george: I want to congratulate you for posting different points …

Comment on Debate between Stephen Meyer and Charles Marshall by pauluc.

george: I want to congratulate you for posting different points of view on your forum, notwithstanding at times some in opposition to you border on personal attacks. I especially found it offensive when someone referred to you as a crackpot. This is demeaning and has nothing to do with the issues.

I can only presume you are accusing me of suggesting Sean is a crackpot. I think this is not an accurate interpretation of the text but do apologize if you have been offended. I do think that Sean is heavily burdened with confirmation bias and is fixated on certain things but I do not think he is any way a crackpot. What I did do was pointed out to Sean that his style of communication and extreme reluctance to commit to publishing his work in the accepted channels of scientific communicaiton makes his communication largely ineffective in the broader discussion of science and faith outside the Adventist community.

Where does a serious consideration of track record end and an argument ad hominem start in science? Any grant funding is based on a careful and ruthless comparison of track record an ad hominem assessment. I undoubtedly have asked Sean questions on the consistency of his logic and acceptance of the processes of science. As wiki notes there is a relationship between appeals to authority and ad hominem arguments.

“Ad hominem arguments are the converse of appeals to authority, and may be used in response to such appeals.”

Conversely when Sean claims that he rejects any appeal to authority he is immediately inviting a scrutiny of his views and evidence of expertise which is inevitably an “ad hominem argument”.

having said all that I do totally agree with you that this last comment despite the obligatory and expected spin stands out as a outstanding piece of writing. This makes it even more tragic that Sean will not put his considerable skills to work in engaging with the process of science by writing for the peer reviewed literature.

pauluc Also Commented

Debate between Stephen Meyer and Charles Marshall

george: Firstly, Pauluc I am not offended by the allusion, by link, to Dr. Pitman as a crackpot. And I know you did not directly call him that but you certainly directed the readership to that link to show that Dr. Pitman is treated by the scientific community with scorn. For what purpose?

I was pointing out to Sean that his current strategy for putting his point of view is clearly not persuasive. Another strategy is needed. That strategy I contend is to present his data before the most skilled people in the field. Much as we would like the mountain to come to Muhammad that is not likely and Sean must go to where the experts are and to coherently present his critique there. He should present it in the forum of the peer reviewed literature. He has every necessary skill to do so but is not prepared to do so. I would commend Augustine suggestion to any Christian who would aspire to apologetics;

“Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he holds to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, this is a disgraceful and dangerous things for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumable giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these subjects; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of the Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason?”

(De Genesi ad litteram, Book I, Chapter 19) Augustine 353-430

Debate between Stephen Meyer and Charles Marshall
@Sean Pitman:

What is the basis for your comment
“James Tour is a Christian who originally believed the neo-Darwinian story of origins – much like Kenneth Miller who is a Catholic as well as an ardent evolutionist.” ?

His personal testimony gives no such indication; He specifically claims:

“On a more personal note, I was born and raised a Jew in the New York City area. Yes, a Jew. And I remain a Jew. On November 7, 1977, while a college student, I came to the realization that Jesus Christ is indeed the Jewish Messiah.[3, 21] I asked Jesus Christ to forgive me for my sins and to come into my heart.[22] The result was an immediate and sustaining sense of his presence, peace and joy in a manner that I had never before known.[23] These came, according to the scriptures, by an indwelling of the Holy Spirit.[24] Therefore, in present-day terms, I am called a Messianic Jew.
My experience was not a conversion to a new religion per se; religious conversion is an event that all gentiles must undergo in order to be saved. Although we must all undergo a conversion of the heart,[25] for a Jew, this is more of a return (making teshuvah) to the faith of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, and others through the promised Messiah.[26] These are the very things that were prophesied in the Old Testament, and it is the same return experience that was undergone by the first century apostles (who were also Jews). They never spoke of a conversion, but they spoke of repentance (teshuvah) from sins coupled with a belief and faith in the Lordship of Jesus Christ. In fact, Paul argued that this following is not a sect, but the very Way itself, the Way that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets.[27, 28] This results in salvation and the entrance of the Spirit according to the words of the Old Testament prophet, Joel.[28] Furthermore, it is a return since it draws the Jew into a deeper and more passionate relationship with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.[23] I also have a heartfelt concern for all my Jewish brethren; hence, I pray for their welfare and the peace of Jerusalem.[29] I am well aware that my views are often upsetting to some Jews; however, I can not deny the truth, as I see it, from my study of the scriptures. Moreover, what I am in the flesh, a Jew, is nothing compared to what I am by the Holy Spirit. For Jesus said that although John the Baptist was the greatest man ever born of woman, “he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”[30] ”

