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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522 thoughts on “An apology to PUC

  1. @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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  2. @ 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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  3. @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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  4. @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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  5. @ Shane

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

    There is nothing anti-Adventist about this statement. Even Adventist geologists (notwithstanding certain physician views) concede the problems of the geological record.

    (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.”

    This happens to be what modern-day science teaches. What is wrong with asking “So how do you explain?”

    Do you seriously think this stuff should be kept secret from college students? Do you seriously think this is such a big deal?

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  6. Anybody can easily pick a few isolated quotes from Dr. Leonard Brand’s books that could be misconstrued to accuse him of being an evilutionist. A text taken out of context is a pretext.

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  7. So…I think everyone needs to take a step back and get a global view of this thing like I am. Because you will get a kick out of it. I can’t help chuckling to myself as to how retarded some of the things said on here are. And an apology?? Apology: “a regretful acknowledgment of an offense or failure.” I don’t think there was anything regretful about that letter. I just had to laugh at how two faced it is. “Were sorry but we still think you are wrong.” It’s like America today…we all preface or interject “I’m sorry” into everything we say like someone is going to take offense to it. “I’m sorry but I just wanted to let you know your taillight is out.” As if its our fault its out? It’s not sincere. Just like the “apology” letter above isn’t sincere.

    This whole thing is a waste of everyones time and effort. Or as a young person might say…OH SO MUCH DRAMA.

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  8. @Professor Kent:

    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!

    You seem to require absolute demonstration before you’ll recognize a theory as having supporting evidence. That’s not how science works professor. Science is not based on absolute demonstration, but on the weight of the predictive power of the hypothesis/theory.

    The evidence that is currently available is more easily explained by a worldwide Flood or very closely spaced series of floods than with any other theory. Your that there could have been areas of the Earth not covered by the waters of the Flood does not carry the same degree of predictive power. It is therefore not very useful scientific counter to the theory of a recent universal Flood which does have very good explanatory/predictive power.

    • It predicts that much if not all of the continental surfaces exposed today would be covered by layers of sedimentary rock.
    • It predicts that there will be no evidence of high mountain ranges preserved during the time these layers were being formed.
    • It predicts that the layers themselves would be very flat with little to no erosion or bioturbation between layers.
    • It predicts that detectable quantities of radiocarbon with be found within organic materials/fossil remains.
    • It predicts that trace fossils which supposedly required long periods of time to be produced within the geologic record, like very large termite nests, are not really termite nests (i.e., successfully proved by Ariel Roth).
    • It predicts that continental drift occurred much more rapidly in the recent past (supported by the lack of expected surface and coastal erosion and by the lack of expected ocean sediment).
    • It predicts that within portions of fossil remains within the geologic record that intact, sequencable, flexable, and elastic proteins and soft tissue would likely be found.
    • And on and on…

    That’s what a scientific theory does… more successfully explains the weight of evidence vs. other opposing theories.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  9. Sean, all of your predictions also apply to a planet covered 95% with water. You neglected to mention a crucial prediction that distinguishes between the competing hypotheses that 100% or <100% of the planet was covered with water. The hypothesis that 100% of the planet was covered with water predicts that all terrestrial organisms dispersed from Mt. Ararat after the flood. The hypothesis that <100% of the planet was covered with water predicts that terrestrial organisms dispersed from centers of diversification on each continent where certain taxonomic groups survived a global flood. Do you sincerely believe the weight of scientific evidence on the biogeographical distributions of terrestrial organisms favors the hypothesis that 100% of the planet was covered with water? If so, can you provide us with some emperical evidence? SDA biology professors need to know this information if they are expected to inform their students that the weight of the evidence supports the hypothesis that 100% of the planet was covered with water.

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  10. 1 Tim 5:20 “Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear” – sometimes gets washed away in the enthusiasm for Matt 18:15-17

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  11. @Eddie:

    Sean, all of your predictions also apply to a planet covered 95% with water. You neglected to mention a crucial prediction that distinguishes between the competing hypotheses that 100% or <100% of the planet was covered with water. The hypothesis that 100% of the planet was covered with water predicts that all terrestrial organisms dispersed from Mt. Ararat after the flood. The hypothesis that <100% of the planet was covered with water predicts that terrestrial organisms dispersed from centers of diversification on each continent where certain taxonomic groups survived a global flood. Do you sincerely believe the weight of scientific evidence on the biogeographical distributions of terrestrial organisms favors the hypothesis that 100% of the planet was covered with water? If so, can you provide us with some emperical evidence? SDA biology professors need to know this information if they are expected to inform their students that the weight of the evidence supports the hypothesis that 100% of the planet was covered with water.

    Given that the entire geologic column/fossil record was produced within recent history by a large Flood or very closely spaced series of very large watery catastrophes, what’s your point in suggesting that the entire planet may not have been covered by water? Where is your countering evidence to suggest that certain areas were not covered by water during this period of catastrophe?

    Oh, yeah, the biogeographical distribution of organisms doesn’t favor a common starting point within recent history. That’s all you have? You don’t think that the obvious lack of fossils in areas that are known to have harbored millions of a particular type of organism for extended periods of time isn’t problematic to this argument? Current biogeographical distributions of animals says very little as to how the animals got to their current locations and certain doesn’t falsify the theory of a common location following a worldwide Flood.

    To cite a recent relevant example:

    Bees, termites, spiders, and flies entombed in a newly-excavated amber deposit are challenging the assumption that India was an isolated island-continent in the Early Eocene, or 52-50 million years ago. Arthropods found in the Cambay deposit from western India are not unique — as would be expected on an island — but rather have close evolutionary relationships with fossils from other continents…

    Rather than finding evolutionary ties to Africa and Madagascar, landmasses that India had most recently been linked to as part of Gondwana, the researchers found relatives in Northern Europe, Asia, Australia, and the Americas.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101025152256.htm

    The amber itself was derived from trees that were not thought to exist during the Early Eocene – not even close. The earliest record of most types of living things is continually being pushed farther and farther back down the geologic column the more information is discovered about the fossil record.

    It is also interesting to note that diatoms and other marine microorganisms have been found in amber:

    The presence of these marine organisms in the amber is an ecological paradox. How did these marine species become stuck and then trapped in the conifers’ resin? The most likely scenario is that the forest producing the amber was very close to the coast, potentially shrouded by plankton-bearing mist or flooded by sea water during storms.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081112161206.htm

    Seems like these marine “storms” were all over the place. Again, which theory is most consistent with the evidence?

    In short, given the available evidence supporting the creation of the geologic column and fossil records within recent history via a common catastrophe, I’m left just a bit underwhelmed by biogeographical arguments – and I dare say that most other people who recognize the evidence for a recent formation of the geologic/fossil records would come to the same conclusion…

    Is there a leap of faith that is required to believe in the Biblical account of a universal deluge that killed off all land animal life save that on the Ark? Certainly – but this is less of a leap of faith than the leap that would be required to believe it remotely likely that many kinds of both small and large animals survived the worldwide catastrophe on floating mats of vegetation or in small isolated regions that were not swamped by the Flood.

    Where is the weight of evidence? Which theory is most consistent with all of the available evidence?

    It is fine to present opposing theories while working for an SDA institution, but a professor should also be able to point out the significant flaws in opposing theories and also present good reasons why the biblical model is the most tenable model available among all competing theories…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  12. @Professor Kent: I have prayerfully considered your post concerning Matthew 18. I ask that you all prayerfully consider the following conclusions brought forth from the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy: Matthew 18 is clearly NOT applied to public sins, and much less does it apply to open apostasy.

    Matthew 18 is a principle given to guide us. Matthew 18 is not something to hide behind; it’s not a cop-out. Who’s to say that the student who recorded the video had not tried Matthew 18 with the Theology department or others at PUC?

    I know of a PUC Alumnus who took a grievance about a professor promoting heresy through the proper channels all the way up to the college president. He was ignored. This was 18 years ago, and the professor in question is still there doing the exact same thing.

    The church manual is addressing more specifically “litigious” matters. In other words, lawsuits and other grievances between the church or its institutions against an individual member, or vice versa. This is clear. In matters of heresy and doctrinal error that endangers the welfare of the church we must rightly divide the word, even if it must divide the church. Yes, dividing the church is always preferable to compromising with error. Unity with known error is disunity with Christ. We have Biblical examples and precedent of this application in the Spirit of Prophecy.

    1) Consider John the Baptist’s and Jesus’ public denunciation of the Pharisees. When Jesus cleansed the temple He publicly rebuked the priests who had corrupted the house of God. No Matthew 18 there. Should Jesus have taken the priests aside privately and rebuked them for their public profanation of the temple? He also publicly rebuked disciples who weren’t committed to Him:

    “By the public rebuke of their unbelief these disciples were still further alienated from Jesus. They were greatly displeased, and wishing to wound the Saviour and gratify the malice of the Pharisees, they turned their backs upon Him, and left Him with disdain.” Desire of Ages p. 391

    2)Elijah publicly rebuked Ahab and his household.

    3) Ellen White was also accused of breaking Matthew 18. This is how they answered to this accusation:
    “Her husband seemed to feel unreconciled to my bringing out her faults before the church and stated that if Sister White had followed the directions of our Lord in Matthew 18:15-17 he should not have felt hurt…My husband then stated that he should understand that these words of our Lord had reference to cases of personal trespass, and could not be applied in the case of this sister. She had not trespassed against Sister White. But that which had been reproved publicly was public wrongs which threatened the prosperity of the church and the cause. Here, said my husband, is a text applicable to the case: 1 Timothy 5:20: “Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.” 2 Testimonies page 15

    Professor Kent, even though Matthew 18 does not apply to the situation at PUC and LSU, students and other concerned parties have nonetheless gone through all the preliminary steps in Matthew 18. Now it’s public because the preliminary steps have been exhausted. This issue cannot and should not ever be hidden from the public, because it affects the welfare of the church as a whole. It’s only fair that the church perform its duty to ensure that their children get the Adventist education they were promised.I especially include the student who recorded the lecture.

    I also recommend looking at these two articles from non-SDA sources addressing the application of Matthew 18 to public matters. They are of merit.
    http://highlands-reformed.com/conflict-and-confrontation-series/
    http://www.erwm.com/MatthewEighteen.htm

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  13. @Shane:

    Given that the entire geologic column/fossil record was produced within recent history by a large Flood or very closely spaced series of very large watery catastrophes

    Hmm, I recall seeing a recent article by Dr. Leonard Brand in Origins that challenges this traditional assumption of creationists. How dare he!

    Where is your countering evidence to suggest that certain areas were not covered by water during this period of catastrophe?

    As you are well aware, Professor Kent and Geanna Dane presented a bunch of evidence in earlier threads (e.g., salamanders and frogs in South America and the Caribbean) and I earlier mentioned Dr. Brand’s unpublished analysis of mammal biogeography. And now you’re asking me again, as though there is no evidence? I give up. Adios amigo.

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  14. @ Sean Pitman

    You don’t think that the obvious lack of fossils in areas that are known to have harbored millions of a particular type of organism for extended periods of time isn’t problematic to this argument?

    Read what you wrote once again and explain how this provides evidence that the flood destroyed those animals.

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  15. Johnny Vance, I appreciated your examples of rebuke from John the Baptist, Jesus Christ, and Ellen White. You’re in mighty good company. Who am I to put Matthew 18 in your way? Feel entitled to rebuke anyone you wish.

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  16. @ Eddie

    Sean, all of your predictions also apply to a planet covered 95% with water.

    I suggest giving up on it, Eddie. The guy simply cannot see how obvious and glaring the problem is. You might as well be writing in Farsi.

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  17. Johnny Vance, I appreciated your examples of rebuke from John the Baptist, Jesus Christ, and Ellen White. You’re in mighty good company. Who am I to put Matthew 18 in your way? Feel entitled to rebuke anyone you wish.  (Quote)

    Oh dear. It’s a pyrrhic victory indeed to prove the point but still not gain the heart. I regret that much.

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  18. @Eddie:

    Given that the entire geologic column/fossil record was produced within recent history by a large Flood or very closely spaced series of very large watery catastrophes. – Sean Pitman

    Hmm, I recall seeing a recent article by Dr. Leonard Brand in Origins that challenges this traditional assumption of creationists. How dare he!

    I know Leonard Brand. I’ve talked to him. I’ve read his papers and heard him lecture. The fact is that Brand does believe that essentially all of the fossil record before the Tertiary was produced by the Noachian Flood. He also believes that the weight of evidence points in this direction.

    I’m sorry, but I think you’re invoking the wrong person…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  19. @Professor Kent:

    Sean, all of your predictions also apply to a planet covered 95% with water. – Eddie

    I suggest giving up on it, Eddie. The guy simply cannot see how obvious and glaring the problem is. You might as well be writing in Farsi. – Professor Kent

    You guys don’t seem to grasp the concept of consistency. The theory of a universal Flood is consistent with the weight of evidence. There need be no absolute demonstration for a scientific theory to remain valid. In fact, as you very well know, there is no such thing as absolute certainty in science.

    Your counter with the biogeographical distribution arguments holds little weight because of the problem with uneven and inconsistent fossilization or other means of preserving the remains of land animals as they move from one place to another. There are many examples of remains of animals showing up where they weren’t supposed to be in the Tertiary.

    In short, Ness’s biogeographical distribution arguments, while interesting, have resonable explainations from the universal Flood perspective… explanations which should be provided to the students. For example, his argument that hummingbirds are found only in the Americas, but not in Europe or Africa, is very misleading because hummingbird fossil remains are found in Europe and Africa in Tertiary post-Flood sediments. In other words, hummingbirds quickly migrated across the globe and occupied many places at one point after the Flood where they have since died out. The same thing is certainly true for all other types of land animals.

    Ness also failed to provide evidence that much of the geologic column and fossil records show striking evidence of recent and rapid formation, consistent with a very widespread watery catastrophe around the entire world. Instead, Ness argued only for the scientific credibilty of a relatively small local Black Sea flood and argued in front of his students that there is absolute no evidence for a Noachian Flood of worldwide proportions.

    This is a grossly misleading statement. Our professors, teaching in our own schools, should be able to do much much better than this.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  20. Re Sean’s Quote

    “Our professors, teaching in our own schools, should be able to do much much better than this.”

    Dear Sean

    And if they can’t do to the fact they are more convinced that ‘mainstream’ science provides better evidence?

    Sean you are going to need enough creationist scientists to fill the void if the Adventist institutions let them go. If that happens the scientific credibility of those institutions is going to be under severe strain. I suspect that will result in removal of accreditation due to the suppression of academic freedom.

    Cheers
    Ken

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  21. In other words, hummingbirds quickly migrated across the globe and occupied many places at one point after the Flood where they have since died out. The same thing is certainly true for all other types of land animals.

    Naturally! I can just imagine all those species of nematode worms, earthworms, velvet worms, land snails, frogs, moles and sloths dashing out of the ark and racing each other across deserts, grasslands, tundra, boreal forests, dry forests and mountain passes from Mt. Ararat to Beringia to the rainforests of South America. Only a deluded heretic could ever doubt that it all happened within a few thousand years.

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  22. @ken:

    And if they can’t do to the fact they are more convinced that ‘mainstream’ science provides better evidence?

    Then they should be working for public universities rather than for an employer with clearly stated goals and ideals for education that they know they cannot support in good conscience.

    Sean you are going to need enough creationist scientists to fill the void if the Adventist institutions let them go. If that happens the scientific credibility of those institutions is going to be under severe strain. I suspect that will result in removal of accreditation due to the suppression of academic freedom.

    There is no such thing as true academic freedom – not even in public universities. Need I refer you to what happened to Dr. Richard Sternberg when he simply published a paper opposing the mainstream perspective?

    http://www.educatetruth.com/featured/angry-scientists-publishing-on-intelligent-design/

    Or what happened to a math professor working in a Catholic school when she stated publicly that she didn’t believe in God?

    http://www.educatetruth.com/la-sierra-evidence/2280/

    The short if it is that the Church cannot afford to hire representatives that go around undermining the Church’s position on the Church’s dime – no matter how painful the situation might become in the short term…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  23. Re Sean’s Quote

    “There is no such thing as true academic freedom’

    Dear Sean

    What upon on this site? Don’t the editors, to their great credit allow everyone to post their POV’s?

    Cheers
    Ken

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  24. Since Sean and others seem so certain of their “weight of evidence” in favor of a worldwide flood, and they cite Brand as their champion in this cause, I thought I would just post couple of quotes from his book “Beginnings: Are Science and Scripture Partners in the Search for Origins.” ISBN 9780816321445

    “Modern technology shows that the continents are now moving about 0.4 to 2 inches (1-4 cm) per year. Short age geology says that while the continental plates are moving slowly today, at some time in the past they must have moved quite rapidly. However, rapid continental movement poses difficulties for short age geology that we don’t know yet how to solve–for example, what became of the large amount of heat we would expect such movements to generate?” p. 129

    The sequence of fossils. Interventionists face another challenge. They must explain how it is that trilobites, dinosaurs, and humans all lived at the same time yet didn’t enter the fossil record together. The ecological zonation theory says that we find trilobites, dinosaurs, and humans in different parts of the fossil record because they lived at different elevations. That theory is interesting, but it doesn’t seem to explain some complexities.

    “For instance, if truly catastrophic conditions started at the beginning of the Flood and deposited the sediments in the lower Paleozoic within a few months, huge amounts of rain must have fallen in the uplands where the people lived. We would expect that the resulting catastrophic flow of water from those highlands down to the ocean would have carried with it an abundance of mice, earthworms, pollen grains from flowering plants, grasshoppers, and other terrestrial creeping things . (Picture this process occurring in fig . 10.3.) Why don’t we find these organisms until much higher up-much later-in the fossil record? This fact is difficult to explain if a highly catastrophic, one-year-Iong flood process created the fossil record.” pages 129-131

    These are just two examples of many in the book that suggest the evidence isn’t there. Brand’s response to these challenges is to be commended and he periodically suggests we need to do more research. If our evidence is already so strong, then why a need for more research? I don’t know an SDA geologist that will agree to the assertion that the weight of the evidence favors the flood. Admittedly I only know a few SDA geologists, such as Brand, Clausen, and Buchheim, so maybe I’ve missed one that knows enough to assure me of how strong the weight of the evidence for the flood is. On the other hand I know a number of individuals who are armchair geologists who are perfectly willing to be a bit strong on the topic, although none that seem to be so strongly convinced as Sean.

