What is taught at LSU

By Shane Hilde

Paul Giem concluded a series discussing what should be taught in our schools, regarding creation and evolution. There are some that remain unconvinced that LSU is promoting evolution despite the personal testimony of students, class lecture material, syllabi, and personal statements from the professors. Giem takes a look at what LSU has said and compares it with what it actually teaches. Before getting into the discussion of what LSU teaches, he begins his discussion by proposing a grading system by which to assess what is being taught. Three factors play into his grading system: Is there a class on origins, what does it contain, and what are the explicit/implicit attitude(s) of the teacher(s)?

His grading system asks three important questions: 1) Is there a God, 2) Is God’s activity detectable by science, and 3) how old is life on earth? His scoring rubric for each question looks like this:

Does the teacher/course teach
– There is a God – no discussion of opposing view B
– There is a God – discussion of opposing view A
– There may or may not be a God C
– There is no God – fair discussion of opposing view D
– There is not God – no discussion of opposing view F

Does the teacher/course teach that God’s activity can be detected by Science?
– Yes, no discussion of opponents’ views B
– Yes, fair discussion of opponents’ views A
– Not sure, but discussion C
– No, fair discussion of opponents’ views D
– No, no discussion of opponents’ views F

Has life been on earth for a short time?
– Yes, no discussion of opponents’ views B
– Yes, fair discussion of opponents’ views A
– Not sure, but discussion C
– No, fair discussion of opponents’ views D
– No, no discussion of opponents’ views F

In his final analysis he gives La Sierra University an F. Giem spends considerable time with three documents: Biology at La Sierra University, Creating Controversy, and the 2004 and 2009 syllabi for UNST/UHNR 404B. He focuses on these particular documents because all the others he’s been given by LSU or gleaned himself do not answer any of the three questions. Many of them spend time lauding the wonderful things LSU has done without really addressing the issues.

Biology at La Sierra University

He begins his discussion with a question, “Does La Sierra promote short-age creation, megaeveolution, or neither?” Ultimately, the document only answers the first question, “Is there a God?” It seems clear that LSU and its biology professors believe there is a God. So in the end it says a lot without saying much at all in regards to views it promotes.

This document is significant because it was LSU’s choice handout at the General Conference session in Atlanta, Georgia, this summer. The most noteable statement in this document says, “Our biology curriculum offers a selection of classes with both breadth and depth. It should be pointed out that the theory of evolution is discussed, but not promoted, at La Sierra University.” It will be seen that there is data from LSU that contradicts this statement.

Creating Controversy

Before jumping into the syllabi, Giem reminds us of who Gary Bradley (one of the professors of UNST/UHNR 404B) is from an interview with Inside Higher Ed.

First, he notes that Bradley showed no intention of changing course and that he had the support of the president of LSU, Randal Wisbey:

“Bradley, who is semi-retired after 38 years at La Sierra, has seen evolution debates erupt on campus before — and his traditional response is to ‘dive under the desk and wait for them to blow over.’ In this instance, Bradley says he has the backing of his president, who wrote a letter to faculty, staff and trustees affirming the university’s role in the ‘important conversation of science and faith.’”

Continuing:

“Bradley says he’s felt no pressure to change anything about his course, and says bluntly that he doesn’t plan to turn his class into a theological seminar, or to present evolutionary theory only to then dismantle it for students. While he’s fine with helping students work through struggles of faith, Bradley says he won’t undercut decades of peer reviewed scientific research in the interest of religious consistency.”

“‘I am not OK with getting up in a science course and saying most science is bull—-,’ he said.”

Giem points out that most of science is physics and chemistry and evolutionary theory has nothing to contribute to either of them, that he knows of. Also, he states, evolutionary theory has little to contribute to biology even if you believe its true. “You don’t have to know evolutionary biology to do well in medicine,” he says.

“‘It’s very, very clear that what I’m skeptical of is the absolute necessity of believing that the only way a creator God could do things is by speaking them into existence a few thousand years ago,’ Bradley added. ‘That’s where my skepticism lies. That’s the religious philosophical basis for what I call the lunatic fringe. They do not represent the majority position in the Church, and yes I’m skeptical of that. But I want to say to kids it’s OK for you to believe that, but it’s not OK for you to be ignorant of the scientific data that’s out there.’”

Bradley won’t destroy your faith in the biblical creation, but he’ll certainly show you the evidence that’s against it, remarks Giem. This is the professor who is teaching the capstone class for biology. Giem then leads into a dispute between Bradley and Carlos Cerna over a paper Cerna had written for the class in the spring of 2009:

“Cerna butted heads with professors in a capstone biology course when he sought to insert his creationist beliefs into a paper about evolutionary theories, the e-mails indicate. One of two professors who taught the course had ‘reluctantly’ agreed to Cerna’s approach in principle, but found the final product ‘unacceptable.’”

“‘The paper you sent me is unacceptable in its present form,’ Gary Bradley, a professor of biology, wrote to Cerna May 12. ‘You said you would address the geological issues presented in class, demonstrating that you understand the data and the mainstream interpretations. Only then would you attach a paragraph taking issue with that interpretation.’” (Inside Higher Ed)

At this point Giem interjects, “Now that sounds perfectly fair.”

“‘You have not done this. You have demonstrated only superficial knowledge with what was presented in class and even that was done with clear apologetic skepticism.’”

“Excuse me? I thought skepticism was a good thing,” Giem says. Essentially Bradley is saying if you can label skepticism as apologetic it’s a bad thing. Giem then points back to the 2004 syllabus:

“We will include only data and evidence that appear in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. While there is a body of writing sometimes referred to as the ‘apologetic’ literature, we will not examine it because it lies outside the discipline of science; this is a science class, and Biology is a scientific discipline.”

Giem is quick to point out that the syllabus is suggesting that “Origins” lies outside the discipline of science. At this point he begins tackling the course syllabi from 2004 and 2009.

