@Eddie: Instead of attempting to “contain the controversy within the …

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

@Eddie:

Instead of attempting to “contain the controversy within the smallest possible sphere,” Sean and Shane have instead attempted to expose the controversy to the largest possible sphere, which is a flagrant violation of the SDA Church’s official policy.

This issue has been a growing problem in our schools, especially our universities like LSU, for decades. It has not been substantially addressed by the schools themselves or the local Church leadership or even the General Conference leadership for many years – despite my own concerted efforts to address this issue and inform leadership privately on this matter.

After a point, such problems that affect the Church at large have to be addressed publicly. Mrs. White did the same thing on several occasions – at times publicly advising the members of the Church not to send their children to some of our own schools.

We are following the very same course of action after many years of failed efforts to address this very public and widespread problem in any other way. There is no way that you or anyone else can seriously argue that the Church membership at large has no right to know what our own youth are being taught in our own schools. We all do have a right to this information. Pastors and professors have no right to assume that what they say before their pulpits and lecterns will be hidden from the Church membership at large – that they need not answer to all for what they say and do in their paid capacity as Church representatives…

Sean Pitman
www.DetectingDesign.com

Sean Pitman Also Commented

PUC Professor: The Noachian Flood was just a local flood?
@Professor Kent:

Just a trivial matter: a circle is two-dimensional; a sphere is not.

Kind of like when Erv wrote in his comment that we now know that the world is “round” – instead of “spherical”? 😉

Sean Pitman
www.DetectingDesign.com


PUC Professor: The Noachian Flood was just a local flood?
@Ervin Taylor:

As others have noted, Sean continues to miss the point.

Anyone who has read any of the literature on the “Myth of the Flat Earth” is aware that a number of Greek intellectuals in the Hellenistic period had come to the view that the earth was a sphere and even made some calculations of its diameter–one of which was very close to the modern value assuming that modern estimates of the units of distance used by these Greek writers is correct. Medieval scholars who could read these works–mostly in Latin translations but some in Greek–also knew the world was not flat.

But this is not the point. We are talking about ancient Hebrew writers. Only the strained and special pleading by individuals such as Sean and other fundamentalists dispute the view that these writers viewed the world as essentially flat and fixed in space.

The ancient Hebrews (before the 3rd and perhaps even the 6th century B.C.) may or may not have believed that the Earth was flat. And, some biblical authors may have been of different opinions or educational backgrounds. The author of Job, for example, claims that the Earth was suspended in space “on nothing” (Job 26:7 NIV). Also, when Isaiah described God sitting above the “circle of the Earth” (Isaiah 40:22) was he talking about a spherical Earth or a flat circular plate? Clearly Solomon had exposure to shipping and sailors – – and sailors who do much sailing quickly realize that ships disappear over a curved horizon – suggesting a spherical Earth.

In short, I think modern people don’t give the ancients as much credit as they deserve when it comes to figuring out such problems. Regardless, however, the point remains that it is possible for certain, if not all, biblical authors to have believed in various errors like the “flat Earth”. So what? – as Erv puts it:

So they were wrong. What is the problem? Only if you insist in Biblical inerrancy would this be a problem.

Well, those like Erv try to use such errors to argue that the Bible, and religion in general, really has nothing to do with science or empirical reality. Therefore, all that is really left to support religious belief in the statements of this or that “good book” or “prophet” is “faith” – faith that is not, or at least need not be, based on any kind of empirical reality whatsoever.

What Erv fails to realize is that the rational credibility of “faith” in the Bible or a particular biblical interpretation must be based on some kind of universally available empirical evidence. If one is able to discredit what the Bible says about physical reality, one is also able to discredit what the Bible says about metaphysical realities as well – realities that are not subject to testing or even the potential for falsification.

So, what does a believer in the very real credibility of the Bible, like me, do with obvious errors in the Bible regarding physical reality? – like Joshua’s request that the Sun and Moon stand still relative to the Earth? Did Joshua not realize that it was the Earth that moved relative to the Sun? Probably not. Does that therefore falsify biblical credibility? Hardly. We all often use the same language today – the language of perspective appearance instead of known reality.

