,700 and 10,000 years ago. Its primary adherents are those Christians and Jews who, using a literal interpretation of the Genesis creation narrative as a basis, believe that God created the Earth in six 24-hour days.”

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Young_Earth_creationism#Adhering_church_bodies

      This was also the position of J.N. Andrews and probably the position of Martin Luther as well – the standard YEC position that also assumes an equally young universe. Any position that assumes the pre-existence of the universe also assumes a form of a gap in time between the first two verses of Genesis.

      You are attacking a strawman and as Bill Sorensen has said (and indeed the cited reference I have given from SDAs believe about heaven and earth) this is not the position of any Adventist YEC.

      That is because most Young Earth Adventists believe in some form of the gap theory where some portions of the universe pre-existed the creation week – in line with many statements to this effect from Ellen White and the Bible.

      I would also be surprised if any would think that God’s dwelling place was created Oct 4004 BC but they certainly would affirm the Biblical statement that the earth sun moon and stars (likely the milky way galaxy) was created in the creation week. I suspect if you removed the milky way you would effectively see no stars by the naked eye.

      Some Adventists believe that the Milky Way Galaxy was created during creation week while others believe that only the solar system was created during this time.

      As far as objects that are visible outside of the Milky Way, they are relatively rare, of course, but there are a few exceptions. A star in Cassiopeia is just visible by the naked eye under ideal conditions and, in dark skies and with good vision, it is possible to see the Andromeda and Triangulum galaxies. In the Southern Hemisphere, one can also see the Small Magellanic Cloud and the Large Magellanic Cloud – both are “companion” galaxies to the Milky Way, and as such, are outside our galaxy, and visible to the naked eye.

      I would be very surprised if modern YEC of other religious persuasion went any further than affirming that plain biblical statement of what was created.

      For someone who claims to know so much about this topic, you evidently haven’t read much from AiG or CRI or other such YEC organizations. They strongly argue that the entire universe is young and that the whole thing was created, by God, during the creation week of Genesis. For example, consider the following passage from an ICR essay:

      “The stars (Gen. 1:14-19)—The sun, moon, and stars were created on the fourth day of the creation week. Individually and collectively they were to have different functions: dividing the day from the night, serving as navigational aids, as chronological indicators, for illuminating the earth, as well as for declaring the glory of God (Psalm 19:1). What is not often noticed is that “it was so” on the very day of their creation (Gen. 1:15). Granted, the Biblical word “star” (Heb: kokab; Gr: aster) is a broader term than our English usage of “star” as an energy source, and includes just about anything in space, but the point is that the stars—and the nearest is 4 1/2 light-years distant—were seen on the first day of their existence. This means that even if the distances are correct, the stars would merely have given the appearance of having been here longer. Therefore, the stars and the light beams connecting them visually to the Earth were both created at the same time.

      This concept raises several questions. First, does this not mean that God—like some magician—is intentionally deceiving us by making things appear to be older than they actually are? The question really goes back to the matter of intent: did God intend to fool us, or did He intend primarily to make things fully functional but we are fooled only because we view them with certain uniformitarian assumptions? Therefore, while it is true that the earth and the universe were created with the appearance of age, I think we do better to speak of the creation of a fully functional universe that, as a secondary feature, merely gives the appearance of age.”

      http://www.icr.org/article/214/

      Notice the argument that the entire “fully functional universe” was created on Day 4 of creation week.




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      • @Sean Pitman:
        Sean

        I do not claim any profound knowledge of YEC having long since found that position untenable but certainly at a time when I accepted unequivocally the conventional SDA YEC position it never included the entire universe but was as per the “SDA’s believe” statement. I started this discussion from that point. A young Earth creationism that assumed that somewhere between the eternal God his eternal dwelling place and this earth there was a point at which this earth and some part of the universe was created in 6 literal days within an eternal universe. I now find that in fact I may have actually been a peculiar Passive Gap Theory adherent that simply considered the earth and the milky way created in the creation week. Who would have thought?

        You may well be right and YEC and Fundamentalist within the ICR, CMI and AIG may be much more daft than I expected. Mind you the bar of expectation was extremely low anyway.

        I do accept that the cosmology of Luther was probably much more restricted than the cosmology of today and accept that for him the universe if indeed he thought it was created in the creation week may have been much more limited than we imagine. The same goes for EG White whose statements on infidel geology make no sense for me unless she was arguing for a young earth and against anyone who would advocate an earth that was 10’s of thousands of years or older.

        Given you do not accept any of the science of dating the earth

        1] Do you accept the big bang and an expanding universe?
        2] Do you have an age of the universe?
        3] Do you have an age for the earth and is the age of the universe the same as the age of the earth.
        4] Do you unequivocally reject the idea central to YEC that the non-biological substance of the earth is of recent origin
        5] I do appreciate that you date life on earth and all fossils at less than 10000 years but cant for the life of me see why you cannot include the earth in the 10000 years.

        Thanks

        .




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        • Given you do not accept any of the science of dating the earth

          1] Do you accept the big bang and an expanding universe?

          I do think that the universe is expanding at a very precise rate according to the “cosmological constant” (one of the finest tuned features of the universe that is currently known). I also think that this suggests a finite origin for the universe, consistent with the “Big Bang” theory. I think that perhaps the universe could also be eternal, but I do not recognize evidence that significantly counters the concept of the Big Bang.

          2] Do you have an age of the universe?

          I have no reason to doubt that the universe is at least ~14 billion years old.

          3] Do you have an age for the earth and is the age of the universe the same as the age of the earth.

          I do not have an age for the raw materials of the Earth. I would think, though, that the universe is older than the Earth.

          4] Do you unequivocally reject the idea central to YEC that the non-biological substance of the earth is of recent origin

          I favor the idea that the raw substance of the Earth is likely quite old, but I cannot entirely rule out the possibility that God created the entire Earth during creation week. I don’t think the Bible is definitive on this question either way.

          5] I do appreciate that you date life on earth and all fossils at less than 10000 years but cant for the life of me see why you cannot include the earth in the 10000 years.

          Because, I think it is quite possible, even probably, that the raw material of the Earth was already here – as was the universe and stars.




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  33. Gentlemen,

    I am learning much from this debate and thank you all. This is a strange mix of science and theology. But Dr. Pitman, to suggest that: the weight of the evidence supports your specific, hybrid, YLC, gap theory, ID, low function RMNS to the candid mind – leaves me in a cloud of incredulity.

    Our friend George raises an important point about science: we do rely upon experts in their fields of study. Are experts at time wrong? Certainly, but that is usually because other experts in the same field of study demonstate this. But after reviewing your website and your comments on Adventist theology -forgive me for saying so- it appears as if you are setting yourself up as an hybrid master of all fields and being very critical or defensive of those that criticize you. I am worried that you may not be seeing your very human fallibility.




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    • I am worried that you may not be seeing your very human fallibility.

      That could very well be, but how are you able to help explain to me the error of my ways? – if you yourself do not know how to explain the creative potential of random mutations and natural selection at various levels of functional complexity? After all, you keep telling me that “the experts disagree with you”. That’s certainly true! But, that statement, by itself, doesn’t answer my questions nor does it suggest that you personally know how evolution works beyond very low levels of functional complexity. You just think that some expert must know. Well, show me the published paper or at least try to come up with your own argument on the topic.

      So far, it is quite clear that you don’t personally understand the math or statistics involved at all. You just have faith that it must work somehow someway. Well, it’s fine to have a faith-based position. Just don’t call it “science”. It simply isn’t science from your perspective. It’s blind faith in the authority of the those you recognize as “the experts”.




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  34. All we can be sure of is this, by reading some of the on-line forums, we can know for a fact that “the church” is already split on more than a few basic fundamental bible issues. And we can also know that the vast majority of average church members either don’t know, or don’t care concerning many of these issues.

    In many cases, the average church member simply assumes “the church” (what ever that means) will somehow eventually “do the right thing” and feel little or no necessity to become involved.

    I really believe most people who are lost at last end up in this state simply because they have “sold” their moral accountability to some “church” entity.

    We have less accountability concerning our relationship to our civil government and the country we are citizens of, than our religious affiliations. Many are born in the USA. No one is “born” a Christian. It is by way of free choice we both join the church, and by the same free choice we remain members.

    The church must, or at least should, evaluate its members on some level, to determine who represents the church, and/or, who does not. And church members must evaluate the church on the same basis. If not, we always end up as the SDA church has, a split in spirituality and the question, “Can two walk together except they be agreed” is ignored with the hopes of some unity based on a political agenda instead of clear bible teaching.

    It is not minor differences that divide us today. It is major bible doctrines on many levels, and the fiasco at LSU is only one major problem in doctrine with many more equally important and devisive laying dormant ready to errupt in the near future. Unless individual members accept their responsibility on all these issues, many, if not most have no hope of heaven.

    It is vain to assume “the church” will simply do the right thing, and all we have to do is accept the leaders decisions on the various issues. “The church has decided” is not how we determine bible truth. But many seem to think so.




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  35. Dear Dr. Pitman

    I trutly confess my lack of expertise on many topics including evolutionary biology, math, hemeuneutics etc. And I appreciate that you have spent a great deal of your time studying all these areas. But are you a master and expert in all of them? Do put it bluntly, why should anyone have faith in ‘your’ version of Science when you show antipathy and extreme bias against anything that goes against your hybrid blend of theology and science?

    I know you are trying to win hearts and minds here but hubris is a very dangerous method when it comes to objectively persuading readers as to the correctness of your concepts. To claim that evolution is a just so fairy tale but your particular brand of creationism is clearly supported by the weight of the evidence is not doubt intrinsically convincing; but not so by most of your readers. Your argumentt regarding ‘faith’ in experts being equivalent to ignorance does not reflect the reality of a world of expertise. Experts in medicine, geology, biology, physics, chemistry gain that expertise for good reason. Might they be individually wrong? Might there be no findings by experts in their fields that might modify or change existing theories? Does Science continue to advance with new research? Of course! But to suggest that you can disprove the collective wisdom of the scientific community on many topics in which you do not have expertise strains the bounds of credulity.

    On the other hand, if you and you alone are right, eventually the objective eye of the scientific community will come along test and support your ideas. In the meantime I suspect I suggest you try to get a job teaching your particular brand of creationism at an Adventist institution and see if it will withstand academic and scientific scrutiny.