    It hardly seems to be fair to fault our SDA college biology professors for not being more certain about the weight of the evidence supporting the flood than our prominent SDA geologists. I trust someone like Brand to be open and forthright with the evidence, and when he says the evidence has problems we cannot yet solve, I trust him on that. I’m not a geologist and know the literature on the topic almost not at all, so who should I trust? Feel free to point me to some other quotes by Brand or another trained SDA geologist that gives more weight to the evidence, and maybe I could be convinced, but for now, I think I’ll have to accept the worldwide flood on faith, and like Brand, hope for better evidence to come as our SDA geologists study the problem more thoroughly.

    Oh, and by the way, I recommend Brand’s book. It is an easy to read and frank appraisal of the current state of young earth creationism, and it’s short enough to read in its entirety on a Sabbath afternoon.

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  25. @OTNT_Believer:

    Since Sean and others seem so certain of their “weight of evidence” in favor of a worldwide flood, and they cite Brand as their champion in this cause, I thought I would just post couple of quotes from his book “Beginnings: Are Science and Scripture Partners in the Search for Origins.” ISBN 9780816321445

    “Modern technology shows that the continents are now moving about 0.4 to 2 inches (1-4 cm) per year. Short age geology says that while the continental plates are moving slowly today, at some time in the past they must have moved quite rapidly. However, rapid continental movement poses difficulties for short age geology that we don’t know yet how to solve–for example, what became of the large amount of heat we would expect such movements to generate?” p. 129

    It is hard to know how much heat would have been generated by more rapid movements. There may have been lubricating effects of water and molten rock that would have reduced the heat to a manageable degree. Also, water does absorb a great deal of heat and the post-Flood world seems to have been much warmer, globally, than it is today for at least a few hundred years. This is what helped to make the post-Flood world very lush and verdant, even above the arctic circle, for long enough to establish millions of mammoths and other large herbivores and warm-weather animals and plants in such northerly regions.

    The fact is that bringing up problems like this for which a definitive answer might not be known does not change the fact that much more substantial problems exist for those who think that there never was much more rapid continental drift in the past… to include the apparent lack of coastal erosion that would have been expected given mainstream thinking and the lack of an adequate mechanism for the long-term slow movement of continents that produce the energy needed to build extensive and rather massive mountain ranges and ocean trenches.

    In short, in addition to Brand’s book, it might be worthwhile for those who are interested in this topic to read a paper Brand published in 2007 entitled, “Wholistic Geology: Geology Before, During and After the Biblical Flood” (see Link).

    I believe this paper fairly presents the potential and problems with the Biblical perspective and presents interesting alternatives. I do not personally agree with all of Brand’s arguments or conclusions, but I think he presents many interesting points that are worth serious consideration. It also seems, to me anyway, that Brand himself strongly suggests in this paper that the weight of evidence does in fact favor the Biblical model of origins and a recent formation of the geologic column/fossil records to include features consistent with a Noachian Flood of worldwide proportions.

    “The sequence of fossils. Interventionists face another challenge. They must explain how it is that trilobites, dinosaurs, and humans all lived at the same time yet didn’t enter the fossil record together. The ecological zonation theory says that we find trilobites, dinosaurs, and humans in different parts of the fossil record because they lived at different elevations. That theory is interesting, but it doesn’t seem to explain some complexities.

    Ecological zonation is only one factor that was most likely in play. There are numerous other factors that likely influenced the sorting of the fossil record. Take, for example, the apparent separation of crabs, lobsters, and trilobites in the fossil record. One might reasonable hypothesize that trilobites appear in the fossil record before crabs and lobsters at least party because of the relative abundance of trilobites compared to crabs and lobsters. This hypothesis is at least plausible given the arguments of some authors who conclude that, “Species identities and their relative abundances are non-random properties of communities that persist over long periods of ecological time and across geographic space. This is consistent with species abundance contributing heavily to evolutionary patterns.”

    After all, “It’s very rare to find fossils of lobsters”, while fossil trilobites are relatively common. General mobility, ability to survive catastrophic conditions, and other ecological/habitat factors could also reasonably contribute to the differential location of trilobites vs. lobsters and crabs in the fossil record. Various sorting factors associated with floods could also have contributed.

    As another example, consider the coelacanth fish. This fish was preserved in the fossil record for what mainstream scientists claim to have been 400 million years of time. Then they suddenly disappear from the fossil record some “80 million years ago” only to reappear alive an well swimming around in oceans today. Clearly, some types of coelacanths lived in habitats that did not lend themselves to fossilization while others did. Obviously then, some habitats are clearly more susceptible to the preservation of fossils. If those specific habitats are not occupied by a particular kind of creature, it may not be preserved in the fossil record even though it is still alive and well in some other habitat.

    Consider also that the crayfish was once thought to have evolved from lobster-like ancestors around 140 Ma. This was until very modern-looking crayfish were subsequently found in sedimentary rocks dating up to 300 Ma according to the mainstream time scale.

    In short, the problems for evolutionary thinking outweigh the problems and unanswered questions from the young-life perspective – at least as far as I am personally able to tell.

    One striking example of a problem for the mainstream perspective is the common finding of “Megabreccias” throughout the geologic column. For a detailed discussion of this phenomenon, please refer to the following 2009 paper by Arthur Chadwick:

    http://origins.swau.edu/papers/geologic/mega/eng/index.html

    Another example, also by Chadwick, are continent-wide, even worldwide, paleocurrents flowing in the same direction as recorded on the surfaces of the sedimentary layers within the geologic column.

    “Paleozoic paleocurrents indicate the influence of directional forces on a grand scale over an extended period. Various authors have attributed the directionality to such things as “regional slopes,” but it is difficult to see how this could apply to deposits of such diverse origins over so wide an area. The lack of strong directionality in the underlying Precambrian sustains the need to seek understanding of what makes the Paleozoic style of sedimentation unique with respect to directional indicators.”

    http://origins.swau.edu/papers/global/paleocurrents/eng/index.html

    “For instance, if truly catastrophic conditions started at the beginning of the Flood and deposited the sediments in the lower Paleozoic within a few months, huge amounts of rain must have fallen in the uplands where the people lived. We would expect that the resulting catastrophic flow of water from those highlands down to the ocean would have carried with it an abundance of mice, earthworms, pollen grains from flowering plants, grasshoppers, and other terrestrial creeping things . (Picture this process occurring in fig . 10.3.) Why don’t we find these organisms until much higher up-much later-in the fossil record? This fact is difficult to explain if a highly catastrophic, one-year-Iong flood process created the fossil record.” pages 129-131

    These are just two examples of many in the book that suggest the evidence isn’t there.

    That’s not Brands suggestion. Brand believes that there is a great deal of evidence to support, or at least is consistent with, the theory of a worldwide Noachian Flood. Just because there are a few unanswered questions does not mean that the weight of evidence for the young-life perspective isn’t there. It is there.

    Brand’s response to these challenges is to be commended and he periodically suggests we need to do more research. If our evidence is already so strong, then why a need for more research?

    This is a rather silly question. As long as there are unanswered questions, more research will be needed to search for answers to these questions. Again, just because questions remain doesn’t mean that we don’t know anything or that we don’t have the weight of currently available evidence strongly favoring the young-life perspective.

    I don’t know an SDA geologist that will agree to the assertion that the weight of the evidence favors the flood. Admittedly I only know a few SDA geologists, such as Brand, Clausen, and Buchheim, so maybe I’ve missed one that knows enough to assure me of how strong the weight of the evidence for the flood is. On the other hand I know a number of individuals who are armchair geologists who are perfectly willing to be a bit strong on the topic, although none that seem to be so strongly convinced as Sean.

    Perhaps you should contact someone like Ariel Roth or Arthur Chadwick?

    It hardly seems to be fair to fault our SDA college biology professors for not being more certain about the weight of the evidence supporting the flood than our prominent SDA geologists. I trust someone like Brand to be open and forthright with the evidence, and when he says the evidence has problems we cannot yet solve, I trust him on that. I’m not a geologist and know the literature on the topic almost not at all, so who should I trust? Feel free to point me to some other quotes by Brand or another trained SDA geologist that gives more weight to the evidence, and maybe I could be convinced, but for now, I think I’ll have to accept the worldwide flood on faith, and like Brand, hope for better evidence to come as our SDA geologists study the problem more thoroughly.

    Your personal beliefs are not the issue here – nor are mine for that matter. The issue here is over the SDA Church hiring professors to teach students that the Church’s fundamental position on origins is scientifically untenable and irrational. That sort of thing will more effectively undermine the Church from within than any external attack could do to destroy the effectiveness of the Church as an organization.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  26. @Eddie:

    In other words, hummingbirds quickly migrated across the globe and occupied many places at one point after the Flood where they have since died out. The same thing is certainly true for all other types of land animals. – Sean Pitman

    Naturally! I can just imagine all those species of nematode worms, earthworms, velvet worms, land snails, frogs, moles and sloths dashing out of the ark and racing each other across deserts, grasslands, tundra, boreal forests, dry forests and mountain passes from Mt. Ararat to Beringia to the rainforests of South America. Only a deluded heretic could ever doubt that it all happened within a few thousand years.

    There were no vast deserts or frozen tundras right after the Flood. The entire planet was quite warm, wet, lush and verdant for a few hundred years after the Flood. The Sahara Desert did not exist. It was covered by vegetation and supported a vibrant ecosystem. Even above the arctic circle millions of warm weather plants and animals thrived for a while in this warm lush environment that existed before the first post-Flood ice age. In such an environment, the re-population of the Earth with land animals derived from a single location could easily have taken place very rapidly. The planet really isn’t that big of a place. The continents would not have been so widely separated right after the Flood either and there were probably numerous land bridges which no longer exist… and further bridges were created during the ice age.

    I’m sorry, but I just don’t see the huge problem with this biogeographical distribution argument given what we know about the rapid rate at which most land animals can travel. This planet really isn’t that big…

    Oh, and by the way, I don’t think nematode worms or other kinds of worms would have needed an ark to survive the Flood. Did you forget about the “nostrils”? 😉

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  27. Re Sean’s Quote

    “The continents would not have been so widely separated right after the Flood either and there were probably numerous land bridges which no longer exist… and further bridges were created during the ice age.”

    Dear Sean

    Doesn’t this fly in the face of your theory of rapid continental drift at the time of the flood? Are you speculating here or is there science to support this ‘new’ theory of rapid movement but narrow separation of continents?

    Cheers
    Ken

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  28. @Sean

    @Eddie: Naturally! I can just imagine all those species of nematode worms, earthworms, velvet worms, land snails, frogs, moles and sloths dashing out of the ark and racing each other across deserts, grasslands, tundra, boreal forests, dry forests and mountain passes from Mt. Ararat to Beringia to the rainforests of South America. Only a deluded heretic could ever doubt that it all happened within a few thousand years.

    There were no vast deserts or frozen tundras right after the Flood. The entire planet was quite warm, wet, lush and verdant for a few hundred years after the Flood. The Sahara Desert did not exist. It was covered by vegetation and supported a vibrant ecosystem. Even above the arctic circle millions of warm weather plants and animals thrived for a while in this warm lush environment that existed before the first post-Flood ice age. In such an environment, the re-population of the Earth with land animals derived from a single location could easily have taken place very rapidly. The planet really isn’t that big of a place. The continents would not have been so widely separated right after the Flood either and there were probably numerous land bridges which no longer exist… and further bridges were created during the ice age.I’m sorry, but I just don’t see the huge problem with this biogeographical distribution argument given what we know about the rapid rate at which most land animals can travel. This planet really isn’t that big…Oh, and by the way, I don’t think nematode worms or other kinds of worms would have needed an ark to survive the Flood. Did you forget about the “nostrils”? Sean Pitmanhttp://www.DetectingDesign.com  (Quote)

    Wow! This is so astounding. I mean no disrespect Sean, but this response from you is so much like the “Just So Story” approach, used by evolutionists, you so much denigrate. Now not only are all these organisms so obviously capable of “mega” dispersal, but the entire recent ice age is somehow able to fit into the story between the flood and now? These are not my areas of expertise, so let me add a few more quotes from Brand.

    “It doesn’t appear that ordinary migration over the earth from the landing place of the ark in the Middle East can explain all the large-scale biogeography of mammals. Some other still unknown factors must have been involved, possibly including some form of directed dispersal.” Beginnings, p. 133

    “A short-age geological model predicts that the evidence will ultimately point to a more rapid process of glaciation, and some modern observations suggest that ice packs can grow or melt quite rapidly under the right conditions. But we don’t know how to explain other lines of evidence, especially studies of samples from polar ice and deep-sea sediments containing thousands of fine laminae that scientists interpret as annual layers.” Beginnings, p. 99-100

    And the mammal migrations should be pretty easy to explain compared with say amphibians, whose migratory abilities limit them just a wee bit. And Brand’s reference to “directed dispersal” is fine, but that would hardly constitute scientific evidence. And ice cores are a real tough one. It’s pretty easy to make a good sounding argument for multiple layers of sediment on continents from a worldwide flood, but yet another thing to make the same argument for ice laminae. I don’t care how you look at it, laminae in ice do look a whole lot more like annual precipitation layers than some process that might have only taken a few thousand years. And if you simply want to brush these two difficulties aside and say they represent just “small” challenges to flood geology, then you are doing just what you fault conventional geologists with doing. They often brush aside what evidence we have here and there that questions their theories, and it is little enough that they don’t feel all that threatened.

    I’m sorry, but the weight of the evidence is in the eyes of the beholder. I just like to say that my faith does not depend on the weight of the scientific evidence and it’s not a blind faith either. My strongest evidence for the existence of the God of the Bible and of the truth of the Bible is my personal relationship with that God through His Son, Jesus Christ. Because of that I don’t require that science provide more evidence for proof for</b Biblical events than against them. In fact, I find this kind of faith relevant enough that even were I to discover incontrovertible proof that the flood was a local event, it would not weaken my faith in the Bible. Rather, it would just weaken my faith in human skill at interpreting that word, and area where I already am a bit of an agnostic. So for now I will accept the flood story on faith and remain open to whatever God may have to show me in the future, including better scientific support for the flood, if such is to be found.

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  29. @OTNT_Believer:

    Wow! This is so astounding. I mean no disrespect Sean, but this response from you is so much like the “Just So Story” approach, used by evolutionists, you so much denigrate. Now not only are all these organisms so obviously capable of “mega” dispersal, but the entire recent ice age is somehow able to fit into the story between the flood and now?

    Absolutely. There is very good evidence that the Arctic was much much warmer in recent history than it is today and that places that are now dry barren deserts (like the Sahara in particular) were recently lush and green. Read up a bit on the Hipsothermal period and explain how millions of large warm weather animals, to include bison, wolves, mammoths, etc. lived happily within or very near the arctic circle? And how they were suddenly killed off by a very rapid change in the climate at the beginning of the first ice age following the Flood?

    http://www.detectingdesign.com/ancientice.html#The%20Warm%20Age

    These are not my areas of expertise, so let me add a few more quotes from Brand.

    “It doesn’t appear that ordinary migration over the earth from the landing place of the ark in the Middle East can explain all the large-scale biogeography of mammals. Some other still unknown factors must have been involved, possibly including some form of directed dispersal.” Beginnings, p. 133

    I disagree. I see no compelling reason to believe that migrations couldn’t have happened very rapidly in the warm congenial environment right after the Flood.

    “A short-age geological model predicts that the evidence will ultimately point to a more rapid process of glaciation, and some modern observations suggest that ice packs can grow or melt quite rapidly under the right conditions. But we don’t know how to explain other lines of evidence, especially studies of samples from polar ice and deep-sea sediments containing thousands of fine laminae that scientists interpret as annual layers.” Beginnings, p. 99-100

    And the mammal migrations should be pretty easy to explain compared with say amphibians, whose migratory abilities limit them just a wee bit.

    Amphibians could have survived outside of the Ark in the egg or larval stage. Even so, I don’t see a significant restriction on amphibian migration either…

    And Brand’s reference to “directed dispersal” is fine, but that would hardly constitute scientific evidence.

    True, but I don’t see any real need to appeal to “direct dispersal”.

    And ice cores are a real tough one. It’s pretty easy to make a good sounding argument for multiple layers of sediment on continents from a worldwide flood, but yet another thing to make the same argument for ice laminae. I don’t care how you look at it, laminae in ice do look a whole lot more like annual precipitation layers than some process that might have only taken a few thousand years.

    That’s where you’re mistaken. Most of the ice-core layers cannot be counted visually, but are dependent upon chemical analysis to count the layers. Such analysis is fraught with significant problems. I’m sorry, but ice-core dating, as with tree ring and the dating of ocean sedimentary layers, is anything but an exact science (more like voodoo). For more details on ice-core dating, see a fairly extensive essay I’ve put together on the topic:

    http://www.detectingdesign.com/ancientice.html

    And if you simply want to brush these two difficulties aside and say they represent just “small” challenges to flood geology, then you are doing just what you fault conventional geologists with doing. They often brush aside what evidence we have here and there that questions their theories, and it is little enough that they don’t feel all that threatened.

    It doesn’t seem to me like you’ve done enough of your own investigation on these topics. You seem to think certain mainstream conclusions are more scientific than they really are…

    I’m sorry, but the weight of the evidence is in the eyes of the beholder.

    That’s always true – even for mainstream scientists. Depending upon one’s background and experience, the very same set of data can be and often is interpreted quite differently – even among top-level scientists.

    I just like to say that my faith does not depend on the weight of the scientific evidence and it’s not a blind faith either. My strongest evidence for the existence of the God of the Bible and of the truth of the Bible is my personal relationship with that God through His Son, Jesus Christ. Because of that I don’t require that science provide more evidence for proof for Biblical events than against them. In fact, I find this kind of faith relevant enough that even were I to discover incontrovertible proof that the flood was a local event, it would not weaken my faith in the Bible. Rather, it would just weaken my faith in human skill at interpreting that word, and area where I already am a bit of an agnostic.

    You sound very much like my LDS friends who know that their Book of Mormon is true because of their relationship with God. The Holy Spirit impresses upon their minds what is and isn’t true. They therefore have no need for any scientific or empirical evidence to determine the truth that the Book of Mormon is superior to all other sources of claimed Divine revelation, including the Bible.

    Now, your personal relationship with God is all fine and good for you. However, what do you have to offer those who do not yet have such a relationship? or who think they have a relationship, but would benefit from understanding God’s plan and the hope of the Gospel message as described in the pages of the Bible? Upon what would you place the Bible to give it credibility in the eyes of someone other than yourself who needs something more than your personal assurance that the Bible is “true”?

    So for now I will accept the flood story on faith and remain open to whatever God may have to show me in the future, including better scientific support for the flood, if such is to be found.

    It doesn’t really matter does it? After all, you yourself noted that it is impossible for you to be wrong in your faith. Your faith is beyond empirical evidence. So, really, what’s the point in even discussing such evidence if the evidence itself really doesn’t matter more than a hill of beans?