If you read his statements in context you will see that science is not the basis for this faith but he had a born again experimence which is the basis for his Christian belief. He has scepticism for both the ID and the macroevolutionary models of origins and as he says

“What a comfort it must be to be pleasantly settled in one camp or the other, but I can not be so settled, and hence I have few tent-fellows. Based upon my faith in the Scriptures, I do believe (yes, faith and belief go beyond scientific evidence for this scientist) that God created the heavens and the earth and all that dwell therein, including a man named Adam and a woman named Eve. As for many of the details and the time-spans, I personally become less clear. Some may ask, What’s “less clear” about the text that reads, “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth”? That is a fair question, and I wish I had an answer that would satisfy them. But I do not because I remain less clear.

I hope that’s satisfactory; I mean for me, a scientist and a Christian, to be unsure of a few things in both science and Christianity. The question is not fundamental to my salvation as a Christian which is based upon the finished work of Jesus Christ, my confession in him as Savior and my belief in his resurrection from the dead. And I used to think that my outward confession of skepticism regarding Darwinian Theory was also of little consequence to my career as a scientist. Specifically, in the past, I wrote that my standing as a scientist was “based primarily upon my scholarly peer-reviewed publications.” I no longer believe that, however.”

He became a Christian in his first year of Unversity and science or evolutionary models had nothing to do with it. I think you have certainly given an incorrect interpretation of his statement which was nothing about changing his mind about any particulars of science but about him now being judged by his Christian views and not only his science. What he is arguing is that there has been a rise of a fundamentalist version of philosophical naturalism in the academy that is opposed to faith.

I am honoured that you have classified me with him as a person committed to science but recognizing that Christian faith comes from the word of God the scriptures and the community of faith not at all from the empirical evidences of science. I cannot but admire a man of God who spends 2 hours a day in spiritual exercises. Whatever differences I may have with his understanding of biology pales into insignificance in the face of the recognition of him as a fellow Christian who seeks to advance the Kingdom of Heaven. He is a great scientist and he is a saint in the true sense of the word.

Debate between Stephen Meyer and Charles Marshall

Sean Pitman: I think he is naturally inclined to look for some kind of mindless naturalistic explanation in order to avoid appealing to a God or any other kind of intelligent designer. In other words, I think he would be quite happy if the Darwinian mechanism were a viable mechanism.

It would help if you actually read what he believes as a messianic Jew who accepts Christianity. It is not hard to find and you would see you are mischaracterizing his views.

