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

By Educate Truth

Prof. Bryan Ness

On October 28, 2010, Dr. Bryan Ness, a biology professor at Pacific Union College since 1989, gave a lecture to a class of theology majors during a colloquium.  Throughout his lecture Dr. Ness presents numerous challenges from mainstream science for the worldwide nature of the Noachian Flood (seeming to favor a local flood). He references evidence for a local Black Sea Flood around 4,500 years ago along with a complete lack of scientific evidence for a worldwide deluge as Seventh-day Adventists have historically believed and taught. He also presents questions regarding the importance of the literal 6-day creation week to Adventist theology.

[The video has been pulled until we are confident it complies with copyright laws.]

Dr. Ness has research interests in plant systematics and genetics and an advisory role at PUC in the areas of biology, natural science, veterinary medicine, medical radiography and occupational therapy.

Per report, Dr. Ranzolin, head of the theology department, and Dr. Jean Sheldon were also present in the room during this lecture.

Note that PUC has recently responded to this video clip arguing that Dr. Ness was simply role playing or playing Devil’s advocate; not actually promoting the definite bias he seemed to be supporting in his lecture against the position of the SDA Church on origins (Link).  Many others have commented below that Dr. Ness is a rather outspoken advocate of the SDA stand on a literal 6-day creation week – which is encouraging.

However, as Dr. Ness himself notes in the comments below regarding a worldwide Noachian Flood, “As it stands now I have an open mind on the subject (and I would hope you and others could respect me for that). I would love to find more credible evidence to support the traditional view on the flood, unfortunately, at the moment, such evidence is difficult to find.”

While admirably honest, we find that statement rather disheartening coming from a well-respected and much-loved SDA professor in one of our schools of higher learning.  We wish Dr. Ness and all other professors teaching our youth would be able to present evidence for why the SDA position on origins, to include a worldwide Noachian Flood, is a very rational position from an empirical perspective that goes beyond blind faith.  Our students need reasons to believe – not just a long list of tough questions without any answers provided by those who are in the best position to know at least a few good answers and competing evidences to give to our youth.  Our youth are earnestly searching for good reasons to view the Bible as credible and the basis of the Gospel Message as rational.

After all, the SDA Church has officially asked (at the most recent GC session and prior) for all of its educators to promote the Church’s position on origins. Consider the following request from the General Conference Executive Committee of 2004:

We reaffirm the Seventh-day Adventist understanding of the historicity of Genesis 1-11: that the seven days of the Creation account were literal 24-hour days forming a week identical in time to what we now experience as a week; and that the Flood was global in nature.

“We call on all boards and educators at Seventh-day Adventist institutions at all levels to continue upholding and advocating the church’s position on origins. We, along with Seventh-day Adventist parents, expect students to receive a thorough, balanced, and scientifically rigorous exposure to and affirmation of our historic belief in a literal, recent six-day creation, even as they are educated to understand and assess competing philosophies of origins that dominate scientific discussion in the contemporary world.

http://adventist.org/beliefs/statements/main-stat55.html

Now, we take the word “all” to actually mean “all”. Of course, Dr. Ness did in fact educate his students in his lecture regarding the competing philosophies of origins that dominate contemporary science. However, Dr. Ness did not offer anything to counter or even buffer these interpretations of the evidence. In this particular lecture, he did not even hint at “a thorough, balanced, and scientifically rigorous exposure to and affirmation of our historic belief in a literal, recent six-day creation” or the “global nature” of the Flood.

We certainly welcome him to do this if this is in fact his true goal in the education of our youth. We’d gladly post any video clip or personal statement along these lines that he is willing to submit (in addition to those already posted). Such a statement would go a very long way to clearly putting the video clip presented above into much clearer context. However, the students leaving this one particular lecture would have had to leave with serious doubts in their minds as to the solid credibility of the Biblical accounts as well as the SDA position on origins. That, in our mind, is not the goal of Adventist education.

UPDATE 11/5/2010: Ness’s reference to the formerly lax language of FB#6 (courtesy of Fritz Guy and Lawrence Geraty) in his lecture is no longer valid and should never have been a valid argument for professors in our own schools to see themselves free to undermine the credibility and fundamental importance of the historical SDA position on a literal creation week and worldwide Noachian Flood. But, since many of our professors have in fact been hiding behind the claimed ambiguity in the wording of FB#6, this language has now been more clearly defined, as of this latest GC session (and even as far back as the GC’s executive committee statement of 2004), to include the word “literal” when referencing the creation week.

Now, there may indeed be many who consider our posting of Dr. Ness’s lecture, to be uncalled for; but the word should be out by now to SDA professors at large that they are not free to teach whatever they want in our own schools without any question or general knowledge as to what they are really teaching our youth by the Church membership at large. We all have a right to know what and how our own young people are being taught in our own schools – and to have a say in this process.

UPDATE 11/6/2010: In fact, the following is an audioclip from a talk he gave for a colloquy at PUC on October 22, 2009 (see: link to PUC website), in which he seems to strongly support the literal creation week:

UPDATE 11/7/2010: Below is a short clip of relevant excerpts from Dr. Ness’s discussion with PUC’s theology majors (originally over 42 minutes long):

UPDATE 11/8/2010: From a comment posted by a former PUC student @Benjamin Burkhardt regarding what Dr. Ness taught him when he was at PUC between 2004 to 2006, regarding a local vs. a global Noachian Flood:

In REGARDS TO NOAH’S FLOOD some minor issues came up for me. I did not quite understand what Dr. Ness was trying to say about it, but I didn’t like a point that was made. So, I asked him about the matter after class and he explained to me that perhaps the flood could have been a more local event, and the authors of the Bible were reporting it merely as they had perceived it.

This is not some minor point. The local Flood idea opens the door, and essentially requires, the intelligent mind to interpret the geologic column and fossil records as being the records of vast periods of time of Earth’s history. It is an argument that is directly in support of the idea that life has existed and evolved on this planet far longer than the SDA belief that all life on Earth is very young and that death did not exist here, for any sentient form of life, until the Fall of man.

Dr. Ness may not consciously realize it, but his teaching on this particular topic of a local vs. a worldwide Flood is a big problem for an SDA institution like PUC.

Please follow and like us:
130
277
37

418 thoughts on “PUC Professor: The Noachian Flood was just a local flood?

  1. As a student at PUC I am very hapy that my science professors have the integriity to not publicly criticize pastors, doctorss and other teachers on a public website. I respect them. I learned a lot about Seventh-Day Adventists here at PUC. Most seem to be nice people. But this website has finally convinced me that SDAs are a bunch of hypocritcal, bickering jerks who I don’t ever want to associate with again. If this is what religion dioes to so-called Christians who cliam to love each other I find it hard to believe there really is a god of love.  (Quote)

    This is the incredibly heartbreaking reality that I so feared would be the result of the direction this discourse is taking.

    George, I can understand your perspective and as I look on this discussion I see so much straining at gnats and swallowing camels that it is painful. The issues of origins and the voracity of the Bible are incredibly important so I can understand the desire to defend the Biblical teaching on the subject, but you are not wrong in accusing us of not carrying out our faith well. Please consider that all of the people involved in this discussion are growing Christians. We are flawed and failing and we clearly do not always well represent the love of Christ the way we ought. Fortunately for all of us, His grace is sufficient to cover our sins of not loving each other well and His power is sufficient to transform us into the loving Christians we ought to be. Unfortunately, this is a process that is often slow and fraught with our own personal battles with pride and self-promotion, often in the name of defending “truth”.

    I ask you to consider the reality of what you said, “Most people seem to be nice.” and not judge the value and worth of the whole community of faith on the basis of a very small sample of our worst behavior. This community is one that has many facets and one of those is that it is a place for people to grow, to learn from mistakes, to become the Children of God. In this site you are witnessing people who are still growing and still have room to learn that we will be known more for how we treat each other than for our rightness or wrongness on any one issue. Even if you choose to have nothing further to do with Adventists because we are at times hypocritical, please don’t let it keep you from seeking a knowledge of God and His love for you. Even while the people here are having very heated arguments about things less important than the salvation of souls and not choosing the best tone for doing so, I don’t believe anyone on this site would say that these issues are more important than our love for each other or our representation of Christ’s love, but as we are human, we do sometimes have blinders on that keep us from seeing all the ramifications of our words and responses.

    I pray that you will find a real experience with God and His love for you.

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  2. @William:

    If that is really your goal, I suggest you consider George’s response to this site and the responses of those you are trying to convince here.

    The purpose of this particular website is not to convince, but to inform.

    It is our opinion that parents, students, and the Church membership at large have a right to know what our own youth are being taught in our own schools. If you like what the science professors at LSU and elsewhere are teaching, to include Dr. Ness, great! If not, well, at least you know and can make a more informed decision as to where to send your own young people. The Church can also make a more informed decision as to what it does and does not expect from its own hired representatives…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  3. Sean, if indeed “The purpose of this particular website is not to convince, but to inform” the Church membership “what our own youth are being taught in our own schools,” why do you cherry pick only a few examples of what you consider heresy? Why not inform the church members of all the devout SDA professors and administrators who support SDA beliefs? Do your attacks on professors have a net positive or negative impact on SDA education? Have you strenghtened or weakened the support of church members in our SDA educational institutions?

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  4. Maybe you have the religion teacher speak on both sides and the science teacher teach on both sides to help clarify things. I don’t really know as I’m not someone that deals with that. But you can’t crucify one teacher for teaching the one side that you don’t particularly agree with especially when he was ASKED by the religion department to speak specifically on that topic and take that line. So maybe I just contradicted myself a little bit…maybe the teachers actually are attempting to show both sides correctly and everyone here is blowing things out of proportion. I don’t know…classes are a quarter long and are meant to build on each other. We weren’t there and it would seem that you are possibly taking one class out of 20 and taking it out of context.

    If you look at the “PUC responds” thread — the opening article there states that this is class of theology students not biology students.

    And you are right that in the video Ness appears to be representing a view on evolution and the world wide flood not supported by our doctrines. PUC claims Ness does not believe what he was teaching to be true – but Ness appears to differ with PUC on that point.

    In any case – both the past GC president (speaking at Andrews Univ) and the
    current GC president have made it clear that our teachers need to rethink the idea of promoting evolutionism in our schools. And in the case of the question asked of Paulsen – the answer was that a teacher who believes (that birds come from reptiles) “long ages evolution” – should try to find a university that wants to promote that belief.

    At the very least taking personal responsibility and accountability for their role they should engage in meaningful dialog with SDA scientists currently supporting the Bible doctrine on Origins and history.

    in Christ,

    Bob

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  5. ke6gwf, I agree completely with your conclusions and appreciated your compilation of quotes from Ellen White, which I have prayerfully read and meditated upon. I am very concerned about what is being taught at LSU and feel strongly that beliefs contrary to SDA principles should not be taught as fact, but I am increasingly convinced that the tenor of this website blatantly contradicts the clear words of the Bible, Ellen White and the SDA Church Manual.

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  6. Sean, I’m still waiting for your answers to my questions about the evidence for TWO global floods:

    http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Phanerozoic_Sea_Level.png

    http://www.searchanddiscovery.net/documents/2010/40594snedden/ndx_snedden.pdf (be sure to scroll down all the way to page 3)

    1) Which of these two floods represents Noah’s flood?

    2) Should the data be dismissed as unreliable?

    3) Should any professor who dares to present a graph of the data in the classroom, which could potentially cause students to lose faith in the Bible, be reported immediately to Educate Truth so that heretics can be held accountable?

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  7. I would advise everyone who is pouring their lives into putting science professors under the microscope to instead put their own lives under the microscope. Are you producing fruit? Pray for the conviction of those who we speculate might be in error, focus on a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and leading others to Him in Love.

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  8. @Sean Pitman

    @Inge Anderson:God does indeed give us enough evidence to rationally believe.Of course, “enough evidence” does not mean “all the evidence”.There is always a leap of faith that must be taken beyond which the evidence itself can absolutely demonstrate with perfection.The very same thing is true of science.Science, by definition, requires leaps of faith beyond what the evidence itself will conclusively support.

    I’m glad you clarified somewhat after your previous post which seemed to imply that God always provides “overwhelming evidence.” “Overwhelming, by definition, is evidence that is impossible to deny. It is also a value judgment of evidence that may have a different value for different people.

    I argued then and will continue to argue that God does not force us to believe by “overwhelming” us with evidence. I would be pleased if you could clarify this point. (I have no problem with you considering the evidence personally persuasive, because I consider it quite persuasive myself.)

    That being said, what serves as the “weight of evidence” for you may not do it for someone else with a different background who weighs different types of evidence differently than you do.It is for this reason that the topic of origins is so vital in our Church today – because many people give a great deal of weight to the sciences of geology, paleontology, etc. I include myself in this group.

    I have been interested in the topic for nearly 45 years, since my days of studying biology at Andrews University. That’s why I’m following this debate with interest. And that’s why I appreciate your emphasis on the fact that there are good reasons to believe in the historicity of Genesis. But “good reasons to believe” are not the same as “overwhelming” evidence, so that anyone would be a fool to believe otherwise. (Referring to “the weight of evidence” is preferable, in my view to “overwhelming evidence,” but we still must not insist that others use the same language.) It is unwise to insist that even those who generally agree with you see the evidence precisely as you do.

    While an overwhelming weight of evidence from these sciences may not phase someone like you, it certainly would and has undermined the faith of many other people in this world – and for good reason.It would definitely undermine my own faith if I actually saw the conclusions of mainstream scientists as tenable.

    It would really help, Sean, if you would not ascribe your words to others with whom you disagree (including some who generally agree with you).

    Specifially, I did not every mention “overwhelming evidence” either for or against a short-age scenario. You did that.

    So the question is not about “overwhelming evidence” for a long-age scenario and against a short-age scenario, or vice versa.

