An apology to PUC

The following letter was sent to PUC president, Dr. Heather Knight, Nov. 9, 2010.

Dear Dr. Knight,

We apologize for allowing Dr. Ness’s lecture to be posted on EducateTruth.com without apparent warning. When we approached the issue at La Sierra, it was after a great deal of behind-the-scenes effort. The same was not true for PUC, and for that we are sorry. The decision to post the lecture without first contacting PUC was, perhaps, a bit hasty, but not without valid concern. If the posting of the video of Dr. Ness’s lecture has led to misconceptions about Dr. Ness and/or PUC please let us know what you perceive these misconceptions to be, and what you think Educate Truth can do to help resolve these issues.

Until then, we remain deeply concerned with the way in which the lecture presented existing theories in science that conflict with our beliefs as Adventists. According to PUC’s statement, Myron Widmer provided the context for the lecture, which was “to specifically present existing theories in science that conflict with our beliefs as Adventists, such as the age of the earth, the nature of the flood, and fossil records.” 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,” we 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?

We would like to give PUC the opportunity to provide greater context for the lecture in question. We appreciate that you include the following in “Learning Outcomes”: “Recognize the historical and current issues relating to special creation and evolution models of origins. Understand the theological and scientific implications of each model.”

In particular, we note that you offer a course that, presumably, all biology students must take: Three quarters of BIOL 111-112-113 Biological Foundations, which we would expect to contribute to the particular learning outcome we highlighted, and a course that appears to be a senior course, BIOL 450 Philosophy of Origins, which we would expect to be particularly focused on the intersection of evolution and special creation.

We would like to give you the opportunity to provide Educate Truth with course outlines/syllabi which you would normally give to students, which generally include required reading and required papers. We request permission to publicize these at Educate Truth. If you have a sampling of lectures in video format, so much the better. We would appreciate receiving them as well.

Sincerely,

Educate Truth Staff

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261 thoughts on “An apology to PUC

  1. There is a nice gesture in the first paragraph. It should have stopped there. The bulk of this clause-cluttered letter contains some odd elements.

    First, they should also be apologizing to Professor Bryan Ness, Ph.D. It’s strange that they attack individuals and apologize to institutions.

    Second, it is odd that Shane and Sean don’t put their names on their own apology. This, after going after so many Adventist academics by name, and repeatedly using their own names when posting and commenting. Why are their names good for a comment, but not an apology?

    Third, in poor taste, under the guise of apology, most of this letter focuses on making demands of PUC. It’s a telling rhetorical tic to see the phrase “which we would expect” repeated several times. Huh? On what grounds do they give PUC “the opportunity” to give them course documents for their review. Hubris? Is educate truth a new accrediting body? They’re getting their 15 minutes of fame, but I don’t recall Warhol prophesying that we’d all get to be external evaluators of higher education.

    It’s unfortunate that Educate Truth really embarrassed itself with this attack on an Adventist professor. It’s clear that these two non-academics really don’t understand how academia works. In multiple comments, they just don’t seem to get that Adventist students can handle an whole fifty minute lecture on science without a Bible study tacked on at the end.

    Christian education, like sanctification, is the work of a lifetime, and good courses that educate toward lasting truth are structured to unfold over weeks, not minutes.

    As it becomes clear that their crusade against La Sierra University is going nowhere, they hamhandedly tried to attack another school. It failed.

    They have lost a lot of credibility – and it raises some serious questions about their epistemological skills. If they cannot get the facts about videos right, how can they get complex scientific research correct?

    I have had multiple people mention to me that they increasingly feel like this site is becoming more about “the team” getting attention. I don’t know.

    This episode has taught me something.

    The kids are all right! PUC students and alumni poured out amazing support for professor Ness, and articulated very acute summaries of how Adventist education can build faith and hone critical thinking skills. One student created site puts it well – an “educated truth.”




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  2. Just so this is perfectly clear in my mind, are you, EducateTruth stating that we as Adventists should be ignorant as to the other theories that exist? That we should not learn to challenge our beliefs and understand why we believe what we believe? I suppose ignorance is bliss though. Sure seems to be the case here.




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  3. @Mary A. Jane: No, we’re not stating that at all. What gave you that impression? Did you read this statement, “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?”

    Evolution should most definitely be taught in our schools, but within the context of what we believe to be true and the current evidence that supports those beliefs.




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  4. While history cannot be undone, I do believe that this is a good move.

    Since Bryan Ness’s lecture/discussion has already been given exposure, it cannot really be recalled. Even if every scrap of it were pulled from the web site, the context in which it was given makes a whole lot of difference.

    For instance, if everyone knew Dr Ness to be a strong believer in the Bible account, even when he did not have all the empirical evidence, the lecture would have a decidedly different impact than it does in isolation. (I have reason to believe that this is actually the case.)

    It may even be, as I suggested earlier, that he gave more emphasis to the arguments against creation science because he was confident that the students in the discussion were sufficiently grounded in the creation approach but needed a bit of challenge to understand the ideas they would meet in the world.

    Since the original lecture cannot be effectively recalled, the best thing, at this time, is to provide more context. And I’m hoping that the PUC administration will see fit to do that.

    This site receives a fair bit of traffic, and word of mouth travels quickly too. So any information released by PUC will actually give them free publicity and may persuade more students to attend there.

    In the meantime, I would hope that those commenting on the entries regarding Dr Ness would take their focus off his person (especially when they don’t know him) and his teaching (for which the one video is an inadequate example) and continue to discuss how to approach the issues surrounding the interaction of science and faith.

    I may have mentioned it before, but I believe that Leonard Brand’s book, Beginnings: Are Science and Scripture Partners in the Search for Origins? (Pacific Press, 2006) provides some real guidance and food for thought in this direction. It’s a small, readable book and should be available in all our college & university libraries.




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  5. It is indeed a nice gesture that educate truth can apology to a school after an incredibly embarrassing ordeal. However, the apology should close the matter, not suggest giving syllabi. However it seems that educate truth would still like to suggest how a campus manages it’s affairs.

    “We would like to give you the opportunity to provide Educate Truth with course outlines/syllabi which you would normally give to students, which generally include required reading and required papers. We request permission to publicize these at Educate Truth. If you have a sampling of lectures in video format, so much the better. We would appreciate receiving them as well.”-

    Doesn’t it seem odd, and rather rude/distasteful that after educate truth can be accounted for attempting to ruin a man’s reputation as an adventist teacher, that they request PUC to show syllabi of classes? Educate truth has no business in the slightest to be involved in such matters. It does seem odd to me as well that the founders of educate truth can’t even post their own names on an apology, when the reality is, that the entire matter flustered an entire student body and staff. Perhaps the founders of educate truth did apologize in private to Dr. Ness, but what does it say about one’s intentions when blaming someone can be so public, yet apology must remain private?

    Here is what PUC would appreciate, if this matter is closed, and never happens again, yet with educate truth’s unstable and rather destructive history, this seems only somewhat plausible. Pacific Union College is a diverse college both in students and teachers, yet are we subject to believe that we must be attacked when our ideals do not coincide with others? Educate truth misunderstood context and took the opportunity to exploit a professor.

    What I have learned from all of this, is that while some may say they are Adventist, their actions can easily say are not Adventist like in nature, there was nothing close to a Christ-like manner in educate truth’s recent actions.




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  6. @Educate Truth Staff: I appreciate your candor with admitting a fault in judgment for posting the video prematurely. Whereas the church at large has every right to know what their youth are being taught, it’s best to attempt to go through proper channels to avoid the appearance of evil.

    I understand that Adventist education is going through a crisis, and that there’s much frustration with church leadership for allowing things to get so out of hand.

    What is the laity to do when most of the church leadership and church members appear to be asleep at their posts? Shout at them to wake up, of course. But perhaps a tap on the shoulder would have been a loud enough call to arms for PUC and Adventist education in general? I doubt it, in light of past resistance and rationalization of anti-biblical concepts by
    certain elements within the church.

    I strongly suspect that the problem so clearly illustrated from Dr. Ness’s lecture is just the tip of the iceberg concerning the crisis in our educational institutions. The fruits of Adventist education on most of these kids who’ve commented on here is indeed disturbing, and bodes ill for the future of the church. It’s unfortunate that it takes a video to wake people up to the realization that there’s a crisis. But even then there are those who still find excuses to dismiss the evidence.

    Thank you Sean and Shane for having the courage to sound the trumpet. I hope our leaders and church members will answer the call to defend the walls, because it sure is exhausting being all alone. I want to go home soon.




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  7. This was a good move on the part of Educate Truth. Their posting of the video was wrong, but it also takes courage to admit to doing wrong, and I commend them for that.




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  8. @Shane Hilde:

    You failed to mention that this lecture was a part of a SERIES. Maybe you don’t understand the meaning of that word. Allow me to define it for you.

    Series: a number of things, events, or people of a similar kind or related nature coming one after another.

    Therefore this lecture DID have resolution. It did provide students with a forum to THINK. Something I feel you might not be so familiar with…

    As a student of Dr. Ness’s I have heard his theories on evolution, as well as those on creation. There is not a biology professor more certain in his faith, and sharing it with others than Dr. Ness. I would encourage you to perhaps attend a few of his classes before you get all self-righteous that you know what you’re talking about. And if you would like course syllabi you will need to enroll as a student at PUC, and attend class. We pay for our course access, you should too.




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  9. @Mary A. Jane: The lecture on origins was the first of a series within the class dealing with the issue, or the lecture on origins was just one class in the series of classes of different topics? As far as I’ve been told by PUC’s statement and from a student in the class, there was no mention that there would be a follow up course. This is not to say that one will not occur, but if PUC was really concerned about context I’m really surprised it failed to mention any follow up course that would have brought some context to the lecture given in isolation.

    By the way, the contention has nothing to do with Dr. Ness’s faith. This is just a red herring issue. His faith, Christianity, belief in God, etc, are not on the table despite what many here may think.

    I may not know as much as you about the class, so please inform me what the next lecture in the series will be in regard to origins. When did they announce in the class there would be a follow up? Why wasn’t this information made public in PUC’s statement? Strange they would leave out such important information.




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  10. Shane, it takes a big man to stand up publicly and own that he made an error. Especially as public as this has become. Congratulations Shane for showing us what an honorable man you are!

    I call those at La Sierra (and all of our other Colleges and Universities for that matter)- all those professors who have deceived the members of the church, those who pay their salaries, to do the same. It is time for the biology and religion professors to apologize to the church publicly for teaching contrary to our church’s beliefs. You can all point your fingers at Shane, but are you big enough to stand up and do as he did.

    It is preposterous to say that church members don’t have a right to know what is being taught in our schools and that we should have to register for the class to get that information. ARE YOU NUTS! We ARE the parents, the grandparents, the ones who pay to keep these schools afloat financially. We give our offerings and tithes, and pay the tuition. THE SECRET NATURE THAT YOU USE TO KEEP PEOPLE FROM KNOWING WHAT YOU ARE DOING CONVICTS YOU. If you are doing nothing wrong, then there is no reason that all of your materials cannot see the light of day and prove that you are the honorable people that you claim to be.