” The Bible is the inspired word of God. Faithful Jewish scholars have preserved the Old Testament through the ages and it is an accurate account of God’s dealing with mankind, and more specifically, with the Jewish people. The New Testament, particularly the record in the four Gospels, is based upon eye-witnessed historical accounts that are accurate beyond compare to any historical documents of their time.[1]
Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and God himself, as declared in the New Testament.[2]
Jesus Christ came to earth as the long-awaited Jewish Messiah to fulfill that which had been written about him in the Old Testament.[3]
Although sinless himself, Jesus Christ suffered and died for the sins of humankind, he was buried, and three days later he physically rose from the dead and appeared to many, including more than 500 people at one time. He then ascended to heaven to be seated at the right hand of his Father.[4]
By the act of suffering, dying, and resurrection, Jesus provided the one and only way for any person to have an eternal relationship with God.[3-5]
Regardless of one’s religious or ethnic background, nobody is born a Christian or automatically comes into salvation.[6]
Salvation, or eternal life in Jesus, comes through a new spiritual birth into Jesus Christ.[7]
There is nothing one can do to earn salvation, but it comes through believing and confessing the work that Jesus Christ did in dying for our sins and in his physical resurrection from the dead.[8]
New birth, or salvation, is witnessed to the world by changes in followers’ lives, actions and words.[9]
To those who have received Jesus Christ as their savior, they are no longer under the Old Testament Law, but are told to obey the commandments in the New Testament, of which there are more than 150.[10] [Letter on Faith, HTML or PDF format]
These commandments not only focus on the physical acts to be valued by Jesus’ followers, but they directly address the followers’ heart attitudes.[11]
God provides sufficient grace for the believer in Jesus to obey the commandments. Grace is the God-given desire and power to fulfill the will of God.[12]
One’s obedience to these commands is a direct relation to their love for Jesus Christ.[13]
The follower of Jesus Christ is commanded to testify of him.[14]
There is a direct command to have fellowship with other believers in Jesus Christ. [15]
The Father God will place honor upon the person who serves Jesus Christ and is willing to die for him. Willingness to die for him is a requirement for being his disciple.[16]
If one has no faith, it is impossible to be pleasing to God.[17]
There will be a physical resurrection of both the followers of Jesus (those who have accepted the salvation provided by Christ) and those who have rejected him. The followers will live eternally with Jesus, while the others will live separated from him.[18]
Everybody will have to give an account for his or her words and deeds.[19]
Jesus Christ will come again, but next time he will come as the crowned King to receive his followers.[20]”

Recent Comments by pauluc

Avondale College Arguing in Favor of Darwinian Evolution?

Bob Helm: With that said, I find your views to be spiritually dangerous and often scientifically weak. I detect a lot of smoke in your posts, but very little light. I hope you will continue to ponder these issues and try to have an open mind.

You are most welcome to your opinion and I know you would like nothing better than that anyone who takes Christianity and the Bible seriously but not literally to just go away. It is much better not to know of any possible problems with one current views. It very hard to get to the science when we cannot even agree on what is science. What passes as science on this site is so completely dismissive of its methodological basis and history and is entrained in a specific supernatural world view that allows arbitrary acceptance of any observation as miraculous. I think Roger’s paper may well be relevant to Adventist that believe that Christianity has and must respond to a careful study of physical reality by reconsidering its interpretations of the word of the Lord, but as Sean has indicated you are exception to that characterization. I still do not really understand why you should be interested at all in any science. It seems a bit messy to worry about facts. It really seems an unnecessary bother to argue whether the precambrian/cambrian boundary or the upper cenzoic (is that really what you meant?) as the evidence of a divine intervention.

Dont worry I do have an open mind which is why I still peruse this site to see how more knowledgable fundamentalist Adventists think. I wont worry you further.

Avondale College Arguing in Favor of Darwinian Evolution?

Sean Pitman: So, you do see the need for a police force and a military to maintain civil society, but somehow Christians should not provide what is an otherwise necessary part of that civil society? I’m with Abraham Lincoln on this one when he noted the inconsistency of such a position – like Orthodox Jews paying others to turn their lights on for them on Sabbath

On that logic you should not have any issue with working on Sabbath in any profession serving 24/7. Be that computer support, utilities firefighters. Those giving up those jobs because of inability to have sabbath observance were all deluded. They as Christians should be prepared to “provide what is otherwise a necessary part of civil society”

You cant have it both ways. You cant because of a moral postion claim that Adventists should have exception from working on Sabbath and at the same time deny me the right to consider immoral some occupations that may be very utilitarian in a world full of selfishness and the human acts of evil that comes from that.

Lets for a moment step back from lala land. Where are we and where did we come from on this thread?