    I think you are a good man who does sincerely believe in what he advocates. But I also think that the objective eye of Science will always in time uncover ulterior motives of personal bias. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you being a man of faith and science but with affection and concern I hope you understand your human limitations. I do sincerly worry for you in this regard.




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    • I trutly confess my lack of expertise on many topics including evolutionary biology, math, hemeuneutics etc. And I appreciate that you have spent a great deal of your time studying all these areas. But are you a master and expert in all of them? Do put it bluntly, why should anyone have faith in ‘your’ version of Science when you show antipathy and extreme bias against anything that goes against your hybrid blend of theology and science?

      That’s just it. I’m not asking anyone to “have faith” in my position because I said so. Who am I? Nobody! Why should you believe me vs. the vast majority of the experts?

      You see, what I’m asking is not for faith, but for others to ask and try to answer certain key questions for themselves. I’m asking others to do their own investigation into the actual science involved and stop believing things just because this or that “expert” said so. Start learning and understanding the information directly – for yourself. A real scientific understanding requires personal investigation, testing, and understanding.

      Otherwise, you’re just a member of faith-based fundamentalist cult who goes to a different church. You have no personal understanding outside of what your “authority” tells you.

      I know you are trying to win hearts and minds here but hubris is a very dangerous method when it comes to objectively persuading readers as to the correctness of your concepts. To claim that evolution is a just so fairy tale but your particular brand of creationism is clearly supported by the weight of the evidence is not doubt intrinsically convincing; but not so by most of your readers. Your argumentt regarding ‘faith’ in experts being equivalent to ignorance does not reflect the reality of a world of expertise. Experts in medicine, geology, biology, physics, chemistry gain that expertise for good reason. Might they be individually wrong? Might there be no findings by experts in their fields that might modify or change existing theories? Does Science continue to advance with new research? Of course! But to suggest that you can disprove the collective wisdom of the scientific community on many topics in which you do not have expertise strains the bounds of credulity.

      There is good reason to begin one’s search for truth in any field of study by considering the opinions of the experts in that field. However, if this is as far as you’re willing to go, then you really aren’t thinking for yourself. It has often happened throughout history that the majority of experts, in multiple fields of study, have been proved wrong by an “amateur” who happens to have had special interest in a particular concept. In fact, it is a reality in science that a fantastic theory can be proved wrong by just one “ugly fact”.

      My question to you is, can you answer my questions or not? If you cannot, if the only reason why you cling to your beliefs is because you feel you stand with the majority of experts, that’s fine. It’s even reasonable to a certain degree. But, it isn’t scientific when it comes to addressing the questions at hand. It is a faith-based position that simply isn’t useful beyond blind appeals to authority – exactly the same as any religious fundamentalist would do. It is just that you’re appealing to a different source of authority that happens to be more popular among certain circles that you believe to be more credible is all.

      On the other hand, if you and you alone are right, eventually the objective eye of the scientific community will come along test and support your ideas. In the meantime I suspect I suggest you try to get a job teaching your particular brand of creationism at an Adventist institution and see if it will withstand academic and scientific scrutiny.

      I’ve been debating and asking questions of mainstream scientists, to include a few famous ones, for almost 20 years now. No one, no one at all, has been able to explain how random mutations can be directed by a function-based selection mechanism, like natural selection, to produce anything beyond very very low levels of functional complexity.

      This is THE fundamental problem for neo-Darwinism. Their mechanism simply doesn’t work and nobody knows how to make it work – nobody (not even you).

      I think you are a good man who does sincerely believe in what he advocates. But I also think that the objective eye of Science will always in time uncover ulterior motives of personal bias. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you being a man of faith and science but with affection and concern I hope you understand your human limitations. I do sincerly worry for you in this regard.

      I do appreciate your concern, but I’m still waiting for an answer to my question on natural selection…

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • I appreciate your answer. When we hear the title doctor, usually it conjures up thoughts that someone has “arrived”, so to speak. I appreciate your humility and explanation that you too are looking for answers. This is what we ALL need to do. Including those who are “teaching” in our institutions. Keep up the good thought provoking discussions, and let’s remember we are ALL in this TOGETHER. I don’t think we will have all the answers this side of Heaven and we will have eternity to discover more. Wouldn’t it be fun to have a class with our Creator as our “Professor”? I’m looking forward to it




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  36. Sean Pitman: It has often happened throughout history that the majority of experts, in multiple fields of study, have been proved wrong by an “amateur” who happens to have had special interest in a particular concept

    Again you make your point by reference to the exception. This is patently not true. What you should have said was.

    In exceptional circumstances it has happened some times in history that the majority of experts, in some fields of study, have been proved wrong by an “amateur” who happens to have had special interest in a particular concept.

    A list of around 20 instances of such circumstances would allow us to see the data on which your statement is based. Absent that I would have to say your statement is pure surmising and conjecture.

    Allowing for my revision of your statement to some level of credibility I am still left with your implication that you are such an ‘amateur” and certainly does nothing to ameliorate the charge of hubris.




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    • Again you make your point by reference to the exception. This is patently not true. What you should have said was.

      In exceptional circumstances it has happened some times in history that the majority of experts, in some fields of study, have been proved wrong by an “amateur” who happens to have had special interest in a particular concept.

      Of course such an occurrence is the exception rather than the rule. That should be obvious without the need for elaboration. The fact is that exceptions to the rule are important. Exceptions, in this case, mean that experts are not 100% reliable in their conclusions. They aren’t God.

      It is also not true that appeals to expert authority are somehow “scientific” in and of themselves. They aren’t. They have no inherent explanatory power when it comes to answering questions. It’s a faith based position, not a scientific position, just as much as any other faith-based appeal to some other source of authority is not scientific. Such a position is an unchangeable position outside of a change coming directly from the source of authority. Do you not recognize this as a faith-based position? – not a scientific position from the individual perspective?

      Allowing for my revision of your statement to some level of credibility I am still left with your implication that you are such an ‘amateur” and certainly does nothing to ameliorate the charge of hubris.

      Does it take some hubris to ask questions of the “experts”? – to question their conclusions? Certainly it does take at least some individuality and chutzpa to be skeptical, to try to be scientific in the evaluation of the evidence from one’s own perspective, when it flies in the face of popular opinion. It’s easy to be on the popular side… to go with the flow.

      In any case, if my hubris, a simple question actually, is without foundation, it should be rather easy to put me in my place by at least trying to address my question regarding the creative potential of random mutations and natural selection at various levels of functional complexity within a given span of time…

      Where is your math? Where is your demonstration? Where is any testable science or even a reasonable theoretical model regarding this particular question?




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  37. Sean Pitman: I’ve been debating and asking questions of mainstream scientists, to include a few famous ones, for almost 20 years now. No one, no one at all, has been able to explain how random mutations can be directed by a function-based selection mechanism, like natural selection, to produce anything beyond very very low levels of functional complexity.

    Its call evidence not certainty as you well know. You are asking for certainty. When we have been over the evidence for fitness in the face of continual mutations through natural selection using the models where this can be tested including eukaryotes and c elegans you concede that this is so but you respond with a yes but and demand that we show this in slowly reproducing mammals.

    When you demand we “conventional scientists” explain it to you and you then couch questions in such restrictive terms that is cannot at this time be answered it is little wonder that people particularly famous people simply concede ignorance and get on with something useful like doing experimental work and publishing new observations incremental though they may be. That you refuse to publish your ideas or any experimental work give further grounds to dismiss your questions as lacking gravitas or sincerity and representing merely rhetorical repartee.

    In a word you are a debater not a scientist and give little evidence of engaging seriously with the dialogue of science.

    Your latest totally incredible missive that you accept PGT because of the theology and not at all because of any science only reinforces such a conclusion.




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    • Its call evidence not certainty as you well know. You are asking for certainty. When we have been over the evidence for fitness in the face of continual mutations through natural selection using the models where this can be tested including eukaryotes and c elegans you concede that this is so but you respond with a yes but and demand that we show this in slowly reproducing mammals.

      You’re confusing concepts here. You’re talking about simply surviving the detrimental mutation rate without heading toward genetic meltdown (which is possible only with very high rates of reproduction that allow for the necessary death rate needed for natural selection to keep up with the detrimental mutations).

      That’s not the particular question I’m asking here. What I’m asking for here is a model of evolution via random mutations and function-based selection at various levels of functional complexity within a given span of time. That’s an entirely different question that has nothing to do with the detrimental mutation rate at all.

      And no. I’m not asking for absolute proof. I’m just asking for a reasonable model that can be tested in some way and has at least some demonstrable useful predictive value.

      When you demand we “conventional scientists” explain it to you and you then couch questions in such restrictive terms that is cannot at this time be answered it is little wonder that people particularly famous people simply concede ignorance and get on with something useful like doing experimental work and publishing new observations incremental though they may be. That you refuse to publish your ideas or any experimental work give further grounds to dismiss your questions as lacking gravitas or sincerity and representing merely rhetorical repartee.

      In a word you are a debater not a scientist and give little evidence of engaging seriously with the dialogue of science.

      Your latest totally incredible missive that you accept PGT because of the theology and not at all because of any science only reinforces such a conclusion.

      The mechanism of random mutations and natural selection is the very heart and soul of neo-Darwinism. If you cannot explain how this mechanism works beyond very low levels of functional complexity, within a reasonable amount of time, then where is the “science” behind your position? Beyond just-so story telling?

      It’s a very simple question…




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  38. “I don’t think we will have all the answers this side of Heaven and we will have eternity to discover more.” Wayne

    This may well be true, Wayne. But we always end up with this important question, “What must I do to be saved?” And we never get beyond this question in this life. So we should always be searching for answers as well as seeking to know what to ask. Since we don’t know for sure, we can never become complacent or indifferent in seeking to ask and answer questions.

    Seventh-day Adventism is not a well defined Christian faith. We have two or three things that we try to maintain our identity on, but have no real comprehensive stated doctrines. Even our “Fundmental Beliefs” have a disqualifier at the beginning of the book that denies the book is “official SDA teaching”.

    The liberals have “made hay” as it were, because of this reality. And they hold themselves as being beyond discipline because of the Pluralism in the church.