2004 and 2009 UNST/UHNR 404B

Giem says that while the course claims it is only interested in peer-reviewed literature, it is speckled with literature and film that are not peer-reviewed. The syllabus seems to insinuate that the science is already settled and there can be no more discussion. Not only is the science settled, but anything outside of the peer-reviewed literature really can’t be considered science.

One of the required readings for the course is Miller’s book “Finding Darwin’s God.” It is not an optional requirement and must be read in full by the end of the first section. According to Giem, this book is not peer-reviewed.

He then moves on to one of the required papers for the class:

“In the light of geochronology and modern biological techniques, present the

1. Evidence and interpretation of the natural history and evolution of life on Earth from paleontology,

2.Evidence and interpretation of the natural history and evolution of life on Earth from biology.”

In other words, students will have to deal with dating, but on the professors terms, which is only the peer-reviewed literature and anything written by creationists doesn’t count. Geim acknowledges that there are creationists who have written in the peer-reviewed literature, but in his opinion it doesn’t sound like the professors are interested in hearing what they have to say.

Giem points to some other non-peer-reviewed material in the course such as:

1. “What About God?” by NPR
2. A layman looks at ice the core story, how it relates to earth history and the flood–Guest lecturer by Robert Wonderly
3. “Inherit the Wind” — (A nice scholarly peer-reviewed, unbiased film, Giem quips.)

According to Giem, one of the students of the class said, “Can’t we have Sean Pitman do that?” Pitman is not a specialist in this field, but if you’re a layman who happens to agree with the professors you’re welcome. Giem says, “What is claimed is that this is only scientific, what is in practice is this is only people who agree with us.”

It appears evident that these professors are not interested in discussion from those with differing views and certainly not those who are aligned with the Bible and church position on origins.

Giem then compares the 2004 syllabus with the 2009 syllabus. The course is still taught by Bradley. The same Bradley who called those who think there is only one theological answer the lunatic fringe. “Finding Darwin’s God” is still a text. Major paper still has the same requirements, essentially eliminating literature from “Origins” or any other creationist literature. A new film is shown called “Judgment Day” which “blasts intelligent design.” Ice cores is presented by Lee Greer who is not an expert in the field; however he does have a Phd. “What About God?” is still shown in the class.

LSU claims that evolution is not promoted, but this class clearly promotes it and even excludes opposing views. Creationists aren’t even given a voice and every attempt to stifle creationist students from presenting opposing evidence is made. The course is clearly unbalanced and heavily biased toward evolution. The least LSU could do is be open to creationist scientists presenting opposing evidence in the classroom.

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42 thoughts on “What is taught at LSU

  1. Once again I would like to submit that we must take matters more seriously than hither too in dealing with LSU. I am an SDA pastor; my doctoral research is on Creation/evolution; I am not against anyone holding an evolutionist’s worldview; we live in a free world. However, I am firmly against any one professing to be an SDA,and a worker in the organization, and teaching evolution as a fact and renegating biblical creation to mythology. If Adventists wish to believe in Darwinism that’s perfectly fine with me; it’s up to him or her; however, such an individual cannot be considered, and must not be considered, for denominational employment; neither can he or she hold any office in the local church, simply because such a person is not really an Adventist. I am not being judgmental here; God will judge the person’s standing before Him. However, we as SDAs have the right, as enjoined by the Bible, to judge a person’s conduct and behaviour as regards the teachings of the church. At this point we must lobby our administrators to stop supporting LSU until it dismisses these professors or revamp the biology department; every member and church must stop contributing to LSU until it puts its house in order. If it refuses then we are counseled to leave Ephraim to his idols; we must then close, sell, the institution. There is no other way out if the establishment wishes to promote ideas contrary to Adventism. We cannot have our name sullied, it is already sullied with other erroneous teachings, with this nonsense. May God grant us wisdom and resolution in dealing with error.




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  2. Not only is the relevancy of the biblical Sabbath crucial to a belief in the biblical worldview of origins, but the very tenets of Christianity stand or fall on one’s worldview on origins. If one accepts evolution, whether theistic or Darwinian, as a fact, then one cannot accept Christianity as promoted in the Bible, as valid. The Bible teaches that we humans are here in our present condition of sin and degradation due to Adam’s and Eve’s transgression of God’s commandment not to eat of the forbidden fruit; And also, and consequent of the fall, due to God’s marvelous grace to pardon and forgive us; that this encompassing grace was seen in the incarnation and sacrifice (expiation)of Christ; and that those who accept this offer of pardon and forgiveness will once more be remade in the likeness of the Second Adam. All this, however, become obsolete and nonsensical should one subscribe to evolution in any of its forms. There is so much that disproves evolution, yet the most crucial point is the dismantling of biblical Christianity by evolution. Let’s not kid ourselves; either we believe in the gospel story of the Bible, or the gospel of evolution. Either we subscribe to: “thou shalt not surely die,” or to: “believe, and thou shalt be saved, and all thine house…”




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  3. Dear Shane

    Nice to see the site up and active again!

    Nice to view the comments from my friend Ron, who has been very instrumental in my education about the SDA and biblical origins.

    I think if you try to purge Dr. Bradley it is going to backfire and paint yourselves as intolerant. Don’t forget Dr.Clausen at the GRI who says there is not a viable young earth model. Unfair to criticize Dr. Bradley and not Dr. Clausen, wouldn’t you agree gentleman?

    Regards
    your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  4. Shane,

    I appreciate your efforts in maintaining this website and providing us with such up-to-date and relevant information on La Sierra. When I attended La Sierra during the late 1960s, La Sierra was very different. Professors in all the fields of study promoted and defended SDA beliefs. They provided us with evidence that supported creation and the flood. They were not hostile to E.G. White. How things have changed!

