Comment on The Metamorphosis of La Sierra University: an eye-witness account by Sean Pitman.
As Iâ€™ve already explained, there is no such thing as scientific â€œproofâ€. – Sean Pitman
You mean we canâ€™t prove that 2 â€“ 1 = 1? That gravity pulls things toward the center of the earth? That Albert Einstein studied the theory of relativity and derived an equation? That wolves are carnivores? That antibiotic resistance evolves in bacteria? That the speed of light is faster than the speed of sound? That Dr. Sean Pitman earned an M.D. degree in medicine? That the first living breathing human appeared instantaneously from a pile of dirt?
You confuse observations (and math) with science. Direct observations aren’t “science” in and of themselves. Science is the process of taking limited observations and explaining them with the use of hypotheses that making predictions about the future or the past which are subject to testing and at least the potential for falsification. That’s science.
Again, such hypotheses and theories, while they can produce high levels of predictive value by passing many tests over time, can never reach absolute perfection. There is always the potential for error, for being wrong, in science.
As you can see, there is no ‘proof’ or absolute ‘truth’ in science. The closest we get are facts, which are indisputable observations.
– Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D., Scientific Hypothesis, Theory, Law Definitions (http://chemistry.about.com/od/chemistry101/a/lawtheory.htm)
Sean Pitman Also Commented
â€œYouâ€™re mistaken. If life on this Earth can be conclusively shown to have the appearance of having been here for hundreds of millions of years of time, that would be very problematic for the validity of the Genesis account of originsâ€¦ problematic for the candid rational mind.â€ â€“ Sean Pitman
Exactly, Sean. Your â€œcandid rational mindâ€ will never see or know how miracles happen. Nor how â€œHe commanded, and it stood fast.â€ Nor how â€œBy the word of the Lord the heavens were made and all the hosts of them by the breath of His mouth.â€
You don’t have to know how something happened to know that however it happened, it required the input of a deliberate and very intelligent mind. This is where scientific reasoning and rational thinking comes into play.
Your argument that the features of the natural world in which we live, and various historical sciences, are irrelevant to the validity of the claims of the Bible is a direct appeal to blind faith – – that one should simply believe the Bible even in situations where all available empirical evidence is clearly contradictory. The very same argument is used by my LDS friends – the very same argument. They argue that they know the truth because the Holy Spirit tells them the truth. This is essentially the same thing you’re saying – or so it seems to me…
And all the trees and flowers and animal life were not â€œone day oldâ€ in their development. Adam was a full grown man and so were the animals. And the trees were not â€œone day oldâ€ either. They were created full grown.
We’re not talking about a situation were God, out of necessity, produced adult forms of living things. We’re talking about a situation where God would make things look like they have lived and died on this planet over the course of hundreds of millions of years of time, and then expect us to believe the Bible despite the overwhelming empirical evidence to the contrary. I’m sorry, but that’s not a reasonable argument for belief or faith in the credibility of the Bible.
If people will not accept the bibleâ€™s own evidence of self validation, all the science in the world will not persuade them.
Again, there is no such thing as “self validation”. That concept is not a rational concept. It is an appeal to circular reasoning. For example, I could say, “What I just told you is true because I am trustworthy – just ask me. Don’t ask anyone else though because no one else is a trustworthy as I am.”
Even if the truly find Noahâ€™s ark, those who choose not to believe will remain in unbelief. So Jesus said, â€œIf they will not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they believe even if one rose from the dead.â€
And Paul affirms, â€œSpiritual things are spiritually discerned.â€
This is a problem with desire, not with the evidentiary basis of faith for those who really do want to know and follow the truth. Paul, in particular, argues for the evidentiary basis of faith in Romans 1:20 NIV.
Is there evidence of a flood? Yes. But all unbelievers soon find another answer by way of â€œscienceâ€ to dis-credit the bible.
One doesn’t need “science” to avoid acceptance of what one really knows to be true. The Jewish leaders in Jesus’ day knew that he was the Messiah. They just didn’t want to accept what they knew to be true. The evidence was overwhelming. They had no excuse for their rejection of Jesus and they will admit this in the end of time during the final Judgment.
Take note, Sean, how earnestly the devil works to dis-credit prophecy. It is the one infallible testimony to validate the bible and its claims.
An understanding of history, upon which the validity of prophecy is based, is not infallible my friend. It is based, as are all of your other beliefs about the reality of the world in which you live, on your own subjective interpretation of what your five senses are telling you. In other words, your beliefs, even in regard to biblical prophecy, are subject to potential error and falsification – as are mine. You simply aren’t omniscient. You cannot know for sure, with absolute certainty, if you are or are not correct. You can be very confident in your conclusions, but not perfectly so this side of Heaven…
Dr. Ford  worked earnestly to dis-credit Daniel and over throw bible Adventism and attack EGW and her ministry. And not a few have followed in his foot steps who hold a good deal of influence and authority in the SDA church today.