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  11. I am disturbed by much of what I read here. According to Educate Truth’s new policies, professors can no longer teach faith; they can only teach what the “evidence” allows. Professors can no longer teach both sides and allow the student to form their own opinion; they must believe and teach that the weight of evidence supports their views. Professors can no longer teach their conscience; fear of being subjected to public humiliation will hereafter dictate what they teach. Surely Ellen White would roll over in her grave if she learned of the new fear-based pedagogical approach that is slowly taking over our institutions. Good work, Educate Truth!

    How sad that some of you think you know the answer as to how long one’s faith can be challenged before it is either strengthened or fails. Mr. Hilde, Mr. Ryan, and others here insist that a student’s faith will crumble within the time frame of a mere 50 minutes. Why that number? How do you know that 5 minutes of “doubt” won’t destroy? How do you know that faith won’t survive 5 weeks of a challenge? Where are those much-touted data you require before one can form a simple opinion?

    Some 25+ years ago, I took an outstanding course on Origins and Speciation at Walla Walla College. For each classroom session, the teacher had a student present the “evolutionist” perspective on a topic and another student presented the “creationist” perspective (and not necessarily in this order). For the most part, the teacher stayed mum during the class, only casually correcting the wrong information. None of us really knew what the professor thought, and all quarter long many of us were disturbed by how poorly the science supported our positions. On the last day of the course, the teacher stood up, summarized his views on both positions, and reassured us that he sided with the SDA church views. By this point, the challenge to my faith had led me to grow much closer to God, but the suspense in hearing what the professor believed made a MUCH GREATER IMPACT than would have been the case had he given us those obligatory reassurances all along that Educate Truth demands…or else.

    Shane, Sean, and others here: you insult our young people when you treat them like fragile glassware ready to crumble with the slightest bump. Education and faith formation are NOT 50 minute excercises. Leave the education to the educators. Please stop preying on them and pray for them instead.




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  12. @Anon MD:

    I am disturbed by much of what I read here. According to Educate Truth’s new policies, professors can no longer teach faith; they can only teach what the “evidence” allows. Professors can no longer teach both sides and allow the student to form their own opinion; they must believe and teach that the weight of evidence supports their views. Professors can no longer teach their conscience; fear of being subjected to public humiliation will hereafter dictate what they teach. Surely Ellen White would roll over in her grave if she learned of the new fear-based pedagogical approach that is slowly taking over our institutions. Good work, Educate Truth!

    Have you not read about the time when Mrs. White publicly addressed the Church body telling everyone to avoid sending their children to Battle Creek College because of their promotion of ideas which were not in harmony with the goal and mission of the Church? “In God’s word alone,” she wrote, “we find an authentic account of creation” (5 Test., 25). She displayed a willingness to both publicly rebuke the leadership of the college and to warn church members of the problems at the College. “We can give,” she memorably warned, “no encouragement to parents to send their children to Battle Creek College” (5 Test., 21). She proposed that if the College was not returned to the Biblical-centered model, that the church should “sell it out to worldlings” and “establish another school” upon the “plan which God has specified” (5 Test., 25-26). – Link

    Also, have you not 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 – in order 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




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  13. “We apologize for allowing Dr. Ness’s lecture to be posted on EducateTruth.com without apparent warning.”

    I would like to draw notice to the fact that EducateTruth has not apologized for the posting of the video. They have only apologized for posting it without first contacting PUC.

    -Scott Brizendine




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  14. @Scott Brizendine: Does PUC have something to hide? The church has a right to know what it’s getting for its money. I really doubt the church is happy with the product, especially after reading most of the posts from students.

    @Anon: Dr. Ness’s lecture is just the tip of the iceberg concerning Adventist education. Take a few minutes to really consider the comments by professors in the class and the questions posed by students. You’ll realize that THAT is not the product of only a 50 minute lecture. This one lecture is wake up call to all. Or perhaps our schools should start recording more lectures in order to prove to you that these aren’t isolated incidents?

    Like Sean said, Ellen White publicly warned parents to not send their children to the college in Battle Creek…not because kids are dumb, but because the kind of education and mentors they are exposed to is a big deal. Educators and pastors are held to a higher standard because of their influence over not just the youth, but everyone. It matters.




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  15. I highly doubt that Heather Knight is going to agree to send out the teachers’ syllabi, learning objectives, or lecture videos. And in fact, I hope she does not. Neither the teachers nor the administration of PUC have anything to prove. They have no obligation to settle the unfounded fears and rantings presented on the website and in the above “apology”. And I am well aware of what will be said if/when they refuse: “If there is nothing to hide, why should they not provide the information?” It will be used as “proof”, or at least “evidence”, that they are in the wrong and know it. It proves nothing of the kind. All it proves is that they are mature in their thinking and feel no need to disclose information to an unofficial group that has no business asking for it in the first place. Perhaps if EducateTruth were run by the church, or the board of education, or anyone who mattered at all, they would see fit to provide them with such documents. As it stands, EducateTruth is not run by any of these people. The administration will recognize this, and simply ignore the complaints until the plaintiffs move on to the next witch-hunt. They will understand by now that there is no point in trying to console, placate, or even respond.

    I apologize for my rudeness in the above paragraph. When I posted my comment on the video thread, it was with a great deal of courtesy and civility. The same was not true in this case, and for that, I am sorry. The decision to post this comment without censoring myself was, perhaps, a bit hasty, but not without valid cause. If posting this comment has led to misconceptions about EducateTruth, please let me know what you perceive these misconceptions to be, and what you think I can do to help resolve these issues.

    Until then, I remain deeply concerned with the way in which the entirety of this campaign conflicts with our beliefs as Adventists. If the goal of this project is to “be fully supportive of all Fundamental Beliefs of the Adventist church,” and, “encourage expression of the fundamental teachings of the Word of God”, I would think there would be evidence within the website to demonstrate this was actually happening. Evidence is also absent from the ET comments made on these pages that any member of the staff will be posting future comments or articles that would reasonably demonstrate the concepts of love and acceptance taught by Jesus. While it is reasonable to present the community with perceived conflicts in our schools, how reasonable is it to just leave it at that–a string of conflicts with little, if any, resolution?

    I would like to give EducateTruth the opportunity to provide greater context for the project in question. I appreciate that you include the following in “What We Believe”: “To be like Christ means, among other things, to love one another as we love Him and to foster peace, not conflict, within our community. Understand the spiritual and ethical implications of this.”

    In particular, I note that you offer a section that, presumably, all new members to your site should read: The History (containing the “most relevant documents” related to the LSU conflict), which I would expect to conform with the particular belief I highlighted, and another section that appears to be a discussion or explanatory section, THEOLOGY, which I would expect to be particularly focused on bringing about a greater understanding of the love of Christ.

    I would like to give you the opportunity to provide those who have commented here with mission outlines/plans which are normally kept to yourselves, which generally include upcoming posts potential targets. I request permission to publicize these on Facebook. If you have a sampling of brainstorm sessions in video format, so much the better. I would appreciate receiving them as well.

    Sincerely,

    Spencer Johnson

    p.s. This is my final statement. I will no longer comment on these mockeries, and I encourage others to do the same. This campaign is like an oil fire: The more water is poured on it, the further it spreads. The best solution, therefore, is not to keep pouring on water, but to stop adding fuel and simply let it burn itself out.




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  16. Dear Sean and Shane

    Why has the SDA Church not published a scientific text on origins, compliant with FB# 6, to be taught at all Adventist Institutions? Can you really blame the institutions if such texts are not available? Or if they are why are you not promoting them as standardized texts.

    Sean, as a leading advocate for overwhelming evidence supporting six day day recent creation, why don’t you simply write and publish a textbook and submit it to the GC for approval? After all you constantly refer to your website as containing such source material.

    Just a thought.

    Cheers
    Ken




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  17. We need to remember some context:

    1. The “context” in this case is a religion department seminar not a biology department seminar. There is no way that the PUC religion department will requiring that their students must master some kind of science solution for all of the questions, puzzles and rabbit trails that an evolutionist can imagine – as part of their basic training.

    2. Nothing in the LSU discussion to this date suggests that they suddently woke up one day and discovered that their religion and biology departments were all in the tank for evolutionism. It appears that things took time to develop. Compromise seems to have progressed slowly over time while the administration simply circled the wagons and resisted the opportunity to make changes early. Eventually that kind of leadership results in a 3-alarm blaze.

    (To use Battle Creek terminology).

    3. PUC represents an “early”(?) stage problem different from LSUs current problem or from the conclusion of the Battle Creek problem. So it likely has a different solution – but LSU stands as a testimony to what happens if you don’t figure something out at one of those earlier stages.

    It is this third item above that keeps me looking into the possibiliy that PUC might do something insightful given the example they have just down the road of what goes wrong when you simply choose to look the other way.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  18. @Spencer Johnson:
    re.: You seem to be trying to make a point! One cannot simply scroll on by; one drops everything and runs to Wikipedia to find out who you are. You couldn’t be the Spencer Johnson of “Who Moved My Cheese?” fame, “one of the world’s most respected thinkers and beloved authors,” could you?




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  19. Why has the SDA Church not published a scientific text on origins, compliant with FB# 6, to be taught at all Adventist Institutions? Can you really blame the institutions if such texts are not available? Or if they are why are you not promoting them as standardized texts.
    Sean, as a leading advocate for overwhelming evidence supporting six day day recent creation, why don’t you simply write and publish a textbook and submit it to the GC for approval? After all you constantly refer to your website as containing such source material.

    Ken – nobody here is accusing PUC or SAU or AU or Southerwestern or LLU or any of our other universities (except possibly LSU) of teaching our students that evolutionism is the right science answer for origins or the flood.

    In the recent GC session one of the items that came to light is the effort to put science text books together that show an SDA POV and that treet evolutionist speculation as “speculation”.

    As it turns out – there is a lot of anatomy and physiology of plants and animals – right down to the genes that is all easily promoted in an SDA context. Where we draw the line is at the level that even atheist evolutionists like Colin Patterson claimed are “stories from the fossil record” about how “one thing came from another – stories easy enough to make up but they are not science”.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  20. The suggestion that Sean Pitman MD “write and publish a textbook [on creationism and evolution]” is an absolutely magnificent idea.

    Can anyone come up with a reason that Sean might not want to produce such a book given the very large number of scientific disciplines which he feels he has mastered?

    We might recall that another physician who is also a supporter of the agenda of the EducateTruth site, Paul Giem MD, has written a book entitled “Scientific Theology” which treats many of the topics considered on this web site. (If anyone is interested, there is a review of that book on the Adventist Today web site.)

    There are probably a number of retired Adventist scientists who would relish the idea of writing a review of any book that Sean would write. Although I obviously can’t speak for the current editor, I’m reasonably confident that Adventist Today would be very interested in publishing reviews of that book. If someone still working for an Adventist college or university might have some reticence in putting their name on their review, I would think that an appropriate arrangement could be made.




