Concerning reproductive life of the antedeluvians; “I don’t see this …

Comment on The End of “Junk DNA”? by pauluc.

Concerning reproductive life of the antedeluvians;

“I don’t see this “implied” by the text. The Bible simply doesn’t say when the antediluvians became too old to have children”.

You are correct but the text uses the same formula for each patriarch

“the patriach” was x years when he had his first son
he had many other sons and daughters
he lived for y years after his first son
he lived at total/died/was translated at z years.

In most translations including the NIV phrases 2 and 3 are concatenated. I am reading that as saying during the y years he had many sons and daughters and that he was reproductively active during all the y years. Why else provide the redundant information if not to define his reproductive life?

“Given the linear model (which I agree with) an increased rate of 2 mutations per year, starting at the age of 30 years, works out to less than 1600 mutations at the age of 800 years. This is in line with the yearly average mutation rate we humans currently suffer per generation (about 2-3 mutations per year on average or between 50-100 SNPs per generation).”

You cannot have your cake and eat it too. Either we are on the brink of mutational meltdown ala John Sanford and your previous posts or we are tolerant of mutations as you suggest by allowing for 1600 mutations per generation rather than the currently measured 100 mutations at paternal age of 29.7 years. Which is it? Can humans tolerate 1600 mutations per generation or not?

“As already discussed, we are headed toward an eventual genetic meltdown. We are not in meltdown mode now, of course, but we are clearly headed downhill genetically and will eventually reach the tipping point.”

If we can tolerate 309-1600 mutations over the current 102 when precisely do you predict the tipping point?

“I’m sorry, but I was under the impression that it was you who wanted to invoke God to explain such things – not me. I’ve never invoked God to explain genetic bottlenecks or the current state of affairs starting with a single breeding pair. The available scientific evidence is perfectly consistent with the Biblical account of such a bottleneck as well as the decline of genetic quality of all slowly reproducing gene pools since their original creation. You’re the one who is trying to say that this is not possible outside of a miracle, not me.”

Yes indeed I am saying either there is a miracle to explain the genetic variety in all species starting from a gene puddle some 4000 years ago or the creation of the gene puddle did not occur. You want magically to have front loading of vast genetic potential in a population of 2 and the development of essentially all the allelic variation found in species today to have arisen over a period of 4000 years. I think you will find most geneticists would agree with me in finding that scenario scientifically incomprehensible.

“It is the Bible that testifies of Jesus Christ, His nature and origin. Undermine the Bible’s credibility, and you undermine any rational faith you may have in the story of Jesus and any of His claims. You can’t rationally have one without the other. They go hand-in-hand. Certainly Jesus Himself saw it that way. He took the Scriptures seriously – to include the Genesis account of origins. He believed the stories of Genesis and referenced them as literally true. He even claimed to have personally witnessed prehistoric events. Do you believe Him or not?”

Of course I believe Him, after all I am a disciple of Christ. But do I interpret the canon describing his life and sayings that were selected by the church some 200 years after His death? Of course I do, just like you do. That our interpretations differ is not surprising since you have an american adventist heritage and I do not. (as an aside are you related to the Pitmans of Wawona?). After spending 2 weeks in the US I can see that one cannot be impervious to cultural influences any more than were the inspired writers whose writings were collected in the canon. I accept that the writings in the canon and many of those excluded were inspired but hold to the Adventist doctrine on inspiration that does not see the text as inerrant. I accept that those included in the canon were better quality and contained less error as judged by the Church closer to the events. I do not have a black and white view of what is truth and what is not or what is inspired and what is not. Whether we have a nuanced view of inspiration and truth or not what is critical is not our knowledge or understanding but our acceptance of Gods grace and salvation and our willingness to live a life of discipleship that reflects that Grace. Whether I am right or wrong in specific issues of understanding of the natural world or biblical interpretation is unimportant and will be revealed with time. I do worry that your belligerance toward honest people of science such as Lee Grismer at La Sierra poorly reflects that Grace.

pauluc Also Commented

The End of “Junk DNA”?
There is a great gulf between You and I. Where does one start in trying to find common ground and responding to your very concrete thought structure. Its as if the last 200 years have not happened. Your view of natural theology may have been accepted by William Paley but is not an approach to God thought valid by most modern theologians with any acquaintance with science. It is not the 19th century and we are called to preach the grace of God to a secular world. Your vision shows no imagination or understanding of spirituality or the reality and value of vision, myth and abstract concepts that may have no correspondence in concrete realities. Do you agree with Martin Luther in his statement about scripture trumping observation;

“People gave ear to an upstart astrologer who strove to show that the earth revolves, not the heavens or the firmament, the sun and the moon. Whoever wishes to appear clever must devise some new system, which of all systems is of course the very best. This fool [or ‘man’] wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy; but sacred Scripture tells us that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, and not the earth.”
– Martin Luther, Table Talk

If you truly privilege scripture over science you should really revamp this web site to be consistent with the supremacy of scripture along the lines of the site A site that is at least absolutely consistent with biblical literalism as Luther saw it.