    As a parent, I would have been outraged if either of my two children had encountered, when they were in SDA colleges, what some of the students, such as Louis Bishop and Carlos Cerna, have described. I have actually discouraged students from attending La Sierra in recent years, and have instead encouraged them to attend Andrews or Southern. When the alumni office has phoned us, both my wife and I have told them that we cannot, in good conscience, contribute to La Sierra at this time.

    I have also heard reports from former students that the Religion department is made up of “Progressive Adventists,” and no longer promotes our beliefs. I would appreciate learning about what is happening in the Religion department, as well as the Biology department. For that matter, what about other departments, such as English, Education, and History (my major)? If anyone has any such information, I urge you to share it with us.

    As a teacher, I have always promoted Adventist education, but I am very concerned that we will begin losing our colleges and universities, if something is not done soon.




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  5. Ken,

    Is “intolerant” a bad thing, by default? There’s a growing movement suggesting that truth is not absolute, which has led to an illogical philosophy where the only acceptable intolerance is of those who recognize that truth is absolute. Thus branding *them* as “intolerant”. Christianity in general is often labeled intolerant, in major part due to the fact that we do not let our beliefs flow with popular culture. What is true is true, regardless of whether anyone believes it or not. Truth is not and cannot be personal.

    Is it “intolerant” if Alcoholics Anonymous fires a leader who is found to be drunk on a regular basis? Of course it is, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Likewise, if a church organization believing in a recent literal 6-day creation fires a teacher or preacher or researcher who is undermining that position, it is intolerant. But there’s still nothing wrong with that. Intolerant is not a “bad word”.

    I agree regarding Dr. Clausen. Dr. Clausen has, in fact, been criticized here on this site as well.

    http://www.educatetruth.com/la-sierra-evidence/faith-without-evidence-are-we-really-a-bunch-of-flat-earthers/

    Also, Ken, if you’ve not already seen them, I suggest watching Professor Walter Veith’s videos on origins. Perhaps you’re already familiar, but I just happened to scan a few of your posts and thought you might find these interesting.

    http://amazingdiscoveries.tv/c/29/Medium_Quality/

    Regards,
    Kevin Kimes




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  6. @Ken: I’ve stated this before, but Educate Truth is not pushing for any purges. If that is what administration thinks it needs to do in order to address the issue, then that is their prerogative. Educate Truth’s primary concern is employee misrepresentation of their employer.




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  7. Re Kevin’s quote

    “There’s a growing movement suggesting that truth is not absolute, which has led to an illogical philosophy where the only acceptable intolerance is of those who recognize that truth is absolute.”

    Dear Kevin

    Isn’t the issue more about discovering the truth rather than stating it absolutely? If not why does the SDA talk about present truth? Is today’s present truth the absolute truth, or will revealed future truth become better? Why does the SDA need creation science if biblical origins is the absolute truth?

    So Kevin, if present truth is not the absolute truth- as more will be revealed in the future- shouldn’t we be tolerant of all those that are genuinely seeking the truth? That is why, even though I am in profound disagreement with the conclusions of Dr. Pitman, I applaud his efforts to seek empirical scientific evidence to support recent creation. In my humble estimation that is how the SDA is going to gain rational credibility.

    Thanks for your comments.

    Regards
    Ken




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  8. In my estimation it would not be ‘intolerant’ or wrong if Educate Truth recommends, or calls for, action on the part of the organisation towards these individuals who teach contrary doctrine or teachings in Adventist institutions. While we respect the beliefs of everyone, those who profess to be Adventists must respect our beliefs and teach it or honorably bow out. If I cease to believe in my church’s teachings it would be dishonest of me to remain as a pastor and draw a salary. That is what the whole discussion is all about. Every member who contributes to LSU must halt his or her contributions; those in the institutions that teach contrary to what we believe are being dishonest; let them go into public schools where they can only teach evolution; in our schools they get away with ‘double speak,’ but not in the public system. The public system is very intolerant of those who are creationists. Keep up the good work, Shane.




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  9. Re Shane’s quote

    “@Ken: I’ve stated this before, but Educate Truth is not pushing for any purges. If that is what administration thinks it needs to do in order to address the issue, then that is their prerogative. Educate Truth’s primary concern is employee misrepresentation of their employer.”

    Dear Shane

    Well stated. My humble apologies for exaggerating your position. I think you have a genuine employer/employee issue, depending on the mandate of the university and the academic accountability of the Board of Trustees.

    Regards
    Ken




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  10. Truth is the monument that never changes, our understanding of truth is always improving. However some have assumed that to continue in our line of understanding means to deconstruct what we learned about truth yesterday.

    While it is true that some blind alleys taken yesterday would need to be abandoned today once they are seen in the light of day – that is not the norm for advancing in truth. If it where this would be an endless cyle of stuck on square one always chasing your tail.

    Advancement in truth is much more like a Saxon Math program for home schoolers. Establishing solid first principles – solid foundations and then building. In our early days when the church leaders were transitioning from other denominations to create this one, much of their “Advancement” in truth invovled deconstructing the fallacies embedded in their prior denominational doctrinal affiliations. But that history is long gone. The foundation we now have is the one that was built via that fresh Bible study effort and then affirmed through divine messages directly from God to a modern prophet. The foundation is in fact “reliable”. A non-stop sola scriptura review of that foundation by each new member that comes along – continues to show it to be solid. So also for experienced members who dig into more depth in that foundation so as to explain the point in more clarity to our fellow members and non-members alike.

    The gardener “makes” the Garden. the carpenter builds the room. Our Creator God “creates life” in all of its diverse forms. This is the function of each. It is not “odd” that you would look at the room and attribute it to the Carpenter who built it. What is “odd” is to imagine things like “abiotic environments cause living cells to pop into existence” or “birds come from reptiles” or “vast decreases in entropy are to be expected”. The various foundational non-truths of evolutionism simply do not make sense beyond a kind of religious affirmation of naturalism.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  11. The article above says sarcastically

    “3. “Inherit the Wind” — (A nice scholarly peer-reviewed, unbiased film, Giem quips.)”