    I personally believe that, for a theist, the evidence strongly favors a short age for life. However, those who believe in a long age are not stupid, because many age indicators appear to favor a long-age interpretation. However, I like to encourage those who believe in billions of years of life to seriously consider what other beliefs are affected by such a belief about life on this planet, because there are some really serious effects, as others have pointed out. And I believe that those who make the effort to think this through cannot honestly support Christian beliefs about sin, the fall, miracles, the incarnation, resurrection and second coming while also believing in billions of years of the evolution of life.

    The problem is not a moral one. The problem is one of not having taken the time to think through all the implications. This problem can be remedied, and some kindness in presenting interpretations of the evidence in favor of a short-age scenario would probably be helpful.

    In short, what I see your argument as saying is that it doesn’t really matter what scientists believe or teach because one can still believe the Bible anyway based on faith – in the face of otherwise overwhelming empirical evidence to the contrary.

    Given my pattern of posting on this site, I fail to see how you can reach such a conclusion, even if the post to which you are replying seems unclear to you. I thought I said pretty clearly that the Lord gives us enough evidence to believe, and after that he expects us to trust Him. To me, trust equals faith, and faith is built on relationship. To use your argument, this relationship is built on “empirical evidence” of the character of God.

    Given that position, it really makes no difference what our science professors believe or teach in our schools – right? After all, we can just ask our youth to believe anyway based on “faith.”

    I consider that a serious misrepresentation of my position.

    What we teach does matter a lot. Our teachers must present the evidence in such a way that students can see for themselves that the difference between a long-age and short-age scenario is not dictated by the evidence but by the interpretation of the evidence. (As I noted in another post, it was this realization that allowed geologist Elaine Kennedy to accept Adventist teachings as truth.)

    There’s absolutely no need to “lie for Jesus” as “Professor Kent” likes to (facetiously?) suggest. The truth is always good enough. But we must realize that the evidence in favor of a short age is not “overwhelming” for most people. But it is enough to allow students to choose where to place their faith — whether in the mindless processes of naturalism or in the personal Creator of this universe.

    I am concerned when I see/hear Adventist science professors seem to accept naturalistic interpretations as fact, not realizing that the evidence does not necessitate the interpretations. They appear to exhibit an undue reverence for naturalistic science and less reverence for the historical accuracy of God’s revelation in Scripture. And, in my view, that’s reversing the order of what/who we should regard with reverence.

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  9. @Inge Anderson:

    I’m glad you clarified somewhat after your previous post which seemed to imply that God always provides “overwhelming evidence.” “Overwhelming, by definition, is evidence that is impossible to deny. It is also a value judgment of evidence that may have a different value for different people.

    I don’t recall claiming that God has given us “overwhelming evidence” – but rather the “weight of evidence”. God has not and will never remove the possibility of all doubt…

    Here’s the wording of what I originally said:

    @Inge Anderson:

    Sean Pitman wrote:
    If the weight of evidence as one is able to understand it is in fact contrary to the worldwide nature of the Noachian Flood, it would be unreasonable for that person to trust the Biblical account of origins as credible. It would also be impossible for that person to actively support the SDA position on origins, to include the worldwide nature of the Noachian Flood as being responsible for the fossil record.

    To which you responded:

    I must disagree with you on this, Sean. You are, in fact, presenting a false dilemma…

    So, you see, I did not actually say what you seem to be remembering. I stand by what I did actually say regarding the weight of evidence. It would be unreasonable for God to expect us to believe against what we honestly understand as the vast or what seems to be the “overwhelming” weight of evidence. God never asks this of us. He always provides a sufficient weight of evidence to support a rational belief in the validity and truth of His Word before He asks us to believe and have “faith”…

    The problem is not a moral one. The problem is one of not having taken the time to think through all the implications. This problem can be remedied, and some kindness in presenting interpretations of the evidence in favor of a short-age scenario would probably be helpful.

    Of course the problem is not a moral one. However, until the problem is “remedied”, those who hold such views would not serve the SDA Church well as paid representatives. And, those who think to present such ideas on the Church’s dime anyway are in a very real way stealing from the SDA Church – however sincere and honest they may otherwise be.

    What we teach does matter a lot. Our teachers must present the evidence in such a way that students can see for themselves that the difference between a long-age and short-age scenario is not dictated by the evidence but by the interpretation of the evidence. (As I noted in another post, it was this realization that allowed geologist Elaine Kennedy to accept Adventist teachings as truth.)

    There’s absolutely no need to “lie for Jesus” as “Professor Kent” likes to (facetiously?) suggest. The truth is always good enough. But we must realize that the evidence in favor of a short age is not “overwhelming” for most people. But it is enough to allow students to choose where to place their faith — whether in the mindless processes of naturalism or in the personal Creator of this universe.

    We cannot do otherwise. Students are always and must always be free to make up their own minds. However, our own teachers are not free to present ideas that go directly counter to SDA goals and ideals as most likely true to their students. They need to actually present, as “most likely true” those interpretations of the evidence that are actually in line with the position of their employer – the SDA Church in this case.

    I am concerned when I see/hear Adventist science professors seem to accept naturalistic interpretations as fact, not realizing that the evidence does not necessitate the interpretations. They appear to exhibit an undue reverence for naturalistic science and less reverence for the historical accuracy of God’s revelation in Scripture. And, in my view, that’s reversing the order of what/who we should regard with reverence.

    The judgment of “historical accuracy” is based on a form of science in the very same way that naturalistic science is based on a form of science – of historical science. The very same type of arguments used for one can be used for the other.

    In short, it is all based, or at least can be based, on a form of “science”. There is nothing wrong with this. The ability to think and reason scientifically is a gift of God – a very great gift of God. If rightly used without the interference of personal motives which may bias us away from what we would otherwise conclude to be true, scientific thinking will guide us toward the Source of science and all rational thought – i.e., toward God Himself.

    You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all of your heart. Jeremiah 29:13 NIV

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  10. Ever so often the essentially passive reader of all this just has to stop and shake his head and sigh for the lonesome gladiator bearing up — pretty intrepidly, I’d say — against the unremitting lambasting, regardless of the thread topic, from all sides: from the faithful for stooping to use scientific evidence as well as faith; from the doubting for calling any evidence for Creation scientific rather then faith. Carry on, my friend.

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  11. @Eddie:

    Sean, I’m still waiting for your answers to my questions about the evidence for TWO global floods:

    http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Phanerozoic_Sea_Level.png

    http://www.searchanddiscovery.net/documents/2010/40594snedden/ndx_snedden.pdf (be sure to scroll down all the way to page 3)

    1) Which of these two floods represents Noah’s flood?

    2) Should the data be dismissed as unreliable?

    3) Should any professor who dares to present a graph of the data in the classroom, which could potentially cause students to lose faith in the Bible, be reported immediately to Educate Truth so that heretics can be held accountable?

    There was only one worldwide Flood that destroyed all land animal life on the planet according to the Bible and the interpretation of the SDA Church. A professor who wants to argue otherwise (using arguments based on the evidence you present, or some other evidence) may do so, but not on the Church’s dime.

    Now, don’t get me wrong here. A professor is certainly free to present arguments from the opposing sides, and I think a good teacher must do just that. However, a professor working for the SDA Church must also be able to show his/her students why he/she believes that the weight of the available empirical evidence favors the SDA position on origins – to include the worldwide nature of the Noachian Flood and the resulting fossil record within recent history. Simply saying, “Because I have faith in the Bible despite what seems to be the clear preponderance of evidence against me.” is not good enough for our young people. This is not what the SDA Church needs nor is it the best that we have to offer our youth as a basis for a rational belief and understanding of the Church’s message to the world…

    If a professor cannot support the SDA Church in this manner, in good conscience, then he/she should not be working for the SDA Church. It’s as simple as that…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  12. Inge, that was another excellent post, I tip my hat to you. If I were to base my religious beliefs strictly on scientific evidence I would be agnostic because in my opinion (which I am not going to insist that all SDA science professors believe) there is insufficient evidence to answer to my complete satisfaction many of the most fundamental questions about the existence of God, the existence of evil, the origin of life, the extent of a global flood, miracles, a virgin birth, the resurrection, etc. I see evidence for God’s hand in nature and I also see evidence that contradicts what the Bible claims. But like Paul I look through a glass darkly. There is much that I don’t know or will ever know. My decision to believe and trust in God is based more on faith than a preponderance of evidence. Faith fills the gap between the evidence and what I believe. It is not blind and in no way corresponds to the blind faith required to believe in tooth fairies (even though I once found a quarter under my pillow) or flying spaghetti monsters (even though I once got hit in the face by one).

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  13. With regard to the geological evidence for TWO global floods, Sean wrote: “There was only one worldwide Flood that destroyed all land animal life on the planet according to the Bible and the interpretation of the SDA Church.”

    So are you admitting that the geological evidence for sea levels throughout the Phanerozoic contradicts the Bible? And that the scientific evidence gathered by geologists over many decades does not accurately represent the truth about Earth history?

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  14. Sean wrote: “a professor working for the SDA Church must also be able to show his/her students why he/she believes that the weight of the available empirical evidence favors the SDA position on origins – to include the worldwide nature of the Noachian Flood and the resulting fossil record within recent history.”

    Can you please point out empirical scientific evidence (outside of the Bible and Ellen White) favoring the SDA position on origins that THERE WAS ONLY ONE INSTEAD OF TWO GLOBAL FLOODS?

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  15. I was just now reading the latest “update” at the top of this page and noted this quote:“This is not some minor point. The local Flood idea opens the door, and essentially requires, the intelligent mind to interpret the geologic column and fossil records as being the records of vast periods of time of Earth’s history.”While I certainly believe the flood was global, I have to ask why anyone (Pitman?) would write, much less believe this total nonsense. It’s a gross overstatement. Does it open the door? Perhaps. Does it require? Get out of here!  

    Gary, ATS’s response, I believe it was ATS, to Alden Thompson’s book Inspiration made the very same point regarding his suggestion that the Flood might not have been global. I recall the point being made that without a global flood, one is left with the evolutionary scenario for explaining the geologic column.

    ATS’s response has been out there for a long, long time. The point isn’t new. And it is logical.

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  16. Sean, you wrote “Therefore, for you to argue that it doesn’t really matter if one sees the scientific evidence on origins as being inconsistent with the Bible, and teaching as much in our schools, because we can have faith anyway that the Bible is true regardless of how we view the weight of scientific evidence, is essentially an argument that all pastors and teachers in the SDA Church should be free to teach and preach whatever they want as long as they end by saying, “We believe the Bible anyway despite all the overwhelming evidence that is apparently against us.”

    Your position is really absurd. I’m sorry but if the weight of evidence does not support the SDA interpretation, that does not mean our interpretation is wrong and that anyone there fore can preach whatever they want. How long was our church preaching temperance before we had any solid evidence for example that smoking was detrimental to our health.

    You need to rethink your extreme position.

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  17. @Sean Pitman:

    @Inge Anderson:

    Sean Pitman wrote:
    If the weight of evidence as one is able to understand it is in fact contrary to the worldwide nature of the Noachian Flood, it would be unreasonable for that person to trust the Biblical account of origins as credible. It would also be impossible for that person to actively support the SDA position on origins, to include the worldwide nature of the Noachian Flood as being responsible for the fossil record.

    I stand by what I did actually say regarding the weight of evidence. It would be unreasonable for God to expect us to believe against what we honestly understand as the vast or what seems to be the “overwhelming” weight of evidence. God never asks this of us. He always provides a sufficient weight of evidence to support a rational belief in the validity and truth of His Word before He asks us to believe and have “faith”…

    It seems to me that you are emphasizing a different portion of your statement than that to which I saw myself responding. So let’s take it apart:

    You wrote:

    If the weight of evidence as one is able to understand it is in fact contrary to the worldwide nature of the Noachian Flood

    As written, it would seem to suggest that a student in a traditional science class must necessarily believe in origin by evolution, since he could not reasonably be expected to understand that the weight of evidence is not against a short age and creation by divine fiat.

    You appear to be supporting the idea that we need to believe only if we understand “the weight of evidence” on each particular point, because God wouldn’t expect us to believe, unless we can understand.

    Am I reading you correctly?

    I, on the other hand, suggest that God gives us sufficient evidence of the trustworthiness of His character, and then He not infrequently asks us to act on naked faith alone — without any evidence whatsoever. That is what I believe He asked of Noah. You, by contrast, seem to argue that Noah had “empirical evidence.” I’d be interested to understand what you deem that to have been.

    Likewise, I believe God asked Abraham to leave his family, his city and civilization itself in order to move to an unknown destination, keeping in mind that his ultimate destination was the kingdom of heaven itself. Yet you argue that he had “empirical evidence.” What would that have been?

    You see, the way I read Hebrews, it doesn’t tell me that these men had “empirical evidence.”

    Please don’t misinterpret me to be saying that it doesn’t matter what we teach our students. It does matter. But it doesn’t hurt to acknowledge that the apparent empirical support for origin by evolution is about as strong as the apparent empirical support for origin by divine fiat.

    Each philosophy of origins (and it is philosophy, because there’s no way to verify either belief) requires a certain amount of faith. (I don’t have enough faith to believe in evolution.)

    On your website and here you argue for certain empirical evidence that points to the historicity of the biblical record, and that is good. We need to do the same in our schools. They need to know the scientific arguments in favor of the authenticity of the biblical record, and they also need to know the challenges to those arguments, the arguments in favor of evolution, and the challenges to those arguments.

    Essentially, we need to expect more of the students in Christian universities than is expected of them in secular universities. They need to be equipped to meet new evolutionary arguments as they come along. Key to this is the understanding that the differences are normally in the interpretation of the evidence, not in the evidence itself.