The reality however is that both you and I interpret the scriptures. As I have said before you appear to practice naturalistic evidence based medicine contrary to the biblical description of healing but then pretend that you are following the plain text of scripture when reject entirely naturalism when it comes to origins. You claim;

“You pick and choose what elements you will use to build your own image of “christianity”… which is quite different from the Biblical claims.”

But do not at all seem able to see that you are in fact doing exactly what you project in accepting evidence based medicine contrary to a plain reading of scripture but claiming origin by divine fiat and miracle on the basis of one particular reading of scripture.

You continue to misconstrue the point of my discussion of Santa Claus and Christmas. Children can and do grow in their understanding of reality and are able to see beyond the concrete events of Christmas to see it as a representation of a worthy abstraction that is not invalidated by rejecting a fictitious Santa Claus. You seem unable to move from the concrete to the abstract and yet again claim you will reject Christ if your biblical interpretation is found not to be consistent with a simplistic reality. As though your superior mind trumps any non-rational revelation of God. Your arrogance is unceasingly amazing.

You claim

“And, so far, the organized Adventist Church agrees with me. Of course, you can call yourself whatever you want. But, again, that doesn’t mean that the church is going to recognize your claims as actually representing the church’s view of reality. So, why would you expect anyone holding views that undermine the fundamental goals and ideals of the church, the “fundamental beliefs”, to be paid by the church?”

You are of course right if you think the church that is being rebuilt by Ted Wilson and Clifford Goldstein with their militant fundamentalism and unsavoury and ungracious political manouvering is the legitimate heir of traditional Adventism but I do not.

The End of “Junk DNA”?
@Sean Pitman:
“I’ve already explained, several times now, that I don’t know how dinosaurs were made. All the arguments I’ve heard seem like mere conjecture to me.”

So what you said on 3ABN about genetic engineering and amalgamation could be best described as just so stories? Lacking completely any evidentiary basis?

The End of “Junk DNA”?
@Sean Pitman:
“Again, just don’t expect to get paid by the Adventist Church for those efforts which fundamentally undermine the primary goals and ideals of the church.”

This statement raises serious question as to whether you understand the primary goals of the Adventist Church. At least in Australia, the vision is expressed on the web site as;

“Our vision is to be a church that knows, experiences and shares our hope in Jesus Christ. This vision expresses the collective feelings of our church members and leaders.

The vision statement has three parts:

The head knowledge (studying the Bible)
The heart experience (unconditional commitment to Jesus Christ and to one another)
The call to action (sharing our faith) ”

It does not at all couch it in terms of being an attack vehicle against the integrity or capability of science and scientists nor of fellow believers. Nor does it suggest a primary purpose of attacking people who through a heart experience (unconditional commitment to Jesus Christ and to one another) might be labelled practitioners of blind faith. Your inability to unconditionally commit to Jesus and your completely objectionable committment to leave Adventism and Christianity if the empirical evidence for your supposed model of reality fails to reach some arbitrary misapplied criteria of “weight of evidence” stands in stark contrast to the Church’s vision of people unconditionally committed to Jesus Christ and the church and would certainly fall under the rubric of an effort to “fundamentally undermine” the Church.

Recent Comments by pauluc

Avondale College Arguing in Favor of Darwinian Evolution?

Bob Helm: With that said, I find your views to be spiritually dangerous and often scientifically weak. I detect a lot of smoke in your posts, but very little light. I hope you will continue to ponder these issues and try to have an open mind.

You are most welcome to your opinion and I know you would like nothing better than that anyone who takes Christianity and the Bible seriously but not literally to just go away. It is much better not to know of any possible problems with one current views. It very hard to get to the science when we cannot even agree on what is science. What passes as science on this site is so completely dismissive of its methodological basis and history and is entrained in a specific supernatural world view that allows arbitrary acceptance of any observation as miraculous. I think Roger’s paper may well be relevant to Adventist that believe that Christianity has and must respond to a careful study of physical reality by reconsidering its interpretations of the word of the Lord, but as Sean has indicated you are exception to that characterization. I still do not really understand why you should be interested at all in any science. It seems a bit messy to worry about facts. It really seems an unnecessary bother to argue whether the precambrian/cambrian boundary or the upper cenzoic (is that really what you meant?) as the evidence of a divine intervention.

Dont worry I do have an open mind which is why I still peruse this site to see how more knowledgable fundamentalist Adventists think. I wont worry you further.

Avondale College Arguing in Favor of Darwinian Evolution?