    Indeed that movie is pure fiction. But it illustrates the point at hand – LSU is dediated to fiction in its biology department. Thus showing a fictional story about what evolutionists would prefer to “dream” had happened in Dalton Georgia is far more fitting for LSU than actually showing real history on this topic.

    If nothing else – you have to admire their consistency.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  12. When the alumni office has phoned us, both my wife and I have told them that we cannot, in good conscience, contribute to La Sierra at this time.I have also heard reports from former students that the Religion department is made up of “Progressive Adventists,” and no longer promotes our beliefs.

    One of the best way bible-believing SDA’s can voice their opinion is when the schools, alumni association, or whoever from the school calls for “donations” is to tell them you will not be donating anything until your concerns are addressed. And then tell them specifically what your concerns are.

    When LLU calls me for or sends me “appeals” (which they do numerous times per year) I simply state why I won’t be sending in or pledging any money, being very specific as to WHY I have concerns and WHAT they are.

    Interestingly, I’ve actually gotten several calls from “higher ups” regarding my comments, but they invariably try to convince me “they” have nothing to do with the concerns or problems, (separate department, another division, etc.)so they tell me to please send my money anyway!

    Sure, one or two people won’t make any difference, but if dozens or hundreds do the same, just maybe someone will get the point.




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  13. Re Bob’s Quote

    “In our early days when the church leaders were transitioning from other denominations to create this one, much of their “Advancement” in truth invovled deconstructing the fallacies embedded in their prior denominational doctrinal affiliations.”

    Dear Bob

    I suppose that is the same argument the progressive adventists use now to support theistic evolution in light of present day knowledge of evolution. Although Scopes was convicted of teaching evolution, the ultimate outcome was it resulted in creationism being banned from being taught as science in the public classroom. You are right Bob: advancement in truth does require deconstructing fallacies. That is what science is doing.

    Ultimately, if Sean Pitman and others can convince the majority of scientists that creation science is more credible than evolution then fundamental SDA’s will be perceived as successful in advancing rational truth. But first the SDA has tough internal hurdles to clear. That is why such pressure is being brought against the adventist scientists Bradley and Claussen who won’t let their faith cloud their scientific judgment. That is why this site exists. And that’s OK because freedom of speech is a wonderful thing.

    Great to dialogue with you.
    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  14. @Kevin:
    Excuse me, but have you studied the full extent of Walter Veith’s “lectures”? He is an embarrassment (my favorite lecture unearths a conspiracy somehow connected to the “fact” that every American president since Abe Lincoln or so is the descendant from some royal European bloodline). Why does his name turn up here again and again?

    Mark




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  15. Ken says:
    October 13, 2010 Re Bob’s Quote
    “In our early days when the church leaders were transitioning from other denominations to create this one, much of their “Advancement” in truth invovled deconstructing the fallacies embedded in their prior denominational doctrinal affiliations.”
    Dear Bob
    I suppose that is the same argument the progressive adventists use now to support theistic evolution in light of present day knowledge of evolution.

    1. No doubt any Adventists that left the SDA church over the past 150 years have appealed to some sort of “throw what I thought to be truth away” argument. It is very doubtful that “evolutionism” has accounted for even 1/10th of the number that have left since most SDAs that leave are not evolutionists even then – and neither are the majority of SDAs that stay.

    2. There is “some question” as to whether it is true that even “progressive Adventists” are united on choosing to believe evolutionism over the Bible. Many of them do not, and it appears that one of the well known progressives “Steve Daily” is one of those not at all inclined to believe evolutionism instead of the Bible. (At least last time I checked – who knows what he may think today).

    Frankly – I was with you on that one – supposing that the progressives just might have been chomping at the bit to toss out this part of the Bible in favor of evolutionism. But I cannot find any evidence aside from a few anecdotal progressives here and there to support that idea.

    Although Scopes was convicted of teaching evolution, the ultimate outcome was it resulted in creationism being banned

    1. There was no discussion at all at the scopes trial of “banning creation” from the schools.

    2. The defense “plead guilty” to the charge of violating the stated law banning evolution and the fine of 10$ (or some token amount) was paid.

    The defense was quick to “plead guilty” to before allowing any member of the defense including the defendant to testify – for several reasons. First they did not want the public to know just how weak their position really was — which would come out during the cross-exam, and secondly they were not convinced that the substitute P.E teacher filling in for biology class, ever even taught evolutionism on the “one day” in question.

    The whole thing was a “fishing expedition” by the ACLU.

    Ultimately, if Sean Pitman and others can convince the majority of scientists that creation science is more credible than evolution then fundamental SDA’s will be perceived as successful in advancing rational truth. But first the SDA has tough internal hurdles to clear.

    Ken – you may have been duped somewhat by the “press and media” over at Spectrum into thinking that the SDA church is really “the biology staff at LSU”. In fact unlike LSU’s biology and religion departments – the SDA church itself has never questioned the Bible doctrine on origins. This came out “once again” loud and clear at the world-wide meeting held in Atlanta this year – where evolutionism’s doctrine on origins was resoundingly rejected in favor the Bible doctrine on origins. I counted perhaps 10’s of dissenting votes to the thousands of affirmatives.

    That is why such pressure is being brought against the adventist scientists Bradley and Claussen who won’t let their faith cloud their scientific judgment. That is why this site exists. And that’s OK because freedom of speech is a wonderful thing.

    Here again I think you are missing some key pieces to the puzzle. There is no effort to get Bradley to change his firmly held convictions. Rather the effort is to get SDA administrators to fulfill their mandate which is that the SDA denomination is only willing to pay SDA leaders and teachers that happen to believe in SDA doctrines and values. The reason is that we want those teachers and leaders to educate new generations of informed well-trained Seventh-day Adventists.