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  21. “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,” we would think that there would be evidence within the lecture to demonstrate this was actually happening.”

    The course did exactly what it was advertised to do. The fact is that the pastors are going to have to meet the scientific evidence as it stands. Dr. Ness nor any other biology professor can give evidence for our belief in a short creation and a world wide flood because there is no evidence.

    If there is evidence we could stop with the polemics and discuss the evidence.




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  22. Re: Bob’s Quote

    “In the recent GC session one of the items that came to light is the effort to put science text books together that show an SDA POV and that treet evolutionist speculation as “speculation”.”

    Dear Bob

    Thanks Bob. It seems to me that is the logical course of action and will take away a lot of ambiguity out of what is and is not being taught. Will it be accepted by all Adventist institutions? At least you’ll know each one’s exact, unequivocal stance

    Re Ervin’s Quote

    “The suggestion that Sean Pitman MD “write and publish a textbook [on creationism and evolution]” is an absolutely magnificent idea.”

    Dear Ervin.

    Thank you my friend.

    Who better to do this than Sean? I think he has the knowledge, intelligence and drive to produce an excellent textbook on the science supporting biblical origins and the world wide flood.

    Let’s take it a step further. Once the text is done he could present it to the GC, GRI and all the Adventist institutions for the SDA imprimatur. It doesn’t have to pass mainstream review as it is just being used for the purposes of teaching biological origins in Adventist Institutions.If the GC and church endorse it but none of the SDA colleges or universities will, the laity will draw the obvious conclusions.

    Shane and Sean, wouldn’t this enhance the credibility of Educate Truth as being a proactive, educational, site, rather than being accused of being an attack dog?

    Leadership means taking bold, decisive action. Dear readers, is it not time for an accredited SDA text on origins, in light of the comments of Ted Wilson at the GC? Isn’t Dr.Pitman the ideal candidate for the job? For goodness sakes the church should pay him to do so.

    Note, I am not being sarcastic here. I believe this course of action is vital in light of the GC’s statements on origins. Does the weight of empirical evidence support biblical creationism and the Noachian deluge versus evolution over billions of years? Put the issue to the test with a SDA accredited text.

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  23. “As it turns out” it is possible to “observe the function” of genes, of cells, of organs, of species in exhaustive detail without repeating to one’s self the evolutionist mantra “birds come from reptiles… birds come from reptiles”.

    As it turns out all of biology, physics, chemistry, genetics (including harmful mutations occuring everyday in static genomes) can be observed, studied and discovered without the mantra “birds come from reptiles” or the mantra “there is no god” or the mantra ” this could only happen by itself over billions of years of time” or the mantra “there must be a multiverse… there must be a multiverse”.

    Even though – for the diehard evolutionist this may appear to be an impossibility.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  24. @wesley kime: HAHAHA no, I’m not. I found that on Wikipedia too, and laughed hysterically when I found out I had a famous namesake. (Though can I call him a namesake if he’s older than I am?) I’m just a son of two English teachers–one of whom used to teach at PUC and had to deal with a fair share of controversies himself–who is tired of this whole lousy affair.




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  25. @Ervin Taylor:

    There are probably a number of retired Adventist scientists who would relish the idea of writing a review of any book that Sean would write. Although I obviously can’t speak for the current editor, I’m reasonably confident that Adventist Today would be very interested in publishing reviews of that book. If someone still working for an Adventist college or university might have some reticence in putting their name on their review, I would think that an appropriate arrangement could be made.

    I have actually written and self-published a little book this year, “Turtles All the Way Down – Questions on Origins”. It can be ordered from my website using PayPal or from Amazon (a bit cheaper from my website). And, by all means, you are welcome to review it if you so wish…

    Turtles All the Way Down

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  26. So far the only substantive responses by PUC defenders have been empty sarcasm and ridicule. Unfortunately, 18-year-old students eat that sort of thing up and follow anyone who has mastered tactics that mirror their favorite media characters. Educate Truth isn’t going after anyone. It is simply laying out the evidence and presentations for all to see and assess for themselves. Educate Truth doesn’t have to point out the dishonesty and the underlying problem that balanced views in science are not being respectfully presented on Adventist college campuses.




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  27. If you would like a copy of those informational papers, I would be happy to give you a copy – shame on the rest of you professors or otherwise that would rather defend an unadvertised school, straying from the pack; it is our duty as Adventist to defend the faith, not the actions of a rouge school [edit]. Alexander Carpenter [edit] you of all people should know and recognize the value that educate truth is providing, to long have you stood on the fringe of the Adventist faith giving rise and supporting things like the dramatic play, “this Adventists life”, which, for a lack of better reason, effectively mocks the Adventist traditions – in the name of good fun. [edit]




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  28. @CBond:

    So far the only substantive responses by PUC defenders have been empty sarcasm and ridicule. Unfortunately, 18-year-old students eat that sort of thing up and follow anyone who has mastered tactics that mirror their favorite media characters.

    Many responses from PUC students were sincere and respectful. Please don’t insult their integrity.

    Educate Truth doesn’t have to point out the dishonesty and the underlying problem that balanced views in science are not being respectfully presented on Adventist college campuses.

    Many PUC students have testified that balanced views in science ARE being respectfully presented at PUC. I’m sure students on other campuses would same the same with their campus. Please don’t judge Adventist college campuses by one portion of a lecture taken out of context.




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  29. Points well taken. Consider my assertions qualified. I am not able to identify who is writing from where, but my experience is that students emerging from Adventist schools are, by and large, ill-equipped to weigh either the strengths or weaknesses of the tenets of their faith. It appears that more ridicule is aimed at those who consider the strengths than at those who assume the weaknesses.

    There is nothing wrong with leaving college with more questions than answers. But it is much easier to follow a strong personality with a big smile and a few letters after his name who declares, “The evidence conclusively shows…” and leave it at that.

    Let students be given access to evidence and exposed to competent, vigorous defenders of various viewpoints and then decide for themselves. It has yet to be demonstrated that this kind of honest intellectual inquiry is happening on the Adventist campuses in question. Where are the videos of those kinds of presentations? Based on its past record, I’m certain Educate Truth would be willing to post those presentations as well.

    In the meantime, there are plenty of Christian and non-Christian scientists who are actively and honestly examining these issues. Their arguments and materials are available to anyone willing to search them out.




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  30. Re Sean’s Quote

    “I have actually written and self-published a little book this year, “Turtles All the Way Down – Questions on Origins”. It can be ordered from my website using PayPal or from Amazon (a bit cheaper from my website). And, by all means, you are welcome to review it if you so wish…

    Turtles All the Way Down”

    Dear Sean

    Good stuff. Now who can be enlisted from the Adventist community to get your book accredited and into the Adventist learning institutions?

    Cheers
    Ken




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  31. Re CB’s Quote

    “Let students be given access to evidence and exposed to competent, vigorous defenders of various viewpoints and then decide for themselves.”

    Dear CB

    Absolutely right.

    Independent of what the professors believe or do not believe the students should be exposed to various viewpoints. So if Dr. Ness’s evaluation of the evidence is that he does think it supports a world wide flood he should be able to opine so. But, at an Adventist institution, he should also present conflicting evidence (i.e. Turtles all the way Down) and let students decide for themselves.

    Cheers
    Ken




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  32. Re Ron’s Quote

    “The course did exactly what it was advertised to do. The fact is that the pastors are going to have to meet the scientific evidence as it stands. Dr. Ness nor any other biology professor can give evidence for our belief in a short creation and a world wide flood because there is no evidence.”

    Dear Ron

    Let me start off by saying that I think the vast preponderance of evidence supports evolution. Moreover Adventist Dr. Ben Clausen of the GRI has said he does not think there is a scientific young earth model.

    However after reading and debating with Dr.Pitman I don’t think I would venture so far as to say is no evidence for recent creation and a world wide flood. The question is whether the evidence can reasonably interpreted to support creationist conclusions.

    Is that fair?

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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  33. CBond, I can assure you that science majors at SDA colleges and universities are typically exposed to dozens of lectures spanning the spectrum of the creation-evolution controversy (it’s a spectrum–not simply two sides). Science majors at all SDA colleges and universities are required to take at least one course dedicated exclusively to the issue of origins. The same issues tend to pop up repeatedly in other required and elective courses. The SDA professors who present the evidence are usually highly qualified educators who have read extensively on the subject from a diversity of viewpoints. The personal views of the professors vary, of course, but the views of the students are respected and they are allowed to freely make up their own minds. That is why many feel that SDA science education is superior to that of secular institutions, because students can freely and openly consider and discuss a much broader range of issues with their professors.

    If you wish to see the evidence supporting what I have just stated, I suggest perusing through the websites of each SDA institution, search for the requirements for a science major such as Biology or Chemistry, and read the descriptions of the courses in the institutional catalogs. As for video evidence, I very much doubt any SDA science professor–even the most conservative–would willingly allow a video of their lecture to be posted on a website. And it’s NOT because they have anything to hide, so don’t even dare go there. Many professors simply refuse to engage in public controversy–and for very good reasons. It’s not worth the trouble. Most professors don’t invest thousands of dollars in their education and years of their time studying for a PhD degree only to be subjected to public scrutiny and scorn.




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  34. I also noticed that the ‘apology’ to PUC was simply an apology that ET did not give ‘apparent warning’ to PUC before posting the video link.

    Would it be ok if posted the entire text of Sean’s ‘Turtles’ book to a public website as long as I give him ‘apparent warning’ first?

    It is my understanding that PUC maintains accreditation from the Accrediting Association of Seventh-day Adventist Schools, Colleges, and Universities, which is part of the Department of Education of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

    That official arm of the General Conference works “to ensure the quality of the global Seventh-day Adventist educational system…” http://education.gc.adventist.org

    They are tasked with ensuring that SDA institutions adhere to the “Seventh-day Adventist Educational Philosophy” which may be found at http://education.gc.adventist.org/documents/A%20Statement%20of%20Seventh-day%20Adventist%20Educational%20Philosophy%202001.doc

    The process is described in this document: http://education.gc.adventist.org/documents/Accreditation%20Part%20I%202005.doc

    As the accrediting body, they have the authority to examine all course syllabi, interview faculty and administration, visit classrooms, etc.

    If ET believes that PUC, LSU, or any of our other SDA institutions are not meeting the standards set by the church, then they should take up their case with the organization that has been assigned the task of overseeing these schools, and not demand that institutions hand over documents and materials to ET, which has no official connection with the church.

    hbear




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  35. Nice pseudo apology. Don’t put too much sincerity into your next email. Keep thinking you are important enough to demand that video lectures and syllibi be sent to search for dirt because your first piece of illegal “evidence” didn’t pan out.

    “they just don’t seem to get that Adventist students can handle a whole fifty minute lecture on science without a Bible study tacked on at the end.”




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  36. @ Harold Bear

    If ET believes that PUC, LSU, or any of our other SDA institutions are not meeting the standards set by the church, then they should take up their case with the organization that has been assigned the task of overseeing these schools, and not demand that institutions hand over documents and materials to ET, which has no official connection with the church.