Sean Pitman: So, you do see the need for a police force and a military to maintain civil society, but somehow Christians should not provide what is an otherwise necessary part of that civil society? I’m with Abraham Lincoln on this one when he noted the inconsistency of such a position – like Orthodox Jews paying others to turn their lights on for them on Sabbath

On that logic you should not have any issue with working on Sabbath in any profession serving 24/7. Be that computer support, utilities firefighters. Those giving up those jobs because of inability to have sabbath observance were all deluded. They as Christians should be prepared to “provide what is otherwise a necessary part of civil society”

You cant have it both ways. You cant because of a moral postion claim that Adventists should have exception from working on Sabbath and at the same time deny me the right to consider immoral some occupations that may be very utilitarian in a world full of selfishness and the human acts of evil that comes from that.

Lets for a moment step back from lala land. Where are we and where did we come from on this thread?

1] You posted a rehash of all your usual arguments in response to an article about the more mainstream Adventist positions that may impact the way Adventism reacts to conventional science. All very straight forward.
2] The contention was that Adventism has accepted process for the orgin and evolution of the inanimate world. The birth and death of galaxys and stars and planets in black holes supernova and impacts of spiralling planets. This is where it gets really strange.
3] You contend that Adventism has always accepted the conclusions of that process but then expand on your view of the process which involves a little bit of order and natural law but large amounts of magic. God waited a few billions years until the interstellar material generated by the big band condensed into planets onto which God created life mature and complete. This included Heaven the place of his throne-room which he populated with physical being angels which it is implied have both mass and composition and metabolism.
4] When it was suggested that the same processes and natural law resulted in life on this planet this was claimed inconceivable and would never be done by any process involving life and death. Instead the life we see now is in reality designed to live for ever and has be chemically changed because it is deprived of a particular form of nutrient from a tree that existed on the Earth some 6000 years ago.
5] The inconguity of practicing medicine by the principles of process of natural law and the technology resulting from both the processes of the innanimate and the animate world rather than accepting the much more important process of divine intervention seems to be completely obsure.
6] When someone says that the process of life and death that gave us the physical substance of our universe is also the basis of the creation of life here he must be animal hating sadistic psychopath who cannot belieive in a God of love and grace and is lying when he says that non-violence characterizes the children of the heavenly father for one must always recognize that peace and freedom are only obtained over the bodies of 1/3 of the angels of heaven and the eternal physical and violent struggle against those who would practice violence.

I really cannot understand you Sean. Your ways are way beyond me. I am just sorry that Bob seems to be drawn into your twighlight zone.


Avondale College Arguing in Favor of Darwinian Evolution?
@Sean Pitman: sorry but your curious amalgam of magic and biology is not really comprehensible to me as a biologist or as a Christian . it. is neither logical or biologically feasible

Avondale College Arguing in Favor of Darwinian Evolution?

Sean Pitman: However, according to the Bible and Ellen White, before the Fall God specifically directed nature so that all sentient life was protected in a manner that there was no suffering or death. By eating from the “Tree of Life” God provided constant renewal and regeneration that worked against what would otherwise be inevitable entropic changes, decay, and death. It was by deliberately stepping away from the true Source of eternal life that mankind stepped away from God and into the full workings of mindless natural law alone – which does in fact inevitably lead to suffering and death.

And this interpretation is precisely why you need a theodicy. Where is the justice in killing all for the sake of the sins of one woman+man? It makes no sense logically. If they were conditionally immortal because of eating of the tree of life then did all the animals in all the world congregate around this tree like beasts around a water hole on the serengeti. how exactly do you as you are wont to do translate the account into a literal reality. And which beast had to come and eat. Or was it symbolic? Oh now that’s a thought.

Avondale College Arguing in Favor of Darwinian Evolution?

Sean Pitman: Come on now. Even I can imagine limitations to reproduction or the turnover of sentient carbon-based life. Surely you can at least imagine something similar? I know God can since such a world is described in the Bible and in the writings of Ellen White. Think about it…

Of course I have. This is not simply about reproduction. That is trivial. This is about metabolic process. Show me a carbon based life form that does not grow or metabolize anything and I will show you an organism in stasis as a spore “living” millions of year in amber. That is; effectively dead.

Real life cannot exist without metabolic process in a carbon based world and God has sanctified all this by a process of making good out of evil from the death of one comes life for others. Just as in the biological world so in the spiritual. By his death we have life. Just as God sanctified the practice of sacrifice of appeasement practiced by most cultures for thousands of years before and showed that in the Judeo-Christian tradition these same acts of sacrifice were emblematic of a monotheistic God that would become incarnate and bring life from death. So also he took the preceding accounts of creation derived as they were of the mesopotamian valley and recast it as an account of the monotheistic God who is above all but comes and dwells among us to become one of us. Participating in our life and death but showing us the importance of the transcendent life of the spirit that supercedes carbon based life and its inherent death. It is no fairy tale of 6 impossible things before breakfast. It is not pie in the sky by and by. It is rooted in a real world and it is about the transcendence of love and grace that is acted out in a real physical world by the incarnate God and us as we follow as His disciples.

That is the message I get from the images and visions of the Canon and EG White. But of course I read it for the message that it conveys not as a scientific text. That is where we fundamentally differ.

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