    EGW never tolerated Pluralism when it denied and attack basic positions laid down by the pioneers. And she carefully articulated bible Adventism in her books. She “run out of the church” men like Kellogg, Canright, Ballenger, and even Jones and Waggoner, and never let her personal feelings determine who she would oppose and who she would support.

    In opposition to error she stated, “And when men standing in the position of leaders and teachers work under the power of spiritualistic ideas and sophistries, shall we keep silent, for fear of injuring their influence, while souls are being beguiled? Satan will use every advantage that he can obtain to cause souls to become beclouded and perplexed in regard to the work of the church, in regard to the word of God, and in regard to the words of warning which He has given through the testimonies of His Spirit, to guard His little flock from the subtleties of the enemy.” {SpTB02

    Our church leaders are “silent” on anything they fear may be devisive. EGW was not. She opposed error, be it friend or foe. In her day the church was not a mature bible believing community of believes, and we are far from being such in our modern spiritual situation. She constantly chided all church members be be careful students of the word. Today there is more confusion than clear unity on many biblical concepts related to the end time scenario. This means the real shaking must necessarily be near and will be decisive in seperating the sheep from the goats.




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  39. Sean Pitman: You’re confusing concepts here.You’re talking about simply surviving the detrimental mutation rate without heading toward genetic meltdown (which is possible only with very high rates of reproduction that allow for the necessary death rate needed for natural selection to keep up with the detrimental mutations).

    That’s not the particular question I’m asking here.What I’m asking for here is a model of evolution via random mutations and function-based selection at various levels of functional complexity within a given span of time.That’s an entirely different question that has nothing to do with the detrimental mutation rate at all.

    And no. I’m not asking for absolute proof. I’m just asking for a reasonable model that can be tested in some way and has at least some demonstrable useful predictive value.

    The mechanism of random mutations and natural selection is the very heart and soul of neo-Darwinism.If you cannot explain how this mechanism works beyond very low levels of functional complexity, within a reasonable amount of time, then where is the “science” behind your position?Beyond just-so story telling?

    It’s a very simple question…

    Your dismissal of natural selection is not based on lack of knowledge of the science but on your adherence to a fundamentalism that cannot possibly accept a natural cause for the evolution of life.
    To ask for more explanation simply shows a lack of insight and self awareness. If one came from Abraham’s bosom and explained it at length you would still not understand. I for sure cannot accept that role and do not expect to achieve anything by giving you further explanation in terms of the science.

    If after conceding that you believe that the evolution of all species from 2 of a kind occurred in a period 4000 years by a process of natural selection and random mutation, that deleterious mutations in simpler species are removed by a process of natural selection, that our immune system is completely dependent on a process of natural selection from randomly produced diversity its seems inconceivable that you would not understand why natural selection as a process has potency as a underlying premise of modern biology. You are simply inescapably captured by confirmation bias contingent on your fundamentalist heritage.
    I can honestly articulate my views, admit the breadth of ignorance in science, affirm the things that are not yet demonstrably false but I cannot help you deal with your heritage.




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    • Did I miss the part where you presented any mathematical analysis or evidence of any kind for your evolutionary mechanism actually working at various levels of functional complexity? – as in systems that require a minimum of more than 1000 specifically arranged amino acid residues? vs. those that require, say, less than 200?

      You continually present low-level examples of evolution like that somehow means something when it comes to explaining evolution beyond these low-level examples. It’s like arguing that since evolution between 3-letter words is easy it should be just easy to evolve between Shakespearean sonnets via function-based selection mechanisms.

      cat-hat-bat-bid-did-dig-dog

      This is easy because the ratio between meaningful vs. meaningless 3-letter sequences in the English language is about 1:18

      However, when you’re talking about evolving something on the level of Dawkins’ “Methinks it is like a weasel” phrase, that’s not nearly as easy to do via any function-based algorithm because the ratio between meaningful vs. meaningless sequences at this length is truly miniscule. Do you not see this as a problem for the evolutionary algorithm?

      You don’t seem to understand the exponential nature of the problem involved with your assertions for the creative potential of this mechanism of RM/NS. Each step up the ladder of functional complexity is exponentially more difficult to realize than the step that came before…

      But, perhaps you’re too blinded by your confirmation bias and your chosen Darwinian fundamentalist heritage to consider such things in any real detail. Specifically, regarding your most current argument:

      If after conceding that you believe that the evolution of all species from 2 of a kind occurred in a period 4000 years by a process of natural selection and random mutation,

      What I said is that low-level allelic changes can be realized within a gene pool in very short order. The number of allelic options in the modern dog gene pool, for example, could easily be realized in just a few thousand years starting with just 2 individuals. The vast majority of these allelic changes only deal with quantitative functional differences, not qualitatively new traits. And, those traits that are qualitatively new are only based on novel systems that require no more than a few hundred specifically arranged amino acid residues. There simply are no examples of evolution in action that produce any qualitatively novel system that requires more than 1000 specifically arranged amino acids to function.

      Consider something like the multi-protein rotary bacterial flagellar system. This system requires a minimum of over 5000 specifically coded residue positions, all working in a specific 3D arrangement relative to each other, to function. No such system has ever been shown to evolve. There’s not a single example in all of literature of such a thing. Not one. why not? Because of the odds, that’s why. The odds of the evolution of any system at this level of functional complexity, from any other pre-existing subsystems of any size or complexity, is extremely unlikely this side of trillions upon trillions of years of time.

      that deleterious mutations in simpler species are removed by a process of natural selection,

      This is most certainly true because the “simpler species” you reference have a very high reproductive/death rate… much much higher than can be tolerated by humans or any other mammalian species for instance. You still don’t grasp the concept that natural selection works through a mechanism of death before reproduction. Without death before reproduction natural selection cannot work at all. The greater this death rate, the more effective natural selection can be at removing deleterious mutations from the gene pool. Of course, this means that as the detrimental mutation rate increases in a linear manner, the required death rate needed to keep up increases exponentially (by 1 – e^-U where U is the detrimental mutation rate).

      that our immune system is completely dependent on a process of natural selection from randomly produced diversity

      Do you not understand how the immune system works? Let me present a few key facts for you just in case:

      Each educated T-cell (that has already been taught not to attack “self” antigens) has only one type of receptor so only one specific non-self antigen can be recognized. But, how many possible antigens are there? “The total number of possible epitopes is, therefore, 20^B since there are 20 different amino acids.” Well, the typical length of an antigen epitope (“B” in the preceding formula) is about 20 amino acid residues. So, the total number of possible antigen epitopes is about 20^20 or 104,857,600,000,000,000,000,000,000 or ~100 trillion trillion.

      Since there are so many trillions of different possible antigen epitopes, how does one’s immune system cope with such a variety of potential enemies? Well, there are many immune cells produced by the body. In humans, in particular, about 10^12 lymphocytes are present at any given time.

      Not all the T-cells have different Y-shaped receptors, but many of them do. They have been pre-programmed to recognize a relatively large section of antigen “sequence space”. Therefore, the odds are very good that if enough non-self enemies get into the body that at least one of the immune cells will recognize the non-self marker sequences or “antigens” located on this invader as “foreign” to at least some useful degree. The odds that a single T-cell will recognize a random epitope to at least some useful degree is about 1 in 10^12. So, does this mean it would take a trillion different T-cells to cover all possible invaders? Well, no. The reason is because an average cell or foreign invader “bug” has about 10^12 different antigen epitopes. So, on average, a single T-cell will recognize at least one of the potential antigen epitopes of a foreign invader.

      When this happens this particular T-cell sounds the alarm that the body has been invaded. Other immune cells, called B-cells, are also activated, but only those that specifically produce antibodies that have a pretty good match to the foreign antigen epitope expressed by the invading organism. The invader, with its non-self antigens, is attacked. However, if only a few immune cells recognize the invader upon initial exposure, the initial attack might be rather weak. The resulting sickness may linger on for some time before the body can kill off the offending invader. The good thing is that the immune system remembers this particular invader for the future so it can kill the invader more quickly if it ever sees its particular antigen marker again. But how does this memory work?

      The B-cell that recognized the foreign antigen clones itself to make many nearly identical copies of itself – with slight variations. Now, there are many B-cells that will recognize this particular foreign antigen. If infected again by an invader with this particular antigen, the immune system is ready and produces many more specific antibodies than before. This kills the invader much more quickly – making the body “immune” to this particular bug.

      So, you see, this is not an example of high-level evolution. It is only evolution within a sequence space size of 20aa or so… a sequence space that is easily covered by the immune system because of its relatively small size.

      http://www.detectingdesign.com/immunesystem.html

      its seems inconceivable that you would not understand why natural selection as a process has potency as a underlying premise of modern biology.

      Natural selection does indeed have very strong potency when it comes to producing low-level functional changes. However, as already explained many times, this mechanism loses its potency, in an exponential manner, with each step up the ladder of functional complexity. You simply refuse to grasp this concept because of your preferred evolutionary bias. Otherwise, this concept is very simple and downright obvious.

      You are simply inescapably captured by confirmation bias contingent on your fundamentalist heritage.

      You’re the one with confirmation bias that prevents you from even trying to consider evolution beyond the lowest levels of functional complexity. You have no examples. You have no statistical argument. You have no science here.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • @Sean Pitman:
        Thanks for the lesson on TcR biology. You might indeed be interested in our recent paper in Nature Communications on TcR and clonotypic diversity.

        That you would suggest a scientist has little knowledge of immunology without looking to see that most of his 100 peer reviewed publications concern this, some would construe evidence of excessive hubris.

        I have changed my mind on the origins just as I have in many areas of science and likely will do so again. I am sorry but at this time I do not however feel compelled to do so because of your manifest subservience to the maths.

        My Christian faith and my approach to the sacred text is informed by science but as I have suggested before it is not dependent on any particular scientific understanding. As I have said many times before I am a Christian because of non-scientific evidences and a faith that God has revealed Himself in the incarnation in Jesus. I am a follower of Jesus Christ. A Christian.




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        • Thanks for the lesson on TcR biology. You might indeed be interested in our recent paper in Nature Communications on TcR and clonotypic diversity. That you would suggest a scientist has little knowledge of immunology without looking to see that most of his 100 peer reviewed publications concern this, some would construe evidence of excessive hubris.

