Re Ron’s Quote “There are plenty of theologians who think evolution …

Comment on Why Orthodox Darwinism Demands Atheism by Ken.

Re Ron’s Quote

“There are plenty of theologians who think evolution is compatable with creation, and there are plenty of scientists who believe evolution is compatible with faith in God. Why don’t you focus on them? Ron Nielsen(Quote)”

For example: Dr Ben Clausen of the GRI.


Ken Also Commented

Why Orthodox Darwinism Demands Atheism
Dear David

Excellent analysis.

If the substance of the GRI’s message is that science is not in accord with FB#6, the church has a far bigger problem than the biology department at LSU.

This is why I think Sean is showing great courage and has got his work cut out for him. When the scientists you hire at GRI publicly don’t support that position what does that say about the credibility of creation science?

Best Regards

Why Orthodox Darwinism Demands Atheism
Dear Sean

Thanks for your reply regarding your view of the GRI. No punches pulled there!

Like I said, I think you really have your scientific work cut out for you, in light of what many of your fellow Adventist scientists at the GRI are saying.

It’s going to be interesting!

Have a great Sabbath everyone.


Why Orthodox Darwinism Demands Atheism
Re Quotes from GC regarding the GRI scientists

“Most of the presentations by the four GRI staff scientists were thoughtful and helpful. Ben Clausen, in “Belief in Spite of Uncertainty: The Ongoing Faith Journey of a Scientist,” shared first his life experiences – Revelation in stories and texts; Nature; Relating Revelation and Science, “there are no short chronology scientific models;” and People. In each context her shared lessons learned. In Revelation he learned respect, the importance of interpretation, and its limitations. In Nature/Science he learned the same lessons of respect, interpretation, and limitations. In Relating Revelation and Science, he learned that it had been Christianity that had nurtured modern science and the importance of respect for God’s revelation in both Scripture and nature along with the expositors in each of the two arenas (People). It is not really science vs. the Bible but rather there are really two sides within our hearts: faith and understanding contrasted with distrust or blind acceptance. Clausen sees the Sabbath as symbolizing what Anselm said about “faith seeking understanding.” In conclusion he urged us to place our faith in the Bible because there is not enough support from science. He reminded us of the statement in Desire of Ages, page 330:

In every difficulty He has His way prepared to bring relief. Our heavenly Father has a thousand ways to provide for us, of which we know nothing. Those who accept the one principle of making the service and honor of God supreme will find perplexities vanish, and a plan path before their feet.

Ronny Nalin, who does sedimentological research in Italy, chose to address a similar theme: “Dealing with Uncertainty.” He answered four key questions:

1. Have I found the synthesis between the Bible and geology? No, just more unresolved issues.
2. Should we downplay geology? No, the rocks have a story to tell.
3. Should we give up our faith when there is conflict? No, faith is not based on empirical evidence (Hebrews 11:1, 2 Corinthians 5:7).
4. Why is there a conflict? Incomplete understanding is part of the human condition; our God is bigger than we are. The answer lies in knowledge we do not see. Jacob’s struggle and conflict is a good illustration. Genesis 32:31 (NIV) says: “The sun rose above him” even though he was limping. It was a sign of symbolic life after struggle.

In response to the question, “Please explain dating,” he said, “Radiometric dating is our only method; there is no alternative.” The follow up question was “Then explain six literal days.” His response, ”I feel comfortable because I have a larger world view though it cannot be reconciled with science. There is no shame in having problems.” Another question: “Is there room for believers who think differently in the church?” Response: “Yes, how would you deal with someone who had a mythical experience? No, forget the word ‘mythical’! The main point to realize is that you can’t use Genesis to form a scientific model. If you’re an advocate for other views, be humble, accept the fact that you may not have followers.” Last question: “Are there presuppositions in geology?” Answer: “Yes, the assumptions are reasonable and intrinsically connected with the laws of nature. When it comes to things that are supernatural, you can’t fully understand them, you can just speculate.”

The presentation by Jim Gibson, Director of GRI, responded to the question, “Do Millions of Years Solve the Problem?” In a nutshell, his answer was “no,” but he carefully spelled out the reasons as follows.

1. When looking at the fossil record one realizes that Genesis cannot be a condensed version of time.
2. How about the suggestion that the fossil record could precede the “special creation” of Genesis? This so-called “gap theory” of the Scofield Bible does not work because there is no point in the fossil record where living organisms appear together.
3. What about putting the six literal days of creation millions of years ago? This won’t work because of the way the fossils are “sorted” in the record. Faith has to be the key because “there is not enough evidence to resolve the tension between science and the Bible; one has to believe the Bible without the support of science.” “Science works well when tests can be repeated; history is not testable in that way.” “Science is a closed system governed by physical laws so tension [with the Bible] has to be expected.”
4. Could we consider a fourth way for long ages? Maybe God guided the process of theistic evolution. This view was unacceptable to Darwin himself. Otherwise you would have God guiding in birth defects, etc., so “a God of the gaps” approach does not seem helpful.

