Comment on Why Orthodox Darwinism Demands Atheism by Professor Kent.
Who is Spencer? I remember Chadwick, the Southwestern Adventist University fossil hobbyist who publicly attacks other people, but who is this other fellow?
Okay, my curiosity got the best of me. I Googled a bit–quite a bit, actually–and finally learned that Lee Spencer is a biology professor at Southern Adventist University. Should have guessed (I initially thought he was some pastor of a Baptist church in New York…hurrah for Google). CreationWiki.org listed three publications:
Spencer, Turner, and Chadwick. 2001. A remarkable vertebrate assemblage from the Lance Formation, Niobrara County, Wyoming. Geological Society of America. Abstracts with Program 33:A499.
Spencer, L., Kennedy, E.. 2001. Potentially false interpretations of dinosaur nests and nesting, with an example from the Allen Formation, Patagonia, Argentina. PaleoBios, 21, Supplement to Number 2:119.
Kennedy, E., Spencer, L.. 1995. An unusual occurrence of dinosaur eggshell fragments in a storm surge deposit, Lamargue Group Patagonia, Argentina. Geological Society of America, Abstracts with Programs, A-318 55(5):1123 – 1136.
Two of these appear to be abstracts, which in academia don’t really count. I’m sure the guy is a nice fellow. Apparently he spoke at Yes Creation! in Atlanta. So is he one of the “safe” professors?
Professor Kent Also Commented
You â€œthinkâ€ they border on dishonesty (or ignorance), exhibit unchristlike tactics, and offer a very poor witness to unbelievers?â€ What is your basis for these â€œthoughts?â€
Okay, Lydian, I’ll give you but two examples since I feel badly you have taken offense. There are others.
#1 – ICR once stated how the author of a book was wrong when it claimed that Darwin’s Finches had “evolved.” ICR mockingly pointed out that the finches did not turn into eagles or mice or anything else. All that happened was that their beaks changed shape as a result of “natural selection” and that no “evolution” had occurred. ICR reassured us that “evolution” was impossible. This characterization of the book was absolutely misleading because the author described how the beaks evolved in shape and never suggested anything beyond that. The author had in fact carefully described how “evolution” of the beaks (call if “microevolution” if you wish, it’s still evolution) had happened by natural selection. By definition, if natural selection happens, evolution happens. Of course, ICR was using the word “evolution” in a macroevolution and/or abiogenesis meaning, and they should have never conflated these meanings with those of the book author. The analogies used and mischaracterization of the author were patently wrong. Either they knew it and did this deliberately, or they were remarkably ignorant. Some months ago I visited their website and saw a few articles that I felt similarly misrepresented the science on origins and evolutionary change.
#2 – For years, ICR hosted public creation/evolution “debates” in which they made every effort to ridicule and antagonize those with whom they disagreed (much like the language used and attitudes expressed here). I never attended one of their debates, but I have spoken with Christians and non-Christians alike who attended the debates and who were keenly disappointed with the unChristlike tactics used by ICR staff. If one simply browses the internet, they will find plenty of reaction to these debates, including assertions made by ICR scientists that were shown to be incorrect, but then repeated again as if they were correct. I don’t know whether they continue these debates today.
I have no doubt that ICR does much good. However, my personal position remains that “they border on dishonesty (or ignorance), exhibit unchristlike tactics, and offer a very poor witness to unbelievers.”
For some reason, the only criticism I have ever seen of our fellow Adventists at GRI has come from this website. The criticism is that a few individuals at GRI (I forget their names; I don’t have time to backtrack to see them) tell us that our views are opposed by considerable evidence and that we must excercise our faith in God’s word in spite of what science tells us. I do not understand why more “faithful” readers here do not take offense in these attacks of GRI. I find it interesting that I make a negative statement about ICR and I get criticized roundly, yet others here make negative statements about GRI (for defending your faith!) and get praised for their critical remarks! What is wrong with all of you readers who refuse to speak up in defense of GRI and your faith?
Why Orthodox Darwinism Demands Atheism
So now Bob writes
If you have actual quotes from Creationists actually doing research or promoting scientific solutions for YEC or YLC that is critical of ICR â€“ provide the quotres. If all you have is endless evolutionist rabbit trail after rabbit trail accusations, and personal bias devoid of reliable fact â€“ then reserve them for the funny papers.
Here is a “funny paper” quote for you:
Some creationists are opposed to the ICR. Gary North “opposes the ICR on the grounds that they” acknowledge the second principle of thermodynamics, and John W. Robbins considers the ICR’s activities a “fraud.” The old-Earth creationist organization Answers In Creation criticizes the ICR, including a critical review by Kevin R. Henke, Ph.D of the ICR’s dating claims. – WIKIPEDIA (on INSTITUTE FOR CREATION RESEARCH)
I don’t have time to look further, and I’m not going to respond to this again. Perhaps someone else would like to share his thoughts on ICR. I take it you yourself agree with ICR’s position on Intelligent Design (ID):
Henry M. Morris of the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) wrote, in 1999, that ID, “even if well-meaning and effectively articulated, will not work! It has often been tried in the past and has failed, and it will fail today. The reason it won’t work is because it is not the Biblical method.”
The issues that relate to ICR’s apologetics are much too complex to deal with here. I prefer not to go into further detail, though others may wish to elaborate. I suggest that if you draw inspiration and conviction from what you read from ICR, you continue to do so. And may you be richly blessed.