However, Erv tries to use the same argument when it comes to the Genesis account of the literal days of creation and the worldwide Noachian Flood. He suggests that because there are, or at least probably were, misunderstandings of the true nature of physical reality in the minds of the biblical authors, that they most likely got this part wrong too.

That’s a problem, in my book, because the author(s) of the Genesis account were so specific about what was seen. From the author’s perspective, the Earth was in fact created in just six literal days, each of which certainly seemed to have been divided by “evenings and mornings”. Now, it would be very hard to misinterpret “evenings and mornings”. Even a little child could get that much right. It just doesn’t take too much intelligence or experience to correctly report such an empirical observation.

The same thing is true of the worldwide Flood. Internal consistency is important when it comes to interpreting the author’s account of this story… and what it has to say about biblical credibility on the nature, and even existence, of God. According to the author, the Flood had to have been worldwide in distribution and effect or Noah would not have needed to build an ark over 120 years of time to save land animal and human life. All God would have needed to do is tell Noah where to move. No need to save animals in an Ark to repopulate the planet if the Flood was going to be nothing but some local Flood.

Such arguments simply make the story internally inconsistent and therefore impact the overall credibility of the Bible and of Christian faith in general.

So, if anyone misses the main point here, it’s Erv…

Sean Pitman
www.DetectingDesign.com


PUC Professor: The Noachian Flood was just a local flood?
The Flat Earth?

@Ervin Taylor:

The Hebrews also believed that the world was flat and fixed in space. We now know that the world is round and moves in space.

This isn’t a likely statement. We actually know that the ancient’s believed in a spherical Earth – not a flat Earth.

It must first be reiterated that with extraordinary few exceptions no educated person in the history of Western Civilization from the third century B.C. onward believed that the earth was flat. A round earth appears at least as early as the sixth century BC with Pythagoras, who was followed by Aristotle, Euclid, and Aristarchus, among others in observing that the earth was a sphere. Although there were a few dissenters–Leukippos and Demokritos for example–by the time of Eratosthenes (3 c. BC), followed by Crates(2 c. BC), Strabo (3 c. BC), and Ptolemy (first c. AD), the sphericity of the earth was accepted by all educated Greeks and Romans.

Nor did this situation change with the advent of Christianity. A few—at least two and at most five–early Christian fathers denied the spherically of earth by mistakenly taking passages such as Ps. 104:2-3 as geographical rather than metaphorical statements. On the other side tens of thousands of Christian theologians, poets, artists, and scientists took the spherical view throughout the early, medieval, and modern church. The point is that no educated person believed otherwise.

No one before the 1830s believed that medieval people thought that the earth was flat. The idea was established, almost contemporaneously, by a Frenchman and an American. One was Antoine-Jean Letronne (1787-1848), an academic of strong antireligious prejudices who had studied both geography and patristics and who cleverly drew upon both to misrepresent the church fathers and their medieval successors as believing in a flat earth, in his On the Cosmographical Ideas of the Church Fathers (1834).

The American was no other than our beloved storyteller Washington Irving (1783-1859), who loved to write historical fiction under the guise of history. His misrepresentations of the history of early New York City and of the life of Washington were topped by his history of Christopher Columbus (1828). It was he who invented the indelible picture of the young Columbus, a “simple mariner,” appearing before a dark crowd of benighted inquisitors and hooded theologians at a council of Salamanca, all of whom believed, according to Irving, that the earth was flat like a plate. Well, yes, there was a meeting at Salamanca in 1491, but Irving’s version of it, to quote a distinguished modern historian of Columbus, was “pure moonshine. Washington Irving, scenting his opportunity for a picturesque and moving scene,” created a fictitious account of this “nonexistent university council” and “let his imagination go completely…the whole story is misleading and mischievous nonsense.”

Historians Jeffery Burton Russell and Christine Garwood have also destroyed the long held view among modern scholars that scientists and philosophers of the Middle Ages and early Christian church believed that the earth was flat. After an extensive review of the letters, papers, books of all the major thinkers throughout these periods, Russell and Garwood made the surprising discovery that apart from a few isolated individuals, no one believed in a flat earth—indeed, the common consensus throughout this entire period among virtually all scholars and churchmen was that the earth was spherical. Russell and Garwood then ask, from where did this flat earth understanding of early Christian and medieval thought come? They were able to trace it to the early 19th century when anti-religious sentiment was high among many scholars and intellectuals.