In summary, “we can enjoy the benefits of both faith and science but we choose by faith, we are not compelled to choose.”

There were several questions following this presentation.

1. Since there are 300,000 beetles alone, how many different animals were given to Adam to name? (The implication being that there may have been too many to name in one day!) The multiplication of animals we have today are the results of predation and disease; that would not be expected in a world declared to be good. Originally there might have been as many as 300 families of land animals.
2. If there had been a universal flood, wouldn’t all the fossils be thoroughly mixed up in the record? “There are things about the flood that are outside our experience; it is a real problem, there is no good answer. If organisms were distributed before the flood, then sorting had to happen during the flood.” “It is important to know that we have questions we cannot answer.” “The fossil record is enigmatic; I know of no model to explain it—there just is not enough information.”
3. What about the old earth, young life theory? Many Adventists are comfortable with this.
4. Will we ever see harmony between science and Scripture? No, Ellen White in Evangelism, page 593, suggests there will always be conflict.
5. Is evolution scientific? In the book In Search of Deep Time, Henry Gee says no historical question can be considered science. (Read a review of it here.)

I found these three GRI scientists to be forthright and helpful in their presentations — a refreshing change from some of their predecessors. The fourth scientist, Tim Standish, the organizer of the Yes, Creation! schedule, spoke on “Creation and Evolution: A Brief History.” For those who are familiar with this history, there was nothing that was new. He did, however, in response to several private criticisms from the audience, show his gracious side by apologizing for not treating all questioners with love and respect; he admitted he had been irritated with some of them. After reviewing some of the high points of the history of evolutionary thought, going back to the time of David (Psalm 53:1), he concluded that assertions and truth-claims that are made today are not really data-driven but based on philosophy. In contrast, he asserted the important unity that exists in Adventist doctrine.”

Dear Shane and Sean

Gentleman, in light of what the GRI scientists are saying, I think you have your work cut out for you to demonstrate a recent, 6 day literal creation. Obviously the GRI scientists are having great difficulty reconciling their faith with science.

Sean, I really think the forum needs to hear from you on the observations of these GRI scientists and whether you agree or disagree.


Recent Comments by Ken

God and Granite Cubes
@ Sean

I enjoyed your article. As I’ve stated before, I think Intelligent Design is a more modern form of Deism and do not think it is irrational. However, as science on an ongoing basis shows what matters are explainable by cause and effect, less is attributable to conscious design. The question of course is what are the limits of science in this regard? For example, will it ever be able to explain First Cause/

Below is a more fulsome quote of Professor Townes, an self acknowledged Protestant Christian. Please note what he has to say about literal creation and evolution. Do you think he is being more reasonable than you on the nature of design?

“I do believe in both a creation and a continuous effect on this universe and our lives, that God has a continuing influence – certainly his laws guide how the universe was built. But the Bible’s description of creation occurring over a week’s time is just an analogy, as I see it. The Jews couldn’t know very much at that time about the lifetime of the universe or how old it was. They were visualizing it as best they could and I think they did remarkably well, but it’s just an analogy.

Should intelligent design be taught alongside Darwinian evolution in schools as religious legislators have decided in Pennsylvania and Kansas?

I think it’s very unfortunate that this kind of discussion has come up. People are misusing the term intelligent design to think that everything is frozen by that one act of creation and that there’s no evolution, no changes. It’s totally illogical in my view. Intelligent design, as one sees it from a scientific point of view, seems to be quite real. This is a very special universe: it’s remarkable that it came out just this way. If the laws of physics weren’t just the way they are, we couldn’t be here at all. The sun couldn’t be there, the laws of gravity and nuclear laws and magnetic theory, quantum mechanics, and so on have to be just the way they are for us to be here.
Charles Townes
‘Faith is necessary for the scientist even to get started, and deep faith is necessary for him to carry out his tougher tasks. Why? Because he must have confidence that there is order in the universe and that the human mind – in fact his own mind – has a good chance of understanding this order.’
-Charles Townes, writing in “The Convergence of Science and Religion,” IBM’s Think magazine, March-April 1966
Some scientists argue that “well, there’s an enormous number of universes and each one is a little different. This one just happened to turn out right.” Well, that’s a postulate, and it’s a pretty fantastic postulate – it assumes there really are an enormous number of universes and that the laws could be different for each of them. The other possibility is that ours was planned, and that’s why it has come out so specially. Now, that design could include evolution perfectly well. It’s very clear that there is evolution, and it’s important. Evolution is here, and intelligent design is here, and they’re both consistent.