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  30. Evolutionists are not immune from having to explain the distribution of such things as worms and amphibians….or even larger animals. Consider the Galapagos Islands.

    Galápagos Penguin, Spheniscus mendiculus, the only living tropical penguin
    Galápagos land iguanas, Conolophus spp.
    Marine Iguana, Amblyrhynchus cristatus, the only iguana feeding in the sea
    Several species of worms (one thought to be endemic, the others introduced)!

    Regarding small invertebrates, this quote from The Darwin Foundation website is thought-provoking:

    “The exact number of terrestrial invertebrates in Galapagos is still unknown. Until 2001 a total of 2289 species has been reported in the literature, but numbers of new records and newly described species are still being added to that list. As much as 51.7% of these species are today reported to be endemic to Galapagos.”

    The question is, then, if what scientists claim is true and the islands literally rose up from the sea due to volcanic activity under the sea floor, then every organism in the Galapagos has migrated there from afar. How do these invertebrates get there? Swim? Fly? Vector borne? Float? All of the above?

    Some look to the fact that some of these organisms, for example, earthworms in the Galapagos, were brought there by man and then try to cast doubt on any requirements for such small and apparently helpless organisms to have migrated there themselves. However, how does this prove anything? If man (farmers) wanted earthworms in Galapagos enough to import them, who is to say that the post-flood inhabitants of the earth did not do similarly? I say the migration happened via multiple modes, including through human assistance. Small children are known to transport their favorite pet insects for many miles nowadays, and I’m certain that back then would have been no different. Birds may have dropped a part of a worm after eating its other half, and as we know, chopped worms can regenerate. Insects may have found passage via a floating coconut into whose husk they had burrowed. Human minds tend to be ignorant of the thousands of ways God has for each one we can think of. Consider the myriad ways in which migrations can and do occur, and then recognize that your list still comes short of all the possibilities.

    Penguins in the Galapagos? Did those come from the iguanas there, as evolutionists might prefer? or did our Creator God specially guide them there, as He did the animals into the ark, the ark-laden oxen, the quails in the wilderness, the ravens for Elijah, and so many more? However they got there, much remains unknown.

    Creationist viewpoints cannot be dismissed merely for lack of evidence to prove them. We will not always have knowledge of God’s wise ways. He gives us ample evidence by which to trust Him. May we continue to seek out His wisdom and truth.

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  31. So Sean, when exactly did the ice ages occur? How long was it between the end of the flood and the onset of the first ice age, during which all those slow-poke plants (e.g., liverworts and hornworts) and animals (forgot to mention millipedes, centipedes, scorpions and freshwater minnows) had to dash across Beringia en route to South America before freezing to death? Was there only one ice age or were there multiple ice ages? How much rain would it have taken for ice to accumulate up to 2 miles deep (that’s right, up to 10,500 feet in Greenland) since the flood?

    Sorry if I seem inquisitive but I’m merely asking some simple questions which I’m confident you’ll have answers for, buttressed of course by overwhelming scientific evidence validating your views. After all, you have spent much more time studying all of this stuff than I have–and my faith just might hinge on your answers.

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  32. I don’t think many of those of us who read Sean’s statements on this and other web sites appreciate how truly heroic is the task he has set out for himself.

    His interpretation of the Bible requires that all life must be very young—less than 10,000 years. However, he is not content in just leaving it there as his personal belief about the history of the physical world based on his own interpretation of an ancient text.

    He believes that there must be solid modern scientific evidence to support the conclusions he has reached because of his religious beliefs. He is thus forced to call into question and reject the foundational conclusions of the essentially all of the scientific disciplines which deal with earth history, the fossil record, and human prehistory.

    I don’t think the causal reader is aware of what kind of heroic odyssey upon which Sean has embarked. He must reject all of the mainline conclusions of 99.9% of all those scientists who are involved in all isotopic dating methods, and all other types of dating methods including dendrochronology, varve dating, ice core dating, stable isotope studies of ocean cores, and on and on. The very long list of scientific conclusions he is required to reject is truly impressive. He must believe that all of the scientists involved in the study of these topics are wrong and he is right. I’m thinking of a word that describes the attitude that Sean must have to be able to do this.

    Anyone reading his web site must be impressed by how many topics he has studied. This is certainly appropriate and to be lauded. But then a miracle occurs! He always finds some major, fundamental mistake or misunderstanding that all of the specialists in each field who have spend their professional lives studying either don’t know about, or ignore, or misinterpret or something.

    Now one might very impressed if he might accomplish this in even one or two instances. But he must come up with reasons and arguments that refute conclusions reached throughout the entire range of scientific fields which yield evidence that the world and life are very, very old.

    This is why I believe it is appropriate to call Sean’s crusade truly heroic. I continue to wonder how he has the time to practice his medical specialty which I understand is pathology.

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  33. Now, your personal relationship with God is all fine and good for you. However, what do you have to offer those who do not yet have such a relationship? or who think they have a relationship, but would benefit from understanding God’s plan and the hope of the Gospel message as described in the pages of the Bible? Upon what would you place the Bible to give it credibility in the eyes of someone other than yourself who needs something more than your personal assurance that the Bible is “true”?

    Historical evidence, including archaeology and fulfilment of prophecies. And personal evidence–my personal experiences plus testimonies of others whose lives have been touched by God. Definitely not geological and biological evidence. If the geological and biological evidence are so important, why did Jesus present so little of it to us? Instead, he pointed out the fulfilment of prophecies and prophesied future events that have since been fulfilled (e.g., downfall of the temple), plus he directly touched people’s lives whose testimonies are given in the Bible.

    If the geological and biological evidence so overwhelmingly favors literal interpretations of the book of Genesis, why is it that there remains so much controversy within the SDA church–not only among scientists but among administrators, theologians and lay people? If you want all SDAs to agree with you that the weight of geological and biological evidence favors your views, I think you’ll find it easier to straighten out the Amazon River.

    By the way, terrestrial organisms which survived the flood could have floated to various continents on massive rafts of dying vegetation, but of course that is contrary to the literal word of God which states: “And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man: All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died. And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark.” (Genesis 7:21-23)

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  34. Re Ervin’s Quote

    “I don’t think many of those of us who read Sean’s statements on this and other web sites appreciate how truly heroic is the task he has set out for himself.”

    Perhaps Sean is our modern Don Quitoxe.

    Cheers
    Ken

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  35. Evolutionists are not immune from having to explain the distribution of such things as worms and amphibians….or even larger animals. Consider the Galapagos Islands.Galápagos Penguin, Spheniscus mendiculus, the only living tropical penguinGalápagos land iguanas, Conolophus spp.Marine Iguana, Amblyrhynchus cristatus, the only iguana feeding in the seaSeveral species of worms (one thought to be endemic, the others introduced)!Regarding small invertebrates, this quote from The Darwin Foundation website is thought-provoking:“The exact number of terrestrial invertebrates in Galapagos is still unknown. Until 2001 a total of 2289 species has been reported in the literature, but numbers of new records and newly described species are still being added to that list. As much as 51.7% of these species are today reported to be endemic to Galapagos.” The question is, then, if what scientists claim is true and the islands literally rose up from the sea due to volcanic activity under the sea floor, then every organism in the Galapagos has migrated there from afar. How do these invertebrates get there? Swim? Fly? Vector borne? Float? All of the above?

    Well, indeed evolutionists have to explain migrations too, but they don’t have to accomplish the whole process in a mere 5,000 years or less. The Galápagos Islands are considered to be 3 to 4 million years old, and there is evidence that some of the islands, or adjacent seamounts might be much older, which means the organisms on the Galápagos Islands had a minimum of 3 million years to raft there, be carried there on or in another organism, swim there, fly there, or be blown there. And it all that time there are only 2289 species there? That is not very many species, and the number is so low because it is difficult to migrate to such an out of the way island chain. Just so you can see the actual numbers and distribution of the flora and fauna on the islands, here is a table from the book Smaller orders of insects of the Galápagos Islands, Ecuador by Stewart Blaine Peck, National Research Council Canada in 2001:

    What you might notice is the conspicuous absence of amphibians. There are none on the Galápagos. The likely reason is that amphibians cannot survive desiccation or exposure to saltwater. There is also a real dearth of non-parasitic worms. The parasitic ones are there in relative abundance, I assume because they got there on or in their hosts. Other types of worms would have a much harder time making it there, and are therefore absent. Given 3 million years of time, most evolutionists see no difficulty in explaining the taxa that are there.

    Now, if we switch to the kind of migration required to thoroughly repopulate the earth in less than 5000 years, no that’s a challenge. Thus the reason that Brand, in the quote I shared earlier, suggested that the only way out of the problem at our present level of understanding might be directed dispersal. In response Sean said he saw no need to invoke directed dispersal. Wow, then how DID all those organisms get to where they are today? I have heard some suggest that maybe angels carried them around and dispersed them. Fine, but that is not a scientific explanation and neither should we expect to find evidence for such a scenario.

    Creationist viewpoints cannot be dismissed merely for lack of evidence to prove them. We will not always have knowledge of God’s wise ways. He gives us ample evidence by which to trust Him. May we continue to seek out His wisdom and truth.  (Quote)

    I think you and I are on the same page on this one. At this point, if there was a worldwide flood as interpreted from the Genesis account, then only God knows how our current biogeography got the way it is today. Secular geologists and evolutionists certainly have no answers for something like that to occur over such a short range, and I am baffled that Sean sees it is being such a trivial thing to explain. If someone like Brand, whose career has been spent grappling with this stuff says he sees no way to explain it, I find it difficult to trust that a physician like Sean who studies this stuff as a hobby somehow has better answers. Am I missing something here?

    That was my reason for bringing faith into the picture. With so many big problems to solve to reconcile a recent worldwide flood with what we see in the world today, what other refuge to I have? Of course, I could retreat to the camp of those who advocate a local flood, but then, if I were an SDA biologist teaching in an SDA school I would have Educate Truth pursuing me for simply considering the possibility that the Bible might be interpreted that way. Thank goodness I don’t have to worry about that.

    Oh, and then there’s the excellent pay our SDA biology professors make which is a third to a half less than professors in secular institutions. I know SDA biology professors who have former students who have become surgeons who now make 4-5 times what their former professors are now making. Maybe the fact that we have a good number of biology professors who believe and teach a young earth model is due to the low pay? You have to really be committed to SDA education to want to stay at a place that pays so little.

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  36. He believes that there must be solid modern scientific evidence to support the conclusions he has reached because of his religious beliefs.He is thus forced to call into question and reject the foundational conclusions of the essentially all of the scientific disciplines which deal with earth history, the fossil record, and human prehistory.I don’t think the causal reader is aware of what kind of heroic odyssey upon which Sean has embarked.He must reject all of the mainline conclusions of 99.9% of all those scientists who are involved in all isotopic dating methods, and all other types of dating methods including dendrochronology, varve dating, ice core dating, stable isotope studies of ocean cores, and on and on. The very long list of scientific conclusions he is required to reject is truly impressive.He must believe that all of the scientists involved in the study of these topics are wrong and he is right.

    Ervin,

    You are quite right in your support of the truth. It is a fact that many more people believe in evolution than in creation. It is well worth noting this, for it points clearly to which side has the truth. As Christians, we know which side must necessarily have the truth. Jesus told us this in Matthew 7:13-14. He also told us what the time of the end would be like in Matthew 24:37. Mrs. White speaks of Noah’s time as well in the following passage from “The Great Controversy.”

    But the message seemed to them an idle tale, and they believed it not. Emboldened in their wickedness, they mocked the messenger of God, made light of his entreaties, and even accused him of presumption. How dare one man stand up against all the great men of the earth? If Noah’s message were true, why did not all the world see it and believe it? One man’s assertion against the wisdom of thousands! They would not credit the warning, nor would they seek shelter in the ark. {GC88 337.3}

    Ervin, you were quite accurate with your figures. You claimed that Sean was up against 99.9% of scientists. If that is true, and I’m sure you must be right, then it proves the veracity of Jesus’ words! Noah, alone against thousands, represented that same figure! One in a thousand means the majority represents 99.9%, so your math and God’s math are quite parallel indeed. And you recall, of course, which percentage had the truth.

    Indeed, we are living in the last days. These are the days when one can be proud to come apart from the majority and hold fast to the truth though no one join him.

    In the words of one of our wisest the 99.9% figure is found again:

    I applied mine heart to know, and to search, and to seek out wisdom, and the reason of things, and to know the wickedness of folly, even of foolishness and madness: …Which yet my soul seeketh, but I find not: one man among a thousand have I found; but a woman among all those have I not found. (Ecclesiastes 7:25, 28)

    Solomon found one wise man among a thousand. To be among the 999 is folly. Who will be wise in this generation?

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  37. Re: Adventist Principal’s Quote

    “These are the days when one can be proud to come apart from the majority and hold fast to the truth though no one join him.”

    Dear Adventist

    Yes it takes great courage to be in the minority and stand up for what one beliefs in.

    I imagine this is how Darwin felt when he came out against the creation majority of the day. Or Galileo against the church establishment for that matter.

    I think Sean has a great deal of courage. Perhaps Sean’s ‘ark’ will be teaching creation science at an Adventist institution to keep it afloat. Just a thought.

    Peace be with you on your Sabbath.
    Your minority agnostic friend Ken

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  38. @Ken: @Ken: Don Quitoxe? Hmmm…. Not, I submit, Don but Daniel. Quitoxe was amusingly pathetic, going up against naught but the wind, just fantasy. Daniel went up against…but you, and Erv, should re-read it yourself, really.

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  39. Ervin Taylor says:
    November 19, 2010 I don’t think many of those of us who read Sean’s statements on this and other web sites appreciate how truly heroic is the task he has set out for himself.

    His interpretation of the Bible requires that all life must be very young—
    less than 10,000 years.

    However, he is not content in just leaving it there as his personal belief about the history of the physical world based on his own interpretation of an ancient text.

    It is kind of nostalgic – watching our evolutionist friends continue to imagine that the overwhelming support of young life, literal 7 day creationism at the recent GC session is “just something Sean did” or that it is proof that “Sean” is the one Adventist that accepts that doctrine.

    Whenever you read that kind of myopic posting – you kinda want to respond with “can you spell Seventh-day Adventist” or “do you recall the drubbing that the deep-time long evolution doctrine on origins receieved in Atlanta in 2010”?

    I am thinking that after FB #6 gets updated it will be “even easier” for our eveolutionist friends to recall that 2010 drubbing of the doctrines on origins preached by evolutionists.

    Oh well – it is a free universe – the evolutionists are allowed their personal beliefs even if it is a kind of flat-earth fiction of the form that “Sean” is the only Bible believing Christian among Seventh-day Adventists.

    Erv said :
    He (Sean) believes that there must be solid modern scientific evidence to support the conclusions he has reached because of his religious beliefs. He is thus forced to call into question and reject the foundational conclusions of the essentially all of …

    This is where Erv is careful NOT to use the phrase “foudational observations of essentially all of SCIENCE”. Because in fact the “birds come from reptiles” mythology is NOT observed by ANY of science!

    Rather what we have in the case of true believers in evolutionism is “devotees that believe that they will once day find solid modern scientific evidence to support the conclusions they have reached because of their religious beliefs that — birds come from reptiles– and — the Bible is wrong –. They are thus forced to call into question and reject the foundational observations of the essentially all of science – starting with entropy and going directly to the problem observed of genetic mutation confined within static genomes, as well as an abiogensis story that is dead in the water.”

    I don’t think the causal reader is aware of what kind of heroic odyssey upon which our evolutionist friends have embarked. They must reject all of the scientific observations made in the lab not merely 99.9% of them.

    The very long list of scientific evidence they are forced to reject is truly impressive. They must believe that all of observed proven laws of chemestry, biology and physics are “flawed” and that the laboratory observations involved in the study of these topics are either wrong or simply lack the proper “storytelling” to make them fit the evolutionist dfream.

    I’m thinking of a word that describes the attitude that evolutionists must have to be able to do this.

    Erv said
    He always finds some major, fundamental mistake or misunderstanding that all of the specialists in each field who have spend their professional lives studying either don’t know about, or ignore, or misinterpret or something.

    Here again – lots of evidence for how storytelling in evolutionist circles impacts their perception. Not only do they imagine that Sean is the only Bible Believing Seventh-day Adventist – but they also “imagine” that all scientists believe-in evolutionism.

    Oh well – I guess that is the nature of our evolutionist friends to bring in a light note to the subject now and then.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  40. @Eddie:

    So Sean, when exactly did the ice ages occur? How long was it between the end of the flood and the onset of the first ice age, during which all those slow-poke plants (e.g., liverworts and hornworts) and animals (forgot to mention millipedes, centipedes, scorpions and freshwater minnows) had to dash across Beringia en route to South America before freezing to death? Was there only one ice age or were there multiple ice ages? How much rain would it have taken for ice to accumulate up to 2 miles deep (that’s right, up to 10,500 feet in Greenland) since the flood?

    There is good evidence that there were no polar ice caps and that it was quite warm after the Flood for at least 500 years… long enough for millions of mammoths to establish themselves, along with those of many other types of warmer weather animals such as the horse, lion, tiger, leopard, bear, antelope, camel, reindeer, giant beaver, musk sheep, musk ox, donkey, ibex, badger, fox, wolverine, voles, squirrels, bison, rabbit and lynx as well as a host of temperate plants within the Arctic Circle – along the same latitudes as Greenland all around the globe.

    After this time, there was a sudden ice age that trapped millions of these creatures within a single season, killing millions of them and preserving their remains, all jumbled up together. The world was a really different place within recent history. It was a much much warmer and wetter place. Even within the Arctic Circle it was warm. Large fruit-bearing trees grew there and a great abundance of animal life was supported which cannot now exist there. Yet, for some reason, even though the Greenland ice sheets are melting right now at a rate of over 250 cubic kilometers per year, scientists somehow believe that these ice sheets survived the Hypsithermal period? – a warm period some 2 degrees Celsius hotter (global average) than it is today? – and lasting until the time the Egyptians were building their pyramids? Based on what? How could everything around the same latitudes as Greenland be warm and lush, and Greenland remain covered with ice? You explain that to me…

    Not even Erv Taylor and the 99.9% of scientists that agree with him have been able to explain that one away…

    http://www.detectingdesign.com/ancientice.html#The%20Warm%20Age

    Also, who said that plants had to migrate? Plants, or their seeds, could have survived outside of the Ark. You keep forgetting that only the land animals with “nostrils” needed to be saved on the Ark to avoid complete destruction by the Flood.

    You also forget that the Earth isn’t that big of a place. Even small insects and amphibians can migrate very rapidly given the appropriate conditions and sources of food. Right after the Flood, the warm wet climate would have yielded abundant food for hundreds of years. The continents would not have been nearly as widely separated as they are today. There would have been many more land bridges. Even after the ice ages hit, there would have been more land bridges than there are today due to a significant reduction in ocean level.