    Outstanding advice.




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  37. CBond, I can assure you that science majors at SDA colleges and universities are typically exposed to dozens of lectures spanning the spectrum of the creation-evolution controversy (it’s a spectrum–not simply two sides). Science majors at all SDA colleges and universities are required to take at least one course dedicated exclusively to the issue of origins. The same issues tend to pop up repeatedly in other required and elective courses. The SDA professors who present the evidence are usually highly qualified educators who have read extensively on the subject from a diversity of viewpoints. The personal views of the professors vary, of course, but the views of the students are respected and they are allowed to freely make up their own minds. That is why many feel that SDA science education is superior to that of secular institutions, because students can freely and openly consider and discuss a much broader range of issues with their professors.

    If you wish to see the evidence supporting what I have just stated, I suggest perusing through the websites of each SDA institution, search for the requirements for a science major such as Biology or Chemistry, and read the descriptions of the courses in the institutional catalogs. As for video evidence, I very much doubt any SDA science professor–even the most conservative–would willingly allow a video of their lecture to be posted on a website. And it’s NOT because they have anything to hide, so don’t even dare go there. Many professors simply refuse to engage in public controversy–and for very good reasons. It’s not worth the trouble…

    The post above is mostly true when it comes to the subject of what Science majors in all of our SDA universities are taking during the course of their education and the fact that all of our universities inform the students about the existence and concepts of evolutionism, not merely the proven and observable science dealing with mutation within a static genome, but rather actual macro “birds come from reptiles” evolutionism.

    This is true of Southern Adventist University, Andrews, SouthWestern and the others.

    But what the not-so-subtle detail missing in the post above is that the context for the PUC discussion is related to a religion department “talk” on evolution – conducted by a biology department professor make sweeping claims about science in favor of evolutionism and then directing religion department students toward seeking a solution that bends the bible “to fit” the unquestioned claims for evolution in science presented at the start of the class.

    Instructive for the unbiased objective observer.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  38. However after reading and debating with Dr.Pitman I don’t think I would venture so far as to say is no evidence for recent creation and a world wide flood. The question is whether the evidence can reasonably interpreted to support creationist conclusions.

    The view of “the rest” of the GRI team making presentations at the “Yes Creation” event seems to be (to quote Ariel Roth) “Never let anyone tell you that there is no evidence in favor of a young earth or a recent creation” as he presented science case after science case making that very point.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  39. Let students be given access to evidence and exposed to competent, vigorous defenders of various viewpoints and then decide for themselves. It has yet to be demonstrated that this kind of honest intellectual inquiry is happening on the Adventist campuses in question. Where are the videos of those kinds of presentations?

    There is an element of truth to the point that on our campuses we do not have Calvinists and Arminians giving point-counterpoint debates — and then sending the students off to “make up their own minds which idea might be true”. hmm we also don’t do that with the “birds come from reptiles” vs “In Six days the Lord Created the Heavens and the earth and all that is in them” either.

    So what if our schools were simply the “debate university of the south” or “The debate university of the Pacific Union”? Well that might be a different mission and goal entirely.

    I for one would not object to some atheist evolutionist being envited to speak on campus in favor of evolutionism. And then having SDA science professors explain where the skeletons were hidden in that presentation at some point after the lecture. I think we find a lot of qualified candidates for making that counter presentation at LLU, Southwestern, SAU, Andrews … etc.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  40. The question that arises on this thread is “why stand for truth if it involves controversy”?

    Titus 1:7-11 points to the need to combat error refute it – even to silence it. We do not go so far as to silence anyone – but the need to “stand stiffly” (to quote one of our authors) for Bible truth is not going to simply slip quietly into the night.

    1Peter 3:15 in various translations urges that we are ready to defend our position – even ready to argue the merits of it.

    2 Tim 4:2 Reprove rebuke.
    1 Tim 1:3 Timothy is reminded that the entire reason he is left at Ephesus is to combat error arising from within the church.

    Paul is firm that nature itself is in harmony with God’s message.

    In Romans 10 Paul argues that nature itself is a witness to this argument for God.

    But Paul does not argue that those who worship the created thing rather than the creator are doing God’s will. Thus Paul makes not room at all for the idea that whatever naturalism tells you to believe is “true” because “after all they got that idea from nature”.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  41. Since Titus 1:10-11 does not show up in the mouse-over in the above post – (due to a long reference Titus 1:7-11) I am adding this shortened form of the reference.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  42. I’m so old I remember being instructed only, from cradle roll to college (LSU, by the way; back then LSC), from parables. Matthew 13 is naught but parable upon parable. The Speaker Himself said so. But now all I hear about are allegories, metaphors, even paradigms, which must be itself a metaphor for whatever is left over. Genesis 1 is allegoric, the chiefest and fattest. Our scholars say so.

    If they say so, but then Job has got to be the most applicable allegory this side of Genesis 1 of this site’s defense of Genesis 1. Behold Job’s cast of characters – Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite — metaphors and noms de cyber for our regulars, if you will.

    In flaying the lonesome and sore beset Job, the metonymic blog-master, coming through as as testy and touchy as ours, if you must, but eventually exonerated by God (Job hath “spoken of me the thing that is right” Job 42:7), those ancient bloggers were by turns as caustic and sarcastic, every bit as aggressive and abusive, rather more empathetic and courtly if always as profligate of advice and wisdom, even better second-guessers and quicker to tell Job he hadn’t a shredy-shred-shred of evidence, playing not only the devil’s advocates but agents. Biblical precedent, there. But, alas, so much more poetic.

    So the question is not where’s your evidence but where’s your meter?




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  43. Bob Ryan wrote

    The post above is mostly true when it comes to the subject of what Science majors in all of our SDA universities are taking during the course of their education and the fact that all of our universities inform the students about the existence and concepts of evolutionism, not merely the proven and observable science dealing with mutation within a static genome, but rather actual macro “birds come from reptiles” evolutionism.
    This is true of Southern Adventist University, Andrews, SouthWestern and the others.

    You’re making this up, Bob. You don’t know what they teach at Southern, Andrews, Southwestern, or the others. You don’t know. They certainly aren’t coming here to tell us, are they? Frankly, they’re afraid to.

    As Wesley Kime put it, “the question is not where’s your evidence but where’s your meter?” Hint: you don’t have it.




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  44. @Shane Hilde:
    “On November 1, a website accused Dr. Ness and PUC of undermining the Bible after video of a class presentation surfaced on the Internet. The video in question, taken and posted by a student without the professor’s knowledge, shows Dr. Ness leading a discussion on contemporary issues in science. The discussion was for Ministry Colloquium, a lecture and discussion series for theology majors. During the fall quarter, guest speakers led discussions on various issues confronting theologians today. In October, the religion department asked Dr. Ness to specifically present existing theories in science that conflict with our beliefs as Adventists, such as the age of the earth, the nature of the flood, and fossil records. Dr. Ness was never asked to present his personal views nor does the video show him professing personal beliefs. ”
    Taken from http://www.puc.edu/news/archives/2010/puc-affirms-creation




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  45. Mary A. Jane observes that PUC stated Ness was asked to present the evidence for evolution – to play devil’s advocate – not to state what he actually believed.

    In October, the religion department asked Dr. Ness to specifically present existing theories in science that conflict with our beliefs as Adventists, such as the age of the earth, the nature of the flood, and fossil records. Dr. Ness was never asked to present his personal views nor does the video show him professing personal beliefs. ”
    Taken from http://www.puc.edu/news/archives/2010/puc-affirms-creation

    Ness has 5 posts on this web site in response and argues the same point that he did in the video – that he was simply presenting the facts of science as he knows them to be true. (Thus Ness himself sidestepped that large truck-size escape pod so easily available via the PUC statement.).

    Here is an example of one of his first posts – defending his presentation from science as legit and clearly showing respect for those who differ with his views – those who believe in a literal 7 day creation week less than 10,000 years ago.

    Ness said:
    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. I am deeply, deeply disappointed and I apologize to all lay people who may believe what Educate Truth seems to imply about my attitude toward the laity in our church. I strongly support the views of the lay members of our church and feel no need to shake their faith. I am an educator and must at the very least state where the issues lie.

    This is incredibly apparent even in the video because Ness does not present detailed science evidence on anything – rather he makes sweeping claims for evolution from science and then lets the class respond in a discussion format.

    Not surprisingly – “theology students” do not respond with “objections in science” to the “sweeping science claims just made on behalf of evolutionism” – rather they respond with “objections from theologly” (the gospel for example) and the Bible and inspired statements given to Ellen White on the subject of evolutionism.

    At this point Ness has the opportunity to say — “I am just playing devil’s advocate with the science claims. Certainly you are right that evolutionism is very problematic when it comes to the Bible and theology – but notice the science claims – now let’s use some critical thinking, at what point do you find the sweeping science claims just made to be flawed? What evidence from nature indicates that evolutionism is false or flawed?” — as if the PUC theology departmet are now trained with sufficient understanding of science to figure the problem out “from science”.

    Imagine if you will that a PUC religion department professor came to the biology department and gave a lecture of the form “it turns out the Bible completely supports hyercalvinism not the Arminian position of Adventists. So you must either solve the problem from the Bible or else admit that even your flawed experimental results come directly from God”. Hint – that is not a problem that biology students are trained to solve, and having a religion department professor claim Calvinism is apparently true given the evidence in scripture is hard for them to refute. That professor must either say to the biology class “these are just some arguments made by Calvinists from scripture – next week I will present the answer” or “you are now considered to have enough of a theology background to solve the Calvinism vs Arminian debate. Present your solutions next week”.

    Instead when the theology department starts presenting Bible indications that evolutionism is wrong – and cannot be married to the Bible, the conversation is directed to some avenues where the Bible might be bent to allow for evolutionism. But as Prof Ness states he does this in a way that continues to show utmost respect for those who hold an opposing view. At no point does he overwhelm them with Bible arguments for evolutionism in that dicussion.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  46. @Shane Hilde:

    I mean what other answers do you need? A series course, taught in conjunction with other Adventist theologies is bad how? You got your panties all in a bundle that the class wasn’t a series, here is proof that it is. You were super concerned that this was a solely evolutionary teaching, which it is not, because it is part of a SERIES. I still fail to see what you are so peeved about.




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  47. November 14, 2010 Bob Ryan wrote
    The post above is mostly true when it comes to the subject of what Science majors in all of our SDA universities are taking during the course of their education and the fact that all of our universities inform the students about the existence and concepts of evolutionism, not merely the proven and observable science dealing with mutation within a static genome, but rather actual macro “birds come from reptiles” evolutionism.
    This is true of Southern Adventist University, Andrews, SouthWestern and the others

    ReplyProfessor Kent says:

    You’re making this up, Bob. You don’t know what they teach at Southern, Andrews, Southwestern, or the others. You don’t know. They certainly aren’t coming here to tell us, are they? Frankly, they’re afraid to.