They don’t have to negate each other, you’re saying. God could have created the universe, set the parameters for the laws of physics and chemistry and biology, and set the evolutionary process in motion, But that’s not what the Christian fundamentalists are arguing should be taught in Kansas.

People who want to exclude evolution on the basis of intelligent design, I guess they’re saying, “Everything is made at once and then nothing can change.” But there’s no reason the universe can’t allow for changes and plan for them, too. People who are anti-evolution are working very hard for some excuse to be against it. I think that whole argument is a stupid one. Maybe that’s a bad word to use in public, but it’s just a shame that the argument is coming up that way, because it’s very misleading. “

Dr. Ariel Roth’s Creation Lectures for Teachers
Re Sean’s Quote

“Yes, I am suggesting that our scientists should also be theologians to some degree. I’m also suggesting that our theologians be scientists to some degree as well. There should be no distinct dividing line between the two disciplines…”

Hello Sean

First of all, thank you Holly for your comments. You have always treated me with civility and charity for which I am most grateful.

Secondly, on reflection, I do hope I was not strident or offensive in my recent remarks. I am a guest here and should behave with the utmost respect regarding my Adventist hosts. After all I was proposing the Chair of ID at an ‘Adventist’ institution! What gall and temerity from an agnostic!

However something Dr. Kime said struck a very strange chord in me: that a Chair in ID at Harvard would be a quantum leap ( forward – my edit) while such a Chair would be a step backward at LSU. I’ m very sorry Wes, but for me to honestly investigate reality such double standard is not acceptable.

I am sad today, because I think I’m coming to the end of my Adventist journey. I really did see ID as a sort of bridge between your faith and objective inquiry about a ‘Grand’ Design. (apologies Mr. Hawkings). Oh Wes , perhaps I am ontological Don Quixote after all, comically tilting towards immovable Adventist windmills. 🙁 .

However all is not forlorn because I’ve made excellent friends of the heart here. ;). I won’t forget you.

Good luck in your pursuit of God.

Your agnostic friend

Dr. Ariel Roth’s Creation Lectures for Teachers
Re Wes’s Quote

“. But for a Christian, a great devolution, a great recidivation, a tragic forfeiture, foreclosure, worse. If I were to use the vocabulary of some of our recent posters, I’d not put it as delicately.”

Hi Wes and Sean

I just read again portions on ID from Sean’s website Detecting Design. I am very confused by both of your responses. Why the heck is Sean promoting ID as a scientific theory if this is such a Christian retreat? Perhaps you two differ here? I apologize if I am missing the obvious but I see a tremendous disconnect between what Sean is saying about ID and what he is prepared to do to promote it within the subset of Adventist education.

Your agnostic friend

Dr. Ariel Roth’s Creation Lectures for Teachers
Re Sean’s Quote

“Public association is one thing. Private association is another. While many do not feel at liberty to publicly associate themselves with our work here (for obvious reasons), most who still believe in SDA fundamentals (and who are aware of the longstanding situation at LSU and other places) feel that our work in providing enhanced transparency for what is being taught to our young people in our schools was/is necessary on some level.”

Hi Sean

The irony here is that those that are supporting institutional enhanced transparency are hiding behind cloaks of anonymity. That’s not how you, I, Wes, Bob Ryan, Wes, Bill Sorenson and many others here behave. Imagine if Jesus hid behind a cloak and didn’t proclaim his nature. What legacy of respect would he have left?

Conviction requires courage period.

Your agnostic friend

Dr. Ariel Roth’s Creation Lectures for Teachers
Re Intelligent Design

Gentleman, thanks to all for your fulsome replies.

Yes Wes, I remember your cogent analysis of November 14/11. I appreciared it then and its reiteration now. indeed I was waiting to hear from others especially Sean whose site is named Detecting Design. And, here I agree with Bob, ID
does not necessarily rule out any particular design i. e. fiat
creation ot theistic evolution.

But quite frankly I am disaapointed with Sean’s response, not Sean himself for whom I have deep admiration, because I see this as a step backward. Why? Because if you burn the bridge between science and biblical faith it will not be science that suffers.

Ironically Sean makes many fine, cogent arguments for design in nature so I find his reluctance to promote it formally in Adventist education troubling. Respectfully, I don’t think serious enquiry about reality can creep around the periphery or sneak in through the back door. I’m afraid I see a double standard here.

Yes Wes, I understand why Adventists are nervous on this issue. But if one is seeking the truth about reality one can’t wall it in or burn bridges of enquiry. Wes, perhaps the Hellenic maxim should have not so much: Know thyself, but rather Think for thyself. My park bench in Pugwash is a welcome one but does not feature ontological dividers. It is well designed for truth seekers.

Your agnostic friend