Also, there are several passages in the Bible that seem to suggest that the biblical writers did understand the Earth to be spherical. Isaiah writes about God sitting enthroned above the “circle of the Earth” (Isaiah 40:22). It is also interesting to note that the biblical writers emphasize the infinite distance of the east from the west (since this would not be true of the north from the south) – indicating an understanding of the spherical nature of the Earth and of the magnetic poles of the Earth (Psalms 103:12) – as well as some sense of sea or oceanic navigation (which both give very good clues as to the spericity of the Earth. The biblical authors also talk about God hanging the Earth in empty space (Job 26:7) and clearly had the ability to compare the Earth to other planets (especially the moon) as well as the Sun as being round or spherical (i.e., not square with “corners”).

Sean Pitman
www.DetectingDesign.com


Recent Comments by Sean Pitman

Review of “The Naked Emperor” by Pastor Conrad Vine
I fail to see where you have convincingly supported your claim that the GC leadership contributed to the harm of anyone’s personal religious liberties? – given that the GC leadership does not and could not override personal religious liberties in this country, nor substantively change the outcome of those who lost their jobs over various vaccine mandates. That’s just not how it works here in this country. Religious liberties are personally derived. Again, they simply are not based on a corporate or church position, but rely solely upon individual convictions – regardless of what the church may or may not say or do.

Yet, you say, “Who cares if it is written into law”? You should care. Everyone should care. It’s a very important law in this country. The idea that the organized church could have changed vaccine mandates simply isn’t true – particularly given the nature of certain types of jobs dealing with the most vulnerable in society (such as health care workers for example).

Beyond this, the GC Leadership did, in fact, write in support of personal religious convictions on this topic – and there are GC lawyers who have and continue to write personal letters in support of personal religious convictions (even if these personal convictions are at odds with the position of the church on a given topic). Just because the GC leadership also supports the advances of modern medicine doesn’t mean that the GC leadership cannot support individual convictions at the same time. Both are possible. This is not an inconsistency.


Review of “The Naked Emperor” by Pastor Conrad Vine
Thank you for this update. I really appreciate it and the courage it took to post this…


Dr. John Campbell: mRNA Vaccines Cause Lethal Encephalitis?
Dr. Roger Seheult does make some money from his YouTube Videos, but not nearly what Campbell makes. The fact of the matter is, Campbell started making much more money once he switched from presenting mainstream medical science to promoting conspiracy theories. Promoting conspiracy theories is far more profitable it seems… unfortunately.

As far as your posts, I haven’t blocked any of them thus far. I do find it interesting, however, that you don’t address any of the counterarguments forwarded by Dr. Seheult. Why do you choose to believe a retired nurse, like Campbell, over a practicing pulmonologist who was fighting on the front lines during the height of COVID-19, like Seheult?


Dr. John Campbell: mRNA Vaccines Cause Lethal Encephalitis?

Two brains, locked in on the official narrative. Please look outside of the box. Jesus walked and talked and cared for people outside the box. Follow your leader who warned about deceptions by big pharma and big business as the beast the harlot church rides — Revelation 18:23
“… all nations were deceived by your sorcery (pharmakeia)!
https://revelationscriptures.com/revelation-18-23-babylons-pahamakeia/

You do realize that Ellen White herself promoted various medications and medical therapies of her day that she considered to be helpful in various situations? – to include the use of what was generally regarded as a “poison”, quinine, to prevent malarial infections for missionaries who worked in malaria-infested regions of the world? She wrote, “If quinine will save a life, use quinine.” (Link) She also supported the vaccination of her son William, both as a child and as an adult (despite William having had an adverse reaction to vaccination as a child) (Link). She supported blood transfusion when necessary, despite their risks (Link). And, she even supported using radiation therapy when appropriate, despite its risks (Link). Beyond this, she recognized the advantages of anesthesia during surgery and the use of medicines to relieve the intense pain and suffering of the injured or sick (Link).