    Perhaps a few hints are in order for you –

    Hint – 1. You are listing universities I attended and claiming that I don’t know what they teach.

    Hint – 2. You are ignoring the fact that LSU is on record with published statements – reposted on this very board, that some of their evolutionist material is coming from the same texts books used in all of our SDA universities.

    Hint – 3. Many of the schools listed are also listed on this web site with their position statements.

    At some point you will need to argue your wild accusations from known fact if you expect to be taken seriously.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  48. I forgot one other “detail” — all the universities listed gave presentation at the “Yes Creation” event in Atlanta – that I attended.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  49. @Mary A. Jane: Despite how the information may be presented in other courses does not change the way in which this particular lecture. At this point the professor and PUC do not want to divulge the information on their other classes, so we’re left with the bad egg class.




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  50. Re Bob’s Quote

    “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. ”

    Dear Bob

    Hence my point that Sean should be considering teaching creationist science at an Adventist university?

    Dr Ness is simply stating what he honestly believes. Considering the severe backlash by PUC against Educate Truth is it realistic to think anyone is going to sanction. let alone remove Dr. Ness? Considering WASC’s response regarding LSU, it it realistic think that anyone is going to sanction or remove Dr. Bradley? Has the church done anything to remove Dr. Clausen or the other scientists at the GRI who do not espouse a young earth model?

    Have any of you spoken to Ted Wilson to force him to take action?

    Talk is one thing but action is another. Time to set up a new school if you really want to change how origins is being taught.

    Cheers
    Ken




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  51. Anyone who believes that SDA colleges’ formal statements of committed orthodoxy are worth a fig is simply naive! We must, of course, seem to be re-assured that such statements are forthcoming, but I think it more realistic to assume that they are merely rhetorical. Brian Ness, a former collegue of mine, may have been unjustly accused, but I think the burden of proof lies with him, not ‘Educate Truth’. The evidence is murky to the extent that we really can’t tell from the videos whether or not Ness ever gets around to offering a powerful critique of the materialist world-view, or if he just leaves students to decide ‘for themselves’. It is not enough to merely present the ‘other side’, you also have to expose it. Ness protests too much, I think– he should know, as well, that all kinds of heterodox views get bandied about under the rubric of church loyalty, etc. Where is the video of Ness showing why materialism/secularism should not be believed?
    Perhaps the larger issue is this: how do we build up faith in our students without erring either on the side of unthinking indoctrination or equally unthinking scepticism? How about ‘thinking orthodoxy’– where do we find any evidence of Ness doing that sort of critique?
    PUC should not be given a pass to easily. I left PUC after teaching there four years not because of evolutionary teaching in the class-room, but because of an openly pro-homosexual agenda in the Psychology department. The administration would not address the issue. Perhaps they are now? If you really want to see PUC in its true colors, just begin to air the views of the professors in their social science department. These professors do not hide their views, they merely– and loudly– proclaim their loyalty to Adventism and the Christian church. This has, thus far, been cover enough. They are truly living a lie as an institution. At one point, both Roy Gain and myself participated in a public debate over the homosexual issue with the Psychology department. The debate made public the clear division in the college between those who believe in the Bible and those who have rejected the Word of God. The college president at the time attended the debate, he heard the open advocacy of homosexuality by the Psychology contingent. Nothing came of it. Passivity has put us in the place we now suffer– we have colleges where ‘thinking’ has come to mean just one thing: conformity to secular mores. Do not blindly ‘trust’ the colleges’ public relations screeds– they have no intention of backing their much avowed orthodoxy up with real deeds. I am relieved that my own college has not tried to manipulate its constituency with a stream of ‘look how Adventist we are…’. Instead, we are just quietly going about the business of Christian education by actually using the Bible to help our students resist and over-come the secular onslaught. Sincerely, Karl G. Wilcox, Dept. of English, Southwestern Adventist University




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  52. I just wanted to say, that our schools are suppose to be Christian Adventist Schools, so why do you we need to teach what the world believes?
    The way they KNOW a false bill of money, is they study the true so well, they know the false easily… why can’t our schools teach the true so well, the false will be easy to see????
    Just a thought.




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  53. @ Bub

    Hint – 1. You are listing universities I attended and claiming that I don’t know what they teach.

    How many decades ago? Did you take a class from even one current professor? Do you even know the names of the current faculty without rushing to their website?

    Hint – 2. You are ignoring the fact that LSU is on record with published statements – reposted on this very board, that some of their evolutionist material is coming from the same texts books used in all of our SDA universities.

    Yes, your schools use the very same texts. I have no doubt of that. But do they teach all the chapters and topics in those texts? Teachers routinely omit material (as you must surely know). I don’t think you know what they teach because you haven’t taken classes there recently and have not seen their syllabi.

    Hint – 3. Many of the schools listed are also listed on this web site with their position statements.

    Since these schools and their faculty are unwilling to participate here–obviously–perhaps you can show us their position statements to support your claim that Southern and Southwestern or others teach evolution. I’d like to see your facts.

    At some point you will need to argue your wild accusations from known fact if you expect to be taken seriously. I bet you didn’t know this.

    Here are a few facts for you: I have a physician friend who took biology at SAU in the late 1980s and he tells me they completely skipped the evolution chapters in General Biology and he learned nothing at all about evolution. He felt woefully unprepared to deal with issues subsequently, and he resents not learning more then (by the way, he has abandoned the traditional SDA view, which is sad in my opinion). My wife also has several nieces who attended SAU in the past 5 years. They were non-science majors but were required to take science courses (as all students in the U.S. are). Apparently they learned nothing about evolutionary theory and feel woefully uninformed about “all the ruckus” this website delves into. I bet you knew all this.




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  54. Karl, how many years ago was that? Was homosexuality actually being advocated (“open advocacy of homosexuality” in your words) or was it merely a message of tolerance instead of condemnation?




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  55. @Shane Hilde:

    So you are going to judge an institution on a single lecture? I pray for you that you are not judged on a single event in your life, but rather your capability as a person. Although at present I certainly have my doubts. In addition, we are warned as Christians not to take scripture out of context, why would you do the same to a Christian academic course? We all make mistakes Shane, its ok. You and your cronies messed up. Its all right. And like I said, I pay a pretty penny to have access to course materials here, if you would like that, get out your check book. People these days, they are so cheap.




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  56. @Karl G. Wilcox:

    Hey Wilcox, take your homosexual issues ELSEWHERE. I am glad you left this school. How dare you as a Christian shun a student who is homosexual. Christ associated with ALL people, and you should too. Unless you would like to reignite the Nazi party. I am disgusted by your comment.




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  57. It is becoming increasingly obvious that those advocating greater “tolerance” for theistic evolution and similar errors in our schools, have little or no regard for the teachings of Scripture in the broadest sense. Like the literal creation week and the universal Flood in Noah’s day, the Biblical doctrine of human sexuality is clear in both Old and New Testaments. Homosexual behavior is sinful–like fornication, adultery, incest, and similar departures from the divine plan. That is the teaching of God’s Word, without ambiguity or qualification. Yet it seems there are participants in this conversation who are oblivious to these very plain Biblical teachings, or at least appear to treat them with astonishing indifference.

    This is the challenge God’s church is presently facing. Those calling for unfettered “tolerance” and “academic freedom” in our schools give increasing evidence that there is practically no variation from Bible truth, or perhaps none at all, which they think the church has the right to forbid within its ranks. If such clearly unscriptural, unchristian ideas as evolution and homosexuality are to be permitted within the church, where would these “tolerance” purveyors set limits? Nowhere? What if a likable, charismatic religion professor in one of our schools suddenly declared himself an atheist? Would the permissive ones among us defend “academic freedom” for him as well?

    Make no mistake about it. What we presently see in the so-called “progressive” circles of our church is not only a repudiation of Adventism, but of Christianity as well.

    God bless!

    Pastor Kevin Paulson




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  58. @ Sean Hilde

    Despite how the information may be presented in other courses does not change the way in which this particular lecture. At this point the professor and PUC do not want to divulge the information on their other classes, so we’re left with the bad egg class.

    Hm, you openly slandered an institution and its professor and ignored rebuttals from hundreds of students and alumni, posted a video out of context illegally, and questioned the faith of one of the most faithful men on campus – and you honestly wonder why the professor and PUC have decided not to “divulge” any information?




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  59. Pastor Paulson, you forgot to mention that fornication, adultery, lying, stealing and sabbath-breaking also should not be permitted within the church, especially by those working on the church’s dime.




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  60. I began teaching at PUC 20 years ago(1990-1994). It is an ‘open secret’, among those of us who have taught at PUC in that period and later, that the Psychology department advocates homosexuality as a perfectly moral and acceptable lifestyle within the frameword of a Christian lifestyle. I have no reason to think that this position has changed. If it has, then I would welcome the news!

    As I mentioned before, this stance was public knowledge at PUC. The message, as I heard it, did not advocate ‘tolerance’ as in be patient with homosexuals as fellow sinners, rather it published the view that homosexuality is not a sin. This was very clearly stated in a public debate. The argument made by the pro-gay contingent was as follows: ‘the sin of Sodom was not homosexuality, rather it was the sin of inhospitality’– when Scriptural arguments were brought to bear on this bogus interpretation, I was told merely that, “You have your [biblical] experts and we have ours”. In short, the Bible can be read to mean whatever your preferred set of experts want it to mean. This obscure debate at PUC should have set in motion a real fire storm of commentary, but it did not. That may well be the real crisis– not the maverick sceptics who teach at our colleges, but the spineless, comfort loving constituencies that really could care less what is taught.

    I am still puzzled by why La Sierra has been such a target while PUC remains relatively unscathed. I suspect most Adventists really are afraid to open up the homosexual debate– it seems better to just ignore it (maybe it will go away). Meanwhile, an entire of generation of PUC students has been taught that homosexuality is not a sin.

    I recall a particularly heated moment in the office of the PUC president (circa 1991) when I asked him how he would face the Judgment knowing that under his watch a professor had taught Adventist students that homosexuality is not a sin. He deftly changed the subject. When I insisted he answer my question, he refused on the grounds that these rumors had reached him before, but they had not been able to prove the charges. But within that same year, he attended the debate where those views were made public.

    I am not one of those who treats homosexuals with cruelty. In fact, I work with my students who struggle with this particular sin to understand that, like all sins, it’s power can be broken (and I have seen homosexuals fully recover their God-given sexuality). I am afraid that while we debate Creation vs. Evolution, we allow a far more dangerous foe to establish himself in our church– I mean nothing less than the secular drive to make homosexuality respectable. How many of us have become dupes of the gay propaganda to the extent that we remain silent on this issue out of either ignorance or fear? Sodom was not destroyed for its Darwinism…

    A parting anecdote from my PUC years sort of embodies all that I found wrong with the place… in a particular course that I team taught called “Classical World” we discussed St. Augustine’s Confessions. I don’t recall how we got to it, but I happened to mention that Adventists, of course, did not agree Augustine on the doctrine of the Immortality of the Soul. To my surprise, I found that most of my honors students (all products of SDA Academies) actually agreed with Augustine on this point. My fellow professor (it was a team taught course) found no reason to admonish the class. Of course, I did! I asked one girl how she had arrived at so unbiblical a conclusion, her response was amazing: “Well, I just have a hard time believing that I can ever really die”. In the end about 2/3 of the class adopted a perfectly Roman position on the destiny of their Adventist souls! Remarkable? Not really, especially if you know something of the post-modern mind. It is not just that Adventist teachers have advocated error, although that does happen, it is also the case that they have not refused it either. It amounts to much the same thing in the end.




