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 audio clip 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.

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

  1. 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.

    I had posted a comment before and it has never showed up, so either it was lst in cyberspace or the moderator chose to not allow its release.

    At any rate, the gist of what i said before was that I think Ness is appropriately silent in the face of the accusations here at Educate Truth. If we are to take Jesus as an example, which i think we all agree we should, then Ness is doing little more than what Jesus did before Caiaphas.

    “Joh 18:19-23 The high priest then asked Jesus of his disciples, and of his doctrine. (20) Jesus answered him, I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing. (21) Why askest thou me? ask them which heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said. (22) And when he had thus spoken, one of the officers which stood by struck Jesus with the palm of his hand, saying, Answerest thou the high priest so? (23) Jesus answered him, If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me?”

    I don’t know about you, but from what I have read here, Ness’ friends, students, etc. have testified to Ness’ stand on these things. If he and PUC say he supports FB#6, isn;t that enough? Sure, you can claim he and others simply use the “poorly” worded statment of FB#6 to hide behind so they can give the appearance of believng in the literal 7 days while really being theistic evolutionists. How disingenuous of you!

    Many here have admitted that Ness seems to be a nice guy, a good teacher, a committed Christian, and SDA believer, based on statements by those who know him. Let me save you the trouble of bringing this up–the Devil is all those things too, so Ness could well be some devious, devil-possessed theistic evolutionist trying his best to slip in the Devil’s lies right under our poor, defenseless students’ noses.

    I hapopen to know Ness well enough to say that as far as I can tell he believes in a 7-day literal Creation week less than 10,000 years ago and a worldwide flood that happened 4500 years ago or so. I also happe to know that he tries his best to be objective when discussing these issues with others, meaning that he doesn’t hide the uncomfortable lack of scientific evidence for what he chooses to believe on faith.

    As for syllabi and class notes, even I wouldn’t send them to you guys. As fara as I can tell all that would accomplish is to give you that much more fodder for your innuendo machine.

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  2. Re Sean’s Quote

    “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.”

    Dear All

    Even though I come for the opposite end of the spectrum I support and endorse Dr.Pitman and Educate Truth 100% on this philosophy. Educate Truth is providing a great forum and service to the SDA church, and may I venture to the wider community as well, by allowing all ‘voices’ to be cyber heard. Once editors start censoring remarks because they don’t like the message, forums become self serving and subjective. I think Sean, Shane and the rest of editorial staff have shown courage, compassion and a thick skin to allow a broad diversity of opinion to abound.

    And remember, this comes from a guy with no religious faith who thinks evolution is the most rational explanation for origins!

    Take care
    your agnostic friend
    Ken

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  3. OTNT_Believer

    I don’t know about you, but from what I have read here, Ness’ friends, students, etc. have testified to Ness’ stand on these things. If he and PUC say he supports FB#6, isn;t that enough? Sure, you can claim he and others simply use the “poorly” worded statment of FB#6 to hide behind so they can give the appearance of believng in the literal 7 days while really being theistic evolutionists. How disingenuous of you!

    Hint: that is exactly the position that has been taken here time after time by the LSU supporters of evolutionism.

    Is it really “disingenuous” to read their posts and believe that they really believe in that line of reasoning?

    They get that idea from LSU’s Fritz Guy who is promoting evolution and also claiming that he inserted enough vaguary into FB#6 (as the self-proclaimed architect of the editing of that wording) to allow for long ages evolutionism.

    Context is everything.

    Many here have admitted that Ness seems to be a nice guy, a good teacher, a committed Christian, and SDA believer, based on statements by those who know him. Let me save you the trouble of bringing this up–the Devil is all those things too, so Ness could well be some devious, devil-possessed theistic evolutionist trying his best to slip in the Devil’s lies right under our poor, defenseless students’ noses.

    Nobody has suggested that Ness is not “nice”.

    EducateTruth has not suggested that being mistaken on the subject of origins makes Ness “devil-possessed” to use your wording. You are taking this to extremes when the issues under debate are already sufficient for discussion.

    I hapopen to know Ness well enough to say that as far as I can tell he believes in a 7-day literal Creation week less than 10,000 years ago and a worldwide flood that happened 4500 years ago or so.

