Comment on The Metamorphosis of La Sierra University: an eye-witness account by Sean Pitman.
Sean, you use the word “scientific” in a loose ended generic sense. Because people can think and reason, you call this “scientific”.
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 “prove” 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 don’t know and we don’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 don’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 “buried, 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.”
– 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.
Sean Pitman Also Commented
“How do we know that the Bible is a truly credible “spiritual revelation” rather than the Book of Mormon? or the Qur’an?” – Sean pitman
Your appeal to “prophecy” is an appeal to a form of scientific reasoning, human reasoning, based on real empirical evidence. Prophecy is based on historical sciences to include the use of abductive reasoning. Such an appeal cannot be known to be true with absolute certainty. There remains the potential for error – however small you and I may believe it is. We are still subjective and our interpretation and understanding of history is likewise subject to the potential for error.
Therefore, your appeal to prophecy to back up the superior credibility of the Bible is an appeal to empirical evidences from outside of the Bible itself – an appeal that is open for testing and at least the potential for falsification.
“The most convincing scientific arguments for Creation are from individuals who have taken the time to listen and know the arguments of for evolution.” – Linda
How silly. There is no such thing as a “scientific argument for creation”.
Do you have a “scientific argument” for the miracles of Jesus?
Do you have a “scientific argument” for the incarnation?
Of course you don’t. And neither is there a “scientific argument” for creation.
You’re mistaken. There are a great many scientific arguments for creation in the form of pointing to the many features of creation that demand at least God-like creative power and intelligence. Such features are evident in the very structure of the universe itself to the smallest and most “simple” living things on this planet. – Romans 1:20 NIV
The miracles of Jesus are also empirical evidences, that He gave His own disciples, and the others who were privileged to see them, of His own connection with God and even His own Divinity. John called them “signs”. It was the empirical evidence of the resurrection of Jesus Himself that was the crowning Sign of His claim to be “The Christ”, the Son of God. – 2 Peter 1:16
Today we all have been given just as convincing of empirical evidences to support a rational belief or faith in the Divine origin of the Bible and the credibility of its claims. Such empirical evidences are a key basis of a rational faith and trust in God’s existence and personal care for us as individuals. There is no appeal to blind faith in the Biblical claims that is truly independent of these empirical evidences which appeal to the rational mind.
The bible validates itself, period.
There is no such thing as self-validation. Validation that is entirely self-contained is an appeal to circular reasoning. An evidence or data point can only be rationally validated by an appeal to an external reference of some kind.
And prophecy is the best evidence on an objective level to show the sovereignty of God. Faith is based on biblical evidence, not “scientific argument”.
An appeal to prophecy is an appeal to a form of scientific evidence – i.e., a scientific argument.
If we think “scientific argument” will prove the bible, we can only leave ourselves open to skepticism and unbelief and we see that it is impossible to affirm scripture by “scientific argument”.
While it is impossible for scientific arguments to absolutely prove anything, it is not at all impossible for scientific arguments to provide a significant weight of “affirming” evidence for the credibility of the Scriptures that has the power to appeal to the rational candid mind.
While there is always the possibility to doubt (even if someone were raised from the dead there would be those who would not believe), this does not remove the fact that a rational faith in the credibility of the Scriptures must be based on a form of scientific reasoning based in empirical evidence.
The very purpose of the bible Sabbath is to affirm “faith” in the bible as its own infallible validation of God and His creative power. To try to prove creation by “scientific argument” will undermine the bible Sabbath and eventually the whole bible itself.
Hardly. If you want to call an argument “silly”, this is it.
It is because of the great weight of empirical evidence and scientific reasoning that many have come to see the light of the Bible – to include me.
Satan is having a “hay day” in the SDA church and the whole world because the truth of God is being challenged more and more by way of human reasoning.
Guess what, all your reasoning is “human”. You can’t be more than what you are. You are a subjective creature who is subject to potential error in reasoning. There is no way you can know, with absolute certainty, if your faith in the Bible or anything else is correct. There is the potential for error in your thinking and understanding. You can’t avoid that, and neither can I. You can’t use God’s reasoning ability because you aren’t God and He hasn’t given you or me that capability. All you can use is what God has given you – human reasoning ability.
It is through this God-given human-level reasoning ability that we can come to the very reasonable conclusion that the Bible is in fact the very Word of God.
So, Sean, if I understand you correctly, fulfilled prophecy is “science” (as you allude to in your response to Bill Sorensen) but observing a miracle by Jesus is not (as you allude to in your response to me). Am I right?
You’re still confusing observation with interpretation. “Science” is a method of interpreting observations. The interpretation itself cannot be known with absolute perfection.