    It was never our purpose or goal to divert tithe and offering dollars away from evangelism and the Gospel in order to “compete with public universities”. We never had the “mission” of “creating the best public university that Adventist tithe, offering and tuition dollars can buy”. We have never had the mission “teaching better classes on evolutionism than you can get at UCLA or UC Berkley”. It is possible that some student (Adventsist or not ) may aspire to become an evolutionary biologist trying to find a solution for origins totally opposed to the the Bible doctrine on origins. SDA parents who have raised such a young person and then who choose to send such a student to an SDA university instead of a public university are doing their student a great disservice.

    While there may indeed be a few educators at LSU and yes maybe even one or two at LLU that are somewhat confused on that point – it is not even close to being a confusing issue for the denomination itself as the clear and unmistakable vote in Atlanta demonstrated this year.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  16. One of the best way bible-believing SDA’s can voice their opinion is when the schools, alumni association, or whoever from the school calls for “donations” is to tell them you will not be donating anything until your concerns are addressed. And then tell them specifically what your concerns are.

    When LLU calls me for or sends me “appeals” (which they do numerous times per year) I simply state why I won’t be sending in or pledging any money, being very specific as to WHY I have concerns and WHAT they are.

    Interestingly, I’ve actually gotten several calls from “higher ups” regarding my comments, but they invariably try to convince me “they” have nothing to do with the concerns or problems, (separate department, another division, etc.)so they tell me to please send my money anyway!

    Sure, one or two people won’t make any difference, but if dozens or hundreds do the same, just maybe someone will get the point. Ron Stone M.D.(Quote)

    Thank you for sharing that. There are a number of LSU alumni in my area and they too have decided that it is not wise to support an institution that is in such a severely conflicted position until managers of that instition are able to find the moral courage and integrity to solve the problem.

    Certainly it is very true that not everyone on the staff of LSU (including the alumni department) are in full agreement with Bradley’s idea that the Bible doctrine on origins is wrong and evoulionism has the correct doctrine for the origins of species from man to mollusk. Which only serves to highlight the tragic consequence of decades of misdirection and mismanagement at LSU. Based on his current books this very likely goes all the way back to the days of Fritz Guy’s presidency. Hopefully someone in the new admin is trying to figure that one out.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  17. Surely being only intolerant of intolerance is not a tenable state of being, aka tolerant of everything: tolerant of child molesters, thieves, liars, embezzlers, terrorists…we could not survive as a society if we were tolerant of everything. Nor can we remain a viable church if we tolerate everything within our gates. If the only thing worse than cruelty is unacknowledged cruelty, the only thing worse than deceptive, destructive doctrines being taught within any SDA church or institution, is turning a blind eye and a deaf ear. This smokescreen of “tolerance” (which really is only tolerance of “liberal points of view” and shut-up if you’re a conservative) is wearing thin. Most of us can see through by now and are saying “Stop!” Things have gone way too far in the wrong direction.

    LSU supports, coddles and defends those who don’t follow the church’s stated fundamental beliefs, but any “conservative” who tries to stand up for the basic church foundations is denigrated, smeared and bullied. This is the wonderful state of enlightenment we have achieved in my lifetime. Has anyone at La Sierra taken Dr. Giem’s report seriously? Will they even address his report? Try to find someone on the board or in administration who will publicly admit there are even any significant concerns with LSU’s current programs. Spare me from this “secret policed state-of-tolerance




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  18. We need watchdogs like Educate Truth to keep a closer watch on our institutions. We have to make sure that our schools stay on the right path and help our kids have the right influences. If no one has our theological “binoculars” stalking our schools, then they’ll go astray.




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  19. Susie said

    LSU supports, coddles and defends those who don’t follow the church’s stated fundamental beliefs, but any “conservative” who tries to stand up for the basic church foundations is denigrated, smeared and bullied

    Very true. And if we simply turn a blind eye to the doctrine of evolutionism being taught as the right answer for a doctrine on origins in our schools – then we will get a lot of “blessings on you my son” from our evolutionist friends.

    But if we dare to “notice” — that they are preaching and evangelizing for a non-Christian doctrine on origins (as even 3SG 90-91 observed almost 120 years ago) – then suddenly the evolutionists will find it ‘uncaring’ that we should “notice” what they are doing. They seem to prefer the days when Adventist parents unwittingly paid big bucks to send their children to an Adventist University instead of a public university – only to have their child return home completely rejecting the Bible doctrine on origins while embracing the junk-science alchemy that “birds come from reptiles”.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  20. Science: Thoughts on Creation vs. Evolution

    “You could say that green plants are to earth as the lungs are to humans–except they work in reverse. That is, plants “inhale” carbon dioxide and “exhale” oxygen, whereas humans and animals “exhale” carbon dioxide and “inhale” oxygen–a perfect symbiotic relationship.” The Wheatgrass Book, pg. 8

    And this wonderful “relationship” came about strictly by “chance” through the mindless process of evolution? Where does common sense enter into this discussion?




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  21. Re Lydian’s Quote

    “And this wonderful “relationship” came about strictly by “chance” through the mindless process of evolution? Where does common sense enter into this discussion? Lydian(Quote)”

    Dear Lydian

    As always, great to see your comments. You remain young in mind and heart!

    Think about the similarity in the genomes between humans and chimpanzees, both highly intelligent primates. Does common sense tell us both species are highly related in composition? Did God intend this similarity and if so why?

    Regards
    Ken




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  22. Plants convert (or “fix”) the carbon molecules of carbon dioxide (CO2) into sugar compounds, and in the process release oxygen. But many people fail to recognize or forget that plant cells undergo metabolic respiration just like human cells do, consuming oxygen and releasing carbon dioxide just like humans do.