That’s true. But, this is irrelevant to the discussion at hand – i.e., a discussion regarding the evidentiary basis of a rational faith in the credibility of the Bible as the Word of God.
Spectrum and A-today never should have had a booth at the GC in Atlanta. They are not SDA forums, nor are they sponsored by the SDA church.
Do we let a Roman Catholic ministry have a booth at our GC sessions? To do so is to admit these ministries have a valid influence for truth and should be seriously considered for their teaching and spirituality.
I agree, but this is also irrelevant to the discussion at hand.
If through science, you can influence someone to consider the bible and its validity, then â€œthe law is a schoolmaster to lead us to (the bible).â€
This is how I was led to a confident trust in the Bible as the Word of God. And, this is how I have led many of my friends to trust the Bible as well… through an appeal to the weight of currently available empirical evidence and a form of scientific reasoning.
By a careful study of scripture, a scientist may be persuaded and even agree that natural science does not attack scripture. But you will never use natural science alone to prove the age of the earth, nor validate the creation week. On the other hand, you can use the bible alone to validate its stated truths.
You’re mistaken here. It is upon a form of scientific reasoning alone that the Bible’s credibility regarding its metaphysical and other non-testable claims can be rationally considered to be trustworthy. It is through scientific investigation into the testable claims of the Bible that the Bible is found to be consistently trustworthy and reliable. Therefore, the trustworthiness of those biblical claims that cannot be directly investigated gain credibility as well. Without this basis in empirical evidence, however, there would be no rational reason to trust the Bible as having superior credibility in anything vs. any other good book or moral fable.
Sean, you use the word â€œscientificâ€ in a loose ended generic sense. Because people can think and reason, you call this â€œscientificâ€.
Scientific thinking and reasoning invokes certain rules of logic and appeals to empirical evidence. Such thinking therefore invokes a form of scientific rational and is therefore a form of “science.”
I really don’t think you understand what “science” is. It really isn’t all that special or spectacular as far as methods are concerned. It is a very simple method of thinking that involves the interpretation of the evidence that comes into your mind from the outside world through your five senses. It is a “basic bs detector”, as one of my professors used to say. That’s it. Anyone can use a form of scientific reasoning – even children.
There is a spiritual law science that is not oppose to natural law, but neither is it validated by natural law as the authority for any conclusions.
This is not true when it comes to validating the credibility of the Bible for those who have not grown up automatically thinking of the Bible as credible or for those who honestly consider some other source of presumed authority, such as the Qur’an or the Book of Mormon, to be superior to the Bible.
And I personally doubt you can â€œproveâ€ or even substanciate with reliable evidence from nature the age of the earth. Namely, because no one know how old the earth was when God created it. The biological age could have been millions of years, even if the cronological age was only one day.
First off, I’m really only interested in the age of life on Earth and the structure of the Earth needed to support complex life. Secondly, you’re appealing to the concept of “Last Thursdayism” again. God could make things look old or young or whatever. That would remove the basis for the credibility of the Bible as being superior to the Qur’an or the Book of Mormon. After all, someone subscribing to one of these other faiths could simply say, “God just make it look different from the true reality.” That’s not a rational argument…
How old was Adam on the first day he was created? or the animals? or the trees and other plant life? We donâ€™t know and we donâ€™t need to know. Apparently, it is not relevant and so we have no biblical information to go by.
On the First Day, Adam and all other animal life on Earth was obviously one day old – but had the appearance, from our own perspective, of an adult or mature age… according to the Genesis account.
Just so, we donâ€™t know how old the rocks were nor any other element. This is why I find it fruitless to bicker or try to prove the age of the earth by natural science.
You’re mistaken. If life on this Earth can be conclusively shown to have the appearance of having been here for hundreds of millions of years of time, that would be very problematic for the validity of the Genesis account of origins… problematic for the candid rational mind.
It is pointless to argue that God could have created life with the appearance of having been here for hundreds of millions of years when in reality it has only been here for less than 10,000 years. Such an argument would make God look like a capricious liar who expects people to blindly believe despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary – like expecting people to believe that the Earth is flat when all the available evidence overwhelmingly shows it to be spherical…
The God I know doesn’t work like that… And, Mrs. White makes a very interesting statement to the contrary:
During the Flood humans, animals, and trees were â€œburied, and thus preserved as an evidence to later generations that the antediluvians perished by a flood. God designed that the discovery of these things should establish faith in inspired history; but . . . the things which God gave them [i.e., to us humans] as a benefit, they turn into a curse by making a wrong use of them.â€
– Ellen G. White, Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 112.