    As far as the thickness of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets in particular, ice can form very rapidly over very short periods of time. Even today, a period of relatively decreased moisture, dozens of snow storms can hit Greenland in a single season. Along the coasts where moisture is greater and more storms arise, snow can be deposited hundreds of feet thick within 50 years (this is actually documented by the team that search for a recovered a WWII era plane dubbed “Glacier Girl” from deep within the ice sheets of Greenland). How then do you come to the conclusion that the present thickness of these ice sheets is some great mystery from the biblical perspective?

    I short, I really don’t see animal migration or current biogeographic distributions or thickness of modern ice sheets as the huge problems for the credibility of a worldwide Noachian Flood that you and others imagine them to be…

    Sorry if I seem inquisitive but I’m merely asking some simple questions which I’m confident you’ll have answers for, buttressed of course by overwhelming scientific evidence validating your views. After all, you have spent much more time studying all of this stuff than I have–and my faith just might hinge on your answers.

    There’s a difference between having a reasonable faith or belief in the existence of some kind of God or God-like power in the universe and having a rational faith in the credibility of the Bible in particular – vs. other “good books” like the Book of Mormon or the Qur’an. If someone where to ask you why you believe the Bible to be somehow superior or to reveal more privileged information than any other book on God, what would you say? What are your reasons?

    I’m sorry, but a response that “I just have faith” just wouldn’t do it for me. Personal faith that is not based on generally available empirical evidence might be fine and good for the one who has faith, but how does that help those outside of yourself? What “reasons” can you offer them that would have general appeal?

    The reason most people find “science” so powerful as a basis of faith is because it appeals to generally available empirical evidence. That is a very powerful appeal to the rational mind. We, as Christians who believe in the credibility of the Bible should take advantage of this. We should also be able to appeal to the weight of empirical evidence. After all, this is exactly what the Biblical authors do in their own support of the authority of the Scriptures. Jesus is reported as doing the same thing – appealing to empirical evidence to support his metaphysical claims…

    In short, faith in the metaphysical is not rational if it is not and cannot be rooted in the physical realm… in empirical reality.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  41. @Ervin Taylor:

    Anyone reading his web site must be impressed by how many topics he has studied. This is certainly appropriate and to be lauded. But then a miracle occurs! He always finds some major, fundamental mistake or misunderstanding that all of the specialists in each field who have spend their professional lives studying either don’t know about, or ignore, or misinterpret or something.

    Now one might very impressed if he might accomplish this in even one or two instances. But he must come up with reasons and arguments that refute conclusions reached throughout the entire range of scientific fields which yield evidence that the world and life are very, very old.

    One has to love appeals to authority like this. Such arguments are often used as an attempt to avoid directly answering the questions or challenges against mainstream thinking. One can always say, “Well, I can’t answer your arguments or questions myself, but I know you’re wrong because 99.9% of the experts disagree with you.”

    Look I’m only challenging people to look at the generally available evidence for themselves. I’ve personally decided that this issue is of such importance to me personally that I’m not simply going to take someone else’s word for it. I’m going to read up and investigate the claims of mainstream scientists for myself it see if I can actually understand them as valid.

    When I first started my investigation in earnest some 15 years ago, I did so with no small amount of fear and trepidation. A great deal was on the line for me. I had decided that if the claims of mainstream science were indeed valid, then I would have to leave the SDA Church behind as hopelessly out of touch with reality. I began my search with what I was most familiar – genetics. If Darwinian-style evolution happens or doesn’t happen, it happens or doesn’t happen genetically. What I found was rather shocking to me at the time. I found that the Darwinian mechanism of random mutations combined with natural selection was statistically untenable – dramatically so. Given billions or even trillions of years of time, it was hopelessly inadequate to explain the origin of novel functional biological information beyond very very low levels of functional complexity. I also found that the detrimental mutation rates were far far too high for animals with relatively slow reproduction rates, like all mammals for example, to avoid eventual genetic meltdown and extinction over a relatively short period of time – no more than one or two million years max.

    While I was shocked by the obvious nature of the statistical problems for the Darwinian mechanism that I discovered, I was even more shocked by the arguments used to prop it up… arguments that were based almost exclusively on imagination or unreasonable extrapolations of low-level examples of evolution in action. I was especially shocked at the use, by modern scientists, of Mendelian variation as a basis for Darwinian-style evolution over time. Mendelian variation isn’t evolution at all. It is simply a difference in expression of the same underlying gene pool of options where the gene pool itself doesn’t change.

    Now that I knew, for sure, that 99.9% of mainstream scientists were wrong when it came to the creative potential of the Darwinian mechanism to explain both the origin and diversity of living things that we see today, it was much much easier for me to believe that 99.9% of mainstream scientists could also be wrong in their interpretation of the fossil record. While interpretations of fossils and the geologic column is not as definitively precise and conclusive as dealing with genetics and the Darwinian mechanism, I’ve still found a great deal of evidence, which to me, appears to significantly counter the mainstream perspective on origins while being, at the same time, quite consistent with the Biblical perspective.

    So, there you have it. This was my path and the basic reason why I am currently opposed to 99.9% of mainstream scientists. And Erv, if he is honest with himself, knows that anyone who thinks that there is any empirical evidence for God whatsoever, is opposed to 99.9% of mainstream scientists who claim that there is no empirical evidence for God’s existence whatsoever. Perhaps this is why Erv, when asked what he would tell his own granddaughter if she asked him for evidence of God’s existence said, “I don’t know”.

    Now, that’s an admirably honest statement coming from an agnostic who definitely wants to believe in God, as Erv claims he does. However, it is also a rather sad statement. It would be much better and much more hopeful if we as Christians, and Seventh-day Adventists in particular, would be able to answer our own young people who ask for evidence of God’s existence and the credibility of the Bible (aka “ancient text”) with something more than, “I don’t know”.

    This is why I believe it is appropriate to call Sean’s crusade truly heroic. I continue to wonder how he has the time to practice his medical specialty which I understand is pathology.

    Lots of people wonder that. I wonder about that myself sometimes. Yet, somehow, I’ve managed to pass boards in anatomic, clinical and hematopathology and to maintain an active full-time practice in a 6-member pathology group taking care of two hospitals, several surrounding clinics and numerous individual medical practices. I also have my family to enjoy, to include my new little one year old boy Wesley. All I can say is that I get up early in the morning, often at 4 or 5 am, to start my “work” – both professional as well as my work in other fields of interest…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  42. @OTNT_Believer:

    Well, indeed evolutionists have to explain migrations too, but they don’t have to accomplish the whole process in a mere 5,000 years or less. The Galápagos Islands are considered to be 3 to 4 million years old, and there is evidence that some of the islands, or adjacent seamounts might be much older, which means the organisms on the Galápagos Islands had a minimum of 3 million years to raft there, be carried there on or in another organism, swim there, fly there, or be blown there. And it all that time there are only 2289 species there?

    New islands, not to mention entire continents attached to each other by land bridges, can be populated much more rapidly than you evidently imagine – without the need to invoke millions of years of time.

    Consider, for example, the new volcanic island of Surtsey. Surtsey began life as an eruption 130 meters below the surface of the ocean on November 14, 1963. By the end of 1964 Surtsey was an island 174 meters above sea level. Within a few months seeds and other plant parts washed up on shore and were blown in on wind currents and were carried in by birds – and took root.

    Insects were first discovered on Surtsey in May of 1964. Most of these were winged insects. However, spiders were also discovered soon after the birth of Surtsey, gliding through the air attached to spinning threads. Also, many insect species floated on the sea surface to Surtsey, either with or without the aid of drifting material. Animals – both dead and alive – have been found on the beach after being washed ashore. There are examples of transportation on floating grass turfs with soil and driftwood that have stranded upon the beach, carrying numerous small animals. In addition, birds have carried small animals to the island.

    During the first few years, a total of 170 different insect species were found on the island. This represents approximately 13% of all species found in Iceland until that time. Early on, however, only a few of these species became established since conditions on the island were very harsh and not favorable for colonization at first.

    However, by 1981 there were animals that were herbivores, others that were saprotrophs, and still others that were carnivores. In the summer of 1993, the first earthworms were found on Surtsey in soil samples taken from the gull colony. The worms in question were juvenile chestnut worms (Lumbricus castaneus). It is interesting to note, however, that earthworms have not been found there since. By 1995 the vegetation had become very lush in the gull colony and the soil fauna very diverse. Before that time, 16 different species of Collembola had been found, but in 1995 eight species were found, six of which were new to the island. It came as a surprise that only a few of the first species had become established. On the other hand, the diversity of mites had grown, with a total of 62 species in 1995. Since 1995, two land snail species have been found: the Western Glass-snail (Vitrina pellucida), ; and the slug Deroceras agreste. In addition, 10 species of Linyphiidae have been found in Surtsey, six of them in 2002.

    http://www.surtsey.is/pp_ens/biola_4.htm

    So, you see, it isn’t that hard to imagine the very rapid dispersal of land animals from an original starting point around the entire world and between large continents which likely had rather extensive land bridges right after the Flood. It is also not hard to imagine how some animals that did arrive, and perhaps even thrived for a while, subsequently died out as environmental conditions changed or where not adequate for continued survival of certain types of species (as in the case of the hummingbird in Europe and Africa, contrary to Dr. Ness’s argument – since post-Flood remains of hummingbird species, in Tertiary sediments, have been found in these regions where they no longer exist today). Millions of years simply aren’t required to explain these things…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  43. Re Wes’ Quote

    “@Ken: @Ken: Don Quitoxe? Hmmm…. Not, I submit, Don but Daniel. Quitoxe was amusingly pathetic, going up against naught but the wind, just fantasy. Daniel went up against…but you, and Erv, should re-read it yourself, really. wesley kime(Quote)”

    Dear Wes

    Daniel Quixote, hmmm must have been the sequel.

    Tilting at windmills
    Ken

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  44. @Sean

    New islands, not to mention entire continents attached to each other by land bridges, can be populated much more rapidly than you evidently imagine – without the need to invoke millions of years of time.
    Consider, for example, the new volcanic island of Surtsey. Surtsey began life as an eruption 130 meters below the surface of the ocean on November 14, 1963. By the end of 1964 Surtsey was an island 174 meters above sea level. Within a few months seeds and other plant parts washed up on shore and were blown in on wind currents and were carried in by birds – and took root.

    Let me get this sraight, because Surtsey, which is less than 4 miles from another mcu older island, less 12 miles from another larger and older island, and is barely more than 20 miles from Iceland has seen such rapid migration that the Galápagos Islands, which are almost 600 miles from the coast of South America (the nearest land of any kind) should be easily colonized in a few thousand years? I’m not even sure how to respond. The scale difference is so great that the comparison seems ludicrous. I have no poroblem at all with the Surtsey research, but it hardly hasanything to sa at all about migration rates to islands that are 400 miles or more from the nearest land.

    Then there is the added poblem with the Galápagos Islands that there are species there which occur nowhere else on earth, which means that at least some of them had to have evolved from some ancestors that migrated there. If we assume a worldwide flood, then many of the ancestral species would have had to migrate there in the first 1000 years to have time for the evolution required to produce the modern species now found there.

    So, you are saying that there was super fast migration of species that have no way of crossing such a long distance of water (thus relying on chance events, like a floating mat of vegetation or a log or something) that then speciate at rates unsupported by evolutionary theory. These new species are so different from species elsewhere that there has even been some difficulty in determining their taxonomic affinities. Sean, you are a stronger believer in evolution and natural selection than I thought. What we are talking here is macroevolution on a hyperfast scale following on the heels of numerous founder populations arriving at orders of magnitude faster rates than any ecologist would even consider. You never cease to amaze me.

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  45. @OTNT_Believer:

    So, you are saying that there was super fast migration of species that have no way of crossing such a long distance of water (thus relying on chance events, like a floating mat of vegetation or a log or something) that then speciate at rates unsupported by evolutionary theory. These new species are so different from species elsewhere that there has even been some difficulty in determining their taxonomic affinities. Sean, you are a stronger believer in evolution and natural selection than I thought. What we are talking here is macroevolution on a hyperfast scale following on the heels of numerous founder populations arriving at orders of magnitude faster rates than any ecologist would even consider. You never cease to amaze me.

    Part of the problem here is over the definition of a “new species”. What is often defined as a new species or “macroevolution” is nothing but a different expression of the same underlying gene pool of pre-established genetic options. The gene pool of options didn’t change – only the area of phenotypic expression of the pool. In fact, in order to demonstrate that many types of animals that are given different species and even genus names are actually part of the same original gene pool there are numerous examples of different “species” producing viable and often fertile offspring.

    For example, donkeys, horses, and zebras have been given different species names. Yet, they can interbreed and produce viable offspring. This means that their genetic information is the same – that it was derived from the same original gene pool. They only reason that the offspring of a horse-donkey mating (a donkey) is sterile is because there has been a chromosomal inversion in one relative to the other. Such a chromosomal inversion results in chromosomal looping during meiosis and fragmenting of the chromosomal material during genetic crossover that happens during meiosis. This results in defective gametes in the mule and is the reason the mule is sterile. However, it has nothing to do with the informational quality itself – only the arrangement of this information on the chromosome. And, there are many many other such examples.

    http://www.detectingdesign.com/donkeyshorsesmules.html

    What this means is that what you call “macroevolution” really isn’t based on the evolution of any qualitatively new functional genetic element at all. It is based on the phenotypic isolation of certain areas of the pre-established gene pool of genetic options that was already there. Such “breeding” can be done very very rapidly. Millions of years are not needed.

    As far as populating new continents and islands right after the Flood, you forget that distances that exist today did not exist right after the Flood. The continents were much closer together at first, and the newly developing volcanic islands were as well. Then, after the ice ages hit, various land bridges that are not currently available were available then due to a dramatic decrease in the level of the oceans worldwide. Many islands that now exist where not islands then and could be easily accessed by land.

    Also, as we have seen, even islands that are completely cut off from land can be rapidly populated by animals as diverse and unexpected as earthworms and slugs and lizards.

    What is amazing to me is that someone who titles himself a “New and Old Testament Believer”, as noted in your own Moniker, would argue so strongly for claims that, if taken at face value without a bit of personal investigation, would undermine the claims of both the Old and New Testament.

    But of course, your “faith” is not affected by the validity of the actual claims made by the Biblical authors regarding the physical world. You claim to be an “agnostic” when it comes to the validity of the actual empirical claims of the Biblical authors. It really doesn’t matter if the Bible is literally true or not – right? Your faith can go with the flow. Why then don’t you believe in the superior credibility of the Book of Mormon or the Qur’an? Amazing…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  46. @Sean

    Part of the problem here is over the definition of a “new species”. What is often defined as a new species or “macroevolution” is nothing but a different expression of the same underlying gene pool of pre-established genetic options. The gene pool of options didn’t change – only the area of phenotypic expression of the pool. In fact, in order to demonstrate that many types of animals that are given different species and even genus names are actually part of the same original gene pool there are numerous examples of different “species” producing viable and often fertile offspring.
    For example, donkeys, horses, and zebras have been given different species names. Yet, they can interbreed and produce viable offspring. This means that their genetic information is the same – that it was derived from the same original gene pool. They only reason that the offspring of a horse-donkey mating (a donkey) is sterile is because there has been a chromosomal inversion in one relative to the other. Such a chromosomal inversion results in chromosomal looping during meiosis and fragmenting of the chromosomal material during genetic crossover that happens during meiosis. This results in defective gametes in the mule and is the reason the mule is sterile. However, it has nothing to do with the informational quality itself – only the arrangement of this information on the chromosome. And, there are many many other such examples.

    This interchange is getting a bit tedious. Although I am certainly no expert on geology, I do have expertise in genetics, and your suggestions about speciation being just a rearrangement of genetic material is woefully ignorant. I have seen this concept suggested elsewhere, and only from those who have not thoroughly investigated the topic. Of course, to get the rapid changes you feel must have occurred in such a short span of time, you have to invoke a theory like this. And the horse/donkey/mule story is no surprise whatsoever for geneticists or evolutionists. In fact the concept of speciation via chromosome rearrangement is not a new concept either, and is a way that “rapid” adaptive radiation has apparently occurred. A prime example of just such a case is the genus Oenothera in Western NA. Extensive inversions and translocations have rendered many closely related species in this genus reproductively isolated, leading to many local endemics. But to posit this as the way that all speciation occurs is simply ludicrous. You need to go back to school and take a competent genetics course and then maybe one on molecular systematics. I mean this with no disrespect, but you need to realize that your competency in this area is very low.

    As for the “finches” of the Galápagos, we hardly see evidence for a simple rearrangement of genetic material. These birds are so different from any other birds that there has been a long-standing disagreement over how they should be classified—a difficulty that remains today. The following quote from Wikipedia (not the best source, but a ready one, and accurate enough in this case) illustrates the scope of this problem:

    “For some decades taxonomists have placed these birds in the family Emberizidae with the New World sparrows and Old World buntings (Sulloway 1982). However, the Sibley-Ahlquist taxonomy puts Darwin’s finches with the tanagers (Monroe and Sibley 1993), and at least one recent work follows that example (Burns and Skutch 2003). The American Ornithologists’ Union, in its North American check-list, places the Cocos Island Finch in the Emberizidae but with an asterisk indicating that the placement is probably wrong (AOU 1998–2006); in its tentative South American check-list, the Galápagos species are incertae sedis, of uncertain place (Remsen et al. 2007).” Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darwin's_finches

    I could give you literally hundreds of examples of this sort of thing, and your explanation just isn’t relevant at all in these cases. Darwin’s finches represent an example of macroevolution by almost anyone’s definition. Another way of looking at why your interpretation is so far off is to consider dog breeds. Aside from physical difficulties, all breeds of dogs are interfertile, but look at how different they are from one another. And these differences are due in many cases to one or several small mutations. To keep the dog story in perspective, first realize that the current theory of dog origins (which has archaeological evidence to support it) has them being domesticated sometime between 7,000 BC (from where we have the best evidence) to possibly as far back as 30,000 BC. Now, granted, we all have trouble with the idea of something happening over 30,000 years ago, so let’s just assume the 7,000 BC figure is correct (of course, you would see this as problematic as it is pre-flood).

    Now I think we can all agree that artificial selection is a much more powerful force than natural selection. So, with this much more powerful force humans have produced numerous distinct breeds of dogs, but no one new species. Why is that? According you your line of reasoning hundreds (or even thousands) of new species have arisen post-flood by natural selection alone working on some kind of genetic rearrangement process. The same process should have been occurring in dogs, and yet there is not one single new species of dog! I could tell the same story with a dozen other domesticated species.