    But as Lydian points out, plants have certainly made our planet more compatible for us and other life forms. Plants do indeed generate more oxygen than they consume. And during the growing season, the removal of atmospheric carbon dioxide exceeds its metabolic production (I’m not sure what happens during dormancy). Thus, plants remove an important “greenhouse” gas–carbon dioxide–that can potentially contribute to global warming. Believing that any of this occured either by chance or by intelligent design requires some exercise of faith (not necessarily “blind” faith).

    As an aside, I suspect that most SDAs, like many other conservative Christians, do not believe global warming is real, particularly anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming. I wish that SDAs were better educated on important science issues.




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  23. @ Ken

    Think about the similarity in the genomes between humans and chimpanzees, both highly intelligent primates. Does common sense tell us both species are highly related in composition? Did God intend this similarity and if so why?

    In spite of my objections to the frequent abuse of science–and other fellow Christians–by creationists, I am a creationist myself. The degree of correspondence in genomes among various life forms could reflect two major possibilities. The first, of course, is descent with modification. This makes complete sense when one is willing to assume there is no intelligent force (with such an assumption, there is no alternative). The second reflects similarity in design and function, as conceived by an intelligent being. Primates have similar ecological and behavioral attributes, and therefore share greater genome similarity than with felines (cats) or chiropterans (bats). In essence, they solve similar problems.

    As you have seen at this website, creationists have a marked tendency to disrespect the views and beliefs of others. Of course, they are not alone in this. However, Christians heaping abuse on non-believers or even on believers who see things in a different light is an embarassment to our faith. The obvious irony is that many of the most devoted Christians are not Christ-like in their comport. This should not be our witness or our legacy…but it will no doubt continue here and elsewhere.




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  24. By the way, Ken, you deserve highest praise for the respect you show others. We all–myself included–should consider you a worthy example of how to treat others.




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  25. As I’ve said many times on this site, I’m not an educated scientist–my training was along a different path so I really don’t know how similar the genomes between humans and chimps are. But(what little common sense I have left)tells me if they are similar in many ways then God intended it that way. Why come up with all new ways of doing things if a little tweaking here and there on a good plan will suffice?

    I’ve done a lot of sewing in my day, including tailoring and fancy clothes, and if I found a basic pattern I liked I could usually successfully “tweak” it in many ways to make most anything along the same line I wanted to. It saved me a lot of extra work and I was able to make most all of the clothes our three daughters and I wore for years–as well as some things for our two boys, my husband and for other folks as well. Same with cooking–a good basic recipe could be used in many different ways very successfully–most of the time!–(I’ve had my share of “flops” along the way!) Why shouldn’t God do the same thing? (Only God doesn’t have flops!)

    I completely trust what God says about creation–and everything else it says in the Bible–and that trust isn’t based on just “blind faith”! When I study the MANY prophecies in my Bible–some given centuries before their fulfillment–and see them fulfilled in the smallest detail it convinces me beyond a shadow of a doubt that my God knows what He is talking about and can be depended on 100%!

    Now no human being can be an “expert” on every field of study so there are times when we have to seriously evaluate what others say on different topics–but we often need a good point of reference to test what we read or hear. (Some things we can figure out with simple reasoning, common sense and on what we have learned from life’s lessons along the way–after all, God does expect us to use the minds he has given us!) But when it comes to what I consider Bible and other such issues My God and His Word are my final point of reference and I can honestly say He has never let me down!(I just wish He could say the same thing about me!!)

    I’m not an expert on global warming either–but common sense tells me we humans are certainly not helping anything on this earth by the way we have polluted it in every imaginable way–and that cannot help but affect every aspect of life on earth–including global warming. (And I don’t think most of us Adventists are quite as unintelligent and unthinking as a lot of folks–even on this site–paint us!!!)

    I grew up “Adventist” in Tampa, Florida and worshiped in the then very small little church on Florida Avenue–with an equally small little two-room church school behind it–which I attended from first though eighth grades. For the most part my fellow church members in Tampa were very simple folks who loved God with all their hearts but they were by no means stupid! (One, Julia Neuffer, later became assistant editor of the Adventist Commentary.)

    Another member was a very elderly,self-taught Bible student and had probably never set foot in a college or university–I rather doubt he even finished high school! But he was probably one of the most knowledgeable Bible students I’ve ever known–and I’ve known a lot of excellent Bible teachers, ministers, and Bible Workers–many of whom I have worked with through the years. (We lived in Takoma Park, MD. when the first edition of the Adventist Bible Commentary was published and personally knew some of those who wrote and edited it. As far as I know all were excellent Bible students and obviously loved God.) In my 86 years I’ve known more really intelligent,educated Adventists than simple-minded ones. But, as far as I am concerned, none of them knew their Bibles better, or radiated God’s love better than dear old Pa Gordon! (Simple minded doesn’t mean unintelligent, by the way.)

    Not everyone has the privilege of an advanced education and I’ve had many wonderful friends who weren’t well educated as far as a basic schooling is concerned but most were very smart in real-life wisdom (After all, they survived the Great Depression!) But I haven’t the slightest question but what many of them will be given a royal welcome in God’s beautiful home He is preparing for those who love Him!




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  26. 10-28-10

    Having said all of the above, however, honesty forces me to admit that in the Book of Revelation we ARE depicted as Laodiceans–the lukewarm church–and the only one of the seven churches that God has absolutely nothing good to say about. We are pictured as rich and increased with goods–and feel we have need of nothing—and, unfortunately, the Bible is right as usual.

    At one time we were known as “the people of the Book” and the way we lived, ate, dressed, and spent our time and money sent a clear message of the fact that we truly thought Jesus was returning soon and our mission in life was to be ready to meet Him–and lead others to follow Him also.. But, like Israel of old, we have, little by little become more and more like the world ’till sometimes it is difficult to tell the difference. Perhaps God has allowed the situation at LSU to happen to wake US up–and shake US up!

    We criticizes the leaders for letting things go on as long as they have–and something should have been done years ago–but we need to each examine our own heart and ask God to show us OUR sins and give us the strength to overcome them. Otherwise we may well be among the ones God will have to “spew out of His mouth.”