In other words, according to Mrs. White, God encourages the search for and study of fossils, and actually intends that their discovery should help to ground personal belief in the historical reliability of the Genesis account of the creation and the Flood. This forcefully illustrates that Mrs. White believed that the accounts of Genesis 1-11 are divinely intended to be interpreted historically; not only theologically. Thus, according to Ellen White, the only true biblical understanding of the creation and the flood accounts is to interpret them as referring to empirical, historical events which are of interest to the natural sciences.
So should I accept the hypothesis that Jesus was resurrected based on eyewitness accounts? Iâ€™m not aware of physical evidence to support the possibility of his resurrection; are you suggesting that itâ€™s still â€œscientificâ€ to â€œinterpretâ€ the observations reported by eyewitnesses?
It depends upon the established credibility of the witnesses, using a form of scientific reasoning to establish this credibility, in your own mind. Does this credibility have the superior weight compared to all of the evidence available to you? If not, then you really have no rational basis to accept the claim as true… and God knows and understands when this is in fact the case for certain individuals…
The bigger question for me is this: would you, today, believe in the divinity of Jesus, or a recent creation in 6 days 6000 years ago, if it was not for the Bible?
I would believe in a recent creation of all life on Earth without the Bible – given what I currently think I know without reference to the Bible. I would also believe in a God or God-like power without the Bible based on the features of the created world and universe that demand an origin in a very intelligent and very powerful Mind. It is for this very reason that the majority of physicists believe in or at least strongly suspect the existence of a God of some kind as being ultimately responsible for the existence of the universe and us within it.
It is for this reason that Paul and David could rationally say,
For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. – Romans 1:20 NIV
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands… I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. – Psalms 19:1 NIV & Psalms 139:14 NIV
The specific detail of 6-literal days of creation, on the other hand, is dependent upon the established credibility of the Bible. This credibility is based on such things as the Bible’s falsifiable statements on origins to include its claim for a recent creation of all life on this planet and a worldwide Noachian Flood – claims which have not been falsified and which are consistent with the significant weigh of evidence that is currently available.
The same is true of many of the other metaphysical statements of the Bible that are not directly testable or knowable outside of Biblical revelation…
Recent Comments by Sean Pitman
Are mRNA Vaccines for COVID-19 helpful or harmful?
I know that various European countries, including the Netherlands, Denmark, and Spain, have reported outbreaks of COVID-19 in mink pelt farms – leading to the culling of more than a million animals. From laboratory experiments, it’s also clear that ferrets (a relative of the mink) are also readily infected with the “novel coronavirus”. Aside from this, however, I’m not aware of any “issues” with animal experiments regarding COVID-19 in particular. However, in 2008 there was an interesting experiment involving ferrets that were given the flu vaccine against the H1N1 virus – who then became sicker once exposed to the live virus as compared to those ferrets that weren’t vaccinated. The reason for the effect was unclear, and Skowronski, the lead author, urged other research groups to take up the question.
“Skowronski likened the mechanism to what happens with dengue viruses. People who have been infected with one subtype of dengue don’t develop immunity to the other three. In fact, they are more at risk of developing a life-threatening form of dengue if they are infected with one of the other strains.”
Skowronski called the second theory the infection block hypothesis. Having a bout of the flu gives the infected person antibodies that may be able, for a time, to fend off other strains; flu shots only protect against the strains they contain. So under this theory, people who didn’t have flu in 2008 because they got a flu shot may have been less well armed against the pandemic virus.”
While interesting, such an effect has not been identified in the animal or human trials for the mRNA vaccines against COVID-19. Also, subsequently updated flu vaccines to the H1N1 strain haven’t had this problem either (Link).
“For such a time as this”
Again, while a good diet and great health are important, this just isn’t enough to effectively prevent disease during a viral pandemic. As I’ve already explained, this is why Ellen White took the smallpox vaccine herself and advised the others who were with her to do the same. Such vaccines are, in fact, part of the most effective ways of “keeping well” rather than “curing disease” after the fact…
Are mRNA Vaccines for COVID-19 helpful or harmful?
Regarding the recent situation where 23 nursing home patients died in Norway following vaccination the mRNA vaccines of Pfizer and/or Moderna (given to 30,000 people so far), these patients were all over the age of 80, were very frail. It is also somewhat difficult to determine a link in this particular population between the vaccine and any other potential cause of death – since around 400 nursing home patients die in Norway every week. However, at this point, it is not ruled out that adverse reactions occurring within the first days following vaccination (such as fever and nausea) may contribute to a more serious course and fatal outcome in patients with severe underlying disease and general frailty.