Regarding Revelation 18:23, in particular, the term “pharmakeia” is best translated as “sorcery” here. There is no intended advice at all against modern medicine in this passage. What, are you suggesting that medications like antibiotics to treat bacterial infections or insulin to treat diabetes are evil “sorceries”? Again, such arguments only make the Christians who say such things look sensational and irrational – which puts the Gospel Message itself into a bad light for those who are considering following Christ. (Link, Link)

Jesus reached out asking to “let us reason together.”
“A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out” (Matthew 12:20).
There is a spirit in the SDA Church that is breaking reeds and putting out wicks.
Not an example of who we say is our leader.

Again, the delegates simply were not so uninformed as you and Pastor Vine are claiming here. They had already heard enough reasons and arguments regarding vaccines to make an intelligent informed decision on this particular topic…

Wilson/ADCOM/Hart disowns members who dare want to “let us reason together” about the Vaccine Statement. Attorney Zirkle’s request stomped by Wilsons command to delegates to vote NO, and by a mal-functioning electronic voting system that would not even register the seconds to Zirkle’s motion. Request to check the electronic voting system was rejected by GC. Not something Jesus would reject.

As already discussed, this isn’t true. Elder Wilson simply doesn’t have the power to command the delegates to do anything. And Zirkle’s motion did in fact receive “seconds” since the internet connection issue was fixed. The electronic voting system simply wasn’t an issue at this GC session as it had been back at the 2015 GC session. You’re simply repeating claims here that aren’t true.

You say without compassion:
Really? Why then haven’t the sudden death rates for adults or young healthy athletes increased since the mRNA vaccines became available?

Why are you accusing me of having no compassion when I simply point out the fact that the actual sudden death rate for adults and young healthy athletes has not increased since the mRNA vaccines became available? – that the rate of these tragic events has not changed? – that, despite these events being true tragedies that are horrible indeed, they are are not being cause by the mRNA vaccines?

You say the vaccine is a risk-benefit decision. I say that each “risk” dying or harmed is a human person, not a throw-away statistic. Where is the informed consent, and information on vaccine adverse affects within the vaccine medicine box? Do you have a copy of what information about the vaccine is provided to patients and doctors?

Everything you do is a risk/reward decision. Even drinking pure clean water can kill you, since water can be toxic if taken into the body beyond its level of toxicity. And, the risks of the mRNA vaccines are well known and have been well-publicized. It’s just that, for most people, the risks of getting infected by the COVID-19 virus was much much greater than getting vaccinated ahead of time.

Article:
Athlete deaths are 1700% higher since Covid 19 vaccine began.

Study finds Athlete Deaths are 1700% higher than expected since Covid-19 Vaccination began

Book: Sudden Deaths in 2020-2021
Children’s Defense Fund, Edward Dowd, Robert Kennedy

Names of athletes who died after vaccine began:
https://airtable.com/shrbaT4x8LG8EbvVG/tbl7xKsSUIOPAa7Mx

Tucker Carlson interview:
https://dailyclout.io/excess-mortality-goes-mainstream-in-earth-shattering-ed-dowd-tucker-carlson-interview/

This is all based on false or misleading information, some of which has been completely fabricated (Link). You’re taking lies for truth and truth for lies here. I’m really sorry that you’ve been do deceived, but that’s the reality of the situation. The voices that you’ve chosen to listen to are, in fact, not telling you the actual truth. And, just a little bit of even-hand investigation would demonstrate this to the candid observer. The claim that young healthy athletes have started dying at much higher rates since the mRNA vaccines became available just isn’t true. This conspiracy theory is flat out wrong, without any basis in actual generally-available empirical data. Here’s a little history behind this particular conspiracy theory:

Ben Swann, who has spread misinformation about the pandemic since 2020, posted on Facebook on Jan. 3 an old video promoting the unsupported theory that there’s a recent surge in athlete deaths. The same day, conservative commentator Liz Wheeler and Dr. Simone Gold — who has peddled dubious cures for COVID-19, anti-vaccination messages and politicized medical misinformation — posted similar claims… Both Wheeler and Gold cited a letter to the editor published in the Scandinavian Journal of Immunology that was co-authored by Dr. Peter McCullough, another prominent purveyor of COVID-19 misinformation. Although its publication may give the letter a veneer of legitimacy, the letter did not include any original research, as suggested by Fox News commentator Tucker Carlson. Rather, it relied upon an arbitrary list of athlete deaths maintained on an anonymous website that we wrote about shortly after it appeared online in late 2021.