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  61. Karl, how many years ago was that? Was homosexuality actually being advocated (“open advocacy of homosexuality” in your words) or was it merely a message of tolerance instead of condemnation?  (Quote)

    @Eddie: Yes, Eddie. It’s still being taught and promoted. It’s no secret.

    @Karl G. Wilcox: Hey Wilcox, take your homosexual issues ELSEWHERE. I am glad you left this school. How dare you as a Christian shun a student who is homosexual. Christ associated with ALL people, and you should too. Unless you would like to reignite the Nazi party. I am disgusted by your comment.  (Quote)

    @Mary Jane: Jesus welcomed all sinners. But He also told them to go and sin no more. And if they refused to stop sinning, He still loved them more than ever, even with tears in His eyes for their refusal to accept Him.




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  62. Dear Karl:

    I truly appreciate your clarity and your speaking from the heart as you have. PUC is my alma mater also. And the things you have described I have heard described by a number of credible eyewitnesses. This climate of doctrinal indifference and postmodern spirituality, in which any and all viewpoints are given equal value (except of course those actually challenging the undergirding mindset of these folks), is a scandal of unapralleled proportions.

    You are so right about constituents and school administrators turning a blind eye. I can only hope this is now starting to change, with the agitation of those like the organizers of this Web site, and the tone set by our new General Conference President.

    I truly believe, however, that the real root of this tragedy is not so much postmodernism as those popular theories of salvation in modern Adventism which have devalued the necessity of correct doctrine and practical holiness. Once salvation is seen to be secure apart from correct belief and a godly life, once we accept the lie that error and sin are the unavoidable companions of even the sanctified believer, it became inevitable that erroneous worldviews and sinful practices would become less and less offensive in the church.

    We need a thorough revival and a thorough reformation, and a consequently thorough cleansing of the ranks. I have been studying lately the Bible stories of revival and reformation in the faith community. Believe me, the process was never a feel-good, everybody-come-together-unconditionally type of event. False worship was destroyed. Wrong practices were condemned and expelled from the camp. Apart from such real-life consequences, these cherished words become just another empty slogan.

    Thanks again, Karl, for your candor.

    God bless!

    Pastor Kevin Paulson




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  63. @ Karl G. Wilcox and Kevin Paulson

    It’s truly convenient to dichotomize sexuality as male and female. But actually believing in this reflects total ignorance.

    What would you guys say if your daughter lacked male genitalia, was raised to believe she was a female, was attracted to and had sex with other women, and then learned in her thirties that she actually had testicles inside her body? This is a condition that happens more often than you would like to think. Would you have rejected your “daughter” and condemned her for all those years as being a sinner who paid no heed to the Bible? So what is your daughter: a man? a woman? And with whom would it be “Biblical” to have sex with: a man? a woman?

    Mismatches between external genitalia, internal ducts, internal gonads, and chromosomes (x,y) are hardly rare. And mismatches between these sex tissues/organs and the regions of the brain that process sexual identity are undoubtedly much more common. Accumulating evidence suggests that various toxins (called endocrine disrupters) are increasing these problems in our general populace.

    If you truly believe you know with certainty that a man is a man and that a woman is a woman, and that God needs you to tell us all exactly what he accepts and rejects, then preach on, brother. And if some of us think that Jesus would just as soon defend a homosexual as a prostitute, go right ahead and condemn us. We will take our chances in meeting God face to face.

    He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ – Matthew 24:45




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  64. @Student said:

    Hm, you openly slandered an institution and its professor and ignored rebuttals from hundreds of students and alumni, posted a video out of context illegally, and questioned the faith of one of the most faithful men on campus – and you honestly wonder why the professor and PUC have decided not to “divulge” any information?

    You accuse me of slander, yet offer no proof of any statement that I’ve made that has been shown false. The “rebuttals” of PUC students weren’t actually rebuttals to the published statements of Educate Truth. Most of them were fluff about what a great teacher he was and how he believed in this and that, all of which was irrelevant to the point Educate Truth was making in the first place.

    The video was not posted out of context. That argue is pure boloney and here’s why. The video records 41 minutes of a 50 minute class. The class ended with a 5 min. devotional. leaving about 4 minutes for introductions ect. Students were told that Ness would be talking about creation/evolution as it pertains to our beliefs. What is the secret information that was absent from the video that totally changes the following statements Ness made.

    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.”

    I could almost care less about what Ness’s faith is, these types of issues are red herrings. The big PROBLEM is the 41 minutes of BUT, BUT, BUT. There was no lecture before this presenting the evidence and there has been no lecture since to counter the presentation, nor is there any known plan to do so in the future. It was a one sided presentation of doubt.

    Now I’ve actually provided you proof for my position from Ness himself. Do you have any examples where he teaches a global flood, recent creation, etc?




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  65. @Mary A. Jane said:

    So you are going to judge an institution on a single lecture? I pray for you that you are not judged on a single event in your life, but rather your capability as a person. Although at present I certainly have my doubts. In addition, we are warned as Christians not to take scripture out of context, why would you do the same to a Christian academic course? We all make mistakes Shane, its ok. You and your cronies messed up. Its all right. And like I said, I pay a pretty penny to have access to course materials here, if you would like that, get out your check book. People these days, they are so cheap.

    I’m not sure how you jumped to the conclusion that I was judging PUC based on one lecture. We’re not talking about judgment in regard to salvation. If the Coke employee is fired for promoting Pepsi (or insinuating doubt about the quality of Coke) on company time, should he not be judged according to company policy?

    Again, how was the lecture taken out of context? What about the absent context changed anything Ness said?




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  66. I have read all that La Sierra has had to say on this topic. They waiver between opinions, trying to please both God and the world. Yet rather than address the issue head-on, they have spoken ill of Educate Truth.com and blamed it for the problems that they are facing. La Sierra has much more to say about this website than it has to say about the very fact that its teachers in the biology and religion departments routinely cut down the church.

    As I have said before, I believe that those who started Educate Truth have a prophetic message for the church, not in the sense of foretelling the future, but in the sense of correcting its path. Educate Truth is not troubling the University, but rather the University has troubled the University.

    I’m reminded of a passage from 1 Kings 18:

    17And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel?

    18And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and thou hast followed Baalim. 19Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel’s table.

    Those who are speaking for truth here have had a global effect on the church. These are those who are speaking forth the Three Angels messages and boldly proclaiming that God created the Heavens and the Earth by the very power of His word. They are the modern day John the Baptists saying make straight the paths and get ready for the King of Glory to return.

    Do not underestimate the Power that is behind their message because after decades of decay, decades of worshiping the idols and at the high places, the church is finally finding its way back to the God of all Creation.

    God is also calling on those who teach religion to come back to the truths upon which His Church was founded and to abandon the popular forms of higher criticism. Let preachers come out from La Sierra no longer conforming to the world but rather transforming the world through the Power of the Holy Spirit.

    We are entering a tremendous time on earth and every last teacher and student at the university is being called for a Higher Purpose today. This website is just the beginning.

    Martin Luther ignited the Reformation through the small act of nailing a document on a door. Those who started this website have ignited a new Reformation that will prepare God’s people for what is to come.

    Do not underestimate this work. Join this work and be transformed by the renewing of your mind. God is Great and His Praise fills the temple.




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  67. The comments from Dr. Ness quoted by Shane Hilde could hardly be more innocuous. What I would like to understand is why no one here has explained WHY the introductory remarks were excised? H-e-l-l-o?!!!




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  68. I have to admit that I love the Coke/Pepsi analogy. Imagine this:

    A Coke manager stands up and says in the midst of a major meeting, “By the 1980s, Pepsi was found by independent surveys to taste better than Coke. And Pepsi was, by then, selling more units than we were. Could it be that Pepsi tastes better? Could it be that they still sell more units? How do we respond to these concerns?” He then sits down while the meeting continues with various presentations about old and new marketing strategies.

    And then the guy gets fired because he didn’t immediately add, “But we know from the original Coke formula that our taste absolutely must be superior to that of Pepsi. The inventor himself made this clear from his own unbiased objective taste trials. What is it about the ingredients that you don’t understand? You simply cannot trust those independent surveys and marketing analyses; they were all based on “junk science” conducted by scientists who tried to dupe the public and were duped themselves instead. Colin Patterson himself said he liked Coke more than Pepsi. You can rest assured that the weight of evidence unmistakably shows that Coke is superior. We will never be overtaken by Pepsi, and any employee who even suggests otherwise while on the company’s nickle is a thief, stealing from the company. You must report him! But not to management; you must go online immediately, otherwise he will undermine Coke’s 28 fundamental marketing strategies (which numbered 27 in the 1980s) and cause thousands of our young Coke drinkers, with inquiring minds who want to know, to switch to Pepsi.”

    By the way, I prefer Pepsi. Diet and caffeine-free, preferably.




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  69. Karl G. Wilcox says:
    November 15, 2010 I began teaching at PUC 20 years ago(1990-1994). …

    In short, the Bible can be read to mean whatever your preferred set of experts want it to mean. This obscure debate at PUC should have set in motion a real fire storm of commentary, but it did not. That may well be the real crisis– not the maverick sceptics who teach at our colleges, but the spineless, comfort loving constituencies that really could care less what is taught.
    I am still puzzled by why La Sierra has been such a target while PUC remains relatively unscathed.

    I recall a particularly heated moment in the office of the PUC president (circa 1991) when I asked him how he would face the Judgment knowing that under his watch a professor had taught … He deftly changed the subject. When I insisted he answer my question, he refused on the grounds that these rumors had reached him before, but they had not been able to prove the charges. But within that same year, he attended the debate where those views were made public.

    … I am afraid that while we debate Creation vs. Evolution, we allow a far more dangerous foe to establish himself in our church– …

    A parting anecdote from my PUC years sort of embodies all that I found wrong with the place… in a particular course that I team taught called “Classical World” we discussed St. Augustine’s Confessions. I don’t recall how we got to it, but I happened to mention that Adventists, of course, did not agree Augustine on the doctrine of the Immortality of the Soul. To my surprise, I found that most of my honors students (all products of SDA Academies) actually agreed with Augustine on this point. My fellow professor (it was a team taught course) found no reason to admonish the class. Of course, I did! I asked one girl how she had arrived at so unbiblical a conclusion, her response was amazing: “Well, I just have a hard time believing that I can ever really die”. In the end about 2/3 of the class adopted a perfectly Roman position on the destiny of their Adventist souls! Remarkable? Not really, especially if you know something of the post-modern mind. It is not just that Adventist teachers have advocated error, although that does happen, it is also the case that they have not refused it either. It amounts to much the same thing in the end.