    In all this time – you are the first person to make that claim.
    And that is surprising given that Ness claims that nobody knows his views not even the Church and that in his 5 posts here – he never once mentioned his affirmation of that point OTHER than claiming that he would respect others who held to it.

    http://www.educatetruth.com/media/puc-professor-the-noachian-flood-was-just-a-local-flood/comment-page-1/#comment-21234
    Bryan Ness says:
    November 2, 2010

    Sean,
    I wish it were all as simple as you present. I do not have my package of beliefs neatly packaged . . . O that I could.

    As for my beliefs on the Noachian flood:
    1) What I personally believe is really none of your business or the business of church leaders,

    As it stands now I have an open mind on the subject ( world wide flood of Genesis) 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.

    I do not advocate putting human reason above God’s Word, but neither am I willing to simply assume that all past Biblical interpretations are correct beyond all revision.

    Surely such a way of looking at the Bible is valid, or are you saying that on certain beliefs our dogma is sealed and any suggestion of alternatives is heresy?

    Your claim almost leads us to infer that you recently heard Ness actually claim explicitly that he believes that the 7 day creation week less than 10,000 years ago and the world wide flood are events that actually happened in nature –

    http://www.educatetruth.com/media/puc-professor-the-noachian-flood-was-just-a-local-flood/comment-page-1/#comment-21230
    Bryan Ness says:
    November 2, 2010
    So much for being able to have an honest discussion. I have been concerned already about Educate Truth’s approach to these things. Ask anyone who knows me and they will say I am a strong supporter of Adventism. This “lecture” was an attempt to bring out the issues facing the church, and I in no way have ever criticized anyone for believing as they choose to believe. I respect those who believe in a literal Genesis flood, but I also have to be honest about the scientific difficulties with such a belief.

    I guess what Educate Truth wants it’s rigid doctrinal adherence rather than a frank discussion of what the real issues are.

    In any case – the question remains – who is it that does not believe in a world wide flood and YET finds a solution for the fossil record and acceptance of a 7 day creation week less than 10,000 years ago?

    Has Ness ever claimed to solve the issue with holding to both of those ideas or does he even hold to both of them? Apparently these are all subjects that Ness believes nobody in the Adventist church should want to know about when it comes to someone teaching science in our colleges.

    Well it is a free will universe as they say. To each his own.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  4. While we are on the subject – here is something Shane posted recently – regarding the video.

    From: http://www.educatetruth.com/news/an-apology-to-puc/comment-page-1/#comment-22093

    Shane Hilde said –
    1. (13:15) “There is not good geological evidence around the earth for one [worldwide flood] at that time [4500 years ago] or anytime.”

    2. (14:54) “At about 3 billion years ago fossils begin to show up. So how do you explain fossils through a few billion years of rock in terms of anything but that they were old and been there for a long long time.”

    3. (15:45) “As a biologist and a creationist the fossil record I have no good answer for.”

    4. (16:30) “Keep in mind though that Ellen White and kind of the same principle we talked about biblical writers, they were in their own day, she was in her own day.”

    The class makes sweeping science claims for evolutionism then seeks for a solution by looking into the plasticity of the Bible and the messages God gave to Ellen White.

    Question: What is the point of continuallying ignoring these key details when someone addresses the subject?

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  5. Ut-oh, the secret is out. Some people actually question the Bible and the messages God gave to Ellen White. Shame on PUC for letting the students in on this! Shame, shame, shame. Those poor students.

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  6. @Bob

    While we are on the subject – here is something Shane posted recently – regarding the video.The class makes sweeping science claims for evolutionism then seeks for a solution by looking into the plasticity of the Bible and the messages God gave to Ellen White.Question: What is the point of continuallying ignoring these key details when someone addresses the subject?in Christ,Bob  (Quote)

    First of all, everyone keeps saying that Ness was not playing devil’s advocate, which he himself even admits. Then for some reason the assumption is made that if he is not paying devil’s advocate then he must believe what he is saying. I think that is a false dichotomy. He said he was simply sharing the issues, as he was asked to do. And yes, I have watched the video, and he gives no indication that the stuff he is sharing is what he believes. He is just giving an overview of the issues, with the assumption, apparently, that science has a lot of evidence that makes it an issue. In spite of the assertion here at Educate Truth that the , weight of scientific evidence favors the flood and short term creation, that is not the consensus of many SDA scientists that I know. Leonard Brand, for example, is fairly candid about the many difficulties in maintaining these beliefs. I have read his book “Beginnings” and others he has written, and as far as geology is concerned, it is very difficult to debunk standard geologic theories. In his book he shares many possible problems with the scientific interpretation of geology but is always very careful to say that we don’t know how to reconcile things to the Biblical account. He also expresses a strong faith, though, that we will find the evidence if we keep looking. The point is, these are big issues for many in the church and the very reason Ness shared about them in that class. And part of the reasons they are such big issues is that SDA scientists have no water-tight case to support the flood and a short term chronology.