    The problem we have here is that you are so quick to tear down the process of macroevolution on the one hand, and then are willing to embrace it again to try and explain the rapid diversification of taxa that must have occurred post-flood. And you are accusing me of blind faith when I am willing to believe the Bible account more on faith than evidence. Well, my friend, what you are doing with genetics and evolutionary theory is just as much a form of blind faith. There are so many holes in your genetic rearrangement leading to speciation theory that I am astonished! Can we talk about something else that you know more about?

    I am sorry of I have appeared unkind in my comments here, but you have truly caught me by surprise. I hope you will take the effort to educate yourself a bit better in genetics, especially as it intersects evolutionary biology. Even if your theory were the explanation for all new species, the process, where we do know it has occurred, takes much longer than a few thousand years.

    But of course, your “faith” is not affected by the validity of the actual claims made by the Biblical authors regarding the physical world. You claim to be an “agnostic” when it comes to the validity of the actual empirical claims of the Biblical authors. It really doesn’t matter if the Bible is literally true or not – right? Your faith can go with the flow. Why then don’t you believe in the superior credibility of the Book of Mormon or the Qur’an? Amazing…

    Wow, you seem to really understand me so well. Actually, my faith in God’s word does not include a faith in any one interpretation. The way my faith works in relation to the Bible is to recognize that the writers were humans inspired by God to write these accounts. Sometimes, in that process, a writer may not know or understand all the facts of the original story, so he writes it to the best of his ability. What my faith allows for is that if the writer of Genesis believed the flood was literally a worldwide flood, it bothers me not the least to still have faith in the Genesis account even if the actual event might turned out to have been local.
    I see the problems with the flood akin to those that sometimes occurred with EGW’s inspired writings and utterances. Case in point:
    In 1847, James and Ellen White published a tract in which it is announced that she had seen a vision of the planets in our solar system:
    “At our conference in Topsham, Maine, last Nov., Ellen had a vision of the handy works of God. She was guided to the planets Jupiter, Saturn, and I think one more. After she came out of vision, she could give a clear description of their Moons, etc. It is well known, that she knew nothing of astronomy, and could not answer one question in relation to the planets, before she had this vision.”

    Now some people use this event to claim that EGW obviously was not the inspired prophet the church has claimed her to be or she would have gotten her facts correct. I just don’t think that God is in the business of making sure all the “facts” are correct when his prophets write. The writer of Genesis may truly have believed that the flood had covered the WHOLE world. If we were somehow to discover beyond a doubt that it didn’t actually cover all of it, then we have two choices: 1) Decide the Bible is a hoax and throw it out, or 2) accept the fact that the writer, who had limited knowledge of what worldwide actually would have meant, wrote the story to best of his knowledge. My faith allows me to take the latter approach. Your faith, if based more on the weight of the “scientific” evidence would be obligated to choose the first option. I surely hope we never get incontrovertible proof that the flood was local and could not have been worldwide for the sake of those whose faith is based like yours is.

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  47. One additional, more troubling account of EGW’s vision’s of the planets comes from The great second advent movement: its rise and progress by John Norton Loughborough (1909). Here is a quote from pgs 260-261.

    Another Testimony on the Planet Vision

    Again we quote from Mrs. Truesdail, who was present on the occasion of the
    giving of the vision referred to. She says:–

    “Sister White was in very feeble health, and while prayers were offered in her behalf, the Spirit of God rested upon us. We soon noticed that she was insensible to earthly things. This was her first view of the planetary world. After counting aloud the moons of Jupiter, and soon after those of Saturn, she gave a beautiful description of the rings of the latter. She then said, ‘The inhabitants are a tall, majestic people, so unlike the inhabitants of earth. Sin has never entered here.’ It was evident from Brother Bates’s smiling face that his past doubts in regard to the source of her visions were fast leaving him. We all knew that Captain Bates was a great lover of astronomy, as he would often locate many of the heavenly bodies for our instruction. When Sister White replied to his questions, after the vision, saying that she had never studied or otherwise received knowledge in this direction, he was filled with joy and happiness. He praised God, and expressed his belief that this vision concerning the planets was given that he might never again doubt.”

    Does this mean that I should now throw out my faith in the writings of EGW? For the same reason, my faith in the Bible should not be shaken if I discover a few “facts” that may be inaccurate. Such problems do not devalue the inspiration of the Bibke’s authors, it would just show they were humans with sometimes limited knowledge of history and the natural world.

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  48. And now for some facts to go along with that fictional idea above.

    1. Ellen White NEVER mentions Jupiter in ANY of her writings as something that God ever showed her in any way.

    2. Ellen White NEVER claims to have seen “the moons of Jupiter” in ANY of her published statements or public speaches or claims to family and friends.

    3. Ellen White NEVER claimed to see any “tall people on Jupiter”.

    Hint to the objective unbiased reader on this point – NOTICE how often this wild claim is made ABOUT Ellen White without even ONE SINGLE QUOTE from Ellen White with the word “Jupiter” in it — in the context “God showed me Jupiter” or “God gave me a view of Jupiter” or “God showed me the moons of Jupiter”.

    So OTNT asks the question of the form “IF we are not allowed to PUT WORDS INTO Ellen White’s mouth” THEN should we just give up trying?

    I would say the answer to that question is – YES – give up trying to do that – since objective readers having at least some experience in critical thinking will toss all those “I put words into Ellen White’s mouth – now do you want to reject her ministry” arguments out the window.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  49. Now I think we can all agree that artificial selection is a much more powerful force than natural selection. So, with this much more powerful force humans have produced numerous distinct breeds of dogs, but no one new species. Why is that? According you your line of reasoning hundreds (or even thousands) of new species have arisen post-flood by natural selection alone working on some kind of genetic rearrangement process. The same process should have been occurring in dogs, and yet there is not one single new species of dog! I could tell the same story with a dozen other domesticated species.

    Creationists are sometimes tempted to use the term “species” when they should be using the term “Genome”. It is a bad mistake because it opens a door for rabbit trailing by evolutionists that is totally unnecessary.

    Dogs – wolves, coyotes and foxes are all part of the same genome. There are still today some wolves that interbreed with certain kinds of coyotes and some coyotes that interbreed with certain kinds of foxes.

    The issue of whether they interbreed or not may be a nice way to segment species but it does not determine genome.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  50. So having adjusted OTNT’s sketchy claims with some actual facts (thus debunking the wild claim that Ellen White ever claimed to see Jupiter), let’s look at the heart of his/her proposal.

    The idea is that in the case of 1Cor 12 inspiration through direct vision given by God – the prophet could say something like “I was shown other worlds – in fact Jupiter specifically and I saw there …” or maybe the prophet says “I was shown creation week and it was indeed a literal 7 day week” (3SG 90-91), or maybe the prophet says “and evening and morning were the 6th day and then God rested”. Then OTNT suggests that we find that all of these statements are totally false – now can’t we believe in some kind of watered down version of prophecy where what we read in the Bible is total nonsense so we just take from it some good “generalties” — (kind like you might take from a “fortune cookie” — to quote Cliff Goldstein on that point).

    So while we can see where OTNT is going with that argument – the key flaw in this case is that Ellen White never claimed to see Jupiter at all. Not the planet and not even its moons – much less tall people walking on Jupiter.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  51. Johnny – the idea was to try to “put words in her mouth” so that even though she said nothing at all about “Jupiter” — make it appear that God in fact told her that He was showing Jupiter to Ellen White in a vision — (and of course the description that follows in her vision does not match Jupiter at all) — and then claim that totally discounting whatever God says to a prophet — is still a good way to believe in the prophetic gift.

    Once you redefine “believe God” as “totally discount what He said” be cooking up the idea that God showed Ellen White the planet Jupiter – then you on to the Bible and discount what it says in just the same way.

    But that entire line of storytelling dies a crib death as soon as you “notice” the inconvenient detail that God never tells Ellen White she is being shown Jupiter– and Ellen White never claims that this is what she saw.

    In fact when asked about this – she states explicitly that she has no information at all about astronomy at al.

    Her writings do expressly admit to many many other worlds that are inhabited and that the universe is very large. But she never claimed enough knowledge by way of studying astronomy to say up or down about what planet she was shown.

    And of course now we know that there is no way she could have been shown any planet at all that is in our own solar system. It had to have been from another solar system – no matter Joseph Bate’s “feelings” to the contrary.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  52. @ Sean:

    Why then don’t you believe in the superior credibility of the Book of Mormon or the Qur’an?

    Can you explain how scientific evidence about the origin of the universe, life on Earth and a worldwide flood all favor the Bible over the Book of Mormon or the Qur’an?

    If you want to know why I believe the Bible is more credible than the Book of Mormon or the Qur’an, it’s based more on historical evidence than on any geological or biological evidence about the creation week and the extent of a worldwide flood.

    The Book of Mormon describes the family of an ancient Hebrew, Lehi, who immigrated to the Americas and that Jesus later visited his descendents. However, there is no scientific evidence that Lehi and his descendents, the Nephites and the Lamanites, ever colonized the Americas or that Jesus ever visited them. The Book of Mormon mentions a variety of plants, animals and metals for which no evidence exists that they ever occurred in the New World prior to the arrival of Columbus. There is no linguistic or DNA evidence linking any group of native Americans to any group of people from the Middle East. The only evidence supporting the Book of Mormon is based on the testimony of a single man who claimed to have unearthed golden plates which he gave to an angel shortly after he translated them, and a dozen witnesses, several of whom later recanted.

    As for the Qur’an, it is based on one man’s claim six centuries later that Jesus never died on the cross, which contradicts both Biblical and non-Biblical accounts that Jesus indeed died on the cross. I will quote two non-Biblical examples. The Jewish historian Flavius Josephus wrote: “Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.” My second example is the Roman governor Cornelius Tacitus, who wrote: “Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus.”

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  53. @ Bob:

    Creationists are sometimes tempted to use the term “species” when they should be using the term “Genome”.

    Huh? Where did you get that come from?

    There are still today some wolves that interbreed with certain kinds of coyotes and some coyotes that interbreed with certain kinds of foxes.

    Wolf X coyote yes, coyote X fox no.

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  54. @Bob

    Johnny – the idea was to try to “put words in her mouth” so that even though she said nothing at all about “Jupiter” — make it appear that God in fact told her that He was showing Jupiter to Ellen White in a vision — (and of course the description that follows in her vision does not match Jupiter at all) — and then claim that totally discounting whatever God says to a prophet — is still a good way to believe in the prophetic gift.
    Once you redefine “believe God” as “totally discount what He said” be cooking up the idea that God showed Ellen White the planet Jupiter – then you on to the Bible and discount what it says in just the same way.

    Excuse me Bob, but the quotes that I shared concerning the vision of EGW where she saw Jupiter and Saturn, or at least what those who knew astronomy beieved she saw was from a book by J. N. Loughborough. Whatever EGW saw, she did not contradict the interpretation that others like Joseph Bates made of it. Why didn’t God correct the problem right then if Joseph Bates was wrong? Why did EGW make no complaint about the interpretation? Precisely because there as no need to. The vision bolstered the faith of those that were present, and maybe others as well. What if God had shown her Jupiter and Saturn as we kno them to be today? It would hardly have been faith affirming at the time, although it might have helped more for us today. I think God expects us to use our minds and judgments and realize that messages for one time may not be as useful at other times. EGW often reminded people of just that when people missaplied some of her testimonies.

    EGW also makes numerous references to 6,000 years in reference to the timing of creation, a time span that was well accepted in her day. Since then, with more Biblical manuscripts available and a more careful assessment of the genologies we now know the figure is more appropiately 8-10,000 years. So, was EGW wrong when she used the 6,000 year figure. Yes, of course. Is tat relevant, no. What number would you expect someone of her day to use. Unless, of course, you think God should have set hr straight before her time. And besides, who really cares wether its 6,000 or 10,000 anyway.

    I don’t see the Jupeter/Saturn vision incident as troublesome in the least. It is instructive. Sometimes as science progresses we discover that previously held beliefs are wrong. Could the same be true about the worldwide flood? Well, I hope not, but shouldn’t we at least be willing to consider the possibility?

    Anyway, for those who want to see what Loughborough himself wrote on this event, the book The great second advent movement: its rise and progress by John Norton Loughborough is online and can be downloaded for free. Here are a few places where you can get it:

    http://books.google.com/books?id=X0FGAAAAYAAJ
    http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=nnc1.cr60074191

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  55. @ Sean:

    There is good evidence that there were no polar ice caps and that it was quite warm after the Flood for at least 500 years… long enough for millions of mammoths to establish themselves

    Pardon me asking more questions, but God gave me an inquisitive mind. Do you any idea how many elephants, mammoths and mastodons were on the ark? If only two, did they microevolve into the seven species of mastodons (Mammut), seven species of mammoths and three species of elephants (Loxodonta and Elephas)? All were K-selected species with a very slow reproductive rate. Are you certain that a population of two mammoths could increase to “millions” within 500 years, or even 5000 years? According to the Wikipedia account for “mammoth,” “There is an estimate of 150 million mammoth remains in Russia’s Siberian permafrost.” There must have been many millions more living in other parts of the planet, even in the southern USA and in Africa. Yet “mammoths probably had a gestation period of 22 months [nearly 2 years], resulting in a single calf being born.” According to the San Diego Zoo’s factsheet, “Age at weaning, estimated about 5-6 years for one Woolly Mammoth calf” and “Onset of a male’s prime reproductive period may be recorded as a decline in the growth rate of a tusk around 10-13 years” (library.sandiegozoo.org/factsheets/_extinct/mammoth/mammoth.htm). In the Wikipedia account for “elephant” it states that “A female will usually be ready to breed around the age of thirteen, when she comes into estrus.”

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  56. BobRyan said –

    Johnny – the idea was to try to “put words in her mouth” so that even though she said nothing at all about “Jupiter” — make it appear that God in fact told her that He was showing Jupiter to Ellen White in a vision — (and of course the description that follows in her vision does not match Jupiter at all) — and then claim that totally discounting whatever God says to a prophet — is still a good way to believe in the prophetic gift.
    Once you redefine “believe God” as “totally discount what He said” be cooking up the idea that God showed Ellen White the planet Jupiter – then you on to the Bible and discount what it says in just the same way.

    Excuse me Bob, but the quotes that I shared concerning the vision of EGW where she saw Jupiter and Saturn, or at least what those who knew astronomy beieved she saw was from a book by J. N. Loughborough.

    Indeed when we look at the “inconvenient details” that you provide to support your accusation that “Ellen White saw Jupiter” what we find is NO statement AT ALL from Ellen White saying “God gave me a vision of Jupiter” – rather all we see from Ellen White is “God gave me a vision of other worlds”.

    So when this “lack” is pointed out in your accusation – you respond with the a statement that is closer to the actual historic facts and that is of the form “well what about J. N. Loughborough’s book and Joseph Bates’ imagination about what he guessed Ellen White was really seeing?” –

    And indeed if the real issue here is “how much should we believe others who try to put words into Ellen White’s mouth – even if those others are such notable people as Joseph Bates” — then that is a good topic to discuss but it is nothing like the gloss-over of the details you use in your “Ellen White said she saw Jupiter in vision” style accusation.

    Whatever EGW saw, she did not contradict the interpretation that others like Joseph Bates made of it. Why didn’t God correct the problem

    This is another good topic to research – how often do we have a prophet in the condition of Daniel – at the end of Daniel 8 saying that he does not fully understand the vision – or like Ellen White – who after being shown other worlds – said “I know nothing” about astronomy instead of saying “yes in fact I was seeing Jupiter that is certain”.

    And as you go on to question – how often do we see someone that is not the prophet – spinning or mistating or inserting man’s ideas into the text and yet God does not divinely and immediately stop them? How often do you suppose that happens in real life?

    right then if Joseph Bates was wrong? Why did EGW make no complaint about the interpretation?

    Ellen White stated she did not have the science background in astronomy to know what planet she was seeing — thus SHE never names it. Your response above is of the form “let us ignore the fact that she said God did not give her indepth astronomy lessons so as to name the planet or locate it in space — and hold her accountable for anyone else who makes a bad guess as to the identity of the planet”.

    EGW also makes numerous references to 6,000 years in reference to the timing of creation, a time span that was well accepted in her day.

    I suggest a careful readng of 3SG 90-91 before you go too far down that blind alley.

    I don’t see the Jupeter/Saturn vision incident as troublesome in the least. It is instructive.

    Given that it is not a Jupiter or Saturn vision – given that she never names the planets and given that man-made-ideas of those around her claim “more knowledge than the prophet” – what we have is an “instructive lesson” about the blunders and flaws that accompany the guesswork of those around the prophet who claim to be “more informed” than the prophet at times.

    OTNT said –
    Sometimes as science progresses we discover that previously held beliefs are wrong. Could the same be true about the worldwide flood?

    If the gift of prophecy could in fact be watered down to mean – “previously held beliefs” instead of “divine revelation from God” then yes we could continually edit and update the bible – first with Islam and then with the New Age ideas. (In fact I think Satan is counting on it)

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  57. Since I cannot edit and since the quote endquote blocks above make it hard to follow the discussion without correction – here it is —

    OTNT said
    right then if Joseph Bates was wrong? Why did EGW make no complaint about the interpretation?

    Ellen White stated she did not have the science background in astronomy to know what planet she was seeing — thus SHE never names it. Your response above is of the form “let us ignore the fact that she said God did not give her indepth astronomy lessons so as to name the planet or locate it in space — and hold her accountable for anyone else who makes a bad guess as to the identity of the planet”.

    OTNT said

    EGW also makes numerous references to 6,000 years in reference to the timing of creation, a time span that was well accepted in her day.

    I suggest a careful readng of 3SG 90-91 before you go too far down that blind alley.

    OTNT said

    I don’t see the Jupeter/Saturn vision incident as troublesome in the least. It is instructive.

    Given that it is not a Jupiter or Saturn vision – given that she never names the planets and given that man-made-ideas of those around her claim “more knowledge than the prophet” – what we have is an “instructive lesson” about the blunders and flaws that accompany the guesswork of those around the prophet who claim to be “more informed” than the prophet at times.

    OTNT said

    OTNT said –
    Sometimes as science progresses we discover that previously held beliefs are wrong. Could the same be true about the worldwide flood?

    If the gift of prophecy could in fact be watered down to mean – “previously held beliefs” instead of “divine revelation from God” then yes we could continually edit and update the bible – first with Islam and then with the New Age ideas. (In fact I think Satan is counting on it)

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  58. @Eddie:

    Agreed. That was my mistake – I should have said Wolf, Coyote, Dog, Jackal.