Observing an event says nothing about what that event means. The interpretation that a particular event must indicate a Divine or superhuman cause or origin (a miracle) is an interpretation that can be based on a form of scientific reasoning… but this conclusion cannot be known with absolute certainty (as is the case with all scientific interpretations or hypotheses). The very same thing is true of “fulfilled prophecy”.
Do you really not know that scientists are in general agreement that scientific hypotheses and theories can never reach absolute perfection?
And then, I suppose, something “indisputable” can never be “proven” or shown absolutely to be “truth?”
An indisputable observation does not require “proof” since it is, by definition, indisputable for anyone with a rational candid mind observing from the same frame of reference. Interpretations of such observations are, however, always potentially disputable/falsifiable.
Again, however, observations are not “science” in and of themselves… as you very well know…
Recent Comments by Sean Pitman
Science and Methodological Naturalism
Very interesting passage. After all, if scientists are honest with themselves, scientific methodologies are well-able to detect the existence of intelligent design behind various artifacts found in nature. It’s just the personal philosophy of scientists that makes them put living things and the origin of the fine-tuned universe “out of bounds” when it comes to the detection of intelligent design. This conclusion simply isn’t dictated by science itself, but by a philosophical position, a type of religion actually, that strives to block the Divine Foot from getting into the door…
Why is it that creationists are afraid to acknowledge the validity of Darwinism in these settings? I don’t see that these threaten a belief in God in any way whatsoever.
The threat is when you see no limitations to natural mindless mechanisms – where you attribute everything to the creative power of nature instead of to the God of nature.
God has created natural laws that can do some pretty amazing things. However, these natural laws are not infinite in creative potential. Their abilities are finite while only God is truly infinite.
The detection of these limitations allows us to recognize the need for the input of higher-level intelligence and creative power that goes well beyond what nature alone can achieve. It is here that the Signature of God is detectable.
For those who only hold a naturalistic view of the universe, everything is attributed to the mindless laws of nature… so that the Signature of God is obscured. Nothing is left that tells them, “Only God or some God-like intelligent mind could have done this.”
That’s the problem when you do not recognize any specific limitations to the tools that God has created – when you do not recognize the limits of nature and what natural laws can achieve all by themselves.
Since the fall of Adam, Sean, all babies are born in sin and they are sinners. God created them. Even if it was by way of cooperation of natural law as human beings also participated in the creation process.
God did not create the broken condition of any human baby – neither the physical or moral brokenness of any human being. God is responsible for every good thing, to include the spark or breath of life within each one of us. However, He did not and does not create those things within us that are broken or bad.
“The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied. “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?'” Matthew 13:27-28
Of course, all humans are indeed born broken and are in a natural state of rebellion against God. However, God is not the one who created this condition nor is God responsible for any baby being born with any kind of defect in character, personality, moral tendency, or physical or genetic abnormality. God did not create anyone with such brokenness. Such were the natural result of rebellion against God and heading the temptations of the “enemy”… the natural result of a separation from God with the inevitable decay in physical, mental, and moral strength.
Of course, the ones who are born broken are not responsible for their broken condition either. However, all of us are morally responsible for choosing to reject the gift of Divine Grace once it is appreciated… and for choosing to go against what we all have been given to know, internally, of moral truth. In other words, we are responsible for rebelling against the Royal Law written on the hearts of all mankind.
This is because God has maintained in us the power to be truly free moral agents in that we maintain the Power to choose, as a gift of God (Genesis 3:15). We can choose to accept or reject the call of the Royal Law, as the Holy Spirit speaks to all of our hearts…
Remember the statement by Mrs. White that God is in no wise responsible for sin in anyone at any time. God is working to fix our broken condition. He did not and does not create our broken condition. Just as He does not cause Babies to be born with painful and lethal genetic defects, such as those that result in childhood leukemia, He does not cause Babies to be born with defects of moral character either. God is only directly responsible for the good, never the evil, of this life.
Again, your all-or-nothing approach to the claims of scientists isn’t very scientific. Even the best and most famous of scientists has had numerous hair-brained ideas that were completely off base. This fact does not undermine the good discoveries and inventions that were produced.
Scientific credibility isn’t based on the person making the argument, but upon the merits of the argument itself – the ability of the hypothesis to gain predictive value when tested. That’s it.
Gary Gilbert, Spectrum, and Pseudogenes
Don’t be so obtuse here. We’re not talking about publishing just anything in mainstream journals. I’ve published several articles myself. We’re talking about publishing the conclusion that intelligent design was clearly involved with the origin of various artifactual features of living things on this planet. Try getting a paper that mentions such a conclusion published…