    Now to get a little pedagogical. It is generally understood in higher education that the personal moral and religious beliefs of the teacher should not be the focus of the teaching process. The classroom is a place where knowledge is shared and an attempt is made to help students look at his objectively. As you might have picked up from my posts thus far, I have done my share of teaching in higher ed, so I know the culture.

    Now, SDA and other religious colleges tend to stretch the envelop in this area. As long as the teacher is respectful of the students’ personal views no one will fault a teacher for being somewhat open about their personal beliefs, as long as the classroom is not used to indoctrinate. That is a key thing. Indoctrination is out of place in the college classroom.

    My point in saying these things is to help you see that when Ness brings up the various issues he is careful not to personally endorse any of them. They are simply other viewpoints. And since his talk was about issues surrounding origins in the church, he seems to have been rather successful in identifying the issues, given the firestorm of response he has gotten here. So, as an educator he has done a pretty good job of identifying the issues for those religion and theology majors. He even goes to the trouble of outlining the theological issues involved. I hardly think he is endorsing theistic evolution when his outline of the theological problems with going that direction is so clearly troubling. That was his point in bringing it up, I think. And I wouldn’t worry too much about their faith. First, it was only one lecture, and second, most of those kinds of majors I have known were pretty strong in the faith and it would take more than that to shake them. I think it was more damaging to have shared the video outside that classroom, since now people who are not even in a supportive environment where they can ask other faculty or even Ness himself for guidance have seen it.

    I also did a bit of snooping around the current PUC Catalog to see if these students will get any further opportunities to deal with the issues brought up in that lecture. And what do you know, there is a class that all religion and theology majors have to take before they graduate that they must take. I refer you now to page 27 of the 2010-12 PUC catalog where you will find the following:

    B. Requirements:
    1. Scientific Inquiry:
     G SCI 205 Scientific Discoveries**
    Students will explore the major discoveries of science
    through an interdisciplinary approach.

    ** Note: Completion of any of the following sequences will
    satisfy both science requirement 1 (Scientific Inquiry) and
    science requirement 2 (Insight through Investigation):
    BIOL 101-102/ Human Anatomy-Human Physiology/
    MICR 134 General Microbiology
    BIOL 111-112-113 Biological Foundations
    CHEM 111-112-113 General Chemistry
    PHYS 111-112-113 General Physics
    PHYS 211-212-213 Physics with Calculus

    Ah, but what is this “Scientific Discoveries” Class? Just some history of science class where the scientific party line is taught? Well, unfortunately, given the briefness of the college catalog, that cannot be determined. And, of course, given your already apparent bias you probably assume the worst.

    As it turns out, the course has been taught for a number of years, and although I have heard things about the class every so often, my attention was not focused on the concerns being expressed here. From what little I have picked up, though, Ness seems to give such things as macroevolution and the origin of life by natural causes a through thrashing. Maybe, since there seem to be so many students concerned about how off-base Ness is you could get one of them to send you a syllabus. In any event, the short 40 minute lecture that was posted is not the last word those students will get on the topic.

    Oh, and one last point. As far as I know, no other SDA college has a course like the one above, where non-science majors get to grapple with science in an SDA college environment. Of course, I have not perused all their catalogs as thoroughly, so there may well be other such courses I don’t know about.

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  7. Re OTNT’s Quote

    “That is a key thing. Indoctrination is out of place in the college classroom.”

    Dear OTNT

    Exactly.

    That is why I don’t think the notion of creation science should ever be ridiculed.

    Evolution, which I think gives the most rational, science supported theory or origins, is not some sort of secular, sacred cow. I’m fine with it being scrutinized, examined and attacked. Lots to learn yet about it, and lots being learned.