    They are all the same genome and yet the variety in each group is astounding – especially given the forced environmental pressure created by humans on dogs to create new variety.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  59. @

    Ellen White stated she did not have the science background in astronomy to know what planet she was seeing — thus SHE never names it. Your response above is of the form “let us ignore the fact that she said God did not give her indepth astronomy lessons so as to name the planet or locate it in space — and hold her accountable for anyone else who makes a bad guess as to the identity of the planet”.

    Bob, your reasoning on this is so convoluted I can’t believe it. Of course she didn’t know anything about astronomy, and that is exactly the point, isn’t it? Bates was impressed becaue White seemed to have a vision where she saw two of our solar system’s planets in spite of her own professed ignorance of astronomy! I guess you just don’t like this story too well, because what it seems to say to you is that Bates (and Loughborough as the author of the book) were both duped into believing in White’s visions because they “thought” she actually saw two planets they recognized based on her description which she had no personal knowledge of. I guess the question I have is, why did God bother to give her this vision if He was in fact showing her other worlds somewhere out there beyond our own solar system? Was God just trying to be confusing? I guess it would have been better had Loughborough chosen to not write about the event.

    I suggest a careful readng of 3SG 90-91 before you go too far down that blind alley.

    I just did read it, andI see no relevance to my point whatsoever. I did not say the world was 10s of thousands of years old, I merely poionted out that based on Biblical information creation must have occurred sometime between 8 and 10 thousand years old, whereas EGW continually makes mention of 6,000, as she should have, given when she was writing. Must you alsways read more into what I say than what say?

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  60. At no point did Ellen White say “I saw two of our solar systems planets”.

    At no point did Ellen White say “God gave me a view of Jupiter” or “God gave me a view of Mars”.

    To argue that these points are convoluted is to ignore the obvious.

    The other obvious fact is that those “around Ellen White” volunteered to “step in and give their own answers” as to exactly what planet she visited in vision (- even though she never once stated that God told her she was on a planet in our own solar system, or that they were Jupiter or Saturn.).

    In their “I will inform Ellen White what the science of astronomy as to say about what she was shown” mission – they assumed too much.

    Obviously.

    Again – this point is not as convoluted as you may have imagined.

    The facinating angle comes in when you presume to make Joseph Bates “God” by saying that whatever planet Joseph Bates guesses to be the planet in vision – must be the one that God is showing Ellen White, even though neither God nor Ellen White go to the extremes that Bates goes to when he offers the benefit of “the current state of science” as he provides the identity of the planets.

    Frankly – I find that assumption on your part to be astounding.

    Why is it that you do not simply accept the obvious point that Bate’s own contribution to the vision was not as stellar or brilliant as he imagined, and that this “adding to the text” method used by Bates serves as a warning to us all.

    Oh well …

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  61. @OTNT and BobRyan: Thank you for the clarification. I see where this argument is going. We will always have opportunities and hooks to hang our doubts on. I suppose you can dig for hooks and hang all the doubts you want on them. It seems like OTNT is focusing on the cup being half-empty argument.

    “Have faith in the LORD your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful.” 2 Chronicles 20:20

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  62. OTNT said –
    EGW also makes numerous references to 6,000 years in reference to the timing of creation, a time span that was well accepted in her day. Since then, with more Biblical manuscripts available and a more careful assessment of the genologies we now know the figure is more appropiately 8-10,000 years. So, was EGW wrong when she used the 6,000 year figure. Yes, of course. Is tat relevant, no. What number would you expect someone of her day to use. Unless, of course, you think God should have set hr straight before her time. And besides, who really cares wether its 6,000 or 10,000 anyway.

    BobRyan said:
    I suggest a careful readng of 3SG 90-91 before you go too far down that blind alley.

    OTNT said –
    I just did read it, and I see no relevance to my point whatsoever. I did not say the world was 10s of thousands of years old, I merely poionted out that based on Biblical information creation must have occurred sometime between 8 and 10 thousand years old, whereas EGW continually makes mention of 6,000, as she should have, given when she was writing. Must you alsways read more into what I say than what say?

    I stated that it is a “blind alley” because you guess that she was simply using whatever number people around her suggested that she use – as you say “a time span that was well accepted in her day. Since then, with more Biblical manuscripts available and a more careful assessment of the genologies we now know the figure is more appropiately 8-10,000 years. So, was EGW wrong when she used the 6,000 year figure. Yes, of course. Is tat relevant, no. What number would you expect someone of her day to use.”

    However in 3SG 90-91 she states that she is shown that creation week takes place about 6000 years ago rather than “I have heard some people suggest that the world in 6000 years old”.

    I was then carried back to the creation and was shown that the first week, in which God performed the work of creation in six days and rested on the seventh day, was just like every other week. The great God in his days of creation and day of rest, measured off the first cycle as a sample for successive weeks till the close of time. “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created.” God gives us the productions of his work at the close of each literal day. Each day was accounted of him a generation, because every day he generated or produced some new portion of his work. On the seventh day of the first week God rested from his work, and then blessed the day of his rest, and set it apart for the use of man. The weekly cycle of seven literal days, six for labor, and the seventh for rest, which has been preserved and brought down through Bible history, originated in the great facts of the first seven days. {3SG 90.1}

    When God spake his law with an audible voice from Sinai, he introduced the Sabbath by saying, “Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.” He then declares definitely what shall be done on the six days, and what shall not be done on the seventh. He then, in giving the reason for thus observing the week, points them back to his example on the first seven days of time. “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day, wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” This reason appears beautiful and forcible when we understand the record of creation to mean literal days. The first six days of each week are given to man in which to labor, because God employed the same period of the first week in the work of creation. The seventh day God has reserved as a day of rest, in commemoration of his rest during the same period of time after he had performed the work of creation in six days. {3SG 90.2}

    But the infidel supposition, that the events of the first week required seven vast, indefinite periods for their accomplishment, strikes directly at the foundation of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. It makes indefinite and obscure that which God has made very plain. It is the worst kind of infidelity; for with many who profess to believe the record of creation, it is infidelity in disguise. It charges God with commanding men to observe the week of seven literal days in commemoration of seven indefinite periods, which is unlike his dealings with mortals, and is an impeachment of his wisdom. {3SG 91.1}

    Infidel geologists claim that the world is very much older than the Bible record makes it. They reject the Bible record, because of those things which are to them evidences from the earth itself, that the world has existed tens of thousands of years. And many who profess to believe the Bible record are at a loss to account for wonderful things which are found in the earth, with the view that creation week was only seven literal days, and that the world is now only about six thousand years old.

    I realize that today there are still those who want to “help the text” out by inserting 10,000 years instead of 6,000 years – or inserting 4.5 billion years instead of 7 days. But in the text the information coming from “man” is clear — she says there are those around here who claim the earth is “10’s of thousands of years old”. And so she clearly identifies the part of the text being attributed to her contemporaries.

    Then she says that in fact the earth is only about 6,000 years old. She provides a clear contrast between what she thinks people around her (her contemporaries) are saying – vs what she was “shown” by God.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  63. EGW also makes numerous references to 6,000 years in reference to the timing of creation, a time span that was well accepted in her day. Since then, with more Biblical manuscripts available and a more careful assessment of the genologies we now know the figure is more appropiately 8-10,000 years. So, was EGW wrong when she used the 6,000 year figure. Yes, of course. Is tat relevant, no. What number would you expect someone of her day to use. Unless, of course, you think God should have set hr straight before her time. And besides, who really cares wether its 6,000 or 10,000 anyway.

    OTNT,

    Do you really not care whether it was 6,000 or 10,000 years? If so, why do you make this point? It seems silly to point out something that doesn’t matter to you while using it to support your view. Obviously, the point does matter to you, and to a great many people. For most, if Ellen White was “shown” the 6000-year figure, and we were able to prove that it was 10,000 instead, this would be a faith-breaker.

    I would invite you to show from scripture, as you have claimed can be done, how it is we have exceeded 6000 years by several thousand more years. If scripture can be used to bolster this point, I am all ears. I am dubious that one can prove from scripture alone much beyond 6000 years.

    Mrs. White made very clear that she was shown our earth’s history and recent creation (see 1SP 86-87). To prove that we have been here much in excess of 6000 years would be to prove her a false prophet. It is not, therefore, a matter of minor distraction to extend the time, but rather a subtle lie of the Enemy to undermine God’s message and truth.

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  64. @OTNT_Believer:

    Although I am certainly no expert on geology, I do have expertise in genetics, and your suggestions about speciation being just a rearrangement of genetic material is woefully ignorant.

    It’s always nice to have an anonymous expert on hand. Tell me now, with your expertise in genetics, upon what is speciation based? Can you cite any example of “macroevolution”, in action, that has been directly observed to be the result of the evolution of qualitatively novel genetic information within the gene pool of any living thing? – beyond very very low levels of functional complexity? In other words, do you know of a single example of observed evolution in action that produces a qualitatively novel functional system that requires, at minimum, at least 1000 specifically arranged amino acid residues?

    If so, I’d love to see the reference. If not, then upon what is your definition of “macroevolution” based?

    I’ve asked many “experts” this question and I’ve yet to receive anything more substantial than just-so stories about how the evolution of truly novel complex systems must have happened within various gene pools. The problem, of course, is that none of these “stories” is backed up by actual observation or relevant statistical analysis regarding any viable mechanism outside of intelligent design. Perhaps you can be the first?

    I have seen this concept suggested elsewhere, and only from those who have not thoroughly investigated the topic. Of course, to get the rapid changes you feel must have occurred in such a short span of time, you have to invoke a theory like this.

    That’s right. Rapid phenotypic variation simply isn’t a problem when there is no need to evolve qualitatively new types of functional systems within a given gene pool that weren’t already there in the ancestral gene pool to begin with…

    Extensive inversions and translocations have rendered many closely related species in this genus reproductively isolated, leading to many local endemics. But to posit this as the way that all speciation occurs is simply ludicrous.

    But I never said that this is the way that all speciation occurs. What I did say is that there is no example of “macroevolution” in action that is based on the production of qualitatively novel information being added to the gene pool that wasn’t already there within the ancestral gene pool… at least not beyond very very low levels of functional complexity (i.e., the 1000aa level). There isn’t a single example of evolution at this level of functional complexity in all of literature – not one example. If you do know of such an example, by all means present it. Otherwise, I’m afraid you’re simply blowing hot air without any empirical evidence beyond just-so story telling…

    You need to go back to school and take a competent genetics course and then maybe one on molecular systematics. I mean this with no disrespect, but you need to realize that your competency in this area is very low.

    Forgive me for my apparent ignorance, but I’d be most grateful if you would educate me just a little bit as to what I’ve missed in my own studies of genetics and molecular systematics. Please do explain to me the mechanism by which “macroevolution” can take place, even given billions or even trillions of years of time, beyond very very low levels of functional complexity beyond that which was already there in the ancestral gene pool of phenotypic options… and good luck with that 😉

    As for the “finches” of the Galápagos, we hardly see evidence for a simple rearrangement of genetic material. These birds are so different from any other birds that there has been a long-standing disagreement over how they should be classified—a difficulty that remains today. The following quote from Wikipedia (not the best source, but a ready one, and accurate enough in this case) illustrates the scope of this problem:

    “For some decades taxonomists have placed these birds in the family Emberizidae with the New World sparrows and Old World buntings (Sulloway 1982). However, the Sibley-Ahlquist taxonomy puts Darwin’s finches with the tanagers (Monroe and Sibley 1993), and at least one recent work follows that example (Burns and Skutch 2003). The American Ornithologists’ Union, in its North American check-list, places the Cocos Island Finch in the Emberizidae but with an asterisk indicating that the placement is probably wrong (AOU 1998–2006); in its tentative South American check-list, the Galápagos species are incertae sedis, of uncertain place (Remsen et al. 2007).” Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darwin‘s_finches

    I could give you literally hundreds of examples of this sort of thing, and your explanation just isn’t relevant at all in these cases.

    And I could give you hundreds of examples of hybrids between different “species” groups, and even different family and occasional intraordinal hybrids indicating a shared common ancestral gene pool without any substantial novel functionality that was not originally contained within the ancestral gene pool.

    Ornithologists, in particular, give the label “species” to very minor phenotypic differences in birds. A sparrow with a different sized spot or streak on the breast or around the eye is labeled as a different species. There are even examples of phenotypically identical animals that are given different species names based on functionally neutral genetic differences.

    Darwin’s finches represent an example of macroevolution by almost anyone’s definition.

    Oh really? Then you’ll have no trouble explaining what the specific novel functionality is compared to the ancestral gene pool?

    Another way of looking at why your interpretation is so far off is to consider dog breeds. Aside from physical difficulties, all breeds of dogs are interfertile, but look at how different they are from one another. And these differences are due in many cases to one or several small mutations. To keep the dog story in perspective, first realize that the current theory of dog origins (which has archaeological evidence to support it) has them being domesticated sometime between 7,000 BC (from where we have the best evidence) to possibly as far back as 30,000 BC. Now, granted, we all have trouble with the idea of something happening over 30,000 years ago, so let’s just assume the 7,000 BC figure is correct (of course, you would see this as problematic as it is pre-flood).

    Most modern domesticated breeds of dogs were produced in the last 300 years. And, most of the phenotypic differences are not based on mutations, but on simple Mendelian variation within the underlying gene pool of phenotypic options that were originally available within the shared ancestral gene pool of all modern dog varieties. Some mutations are involved, of course, but these mutations did not produce qualitatively novel functionality. Rather, they altered the degree of functionality of some pre-existing function – such as the relative size of various features. The dwarfed legs of dachshunds, for example, are the result of a mutation that disrupts a previous function. According to Parker, et. al. in a 2009 issue of the journal Science, this is what happened in dogs (along with its relevance to mice and men):

    We hypothesize that atypical expression of the FGF4 transcript in the chondrocytes causes inappropriate activation of one or more of the fibroblast growth factor receptors such as FGFR3. An activating mutation in FGFR3 is responsible for >95% of achondrodysplasia cases, the most common form of dwarfism in humans, and 60 to 65% of hypochondrodysplasia cases, a human syndrome that is more similar in appearance to breed-defining chondrodysplasia. . . . FGF4 induces the expression of sprouty genes, which interfere with the ubiquitin-mediated degradation of the FGF receptors including FGFR3, and overexpression of the sprouty genes can cause chondrodysplastic phenotypes in both mice and humans.

    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/325/5943/995.abstract

    This particular type of mutation, while certainly resulting in a dramatic phenotypic and functional difference, is not really the production of some qualitatively novel functional system within the underlying gene pool of genetic options. Rather, it is the result of an quantitative alteration of a pre-existing functional system. Such mutations are very common and can occur very rapidly because there are so many ways to disrupt the performance of a pre-existing system.

    Now I think we can all agree that artificial selection is a much more powerful force than natural selection.

    This isn’t true at all. Based on phenotypic selection alone, be it a mindless selection process or a human-based selection process, the realization of a qualitatively novel system of function is still statistically untenable beyond the 1000aa threshold this side of a practical eternity of time. There simply is no real advantage to “artificial selection” over “natural selection” when it comes to producing true “macroevolution” of something qualitatively new and functional complex within the gene pool itself.

    So, with this much more powerful force humans have produced numerous distinct breeds of dogs, but no one new species. Why is that? According you your line of reasoning hundreds (or even thousands) of new species have arisen post-flood by natural selection alone working on some kind of genetic rearrangement process. The same process should have been occurring in dogs, and yet there is not one single new species of dog! I could tell the same story with a dozen other domesticated species.

    Again, this is due to inconsistent definitions of what is and what is not a “species”. What qualifies as a “species” in the wild does not given even more dramatic phenotypic differences between different dog breeds. Also, note again that modern breeds of dogs share a common ancestral gene pool that is no more than a few hundred years old. What is also interesting to note here is that wolves and domesticated dogs are classified in different species groups as are foxes and coyotes. Yet, all can interbreed and produce viable and fertile offspring (except, perhaps, when it comes to foxes in which case there are no verified hybrids with dogs or coyotes as far as I’m aware)… indicating that there really is no significant qualitative functional difference between these various gene pools.

    The problem we have here is that you are so quick to tear down the process of macroevolution on the one hand, and then are willing to embrace it again to try and explain the rapid diversification of taxa that must have occurred post-flood. And you are accusing me of blind faith when I am willing to believe the Bible account more on faith than evidence. Well, my friend, what you are doing with genetics and evolutionary theory is just as much a form of blind faith. There are so many holes in your genetic rearrangement leading to speciation theory that I am astonished! Can we talk about something else that you know more about?

    I think you think you know more than you really do about the limits of evolutionary progress via RM/NS. Speciation, when it does occur, is not the result of “macroevolution” in the sense that nothing that is truly functional novel evolves within the gene pool that wasn’t already there within the ancestral gene pool. Losses or changes in degree of functionality can be realized. Even the evolution of truly novel functions at low levels of complexity can be realized. However, nothing that can truly be described as “macro” evolution can be realized this side of a practical eternity of time. It has to do with a problem of an exponential decline in the density of potentially beneficial systems that exist in sequence space at higher and higher levels of functional complexity.

    I am sorry of I have appeared unkind in my comments here, but you have truly caught me by surprise. I hope you will take the effort to educate yourself a bit better in genetics, especially as it intersects evolutionary biology. Even if your theory were the explanation for all new species, the process, where we do know it has occurred, takes much longer than a few thousand years.

    Such statements are not based on an actual understanding of the underlying functional genetic changes needed to produce the phenotypic effect being investigated. I dare say that if you really understood the underlying genetics like you think you do, you’d know that long periods of time simply aren’t needed. What you think is “macro” evolution is really nothing of the sort….

    Of course, if you still think otherwise, by all means, share some actual specific information along these lines that proves me wrong…

    But of course, your “faith” is not affected by the validity of the actual claims made by the Biblical authors regarding the physical world. You claim to be an “agnostic” when it comes to the validity of the actual empirical claims of the Biblical authors. It really doesn’t matter if the Bible is literally true or not – right? Your faith can go with the flow. Why then don’t you believe in the superior credibility of the Book of Mormon or the Qur’an? Amazing… – Sean Pitman

    Wow, you seem to really understand me so well. Actually, my faith in God’s word does not include a faith in any one interpretation. The way my faith works in relation to the Bible is to recognize that the writers were humans inspired by God to write these accounts. Sometimes, in that process, a writer may not know or understand all the facts of the original story, so he writes it to the best of his ability. What my faith allows for is that if the writer of Genesis believed the flood was literally a worldwide flood, it bothers me not the least to still have faith in the Genesis account even if the actual event might turned out to have been local.

    And, using this logic, how do you tell the difference between the Bible and the Book of Mormon or the Qur’an? After all, if your faith in the Bible is not at all dependent upon an accurate description of empirical reality, why choose the Bible as being somehow superior to anything else?