As we explained before, the list includes students, professionals, amateurs, coaches and retirees. It includes people who died by suicide, car crash and drug overdose. The list does not — in nearly all cases — include the vaccination status of the deceased, let alone prove any causal relationship between vaccines and the deaths. In fact, as we’ve previously reported, some of the deaths initially listed happened before the vaccines had even become available to the age category for the person listed.

Wheeler and Gold, though, each shared an image that highlighted a portion of the letter comparing the number of deaths listed on the anonymous website with the number of sudden cardiac deaths among athletes that had appeared in academic literature over a 38-year period as compiled in a 2006 paper. The two figures reflect different criteria. One number is very broad and includes anyone with a passing relationship to sports who died for any reason since 2021, while the other is conspicuously narrow and includes only the deaths of athletes that were analyzed in English-language academic research papers.

Although the comparison they make is meaningless, Wheeler and Gold leave the false impression that there’s been a surge in deaths and further the baseless narrative that there’s been an increase in athlete injuries and deaths since the COVID-19 vaccines became available.

But the surge is fiction. It doesn’t exist.

“There is no uptick in sudden cardiac arrest or death in athletes due to COVID-19 or from COVID vaccinations. This is total misinformation,” Dr. Jonathan Drezner told us in an emailed statement. Drezner is the director of the UW Medicine Center for Sports Cardiology at the University of Washington, editor in chief of the British Journal of Sports Medicine, and a team physician for the Seattle Seahawks, the OL Reign soccer team and the University of Washington Huskies.

More than 2,000 children and adolescents in the U.S. die from sudden cardiac arrest every year, according to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and two-thirds of the deaths “occur during exercise or activity.” Among young athletes, sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death, according to CHOP.

Drezner said his center monitors “all cases and all causes” of sudden cardiac arrest or death in athletes by working with the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “[T]here is no change,” he said.

The National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research catalogs injuries for high school and college athletes, and its most recent report covers the 2020-21 school year. It shows that 21 athletes died while playing their sport that year.

COVID-19 vaccines were available to everyone 16 and over in the U.S. by April 2021, so the overlap between the period covered by the report and the period in which vaccines were widely available to young people was relatively small. We reached out to the center to find out if the data collected for the 2021-2022 school year has indicated any increase in deaths.

The center’s director, Dr. Kristen Kucera, told us that so far, “the numbers are the same and it’s actually fewer than we captured in 2018-19.”

For context, the center reported 19 deaths in 2019-20, 25 deaths in 2018-19 and 21 deaths in 2017-18.

Similarly, Dr. Robert Cantu, the center’s medical director, told us in an emailed statement that he’s seen no increase in athlete deaths and called the claims “misinformation.”

“The statistics don’t bear out that there’s been an increase in events among athletes,” Dr. Curt Daniels, professor of cardiovascular medicine and director of the sports cardiology program at The Ohio State University College of Medicine, told us in a phone interview.

The field of sports cardiologists who oversee the health of athletes is relatively small, Daniels said. “We talk and communicate all the time,” he said, and none of his colleagues has flagged a rise in sudden cardiac arrest.

“There’s been no increase,” he said.

Also, Daniels noted, there’s a high vaccination rate among athletes in part because many organizations require vaccination to participate. He noted that a rare side effect of the mRNA vaccines is heart inflammation, or myocarditis, which has primarily affected young men between 12 and 24 years old after a second dose, as we’ve explained before. The risk is highest for males ages 16 to 17, at 106 cases per million doses after the second dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Those cases have appeared to resolve faster and have better clinical outcomes when compared with the more common cases of myocarditis caused by viral infection, including from the virus that causes COVID-19. Despite that, anti-vaccine campaigners have distorted the rare vaccine side effect as being more common than it is, using that misrepresentation in claims about increases in athlete deaths.