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  18. Eddie says:
    November 9, 2010 Inge, that was another excellent post, I tip my hat to you. If I were to base my religious beliefs strictly on scientific evidence I would be agnostic because in my opinion (which I am not going to insist that all SDA science professors believe) there is insufficient evidence to answer to my complete satisfaction many of the most fundamental questions about the existence of God, the existence of evil, the origin of life, the extent of a global flood, miracles, a virgin birth, the resurrection, etc. I see evidence for God’s hand in nature and I also see evidence that contradicts what the Bible claims. But like Paul I look through a glass darkly. There is much that I don’t know or will ever know

    In Romans 1 Paul argues that the atheist – the “barbarian” as Paul calls them in Romans 1 is “Without excuse” because the “invisible attributes of God are clearly seen in the things that have been made”. This is the most extreme form of Intelligent Design ever proposed as stricktly an “observation from nature”.

    But even so – that observation does not give details like “all life made in a real 7 day week”.

    In other words we are not going to “just look at nature” and them come up with the “Bible”.

    An atheist or agnostic may look at nature “alone” and come to certain conclusions that are somewhat unsettling given their own starting point – -but those conclusions will always be at some distance from “The Bible” – where God is actually speaking to man telling us what He really did “in nature”.

    I would like to think that this is a point where all can agree.

    in Christ,

    Bob

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  19. Sean, you keep referring to the old belief that the world was flat. That was not a religious belief. It in fact is a belief contrary to what the bible teaches on the subject!
    Granted, there were churches that enforced that belief, but they weren’t basing it on scripture.

    If the bible very clearly said that the earth was “round as unto a beachball”, and science sent a camera into space and it turned out that the earth looked like a waffle, that would present a problem. It would mean either we were misinterpreting the evidence, or misinterpreting the bible, or the bible was wrong.

    We don’t have any conflicts like that though, thank God!
    We have piles and piles of data and research that can be interpreted many ways depending on how you hold your tongue, and we have the Bible that can be interpreted many ways depending on what you believe before you read it.
    If we submit ourselves as little children to the Holy Spirit, He will inspire us how to understand both the Bible and Nature, otherwise we are just paddling ourselves closer to the edge of the flat earth!

    Ben~

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  20. Mary Anne L said to Sean:

    Your position is really absurd. I’m sorry but if the weight of evidence does not support the SDA interpretation, that does not mean our interpretation is wrong and that anyone there fore can preach whatever they want. How long was our church preaching temperance before we had any solid evidence for example that smoking was detrimental to our health.
    You need to rethink your extreme position. Mary Anne L.(Quote

    There is a “not so subtle” flaw in that comparison. Sean is talking about a scenario were science is reliably proving the point . The scenario for example “cigarettes bring good health and restore lungs” vs “lung cancer”.

    It is one thing to say in 1890 – “hey you said cigarettes cause cancer and we have no science confirming that point yet”. It is another to say “we have comprehensive 80 year studies across many people groups showing that smoking actually improves the health of our lungs and reduces the risk of cancer”.

    For years shortsighted and often fatal medical “science” recommended things like “smoking” to improve the health of the lungs for certain illnesses. But even then critical objective thinking should have “at least” been able to “notice” that the compelling data from exhaustive studies was not “in” on that point.

    Suppose for example that it was “scientifically proven” that following the SDA health message cut off 20 years from your life? We can all agree that this is not “the expected outcome”. And yet you could well have heard “science storytelling” many decades ago talking about the health risk of not eating plenty of meat and cheese, promoting smoking as good for the lungs, and insisting that patients avoid fresh air.

    In both of these cases where comprensive analysis is possible – all of the variables are controllable, the results observable and repeatable and conclusively falsifiable.

    The point is that Bible believing Christians (esp SDAs) should be LESS inclined to be duped by the mere story telling facade phases of early science – and well skilled at looking for the point in mankind’s science learning curve (for a given topic) where information starts to be reliable and sound. The “throw-out-the-Bible-first” approach is a failed model. So also the “bend-the-Bible-first” solution.

    in Christ,

    Bob

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  21. @ Bob Ryan

    The point is that Bible believing Christians (esp SDAs) should be LESS inclined to be duped by the mere story telling facade phases of early science – and well skilled at looking for the point in mankind’s science learning curve (for a given topic) where information starts to be reliable and sound. The “throw-out-the-Bible-first” approach is a failed model. So also the “bend-the-Bible-first” solution.

    Your characterization of Mary Anne’s position was rude. She didn’t allude to “throw-out-the-Bible-first.”

    The SDA Bible-believing Christians had it right early on with smoking. NEWSFLASH: The SDA Bible-believing Christians had it wrong early on with masturbation. More than 100 years later, no link has been found between it and insanity. In fact, there is statistically a HUGE reduction in prostate cancer with higher frequency of ejaculation (a log-odds ratio of about 0.65, which is about a 35% reduction). Do we throw out inspiration when science cannot support it? You and Sean still believe Ellen White was inspired. So do I. If we admit that Ellen White’s remarks on “self abuse” do not stand up to scientific scrutiny, this hardly means that we have license to teach whatever we want.

    The not-so-subtle point Mary Anne made was that the Bible does not fall on one point that science fails to support. Why am I not surprised you would belittle that.

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  22. @Mary Anne who wrote:

    How long was our church preaching temperance before we had any solid evidence for example that smoking was detrimental to our health.

    You need to rethink your extreme position.

    Thanks for the excellent example, Mary Anne.

    On the other hand, I do believe our science professors should make an effort to be knowledgeable on the empirical evidence in favor of the historicity of the Genesis account, rather than just relying on “peer-reviewed” papers which are mostly evidence in favor of origin by gradual evolution. But it doesn’t help the creationist side to take extreme positions that repel thinking people.

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  23. @ke6gwf / Ben, who wrote:

    If the bible very clearly said that the earth was “round as unto a beachball”, and science sent a camera into space and it turned out that the earth looked like a waffle, that would present a problem. It would mean either we were misinterpreting the evidence, or misinterpreting the bible, or the bible was wrong.We don’t have any conflicts like that though, thank God!
    We have piles and piles of data and research that can be interpreted many ways depending on how you hold your tongue, and we have the Bible that can be interpreted many ways depending on what you believe before you read it.
    If we submit ourselves as little children to the Holy Spirit, He will inspire us how to understand both the Bible and Nature, otherwise we are just paddling ourselves closer to the edge of the flat earth!Ben~  

    I just have to say that I enjoy your posts — not only the content, but the way you present it. (Are you by any chance a poet? Those images of bent tongues and boats paddling close to the edge of the flat earth … ;))

    Carry on. 🙂

      (Quote)

    View Comment

  24. Suppose for example that it was “scientifically proven” that following the SDA health message cut off 20 years from your life? We can all agree that this is not “the expected outcome”. And yet you could well have heard “science storytelling” many decades ago talking about the health risk of not eating plenty of meat and cheese, promoting smoking as good for the lungs, and insisting that patients avoid fresh air.In both of these cases where comprensive analysis is possible – all of the variables are controllable, the results observable and repeatable and conclusively falsifiable.The point is that Bible believing Christians (esp SDAs) should be LESS inclined to be duped by the mere story telling facade phases of early science – and well skilled at looking for the point in mankind’s science learning curve (for a given topic) where information starts to be reliable and sound. The “throw-out-the-Bible-first” approach is a failed model. So also the “bend-the-Bible-first” solution.in Christ,Bob  

    I have liked your last couple of comments Bob. 🙂

    One of my areas of study recently is the science and physiology behind Sister White’s health councils. You know, the ones that don’t seem to make sense or agree with current common “knowledge”?

    For instance, don’t mix fruits and veggies at the same meal, and to avoid too much variety at a meal. Most people don’t even really understand what is fruit and what is veggie to begin with, and then they don’t understand how different foods need different conditions to digest properly, and if mixed, none digest properly.
    Another is how she says not to use butter, but that cream is all right. Isn’t butter just separated cream? Yes, but in the cream, the fat globs are coated with poly-saccharides keeping them separated and digestible. Churning breaks the coating off, allowing the fat to glop together.

    She talks about how health reform turns into health “deform” when it is dogmatically preached without understanding the reasons behind it.

    In this case, dogmatic teaching of creation/flood is up against dogmatic teaching of Godless evolution, and the fact that the evidence supports neither extreme yet but both extremes is overlooked by many.

    We must be willing to accept a change in our views if we see evidence that does not agree with them. That does not mean though that we need to ignore or bend our understanding of the Bible to fit the evidence! It is possible and very common to have a wrong understanding of the Bible.

    Sister White states that we can not properly understand nature without the Bible, but on the flip side, we can not properly understand the Bible without studying Nature.
    That means that our understanding of the Bible has to grow, evolve, and change as we study the evidence God has left for us in Nature.

    (Oh, and in my study of natural/herbal remedies, tobacco is a powerful medicine for lung issues. The kicker is, it is powerful enough that more than a puff or 2 a year is overdosing, and it would only have been used for certain acute issues. The tribes that used it in Peace Pipe ceremonies for instance, normally didn’t inhale the smoke, because they knew how powerful it was. And for those that find that shocking, look at what Sister White says about using Coffee, Tea and Wine medicinally! 🙂

    Ben~

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  25. Sean, you have stated many times that if the weight of evidence failed to support your SDA beliefs, you would not only leave the Church, but Christianity as well.

    I once had a colleague who was accused of sexually harrasing a woman. Because I knew this colleague well, having spent considerable time with him on a day-to-day basis, I refused to believe the “overwhelming evidence” that the lady and her lawyer assembled. Of course, I lacked evidence of his innocence, but I was well acquainted with his character and willing to take his word at face value. In the end, the lady made the mistake of claiming something crucial to the case that was easily proven false. The physical “evidence” against the man was damning, but my personal experience with the man won me over. My (informed) faith in him was vindicated.

    Sean, if you walked and talked with Jesus all day long, day after day, and came to understand his character well and depended on him for guidance and companionship, why would you reject him if “overwhelming evidence” obtained by flawed humans suggested he was something other than he claimed? Why would you doubt someone you know so well? Why would you turn your back on him?

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  26. Sean Pitman wrote:

    However, a professor working for the SDA Church must also be able to show his/her students why he/she believes that the weight of the available empirical evidence favors the SDA position on origins – to include the worldwide nature of the Noachian Flood and the resulting fossil record within recent history. If a professor cannot support the SDA Church in this manner, in good conscience, then he/she should not be working for the SDA Church. It’s as simple as that…

    In what version of the Bible did Jesus say to the thief on the cross, “Verily I say unto thee this day, if thou believest in a six-day creation and a flood that later covered every bit of it, thou shalt be with me in Paradise.”

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  27. Again, believing and teaching in the SDA position on origins is not enough. You must believe based on “evidence” rather than faith, and you must believe and teach that the “weight of the available empirical evidence favorst the SDA position.” Otherwise…well, you’ve been served notice.

    So far as I can tell, only Sean Pitman, Shane Hilde, Bob Ryan, and Kevin Paulson subscribe to this view. Are there others?

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  28. @Inge Anderson:

    …Are you by any chance a poet?

    I have no skill as a poet, and I know it!
    I simply type the words as they come to me, and then set them free. (well after several times of reading and rereading to make sure the words are what they need to be, can’t lead anyone astray you see…)

    “Creative” is sometimes spewed in my direction, often not in a meaning of complementation! (wow, spellcheck says that was a word, whudathunk! 🙂

    Ok, now back to my non-metered self.
    Ben~

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  29. @Inge Anderson:

    It seems to me that you are emphasizing a different portion of your statement than that to which I saw myself responding. So let’s take it apart:

    You wrote:

    If the weight of evidence as one is able to understand it is in fact contrary to the worldwide nature of the Noachian Flood. – Sean Pitman

    As written, it would seem to suggest that a student in a traditional science class must necessarily believe in origin by evolution, since he could not reasonably be expected to understand that the weight of evidence is not against a short age and creation by divine fiat.

    First off, notice again that I used the phrase “weight of evidence”. I did not, contrary to your claim, argue that God gives or must give “overwhelming evidence” before one can gain a rational solid Faith in His Word.

    Beyond this, many students are convinced by what they think is in fact the weight of scientific evidence to doubt the reliability of the Biblical record of Earth’s history. I’m very happy for you that you would be able to resist what appears to many to be the great weight of evidence against the Bible, but I for one strongly sympathize with those in this boat.

    For me scientific empirical evidence is very important to my own faith. I can therefore understand why the weight of empirical evidence would influence one’s faith in different directions depending upon various understandings of what the empirical evidence is really saying.

    This is why it is no trivial thing for a science professor to get up in class and tell his/her students that the significant or even the “overwhelming” weight of physical evidence is definitively against the Biblical account. It does not matter to the majority of students if the professor then says, “But I believe the Bible anyway based on ‘faith’ despite all the vast evidence to the contrary.” Most students are going to be much more impressed with the evidence presented than with the professor’s claim to “faith” despite all the evidence to the contrary – – and I would be in that camp myself.

    You appear to be supporting the idea that we need to believe only if we understand “the weight of evidence” on each particular point, because God wouldn’t expect us to believe, unless we can understand.

    Am I reading you correctly?

    No. That’s not what I said. The “weight of evidence” includes all available evidence to support the credibility of a source of authority, like the Bible. What appears to be the weight of evidence on one particular point can be reasonably challenged by reference to some other source of authority which has demonstrated greater reliability given the overall weight of evidence of which one is aware…

    There is a catch, however, to this. The overall “weight of evidence” of which one is aware may be different for you than it is for me or someone else. This is why it is very dangerous for a professor who believes in the Bible based on his/her own knowledge of the totality of the weight of evidence to present only those evidences that counter the Biblical perspective in a given class without providing countering evidence or at least pointing out that a greater weight of countering evidence exists.

    I, on the other hand, suggest that God gives us sufficient evidence of the trustworthiness of His character, and then He not infrequently asks us to act on naked faith alone — without any evidence whatsoever. That is what I believe He asked of Noah. You, by contrast, seem to argue that Noah had “empirical evidence.” I’d be interested to understand what you deem that to have been.