    I see the problems with the flood akin to those that sometimes occurred with EGW’s inspired writings and utterances. Case in point:
    In 1847, James and Ellen White published a tract in which it is announced that she had seen a vision of the planets in our solar system:
    “At our conference in Topsham, Maine, last Nov., Ellen had a vision of the handy works of God. She was guided to the planets Jupiter, Saturn, and I think one more. After she came out of vision, she could give a clear description of their Moons, etc. It is well known, that she knew nothing of astronomy, and could not answer one question in relation to the planets, before she had this vision.”

    Now some people use this event to claim that EGW obviously was not the inspired prophet the church has claimed her to be or she would have gotten her facts correct.

    This is a common argument, but it is good to consider a few key facts of this case:

    1. In her own account she simply states, “I was wrapt in a vision of GOD’s glory, and for the first time had a view of other planets.” Neither names of planets nor number of moons is even hinted at in this one and only certain account of the vision written by Mrs. White herself.

    2. In what may possibly, though we think improbably, be a reference to this 1846 Topsham vision, she simply states, “The Lord has given me a view of other worlds…. Then I was taken to a world which had seven moons.” But she does not identify that “world.”

    3. James White states, regarding her, “She was guided to the planets, Jupiter, Saturn, and I think one more. After she came out of vision, she could give a clear description of their Moons, etc.” He does not state that she gave names to the planets, or that she numbered the moons she saw, much less that she said a particular planet had a certain number of moons.

    4. Mrs. Truesdail says, “After counting aloud the moons of Jupiter, and soon after those of Saturn, she gave a beautiful description of the rings of the latter.” But Mrs. Truesdail does not profess to tell us what Mrs. White actually said, or whether the listeners simply concluded that the moons being counted were those of Jupiter and of Saturn because of certain general descriptions. Only Loughborough presumes to state just what she said.

    5. Even Loughborough, quoting Bates, does not credit her with naming any planets, but only describing them, and then stating, “I see” such and such a number of moons. Bates did the identifying of planets. And may we not reasonably suppose that James White quite naturally accepted Bates’s interpretation as correct? Mrs. White left nothing on record to indicate that she even knew what were the names of the “worlds” she saw. Hence, it is altogether reasonable to conclude that James White’s statement simply reflects the conclusion that he and others reached as a result of Bates’s interpretation of her descriptive statements.

    http://www.whiteestate.org/books/egwhc/EGWHCc07.html

    There are good reasons for the vision given as it was given. Also, the perspective of the observer in vision is important to consider, as are the details to the internal consistency of the message of the vision. The same thing is true of the Biblical account of origins when it comes to biblical credibility and a rational belief in its Divine origin…

    I just don’t think that God is in the business of making sure all the “facts” are correct when his prophets write. The writer of Genesis may truly have believed that the flood had covered the WHOLE world. If we were somehow to discover beyond a doubt that it didn’t actually cover all of it, then we have two choices: 1) Decide the Bible is a hoax and throw it out, or 2) accept the fact that the writer, who had limited knowledge of what worldwide actually would have meant, wrote the story to best of his knowledge. My faith allows me to take the latter approach. Your faith, if based more on the weight of the “scientific” evidence would be obligated to choose the first option. I surely hope we never get incontrovertible proof that the flood was local and could not have been worldwide for the sake of those whose faith is based like yours is.

    Again, I ask you, what is the difference between your faith in the Bible and that of the Book of Mormon or the Qur’an? If your faith in the Divine inspiration of the Bible is not at all dependent upon empirical evidence of any kind, upon what do you make your judgment of its superior credibility or relevance?

    The fact is that the empirical observations of the author(s) of Genesis are so specific and hard to misinterpret and the internal consistency of the stories are dependent upon these specific empirical observation. For example, how hard would it be to be shown that an “evening and morning” mark off each “day” of creation? Such an empirical observation would be very hard for even a young child to get wrong. The same thing is true with the worldwide Flood. If the Flood was not to be worldwide, why the empirical observation of God telling Noah to build an Ark to save not only humanity, but representatives of all land-dwelling animals? Why didn’t god simply tell Noah to move somewhere else that wouldn’t be affected by the local flood? Why the need to take animals in the Ark if the flood was just some local event?

    The stories just don’t hold up very well given such basic and obvious inconsistencies. For most rational candid minds, such inconsistencies, if believed to be obviously false, scientifically, logically lead one to re-consider the “Divine” origin of such fairytale stories.

    I suppose if you still want to believe that the Bible is “Inspired” even though the vast majority of it contradicts the conclusions of modern scientists, you’re free to do so. However, don’t expect too many intelligent young minds to follow you or to remain devoted to the SDA Church or even a belief in the Christian message of hope in a bright literal future in Heaven and an eternity with God. How rational is that according to “99.9% of modern scientists”?

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  65. @Eddie:

    All were K-selected species with a very slow reproductive rate. Are you certain that a population of two mammoths could increase to “millions” within 500 years, or even 5000 years?

    Given ideal conditions, the average doubling time for a population of elephants is 10-12 years:

    In southern Africa – where countries are relatively sparsely populated, and relatively prosperous and stable, and thus better able to control poaching – elephant numbers have swollen to about 300,000, with an estimated population-doubling time in some areas of only 10 years

    http://www.elephants.com/media/GlobeAndMail_7_23_05.htm

    This means that in 500 years, you have around 50 doublings of a population. Starting with just two elephants, 50 doublings is equal to over 500 trillion elephants. Simple math…

    So no, I don’t think the doubling time for elephants would have been much of a problem when it comes to explaining the existence of a few hundred million elephants a few hundred years post-Flood within or close to the Arctic circle…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  66. Forgive me for my apparent ignorance, but I’d be most grateful if you would educate me just a little bit as to what I’ve missed in my own studies of genetics and molecular systematics. Please do explain to me the mechanism by which “macroevolution” can take place, even given billions or even trillions of years of time, beyond very very low levels of functional complexity beyond that which was already there in the ancestral gene pool of phenotypic options… and good luck with that

    Well, I guess I get it. You know so uch more than me about genetics and evolution I can say no more. I do have a Ph.D. in molecular genetics with an emphasis on evolutionary genetics. I have also published a good number of peer-eviewed papers in scientific journals and a few boks to boot (not self-published, I might add). Now, of course, this likely means nothing to you, because you are obviously better read on these topics than I am. I mean I never even heard about the dog paper you cite(;-)).

    I appreciate your complete and careful response, because I now see that we have nothing left to discuss. I can’t even discuss the topic of genetics if you don’t even understand the basics of population genetics and evolutionary genetics. I too have a real problem wth macroevolution, and thus my surprise at how you propose the earth was repopulated after the flood and the rapidity with which new taxa would have to arisen. I don’t know what you think Noah took into the ark, but even if he took a very broad sampling of the world’s taxa there would have to have been some macroevolution to get where we are now. Even if you define macroevolution more in the way creationists do, Darwin’s Finches represent a good example of this, as would a lot of isolated endemic species. They are the best examples, because they “appear” to have been separated from other related taxa for so long that their taxonomic affinities are often obscured.

    The reason why a localized flood would be a nice way to go, and is for many Creationists, is that there is then no need to figure out how to evolve things like Darwin’s Finches so quickly. It also solves all the biogeography problems nicely. Of course, it doesn’t help solve the fossil record very well, although numerous local catastrophes over a short span of time might help. I notice in some past post either you or someone else suggested that they knew no one who accepted a local flood and a short term chronology. Well, I am not one that falls into that category, but I certainly lean that way. It would help solve at least some of the problems.

    Lastly, as to the time of creation being 8,000-10,000 years, I am afraid I have come by that from those who understand OT literature and manuscripts than myself. I simply do not have the time or the skills to be able to sort through the begats in th various manuscript versions, line them up, look for gaps and estimate the tims that are missing as a result. I am afraid I just need to accept the word of the experts on that one. One thing I do know. the Egyptian dynasties, based on their written records go back more than 6,000 years, so that at least would suggest we need to push things back a few thousand years. The reason i said it doesn’t matter, is because it doesn’t help solve any of the problems proposed by science, and is at best an internal quibble among theologians, or others who think it is worth quibbling over.

    At any rate, seeing that I am such a poor genetist and have so little knowledge of evolutionary biology, I must concede the field. I don;t even know where to begin discussing stuff on whoch we are so far apart.

    So, although I mioght poke in on occasion, I am afraid I have neither the time, inclination, or apparently the adequate knowledge to continue this. I still think you would do well to take a few graduate courses, one in genetics and one in molecular systematics. Of course, it might be that you know all you need to know, in which case those classes would be a waste of time.

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  67. It could be inferred from the nervous quibbles dogging Dr. Pitman that his credible-sounding and comprehensive disquisitions pro Creationism, such as the one just above, are just too novel and nonplussing to our sadly undertrained grad students. SDA universities, notably LSU, presently doing such an award-winning job of promoting theistic Evo, are to be urged to begin teaching, however distasteful the idea, Creationism, even Genesis 1, along with Evo so that their students upon leaving the academic cocoon and running up against the likes of Dr. Pitman, will be better able to present better arguments against Genesis 1, in defense of the honor of their professors. There would be the risk that some of the weaker students might actually take Genesis 1 seriously, but, Dr. Wisbey, it’s a risk that must be taken! A petition must be gotten up right now!

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  68. OTNT_Believer, Eddie, and others

    Give it up. You cannot have a cogent discussion with Dr. Pitman because he does not speak your language. He uses definitions for things like “macroevolution” that you will not find anywhere else in the world. ANYWHERE. You can’t argue against that. It doesn’t matter what your PhD is in–he is sure to know more. Period. And if need be, he will make up facts as he goes along (like erosion is happening faster on the summit of Mt. Everest than on lower slopes or beneath moving glaciers).

    The instruction from the Bible and Ellen White are very clear that we are to avoid excessive argument. Dr. Pitman thrives on debate, as he cannot and never will heed this council. But we can and really should end this debate.

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  69. OTNT_Believer, Eddie, and othersGive it up. You cannot have a cogent discussion with Dr. Pitman because he does not speak your language. He uses definitions for things like “macroevolution” that you will not find anywhere else in the world. ANYWHERE. You can’t argue against that. It doesn’t matter what your PhD is in–he is sure to know more. Period. And if need be, he will make up facts as he goes along (like erosion is happening faster on the summit of Mt. Everest than on lower slopes or beneath moving glaciers).The instruction from the Bible and Ellen White are very clear that we are to avoid excessive argument. Dr. Pitman thrives on debate, as he cannot and never will heed this council. But we can and really should end this debate.  (Quote)

    Sad to say I think you are right. I can’t seem to find one word from genetics or evolution that Sean seems to use in the standard way, and I have no patience for someone who insists on redefining everything in some personal, quirky way. Now I know what some of those Russian geneticists must have felt like when trying to argue with Lysenko. At least I won’t get arrested for disagreeing. 🙂

    I shall retire now.

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  70. When OTNT’s wild claims that Ellen White claimed “to see tall people on Jupiter or Saturn” is confronted with the glaring facts of history which is that Ellen White said no such thing – but some of those around her simply put words into her mouth based on “their own limited view the science of astronomy” — he/she retreats to and argument of the form “well then there is some design in making me think that Ellen White said it instead”, as if this justifies the false claim that was made about her vision.

    OTNT said:
    The way my faith works in relation to the Bible is to recognize that the writers were humans inspired by God to write these accounts. Sometimes, in that process, a writer may not know or understand all the facts of the original story, so he writes it to the best of his ability. What my faith allows for is that if the writer of Genesis believed the flood was literally a worldwide flood, it bothers me not the least to still have faith in the Genesis account even if the actual event might turned out to have been local

    Here is the key to the entire argument. OTNT is setting up a “Bible is wrong – religion”. It is a doubt-the-Bible-first model when it comes to the critics complaints about the Bible and the inspired messages given to Ellen White.

    In that kind of world – the goal is to be a Christian who knowingly and deliberately clings to a “wrong Bible” where the actual statements that are said to come from God IN the Bible – are in fact flawed.

    Not only does that “pick and choose” version of the Bible envite “every wind of doctrine”, and a mass exodus from the church of almost all its members – it also destroys one of the key tests of a true prophet which is that the doctrine claimed to be coming from God must be infallible OR that prophet is a false prophet (not merely a flawed mistaken true prophet). The only REASON that such a test IS VALID – is that the source of the message is GOD and He is NOT flawed, nor is His ability to get His message communicated flawed! Thus the prophet is rightly “tested” by that rule.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  71. @Professor Kent:

    OTNT_Believer, Eddie, and others

    Give it up. You cannot have a cogent discussion with Dr. Pitman because he does not speak your language. He uses definitions for things like “macroevolution” that you will not find anywhere else in the world. ANYWHERE.

    Creationists have always defined “macroevolution” in terms of functionality. How do you define it? How do you know when a “new species” is in fact the result of a gain in something that is truly functionally new within the gene pool that was not already there is the ancestral gene pool?

    Come on now. Describing something as “macroevolution” when nothing functionally new was added to the underlying gene pool is just a bit counter-intuitive… don’t you think?

    You can’t argue against that. It doesn’t matter what your PhD is in–he is sure to know more. Period. And if need be, he will make up facts as he goes along (like erosion is happening faster on the summit of Mt. Everest than on lower slopes or beneath moving glaciers).

    Why do you deliberately lie and misrepresent my position like this? You do this over and over again – makes claims that I said things I never actually said. I never said that erosion would be slower under a moving glacier than on the top of Mt. Everest. I said just the opposite in fact. As I myself pointed out to you, moving glaciers are what are responsible for the “buzzsaw effect” when it comes to mountain erosion.

    What I did say is that, everything else being equal, erosion rates are directly related to slope/relief angle… and they are.

    The instruction from the Bible and Ellen White are very clear that we are to avoid excessive argument. Dr. Pitman thrives on debate, as he cannot and never will heed this council. But we can and really should end this debate.

    Mrs. White was constantly in debate and openly reprimanded those who were openly undermining the Church of her day. If you will not stand up in times of crisis, for fear of causing strife, what good are you to the Church? or to the cause of God?

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  72. @OTNT_Believer:

    Well, I guess I get it. You know so uch more than me about genetics and evolution I can say no more. I do have a Ph.D. in molecular genetics with an emphasis on evolutionary genetics. I have also published a good number of peer-eviewed papers in scientific journals and a few boks to boot (not self-published, I might add). Now, of course, this likely means nothing to you, because you are obviously better read on these topics than I am. I mean I never even heard about the dog paper you cite. 😉

    I’ve just asked you a few simple questions. Why not at least address them? Is your definition of “macroevolution” based on qualitatively novel functional differences within the underlying gene pools or not? If not, what is your definition of “macroevolution”? What types of differences would or would not qualify as “macro”?

    Your example of the Galapagos “finches” is a good one. You note that they are so different than other types of finches or tanagers that they are difficult to classify. The question I have is, what is responsible for the difference in phenotypic appearance? What is the underlying genetic difference? Is it based on something new being added or lost from the common ancestral gene pool? Is this not a relevant question? After all, tanagers, in general, have been difficult to recognize as true tanagers. Only as genetic evidence has come into play in more modern times have many types of birds that were not originally recognized as tanagers surprised scientists by actually being part of the tanager family. There is an extreme diversity of phenotypic expression within this family. Yet, very phenotypically diverse tanagers can interbreed and produce viable and even fertile offspring.

    http://creagrus.home.montereybay.com/tanagers.html

    This fact strongly suggests to me that different “species” of tanagers are in fact part of the same original gene pool of phenotypic options that were already available in the original ancestral gene pool – and that there really has been no substantive change to that gene pool when it comes to the entrance of anything that is qualitatively unique with regard to functionality (that isn’t based on a loss of some pre-existing function or an alteration in the degree of expression of some pre-existing functional option).

    This is reflected in the fact that:

    “In contrast to the substantial differences in morphology, levels of sequence divergence among Darwin’s finches and their close relatives are surprisingly low, indicating they all share a very recent common ancestry…

    Instead of identifying a single species as the closest living relative to Darwin’s finches, our results identifies a clade of six species (Tiaris canora, T. fuliginosa, T. obscura, T. bicolor, Loxigilla noctis, and Melanospiza richardsoni) that together form the sister taxon to Darwin’s finches. The ‘‘domed nest clade’’ represents a strongly supported monophyletic group not previously recognized. Thus, we propose the Latin name Tholospiza (meaning dome finch) to assist future communication concerning this group of birds…

    Darwin’s finches and their relatives that build this unique type of nest as the ‘‘domed nest clade.’’ The species within the domed nest clade are genetically quite similar to each other, indicating they share a very recent common ancestry. Levels of sequence divergence range from 0.3% to 10.0% and average only 6.7%. By comparison, Johns and Avise
    (1998) compiled cytochrome b sequence data for 88 avian genera and found that congeners show on average 7.8% sequence divergence. Thus, most species within the domed nest clade exhibit levels of genetic divergence less than that of pairs of congeneric, closely related species of birds. This contrasts with the traditional taxonomies that have placed these species into 13 different genera and three different families based on dramatic morphological differences in bill size and other characters.”

    http://eebweb.arizona.edu/courses/galapagos/handouts%202009/articles%202009%20for%20web/phylogenetic%20relationships.pdf

    As you know, when it comes to functionally neutral evolution, or even the loss of functional options that were originally present in the ancestral gene pool, such changes can be realized very rapidly. Consider, that the mutation rate is quite high – on the order of 200-300 mutations per individual per generation.

    The problem with rapid speciation, it seems to me, is really only a problem if one’s definition of “species” is based, at least somewhat, on the entrance of functionally novel elements to the gene pool that were not already present within the ancestral gene pool.

    I too have a real problem wth macroevolution, and thus my surprise at how you propose the earth was repopulated after the flood and the rapidity with which new taxa would have to arisen. I don’t know what you think Noah took into the ark, but even if he took a very broad sampling of the world’s taxa there would have to have been some macroevolution to get where we are now. Even if you define macroevolution more in the way creationists do, Darwin’s Finches represent a good example of this, as would a lot of isolated endemic species. They are the best examples, because they “appear” to have been separated from other related taxa for so long that their taxonomic affinities are often obscured.

    And that’s the main question here. You think that it would have to take a very long time for Darwin’s finches to have achieve the degree of phenotypic uniqueness that we observe today. Why do you believe this? Upon what is this belief based? Please do educate me at least a little bit in regard to your understanding of population genetics and the rate at which genomes can mutate and pre-existing trait options can become isolated or enhanced over time…

    I notice in some past post either you or someone else suggested that they knew no one who accepted a local flood and a short term chronology. Well, I am not one that falls into that category, but I certainly lean that way. It would help solve at least some of the problems.