    Creationists, like Sean, do a service to the SDA and mainstream science by doing so. Why to mainstream science? Because, if Sean’s science does not stand up to rigorous examination from many disciplines it will inversely reinforce evolution. But if Sean finds convincing evidence to support a young earth he may turn some heads in mainstream science.

    For example he has raised many interesting questions about erosion and the age of the earth that in my mind I don’t know if mainstream science has answered yet. I don’t think this answers my questions about what caused the tectonic plated to move rapidly or whether the Tibetan Plateau is eroding. That’s OK, it doesn’t detract from his legitimate questions.

    What Sean should do, in my humble estimation, is concede his faith bias when it operates to fill in the gaps of a young earth model. Science cannot be biased and objective. When Sean conjectures on things like the rapid movement of tectonic plates at the time of a world wide flood, with out knowing what caused it, that bias is transparent. Better to say you don’t know or, heaven forbid, that old age science in certain areas might offer the better explanation, rather than take a non empirical ‘leap of faith’.

    By the way, I see the exact same bias raising its head in Dawkins work. I don’t trust his objectivity as a result.

    Hope that helps the debate
    Agnostic Ken

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  8. BobRyan said

    While we are on the subject – here is something Shane posted recently – regarding the video.The class makes sweeping science claims for evolutionism then seeks for a solution by looking into the plasticity of the Bible and the messages God gave to Ellen White.Question: What is the point of continuallying ignoring these key details when someone addresses the subject?in Christ,Bob (Quote)

    OTNT said

    First of all, everyone keeps saying that Ness was not playing devil’s advocate, which he himself even admits. Then for some reason the assumption is made that if he is not paying devil’s advocate then he must believe what he is saying. I think that is a false dichotomy. He said he was simply sharing the issues, as he was asked to do. And yes, I have watched the video, and he gives no indication that the stuff he is sharing is what he believes. He is just giving an overview of the issues, with the assumption, apparently, that science has a lot of evidence that makes it an issue.

    As I already noted here – the context is that

    1. this is “a talk” given to theology students not science students. The theology students do not resond with “science problems” for evolutionism – rather they respond with “bible problems” and “Gospel problems” for evolutionism.

    2. This is not even remotely an exercise in science – as all Ness does is present sweeping claims “as if” the science in favor of evolutionism is not even to be questioned – as if it is in fact “revealed truth”.

    3. The point of the exercise focuses on the various ways that the Bible might be bent to accomodate evolutionism and also looking for wasy to bend the writings of Ellen White — or at least get her ministry to some level of ‘back seat’ so that you can marry evolutionism with Adventism.

    4. The science classes you point to in your post are not core classes for theology students.

    5. IF the religion department tried this stunt on the biology department it would have to be something of the form “Hey biology majors – we have to report that the Bible apparently is solidly behind hyper-Calvinism not the Arminian POV. That means that means no free will. It also means that if you are going to believe in God – even your failed science experiments are not flaws or failures – rather they are ordained by God. If you want to hang on to your faith – you will need to consider Calvinism and also consider re-interpreting your experiments.”

    Then they could have a “discussion” about how science needs to change to accomodate Calvinism.

    Surely you can see that the story they are telling does not fit what we see on the tape. IF it were true that this is a case of a science professor introducing science problems to a religion class that the professor did not actually BELIEVE to be the real case – THEN there is only two choices.

    A. EITHER the religion students are now “knighted” as science majors and given the “homework” of finding the flaws in the sweeping claims for science-supports-evolutionism,

    B. OR the professor announces that at the end of class or at a followup lecture the professor will expose the science flaws in the science claims for evolutionism – since “obviously” this is not the domain of theology majors. And in that case – the science professor would need to debunk evolutionism at the level that a theolgy major would find useful in their future work.

    Hint – we do not see A or B in the video. INSTEAD what we see in the video is C.

    C. The science professor actually ACCEPTS the evolutionist view of origins and NEEDS the theology department to work on ways that the Bible can be bent and Ellen What can be sent to the “back seat” so as to marry evolutionism to Adventism. Because failing to do that leaves only atheism.

    In spite of the assertion here at Educate Truth that the , weight of scientific evidence favors the flood and short term creation, that is not the consensus of many SDA scientists that I know. Leonard Brand, for example, is fairly candid about the many difficulties in maintaining these beliefs.

