@Anon MD: I am disturbed by much of what I …

Comment on An apology to PUC by Sean Pitman.

@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

Sean Pitman Also Commented

An apology to PUC
@OTNT_Believer:

Must you keep harping on the one statement on Darwin’s finches that few other than yourself and maybe some other creationists disagree with?

I have yet to see you present one phenotypic or genetic difference between any of Darwin’s Finches and other members of the Dome-nest Clade which could not be rapidly realized in a few thousand years. Certainly a 0.3% difference in cytochrome b isn’t a significant problem. I’m not sure what else makes you think that Darwin’s Finches are no uniquely evolved that they could not be explained as originating from Noah’s Ark a few thousand years ago?

As far as your arguments for the date of the first Egyptian dynasty being preceded by over a thousand years of cultural development, it simply doesn’t take very long for groups of humans to develop complex cultures and governments. Also, there are those who argue that the date for the first dynasty is more likely to be less than 4,500 years ago. Either way, the dating of Egyptian dynasties is hardly a very solid basis for challenging the historical SDA position on origins…

Sean Pitman
www.DetectingDesign.com


An apology to PUC
@Eddie:

The “striking phenotypic differences, and even unique genetic differences” among different populations of humans and dogs are the results of random mutation, genetic drift, natural selection or (in the case of dogs) artificial selection–not “some span of reproductive isolation.”

It doesn’t matter how the reproductive isolation is achieved, be it “artificial” or “natural”. The resulting phenotypic differences are much more obvious between certain breeds of dogs or even various human ethnic groups than between certain “cryptic” species.

The reason why cryptic species are given taxonomic status while various breeds of dogs and human ethnic groups are not seems arbitrary to me. There really is no clear dividing line for taxonomic status on the one hand, but not on the other…

Humans don’t depend on the color or texture of eyes, hair and skin to avoid mating with chimps or apes, or even different groups of humans.

Are you kidding me? Humans are indeed biased in the choice of a mate toward those of similar phenotypic appearance. While this is not a universal rule (as is also the case with many kinds of cryptic species who also experience the occasional hybrids), it is certainly a bias.

When a female poodle is in heat, it doesn’t matter what “breed” a male dog belongs to, it is equally stimulated and could care less about the length, color or texture of eyes, hair, ears, snout, legs, tail, etc. The reproductive isolating method between dogs (genus Canis) and foxes (genus Vulpes) is likely based on olfaction rather than external morphology.

Have you considered the efforts of a Great Dane to mate with a chihuahua? Come on now, there are clear examples of not only artificial but natural reproductive isolate between various breeds of dogs and even between various human ethnic groups. Aborigines have arguably experienced some time of natural isolation, as have numerous other ethnic groups of modern and ancient humans. Unique phenotypic and even genotypic features were realized that are arguably more significant than the differences between the songs or nest structure of cryptic species of birds or the other very minor variations between cryptic species of frogs or giraffes, etc…

Again, don’t pretend like this is entirely objective science. It isn’t. There is a a fair amount of subjectivity in play here…

Sean Pitman
www.DetectingDesign.com


An apology to PUC
@OTNT_Believer:

And the fact that taxonomists use a b it of subjectivity is a new revelation? Come on Sean, you are nitpicking. Of course there is some subjectivity.

Hey, I’m not the one who came out and said that the differences between Darwin Finches and all other birds were so dramatic and clear cut and objectively understood that they could not be reasonably explained in just a few thousand years… or that the Egyptian dynasties are definitively known to go back over 6,000 years (when they probably go back no more than 4,500 years)…

A “bit” of subjectivity involved here? – no?

Sean Pitman
www.DetectingDesign.com


Recent Comments by Sean Pitman

Updating the SDA Position on Abortion
Again, most people, including most non-Christians, consider late-term abortions (abortions within the third trimester of otherwise healthy viable babies) to be murder. There is relatively little argument about this. One doesn’t have to know the “precise point” to know that, after a certain point, abortion is clearly murder. The argument that a baby isn’t alive or really human until the moment that it is born is nonsense in my opinion.

Of course, before the third trimester, things start to get a bit more grey and unclear. Some define the beginnings of human life with the full activity of the brain’s cortex. Others define it with the earliest activity of the brain stem. Others define it as the beginnings of fetal movement or the fetal heartbeat. I might have my own opinions here, but the question I ask myself is at what point would I be willing to convict someone else of murder? – and be willing to put them in prison for it? For me, I wouldn’t be willing to do this until things are overwhelmingly clear that the baby is functioning as a full human being and is viable (which would include full brain activity).

As far as rape or incest is concerned, the resulting pregnancy should be terminated as soon as possible within the first trimester. Waiting for the third trimester is simply not an option because, at this point, it would still be murder to kill a fully-formed baby regardless of its origin…


Updating the SDA Position on Abortion
I agree with you up until your last sentence. It seems very very clear to me that a baby becomes human before it takes its first breath. A baby born at 40 weeks gestation is not somehow inherently “more human” than a baby that is still inside its mother at 39 weeks gestation. At 39 weeks, such a baby is indistinguishable from a baby that has already been born. The location inside or outside of the mother makes absolutely no difference at this point in time and development.

I think, therefore, that we as Christians should avoid both obvious extremes here in this discussion. There are two very clear ditches on both sides of the road here. We should avoid claiming that a baby is not really human until it is actually born at full term, and, at the same time, we should also avoid claiming that full humanity and moral worth is instantly realized at the moment of conception…


Updating the SDA Position on Abortion
Most would agree with you that the baby John the Baptist, before he was born, was, at some point, a real human being who could “leap for joy” (Luke 1:44). Even most non-Christians would agree that a third-trimester abortion is murder. However, this isn’t the real problem here. We are talking about if a single cell or a simple ball of cells is fully “human” and if ending a pregnancy at such an early stage of development is truly a “murder” of a real human being. After all, when conception first takes place a single cell cannot “leap for joy” – or for any other reason. It’s just a single fertilized cell that cannot think or feel or move and has no brain or mind or intelligence of any kind. The same is true of an embryo that consists of no more than an unformed ball of cells for quite some time. Upon what basis, then, is it “murder” to end a pregnancy at this early point in embryological development?


Updating the SDA Position on Abortion
Then you have several different questions to explain. 1) How can a 6 month developed (but dead?), non-human being (from a human mother and father?) , being carried in it’s human mother’s womb, leap for joy because he (it?) recognized the mother of the World’s Savior? ”The dead know nothing, neither have they any more knowledge under the sun.” 2) How can anything dead even move? The opposite of alive is dead. Everything alive has life from God. Dead things don’t grow and they don’t move. Every SDA should know this. The Laws of God are not altered in order to justify killing unborn human beings that He has given life to.


Updating the SDA Position on Abortion
That’s just it. You say that, “The unborn think and feel”. However, an embryo in the earliest stages of development is just a single cell or an unformed ball of cells – with no apparent functional difference than a cluster of cells in my appendix. Such an embryo cannot think or feel or understand anything. There is no mind or intelligence at this point. If it isn’t murder to take out someone’s appendix, how then call it be truly “murder” to end a pregnancy at this point in time? How can you be so sure of yourself here? Based on what moral principle?

Also, people who are clearly “brain dead” need not be maintained indefinitely on life support. They’re just a shell of a body at this point and it is not “murder” to simply take them off the mechanical support of the empty shell of their body. This happens all the time in hospitals – and it is not considered to be “murder” at all… by most medical professionals (even most Christian ones).