          I know of your background in biology. However, you did think to cite the immune system as an example of “high-level evolution” for some very strange reason given your background. It just isn’t high level evolution at all – not remotely. It functions within very low-level sequence space (and uses template matching very similar to Dawkins’ “Weasel algorithm” to boot). By what measure do you consider evolution within ~20aa sequence space an example of “highly level” evolution of novel functional systems? – remotely comparable to systems that require several thousand specifically arranged residues to achieve their functions?

          I have changed my mind on the origins just as I have in many areas of science and likely will do so again. I am sorry but at this time I do not however feel compelled to do so because of your manifest subservience to the maths.

          That’s obvious since you don’t seem to think much of mathematical analysis or predictive value (i.e., science). I have yet to see you present any statistical support for your own position – for your own claims that random mutations and natural selection can produce anything beyond very low levels of functional complexity this side of a practical eternity of time. You simply assert this claim – without evidence of any kind. You have no examples and you have no mathematically relevant model. How is this not just so story telling on your part?

          My Christian faith and my approach to the sacred text is informed by science but as I have suggested before it is not dependent on any particular scientific understanding. As I have said many times before I am a Christian because of non-scientific evidences and a faith that God has revealed Himself in the incarnation in Jesus. I am a follower of Jesus Christ. A Christian.

          That’s fine, but you’re not a Seventh-day Adventist Christian and you don’t believe much of anything when it comes to the fundamentals of Christianity at large. Your “Christianity” is not only independent of any particular scientific understanding, it also seems to be independent of anything the Bible has to say about God or Jesus or anything else. Your faith seems to me to be more of a Christian ethic, not a belief or faith in very many, if any, of the claims of the Bible regarding various historical and/or future realities. You also don’t hold very many of the doctrinal positions of the Bible, to include many of those spoken by Jesus Himself, to be “true”.




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  40. Sean Pitman: What I said is that low-level allelic changes can be realized within a gene pool in very short order. The number of allelic options in the modern dog gene pool, for example, could easily be realized in just a few thousand years starting with just 2 individuals. The vast majority of these allelic changes only deal with quantitative functional differences, not qualitatively new traits

    Ok lets consider the primates rather than Dogs as a model of the 4000 year scenario.

    Have a look at the recent paper on great apes. Thanks to the open access approach of modern genetics research completely accessible to you to critique.

    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v499/n7459/full/nature12228.html

    Specifically I would like to know

    1] Do you think that there was a great ape kind or was there chimp orangutan and gorilla kinds on the ark?

    2] Do you think there were 2 of a great ape kind or 2 of each species.

    3] What is the levels of homozygosity that you would expect from a starting population or 2 in 4000 years.

    4] How do you relate the genetic diversity of the populations to the geographic features that resulted in the diversity. ie do you think that the islands of Borneo and Sumatra separated in the last 4000 years. Do you think the Sanaga river formed in the last 4000 years after the original chimps left the ark or did the animals simply migrate in different directions?




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    • 1] Do you think that there was a great ape kind or was there chimp orangutan and gorilla kinds on the ark?

      I would guess that separate great ape, chimp and orangutan gene pools were originally created since I don’t think hybridization is possible – but I really don’t have enough information to make a determination beyond conjecture. Sequence similarities between coding genes isn’t enough. It isn’t about what is similar. It’s about what is functionally different that determines evolvability.

      Also, I fail to see how this is relevant to the concept of producing a bunch of low-level allelic changes in a few thousand years?

      2] Do you think there were 2 of a great ape kind or 2 of each species.

      I don’t understand this question?

      3] What is the levels of homozygosity that you would expect from a starting population or 2 in 4000 years.

      I don’t think it matters as far as generating low-level allelic changes is concerned.

      4] How do you relate the genetic diversity of the populations to the geographic features that resulted in the diversity. ie do you think that the islands of Borneo and Sumatra separated in the last 4000 years. Do you think the Sanaga river formed in the last 4000 years after the original chimps left the ark or did the animals simply migrate in different directions?

      I do think that various forms of population isolation play a role in producing diversity of alleles.

      ___________________________________

      Now, answer a few questions for me if you would:

      1) Do you see a difference between evolution between 3-character sequences and 20-character sequences?

      2) Do you think that Dawkins’ famous “Weasel” evolution algorithm uses function-based selection?

      3) What is the difference in the ratio of meaningful vs. meaningless sequences that are 3-characters long vs. 20-characters long?

      4) Do you think this ratio differences has anything to do with the rate of evolution? – Yes or No and why…

      5) Why did you reference the immune system as an example of evolution when you “already knew” that it works within ~20aa sequence space? – if you already knew that it’s a very low-level template matching example of RM/NS?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  41. Sean Pitman: 1) Do you see a difference between evolution between 3-character sequences and 20-character sequences?

    Yes but it is totally irrelevant to the discussion of the relationship between humans and other great apes and the the evidence for any historical relationship.

    2) Do you think that Dawkins’ famous “Weasel” evolution algorithm uses function-based selection?

    I am happy to concede that it is a pretty pathetic model for selection based on outcome. The outcome is clearly contrived and is not convincing to me.

    Now if we want to examine linguistic evolution which is what you are actually talking about with sequences of letters and meaning I would be fascinated to know how you think languages creoles and dialects evolve. After all there are innumerable languages which make no sense to me either as oral or written language. I would be fascinated to see any data you can muster on this.

    3) What is the difference in the ratio of meaningful vs. meaningless sequences that are 3-characters long vs. 20-characters long?

    I am not sure this is a meaningful scientific question. Maybe for linguistics as I have esuggested but certainly not to my interest and research in biology. I have not studied it and cant find anything meaningful in the scientific literature beyond the linguistics.

    4) Do you think this ratio differences has anything to do with the rate of evolution? – Yes or No and why…

    Yes. Obviously the the bigger the changes or specific sequence you demand the less likely this will occur by chance. Dawkins weasely example was merely trying to say that a large change can occur by some mechanism of incremental selection.

    5) Why did you reference the immune system as an example of evolution when you “already knew” that it works within ~20aa sequence space? – if you already knew that it’s a very low-level template matching example of RM/NS?

    Sorry I obviously did not make it clear but I was merely giving an example of the way random changes generate the repertoire from which natural selection can decide outcome. I did suggest that this was one of the evidences that biologists found compelling as an example of variation and natural selection.

    At least for MacFarlane Burnet who with peter Medawer received his Nobel prize for clonal selection theory thought this process was basic to all biology and went on as I am sure you will have read in his subsequent books that random generation of diversity and natural selection were both the basis of purposeful immunological responses and evolution of species.

    There is obviously a big difference between our perspective on limits of changes

    You have defined the limit as 1000fsaar
    I do not see any difference between micro and macroevolution and think that macroevolution derives from small incremental changes over long periods of time.

    Short of you demonstrating the 1000 fsaar limit in some system that differs between humans and great apes I will consider your scenario lacking scientific credibility

    Sorry




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    • 1) Do you see a difference between evolution between 3-character sequences and 20-character sequences?

      Yes but it is totally irrelevant to the discussion of the relationship between humans and other great apes and the the evidence for any historical relationship.

      What difference do you see between evolution between systems that require a minimum of 3 vs. 20 character sequences?

      You seem to agree that function-based selection, when it comes to evolution in the English language system, is limited to very low levels of functional complexity because of the exponentially decreases ratio of potentially beneficial vs. non-beneficial with each increase in the minimum size requirement. However, you don’t seem to think this same situation translates into protein-based or DNA-based systems.

      Why not? What’s different about protein and/or DNA-based systems of function? Are the functions that result not based on a specific arrangement of characters? – exactly like the English-language system? Do not random mutations have the potential to alter, change, or destroy functionality? – exactly like the English-language system?

      Where then is the fundamental difference?

      It seems to me like all language/information systems work the very same way – regardless of if you’re talking about English, Russian, German, Chinese, computer code, Morse code, proteins, or DNA. They all experience an exponential decrease the ratio between potentially beneficial vs. non-beneficial with each increase in the minimum size requirement of the sequence of characters. It is for this reason that mindless evolutionary algorithms will not replace authors or computer programmers or God.

      2) Do you think that Dawkins’ famous “Weasel” evolution algorithm uses function-based selection?

      I am happy to concede that it is a pretty pathetic model for selection based on outcome. The outcome is clearly contrived and is not convincing to me.

      Great! We seem to be on the same page so far…

      Now if we want to examine linguistic evolution which is what you are actually talking about with sequences of letters and meaning I would be fascinated to know how you think languages creoles and dialects evolve. After all there are innumerable languages which make no sense to me either as oral or written language. I would be fascinated to see any data you can muster on this.

      Human languages don’t evolve by random mutations and function-based selection. They evolve by intelligent design…

      3) What is the difference in the ratio of meaningful vs. meaningless sequences that are 3-characters long vs. 20-characters long?

      I am not sure this is a meaningful scientific question. Maybe for linguistics as I have esuggested but certainly not to my interest and research in biology. I have not studied it and cant find anything meaningful in the scientific literature beyond the linguistics.

      Why then do you think most random mutations are either detrimental are neutral with respect to functionality?

      In a paper published in 2000, Thirumalai and Klimov make the following relevant comments:

      The minimum energy compact structures (MECSs), which have protein-like properties, require that the ground states have H residues surrounded by a large number of hydrophobic residues as is topologically allowed. . . There are implications of the spectacular finding that the number of MECSs, which have protein-like characteristics, is very small and does not grow significantly with the size of the polypeptide chain.

      The number of possible sequences for a protein with N amino acids is 20^N which, for N = 100, is approximately 10^130. The number of folds in natural proteins, which are low free energy compact structures, is clearly far less than the number of possible sequences. . .

      The number of protein structures is far less than the number of sequences. By imposing simple generic features of proteins (low energy and compaction) on all possible sequences we show that the structure space is sparse compared to the sequence space. Even though the sequence space grows exponentially with N (the number of amino acid residues [by 20^N]) we conjecture that the number of low energy compact structures only scales as lnN [The natural logarithm or the power to which e (2.718 . . . ) would have to be raised to reach N] . . . The number of sequences for which a given fold emerges as a native structure is further reduced by the dual requirements of stability and kinetic accessibility. . . We also suggest that the functional requirement may further reduce the number of sequences that are biologically competent.