    Here again – if we are to reject the work of known scientists like Walter Veith and Ariel Roth and cling to a hand-wringing evolution-is-upon us model – then “it is a science problem” and it should be the science department that is looking for solutions RATHER than the science department coming to the religion department asking for ways to bend the Bible.

    And part of the reasons they are such big issues is that SDA scientists have no water-tight case to support the flood and a short term chronology.
    Now to get a little pedagogical. It is generally understood in higher education that the personal moral and religious beliefs of the teacher should not be the focus of the teaching process.

    As long as the teacher is respectful of the students’ personal views no one will fault a teacher for being somewhat open about their personal beliefs, as long as the classroom is not used to indoctrinate. That is a key thing. Indoctrination is out of place in the college classroom.

    Which is why we have diverted some much needed tithe, offering and evangelism funds so that we actually have ADVENTIST universities instead of just sending our students off to the nearest public university.

    My point in saying these things is to help you see that when Ness brings up the various issues he is careful not to personally endorse any of them. They are simply other viewpoints. And since his talk was about issues surrounding origins in the church, he seems to have been rather successful in identifying the issues, given the firestorm of response he has gotten here. So, as an educator he has done a pretty good job of identifying the issues for those religion and theology majors.

    A number of key details have to be ignored to end up arguing in favor of the science department presenting science problems to the religion department and then following up with ways to bend the bible so it will agree with sweeping assertions about the level of evidence that exists for an anti-Bible world view. Critical thinking would have dictated that the science department come up with insightful solutions and SHARE those solutions with the religion department RATHER the hosting the white flag of unthinking-surrender and going to the religion department with a “we are clueless to address evolutionism from a science POV – so is there a way to bend the Bible” form of lecture.

    And I wouldn’t worry too much about their faith. First, it was only one lecture, and second, most of those kinds of majors I have known were pretty strong in the faith and it would take more than that to shake them.

    Surely it cannot be denied that that is the very thinking that lead LSU down the path it followed – to end up where it is today. Just let the whole thing continue to erode until you have to call in the GC admin to help straighten it out.

    Secondly – did we learn NOTHING from the fiasco and then house cleaning at Walla Wall?

    Thirdly – are you even reading the reviews that PUC is getting from non-SDA evolutionist sent on site to debate in favor of evolutionism only to see for themselves just how in-the-tank PUC is for evolutionism?

    I suggest some reading from those outside observers.

    http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2009/11/seventh-day-adv.html#more

    If this really were a “let us show you the problems and then provide some suggested solutions” talk from the science department – it would have been “noticed” in the video and PUC would be PUSHING that video out to the church RATHER than arguing for all the good reasons to hide it from our own church.

    As already noted –

    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

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  9. As you watch and listen to that video clip – adding up all the reasons given not to believe the the 7 day creation week and literal world wide flood — you get such “nonscience” ideas as –

    1. Did Noah know what the world was – Did Moses know what the World was to report a world wide flood.

    1.B “So after our discussion here apparently it would not be too big a deal to make Noah’s flood local not world wide. In fact the only real objection I can think of for that is Ellen White. If you want to claim that Ellen White is accurate in evertyhing she says well then you have to deal with that point… the Bible can be interpreted in different ways.”

    2. Bending the Bible defintion for World Wide Flood is the easiest problem to solve.

    3. Some people in the SDA church like to insist on a literal 7 day creation week because they think “well that is just the way it was” –

    4. Those who wrote out belief #6 were careful NOT to say it is a “literal 7 day week” because they did not want to box any SDAs into thinking that this is the only option and they knew many SDAs simply do not accept it.

    5. If you want to change the World Wide Flood idea – another problem you have is Ellen White – so you need to decide whether she is really an authority.

    Hint: NONE of that is “science” or “biology” or “news from the science department”. NORE is it a conversation in the form “let is look and see if the science claims being made for evolutionism really hold up”.

    Thus the PUC “devil’s advocate” claim appears to be in the form of a supposed devil’s advocate trying to find ways to bend the bible and discount Ellen White, as well as a devil’s advocate making sweeping assertions about science claiming that it is beyond question — because in this talk Ness does not give 40 seconds of time to the idea that maybe his science claims on behalf of evolutionism “could be reinterpreted”. Rather it is only the Bible and our use of Ellen White that is suggested for “reinterpretation”. How “scientific” is that?