Recent Comments by Professor Kent
Sean Pitman: Science isn’t about “cold hard facts.” Science is about interpreting the “facts” as best as one can given limited background experiences and information. Such interpretations can be wrong and when shown to be wrong, the honest will in fact change to follow where the “weight of evidence” seems to be leading.
Much of science is based on highly technical data that few other than those who generate it can understand. For most questions, science yields data insufficient to support a single interpretation. And much of science leads to contradictory interpretations. Honest individuals will admit that they have a limited understanding of the science, and base their opinions on an extremely limited subset of information which they happen to find compelling whether or not the overall body of science backs it up.
Sean Pitman: The process of detecting artefacts as true artefacts is a real science based on prior experience, experimentation, and testing with the potential of future falsification. Oh, and I do happen to own a bona fide polished granite cube.
Not from Mars. Finding the cube on Mars is the basis of your cubical caricature of science, not some artefact under your roof.
Professor Kent: If you think my brother-in-law who loves to fish in the Sea of Cortez is a scientist because he is trying to catch a wee little fish in a big vast sea, then I guess I need to view fishermen in a different light. I thought they were hobbyists.
The question is not if one will catch a fish, but if one will recognize a fish as a fish if one ever did catch a fish. That’s the scientific question here. And, yet again, the clear answer to this question is – Yes.
I think I’m going to spend the afternoon with my favorite scientist–my 8-year-old nephew. We’re going to go fishing at Lake Elsinore. He wants to know if we might catch a shark there. Brilliant scientist, that lad. He already grasps the importance of potentially falsifiable empirical evidence. I’m doubtful we’ll catch a fish, but I think he’ll recognize a fish if we do catch one.
While fishing, we’ll be scanning the skies to catch a glimpse of archaeopteryx flying by. He believes they might exist, and why not? Like the SETI scientist, he’s doing science to find the elusive evidence.
He scratched himself with a fish hook the other day and asked whether he was going to bleed. A few moments later, some blood emerged from the scratched. Talk about potentilly falsifiable data derived from a brilliant experiment. I’m telling you, the kid’s a brilliant scientist.
What’s really cool about science is that he doesn’t have to publish his observations (or lack thereof) to be doing very meaningful science. He doesn’t even need formal training or a brilliant mind. Did I mention he’s the only autistic scientist I’ve ever met?
As most everyone here knows, I have a poor understanding of science. But I’m pretty sure this nephew of mine will never lecture me or Pauluc on what constitutes science. He’s the most humble, polite, and soft-spoken scientist I’ve ever met.
Sean Pitman: I don’t think you understand the science or rational arguments behind the detection of an artefact as a true artefact. In fact, I don’t think you understand the basis of science in general.
I’m amused by this response. I don’t think you understand the limits of a philosophical argument based on a hypothetical situation, which is all that your convoluted cube story comprises, and nothing more. Whether the artefact is an artefact is immaterial to an argument that is philosophical and does not even consider an actual, bona fide artefact.
Sean Pitman: You argue that such conclusions aren’t “scientific”. If true, you’ve just removed forensic science, anthropology, history in general, and even SETI science from the realm of true fields of scientific study and investigation.
Forensic science, anthropology, and history in general all assume that humans exist and are responsible for the phenomenon examined. Authorities in these disciplines can devise hypotheses to explain the phenomenon they observe and can test them.
SETI assumes there might be non-human life elsewhere in the universe and is nothing more than an expensive fishing expedition. If you think my brother-in-law who loves to fish in the Sea of Cortez is a scientist because he is trying to catch a wee little fish in a big vast sea, then I guess I need to view fishermen in a different light. I thought they were hobbyists.
The search for a granite cube on Mars is nothing more than an exercise in hypotheticals. Call it science if you insist; I don’t see how it is different than a child waiting breathlessly all night beside the fireplace hoping to find Santa coming down the chimney.
I guess the number of science colleagues I acknowledge needs to grow exponentially. I apologize to those I have failed to recognize before as scientists.
Sean Pitman: The observation alone, of the granite cube on an alien planet, informs us that the creator of the cube was intelligent on at least the human level of intelligence – that’s it. You are correct that this observation, alone, would not inform us as to the identity or anything else about the creator beyond the fact that the creator of this particular granite cube was intelligent and deliberate in the creation of the cube.
Your frank admission concedes that the creator of the cube could itself be an evolved being, and therefore you’re back to square one. Thus, your hypothetical argument offers no support for either evolutionism or creationism, and cannot distinguish between them.
Gary Gilbert, Spectrum, and Pseudogenes
I have taken much abuse by pointing out the simple fact that SDAs have specific interpretations of origins that originate from scripture and cannot be supported by science (if science is “potentially falsifiable empirical evidence”). The beliefs include:
o fiat creation by voice command from a supernatural being
o all major life forms created in a 6-day period
o original creation of major life forms approximately 6,000 years ago
None of these can be falsified by experimental evidence, and therefore are accepted on faith.
Sean Pitman’s responses to this are predictably all over the place. They include:
“[This] is a request for absolute demonstration. That’s not what science does.” [totally agreed; science can’t examine these beliefs]
“The Biblical account of origins can in fact be supported by strong empirical evidence.” [not any of these three major interpretations of Genesis 1]
“Does real science require leaps of faith? Absolutely!”
I think it’s fair to say from Pitman’s perspective that faith derived from science is laudable, whereas faith derived from scripture–God’s word–is useless.
Don’t fret, Dr. Pitman. I won’t lure you into further pointless discussion. While I am greatly amused by all of this nonsense and deliberation (hardly angry, as you often suggest) for a small handful of largely disinterested readers, I am finished. I won’t be responding to any further remarks or questions.