      So if, as sequence space size grows by 20N the number of even theoretically useful protein structures only scales by the natural log of N, this differential rapidly produces an unimaginably huge discrepancy between potential target and non-target systems. For example, the sequence space size of 1000aa space is 20^1000 = ~1e1301. According to these authors, what is the number of potentially useful protein structures contained within this space? It is 20ln1000 = ~1e9. And, since only a tiny fraction of sequences are able to make any useful protein structure, you can clearly see that the ratio of stable, much less useful or beneficial, protein sequences declines exponentially with each increase in the minimum size/specificity requirement.

      This is identical to what happens with any language/information system were meaning is based on a specific sequence or arrangement of characters or basic building blocks or parts. All such systems experience the very same exponential decay in ratio with each linear increase in the number of specifically arranged characters or parts required.

      4) Do you think this ratio differences has anything to do with the rate of evolution? – Yes or No and why…

      Yes. Obviously the the bigger the changes or specific sequence you demand the less likely this will occur by chance. Dawkins weasely example was merely trying to say that a large change can occur by some mechanism of incremental selection.

      What if the selection mechanism is based on function, not on a sequential match to a pre-existing sequence? Then, the ratio of functional vs. non-function sequences becomes very important because it suggests a growing non-beneficial gap distance between islands of function within sequence space. As the minimum distance between one island and the next increases linearly, the “random walk” distance increases exponentially – as does the average time to success.

      5) Why did you reference the immune system as an example of evolution when you “already knew” that it works within ~20aa sequence space? – if you already knew that it’s a very low-level template matching example of RM/NS?

      Sorry I obviously did not make it clear but I was merely giving an example of the way random changes generate the repertoire from which natural selection can decide outcome. I did suggest that this was one of the evidences that biologists found compelling as an example of variation and natural selection.

      At least for MacFarlane Burnet who with peter Medawer received his Nobel prize for clonal selection theory thought this process was basic to all biology and went on as I am sure you will have read in his subsequent books that random generation of diversity and natural selection were both the basis of purposeful immunological responses and evolution of species.

      Yes, but you’re in a discussion with me here and you already know that I accept low-level examples of evolution in action via RM/NS. I’d hardly call evolution within 20aa sequence space anything close to the level of 1000 saars that I keep telling you is the statistical limit to evolutionary progress. There are hundreds and thousands of such low-level examples in literature. Why then do you feel the need to continually list these low-level examples off when I’m only asking you for higher level examples?

      There is obviously a big difference between our perspective on limits of changes

      That is because you admittedly haven’t even considered the problem of changing ratios of potentially beneficial vs. non-beneficial sequences at different levels of functional complexity. That is why your perspective is based on what you imagine must be possible without any real basis in empirical information or science.

      You have defined the limit as 1000fsaar. I do not see any difference between micro and macroevolution and think that macroevolution derives from small incremental changes over long periods of time.

      Based on what evidence for the statistical tenability of your mechanism to cross the non-beneficial gap distances in sequence spaces at this level and beyond?

      Short of you demonstrating the 1000 fsaar limit in some system that differs between humans and great apes I will consider your scenario lacking scientific credibility

      Why humans vs. apes? Why not deal with systems where a bit more is known about the functional differences?

      Also, there are functional differences between humans and apes that are based on structures that requires far more than 1000 specifically arranged amino acid residues – like human brain structure and function for example.




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  42. Pard,


    Where is your math? Where is your demonstration? Where is any testable science or even a reasonable theoretical model regarding this particular question?”

    Exactly. Now Pard, apply your exact standard to your specific YLC model of origins or else you are using a double standard as I suggested. You can’t on one hand say ‘where is your math’ and then turn around and hide behind the YLC weight of the evidence curtain and play scientific peekaboo. Can’t you see the conundrum?




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    • I’ve given you the “math” or evidence for the young life perspective. The rapid buildup of detrimental mutations in every slowly reproducing organism (such as all mammals for instance) is one mathematical evidence. Another is the existence of antigenically active complex proteins (such as hemoglobin and histone proteins) and DNA fragments in dinosaur bones (which all kinetic chemistry models of protein and DNA degradation at ambient temperatures strongly suggest that no intact portions of DNA or complex proteins should remain beyond a few tens of thousands of years). Another evidence is the persistence of radiocarbon in any non-fossilized organic remains of fossils as well as coal and oil (beyond a level than can resonably be explained by the standard “contamination” or “local radiation” arguments). And, the list goes on and on.

      Compare this with your assertions for the creative potential of RM/NS without providing any higher level examples or statistically tenable model for your mechanism doing anything at or beyond the level of 1000 specifically arranged amino acid residues. Again, you have no evidence. You have no science for your model – at all. All you have is blind faith, arguments from authority, and wishful thinking. That’s not a valid argument beyond just-so story telling. That’s simply not science.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  43. Further to the issue of immunological evolution I would suggest that anyone interested in this question start from this summary of the key early papers on the retrotransposon origin of the RAG gene function that was prepared by NCSE for the Doer trial.

    http://ncse.com/book/export/html/2520

    It was obviously much more convincing to the Judge than Behe’s concession that God was needed to make ID an intelligible hypothesis.

    I am sure, of course, that you have read all of these references but I have not seen a detailed critique from you specifically on the origins of adaptive immunity, Rag gene origin and the origin of the gene families that represent the core of immunity (Ig family molecules, TNF family, cytokine families and the chemokine families.

    I would be interested to know why you think the designer did not use the same highly efficient adaptive immune system found in vertebrates in invertebrates and had such cumbersome systems of highly replicated Ig genes in cartelaginous fish?

    I would like a bit better considered response than to my last 4 questions on primates where your responses were

    I would guess….
    I don’t understand….
    I don’t think it matters….
    I do think that….

    This I am sorry to say falls well short of the mathematical elegance you demand of others and which the detailed analysis in the paper obviously called for.
    wa
    This




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    • Further to the issue of immunological evolution I would suggest that anyone interested in this question start from this summary of the key early papers on the retrotransposon origin of the RAG gene function that was prepared by NCSE for the Doer trial.

      http://ncse.com/book/export/html/2520

      It was obviously much more convincing to the Judge than Behe’s concession that God was needed to make ID an intelligible hypothesis.

      That’s because the Judge Jones didn’t and doesn’t have any understanding of the difference between low-level evolution (within 20aa sequence space, which is very very low level indeed), and higher level evolution at the level of something like the rotary bacterial flagellum (which requires a minimum of over 5000 specifically coded aa positions). There’s a huge difference here which the Judge Jones, and you, don’t seem to appreciate. The non-beneficial gap distances are very small in 20aa sequence space, but are truly enormous in 5000aa sequence space. That is why the immune system works very well via RM/NS in 20aa sequence space while there are no examples, at all, of anything qualitatively new evolving at or beyond the level of the sequence space size/specificity of 1000 saars

      I am sure, of course, that you have read all of these references but I have not seen a detailed critique from you specifically on the origins of adaptive immunity, Rag gene origin and the origin of the gene families that represent the core of immunity (Ig family molecules, TNF family, cytokine families and the chemokine families).

      I would be interested to know why you think the designer did not use the same highly efficient adaptive immune system found in vertebrates in invertebrates and had such cumbersome systems of highly replicated Ig genes in cartelaginous fish?

      One does not need to know the reasons why a designer did anything before one can be able to recognize design behind various systems or even basic structures.

      Let’s say our Mars Rover happens to come across a highly symmetrical polished granite cube measuring, say, one meter on each side. Such a cube would be clear evidence of intelligent design for most candidly minded people – including most scientists. This determination would be made, however, without the need to know why the designer of this cube decided to create it, by what mechanism it was created, or why it happens to be on Mars. None of this information is needed in order to detect the need to invoke the hypothesis of intelligent design…

      I would like a bit better considered response than to my last 4 questions on primates where your responses were

      I would guess….
      I don’t understand….
      I don’t think it matters….
      I do think that….

      This I am sorry to say falls well short of the mathematical elegance you demand of others and which the detailed analysis in the paper obviously called for.

      Hardly. You keep asking for things for which there is insufficient evidence or information. If you think there is sufficient evidence, why don’t you tell me about the functional genetic differences between the creatures you wish to compare? If you find one that requires a minimum of more than 1000 saars, then you’ve found something that cannot be explained by RM/NS.

      What you need to do is one of two things.

      1) Find an example of evolution in action that actually produces a qualitatively novel system of function in any kind of living thing which requires more than 1000 specifically arranged amino acid residues.

      2) Present a tenable statistical model of how such a system could be evolved via random genetic mutations and a function-based selection mechanism.

      If you can do either one of those things, you will have moved from just-so story telling to an actual scientific hypothesis.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  44. Well Pard,

    Those examples don’t look like math you have worked out for yourself. Are you relying on other experts for your evidence? I thought you said I shouldn’t do that! Once again you seem to be applying a double standard when it comes to proving up your case.




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    • Those examples don’t look like math you have worked out for yourself. Are you relying on other experts for your evidence? I thought you said I shouldn’t do that! Once again you seem to be applying a double standard when it comes to proving up your case.

      Please do reference the experts regarding any actual scientific argument that is relevant to my question regarding the creative potential of RM/NS beyond very low levels of functional complexity! – beyond just-so story telling. I’ve repeatedly asked you for any published paper, from the “experts” or anyone else for that matter, that details the statistical basis, the odds, for random mutations and function-based selection (i.e., natural selection) working beyond very low levels of functional complexity.

      The problem, you see, is that there is no such paper in scientific literature. There is no observation of evolution in action beyond very low levels of functional complexity and there is no paper in literature that presents a statistical model for the evolutionary mechanism of RM/NS producing anything beyond very low levels of functional complexity. Such papers simply do not exist. That is why you need to sit down and do the math for yourself. The Wilf and Ewing paper you did reference for me doesn’t even discuss the creative potential of a function-based selection mechanism. It doesn’t deal with how natural selection works at all.

      That is why the popular claims for the creative potential of RM/NS are just-so story telling – not science. Because, they aren’t based on direct observation or statistical probability analysis for a function-based selection mechanism working at various levels of functional complexity. If you can come up with something along these lines, you’ll be the first.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  45. Sean Pitman: What you need to do is one of two things.

    1) Find an example of evolution in action that actually produces a qualitatively novel system of function in any kind of living thing which requires more than 1000 specifically arranged amino acid residues.

    2) Present a tenable statistical model of how such a system could be evolved via random genetic mutations and a function-based selection mechanism.