    When you say that, “God gives us sufficient evidence of His trustworthiness”, how can you then turn around and say that, “He not infrequently asks us to act on faith without any evidence whatsoever”? The evidence that God gives us of His trustworthiness over time is the very same evidence that is the basis of faith when He asks us to do or believe what we do not directly understand. Such faith is not blind, but is in fact based on the weight of empirical evidence.

    The same thing was true of Noah’s faith or Job’s faith or the faith of Jesus’ disciples. Let me ask you, did the faith of Jesus’ disciples increase or decrease after the Resurrection of Jesus? Did they become or more less confident? More or less brave in the preaching of the Gospel?

    You see, it was through the empirical evidence given to them of the true physical Resurrection of Jesus that their faith became as solid as it was… to the point of leading each of them, save John, to a martyr’s death for Jesus. This great empirical “Sign”, as John described the miracles given, was the ultimate linchpin to hold the faith of the followers of Jesus solidly to the Rock through the trying times ahead.

    The same thing is true for us today. We also need the weight of solid physical empirical evidence as a basis for our faith – at least that is true for me and many like me.

    Likewise, I believe God asked Abraham to leave his family, his city and civilization itself in order to move to an unknown destination, keeping in mind that his ultimate destination was the kingdom of heaven itself. Yet you argue that he had “empirical evidence.” What would that have been?

    Have you ever talked to God face to face? Verbally? I dare say if even an angel from heaven talked to me and gave me solid empirical evidence of who he was, that would be enough empirical evidence for me to move wherever he wanted me to move…

    Please don’t misinterpret me to be saying that it doesn’t matter what we teach our students. It does matter. But it doesn’t hurt to acknowledge that the apparent empirical support for origin by evolution is about as strong as the apparent empirical support for origin by divine fiat.

    Did I just read what I think I read? Is it seriously your contention that the empirical support for the origin and diversity of life by mindless evolutionary mechanisms is just about as strong as the empirical support for origin by Design? Come on now! This is where I think you are seriously mistaken – more than I would ever have suspected knowing you as I do.

    If we hire professors who actually believe this particular notion of yours, and teach it to our students, this message will end up creating serious doubts as to the true credibility of the Bible in the minds of the vast majority of our youth.

    Such a message would certainly have put serious doubts in my own mind regarding the rationality of the SDA faith. It is only because, after intense investigation on my own part, that I found what was to me very convincing evidence of the untenable nature of mainstream evolutionary theories that my faith in the credibility of the Bible became solidified.

    I’m sorry, but we need not, we cannot, as a Church, hire professors to teach our young people that, “empirical support for origin by evolution is about as strong as the apparent empirical support for origin by divine fiat.” I don’t really think you understand the devastating results that this sort of teaching would create for our Church…

    Each philosophy of origins (and it is philosophy, because there’s no way to verify either belief) requires a certain amount of faith. (I don’t have enough faith to believe in evolution.)

    There is no absolute way to verify anything is science. All scientific conclusions or “theories” require leaps of faith to accept – to one degree or another. That doesn’t mean that scientific theories are “just philosophies” or “wishful thinking”. Scientific theories are means by which we take educated “leaps of faith” that have “predictive value” as to their likely chance of success.

    So, in order to rationally counter a given theory, you have to be able to demonstrate that your countering theory actually has greater “predictive power”… i.e., that it really does require a much greater (and therefore less reliable) leap of faith to believe in the opposing theory.

    On your website and here you argue for certain empirical evidence that points to the historicity of the biblical record, and that is good. We need to do the same in our schools. They need to know the scientific arguments in favor of the authenticity of the biblical record, and they also need to know the challenges to those arguments, the arguments in favor of evolution, and the challenges to those arguments.

    Essentially, we need to expect more of the students in Christian universities than is expected of them in secular universities. They need to be equipped to meet new evolutionary arguments as they come along. Key to this is the understanding that the differences are normally in the interpretation of the evidence, not in the evidence itself.

    There is no such thing as “evidence” without interpretation.

    I think we differ in our understanding of the nature of science. Science always has a subjective component to it. One’s own history or background strongly influences how one will interpret a given phenomenon. This is why one cannot make moral judgments on such interpretations because one does not fully know the background or mental capabilities of another. Only God knows such things with complete accuracy.

    However, when we are asked to “Give a reason for the hope that is within us” (1 Peter 3:15 NIV), we should be able to give a reason that has universal appeal beyond just ourselves. In other words, we should be able to give a reason that is based on universally available empirical evidence. This is what the Bible does, and this is what Jesus did.

    It was Jesus who said, “The miracles I do in my Father’s name speak for me… at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves.” – John 10:25 NIV and John 14:11 NIV

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  30. @Inge Anderson:

    Please don’t misinterpret me to be saying that it doesn’t matter what we teach our students. It does matter. But it doesn’t hurt to acknowledge that the apparent empirical support for origin by evolution is about as strong as the apparent empirical support for origin by divine fiat.

    Did I just read what I think I read? Is it seriously your contention that the empirical support for the origin and diversity of life by mindless evolutionary mechanisms is just about as strong as the empirical support for origin by Design? Come on now! This is where I think you are seriously mistaken – more than I would ever have suspected knowing you as I do.

    If we hire professors who actually believe this particular notion of yours, and teach it to our students, this message will end up creating serious doubts as to the true credibility of the Bible in the minds of the vast majority of our youth.

    Such a message would certainly have put serious doubts in my own mind regarding the rationality of the SDA faith. It is only because, after intense investigation on my own part, that I found what was to me very convincing evidence of the untenable nature of mainstream evolutionary theories that my faith in the credibility of the Bible became solidified.

    I’m sorry, but we need not, we cannot, as a Church, hire professors to teach our young people that, “empirical support for origin by evolution is about as strong as the apparent empirical support for origin by divine fiat.” I don’t really think you understand the devastating results that this sort of teaching would create for our Church…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  31. Thank you, Sean, for continuing to make clear your true position. Early on, I did not see this, and clearly you are not retreating from it. You sincerely believe that any SDA employee who does not believe or teach that the weight of scientific evidence supports SDA views on science must either resign or be fired.

    Your position is extreme. In all frankness, I don’t think you will find much sympathy among educators, clergy, or even the general membership of this church as you continue to expose and persecute those who disagree with your position.

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  32. @Anon MD:

    Thank you, Sean, for continuing to make clear your true position. Early on, I did not see this, and clearly you are not retreating from it. You sincerely believe that any SDA employee who does not believe or teach that the weight of scientific evidence supports SDA views on science must either resign or be fired.

    Your position is extreme. In all frankness, I don’t think you will find much sympathy among educators, clergy, or even the general membership of this church as you continue to expose and persecute those who disagree with your position.

    Have you read the GC’s request of educators when it comes to what the Church, as an organization, expects its teachers to actually teach? The following is from the 2004 Executive Committee of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists:

    We call on all boards and educators at Seventh-day Adventist institutions at all levels to continue upholding and advocating the church’s position on origins. We, along with Seventh-day Adventist parents, expect students to receive a thorough, balanced, and scientifically rigorous exposure to and affirmation of our historic belief in a literal, recent six-day creation, even as they are educated to understand and assess competing philosophies of origins that dominate scientific discussion in the contemporary world.

    http://adventist.org/beliefs/statements/main-stat55.html

    This sentiment and request was backed up at the most recent GC session in Atlanta. And, the Church has also decided to make more specific the wording of FB#6 on its creation doctrine to make it very clear that the Church, as an organization, believes in a literal 6-day creation week and worldwide Noachian Flood.

    Now, you can call such a position “extreme” all you want, but the Church seems to know that hiring teachers to tell our young people that the weight of scientific evidence is against us is quite counterproductive to the Church’s goals and ideals…

    Regardless, at the very least, people have a right to know and to choose if such an education is in fact what they want for their own children…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  33. I believe there are many more quiet followers of this website earnestly praying for the “lone defender” of the precious truths that our Loving Creator God has entrusted to His people. Ultimately, God is the One who is our Defender! What a beautiful example Dr. Pitman is to all of us who desire to be used of God and who will use our talents (what an exceptionally bright mind He has given you) for the good of His cause. We will keep praying that God will continue to use this website as a wake up call to His sleeping church!! May we choose to be humble and teachable and not harden our hearts or confuse false “love” for the true love that cares enough to admonish.
    Sincerely,
    Dan and Myrtha Urrutia

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  34. Re Sean’s Quote

    “@Inge Anderson:

    Please don’t misinterpret me to be saying that it doesn’t matter what we teach our students. It does matter. But it doesn’t hurt to acknowledge that the apparent empirical support for origin by evolution is about as strong as the apparent empirical support for origin by divine fiat.

    Did I just read what I think I read? Is it seriously your contention that the empirical support for the origin and diversity of life by mindless evolutionary mechanisms is just about as strong as the empirical support for origin by Design? Come on now! This is where I think you are seriously mistaken – more than I would ever have suspected knowing you as I do.”

    Dear Sean

    Respectfully, I don’t think this compromises Inge’s personal faith or that she is mistaken whatsoever. She talks about ‘apparent’ empirical support for origin by evolution not what she personally believes it. That is objectivity at its finest, Sean. Inge is in touch with the reality of the conflicting positions.

    This is the point that Prof. Kent is trying to get you to understand as well.

    It’s OK for you to criticize evolution and bring forth empirical evidence that supports recent creation. You have often made excellent critical comments that I have complimented you in this regard. But if you categorically deny the obvious existence of ‘apparent’ empirical support for origin by evolution you place yourself in a tiny closet where even most of your fellow YEC’s cannot fit.

    You are a leading, highly intelligent scientific advocate of the YEC . For that you and the SDA should be very proud. I respect you and have learned much from you. But, with great respect, your comment about Inge makes me wonder if you have the ability to see science objectively, independent of a faith bias. If you can accomplish this then your credibility will increase exponentially and you will further the SDA cause far better that being characterized as a zealot.

    I have seen this phenomenon often played out in court. It is the experts that admit the strength of the other side’s position and what they do not now, that most often earn the respect and credibility of the court. There are always at least two sides to every conflict. Who gains more credibility: the side that says that no matter whatever the other side presents they are absolutely wrong or the side that says yes you may be right on that aspect but here are stronger arguments and better evidence for my position?

    I hope I have not offended you my friend. I hope my comments on the optics of how many might be perceiving you may be of some value.

    Reespectfully
    Ken

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  35. Sean provided this quote recently –

    We call on all boards and educators at Seventh-day Adventist institutions at all levels to continue upholding and advocating the church’s position on origins. We, along with Seventh-day Adventist parents, expect students to receive a thorough, balanced, and scientifically rigorous exposure to and affirmation of our historic belief in a literal, recent six-day creation, even as they are educated to understand and assess competing philosophies of origins that dominate scientific discussion in the contemporary world.

    http://adventist.org/beliefs/statements/main-stat55.html

    In another post – I recently mentioned the problem of “early science” and evolutionist science spinning “stories” that have not “yet unraveled”. One example given is Othaniel Marsh’s fraudulent horse series showing smooth orthogenic transitions from an ancient hyrax to modern horse – hailed as the “Best example in nature” proving evolution “as fact” for over 50 years –yea for 100 years given the amount of time it has remained at the Smithsonian and in science text books after it was known to be a fraud.

    But the quote from the SDA position above would have still been applicable even in the 1900’s to the 1950’s when Mars was finally exposed because even without knowing the specifics of his fraud – the objective science teacher would have known that “birds do not come from reptiles” and “horses do not come from a hyrax”. They would also know that nothing of the sort is seen in nature today and that the Bible does not support it – neither to lab experiments support it – so the “storytelling” is very likely to be the case of “arranging fossils”.

    Thus those who camp on the door step of “SDAs must first untie every knott and answer every riddle that evolutionists can imagine before they can claim that God’s Word is a realistic way to view what actually happened in nature” are seen even in this the most easily tested example of evolutionist fraud – to have no leg to stand on.

    in Christ,

    Bob

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  36. Obviously, it is understandable to want that an SDA professor to teach SDA beliefs in the classroom. I am not sure where this whole debate began because Dr. Ness is speaking to theology majors and is clearly playing devils advocate. But, after students and alumni have continued to lend support behind Dr. Ness this website has continued to argue an irrelevant point. After illegally posting and re-posting the video and finding out that in fact, Dr. Ness was NOT lecturing Biology students about his personal views and bashing SDA fundamental beliefs, you continue! And I am pretty sure students and alumni have more weight in the argument here concerning evidence since they have actually TAKEN classes from Dr. Ness and SAT IN on his lectures. If the only evidence you have to run with is now inapplicable – why keep badgering? It is almost as if you argue for the sake of arguing, only showing yourself to be close-minded and arrogant. Instead of making a fool out of yourself and this website, you should have consulted Dr. Ness personally before lambasting him with a story here. If you really want to follow the Church’s guidelines as you state about educators encouraging SDA beliefs, then why not follow the Bible and church guidelines that says keep controversial issues to the smallest sphere possible?

    Yet you continue. And quite frankly, if you have never been to PUC or been taught by Dr. Ness you would stop. If his teachings were such a problem, issues and complaints would have arisen a long time ago. Your “breaking news” reporting is anything but.

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  37. Absolutely we should not have anyone teaching in our institutions contrary to our historical SDA position on origins! Professors are free to believe as they please but don’t teach at our SDA institutions then. We, as parents of college students at SDA institutions, need confidence that our kids are being taught the traditional SDA position on all levels of doctrine! Otherwise, why are we spending thousands of dollar’s on Adventist education? These faulse doctrines are going to destroy our Colleges! No one will send their kids to an Adventist college teaching as the world teaches, especially in regards to creation and the flood! This is the doctrines of devils!