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  27. If we all humbly approached the throne of grace and asked for the Holy Spirit, then the Scriptures would reveal to us all we need to know. I dare say that many of us have not done so. Pride and self-sufficiency is too tempting for many, even stronger than the attraction to eternal things.

    I ask all to enquire diligently of themselves whether or not this is so in their hearts. I’ll begin this investigation at my own heart, before I dare proceed further.




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  28. Dear Professor Kent

    Thank you for your very kind words. I’ve been treated exceptionally well by all and I feel grateful to be able to contribute.

    My goal is simple: not to disparage the SDA faith, but ask objective questions about origins.

    I do not think anyone should blindly accept evolution but critically examine it to test its merits. Could there be a design element to evolution, hence a master designer? Why not? The question may be how far back the design goes. If a designer, creator, God is omnipotent, then such force could conceive that, basic elements under the right circumstances, could react and adapt to hostile environments. Maybe evolution by natural selection is but a fragment of a far greater design that humans cannot yet fathom. You may gather from this that I am a deist or a theistic evolutionist. I’m not. That would take faith that my empiricism does not allow. I’m not prepared to take such ‘leaps of faith’ because of my agnostic mindset. But in time, these types of theories may gain more credence through scientific and rational inquiry.

    Over the last three years I have studied the SDA faith a great deal and have a far better appreciation for it and faith in general. I have a better understanding for why SDA’s believe what they do. And obviously, as so aptly demonstrated on this site, it is by no means uniform! Such is the nature of Man and thought.

    I think your comments about primates are fair. The question regarding the design option is why would God design such similarity if man was created in God’s image?

    Have a wonderful Sabbath
    Ken




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  29. Dear Lydian

    You have a remarkable faith and a wonderful ability to articulate it.

    I liked your analogy about God using similar patterns when designing his creatures.

    The best sense is common sense and no amount of education can supplant that. What education can do is give common sense the ability to inquire a bit further to examine its initial reckoning.

    I hope I possess one tenth of your abilities, if I make it to 86.

    Have a wonderful, spiritual Sabbath.
    Your friend Ken




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  30. Lydian – when this news first came out over a year ago – many people posted here claiming that no such thing was happening at LSU. And to be fair to them – a number of LSU voices have been heard here trying to make it appear that promotion of evolutionism as the right doctrine on origins – was not going on.

    Even now – some people are still “uninformed” and are believing some of the LSU PR campaign stories about LSU being fully supportive of SDA doctrines that so flatly deny evolutionism.

    But the LSU biology and religion professors that teach evolutionism as fact are NOT coming here and denying that this is what they are doing. SDA parents and would be students are now less excusable than they were in the past for not-knowing about the problem. Now if they choose to embrace what some have called the “worst form of infidelity” then so beit. That is their choice.

    The rest of us need to pray for a reform in the church.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  31. Re Lydian’s Quote“And this wonderful “relationship” came about strictly by “chance” through the mindless process of evolution? Where does common sense enter into this discussion? Lydian(Quote)”Dear LydianAs always, great to see your comments. You remain young in mind and heart!Think about the similarity in the genomes between humans and chimpanzees, both highly intelligent primates. Does common sense tell us both species are highly related in composition? Did God intend this similarity and if so why? RegardsKen  (Quote)

    Clearly we have no science at all telling us that “birds came from reptiles” not even “they look like each other” science.

    The same is true for airplanes and birds, or submarines and whales. They may “look” somewhat alike – but that does not mean that one produced the other or that both are not designed or that either of them will just “arive” on their own if you lot rocks, water and sunlight do their thing long enough.

    Evolutionary science needs to be engaged in a bit more science and a bit less imaginative fiction.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  32. [Post deleted: Too long and outdated. Stephen Hawking, for example, is now openly atheistic. In his new book, “The Grand Design”, he argues that the universe came from nothing and does not need God to explain its origin. – sp]




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  33. Evolutionary science needs to be engaged in a bit more science and a bit less imaginative fiction.

    How does a statement like this help anything? Of course, the evolutionists say the very same thing about creationists…and they are correct.




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  34. Pingback: Educate Truth - Evolution vs Creation at La Sierra University

  35. Even though I, myself, am not a scientist, I am not anti-science in any sense of the word–after all, I lived peacefully and happily (MOST of the time–like every other couple, we did have our “moments”) with an extremely intelligent physicist for almost 60 years–(he died just three months and eight days before our 60th anniversary.) True science is God-given but, to me anyway, when science becomes generously sprinkled with speculation it is no longer “true science!”

    When we look at the world around us and see all the wonderful things MAN has come up with we would laugh to scorn anyone who tried to tell us these things just “evolved” without any intelligent mind behind them. But when “science” (I believe science “falsely so called”) tries to make me believe that the wonders in the natural world that far and away surpass anything man has ever dreamed of (much less actually made) just came about all on their own without with absolutely no intelligent mind behind them,I rebel. Sorry, but my unscientific mind says “Whoa! Wait a minute! Something is wrong somewhere!” No “Blind Watchmaker” ever invented even the simplest watch–much less the extremely complicated ones we see for sale today–but all this wonderful, majestic beauty that surrounds us just “happened” with no intelligent mind anywhere around? What a tremendous leap of “faith” that demands! I don’t care how many “letters” a person has behind his/her name that is just to big a step for my simple mind to take! Where is our common sense? Into which “intellectual garbage can” have we tossed it?

    Any reasonably intelligent gardener will tell you there are laws of nature we must follow if we want a garden or a beautiful place to live. Just go away for a weekend or so and unwanted weeds will quickly poke up their noses, unwanted bugs will appear like magic and the neighbor’s dog or cat (or both) will have likely have stopped by for a visit and used your favorite flower or vegetable plant for a potty! (The ‘cons got our corn while we slept peacefully just one night in our own comfortable beds here at home this year.)