    If you can do either one of those things, you will have moved from just-so story telling to an actual scientific hypothesis.

    ….. why don’t you tell me about the functional genetic differences between the creatures you wish to compare? If you find one that requires a minimum of more than 1000 saars, then you’ve found something that cannot be explained by RM/NS.

    1] This is truly astounding. We have been over this all before; it is not me that is claiming that the majority of scientists in large swaths of biological and physical sciences are incorrect and just-so story tellers. The onus is on you to show the limits not me.

    2] If you want scientific credibility publish your critique where it counts. I accept the published evidences outside my area of expertise in good faith and make up my own mind where I have the time and resources to investigate.

    3] I do not think your questions are delivered in good faith. Your assertions is based on a particular Biblical understanding. You after all claimed on this very thread that you are a PGT supporter only because of the Bible and all evidence for the age of the earth have had absolutely no effect on your Bible based conclusions that the earth is billions of years old.

    3] If you seriously want me to answer your question from a scientific point of view then you need to couch them properly. You have been very woolly in your thinking about 1000fsaar. Do you mean a single large protein, a protein complex of multiple subunits, a system of interacting or cascading proteins or cummulative changes in amino acids in all the proteins in a functional organ such as a brain? You will need to propose an hypothesis with specificity so that an experimental protocol can be defined that allows a yes/no answer. We can go back again to chimp and human brain development but as I recall that was highly unsuccessful in eliciting any specificity about 1000fsaar limits.

    4] If you intend me to answer your question for you then you will have to provide me with the resources to do so. I would think a salary for a research fellow for 3 – 6 months or for outsourcing the bio-informatics should allow this to be done. Perhaps you can write the grant to get that money from NIH or similar funding body. You or course would be in a position to tap into the creationist organization that do original research.

    5] It is not true that the resources to analyse human and great ape evolution is not available. there is abundant complete genomic data on more than 1000 humans and many higher primates. All the expressed genes are known and the miRNA and non-coding RNA changes can be inferred from the sequence.

    6] But we both know you are not really serious about actually analysing your pet theory on 1000fsaar limits of evolution.

    7] Even if I did do the analysis and found no new system in human that was anywhere near your poorly formulated criteria for limits because of your particular biblical understanding you have and will reject any evidence I might provide. I am happy to concede there is no answer to your questions. After all I have stopped beating my wife, have you?




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    • 1] This is truly astounding. We have been over this all before; it is not me that is claiming that the majority of scientists in large swaths of biological and physical sciences are incorrect and just-so story tellers. The onus is on you to show the limits not me.

      You’re the one claiming the science is so clear. Where is it? Where is the “science” you keep telling me about regarding RM/NS beyond very low levels of functional complexity? Surely you know? – if you understanding is nearly as good as you claim…

      Come on now, you’re telling me that you see the non-beneficial gap problem when it comes to short vs. long English character sequences (which is quite unusual for an evolutionist to admit to by the way). But, you don’t see that there is a similar problem for functional protein and/or DNA sequences? Really? Upon what basis is there any difference? You say that you don’t know because you haven’t studied into protein and/or DNA sequence-space issues. Well, if you haven’t studied into this problem, how do you know your mechanism can do the job? How do you know that your position is backed up by any relevant science that has any useful predictive value?

      Oh, you fall back on the argument that, “The concept of levels of functional complexity hasn’t been defined very well.” Of course, that’s just not true. This concept has been very precisely defined.

      For example, Hazen et. al. define functional complexity as follows:


      1) n, the number of letters in the sequence.

      2) Ex, the degree of function x of that sequence. In the case of the fire example cited above, Ex might represent the probability that a local fire department will understand and respond to the message (a value that might, in principle, be measured through statistical studies of the responses of many fire departments). Therefore, Ex is a measure (in this case from 0 to 1) of the effectiveness of the message in invoking a response.

      M(Ex), the total number of different letter sequences that will achieve the desired function, in this case, the threshold degree of response, r^Ex. The functional information, I(Ex), for a system that achieves a degree of function, r^Ex, for sequences of exactly n letters is therefore

      I(Ex)= – log2 [M(Ex) / C^n] (C = number of possible characters per position)

      What is also interesting is that Hazen et. al. go on to note that, “In every system, the fraction of configurations, F(Ex), capable of achieving a specified degree of function will generally decrease with increasing Ex.” And, according to their own formulas, this decrease is an exponential decrease with each linear increase in n – or the number of “letters” or characters (or in this case amino acid residues), at minimum, required by the system to achieve the beneficial function in question.

      Consider also (as illustrated in the above diagram) that viable sequences with a given level of functionality are separated in sequence space in “islands” that are not connected with each other. The gaps between these islands grows, in a linear manner, with each increase in minimum functional complexity of beneficial systems under consideration.

      In this light, also consider the work of those like Yockey on estimates of CytoC ratios in sequence space. Yockey’s estimate for the number of sequences with the CytoC function is around 1e65 for 100aa sequence space. This works out to be around the average FSC density of the sequences listed by Durston of around 2.2 Fits per site. For a 100aa sequence with an FSC density of 2.2 the Durston formula would produce (1/2^220)(20^100) = 1e63; which is pretty close to the Yockey prediction. Direct experimentally-determined degrees of sequence flexibility using cassette mutations by those like Sauer, Olsen, Bowie, Axe and others seem to confirm these rough general estimates for individual system ratios.

      So, what do such ratios say about sequence/structure space? What do they mean? These very small ratios strongly suggest that fairly specified systems like CytoC and other such systems are relatively rare in sequence space. Just to get some sort of idea, the entire Sahara Desert contains only about 1e30 grains of sand. And, there are only about 1e80 atoms in the whole universe! Protein sequence space quickly becomes much much larger than many universes.

      What does this have to do with anything though? Well, consider the odds that anything within our gene pool of 1e30 bacteria (with the features noted above) will be within one residue difference of a particular protein-based system with an overall FSC value of 2.2.

      An FSC density of 2.2 would produce 1e63 protein sequences with a size of 100aa for a ratio of proteins with the given function in question of about 1 in 1e67 (or 1e-67 out of a total sequence space size of about 1e130). For a 1000aa system minimum with the same FSC density the total number of sequences with the function in question would be about 1e638 – – a very very large number. However, the total size of sequence space at this level is about 1e1301 (i.e., 20^1000). This produces an overall ratio of 1 in 1e663. So, the overall ratio of 1e-663 at the 1000aa level is a far far smaller number compared to the 100aa level of FSC of 1e-67 – given the same degree of overall specificity. A difference of almost 600 orders of magnitude is not really even comparable.

      So, in this light, what hasn’t been provided, by you your anyone else, is some relevant analysis as to how successfully the mechanism of RM/NS would work at various levels of functional complexity…

      2] If you want scientific credibility publish your critique where it counts. I accept the published evidences outside my area of expertise in good faith and make up my own mind where I have the time and resources to investigate.

      I’m just seeing if you know the answer to my simple question. If you do not know the answer, where is your “science”?

      3] I do not think your questions are delivered in good faith. Your assertions is based on a particular Biblical understanding. You after all claimed on this very thread that you are a PGT supporter only because of the Bible and all evidence for the age of the earth have had absolutely no effect on your Bible based conclusions that the earth is billions of years old.

      My questions are delivered in good faith – are yours? I’m asking you for empirical evidence to support your claim that the mechanism of RM/NS is capable of creating stuff beyond very very low levels of functional complexity. How is this not a “good faith” question? any less than the questions you present?

      As far as my position on the PGT of creation, there is very good evidence, empirical evidence, for the recent arrival of life on this planet and for the recent formation of the fossil record. I believe that this evidence trumps the radiometric dating methods used to argue that life has existed and evolved for hundreds of millions of years on this planet. I therefore question radiometric dating assumptions in general – to include using them to date the overall age of the material of the planet. The question therefore remains open for me – regarding the age of the basic materials of the planet. It could be very old indeed given that the Bible does seem to suggest the universe and the basic materials of the Earth existed prior to creation week. Exactly how old everything is, I don’t know.

      3] If you seriously want me to answer your question from a scientific point of view then you need to couch them properly. You have been very woolly in your thinking about 1000fsaar. Do you mean a single large protein, a protein complex of multiple subunits, a system of interacting or cascading proteins or cummulative changes in amino acids in all the proteins in a functional organ such as a brain? You will need to propose an hypothesis with specificity so that an experimental protocol can be defined that allows a yes/no answer. We can go back again to chimp and human brain development but as I recall that was highly unsuccessful in eliciting any specificity about 1000fsaar limits.

      I’ve answered all of these questions very specifically for you before.

      1) I’m not talking about a protein-based system that must use only one protein. Have you missed the many times that I’ve specifically mentioned a rotary flagellar system or an ATPsynthase system as being examples of systems functioning at higher levels of complexity (well beyond a minimum of 1000 specifically arranged aa residues)?

      2) Cascading systems, as in enzymatic cascades, do not require a specific 3D orientation of residues to achieve their functionality, so these would not qualify – as I’ve explained to you before.

      3) The basic concept of levels of functional complexity is not a novel concept. It is published in literature.

      Also, I’m not asking for an example of a complex system being produced “from scratch”. Start with anything that already exists within the pool and use that to produce a qualitatively novel higher-level system where the system that is evolved requires a minimum of more than 1000 specifically arranged, in 3D space, amino acid residues.

      4] If you intend me to answer your question for you then you will have to provide me with the resources to do so. I would think a salary for a research fellow for 3 – 6 months or for outsourcing the bio-informatics should allow this to be done. Perhaps you can write the grant to get that money from NIH or similar funding body. You or course would be in a position to tap into the creationist organization that do original research.

      Really? You guys are supposed to already know the answer. If you do not know the answer by now, where is your science? How do you know that RM/NS can do what you claim it did if you have no idea as to have fast or slow it will work at various levels of functional complexity?

      5] It is not true that the resources to analyse human and great ape evolution is not available. there is abundant complete genomic data on more than 1000 humans and many higher primates. All the expressed genes are known and the miRNA and non-coding RNA changes can be inferred from the sequence.

      Ok, show me a functional difference beyond the level of 1000 specifically arranged residues and you’ll effectively prove that they were originally separate gene pools.

      6] But we both know you are not really serious about actually analysing your pet theory on 1000fsaar limits of evolution.