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  38. “The spirit of debate, of controversy, is a device of Satan to stir up combativeness, and thus eclipse the truth as it is in Jesus. Many have thus been repulsed instead of being won to Christ. {RH, February 9, 1892 par. 12}”

    “Do not repeat the words of your opponents, or enter into controversy with them. You meet not merely the men, but Satan and his angels. Christ did not bring against Satan a railing accusation concerning the body of Moses. If the world’s Redeemer, who understood the crooked, deceptive arts of Satan, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but in holiness and humility said, “The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan,” is it not wise for His servants to follow His example? Will finite human beings take a course that Christ shunned, because it would afford Satan occasion to pervert, misrepresent, and falsify the truth? {UL 270.3} ”

    Does anybody see this debate as having an end?

    Does anybody see the slightest chance that something will be said that will change their mind? The other debaters think the same thing!

    Has anybody noticed that most of the participants of this debate remain totally silent on the very clear and direct inspired statements shared a couple of days ago denouncing this kind of debate, almost as if they enjoy it too much to quit?

    Is anybody so deluded by enjoyment of debate, indignation or the father of lies himself that they think this debate is actually doing anybody any good?

    (I have included a select few out of many pages of texts and quotes I have on just the subject of debate. I will be glad to discuss these and the rest elsewhere)

    The best thing for the Church of Christ would be if this website and all this debate disappeared. This website is the exact opposite of how Jesus showed us how to behave ourselves, and is a stain on His church.

    That is not to say that there are not errors that need rooting out, or that we don’t need to study these subjects with prayer and searching, but fighting about who can better spin words is the way the Scribes and Pharisees debated. Jesus stood calmly, said “thus saith the Lord…”, rebuked them and walked away.

    @Sean, I call on you to answer this question:
    Have you been fully following the councils we have received on how to discuss points of Biblical doctrine, and how to rebuke those that are in error?
    If not, what are you going to do to correct any oversights that you can rectify?

    I am just as guilty as any of you on ignoring or being ignorant of the correct way to handle things. I ask you forgiveness for my debating.
    It is now my duty to council, and if necessary, rebuke those that are causing strife in the church.

    I ask any of you that understand that this is not a correct way to treat each other or this subject to take a stand. Make an affirmative statement of what you believe and why, and then make an affirmative statement that this debate should end and the record of it in the form of this website should be removed so that others will not be driven away from Christ due to our bickering.

    “Satan has gained many victories over the professed followers of Jesus through their unchristlike spirit and behavior toward their brethren who do not agree with them, and toward unbelievers. The discussion of doctrines has not resulted in bringing union, but variance. A bitter spirit has been cherished, bitter words have been spoken. The words of the True Witness should be carefully studied by all: “I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love,” RH, February 9, 1892

    We are supposed to one in Him! How can we treat each other like this then?

    “When differences arise among brethren as to the understanding of any point of truth, there is one Bible rule to follow. In the spirit of meekness and love for God and one another, let brethren come together, and after earnest prayer, with sincere desire to know God’s will, study the Bible with the spirit of a little child, to see how closely they can draw together, and not sacrifice anything but their selfish dignity. They should regard themselves as in the presence of the whole universe of God, who are watching with intense interest as brother tries to see eye to eye with brother, to understand the words of Christ, that they may be doers of the word, and not hearers only.”
    “When you recall the prayer of Christ, that his disciples may be one as he was one with the Father, can you not see how intently all heaven is beholding the spirit you manifest toward one another? Are those who claim to be saved by the righteousness of Christ, seeking with all their entrusted capabilities to answer the Saviour’s prayer? Will they grieve the Holy Spirit of God by indulging their own unconsecrated feelings, struggling for supremacy, and standing as far apart as possible? . . .

    The solemn, important hours intervening between us and the judgment are not to be employed in warfare with believers.” {GCDB, February 6, 1893} ”

    And Jesus wept…

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  39. I, Ben Blackburn affirm the following:

    I believe that there is One True Creator God, know by many names by many people through the ages and the nations and the peoples.

    I believe that He inspired His servants to translate the scenes and language of heaven into the words of humanity so that we might have a clearer understanding if Him.

    I believe that He sends his Holy Spirit to show us the correct interpretation of what He has revealed to us through the Bible and through His second Book, Nature.

    I believe that when we allow the Holy Spirit to guide our understanding, the stories in the Bible will be found to match the record found in Nature.

    I believe that Jesus came down and took on our fallen nature and was tempted like as we are, but showed us that triumph is possible!

    I believe that Jesus rose from the grave after gaining victory over sin, and taking on our sins, defying all humanly known laws of nature.

    I believe I have no empirical evidence to prove this yet, but just as when a long time friend tells you something you believe them based on their track record;
    I believe the Word of God!

    I believe I still have an imperfect understanding of the Bible and of Nature, and therefore I expect and pray that God will allow me to be shown what I need to discard and what I need to accept.

    I believe that there are probably some really major things I got wrong!

    I believe in the literal interpretation of the literal parts of the Bible, and the need to discern which parts are which.

    I believe that the world and all that in it is was created by the Word in 6 days as we know them.

    I believe that Noah’s Flood happened exactly as the Bible says it did, despite what any (mis)interpretation of nature may say.

    I believe that it is important to know what the methods and arguments of the devil are so that we can be prepared to answer them.

    I believe that it is important to know the methods and teachings of the Creator by heart, so that we can say “thus saith the Lord…” when we are confronted by error, and so that we can discern between the two.

    I believe that the study of Nature is just as important as the study of the Bible, since they are both the Word of God.

    ( “The Saviour’s life on earth was a life of communion with nature and with God. In this communion He revealed for us the secret of a life of power.
    All who are under the training of God need the quiet hour for communion with their own hearts, with nature, and with God…. We must individually hear Him speaking to the heart. When every other voice is hushed, and in quietness we wait before Him, the silence of the soul makes more distinct the voice of God. He bids us, “Be still, and know that I am God.” This is the effectual preparation for all labor for God. Amidst the hurrying throng and the strain of life’s intense activities, he who is thus refreshed will be surrounded with an atmosphere of light and peace. He will receive a new endowment of both physical and mental strength. His life will breathe out a fragrance and will reveal a divine power that will reach men’s hearts.” {CH 163.2} )

    I believe in the importance in understanding the reasons behind the commands and councils we are given.

    (“Since the laws of nature are the laws of God, it is plainly our duty to give these laws careful study. We should study their requirements in regard to our own bodies and conform to them. Ignorance in these things is sin. {CCh 215.6}”)

    I believe that this website should be cleansed of all debate and strife and taint of the evil one.

    I believe this website should be re-dedicated to showing the reliable evidence for the Biblical version of events, so that as we work with the teachers and schools of this Remnant Church, we have a resource and a place to share and reach a deeper understanding of God’s truth without all the debate and strife we find in the world right now.

    I believe that any who continue bucking the straight councils are allowing themselves to be led by the father of lies, and are dragging precious souls away the the Source of all Truth.

    I ask that this debate not be carried on by any of you that truly are wanting to follow the example of our Saviour.

    I pray that I have had no negative affects on any of you, and that the Lord will work mightily through you to spread the Gospel to the world, including to those that claim the name of Christ but do not know Him.

    Ben~

    Ben Blackburn
    bblackburn@puc.edu (former back-end staff)
    http://www.facebook.com/benblackburn
    707-815-0099
    ke6gwf
    “What affect do you have on those around you?”
    “Survival is what you do in the city, Living is what I do in the wilderness!”

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  40. Sidney says:
    November 10, 2010 Obviously, it is understandable to want that an SDA professor to teach SDA beliefs in the classroom. I am not sure where this whole debate began because Dr. Ness is speaking to theology majors and is clearly playing devils advocate. But, after students and alumni have continued to lend support behind Dr. Ness this website has continued to argue an irrelevant point.

    If what you are saying was true in the video – then there would be no problem. And in fact PUC itself would be airing that video as PROOF that the arguments here do not stand up to the facts as seen in the class instead of trying to cover this up in a true damage-control style response.

    If what you are saying were affirmed by Ness in his posts here – there would be no problem.

    If this really was a case of “science-puzzle -then- science-solution” being explained to the religion department by a biology department prof, then the ending discussion leadership would not be in the direction of “bending the Bible to make it fit evolution” – as seen in the video.

    Please click this review and notice the details that Ness is affirming/hedging and in some cases denying here.

    http://www.educatetruth.com/media/puc-professor-the-noachian-flood-was-just-a-local-flood/comment-page-2/#comment-21675

    Be that as it may – no one here is suggesting that PUC is at the crisis stage that LSU is currently experiencing. But it cannot be questioned that at some point in the past LSU had one or two or a few professors gently introducing the idea, and an administration unwilling to find an insightful effective solution that would steer a path away from LSU’s current situation.

    in Christ,

    Bob

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  41. As many have pointed out – the literal 7 day creation week less than 10,000 years ago explains the origin of all static genomes on earth.

    The world wide flood explains the fossil records mass burial evidence for fossils and the geologic column.

    in Christ,

    Bob

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  42. @Sidney said:

    I am not sure where this whole debate began because Dr. Ness is speaking to theology majors and is clearly playing devils advocate. But, after students and alumni have continued to lend support behind Dr. Ness this website has continued to argue an irrelevant point.

    I suggested this much Nov. 3: “So essentially Ness was role playing for the students? Playing devils advocate for them?”

    After communicating with Dr. Ness, I can tell you that he was not playing devils advocate, pretending to be an evolutionist, or even one who believes evolutionists are right. You can write him yourself and ask him.

    If the goal of the course is “to prepare future pastors for dilemmas they may face in ministry while strengthening the students’ faith in the Adventist Church and its core beliefs,” I would think that there would be evidence within the lecture to demonstrate this was actually happening. Evidence was also absent from the PUC statement that Dr. Ness or any other biology professor would be presenting a future lecture that presented affirming evidence that would reasonably counter the existing theories in the mainstream scientific community. While it is reasonable to present students with theories in science that conflict with our beliefs, how reasonable is it to just leave it at that–a string of conflicts with little, if any, resolution?

    There is a difference between teaching something is true, but there doesn’t seem to be any good evidence for it so I can’t show it to you and teaching something is true and here is the good evidence that affirms our faith–See you have good reason to believe what you do.

    No need to resort to twisted theories that suggest the writers of the Bible were merely using the intellectual furniture of their time, so when the flood is described as global it was only global for that area.

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  43. @Ken:

    There are always at least two sides to every conflict. Who gains more credibility: the side that says that no matter whatever the other side presents they are absolutely wrong or the side that says yes you may be right on that aspect but here are stronger arguments and better evidence for my position?

    That is exactly what I am saying. I’m not arguing that the theory of evolution doesn’t have any reasonable arguments. It does. It has many very good arguments that are quite convincing to most intelligent minds. However, in my opinion, after a great deal of my own investigative work, the significant weight of evidence is against the modern theory of evolution and the mainstream interpretation of the geologic column and fossil records and favors, quite strongly, the biblical position on origins.

    Again, I’m talking about the weight of empirical evidence here – not absolute demonstration. Absolute certainty is impossible in science and for any rational thinking person in this life. We all have to make leaps of faith; even modern scientists – even you.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  44. @BobRyan:

    The world wide flood explains the fossil records mass burial evidence for fossils and the geologic column.

    Which one? Geologists claim there were two worldwide floods. What evidence do we creationists have that there was only one and not two? SDA science professors need to know so they can confidently assure students that the weight of the evidence supports only one worldwide flood.

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  45. Dr. Ness’s comments above reveal that he has not carefully read or researched what this website states or stands for—much less what has been said about him.

    Why should his personal research on creation/evolution be any more thorough? One simple assertion has been made here—that Ness presented one view and one view only as being credible and supported by “scientific” evidence. He did this in the name of “intellectual honesty.” His presentation is available for all to see and assess for themselves. Educate Truth is not the arbiter of the evidence. They are the presenters.

    There are many non-Christian scientists who recognize that evidence can be used to credibly support a wide variety of views. That is true in ANY discipline. (If it were not, lawyers would not have jobs and one entire political branch would be obsolete.) Evidence does NOT presuppose conclusions. Not even evolution.

    Even the creators of this website are not arguing that creation should be presented as the only viable view. They are simply arguing that the potential viability of the creationist viewpoint be given at least equal attention and consideration to other viewpoints in schools that garner funds based on their claim to be doing so. In failing to do so, these schools are not just being intellectually dishonest, but just plain dishonest by anyone’s standards.

    If Ness has doubts, let him have doubts. But at least open the floor to someone who can give balance to those doubts in schools that claim to be providing such balance.

    The problem is that men with doubts are being given the final word.

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  46. Re Sean’s Quote

    “That is exactly what I am saying. I’m not arguing that the theory of evolution doesn’t have any reasonable arguments. It does. It has many very good arguments that are quite convincing to most intelligent minds. However, in my opinion, after a great deal of my own investigative work, the significant weight of evidence is against the modern theory of evolution and the mainstream interpretation of the geologic column and fossil records and favors, quite strongly, the biblical position on origins.”

    Dear Sean

    I cannot find a single thing wrong with your fair, honest statement. I do not doubt your conviction whatsoever.

    Thank you
    Ken

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  47. Re Sean’s Quote

    “Again, I’m talking about the weight of empirical evidence here – not absolute demonstration. Absolute certainty is impossible in science and for any rational thinking person in this life. We all have to make leaps of faith; even modern scientists – even you.”

    Dear Sean

    I don’t agree with you on this point, but I think it is more do with semantics rather than substance.

    I don’t characterize hypotheses or temporal evaluation of data or evidence as a “leap of faith”. Those words imply to me coming to a conclusion without rational methodology. Sometimes, for me anyways, even exhaustive, rational methodology cannot supply the answer. Is there a God?
    Don’t know and I’m not prepared to take a leap of faith to say yay or nay. I’m happy to speculate about possibilities but I cannot leap to conclusions off the speculative springboard.