    The objective unbiased reader using even a small degree of critical thinking when watching that video is going to get a very clear picture of what is going on. No wonder PUC wants to hide it.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  10. This notion expressed by “Devoted SDA” about “letting God do the weeding” while we humans simply pray and “tell the world about Jesus,” exposes one of the most significant obstacles in the minds of many contemporary Adventists when it comes to the issue of church discipline… When we–as a church and as individuals– recover godly zeal against error and sin, revival and reformation will be given their practical meaning.God bless!Pastor Kevin Paulson  (Quote)

    Bravo, Pastor Paulson. This is the crux of this whole situation. Something in the way of disciplinary action should have taken place years ago before so many people lost their faith. We have become so politically correct in our church lately that we no longer call sin by its right name. This is a tool of the devil to bring trash into our church. It will take those who can “stand like the brave” for our church and its principles to clear this mess up. I am praying that the new leadership will be able to do this. Someone will. God will see to it.

    Faith

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  11. Faith wrote

    Something in the way of disciplinary action should have taken place years ago before so many people lost their faith… I am praying that the new leadership will be able to do this.

    I totally agree with Faith on this. But I want to add two pertinent things: 1) we have utterly failed our young people when their faith is based more on what we say and teach than on a personal, abiding relationship with Jesus; and 2) disciplinary action should ideally take place within the Church, and not on the same hill upon which Jesus was crucified for the entire world to see.

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  12. 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?

    Oh, sorry, I forgot to include David Read, Paul Giem, Rich Constantinescu, and Art Chadwick. But I think we’re running a little thin after this.

    Professor Kent,

    I’m sympathetic to your view, as I think I made clear on another thread. I have no particular problem with someone saying, “In this area of study, the evidence currently seems, on balance, to favor a view with which I and my church disagree. Here is the evidence in this area, and here are the reasons I disagree with the standard interpretation.”

    The problem I have with La Sierra (my information is mostly secondhand at PUC, and I didn’t even get to see the video, and so can’t comment there), is that the above is not the approach of the (controlling) majority of the biology faculty, from all the evidence I have seen. Rather, they have repeatedly sought to keep evidence that might support YLC out of the discussion, and at least in some cases their privately expressed beliefs matched their public (or at least classroom) pronouncements. That is, they teach long ages and unguided evolution, while attempting to disallow any other point of view.

    If your list is intended to say that I insist that all teachers must subscribe to the idea that the “weight of the available empirical evidence favors[] the SDA position”, then I do not belong in that list. I prefer A teachers (as graded here), but will tolerate B or C teachers. ( F teachers? We should be saving our money for more important projects.)

    On the other hand, if your list is intended to say that I believe that the scientific evidence, when properly weighed, argues for a short age for life on earth, I do belong there, but the list is not nearly as short as you seem to think. I could add several names to that list, even of people with biology or geology degrees.

    BTW, I notice in your comment to Faith that you stated that “disciplinary action should ideally take place within the Church, and not on the same hill upon which Jesus was crucified for the entire world to see.” The usual assumption is that you believe that it is at least theoretically possible that disciplinary action should take place. Is that assumption correct, and what kind of disciplinary action could avoid being “on the same hill upon which Jesus was crucified for the entire world to see”? If you propose a positive course of action in this regard, I’d be very interested. I don’t like the idea of making these people look like martyrs.

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  13. Paul Giem: The problem I have with La Sierra (my information is mostly secondhand at PUC, and I didn’t even get to see the video, and so can’t comment there), is that the above is not the approach of the (controlling) majority of the biology faculty, from all the evidence I have seen. Rather, they have repeatedly sought to keep evidence that might support YLC out of the discussion, and at least in some cases their privately expressed beliefs matched their public (or at least classroom) pronouncements. That is, they teach long ages and unguided evolution, while attempting to disallow any other point of view.

    Which again points to the real heart of the problem. This is not a case of teachers that are either Creationist or simply neutral, presenting facts both positive and negative regarding evolutionism.

    This is a case of evangelists for evolutionism discounting any thought in favor of God’s view on this topic and favoring every speculative unproven conclusion in favor of Darwin’s self-admitted anti-Bible position (“as if” they have been doing a good thing).

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  14. Pingback: Pacific Union College Encouraging Homosexual Marriage? | Educate Truth

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