      What we both know is that you have no examples of evolution in action at or beyond this level and you have no idea how your mechanism works at various levels of functional complexity. You have no science here my man.

      7] Even if I did do the analysis and found no new system in human that was anywhere near your poorly formulated criteria for limits because of your particular biblical understanding you have and will reject any evidence I might provide. I am happy to concede there is no answer to your questions. After all I have stopped beating my wife, have you?

      Again, the criteria for levels of functional complexity have been published in literature. They are not poorly formulated as you suggest, but are very clearly defined. What then is your excuse for being unable to present a single example of evolution in action beyond the very low levels you’ve presented thus far and for your complete lack of any statistical analysis at various levels of functional complexity?

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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      • @Sean Pitman:

        Sean lets cut to the chase. I view theoretical biology in much the same way as I view theoretical pathology. A quaint idea that is removed from reality. I am a simple person that likes to see concrete realities.

        Your arguments based on statistical improbability of natural selection is like arguing that H2O2 does not exist because the thermodynamic stability for 2H2O2-> H20 + O2 is so high that the reaction can never go the other way. Of course in reality there is such a thing as H2O2 and it is very useful so any statistical argument is moot. How does this unstable and statistically improbably chemical exist? by clever chemistry as wiki describes it

        “Today, hydrogen peroxide is manufactured almost exclusively by the Riedl-Pfleiderer or anthraquinone process which was formalized in 1936 and patented in 1939, and involves the autoxidation of a 2-alkyl anthrahydroquinone (or 2-alkyl-9,10-dihydroxyanthracene) to the corresponding 2-alkyl anthraquinone. Major producers commonly use either the 2-ethyl or the 2-amyl derivative. The cyclic reaction depicted below shows the 2-ethyl derivative, where 2-ethyl-9,10-dihydroxyanthracene (C16H 12(OH)2) is oxidized to the corresponding 2-ethylanthraquinone (C16H12O2) and hydrogen peroxide. Most commercial processes achieve this by bubbling compressed air through a solution of the derivatized anthracene, whereby the oxygen present in the air reacts with the labile hydrogen atoms (of the hydroxy group), giving hydrogen peroxide and regenerating the anthraquinone. Hydrogen peroxide is then extracted and the anthraquinone derivative is reduced back to the dihydroxy (anthracene) compound using hydrogen gas in the presence of a metal catalyst”
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrogen_peroxide

        Simple really or you could as the immune system does use an enzyme NADP oxidase to generate free radical including hydrogen peroxide by water energy and oxygen.

        You assume you know all the variables in your statistical models but overlook the possibility that this is completely voided by the catalytic and enzymatic properties of life. mathematical models are useful but invariably simplify and assume. They are a biologist servant not his master. If something statistically improbable exists then there is a problem with the statistics not the reality.

        We both agree that random changes and natural selection can generate evolution. We disagree only on the limits.
        I maintain that chimps and humans are related by common ancestory. You claim they are not.

        I say that all the differences between chimps and humans are based on small changes in multiple coding and non-coding regions. There are no dramatic changes such as development of completely new ciliary motor.

        You maintain that since, a priori, they cannot be related there must be a limit defined by some statistically high barrier and you go on to claim that it is a 1000 fsaar barrier.

        I claim that the current sequence data has found nothing like this. You claim that nonetheless this limit must exist in these species.

        I now ask you yet again to show me what it is and where it is in genomic sequence of chimp and human.




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        • You assume you know all the variables in your statistical models but overlook the possibility that this is completely voided by the catalytic and enzymatic properties of life. mathematical models are useful but invariably simplify and assume. They are a biologist servant not his master. If something statistically improbable exists then there is a problem with the statistics not the reality.

          I’m in shock! Now its not just natural selection acting on random mutations to cross non-beneficial gaps in sequence space, it’s some kind of “enzymatic properties of life”?! Amazing! Where are these special magical enzymes and how do they work? And, if these magical enzymes do really exist, why aren’t there any examples of evolution in action beyond very low levels of functional complexity? Why can’t we seem them working in any kind of real life demonstration? In other words, where is your “reality” that counters the statistical argument?

          My point is that you have neither the reality nor the statistical arguments on your side. Everything is against your story that the mechanism of RM/NS is remotely capable of doing what you claim it did. So, where is your basis for belief? – the basis of your faith in this little mechanism? Some magical enzyme that you can’t see, feel, touch, or test, but must somehow be there because it can’t possibly have been the result of deliberate design?

          We both agree that random changes and natural selection can generate evolution. We disagree only on the limits.

          That’s right. You claim that there are no limits with regard to levels of functional complexity – based on magical enzymes. Where is your science for this conclusion? Where is the predictive power for your hypothesis? Where is any evidence of any kind beyond the non-scientific argument that, “No God would have done it that way”?

          I maintain that chimps and humans are related by common ancestory. You claim they are not.

          The claim here isn’t about common ancestry. It’s about the creative mechanism of random mutations and natural selection. Clearly humans and chimps are “related”, along with all other living things, through a common origin of some kind. The problem here is mechanism that explains the differences. You argue that the mechanism that explains all differences, regardless of their functional complexity, is RM/NS. Based on what? Wishful thinking and magical enzymes?

          I say that all the differences between chimps and humans are based on small changes in multiple coding and non-coding regions. There are no dramatic changes such as development of completely new ciliary motor.

          If that were true then we have no argument. However, when you’re talking about neo-Darwinism in general, you’re talking about a point in time when rotary bacterial flagellar motors did not exist. How where such machines created? Magical enzymes?

          You maintain that since, a priori, they cannot be related there must be a limit defined by some statistically high barrier and you go on to claim that it is a 1000 fsaar barrier.

          I never made the claim that humans and apes “cannot be related” via common descent – via RM/NS. What I said is that any novel functionality that exists within one or the other gene pool that requires more than 1000 specifically arranged amino acid residues cannot be explained by RM/NS. There’s an important difference here.

          However, the more and more that is learned about the functional differences between humans and apes, the more and more it seems unlikely that certain differences cannot be explained by RM/NS. For example, there are several unique functional differences involving the brain. Apes do not have the nervous system control needed for speech or writing. No one has been able to teach an ape to talk or to write in English or any other human language system. Such functionality requires a fair degree of novel brain complexity in humans. Speech and writing skills are controlled, in humans, by two fairly large sections of the cerebral cortex within the parietal and frontal lobes. These particular regions have many neuronal connections with other parts of the brain’s cortex and with each other. In comparison, apes do not have these specialized functional areas or the extensive connections that humans have.

          What could be responsible for building and maintaining this difference in brain structure and function? Well, it turns out that about 8% of non-coding miRNAs are unique to humans.

          The different miRNA repertoire, as well as differences in expression levels of conserved miRNAs, may contribute to gene expression differences observed in human and chimpanzee brain. Although the physiological relevance of miRNAs expressed at low levels remains to be shown, it is tempting to speculate that a pool of such miRNAs may contribute to the diversity of developmental programs and cellular processes . . . For example, miRNAs recently have been implicated in synaptic development and in memory formation. As the species specific miRNAs described here are expressed in the brain, which is the most complex tissue in the human body, with an estimated 10,000 different cell types, these miRNAs could have a role in establishing or maintaining cellular diversity and could thereby contribute to the differences in human and chimpanzee brain … function.”

          Eugene Berezikov, et. al., “Diversity of microRNAs in human and chimpanzee brain”, Nature Genetics, Vol 38 | Number 12 | December 2006 pp. 1375-1377.

          A study published by Nature in early 2010 shows just such a difference between the Y-chromosomes of humans and apes. The Y-chromosome for chimps had never been completely sequenced and mapped directly before this study was performed. It showed many striking differences between human and chimp chromosome structure, gene content, and even qualitatively unique genes between the two species. As far as looking at specific genes, the chimp and human Y-chromosomes seem to have a dramatic difference in gene content of up to 53 percent. In other words, the chimp is lacking approximately half of the genes found on a human Y-chromosome. Because genes occur in families or similarity categories, the researchers also sought to determine if there was any difference in actual gene categories. They found a shocking 33 percent difference. The human Y-chromosome contains a third more gene categories, entirely different classes of genes, compared to chimps. (Link)

          Additional research carried out by scientists at the University of Oxford and the University of Chicago (A. Auton, et. al., 2012) found that hotspot regions that determine the locations for genetic recombination during cellular meiosis in sexual reproduction showed “no overlap between humans and chimpanzees.” This was an “extraordinarily unexpected finding.”

          In any case, there really is no discussion at all here until you are able to recognize the limitations of RM/NS mechanism with regard to levels of functional complexity – something you have not done. Until your are able to do this, there is no point in having any further discussion.




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  46. Sean Pitman:
    Really? You guys are supposed to already know the answer. If you do not know the answer by now, where is your science? How do you know that RM/NS can do what you claim it did if you have no idea as to have fast or slow it will work at various levels of functional complexity?

    ………..
    Ok, show me a functional difference beyond the level of 1000 specifically arranged residues and you’ll effectively prove that they were originally separate gene pools.

    The point is not whether or not random mutation and natural selection is responsible for all of evolution but that evolution occurs and there is no clear limit to this process. You concatenate the 2 questions by arguing that since neo-darwinian models of selection has limits then evolution cannot occur.

    Scientists like Jerry Fodor argue that natural selection is insufficient to explain evolution but do not at all deny that evolution has occurred. I think he does have some valid arguments but remain unconvinced that natural selection can be discarded as the most likely natural explanation for evolution at species level and beyond.

    As for knowing all the answers I have always claimed that I know only something about a small area of knowledge, acknowledged that there is ignorance on many questions in all areas including biblical exegesis and accept in good faith expertise in others for what I lack time and resources to know.




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    • So, there must be some other evolutionary mechanism, besides RM/NS, that can account for higher levels of functional complexity? Like what? – besides magical “life enzymes”… What is this other mysterious mechanism that removes the need to invoke intelligent design? And, where is the evidence for its creative potential?

      Why do you so desperately cling to the notion that some kind of mindless naturalistic mechanism must be responsible when you have no empirical demonstration of such and when you have no statistical argument to support this conclusion? It seems to me that your entire argument is entirely philosophically based. You just don’t think God would have done certain things and therefore you must appeal to some kind of mystical mindless mechanism.