    Let’s take evolution for example. Do I know for a certainty that it is true? No. Do I compare it to competing theories to see if on the balance of probabilities it makes the most sense? Yes. Do I see and appreciate problem areas with the theory? Yes. Am I open to it being falsified? Emphatically yes and I heartily enjoy your efforts in this regard. Have I then taken a ‘leap of faith’ to accept evolution? As an agnostic I don’t think it is an issue of faith at all, more what seems correct on the balance of probabilities. That balance point is always open to being shifted based on what goes on, on either side of the debate seesaw.

    I hope that helps our gentle readers understand the mind of an agnostic a bit more.

    Thoughts and prayers for all of the veterans today.

    Regards
    Ken

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  48. CBond, have you considered the possibility that numerous students who have provided here a much different perspective on Dr. Ness’s teaching philosophy, based on first-hand experiences as students in his classroom, may know more about his personal views than you or Sean or Shane do–and may actually be telling the truth?

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  49. Recently I gave the example of Othaniel Marsh’s 19th century fraudulent arrangement of fossils into a “horse series” that claimed to show smooth orthogenic transitional sequences “as if that actually happened in nature” – being foisted onto the unsuspecting public for almost 100 years even though 50 years into that charade – even the atheist evolutionists knew that “the famous hourse evolution sequence…so popular in text books – never happened in nature”.

    But just because the evolutionist-machinery was churning out hoax after hoax undiscovered as such for decade after decade – did not mean that Bible believing Christians were left with a “deny the Bible first” strategy, being duped along with the rest of the public.

    Clearly the Bible did not promote the “Horse comes from hyrax” alchemy of eevolutionists any more than the “birds come reptiles” alchemy. There there was nothing in the lab to support that fiction either.

    ———–

    Then recently I pointed out that just as the literal 7 day creation week explains the wide range of static genomes seen today – so also the flood explainst the “mass burial sites” and fossil evidence in the fossil record today.

    Which one? Geologists claim there were two worldwide floods. What evidence do we creationists have that there was only one and not two? SDA science professors need to know so they can confidently assure students that the weight of the evidence supports only one worldwide flood

    Hmm – Elaine Kennedy is a “Geologist” that you do not see making that wild claim. Are you suggesting that we need to explain what each and every Geologist claims in order to Believe the Bible?

    in Christ,

    Bob

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  50. Oops! Forgot to mention Geologist Prof Arthur Chadwick who worked on a project few years ago project along with Elaine Kennedy on the subject of the flood and Geology. (Global Trends of Paleocurrents)

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  51. @Eddie

    I had one class with Dr. Ness. I really like the guy, but to be honest, I didn’t know him well enough personally to know whether or not he believed in a literal 7-day Creation. Considering the loose way that many interpret fundamental belief #6, it’s easy for someone to claim to fully support the church’s position on origins whilst deviating from the “literal” part of that fundamental belief. And you know what? I’d probably have to sit down with him and ask him point-blank what his position on the matter was. I’m curious to know how many of these students who’ve commented on here have actually had this conversation with him. I can see from many of their comments that even they don’t believe in a literal 7-day Creation, and that they find it a virtue to go against the church’s stated position.

    I’m well aware of the progressive mindset of some of these professors and such who think that it’s no big deal to be “creative” with the fundamental beliefs. My point is that a full-blown heresy does not require a direct attack against, let’s say, the Sabbath or another pillar of the church for a danger to exist. Most danger exists in subtleties. Frontal attacks rarely work. Such is the nature of Satan’s deceptions, and slowly but surely does he work to erode Biblical truths. As one of my favorite preachers once said, even a drop of arsenic in a glass of water is enough to kill you. One drop of blatant disregard for the clear teachings of the Word of God is enough to render that water useless.

    If one believes in the Spirit of Prophecy and Adventist eschatology…however unpopular it may be these days…we’d see that our bitterest enemies will come from within, from people we’ve grown to love. We must separate our love for people from our love for truth, because unfortunately there will come a time when we’ll have to choose one or the other. I’m not looking forward to that terrible time.

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  52. ke6gwf wrote:

    The best thing for the Church of Christ would be if this website and all this debate disappeared. This website is the exact opposite of how Jesus showed us how to behave ourselves, and is a stain on His church.

    I couldn’t agree more. But sadly, the website perpetrators seriously believe they are called by God to straighten out the Church and that this is the only way to intimidate the Church leadership and university faculty to adhere to their rigid rules. This will be my last post for a while.

    I believe in a young earth, a recent 6-day creation, and one really big flood, but only arrogant fools seriously believe there is overwhelming scientific evidence to support many of these views. The utter lack of absence for a flood that covered 100% of the earth illustrates this well. I have pointed this out repeatedly, and not even Sean Pitman or Bob Ryan could counter my earlier posts and present physical evidence, and this for one simple reason: the evidence does not exist. Rather than offer that evidence, they continue with bizarre rants about hoaxes, static genomes, and why employees on the Church’s dime cannot be tolerated if they do not insist that the weight of evidence supports their view.

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  53. Sorry, but the most recent Anon MD post actually came from me. My wife was angry about all of this and insisted on writing a couple of comments. I then forgot to change the name and email address in the “leave a reply” cue. So this, instead, will be my last post for a while. Again, I think ke6gwf is right in that we should cease this ugly go-nowhere make-the-Church-look-unsavory free-for-all.

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  54. Some of our friends here think the Bible is challenged by the fact that they believe in two world wide floods – while others believe the Bible is challenged because they find no evidence for even one world wide flood.

    Limestone deposits can be found on top of the contenants showing a world wide flood has most certainly occurred.

    Mass fossil bone yards are testament to the fact that the great wind of Genesis 8 did indeed pile up the dead remains of animal life on earth and deposit them in large burial zones (for example the one in Western Canada)

    Yet for many skeptics no evidence is truly “sufficient”.

    That kind of skepticism would easily have followed Othaniel Marsh’s “story” about the horse fossil “sequence” clinging on to it – to the bitter end.

    Compare Simpson 1951 to Simpson 1953

    Simpson 1951 believing in Marsh’s storytelling:

    ‘The history of the horse family is still one of the clearest and most convincing for showing that organisms really have evolved. . . There really is no point nowadays in continuing to collect and to study fossils simply to determine whether or not evolution is a fact. The question has been decisively answered in the affirmative.’ 2 Simpson, George G. 1951. Horses. Oxford University Press.

    Atheist evolutionist Simpson clearly ‘disabused’ of the notion that Marsh had told the truth about his popularly arranged horse fossil evolution.

    Quote:

    “The uniform continuous transformation of Hyracotherium into Equus, so dear to the hearts of generations of textbook writers, never happened in nature.”—G.G. Simpson, Life of the Past (1953), p. 119.

    Another atheist evolutionist comments on the type of storytelling that Marsh was conducting.

    “The model of the ladder is much more than merely wrong. It never could provide the promised illustration of evolution as progressive and triumphant, for it could only be applied to unsuccessful lineages.” —*Steven Jay Gould, “Life’s Little Joke,” in Natural History April 1987, p. 2425.

    And yet notice how that level of “storytelling” took front-and center stage for evolutionists trying to get the publich to believe that evolutionism was “science fact”.

    There was a time when the existing fossils of the horses seemed to indicate a straight-lined evolution from small to large, from dog-like to horse-like, from animals with simple grinding teeth to animals with complicated cusps of modern horses . . As more fossils were uncovered, the chain splayed out into the usual phylogenetic net, and it was all too apparent that evolution had not been in a straight line at all. Unfortunately, before the picture was completely clear, an exhibit of horses as an example . . had been set up at the American Museum of Natural History [in New York City], photographed, and much reproduced in elementary textbooks[/b].”—*Garrett Hardin, Nature and Man’s Fate (1960), pp. 225-226. (Those pictures are still being used in those textbooks.

    Thus while we do not live in the days of evolutionists saying “prove to me that Othaniel Marsh’s horse series is flawed or accept that evolutionism is fact” the way Simpson argued the case in 1951 — we do still live in the days of skeptics constantly prone to cast about them for some new canard to raise against the Bible.

    in Christ,

    Bob

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  55. If Ness has doubts, let him have doubts. But at least open the floor to someone who can give balance to those doubts in schools that claim to be providing such balance.

    There is that balance. A whole department of Religion and Theology professors. Every student at PUC is required to take a certain number of Religion credits taught by these professors. Add on top of that Colloquy, in which Ness has given a very pro-creationist talk, and vespers and the rest of the required Worship Credit through various programing on campus.

    The balance does exist. You all just refuse to see it. You have taken one 40 minute lecture as a representative sample of an entire 4 year education. Few of you have ben at PUC’s campus for an entire academic year, much less four of them. I think you might have forgotten how education and academia function. It’s a process. Life is a process, and the education system at PUC teaches you that. You wont have all the answers at the end of 4 years. You wont have them after 80 years on this earth. My PUC education taught me this much. A student of the world must be humble and ready to learn and see the fluidity in life.

    Adventist higher education should not indoctrinate. It should help us ask the question: How then do we live our lives?

    You all frustrate me beyond belief.

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  56. No evidence of a global flood? If you are looking for a uniform, world wide layer of deposits somewhere in amongst all the other layers,of course you won’t find it. All the layers, massive volcanism, continents torn apart,etc ARE the evidence. Evidence not just of 40 days of heavy rain but of an unimaginable catastrophe that God brought upon the earth. I believe He may have caused another heavenly object to pass near the earth and subject it to massive oceanic tides, possibly 1,000’s of feet high, and also crust deforming tides in the mainly liquid (molten) earth, all while cosmic debris rained down, carving out craters and causing megatsunamis. Then the heavenly object disappeared leaving non Bible believing humanity to come up with an explanation for the devastated remains of this planet.

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  57. May I again urge the EducateTruth organizers and supporters to make sure that all of the postings on this site from the beginning are archived in a permanent, safe place for the benefit of later researchers who will want to obtain direct quotes documenting the characteristics the ultra right wing of the Adventist Church. Later historians will not believe the hostility and vicious nature of their views unless they can read these postings for themselves.

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  58. Ness has provided about 5 posts here and is on record in his videos giving his views. At no point does Ness say “I teach/promote/believe in a 7 day creation week less than 10,000 years ago”. That is pretty surprising IF it were true that Ness simply wants to play devil’s advocate at times – per request of the PUC religion department – and as such is being misrepresented here.

    Not ONE PUC person has come here and stated that they know for a fact that Ness’ position is firmly and clearly teaching “7 day creation week less than 10,000 years ago” as the event that happened “in nature”.

    After so long a time — given that this is a key point in the debate you would think that ONE person would surface having that simple detail as they accuse this website of being in error.

    This point is “more than a little instructive” for the unbiased objective reader.

    In the same way – it has been pointed out here that WITHOUT a global flood to explain the fossil record and geologic column layering – there is no way to come out with a “7 day creation week less than 10,000 years ago”.

    But let us say for the sake of argument that Ness had somehow “solved that one as well”. There is no evidence that he or anyone posting here from PUC has suggested that they ever heard that brilliant solution from Ness.

    This point is “more than a little instructive” for the unbiased objective reader.

    INSTEAD – what we hear is “Ness is a good person” and “Ness is a Christian” and “Ness has students that like him” and “you guys are mean” and “Ness believes in some form of creation”. In fact Ness appears to be saying that we are welcome to our “rigid doctrinal belief” and that his own beliefs are none of the church’s business.

    This is the long and short of it – and still PUC defence for Ness seeks to dance around the main point of the issue being raised. Were we simply not supposed to “notice”??

    I have already pointed this out a number of times and in more exhaustive detail here –

    http://www.educatetruth.com/media/puc-professor-the-noachian-flood-was-
    just-a-local-flood/comment-page-2/#comment-21675

    How many times must this glaringly obvious gap be referenced before someone at PUC addresses the actual point of the threads here?

    (All except for our admittedly professedly evolutionist friend Erv Taylor who did speak to the issue itself and state his support of Ness in this regard –
    http://www.educatetruth.com/media/puc-professor-the-noachian-flood-was-just-a-local-flood/comment-page-1/#comment-21292)

    Except for Erv Taylor who else do we have speaking to the subject itself? Given that Erv is given a pro-evolution defense – where are those who would claim that Ness is not?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

    in Christ,

    Bob

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  59. In the mean time of course every “rabbit trail” in the book has been tried to divert the web site articles on PUC from the topic — those rabbit trails include.

    Whose signature do you see that might not want their signature seen?
    Whose video do you see that might not want their video seen?
    Why give 40 minutes of the video and not 50 minutes?
    Was there one flood or two?

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  60. Again, believing and teaching in the SDA position on origins is not enough. You must believe based on “evidence” rather than faith, and you must believe and teach that the “weight of the available empirical evidence favorst the SDA position.” Otherwise…well, you’ve been served notice.So far as I can tell, only Sean Pitman, Shane Hilde, Bob Ryan, and Kevin Paulson subscribe to this view. Are there others?  (Quote)

    I also agree with these good men.

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  61. It is more than “a little instructive” that a completely biased non-objective reader has overlooked numerous posts stating that Brian Ness believes in these things and even gave a sermon to the entire campus defening them. Yet this man “in Christ” continues to whine and bully.

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  62. @Professor Kent: A lot of lip-service is paid to SDA beliefs, but the actions to back them up are often missing by many who claim to stand for them.

    “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?'” Matthew 7:22

    I believe it has been pointed out repeatedly how many have used ambiguous language in claiming to uphold Fundamental Belief #6. Maybe Dr. Ness really believes in a literal week of Creation. Thus far I haven’t seen anything that clears up the ambiguity that many theistic evolutionists hide behind. Is it too much to ask from these men to declare unequivocally and clearly where they stand? If this question were answered, then we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Or do we not have a right to know?

    Language has been manipulated so much by certain elements in the church that it reminds me of George Orwell’s stories: You can make anything appear to be something that it truly isn’t. The time has come to take a CLEARLY stated position and abandon ALL Orwellian language. Transparency is a must, and that is something we do not have.