    Karl I am truly sad to see this reported about PUC. You are right that neither the constituency of PUC nor this Web Site appears to have either been fully informed about events at PUC or those who were informed did not make this information public knowledge.

    As the details surrounding LSU have become more generally known – it has become abundantly clear that the evolution problem at LSU did not “surface in the last two years”. In fact it appears to have been a totally unchecked wild fire for many years before you hear a peep about it from a site like Educate Truth and even then it only happens because an LSU student caught in the middle of it – gathers evidence and dares to publish it — and then a web site starts up – daring to publish the details. And of course getting that message out was not inhindered at all by LSU’s Prof Bradley basically admitting in print that they were doing the very thing that the LSU students complained about.

    Recall that when this web site first started one of the most common objections to what was posted were of the form “you guys accuse LSU of teaching evolutionism and they do not — how dare you”.

    In fact as recently as August LSU published to the entire GC session in Atlanta the idea that they are NOT promoting evolution at LSU.

    From: http://www.educatetruth.com/la-sierra-evidence/lsu-pr-department-vs-lsu-biology-professors/comment-page-1/

    This is an excerpt from a handout being passed out at the LSU booth at the GC Session:

    “Our biology curriculum offers a selection of classes with both breadth and depth. It should be pointed out that the theory of evolution is discussed, but not promoted, at La Sierra University.

    And now “innexplicably” we have the WASC arguing that LSU should be allowed to continue promoting evolutionism in their science classes – unhindered – or else LSU will get sanctioned. How odd to say that about an institution that supposedly is not promoting evolutionism in their science classes!!

    If the details that you have mentioned above are accurate then your conclusion is just and accurate as well. But what we have in the case of LSU is such a bold defiance and public record regading the same, that even the blind should have been able to “get the point” by now. This is not a case of sharp keen insight in detecting a flaw on the part of EducateTruth. It is a case of a totally out-of-control in-the-press video-taped, documented promotion of what 3SG90-91 calls “something really wrong” (to paraphrase) that one has to be almost dead not to get the point, even from a few thousand miles away.

    In the details you provide about PUC – it is clear that staff and constituents in that area who are informed of the facts are without excuse for remaining silent and covering up anything that is more than incidental or anecdotal. But in the case of LSU the problem has gone to such excess that the entire NAD is easily “accountable” if we do not speak up.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  70. Kent – hint: SAU’s Dr. Spencer gave a presentation this year at the GC session stating the facts well from the POV of the SAU biology department.

    I talked to him after the session – you are welcome to do the same if you really want to be informed instead of just making wild accusations on a whole list of points that you now appear to say you know nothing about. (If you want to be taken seriously on those wild accusations you need something like facts – not wild speculation.)

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  71. The comments from Dr. Ness quoted by Shane Hilde could hardly be more innocuous. What I would like to understand is why no one here has explained WHY the introductory remarks were excised? H-e-l-l-o?!!!

    Another facinating accusation – claiming to know that EducateTruth received a 50 minute video and then cut it down to 40 minutes.

    Critical thinking is not as dead here as Kent appears to have imagined when making that kind of hollow accusation.

    Ok – now let us stop and ask the question – why is it that empty factless accusation after empty-sidetrail-accusation is the modus operandi for critiquing anyone who dares to report what happened in that talk to the theology students?

    We get non-stop form-over-function and style-over-substance nipping at the heels for this topic from those wanting to defend the lecture but never anything of substance deailing with the details that appear on the tape.

    Surely you do not imagine that this is really helping?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  72. @Professor Kent: I did some digging and found out the following. The student was not anticipating recording the class at all, but as soon as he heard in the intro that Ness would be speaking about creation/evolution he pulled out his phone to record the lecture. And like I’ve said before we’re only missing about 4 minutes from the beginning, and roughly 5 min. from the end, which was composed of a devotional.

    I would encourage every student who hears objectionable material being presented in our schools to document it.

    I’ve still heard no argument about how the absent 4 min. (or less) introduction changes the meaning of the presentation. Interestingly enough next to no one actually wants to address the content of the lecture. All the arguments center around “out of context,” he believes this or that, he’s a good teacher, he’s a good man, etc. While the context argument has been shown to be baloney, the others are just irrelevant to the issue.

    The presentation did nothing but convey doubt with no hope that what we believed had any bearing in reality.




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  73. Shane, what was the purpose of the “apology” in the first place? Are you feeling smug or contrite about publicly criticising a fellow Christian’s character on the world wide web? Are you proud of what you are doing? Do you honestly feel that this is God’s calling for your life? Are you confident that the leaders of the SDA Church are pleased with your efforts? Are you confident that God will approve of what you have done when the time of judgment comes?




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  74. @ Shane Hilde

    I’ve still heard no argument about how the absent 4 min. (or less) introduction changes the meaning of the presentation. Interestingly enough next to no one actually wants to address the content of the lecture.

    What was Dr. Ness asked to present about? What was the purpose of his presentation that was conveyed to the audience? Was the audience told that he would be presenting some difficult science issues that they would need to think these through on their own? The problem remains: context, context, context.

    And you are wrong. The content of the lecture has been addressed ad nauseum. The science he provided to the students presents some very thorny issues for the SDA position on origins. His statements were absolutely correct. As I and others pointed out on the original thread, there is not a shred of evidence that a global flood at one time covered every piece of real estate on this planet. Not a shred! Not even Sean was able to contradict this. To believe that the flood covered the entire earth requires faith–and you guys are actually outraged at this position! Incomprehensible! What weak faith our believers must have to insist that “overwhelming evidence” supports it all!




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  75. “they just don’t seem to get that Adventist students can handle a whole fifty minute lecture on science without a Bible study tacked on at the end.”

    And herein lies the trouble with Adventist Education.

    When we begin to make excuses for stepping out and away from scripture. There was a day when “Sola Scriptura” meant something within the Advnetist church and it’s schools.

    While tradition is never good to cling to simply to cling to it, doctrine and Biblical teachings are not merely tradition.

    The idea that we can study any content or subject outside of scripture and remain Seventh-day Adventists just proves how very un-Adventist we have truly become.




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  76. Emk

    The idea that we can study any content or subject outside of scripture and remain Seventh-day Adventists just proves how very un-Adventist we have truly become.

    Does that mean I should stop reading Ellen White? All newspapers? Even Educate Truth?




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  77. @Professor Kent:

    As I and others pointed out on the original thread, there is not a shred of evidence that a global flood at one time covered every piece of real estate on this planet. Not a shred! Not even Sean was able to contradict this.

    This is ridiculous. The geologic column and fossil records provide a great deal of evidence in support of a truly worldwide Flood of magnificent proportions that is quite consistent with and strongly supportive of the Biblical account of the Noachian Flood that killed all land animal life on Earth save that on the Ark.

    To believe that the flood covered the entire earth requires faith–and you guys are actually outraged at this position! Incomprehensible! What weak faith our believers must have to insist that “overwhelming evidence” supports it all!

    No one has conclusive evidence. However, we do have the significant weight of evidence. Science isn’t based on demonstrating absolute certainty, but on the demonstration of the greatest predictive value of one hypothesis/theory vs. the other alternatives. That is why there is always a leap of faith that is required in science before one particular hypothesis can be held up as the “most reliable” by anyone.

    So, what is the best conclusion that can be made regarding the universal Flood theory? As far as I can tell, the very best available evidence strongly favors the Biblical record of the worldwide Noachian Flood…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  78. @Eddie:

    Shane, what was the purpose of the “apology” in the first place? Are you feeling smug or contrite about publicly criticising a fellow Christian’s character on the world wide web? Are you proud of what you are doing? Do you honestly feel that this is God’s calling for your life? Are you confident that the leaders of the SDA Church are pleased with your efforts? Are you confident that God will approve of what you have done when the time of judgment comes?  (Quote)

    How do you suggest the lay people handle such a situation? Ignore it? A popular trend in this age is to condemn those who condemn the sin. I’d like to point out that the judgment is not only going to bring to light the things we’ve done, but also the things we’ve neglected to do. Since you ask Shane about his confidence when standing before the judgment seat of God, I assume that you have likewise examined yourself to see if you’d stand confident before this same judgment for not standing for truth.

    When church leadership neglects to do its duty, then the laity become accomplices to this sin if they stand by and do nothing. It takes more courage to stand for truth than it does to accept the status quo. If you have a better way of dealing with the situation, please let us know. But all I’m hearing are excuses and indignation for calling sin by its name. The Lord will not be mocked.

    We’d learn more about dealing with apostasy from Biblical precedence, but more and more it seems to me that either people don’t read their Bibles, or they no longer regard God’s word as authoritative. Exodus 32 and 1 Kings 16-18 is a good place to start. God’s word should never take a back seat to our opinion. But when it does, it’s to our own peril. I personally would LOVE to find a better way to deal with the crisis in our church…and I mean to REALLY deal with the issue. We can already see that this crisis of origins is going to reverberate more and more across the church and cause a seismic split. There’s no way to reconcile truth with error; it must separate.




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  79. @Johnny Vance:

    I assume that you have likewise examined yourself to see if you’d stand confident before this same judgment for not standing for truth.

    What makes you think I haven’t stood for the truth? I’ve stated multiple times what I believe. I have always been opposed to professors undermining SDA beliefs. I am also opposed to public criticism of fellow Christians. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

    If you have a better way of dealing with the situation, please let us know.

    Matthew 18, the SDA Church Manual and various writings of Ellen White explicitly state how to deal with the situation. Others have already quoted them, so I won’t parrot them. What would the church be like if every pastor followed the example of Educate Truth and blogged about the sins of individual church members or other pastors? Why is it that no administrator of the union, division or General Conference is posting comments here?




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  80. @Eddie
    @Eddie:

    Thank you for your response. I suppose I’m a bit confused by your denunciation of Educate Truth whilst saying that professors shouldn’t undermine SDA beliefs. From what I’ve seen, Educate Truth has focused on the evidence presented from the video and has refused to go beyond that. As for Matthew 18, isn’t that referring to private sins? Did Ellen White make a mistake and break Matthew 18 when she publicly appealed for parents to NOT send their children to Battle Creek?

    Educate Truth is not blogging about private sins of individual members. It’s addressing public positions taken in a public forum. Many people have tried for years to address the problems in our schools behind closed doors, including many young students. They’ve been ignored. At what point do we STOP keeping the church laity in the dark about the going-ons in our schools? Are you advocating continuing the same fruitless efforts as before? Our institutions MUST be transparent.

    I’d also have to disagree with you on another key point: equating the criticism of an individual’s stance–an individual who represents the Adventist church–with the condemnation of the person. If the Bible clearly says that exhibit A is wrong, and that exhibit B is the way to go, it doesn’t mean you don’t love the person when you point them back to scripture’s declaration. If the church can’t have this discussion then nothing will get done. The church public needs to know what’s going on, because, after all, it is their children they are entrusting to our institutions, funded to a large part by their money. It’s only fair.