For those who develop myocarditis, stressing the heart with intense physical activity could create an arrhythmia resulting in a cardiac event, Daniels said.

“And, in fact,” Daniels said, “we have not seen an increase in events.”

So, he said, if the vaccines were causing an increase in sudden deaths, “we would be seeing it here and we’re not.” (Link)

Yet, you don’t accept any data that is contrary to your position. Why not? Upon what basis do you believe the claims of known conspiracy theorists over the observation of the vast majority of experts in this particular field of study? I mean, how credible are those that you’re referencing here?

Tucker Carlson, in particular, admits that he lies on his program for entertainment purposes (Link, Link). Robert Kennedy consistently makes completely false and outrageous claims and promotes innumerable conspiracy theories – most of which are completely ludicrous. Drs. Peter McCullough and Robert Malone aren’t much better, spouting off endless tin-hat just-so conspiracy theories and misinformation about COVID-19 and the mRNA viruses. Yet, these are the types of people that you are citing to support your positions here? Can’t you do any better than this?

I know you will say that all the above are non-worthy opinions compared to the experts’ opinions in the above article. Every opinion that differs is immediately discarded.

It’s not that these differing opinions haven’t been very carefully and thouroughly considered. It’s just that they’ve all turned out to be wrong. The actual data that is currently in hand very clearly falsifies the claims that you’ve been forwarding – all of them. How then, do you explain away what seems to be the very strong weight evidence that I’ve provided to you that appears to effectively falsify your positions here?

Dealing with narcissists who think they are empathic:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2SCLRtTAGHE

Again, you accuse me of narcissism and lack of empathy with great confidence – without actually knowing me or my true heart or motivations. What makes you so confident that I care not about reducing serious injuries or saving lives? How could you possibly think yourself clear to make such God-like accusations? Are such moral judgments and accusations really Christlike? I mean, even though I think that what you’re promoting is actually hurting people and putting their very lives at risk, I don’t accuse you of evil motives. I think that you honestly and sincerely believe what you believe – that you are honestly trying to help people. Why can’t you offer me the same benefit of the doubt here? – at least with regard to my own motivations and personal morality?


Review of “The Naked Emperor” by Pastor Conrad Vine
Again, it wasn’t Ted Wilson nor the members of ADCOM who voted down Zirkle’s motion – nor did they force or unduly coerce the vote of the delegates in Session. Also, it isn’t true that the vaccine issue hadn’t been adequately discussed for the benefit of the delegates – or that the delegates didn’t have already enough information to make an informed decision. I’d say that they were much more informed on this topic than Pastor Vine gives them credit for.

Now, I’ve very sorry you feel like you do and I can understand your honest confusion since what you’re hearing from anti-vax conspiracy theorists is truly scary stuff. However, the voices that you’re referencing truly are misleading you – telling you things that simply aren’t true. Your latest example of this, from Dr. James L. Marcum, is no better than Dr. Peter McCullough. He makes many claims that are simply false or misleading. Now, Dr. Marcum certainly comes across as very caring and kind, and I’m sure that he is. The only problem here is that he’s wrong – flat out wrong in what he’s telling you. And, this has resulted, no doubt, in a great many long-term injuries and deaths that could have been avoided. Kindness and sincerity isn’t enough here. True kindness will take the time to carefully investigate the actual weight of currently available scientific evidence and present it in an honest even-handed manner. That’s not what Drs. McCullough and Marcum have been doing – not at all.

In short, when your health and life are on the line, would you rather have a doctor with a wonderful bedside manner who isn’t giving you the best available information, or a doctor who may not be as smooth or delicate with his/her words, but who is actually giving you the best available information?

You see, I’m not trying to be mean or harsh here. I’m just truly trying to save lives and prevent long-term injuries. That’s what I’m trying to do. And, I’m sure you’re trying to do the same thing, and I appreciate that. It’s just that you don’t have good scientific evidence to back up your position…