1] You posted a rehash of all your usual arguments in response to an article about the more mainstream Adventist positions that may impact the way Adventism reacts to conventional science. All very straight forward.
2] The contention was that Adventism has accepted process for the orgin and evolution of the inanimate world. The birth and death of galaxys and stars and planets in black holes supernova and impacts of spiralling planets. This is where it gets really strange.
3] You contend that Adventism has always accepted the conclusions of that process but then expand on your view of the process which involves a little bit of order and natural law but large amounts of magic. God waited a few billions years until the interstellar material generated by the big band condensed into planets onto which God created life mature and complete. This included Heaven the place of his throne-room which he populated with physical being angels which it is implied have both mass and composition and metabolism.
4] When it was suggested that the same processes and natural law resulted in life on this planet this was claimed inconceivable and would never be done by any process involving life and death. Instead the life we see now is in reality designed to live for ever and has be chemically changed because it is deprived of a particular form of nutrient from a tree that existed on the Earth some 6000 years ago.
5] The inconguity of practicing medicine by the principles of process of natural law and the technology resulting from both the processes of the innanimate and the animate world rather than accepting the much more important process of divine intervention seems to be completely obsure.
6] When someone says that the process of life and death that gave us the physical substance of our universe is also the basis of the creation of life here he must be animal hating sadistic psychopath who cannot belieive in a God of love and grace and is lying when he says that non-violence characterizes the children of the heavenly father for one must always recognize that peace and freedom are only obtained over the bodies of 1/3 of the angels of heaven and the eternal physical and violent struggle against those who would practice violence.

I really cannot understand you Sean. Your ways are way beyond me. I am just sorry that Bob seems to be drawn into your twighlight zone.


Avondale College Arguing in Favor of Darwinian Evolution?
@Sean Pitman: sorry but your curious amalgam of magic and biology is not really comprehensible to me as a biologist or as a Christian . it. is neither logical or biologically feasible

Avondale College Arguing in Favor of Darwinian Evolution?

Sean Pitman: However, according to the Bible and Ellen White, before the Fall God specifically directed nature so that all sentient life was protected in a manner that there was no suffering or death. By eating from the “Tree of Life” God provided constant renewal and regeneration that worked against what would otherwise be inevitable entropic changes, decay, and death. It was by deliberately stepping away from the true Source of eternal life that mankind stepped away from God and into the full workings of mindless natural law alone – which does in fact inevitably lead to suffering and death.

And this interpretation is precisely why you need a theodicy. Where is the justice in killing all for the sake of the sins of one woman+man? It makes no sense logically. If they were conditionally immortal because of eating of the tree of life then did all the animals in all the world congregate around this tree like beasts around a water hole on the serengeti. how exactly do you as you are wont to do translate the account into a literal reality. And which beast had to come and eat. Or was it symbolic? Oh now that’s a thought.

Avondale College Arguing in Favor of Darwinian Evolution?

Sean Pitman: Come on now. Even I can imagine limitations to reproduction or the turnover of sentient carbon-based life. Surely you can at least imagine something similar? I know God can since such a world is described in the Bible and in the writings of Ellen White. Think about it…

Of course I have. This is not simply about reproduction. That is trivial. This is about metabolic process. Show me a carbon based life form that does not grow or metabolize anything and I will show you an organism in stasis as a spore “living” millions of year in amber. That is; effectively dead.

Real life cannot exist without metabolic process in a carbon based world and God has sanctified all this by a process of making good out of evil from the death of one comes life for others. Just as in the biological world so in the spiritual. By his death we have life. Just as God sanctified the practice of sacrifice of appeasement practiced by most cultures for thousands of years before and showed that in the Judeo-Christian tradition these same acts of sacrifice were emblematic of a monotheistic God that would become incarnate and bring life from death. So also he took the preceding accounts of creation derived as they were of the mesopotamian valley and recast it as an account of the monotheistic God who is above all but comes and dwells among us to become one of us. Participating in our life and death but showing us the importance of the transcendent life of the spirit that supercedes carbon based life and its inherent death. It is no fairy tale of 6 impossible things before breakfast. It is not pie in the sky by and by. It is rooted in a real world and it is about the transcendence of love and grace that is acted out in a real physical world by the incarnate God and us as we follow as His disciples.

That is the message I get from the images and visions of the Canon and EG White. But of course I read it for the message that it conveys not as a scientific text. That is where we fundamentally differ.