    Now, if individuals and whole institutions in our church refuse to correct themselves–as is the case–then inevitably their refusal to disassociate themselves from their errors will obligate us to address the issue with their names attached. Hence we have Dr. Ness and PUC brought into the spotlight along with Adventist education in general.

    I will venture to guess that maybe a few people from the Union, NAD and GC have commented on here under a pseudonym for obvious political reasons. Note as well that none has openly declared an opposition to the work of Educate Truth. My question to you is still this: how do you propose we handle the situation? (Matthew 18 is not addressing an institutional problem). Hiding it from the public is not the way to go. Closed-doors diplomacy has failed. Public scrutiny seems to be the only catalyst to true reform, because now there’s no denying the nature of the beast.




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  81. Just to clarify the following statement: “From what I’ve seen, Educate Truth has focused on the evidence presented from the video and has refused to go beyond that.”

    Educate Truth has addressed the issue in light of the evidence without resorting to deviating into an attack on Dr. Ness’s character. I’m sure Billy Graham is also a nice guy, but I would not see it as an attack on his character nor would I hesitate to stand for the Biblical Sabbath if the situation presented itself.




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  82. “Does that mean I should stop reading Ellen White? All newspapers? Even Educate Truth?”

    Nicely done! That is not what was said or suggested. Rather when we discuss Adventist Education and the teachings within the context of Adventist Education, the statement remains truth.

    IF we are not reading everything in conjuction with scripture then we are less than we claim to be. The comment was made that we can somehow separate our lives and our schools and separate their instruction from scripture.

    As true Seventh-day Adventists and true Christians, that cannot be the case. Want to be a nominal Adventist or a pew-warming Christian, then stop framing what we believe in with the scriptures.

    Like it or not, the truth of the matter is that this entire discussion boils down to a matter of loyalty. Creeping compromise has found it’s way into our churches, our schools and our homes. We are so afraid of scaring off members of our congregations and people who might come under conviction that we are unwilling to stand for anything.

    This has turned into a major issue in regards to our doctrine.

    IF we believe that we can teach any educational course in any Seventh-day Adventist institution outside of scripture we are sadly mistaken. And IF we do not begin to stand as Adventist institutions then there is truly no purpose for our existance in the field of academia.




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  83. @Professor Kent:

    What was Dr. Ness asked to present about? What was the purpose of his presentation that was conveyed to the audience? Was the audience told that he would be presenting some difficult science issues that they would need to think these through on their own? The problem remains: context, context, context.

    There is a difference between presenting information and presenting it as if it were true minus any counter information.

    The science he presents is only thorny if you assume it to be true, which he does. Ultimately, much of this controversy centers in world-views or presuppositions. I believe the Bible offers the best explanation of reality, and from what I’ve seen every other worldview is self-refuting and irrational.




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  84. @Eddie: I’m astounded by your consistent reference to alleged judgements on Ness’s character. Where did I or Sean criticize his character? Please point me to the statements and I will retract. It was never my intent to address Ness’s character, but you and other’s insist that I have done so. Now show me where I have done so, and I will apologize for I did not intend to attack his character at all.




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  85. Bob Ryan wrote

    Another facinating accusation – claiming to know that EducateTruth received a 50 minute video and then cut it down to 40 minutes.
    Critical thinking is not as dead here as Kent appears to have imagined when making that kind of hollow accusation.

    I never claimed this. Period.




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  86. @ Sean Pitman

    This is ridiculous. The geologic column and fossil records provide a great deal of evidence in support of a truly worldwide Flood of magnificent proportions that is quite consistent with and strongly supportive of the Biblical account of the Noachian Flood that killed all land animal life on Earth save that on the Ark.

    This is ridiculous. You haven’t even made an attempt to tell us how the evidence we see today would suggest 100% of land coverage versus 95% or even 65%. You make up your reassurances, Sean, because you know the evidence is not there. If it is, then come clean and tell us how we have even one iota of evidence that allows us distinguish between 100% and 95% coverage of land. Tell us! Inquiring minds want to know! Let us in on your secret! We all want to believe in evidence like you!




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  87. @Professor Kent: I think fundamentally the alleged lack of evidence issue is a worldview issue. For example, a creationist will present evidence for a worldwide flood; however, the evolutionist will view the evidence through his own glasses (worldview) and vice versa. In the end, most people aren’t convinced by evidence, but when their worldview is shown to be irrational. For example, there are certain things you would not expect to be true in the Bible assuming you believe a god used evolutionary mechanisms to “form” life as we see it today. Or why would you expect to experience laws of logic, objective moral truth, or uniformity in nature if evolutionary theory were true in regard to origins.




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  88. @Eddie: I’m astounded by your consistent reference to alleged judgements on Ness’s character. Where did I or Sean criticize his character? Please point me to the statements and I will retract. It was never my intent to address Ness’s character, but you and other’s insist that I have done so. Now show me where I have done so, and I will apologize for I did not intend to attack his character at all.  (Quote)

    Let me see if I can add some clarity to this, if possible. First, let’s be sure we are all talking about the same thing. According to the OED “character is “The estimate formed of a person’s qualities; reputation: when used without qualifying epithet implying ‘favourable estimate, good repute.’”

    Given this definition I don’t see how the accusations against Ness don’t constitute attacks against his character. In fact I would characterize what has happened at Educate Truth as character assassination, given that not only has his character been attacked, it was initially done without him being informed. Now, granted, Shane, you may not have participated in the attacks at quite the same level or rigor as others here, but you are the one who runs the web site, so if you see others attacking Ness’ character I would think you should at least speak up a little. Complicity is typically considered the same as actually doing the attacking.

    What you don’t know, and were apparently too much in hurry to get this process going to check, is that he has a reputation among a wide number of people, many of them former students, of course, and others from churches at which he has spoken in defense of creationism. He is considered well-informed on the topic and an extremely tactful person when dealing with the issues with SDAs and non-SDAs alike.

    An case in point is a friend of mine who took a few classes from Ness when he was a student at PUC. At the time, this student characterized himself as essentially an atheist. He also told me that when he took his first class from Ness (in which he discovered ahead of time that the topics of creation/evolution would be covered) he went into the class with a rather arrogant attitude and planned to challenge Ness on the creation stuff. He told me, though, that Ness was so respectful toward him, even when it was evident that he was an atheist, that he ended up respecting Ness. This, in spite of the fact that it was clear to him Ness believed in the SDA positions on creation. The last I talked with him, he said Ness was one of the few creationists he could really respect, because Ness knew both sides of the issue very well, and still convinced him that a person can be intellectually honest and a creationist and a scientist at the same time.

    So, before you claim to have not attacked his character, consider this. Others who may only know of Ness by his reputation may now doubt whether they can trust his judgment. Those who have known him from past classes or sermons at their church may now wonder whether Ness has somehow fallen by the way into Satan’s territory. Of course, it is possible that he has, but based on the scant evidence of a 40 minute video it is arrogant conjecture to make many of the accusations that have been flying around here.

    Now, if I may be so bold as to preempt the likely rejoinder that, if only Ness would record a few of his lectures and send them to Educate Truth along with some syllabi and lecture notes, then we can clear this all up. Are you kidding? Maybe he feels no need to defend himself to you guys, given the well-established reputation that you have been openly attacking. I know I wouldn’t want to send you guys anything. And knowing what I know of Ness, he is too busy doing God’s work to be bothered with what may be useless attempts to change your minds anyway.

    If you honestly can say you have not attacked Ness’ character, then so be it. I see no need to further belabor the point. I will simply leave it between you and God. He’s much better at judging these things than me anyway.




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  89. @ Johnny Vance

    As for Matthew 18, isn’t that referring to private sins?

    Jesus taught that the 10 commandments are much broader than mere meaning of words. “Murder” has a broader meaning than simply killing someone. “Adultery” has a broader meaning than having sex with someone other one’s spouse. To claim that Matthew 18 is policy only, with very restricted meaning, rather than principle to be applied to all disagreements is hiding behind words, much as the pharisees did. It’s legalism.

    The SDA Church Manual applies Matthew 18 in a very general sense when it comes to dealing with differences among Church members. The Manual leaves no room to doubt how the official SDA Church interprets Matthew 18. Here are some actual statements:

    The same principles that influence resolution of differences among members apply to the settlement of grievances of members against church organizations and institutions.

    At such times, church administrators must, in Christian forbearance, keep in mind the biblical counsel for settling disputes among Christians and apply that counsel to the settlement of grievances of the church against its members.”

    I implore EducateTruthers to reconsider the vigilante attitude displayed here and to apply Matthew 18 to the fullest extent possible. Stop undermining the fundamental tenets of Jesus and the official position of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.




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  90. @Mary A. Jane said:I’m not sure how you jumped to the conclusion that I was judging PUC based on one lecture. We’re not talking about judgment in regard to salvation. If the Coke employee is fired for promoting Pepsi (or insinuating doubt about the quality of Coke) on company time, should he not be judged according to company policy?Again, how was the lecture taken out of context? What about the absent context changed anything Ness said?  

    I agree, you aren’t judging PUC in regards to Salvation. You are judging its ability as an Adventist institution. Coke and Pepsi aside, I would like to keep the argument to why you think that this out of context video on a single lecture in a series insinuates that PUC promotes evolution? Where did you get that idea? Did someone here tell you that is what PUC does? I am just unsure how you, without any idea of what is really going on thinks he has the right to decide the teaching motives of this school. My faith has only been led stronger by similar discussions in Ness’s courses where he seemingly argues for evolution, and then completely dispels these ideas. Its a pity that camera phone didn’t have more memory… Oh wait, since we are ALL about fact finding, what size memory card did the student use? I highly doubt he had an iPhone since AT&T does no provide service here. Most phones do not come equipped with a memory card to hold a video of 42 minutes. And the quality of that video seems pretty darn good. Shall we try again as to how this video was obtained?




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  91. @Mary A. Jane: I’m sure that the governing body would not knowingly promote evolution at PUC, and from my limited understanding of the biology department it is no where near what the biology department at LSU is like. Keep in mind that one doesn’t necessarily have to embrace the whole of evolutionary theory in order to undermine the Bible. Any time a class casts doubt on the historicity of the Bible, it is undermining the authority of it. When a professor essentially says there is no good evidence for your faith in a worldwide flood, I’m concerned. And this wasn’t done under the guise of devil’s advocate. He really meant what he said.

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

    (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.”

    I don’t think I’ve said anything about the teaching motives of the school as a whole. If I have, please point me to where I said so. If Ness does “seemingly” argue for evolution and then completely dispels evolutionary ideas in other classes then I am very happy. For some reason this did not happen in the lecture we saw, nor did it happen in a lecture prior nor since then. Perhaps there are plans to do so in the future.

    This silly business about At&T reception is a red herring. I didn’t say anything about an iPhone being used. A phone does not require reception in order to record video. I find it amusing that you’re arguing such a trivial point. It was a smart phone (Blackberry). That simple. It’s a moot point.




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