    It is more than “a little instructive” that a completely biased non-objective reader has overlooked numerous posts stating that Brian Ness believes in these things and even gave a sermon to the entire campus defening them. Yet this man “in Christ” continues to whine and bully.  (Quote)

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  63. @BobRyan:

    Ness has provided about 5 posts here and is on record in his videos giving his views. At no point does Ness say “I teach/promote/believe in a 7 day creation week less than 10,000 years ago”. That is pretty surprising IF it were true that Ness simply wants to play devil’s advocate at times – per request of the PUC religion department – and as such is being misrepresented here.Not ONE PUC person has come here and stated that they know for a fact that Ness’ position is firmly and clearly teaching “7 day creation week less than 10,000 years ago” as the event that happened “in nature”.

    So, we have here a case of a brother in Christ who might (or might not) be in error on a point of foundation truth.
    He might (or might not) be teaching this belief to his students.

    I see a lot of attacks on Brother Ness, and a lot of concern on the fact the he might (or maybe not) be teaching error.

    Where is the concern about the fact that he might (or might not) be deceived on a subject that could put his salvation in doubt?
    Does nobody care about him?
    It seems most are treating him as a deliberate transgressor with intent to deceive our precious saintly students.

    If you have concerns about your brother, you go talk to him, and with the leading of the Holy Spirit share your concern with him and study the Bible and see how many points you can agree on. You must also stay open to the idea that you might have a wrong understanding, and allow the Spirit to guide you too!

    Anybody care to set down in a Bible Study (not a debate!) with Dr. Ness and search together to find out what the Bible says and how it matches with nature?

    I have just looked, and I can find no Bible text or quote from Sister White recommending sharing your concerns via a public website in a third person comment making assumptions about what you think he might believe. Just ain’t there! (Parts of this comment are aimed at others, I tend to lump things)

    Ben~

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  64. So we have a case of enormous hypocrisy.

    Educate Truthers demand that Bryan Ness and PUC must “come clean” and tell us not only everything they believe, but why they believe, and how they teach it.

    Not one biologist from Southern Adventist University or from Southwestern Adventist University has come here to declare their beliefs. We have not read from any one of them declaring that they believe the weight of scientific evidence favors the Seventh-day Adventist position. We have not read from any one of them that there is evidence that a global flood covered every single scrap of land. Now why is that?

    Doesn’t anyone care about the students at these universities? Why are these professors, claimed to be so faithful, so utterly silent? Where is the outrage about their secrecy? Where are the demands that they “tell all?”

    @Johnny Vance: there’s a lot of lip service from Southern Adventist University and Southwestern Adventist University, but no spine. Utter silence. As you have observed, “Is it too much to ask from these men to declare unequivocally and clearly where they stand? If this question were answered, then we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Or do we not have a right to know?”

    If they can’t come forward and declare it, they do not believe it.

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  65. Let’s get something straight. There is no SDA university that requires its faculty to believe, or teach, that the weight of evidence supports the SDA position on origins. It won’t be found at Southern Adventist University. It won’t be found at Southwestern Adventist University. It won’t be found at Atlantic Union College. It won’t be found at Andrews University or Loma Linda University. Not in their faculty handbook. Not in their hiring policies. Only in your imagination.

    You can continue to demand that PUC require this level of teaching and accountability of its scientists, but why stop there?

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  66. I have stated several times that I thought that PUC placed Ness in a less than ideal situation when they asked him to go to the biology department and play devil’s advocate – in favor of evolution given his stated views on that topic.

    However a LOT of posting-effort here has gone into nothing more than “stating the obvious” when it comes to the video – and then having the act of observing the obvious decried as mean spirited.

    My preference is that we simply have an upfront discussion where Ness is happy stating the consistency in his teaching. Speaking to the fact that we can see in the video that he appears to think that the Bible should not be locked into a literal 7 day creation week and a global flood since in his view that is not what happened in nature. This is the same area of “soluiton” that Ness pursues in the class.

    As I have said before – I don’t think PUC is in the same problem area as LSU – but they need to find an insightful way to address the issues that Ness has raised none-the-less — rather than turning a blind eye to the whole thing.

    I have stated that I would wish that Ness might contact Veith, Roth, Standish and other scientists within the Adventist family of scientists who are actively promoting solutions on the subject of evidence in favor of the Bible teaching on origins and the flood.

    He might want to start here – if his primary concern is the flood.

    Genesis flood –
    http://amazingdiscoveries.tv/media/7/102-232K/

    In general, the Genesis Conflict series is very helpful.
    http://amazingdiscoveries.tv/c/10/The_Genesis_Conflict/

    in Christ,

    Bob

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  67. Edit of the above post —

    If there is a shred of evidence that Ness presented a sermon claiming that he believes in a literal 7 day creation week less than 10,000 years ago, or that life on earth was created less than 10,000 years ago (if not in a single literal creation week) – or that Ness believes in a world wide flood, or that Ness provides some explanation for the fossil record fitting the creation of all life on earth less than 10,000 years ago without a global flood, we would ask that those having such evidence please present it.

    In the mean time the objective unbiased readers are more inclinded to believe Ness when he says (in his own words) that he has not stated his belief on these points and that it is not the church’s business to know what they are.

    Hint: http://www.educatetruth.com/media/puc-professor-the-noachian-flood-was-just-a-local-flood/comment-page-2/#comment-21675

    in Christ,

    Bob

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  68. Re Colin’s quote

    “No evidence of a global flood? If you are looking for a uniform, world wide layer of deposits somewhere in amongst all the other layers,of course you won’t find it. All the layers, massive volcanism, continents torn apart,etc ARE the evidence. Evidence not just of 40 days of heavy rain but of an unimaginable catastrophe that God brought upon the earth. I believe He may have caused another heavenly object to pass near the earth and subject it to massive oceanic tides, possibly 1,000′s of feet high, and also crust deforming tides in the mainly liquid (molten) earth, all while cosmic debris rained down, carving out craters and causing megatsunamis. Then the heavenly object disappeared leaving non Bible believing humanity to come up with an explanation for the devastated remains of this planet. Colin Maunder(Quote)”

    Dear Colin

    Thanks for your comments.

    I appreciate your belief. However I am at a loss to understand how the Ark and sea life could have survived such a catastrophe. That is why Man has to make scientific investigations to make rational judgments as to the earth’s history. That is why Sean and other creationists are working hard at science to find a solution to these types of issues. Sean understands that if science cannot corroborate the Noachian flood the Bible cannot be taken literally.

    As an agnostic I have no problem with your faith. What I do have a problem with is hitching science to the wheel of faith and taking it for an irrational ride.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  69. “The time has come to take a clearly stated position and abandon all Orwellian language. Transparency is a must, and that is something we do not have.”

    You want transparency? How about this?

    “The Genesis narratives about “the beginning” are the sublime creations of a powerful literary and spiritual impulse which talked about the Hebrew God creating the entire world and everything in it in six days. Although the focus of attention for whoever wrote and/or edited these magnificent creation narratives was not about these specific points, the ancient Hebrews believed that these narratives said plainly that the world was created in six, 24-hour days, that the events related were real events and they were about real people and they all happened in the time frame that we would call less than 10,000 years ago–which to the Hebrews was a very long time ago. 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. We also now know that God created the world and life over billions of years. The primary reason that the Adventist faith tradition officially must support the ancient Hebrew world view about “the beginning” is because Ellen G. White believed that and incorporated that idea into her master metanarrative—the Great Controversy.”

    Is that “transparent” enough?

    Of course, this is only my personal opinion. It takes large religious institutions hundreds of years to make even small adjustments in their corporate theological systems. They have a lot invested in maintaining a given theological system. Some never can bring themselves to make any changes—or to admit they have, even if they have. Once a specific theological idea—such as a recent creation in seven, literal, contiguous days—gets grafted onto and encoded within a theological metanarrative or world view, it is extremely difficult, perhaps impossible, for a faith community to admit that some misunderstandings about the details of that metanarrative is, from a factual perspective, wrong, even in the face of massive, empirical evidence to the contrary. This is especially difficult if its founding prophetic figure was responsible for creating the problem. This seems to be a reality no matter how long ago, under what conditions, and for what set of reasons the misunderstanding was generated. Typically, that faith tradition invests massive amounts of its resources to maintain its master world view—it must “save face” at all costs.

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  70. @ Ken

    Sean understands that if science cannot corroborate the Noachian flood the Bible cannot be taken literally.

    Which is bizarre. Sean also understands that the Bible cannot be taken literally if science cannot corroborate the possibility of a man coming back to life after having been dead for 4 days (Lazarus). Wait a minute…

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  71. Ervin Taylor says:
    November 13, 2010 May I again urge the EducateTruth organizers and supporters to make sure that all of the postings on this site from the beginning are archived in a permanent, safe place for the benefit of later researchers who will want to obtain direct quotes documenting the characteristics the ultra right wing of the Adventist Church. Later historians will not believe the hostility and vicious nature of their views unless they can read these postings for themselves.

    Given that the world wide Adventist church itself voted to affirm the literal 7 day creation week less than 10,000 years ago this year at the GC session in Atlanta. And given that this is considered by Seventh-day Adventists to be “the creation event” for all life on earth – the even that happened “in nature” – (not merely in mythology) is it your claim that the entire Adventist denomination is its own “ultra right wing of the Adventist Church”??

    Or would this make the Theistic Evolutionists the “ultra left wing” in your opinion?

    What is the objective balanced view given the vote of the denomination in your opinion?

    in Christ,

    Bob

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  72. Ervin Taylor says:
    November 14, 2010

    The time has come to take a clearly stated position and abandon all Orwellian language. Transparency is a must, and that is something we do not have.”

    You want transparency? How about this?

    “The Genesis narratives about “the beginning” are the sublime creations of a powerful literary and spiritual impulse which talked about the Hebrew God creating the entire world and everything in it in six days. Although the focus of attention for whoever wrote and/or edited these magnificent creation narratives was not about these specific points, the ancient Hebrews believed that these narratives said plainly that the world was created in six, 24-hour days, that the events related were real events and they were about real people and they all happened in the time frame that we would call less than 10,000 years ago–which to the Hebrews was a very long time ago. 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. We also now know that God created the world and life over billions of years. The primary reason that the Adventist faith tradition officially must support the ancient Hebrew world view about “the beginning” is because Ellen G. White believed that and incorporated that idea into her master metanarrative—the Great Controversy.”

    Is that “transparent” enough?

    Of course, this is only my personal opinion. It takes large religious institutions hundreds of years to make even small adjustments in their corporate theological systems. They have a lot invested in maintaining a given theological system. Some never can bring themselves to make any changes—or to admit they have, even if they have. Once a specific theological idea—such as a recent creation in seven, literal, contiguous days—gets grafted onto and encoded within a theological metanarrative or world view, it is extremely difficult, perhaps impossible, for a faith community to admit that some misunderstandings about the details of that metanarrative is, from a factual perspective, wrong, even in the face of massive, empirical evidence to the contrary. This is especially difficult if its founding prophetic figure was responsible for creating the problem.

    Erv – that is very transparent and very consistent on your part. To my knowledge nobody here has accused you have being any less transparent in your non-stop promotion of theistic evolutionism.

    Neither can it be said that the conservative Adventist view of the real 7 day creation week less than 10,000 years ago that produced our Sun or Moon and all life on this planet – has not been transparent.

    There have been a number of theistic evolutionists here posting in favor of their views over the duration of this website – and that group has clearly included yourself. Others including myself have posted on the opposing view which argues “Six days you shall labor…for in Six days the Lord made…” as well as arguing in favor of the real world wide Genesis flood.

    While your post admits that the conservative view is also the historic view of this denomination – you stray far from the point of historic fact when you imagine that Christians got their understanding of a literal 7 day creation week less than 10,000 years ago “from Ellen White”.

    Other than that – I think your argument for classic Theistic Evolutionism is pretty much the norm that we have heard decade after decade when creationists debate with T.Es.

    Also your “Genesis Narrative” idea and Ness’ “Story it is just a story” POV are fairly close in their rendering of the Genesis account in that one regard. Most observers of the class evolution-vs-creation debate quickly understood that the modern idea of calling it all a “creation myth” is what Ness meant when he said that there are many “creation stories” that originate within various cultures. Clearly you are treating it the same way.

    But one thing is certain – we have no theistic evolutionists coming here saying “I used to believe in a 7 day creation week – until I read the Bible”.

    You guys do not believe in T.E because of the Bible – you believe it in spite of the Bible. Then you come to the Bible to see if there is enough pasticity in the text to bend it to the usages of evolution. Again that is just old news.

    We live in a free will universe and if evolutionists want to believe that “birds come from reptiles” that is their choice. If they want to believe in Othaniel Marsh’s fraudulent horse fossil “arrangement” as the “best example” of smooth transitional form “evolution” until that “arranged sequence” is debunked even by atheist evolutionists as being something that “never happened in nature” — that is their choice.

    Far be it from me to deprive them of choice.

    in Christ,

    Bob

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  73. We live in a free will universe and if evolutionists want to believe that “birds come from reptiles” that is their choice. If they want to believe in Othaniel Marsh’s fraudulent horse fossil “arrangement” as the “best example” of smooth transitional form “evolution” until that “arranged sequence” is debunked even by atheist evolutionists as being something that “never happened in nature” — that is their choice.

    The reference is to Othniel Marsh (rather than Othaniel). Marsh was one of the more colorful characters in paleontology, who, ironically, creationists are greatly indebted to for discovering so much of “the overwhelming” fossil evidence “in support” of creationism. Much of his work was motivated by an intense feud with famous paleontologist/anatomist/herpetologist/ichthyologist Edward Cope. These two one-time friends but eventual rivals hired separate crews to unearth fossils as fast as possible, which eventually degenerated to spying on each other and sometimes sabotaging the rival’s quarry. You can read more about the “bone wars” with a simple Google search. Hilarious stuff.

