Ron, it’s an exaggeration to claim that there is nothing …

Comment on The ANN Highlights LSU’s Dr. Lee Grismer – An Evolutionary Biologist by David Read.

Ron, it’s an exaggeration to claim that there is nothing in the fossil record that Darwinists cannot point to as a plausible “transitional form.” On the whole, however, forms come into the fossil record, they stay the same for millions of years of hypothetical geologic time, then they disappear from the fossil record, showing no signs of having evolved into anything significantly different. As Stephen Jay Gould frequently pointed out, the fossil record is overwhelmingly a record of stasis or non-evolution. (I discuss this in my book, “Dinosaurs–An Adventist View”.)

But what I like about your post is that, based upon honest Darwinian expectations, the concept of a “transitional form” makes no sense. If the fossil record really spanned 600 million years, and evolution was happening slowly and steadily the entire time, EVERYTHING should be transitional, and hence the term “transitional” should be essentially meaningless. In other words, the fossil record should consist of nothing but forms gradually changing and evolving; there should not be any stasis of form long-lasting enough for us to say, “okay, this one is ‘permanent’ or ‘complete’ and this one is ‘transitional’.”

But since the fossil record is actually a record of non-change or stasis of forms, not evolution of forms, the phrase “transitional form” has meaning, which it should not have if were Darwin correct. Just an interesting point that I’d never thought of before.

David Read Also Commented

The ANN Highlights LSU’s Dr. Lee Grismer – An Evolutionary Biologist
I think our agnostic friend Ken has correctly noted the trend at GRI, and I think it is a problem.

As I said above, there are two basic models on origins, the mainstream scientific model (Lyellism/Darwinism), and the young earth (or young life) biblical creationist model. Creationists have long sought to do more than simply critique Darwinism; they have sought to build a biblical creationist model, i.e., do creation science.

But now, as Ken has pointed out, the GRI people seem to be rejecting the creation science approach. Ben Clausen has done this very publicly, but some of the others seem headed more quietly down the same path.

The problem with this approach is that the data are always given a Darwinist interpretation, and if creationists don’t give the data a creationist interpretation, then it starts to seem like “the data conflict with the Bible.” In reality, the data don’t necessarily conflict, but since there’s only a Darwinist interpretation and no creationist interpretation, it begins to seem like they do conflict.

The GRI people are starting to say things like “believe in spite of the data,” or words to that effect, but such has not been the creationist approach for over a century, and has never been the approach of the Christian apologist during the Christian era.

My friend Phil Brantley takes the approach that we should just believe the Bible based upon our conservative Adventist hermeneutic and do mainstream Darwinian science, and not worry about the contradiction. But this will not work for most people. What will inevitably happen is that people will start to take a very liberal hermeneutic and assume that Genesis is only poetry or allegory. This liberal Biblical hermeneutic if widely adopted in our church, would mean the end of Adventism as we know it.

So, there simply is no workable alternative to creation science. We’ve got to do our best to make sense of the data within a Biblical model and time frame, and not have unreasonable expectations for it. It’s never, ever, going to be the case that a scientific model worked on by less than 1% of scientists will look as impressive as a model worked on by more than 99% of scientists. But that doesn’t mean we’re wrong, or that the project should be abandoned.

That’s my thinking on the subject, and I’d be curious as to the thinking of the GRI people.

The ANN Highlights LSU’s Dr. Lee Grismer – An Evolutionary Biologist
The Adventist Church’s confusion on the subject of origins is gobsmacking. It’s just not as complicated as everyone seems to believe. There are two basic origins models, the Darwinian and the Biblical creationist, and these two models have not changed, at least in their main contours, for about a century. As Adventists, our entire worldview and doctrinal structure are premised upon the truth of the biblical creationist model.

What is the confusion about? Is it really as complicated as all that, or are Adventists just some of the stupidest people on the planet?

Recent Comments by David Read

The Reptile King
Poor Larry Geraty! He can’t understand why anyone would think him sympathetic to theistic evolution. Well, for starters, he wrote this for Spectrum last year:

“Christ tells us they will know us by our love, not by our commitment to a seven literal historical, consecutive, contiguous 24-hour day week of creation 6,000 years ago which is NOT in Genesis no matter how much the fundamentalist wing of the church would like to see it there.”

“Fundamental Belief No. 6 uses Biblical language to which we can all agree; once you start interpreting it according to anyone’s preference you begin to cut out members who have a different interpretation. I wholeheartedly affirm Scripture, but NOT the extra-Biblical interpretation of the Michigan Conference.”

So the traditional Adventist interpretation of Genesis is an “extra-Biblical interpretation” put forward by “the fundamentalist wing” of the SDA Church? What are people supposed to think about Larry Geraty’s views?

It is no mystery how LaSierra got in the condition it is in.

The Reptile King
Professor Kent says:

“I don’t do ‘orgins science.’ Not a single publication on the topic. I study contemporary biology. Plenty of publications.”

So, if you did science that related to origins, you would do it pursuant to the biblical paradigm, that is pursuant to the assumption that Genesis 1-11 is true history, correct?

The Reptile King
Well, Jeff, would it work better for you if we just closed the biology and religion departments? I’m open to that as a possible solution.

The Reptile King
Larry Geraty really did a job on LaSierra. Personally I think it is way gone, compromised beyond hope. The SDA Church should just cut its ties to LaSierra, and cut its losses.

As to the discussion on this thread, round up the usual suspects and their usual arguments.

La Sierra University Resignation Saga: Stranger-than-Fiction
It is a remarkably fair and unbiased article, and a pretty fair summary of what was said in the recorded conversation.