Steinar Madsen, medical director with the Norwegian Medicines Agency, said: “We are not alarmed by this. It is quite clear that these vaccines have very little risk, with a small exception for the frailest patients.” (Link)
The Norwegian Institute of Public Health said concluded that “for very frail patients and terminally ill patients, a careful balance of benefit versus disadvantage of vaccination is recommended.” (Link)
Consider this also in the light that more than 30% of nursing home residents are likely to die if an outbreak of COVID-19 occurs. So, weighing the risks and benefits of taking the vaccine vs. being exposed to a potential COVID-19 outbreak seems to weigh heavily in favor of taking the vaccine – with the exception, perhaps, of those who are already very frail.
“For such a time as this”
It’s a serious mistake to compare the advances of modern medicine to the prophecies of Ellen White regarding the activity of Satan during the Last Days – where Satan appears as a powerful angel of light, even taking on the form, appearance, and attitude of Christ (making fire come down from the sky and healing the sick and speaking words of grace and comfort in order to deceive the world). Are you really suggesting that the modern mRNA vaccines against COVID-19 are actually part of these final “benevolent” works of Satan? How is this anything but extremist nonsense? – a rejection of a gift of God to help humanity by claiming that it is actually the work of Satan himself? This sort of thing reminds me of this passage in Matthew:
But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.” (Matthew 12:24)
You do realize, after all, that Ellen White took the smallpox vaccine herself during an outbreak? as did her son William White? and that she recommended that all of the others who were with her at the time take the vaccine as well? (Link) Contrary to some claims that I’ve heard regarding her actions here, it wasn’t that the vaccines in her day were less risky or more “pure” than they are today. They were actually riskier compared to modern vaccines, but still far far less risky compared to getting the actual infection itself. That’s why she took the vaccine. She also recommended that missionaries in areas infested with malaria take quinine – that we should, “do the best we can” in such situations (Link). When medications are beneficial and are appropriate, they may be used. When surgery is called for, it should be performed. In 1905 Ellen White wrote:
“Those who seek healing by prayer should not neglect to make use of the remedial agencies within their reach. It is not a denial of faith to use such remedies as God has provided to alleviate pain and to aid nature in her work of restoration…. God has put it in our power to obtain a knowledge of the laws of life. This knowledge has been placed within our reach for use. We should employ every facility for the restoration of health, taking every advantage possible, working in harmony with natural laws… It is our privilege to use every God-appointed means in correspondence with our faith, and then trust in God,… If there is need of a surgical operation, and the physician is willing to undertake the case, it is not a denial of faith to have the operation performed… Before major surgery, the entire body is saturated with a powerful and, in a sense, harmful drug [the anesthetic], to the point of complete unconsciousness and to complete insensibility. By the same token, after surgical procedures, the physician may find it necessary to administer medications that almost certainly include drugs to give relief and prevent the patient from lapsing, from sheer pain, into a state of surgical shock and, in some instances, possible death.” (Link)
Ellen White also recognized that blood transfusions could save lives. She herself had radiation therapy — X-ray treatments at Loma Linda for a skin problem. In short, she was not opposed to reasonable advances of modern medicine, accepting them as gifts of God, not sinister plots of Satan. We should remember her example in this regard and no turn away from the gifts of God that He has granted us through the advances of modern medicine.
As promised, I took a look at Sangers Sequencing and I found a 43 page PDF from the FDA who is complicit in the scam–it’s simply the entirety of the PCR test they all are using…
You don’t know the first thing about PCR or genetic sequencing. Did you even watch the video about Sanger Sequencing that I recommended?
Why would I need to study science for years to be able to break down all of these 43 pages of information, and critically analyze it?
Because, you don’t know the first thing about these scientific tests, not even the basics. Yet you feel yourself free to make claims about them that are absolutely false. You even claim that you’re guided by the Holy Spirit when you make these false claims – which is a very dangerous thing to do. You’re treading on holy ground with your presumptuous claims.
John_16:13 However, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come.
This doesn’t mean that the Holy Spirit gives you knowledge about things that you are unwilling to seriously study or investigate or that He will guide you when you are unwilling and too arrogant to change when errors are revealed to you. You’re simply wrong with your understanding of PCR and how it is used. You don’t understand the first thing about genetic sequencing, and you’re even wrong about Mrs. White and her own use and recommendation of vaccines for others. Almost nothing you’ve said is true. Yet, you claim to be guided directly by God in this nonsense of yours? Please…
There’s simply no point in discussing these things further with you. It’s just no longer useful to me.