    The more amusing thing is that someone would believe or suggest that scientists today have failed to move on. Some people just don’t notice.

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  74. Science is cannot tell us or give us anything we are not looking for. It can’t find something that it is not looking for because it has to come up with a test to see if the particular thing is there or not. Then based on the interpretation of the test results it can verify or deny the thing it was looking for. There is no true unbiased way of learning because we have to start with an assumption or theory to guide us and to have a base line for interpreting the evidence we find.
    At the tree of the knowledge of good and evil Eve was challenged to learn by doubting the word of God. Before they would trust the source of information and were learning by faith. This is the basic principle difference between Christian education and secular education. Trying to gain knowledge by doubt or faith.
    To me it seems so odd that at this time when because of science, we have more evidence than ever that evolution is practically untenable, and the world, secular and what we can refer to as Babylonian Christianity, are coming more and more to the honest conclusion of “ID”. We the people of the Book are even having to talk about such an elementary, basic straight forward Bible revelation of our origin. It seems to me, based on the admition of a number of our teachers/professors, we’ve not just become the tail but are being left behind. The people of the world are wiser than the children of God. God forbid and help us. If there was ever a need for individual and corporate repentence of our Laodician condition it is now, before it’s to late! John K.

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  75. Ken. Science suggests the moon was formed by a Mars sized object hitting earth a few billion years ago. I don’t know why it is so hard to believe a near miss with a similar object caused the flood. A God that can walk around in a furnace with His 3 human friends wouldn’t have a problem looking after the ark.

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  76. Kent:

    I was fascinated by the Cope/Marsh feud, which had a direct bearing on the discovery and naming of dinosaurs fossils in North America. Chapter two of my book “Dinosaurs-An Adventist View”, entitled “Bones of Contention” is primarily about the Cope/Marsh feud. If you haven’t already read my book, I think you would enjoy it. It is available at Amazon.com and the ABCs.

    This has been a shameless plug. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  77. I have stated repeatedly that Othaniel Marsh foisted his fraudulent claims about the horse fossil series showing smooth orthogenic transitional forms from something like a hyrax all the way to modern horse – in the 19th century and was fully debunked about 50 years later.

    My statement to Erv was that if theistic evolutionists choose to be duped by fraud after fraud – as they were for over 50 years in the case of the horse series – they are welcomed to continue going down that road.

    I might add that evolutionists continued to dupe the public on the subject of the debunked horse series since the 1950’s when it was discovered as fraud – by leaving it in science text books and at the Smithsonian “on display” even to this very day!!

    The fraud evolutionism uses to make its case – has no shame.

    in Christ,

    Bob

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  78. @Sean Pitman:

    If your goal here is simply one of providing information why is there so much editorializing and castigating of people tolerated on both sides of this issue? I have yet to see much of either side letting the fact speak for themselves and allow people to make up their own minds. Not only do we hear that schools are teaching evolution, but we hear that professors are more or less evil for doing so and further there are numerous calls for professors to be fired. If your goal is really to provide information, you might want to reconsider much of the format of this website. The attacks of the other side are equally strong and negative, so maybe some closer moderation needs to be enacted to keep posts strictly informational.

    This is your site so you can do with it as you see fit, and if you want it to be all about attacking, defending, castigating, infighting, backbiting, cold, hard, unfeeling defense of “the truth” while ignoring love, mercy and the cousel of scripture on how address wrongs within the church and doing so in such a way as presents Adventism as legalistic, dogmatic and harsh, by all means keep doing what you are. I believe you have/had good intentions for this site and I agree with you about the seriousness of this issue and it’s fundamental value, but the tone of this site seems to be moving more and more into a polarizing and critical site in which people are not always exercising the love and care for each other Christ says will identify His followers. I urge you to take a step back and consider that and to proceed with caution as you not only represent the truth here, but rather are responsible for representing Christ.

    Your Brother,
    Wm.

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  79. @William:

    If your goal here is simply one of providing information why is there so much editorializing and castigating of people tolerated on both sides of this issue? I have yet to see much of either side letting the fact speak for themselves and allow people to make up their own minds. Not only do we hear that schools are teaching evolution, but we hear that professors are more or less evil for doing so and further there are numerous calls for professors to be fired. If your goal is really to provide information, you might want to reconsider much of the format of this website. The attacks of the other side are equally strong and negative, so maybe some closer moderation needs to be enacted to keep posts strictly informational.

    For many years I’ve worked privately trying to get LSU to reform its ways regarding the fact that many of its professors undermine and have been undermining various fundamental goals and ideals of the SDA Church for decades. Nothing worked until we went public with these issues.

    Now, that is in many ways very unfortunate, but something had to happen to stop or at least substantively address and inform the Church at large. This website is largely responsible for informing people on this important issue within the Church. It is no surprise that many are upset by what they hear is actually taking place and has been taking place within some of our schools, especially LSU, for a very long time now – without anything being done about it.

    So, beyond simply being informative, this is a forum that allows people from both sides of this issue to express their personal thoughts and feelings. Otherwise, we’d not have a comment section. Allowing people to comment comes with its own risks. We do not endorse or even agree with the majority of the comments made – even from those who are actually sympathetic to “our side” of this issue.

    Yet, after much discussion and concern over allowing comments, even those with which we do not agree (like yours), we feel it important enough that people have some sort of forum to express their thoughts on this important topic to allow comments to be made – especially comments from those who most strongly disagree with us.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  80. 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
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  81. @ Sean Pitman

    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).

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

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  82. Re Sean’s Quote

    “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.”

    Dear Sean

    It seems that sometimes biblical passages are to be taken metaphorically and sometimes literally to suit the fancy of the faith. Why then so much condemnation over Christians that interpret six days as long eons of time?

    All in the eye of the interpreter I guess.

    Cheers
    Ken

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  83. The Bible was never intended to be a scientific textbook in which texts are scrutinized and assessed for scientific accuracy. God’s purpose was to reveal the Rock of Ages, not the ages of rocks. The Bible teaches us how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go.

      (Quote)

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

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  85. @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
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  86. Sean, thanks for that learned essay. I knew that all educated people in the Christian era have understood that the earth is spherical, but I didn’t know alot of those details.

    Actually, several scholars were very critical of Columbus’s plan to reach the far east by sailing west, but the nature of the criticism was that Columbus had grossly miscalculated–and underestimated–the circumference of the earth. That criticism was well founded. In fact, Columbus would have run out of food and water long before he reached the far east, but luckily the New World got in his way.

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  87. @ Eddie

    The Bible was never intended to be a scientific textbook in which texts are scrutinized and assessed for scientific accuracy. God’s purpose was to reveal the Rock of Ages, not the ages of rocks. The Bible teaches us how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go.  (Quote)

    Very nicely put. Couldn’t agree more.

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  88. Re Sean’s Quote

    “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.”

    Dear Sean

    What am I missing or not understanding here? Who made the empirical observation of the earth being created in six days divided by evenings and mornings?

    Does it matter if the author of Genesis was specific if he (Moses?) is reporting after the fact? In law that is called heresay, versus direct evidence, which is usually not admitted to its unreliability.

    Are you perhaps confusing testimony for empirical observation?

    Cheers
    Ken

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  89. @ David Read

    Kent:I was fascinated by the Cope/Marsh feud, which had a direct bearing on the discovery and naming of dinosaurs fossils in North America. Chapter two of my book “Dinosaurs-An Adventist View”, entitled “Bones of Contention” is primarily about the Cope/Marsh feud. If you haven’t already read my book, I think you would enjoy it. It is available at Amazon.com and the ABCs.  (Quote)

    I’m sure I would enjoy at least portions of your book, especially your take on the “Bones of Contention.” My problem is time. And I spend too much of it here (obviously). I actually purchased a copy of Leonard Brand’s book earlier this year, but have failed to make the time to peruse it carefully. What little I have gleaned tells me, though, that he is much more even-handed than others with the evidence and unwilling to gloss over the many challenges that creationists face. I appreciate that honesty.

    What strikes me as odd is that Dr. Brand and Dr. Pitman seem much more respectful of science than others here. Brand and Pitman try to use the science to back up their arguments, which of course means that, for them, the science must be believable to begin with. Others, including Bob Ryan, try their very best to dismiss much of that science as “junk,” flawed, or downright fraudulent. Where, if I may ask, do you sit on this? Do you see much of the data reliable enough to inform our positions? Do you see the weight of it supporting the SDA interpretation? Do you see the need for faith to make up for areas where the data seems at odds with our interpretations?

    Many here want to believe I’m all-out for evolutionism, which I am not. Some will say I’m all-out for faith–and that I am. Regardless, the main reason I’m here is because I oppose the misrepresentation of science to condemn fellow Christians and beat them over their heads with it. For some reason, there are very few here willing to challenge Sean’s position against faith and his requirement that SDA employees believe there is overwhelming evidence to support our faith. I don’t blame you if you wish to avoid jumping into this, so I’ll respect whether or not you choose to respond to my questions.

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  90. Atheist Evolutionists such as G.G Simpson (1953) are on record admitting that the Othaniel Marsh “arranged” fossil sequence “never happened in nature” – never happened outside of Marsh’s pure imagination.

    However this is the same G. Simpson that swore in 1951 that

    “The history of the horse family is still one of the clearest and most convincing for showing that organisms really have evolved. . . There really is no point nowadays in continuing to collect and to study fossils simply to determine whether or not evolution is a fact. The question has been decisively answered in the affirmative.’ 2 Simpson, George G. 1951. Horses. Oxford University Press.

    Clearly the evolutionists are duping themselves more often than not when trying to dupe the public.

    The amazing thing is that a number of these deceptions are carried on for more than 4 or 5 decades at a time!!

    And then when the farce is unmasked they have to retreat with statements such as the following

    S. J Gould
    “Bushiness now pervades the entire phylogeny of horses.

    “The model of the ladder is much more than merely wrong. It never could provide the promised illustration of evolution as progressive and triumphant, for it could only be applied to unsuccessful lineages.” —*Steven Jay Gould, “Life’s Little Joke,” in Natural History April 1987, p. 2425.

    But critical thinking demands that we look at what “never happened in nature” and find out how pure fiction was foisted onto the general public for decade after decade.

    “The uniform continuous transformation of Hyracotherium into Equus, so dear to the hearts of generations of textbook writers, never happened in nature.”—G.G. Simpson, Life of the Past (1953), p. 119.

    And how is it that atheist evolutionists are free to “lament the bad news” but theistic evolutionists and their unwitting supporters are doomed to a kind of “all news is good news” religous devotion to the subject.

    “I admit that an awful lot of that [imaginary stories] has gotten into the textbooks as though it were true. For instance, the most famous example still on exhibit downstairs [in the American Museum of Natural History] is the exhibit on horse evolution prepared perhaps 50 years ago. That has been presented as literal truth in textbook after textbook. Now I think that that is lamentable …”

    Niles Eldredge, as quoted in Luther D Sunderland, Darwin’s Enigma: Fossils and Other Problems, 4th ed. 1988, pg 78.

    Trying to marry actual science to evolutionism appears to be almost as bad for ‘science’ as the marriage of evolutionism to the Bible is bad for the Bible. Therefore – caveat emptor my friends.

    in Christ,

    Bob

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  91. Erv Taylor said –

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

    Hint – one of the tests of a prophet is that their doctrine must be infallible if it is claimed to have come from a vision or dream – a communication from God.

    For the unbiased objective reader trained in some degree of critical thinking – that bit of informations leads to the conclusion that the “source” must be infallible AND that the communication of the message from that source also must be infallible IF it is legitimate to test the message against the Bible such that any doctrinal flaw in the message would prove the one claiming the gift of prophecy to be a false prophet.

    At that point alone the careful reader would reject your proposal.

    But if that reader went on to read 2Peter 1:20-21 — well than at that point the rejection of your proposal becomes overwhelming.

    in Christ,

    Bob

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  92. Johnny Vance: there’s a lot of lip service from Southern Adventist University and Southwestern Adventist University, but no spine. Utter silence. As you have observed, “Is it too much to ask from these men to declare unequivocally and clearly where they stand? If this question were answered, then we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Or do we not have a right to know?”If they can’t come forward and declare it, they do not believe it.  (Quote)

    Am I to assume that you’re including Dr. Ness in this batch? I don’t know about the professors from Southern and Southwestern. But what I meant to state is that it’s not enough to merely say you support the church’s position on origins, because the statement in of itself is left too vague. For instance, I could claim to keep the Sabbath, but my sabbath could be the Sunday sabbath. A little clarity is called for in these situations.

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  93. @Bob Ryan:

    Clearly the evolutionists are duping themselves more often than not when trying to dupe the public.
    The amazing thing is that a number of these deceptions are carried on for more than 4 or 5 decades at a time!!

    But critical thinking demands that we look at what “never happened in nature” and find out how pure fiction was foisted onto the general public for decade after decade.

    Those human footprints along the Paluxy River are another classic example.

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  94. Clearly the evolutionists are duping themselves more often than not when trying to dupe the public.

    I take it we can’t trust any data from all these duped scientists to support our views. Now what?

    By the way, when you repeat this story the next few dozen times, it’s Othniel, not Othaniel.

      (Quote)

    View Comment
  95. Kent, I’m in the “use science to back up my arguments” camp.

    Regarding the “weight of the data” issue, the uninterpreted data have no weight. Darwinists interpret the data one way, creationists another. After the interpretation process is finished, the “data” seem to each side to confirm its belief system, and do confirm it to an extent. (With very few exceptions, neither camp is trying to “dupe” anyone, but honestly believes that its interpretations approach truth better than the other side’s.) Both creationists and Darwinists need faith, and will always need faith, to make up for areas where the data don’t support their respective interpretations.

    In sum, I regard the origins debate as primarily a religious/philosophical dispute rather than a scientific one.

      (Quote)

    View Comment

Leave a Reply