I am a current SDA student at Pacific Union College. Dr. …

Comment on PUC Professor: The Noachian Flood was just a local flood? by P.S..

I am a current SDA student at Pacific Union College.

Dr. Ness allowed bright and competent theology/religion students to think about how they could respond to issues in religion concerning scientific interpretations. Some students verbalized their responses, while some were silent, but not due to any sense of defeat of science over religion; instead, his lecture seemed to allow the students to personally reflect on these issues, without trying to spoon-feed them with answers or sugarcoat these widespread scientific views.

It is no secret that science does not attempt to accommodate religion. The purpose of science is to describe the natural world by observation and experiment, but it does not presume supernatural forces because they are not “testable or potentially falsifiable.”

“I don’t think our teachers should be telling our students that the best we have going for us is blind faith against the otherwise overwhelming weight of empirical evidence and rational scientific thought. That’s not going to impress the rational mind…”
Sean Pitman (Nov. 2, 2010)

You are right, Sean Pitman; this will not impress rational minds. What, then, do we do? You seem to suggest that we should assume a literal six-day creation, and then find evidence for it. This may eventually work, and it is often the method (a sort of back-solving method) religions use to justify their beliefs… but it is not how science works. Science looks for evidence first and then comes to a conclusion. I believe that both methods can work, but you must also understand that science does not have the benefit of assuming the existence of God, and it may take a longer time before it reaches any conclusion in favor of religion.

“I wonder if some of the many PUC students who have posted in support of Dr Ness can honestly testify that Dr Ness teaches that the Genesis account of the origin of life on this planet in six literal days is an accurate history of our origin, even if science cannot “prove” it.”
Inge Anderson (Nov. 3, 2010)

Dr. Ness’ job in a science class is to educate his students on what science informs us about the world; science has no responsibility for accommodating religion, so Dr. Ness has no responsibility in specifically affirming his beliefs about anything unscientific during class. Dr. Ness, however, graciously takes the time to point out possible discrepancies in scientific interpretations dealing with the origins of the earth, evolution, etc., and also addresses alternative nonscientific views, such as the traditional SDA view, along with their possible discrepancies.

“Does he also teach that science cannot ‘prove’ origin by evolution any more than it can ‘prove’ origin by creation?”
Inge Anderson (Nov. 3, 2010)

Science cannot fully “prove” either origin (yet). There are discrepancies in both. There seems to be more evidence for evolution in the scientific community; there seems to be more evidence for creation in the Christian community.

“Does Dr Ness help his students understand that the “science” of origins is not hard science but, rather, “historical science” which is closer to the realm of philosophy?”
Inge Anderson (Nov. 3, 2010)

Dr. Ness has mentioned it as a historical science as opposed to a hard science, but never, to my knowledge, talked about its association to philosophy.

So far, not one of the persons posting in support of Dr Ness has said anything that confirms that Dr Ness actually teaches that Genesis is literally true and that such a belief is reasonable in the face of the scientific evidence.”
Inge Anderson (Nov. 3, 2010)

Dr. Ness teaches that both a belief in creation and evolution take a tremendous amount of faith to believe in, no matter how much evidence we have, and both are “reasonable” in the face of scientific evidence; other scientists, however, may disagree.

“… And they’ll know we are Christians by our love.”