      That’s all fine and dandy, but how is it “scientific”?

      It’s also fine to claim personal ignorance. However, upon what basis can you continue to go around arguing that you have a scientific basis for your position? – outside of a faith position in the credibility of your chosen “experts”? In other words, does it really matter what evidence may or may not be presented to you? Would you actually change your mind independent of your experts changing their minds? If they maintained their view would you ever change yours? If not, how is this any more of a scientific position, from an individual perspective, than a “Bible thumping fundamentalist” who appeals to empirically blind faith in the credibility of the Biblical claims or church traditions?




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      • @Sean Pitman:

        Sean I can see yet again why you have never found anyone to explain the science to you. I join the ranks of those who have tried and dismally failed.

        I truly am way too sanguine in once again trying to discuss issues of science and faith. If I clearly cannot communicate the idea of ignorance of process as a confounder in statistical analysis without being accused of believing in magic I do not deserve to be given access to your site.

        Grace and peace to you.




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        • Grace and peace to you as well…

          It seems likely to me, however, that the candid reader who considers your position carefully, as you’ve articulated it here in this forum, is unlikely to come away with the idea that the science behind the fantastic creative potential of the evolutionary mechanism(s) is very solid beyond very low levels of functional complexity – that your claims to the contrary are based on little more than “ignorance of process” or metaphysical notions that perhaps some other as yet unknown mechanism, besides RM/NS, must be in play. I don’t think I’m alone, then, in suggesting that your arguments thus far do not appear to be empirically based. I would suppose that most would conclude that real scientific arguments should be based on a bit more than an appeal to “ignorance of process” or some as yet “undiscovered mechanism” or “enzymes of life” to explain an observation. Real scientific hypotheses use statistical analysis and testable predictions that generate useful predictive power – something you have never presented when it comes to explaining the origin of higher levels of functional complexity.

          In short, if you cannot present an empirical basis for the odds for an event happening in a given span of time, where is your testable hypothesis and its predictive power (i.e., science)? How is your position anything other than wishful thinking and just-so story telling?

          Sean Pitman
          http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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    • Pauluc wrote: “there is no clear limit to this process.”

      Paul,

      There are two fundamental laws of biology,

      1) The Law of Biogenesis: Life comes from life only

      2) The Law of Heredity: after their kind

      The Law of Heredity is clearly the limit of evolution.

      It has been proven over and over again.

      @Pauluc:




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  47. To my Pards Pauluc and Sean

    Interesting stuff, well beyond my scientific abilities. However, the real test is if Dr.Pitman can convince other scientists he is right in his theories. If not, then he is swimming in his own solipsistic pseudo scientific sea.




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    • Science is a popularity contest? Empirical evidence isn’t really needed as long as we have “expert opinion” to tell us what is true and what isn’t? What happened to the concept that real science must be based, not on popular opinion, but upon testable, potentially falsifiable, hypotheses and theories that produce at least some level of useful predictive power?

      If you only go with what’s popular or what your chosen “expert(s)” have to say, how are you being scientific in your thinking? How are your arguments from authority, without personal understanding of the empirical evidence at hand, not solipsistic arguments? Are you not effectively saying, “All I need is my own point of reference and nothing more than that”? If you are unwilling to consider the empirical evidence as an external reference point with which to judge and evaluate the credibility of your chosen “experts” and what they claim about this or that, how is it that you are living outside of your own solipsistic world? What advantage do you have over the religious fundamentalist who will not consider anything beyond what his or her “Holy Book” is saying or what the church claims about this or that?

      Consider the comments of the well-known Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias along these lines.

      Ravi was asked:

      What do you say to a pastor who says, “Apologetics is just philosophy, and we do not need that. All we need is the Bible.”

      I desperately wish it were that simple. When pastors believe and teach, “All we need is the Bible,” they equip their young people with the very line that gets them mocked in the universities and makes them unable and even terrified to relate to their friends. If pastors want their young people to do the work of evangelism, to reach their friends, that line will not get them anywhere. Even the Bible that Christ gave us is sustained by the miracle of the Resurrection.

      The Resurrection gave the Early Church the argument that Christ is risen: We saw, we witnessed, we felt, and we touched. The apostle Paul defended this gospel. He went to Athens and planted a church there. In Ephesus he defended the faith in the school of Tyrannus. We also need to become all things to all people.

      If a pastor says, “All we need is the Bible,” what does he say to a man who says, “All I need is the Qur’an”? It is a solipsistic method of arguing.

      The pastor is saying, “All I need is my own point of reference and nothing more than that.” Even the gospel was verified by external references. The Bible is a book of history, a book of geography, not just a book of spiritual assertions.

      The fact is the resurrection from the dead was the ultimate proof that in history, and in empirically verifiable means, the Word of God was made certain. Otherwise, the experience on the Mount of Transfiguration would have been good enough. But the apostle Peter says in 2 Peter 1:19: “We have the Word of the prophets made more certain as to a light shining in a dark place.” He testified to the authority and person of Christ, and the resurrected person of Christ.

      To believe, “All we need is the Bible and nothing more,” is what the monks believed in medieval times, and they resorted to monasteries. We all know the end of that story. This argument may be good enough for those who are convinced the Bible is authority. The Bible, however, is not authoritative in culture or in a world of counter-perspectives. To say that it is authoritative in these situations is to deny both how the Bible defends itself and how our young people need to defend the Bible’s sufficiency.

      It is sad that some people think a person who asks, “Why the Bible?” is being dishonest. This is a legitimate question.

      (Interview with Ravi Zacharias: Defending Christianity in a Secular Culture.)




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  48. Dr Pitman,

    Do you actually publish any scientific papers that are reviewed by the scientific community on yout theories? I don’t science has to be popular but surely it has to be criticslly examined by experts to see if theories hold water? I have read on your website, but it seems to be just commentary rather than your original research?




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    • The question is if you or anyone else has even tried to explain how the evolutionary mechanism (RM/NS) can tenably work beyond very very low levels of functional complexity. The answer to that question is no. This means that this mechanism is not backed up by what anyone would call real science. It’s just-so story telling. That’s it. There is nothing in scientific literature detailing the statistical odds of RM/NS working at various levels of functional complexity. And, there is no demonstration beyond systems that require a few hundred averagely specified residues.

      What is interesting is that no one who controls the mainstream journals will publish any observations as to why a real scientific basis for the Darwinian mechanism is lacking. The basic information is there. Contrary to Pauluc’s claims, a precise definition of “levels of functional complexity” has been published, along with what happens to the ratios of potential beneficial vs. non-benficial sequences. What no one is allowing to be published is the implications of this information.

      Regardless, the implications should be clear to you. The math is overwhelmingly clear. If the ratio of beneficial vs. non-beneficial goes from 1 in 100 to 1 in 1,000,000,000,000 the fact that the average time to success will decrease quite dramatically doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out. Evolutionists, who have actually seriously considered this problem must recognize the implications here, but seem to be trying to brush it all under the rug because no one knows of any other viable mechanism (again, despite Pauluc’s unsupported claims to the contrary – to include his “life enzymes”).

      In any case, it is possible for you to move beyond blind faith in the unsupported claims of your “experts” and consider the information that is available to all for yourself. Start at least trying to do a little math on your own and you will no doubt recognize the problem for yourself regardless of what your experts continue to claim – without any basis in empirical evidence or science.

      Sean Pitman
      http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  49. Pingback: Dr. Paul Cameron and the God of the Gaps | Educate Truth

  50. Sean Pitman: I don’t see that happening since the YEC position is not and has not been favored over the YLC position in the Adventist Church – either by the church leadership or by conservative academics. And, even if, for some very strange reason, the YEC position were to be clearly supported by the language of FB#6, that wouldn’t change my position. What it would do is force me to no longer advocate for my YLC views if I were to become a paid representative of the church. I would actually have to advocate for the YEC position as the most reasonable interpretation of the Genesis account – something I could not do. Therefore, I could not work for the SDA Church in good conscience.

    Note the suggested wording from Autumn council

    “God is creator of all things, and has revealed in Scripture the authentic and historical account of His creative activity. In a recent six-day creation, the Lord made ‘the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them’ and rested on the seventh day. Thus He established the Sabbath as a perpetual memorial of His creative work performed and completed during six literal days that together with the Sabbath constituted a week as we experience it today. The first man and woman were made in the image of God as the crowning work of Creation, given dominion over the world, and charged with responsibility to care for it. When the world was finished it was ‘very good,’ declaring the glory of God.”

    http://spectrummagazine.org/blog/2013/10/16/good-news-bad-news-day-annual-council-diary-day-five

    Well Sean it now seems from the clear statement that you are indeed not orthodox adventist

    “In a recent six-day creation, the Lord made ‘the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them’ and rested on the seventh day”

    Seems pretty clearly YEC not YLC to me.




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  51. Sean Pitman:
    Oh please.You do realize that there are difference kinds of “heavens” in Hebrew understanding? This is not a statement arguing that God made the entire universe…

    Come on Sean.

    Why obfuscate and attempt to railroad the discussion onto what is the heavens and recycle your nonsense about YEC being restricted only to an absurd YUC. The question is about an old earth.

    What the statement clearly and unambiguously says is that the earth (and heaven whatever you may say that is) was created in the 6 literal days of creation. There is absolutely no wriggle room for an old earth in this statement. It says earth and heavens ie something beyond the earth and all that lives in them. BOTH earth itself and life in 6 days.

    It seems very clear that Ted Wilson sees Ellen Whites statements about infidel geologists as referring to all and any belief that would make the earth itself older than 6000 years as I inferred he probably would.

    We are in the same boat here. I think that you, me, Goldstein, Davidson, Younker, Pfandl and others will all have to admit we are out of step and we live with the consolation that it is a non-creedal statement of belief that has a preamble that does allow a minority view that the earth is billions of years old. Or have you changed your mind on the age of rocks so you disagree with me.

    It does raise an interesting question for Goldstein. He will certainly have to curtail his ridiculing of YEC.




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    • This is the same language used by the Bible. Whatever “wiggle room” the Bible leaves open is still open when one uses this language. The Bible is not clear that the “creation of the heavens and the earth” means that the material of the Earth itself was created during creation week. Quite the opposite is true. The Bible seems to suggest that something was here prior to creation week. Or, at the very least, leaves this question open.




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