    Neglect it a little longer and your plot will become a weedy, bug infested, smelly potty filled mess. So, to this gardener anyway, going from chaos into our wonderful world of breathtaking beauty (still in many places) without a Mind somewhere to oversee it just doesn’t make any sense to me. (Don’t evolutionist have gardens–or cats and dogs (or neighbors that do) or ‘coons?)

    The real problem–at least from my viewpoint–is that once your worldly scientists accepted the fact that there is a Creator-God, beyond and unseen mortal eyes, they have to face the uncomfortable realization that they are accountable to Him for the way they live their lives and that someday they will have to give an account to Him for that. And the vast majority of modern mankind simply cannot handle this extremely uncomfortable thought at all. However, no matter how comforting that false belief may be at the present time, like it or not, that day of reckoning will surely come!

    To me, the fact that there is a real, loving God up there that knows all about me, has a kind, gentle angel constantly with me, loves me in spite of my wayward ways and is there to help and comfort me when things go wrong in life–even though I have bought most of my problems on myself–is a wonderful comfort.

    Millions are miserably sick and dying today because they refuse to follow–or are ignorant of–the guidelines for health He has given us in diet, exercise and other areas that would preserve our mental and physical well-being for many years. We are digging our graves with our forks and our couch potato lack of exercise, and in other areas in spite of all the wonderful counsel we have been given. Unfortunately, today many of us would rather “pop a pill” than change our way of life. (Many, through ignorance, do not realize that there is a better way to live.)

    “None so blind as those who refuse to see.” How our loving God must weep when He sees how foolish most of us really are!

    PS: Yes, Ken, TRUE education can “give common sense the ability to inquire a bit further to examine its initial reckoning”–but what if our minds are confused from early childhood on up? If a child is taught from babyhood that there is no God–there is no future beyond this brief span on this earth and that the law of tooth and claw is the only rule we have to live by–and all are mostly left to themselves to figure life out–it can numb any other outlook and lead to despair and a lashing out to others around us. This outlook rarely, if ever, leads to a life of peace and comfort and a caring attitude to others.

    Thing were not perfect when I was growing up–life has never been perfect since sin entered out world–but they were a lot safer and carefree than rthey are today. My friends and I could reasonably safely go about anywhere in our then little country town of Tampa, Florida, without any fear–but today we all have to admit this just isn’t true! When I was afraid, confused or hurting I always had a wonderful “Father and Friend” I could turn to for help and comfort no matter where I was or what time of the day or night it was. The average child–or even adult–today does not have that comfort or assurance.

    As long as fear and sorrow are in this world–and there will be until Jesus returns and brings all this mess to an end–life’s problems will only increase. And even those who do know and love God will be subjected to many problems and hurts. Satan will see to that because he hates any and all who fear and love God. He will do everything he possibly can to destroy that love and trust. But knowing and fully trusting His Word-and that Jesus WILL COME and bring an end to all sin and suffering is a comfort only the trusting child of God has.

    Jesus is coming, and I believe a lot sooner than any of us realize–and that assurance cannot be found in the “wisdom” of this world–or in it’s anti-God educational system of today! I tremble for the future of our children if Jesus doesn’t come soon!




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  36. Dear Ken,

    Thank you so much for your kind words on Oct. 29. I’ve been meaning to respond ever since–but have a tendency to get sidetracked very easily.

    I always read you posts with interest. They are always well written, very courteous and usually make me have to put my “thinking cap” on!. I really appreciate all of that!

    And I truly hope and pray that someday soon you will fall in love with Jesus and find that “Peace that passeth all understanding.” (We, as a people, are far from perfect so you can’t look at most of us as examples.) But our God IS–and He will never let you down. That doesn’t mean you will always have a wonderful, care free life–in fact, it may sometimes be just the opposite. But it’s times like those that help us to learn to love and trust Him more and more.

    And (as the children in the primary Sabbath School class when my children were young used to sing)

    “I want to meet you in heaven and live next door to you!”)

    Keep posting!

    Lydian




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  37. Re Lydian’s comment

    “I always read you posts with interest. They are always well written, very courteous and usually make me have to put my “thinking cap” on!. I really appreciate all of that!”

    Dear Lydian

    You are ever so kind. I appreciate your prayers and all the courtesy that everyone has shown me on this forum.

    My dear, there is a good brain under that thinking cap.

    Being agnostic is a difficult discipline, but one that I hope can be of some small service to my SDA friends. How? Hopefully by asking tough questions without the bias of a non faith or faith conviction. My ‘divine’ word is the relentless, infinite WHY? Why do I take this approach? It’s my form of present truth. Moreover in a macrocosm, I think this is the engine that drives Man in perpetual quest for better understanding of reality.

    Lydian, you pay me the ultimate compliment if I have caused you to think about things a bit more.

    Yours gratefully
    Ken




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  38. 11-11-10

    Ron,

    Do you honestly think the scientists of today are smarter than the God of “yesterday, today and tomorrow?” And do you really think they are 100% more honest in their reporting of things? Do they reslly accurately weigh and put out all sides of the question or do they select only those things they can “adjust” to the way they “see” things. Human nature is such that we can be very selective in our thinking–and our postings. We humans have a tendency to clutch to our hearts those who agree with us and turn a blind eye to what disagrees with our perception of things.

    The God of the Bible stakes His claims for being the Almighty God He claims to be on His ability to accurately foretell the future–and the Bible has many instances where He has done this. So far, He has a 100% accuracy record. Who of us can do that?

    Whether we like to admit it or not, we are fighting the mightiest created being in the universe who rebelled against his Creator. He will use any means at his disposal–whether honest or dishonest and thousands bow to the throne of his Satanic wisdom.

    The God who can so accurately foretell the future can certainly remember what He has done in the past and accurately tell us about it. Or don’t you think so?

    Lydian




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