    But it would create many more problems than it really solves. How is a few thousand more years going to help solve your finch evolution problem anyway? That’s a drop in the bucked compared to the mainstream understanding of geology and the fossil record… to include the origin of the Galapagos.

    One thing I do know. the Egyptian dynasties, based on their written records go back more than 6,000 years, so that at least would suggest we need to push things back a few thousand years.

    The dates for various Egyptian dynasties are not very reliable. There are several reasons for this, to include the possibility that some Egyptian kings may have been contemporaneous – parallel rather than serial. Not knowing whether their monarchies were simultaneous or sequential may lead to widely differing chronology interpretations. Also, the dates for the same pharaoh often vary substantially depending on the intermediate source that is used as a reference. For example, J.H. Breasted, writing in 1905, adds a ruler in the Twentieth dynasty that further research showed did not exist. Breasted also believed all the dynasties were sequential, whereas it is now known that several existed at the same time.

    Because of these problems, Breasted’s dates, published in 1905 for the 1st and 2nd dynasties, were 3400–2980 B.C. These dates have been reduced by Ian Shaw (in 2000) to 3000–2686 B.C. – a difference of some 400 years for the start of the 1st dynasty. In other words, the first dynasty is currently dated at ~5,000 years ago… not “over 6,000 years ago” as you suggest.

    Beyond this, the debated “New Chronology” developed by English Egyptologist David Rohl and other researchers, suggests that the start of the 1st Egyptian dynasty was another 350 years younger than Shaw’s estimate… or ~4,650 years ago.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Chronology_%28Rohl%29

    Either way, I fail to see how this substantially helps your argument…

    So, although I mioght poke in on occasion, I am afraid I have neither the time, inclination, or apparently the adequate knowledge to continue this. I still think you would do well to take a few graduate courses, one in genetics and one in molecular systematics. Of course, it might be that you know all you need to know, in which case those classes would be a waste of time.

    I have taken graduate level genetics courses – though not yet a course specifically in systematics. I have done more than a bit of reading into the topic however, and would appreciate it if you would clarify your concerns and reasons why you think the current phenotypic diversity of living things could not have been achieved nearly as rapidly as I’m suggesting. What specific genetic feature, in your opinion, is unexplainable in my model?

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  73. The blockquotes got jacked in the first post, so I’ll try this again…

    Sean Pitman has accused me of deliberately lying. At the New NAD President Says thread, he claimed that erosion occurs faster on the summit of Mt. Everest than in the valleys lower down the slopes, where glaciers speed up, grinding up the rock and washing it away in meltwater. Here is what he wrote:

    Erosion is directly related slope angle – even more so than the local weather conditions. So, the erosion rates on mountains are indeed significantly higher than in the valleys.

    The Himalayas are eroding at different rates based on elevation with the higher elevations eroding more rapidly than the lower elevations. Also, as already noted and referenced for you, erosion rates are strongly related to slope angle. This is one of the main reasons why the higher elevations are in fact eroding away more rapidly than the lower elevations within the Himalayas.

    When I asked

    What force at the summit is causing erosion at a rate greater than ice movement and water runoff in the valleys?

    His response finally acknowledged that erosion rate could, indeed, be less at the summit.

    That is why the height of Mt. Everest doesn’t increase even faster – – because it is being eroded, top down, at ~3mm/year as I’ve already explained to you several times now (ala the ‘buzzsaw’ effect). Compare this rate of mountain top and side erosion to the incision rates of the river or glacial beds which can be as high as 10-15 mm/yr.

    To which I wrote:

    I believe the movement of a glacier is going to be less at its higher elevation, and therefore glacier-associated erosion (the “buzzsaw” effect) will be greatest at its lower-elevation margin. When you have a perennial layer of snow packed against the actual summit rock, where is all that rock disappearing to?

    Until today, I did not see his response 3 days later, in which he at least clarified that we were speaking of “valleys” differently:

    Erosion, everything else being equal, does indeed happen more rapidly with increased slope angle. Your argument that erosion happens more rapidly under a moving glacier or in a river bed under moving water is a given. Obviously, I’m not talking about “valleys” that are being eroded under a moving glacier. I’m talking about valleys that are at a lower relief compared to steep mountain slopes which are not at the bottom of moving glaciers or rivers…

    So, I am pleased to see he acknowledges the erosional force beneath the lower end of a glacier. However, the summit itself is covered by snow and not a glacier, and because glaciers do not move as rapidly at the higher-elevation end, erosion will be greater at the lower margin of a glacier. Therefore, there is no reason to believe the summit itself is eroding at 3-4 mm/year (a measurement based on stream sediment load and applicapble to the entire landscape). No one has taken any measurements of erosion from the summit, so we truly do not know how fast erosion is diminishing the elevation of Mt. Everest.

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  74. @ Sean Pitman

    Creationists have always defined “macroevolution” in terms of functionality. How do you define it? How do you know when a “new species” is in fact the result of a gain in something that is truly functionally new within the gene pool that was not already there is the ancestral gene pool?

    Since when are creationists free to invent their own definition of “macroevolution” and use it to criticize evolutionists for their application of the term? This is ludicrous.

    Biologists have consistently defined “macroevolution” as the evolution of new species, and the operational definition of species does NOT include, and never will (except in your gray matter), the fuzzy-and-difficult-to-quantify “gain in something that is truly functionally new.”

    If you continue to make up your own definitions for terms long agreed upon by the community of scientists, there is no point in discussing your differences with these scientists.

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  75. When Richard Dawkins was asked to give just one real life example of observed – confirmed macro evolution – such that a complex genome arises out of a simpler genome – we get this transparent ceiling-staring 11 second flummoxed, “cone of silence”, nonresponse that ends with the incredibly insightful and very scientific “can you just stop there” as in “turn the tape off”.

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=zaKryi3605g

    Clearly when our evolutionist friends are confronted by the glaring paucity in science to support their wild by-faith-alone claims for macro evolution in eukaryote genomes, the predictable response is something on the order of “harrrrumph!” and “I wish to take my toys and go home”.

    By comparison when you ask a physicist about gravity or the time dilation associated with decreasing space in near-the-speed-of-light frames of reference – they are happy to give examples and illustrate hard science facts “all day long!!”

    Thus for the evolutionist devotee we can only offer this advice – caveat emptor!

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  76. @Professor Kent:

    Biologists have consistently defined “macroevolution” as the evolution of new species, and the operational definition of species does NOT include, and never will (except in your gray matter), the fuzzy-and-difficult-to-quantify “gain in something that is truly functionally new.”

    This is why mainstream scientists and creationists often talk past each other. Creationists point out that the there is no set definition of “species” and that many of the features that are used to define a new “species” are not based on the evolution of anything that is functionally new within the underlying gene pool. In fact, there are many examples of animals that are classified as different species that are only phenotypically different based on Mendelian variation within the same underlying gene pool of ancestrally available allelic options – i.e,. nothing new evolved at all.

    Occasional phenotypic differences that are used to define species are in fact based on novel mutations, but most of the time these mutations simply alter the degree of expression of the same type of function. They do not produce a qualitatively new type of function.

    “Speciation” that is based on such non-functional differences can and does happen very very rapidly. Long periods of time simply aren’t needed when you’re not talking about the evolution of anything that is truly functionally new within the underlying ancestral gene pool of options.

    That’s the main point here. If you want to define a new species where the underlying gene pool does not gain any novel functionality, fine. Just don’t turn around and argue that such speciation requires vast periods of time when it doesn’t…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  77. Macro evolution – deals with the wild alchemist fiction that “birds come from reptiles” or that “horses come from the hyrax”. So it was not too surprising that Othaniel Marsh’s fraudulent horse “arranged fossil sequence” was offerred up as the best example of evolution seen in nature. An “arrangement” that atheist evolutionists had to later admit “never happened in nature”.

    Granted – “over millions of years of time” and if that does not work then “10’s of millions or 100’s of millions” will be brought in to rescue them from whatever the current topic stumping evolutionists.

    What is even more far fetched than the storytelling they offer for birds and horses – is the idea that this “happens without adding any new or unique feature to the species through macroevolution”. (Which in truth is not the commone for the true evolutionist – it is only brought out of the closet when they are “shell gaming” the subject of ‘macroevolution’ trying slip the idea past having to actually show it to be valid).

    How much better for them to simply stick with actual science.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  78. @wesley kime:

    SDA universities, notably LSU, presently doing such an award-winning job of promoting theistic Evo, are to be urged to begin teaching, however distasteful the idea, Creationism, even Genesis 1, along with Evo so that their students upon leaving the academic cocoon and running up against the likes of Dr. Pitman, will be better able to present better arguments against Genesis 1, in defense of the honor of their professors. There would be the risk that some of the weaker students might actually take Genesis 1 seriously, but, Dr. Wisbey, it’s a risk that must be taken! A petition must be gotten up right now!

    LOL – nice turnaround 😉

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  79. Sean said:

    Can you cite any example of “macroevolution”, in action, that has been directly observed to be the result of the evolution of qualitatively novel genetic information within the gene pool of any living thing? – beyond very very low levels of functional complexity? In other words, do you know of a single example of observed evolution in action that produces a qualitatively novel functional system that requires, at minimum, at least 1000 specifically arranged amino acid residues?
    If so, I’d love to see the reference. If not, then upon what is your definition of “macroevolution” based?
    I’ve asked many “experts” this question and I’ve yet to receive anything more substantial than just-so stories about how the evolution of truly novel complex systems must have happened within various gene pools. The problem, of course, is that none of these “stories” is backed up by actual observation or relevant statistical analysis regarding any viable mechanism outside of intelligent design. Perhaps you can be the first?

    Interesting question. But unlike asking a physicist to explain time dilation at near light-speed frames of reference – the question you pose is not going to get the “thanks! I just love discussing these observable science facts”. Your point gets to the heart of the alchemist’s religionist core that drives evolutionism.

    And whenever you get to the driving principle in evolutionism – you will likely get the classic “harrrrumph! I take my toys and go home” response, because at its core – evolutionism is religion not science.

    Diehard stalwart atheist scientist – Colin Patterson (Senior paleontologist at the British Natural History Museum and author of the Museum’s general text on evolution) in a talk given at the American Museum of Natural History 1981

    “Can you tell me anything you know about evolution, any one thing…that is true?

    I tried that question on the geology staff at the Field Museum of Natural history and the only answer I got was silence. I tried it on the members of the Evolutionary Morphology seminar in the University of Chicago, and all I got there was silence for a long time and eventually one person said “I know one thing – it ought not to be taught in high school”

    “…I’m speaking on two subjects, evolutionism and creationism, and I believe it’s true to say that I know nothing whatever about either…One of the reasons I started taking this anti-evolutionary view, well, let’s call it non-evolutionary , was last year I had a sudden realization.

    “For over twenty years I had thought that I was working on evolution in some way. One morning I woke up, and something had happened in the night, and it struck me that I had been working on this stuff for twenty years, and there was not one thing I knew about it. “That was quite a shock that one could be misled for so long…

    about eighteen months ago…I woke up and I realized that all my life I had been duped into taking evolutionism as revealed truth in some way.

    …That seems to summarize the feeling I get in talking to evolutionists today. They plead ignorance of the means of transformation, but affirm only the fact: ‘Yes it has…we know it has taken place.'”

    “…Now I think that many people in this room would acknowledge that during the last few years, if you had thought about it at all, you’ve experienced a shift from evolution as knowledge to evolution as faith. I know that’s true of me, and I think it’s true of a good many of you in here…

    “…Evolution not only conveys no knowledge, but seems somehow to convey anti-knowledge , apparent knowledge which is actually harmful to systematics…”

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  80. Why should we debate in favor of truth whenever what is called the “worst form of infidelity” in 3SG 90-91 comes up as a topic?

    Answer —

    Ephesians 5:11
    And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.

    1Tim 5:20 – rebuke in the presence of all
    19 Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses. 20 Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear.

    Luke 17;1-2 – woe to those that cause stumbling blocks to the young lambs
    1 Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! 2 It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.

    2Tim 4:2 – reprove, rebuke
    2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.

    1Tim 1:3-4 – instruct them not to teach strange doctrine
    3 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia—remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine, 4 nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith.

    Titus 1:5-11 exhort, refute, silence those who…
    5 For this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the things that are lacking, and appoint elders in every city as I commanded you— 6 if a man is blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children not accused of dissipation or insubordination. 7 For a bishop[a] must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not quick-tempered, not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, 8 but hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy, self-controlled, 9 holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.

    Titus 1:13-15
    13 This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith, 14 not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn from the truth. 15 To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled.

    1Pet 3:15-16 be ready to argue – debate, make defense
    15 But sanctify the Lord God[a] in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.

    Jude 3 -4 – contend earnestly for the faith, for certain persons have crept in unnoticed…
    3 Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God[a] and our Lord Jesus Christ.

    ==========================

    And then of course there is always –

    “If God abhors one sin above another, of which His people are guilty, it is doing nothing in case of an emergency. Indifference and neutrality in a religious crisis is regarded of God as a grievous crime, and equal to the very worst type of hostility against God” (3T 281).

    Bible Commentary Vol 3 p 1136
    5-11. A Prayer to Be Studied.–[Neh. 1:5, 6 quoted.] Not only did Nehemiah say that Israel had sinned. He acknowledged with penitence that he and his father’s house had sinned. “We have dealt corruptly against Thee,” he says, placing himself among those who had dishonored God by not standing stiffly for the truth. . . . [Neh. 1:7-11 quoted.] . . . {3BC 1136.1}
    “

    in Christ,

    Bob
    =======================================================

    To stand in defense of truth and righteousness when the majority forsake us, to fight the battles of the Lord when champions are few–this will be our test. At this time we must gather warmth from the coldness of others, courage from their cowardice, and loyalty from their treason.–5T 136 (1882). {LDE 180.4}

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  81. @Bob

    When Richard Dawkins was asked to give just one real life example of observed – confirmed macro evolution – such that a complex genome arises out of a simpler genome – we get this transparent ceiling-staring 11 second flummoxed, “cone of silence”, nonresponse that ends with the incredibly insightful and very scientific “can you just stop there” as in “turn the tape off”.

    Haven’t seen the tape, but would almost bet, knowing Dawkins, that he first rolled his eyes and then “looked at the ceiling,” both which are pretty universal gestures of contempt and disrespect. He wasn’t fishing for an example, but was rather pondering whether it was even worth his while to respond. When people use nonstandard definitions, or just plain don’t understand the proper definition of a concept like macroevolution, arrogant people like Dawkins just tend to behave peevishly.

    I am no respecter of Dawkins. He does know his evolution, but he steps out of bounds when he so casually displays his utterignorance and contempt for religion.

    BTW, it is no surprise to evolutionists that species are notoriously difficult to define. Not even a single definition is used in all cases. Some have responded by throwing out the whole concept of species and using the clade concept from cladistics. Each distinct clade in a phylogeny is simply considered an OTU (operational taxonomic unit). This concept alows for the recognition that even below the species level there are important evolutionary things that have happened, something that taxonomists often miss.

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  82. @ Bob

    When Richard Dawkins was asked to give just one real life example of observed – confirmed macro evolution – such that a complex genome arises out of a simpler genome – we get this transparent ceiling-staring 11 second flummoxed, “cone of silence”, nonresponse that ends with the incredibly insightful and very scientific “can you just stop there” as in “turn the tape off”.

    The amusing irony is that creationists believe new species evolve much faster than do evolutionists.

    For Dawkins to be flummoxed by this for 11 seconds is hardly surprising, since speciation events–true macroevolution–require…what is it, millions, thousands, or dozens of years? What has it been–more than 11 months?–and Bob Ryan has yet to point out a single speciation event actually observed within the past 4,000 years of recorded history since the flood, during which millions of news species had to evolve!

    The shoe’s on your foot, Bob. Can you do better than Dawkins to show that macroevolution–the evolution of new species–actually occurs? The stopwatch is ticking…

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  83. Sean, can you think of any geological or biological evidence that does NOT favor the Biblical model of creation within 6 days about 6000 years ago and a worldwide flood that covered all land?

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  84. When Richard Dawkins was asked to give just one real life example of observed – confirmed macro evolution – such that a complex genome arises out of a simpler genome – we get this transparent ceiling-staring 11 second flummoxed, “cone of silence”, nonresponse that ends with the incredibly insightful and very scientific “can you just stop there” as in “turn the tape off”.

    http://youtube.com/watch?v=zaKryi3605g

    Haven’t seen the tape, but would almost bet, knowing Dawkins, that he first rolled his eyes and then “looked at the ceiling,” both which are pretty universal gestures of contempt and disrespect. He wasn’t fishing for an example, but was rather pondering whether it was even worth his while to respond.

    So that is simply “clicking the link” and watching for 12 seconds to test out your theory. Possibly you do not realize how easy that is for the unbiased objective reader to do —

    But since you seem to concede the point that Dawkins is not interested in actual science in his reply – as much as finding some way to show disdain for the fact that he is not being questioned by cheerleaders for evolutionism – we may actually have a point of agreement.

    His response to this evolution 101 “softball” lobbed in for him to hit it out of the park IF he had something like “laboratory science” to back him up – is “instructive” to the unbiased objective reader.

    And well worth comparing to “real science” rather than religion masquerading as if it were science – for example a physicist being asked the same physics 101 softball “lob” in the form of providing an example of time dilation in real life.

    I am no respecter of Dawkins. He does know his evolution

    Now see – there again we agree.

    BTW, it is no surprise to evolutionists that species are notoriously difficult to define. Not even a single definition is used in all cases.

    Hence my avoidance of the term – and the lack of the term on that video clip that you were carful not to watch.

    I prefer the more precise term “genome” because there is an objective method for measuring it and it allows for idosyncratic phenomina where groups within the same genome are not known to interbreed. It is not at all problematic for phenotype to vary depending on factors in the epigenome to the point that individuals in various groups do not mix or have significant variation in phenotype (as can be seen between Chiguagua and Irish Wolf Hound for example) – but same genome.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  85. Kent said

    For Dawkins to be flummoxed by this for 11 seconds is hardly surprising, since speciation events–true macroevolution–require…what is it, millions, thousands, or dozens of years?

    Turns out – genes do not “evolve slowly over millions of years” rather they “appear” or “do not appear” each time mating occurs in eukaryote based life forms which is the context of the question he was asked about “genomes” not species.

    However – I do agree with you on not being surprised at his flummoxed response to this evolution 101 softball lob.

    It goes to the core of the religous nature of his argument.

    The shoe’s on your foot, Bob. Can you do better than Dawkins to show that macroevolution–the evolution of new species–actually occurs? The stopwatch is ticking

    Yes — it does not occur. All the variations with a single genome are — variations with a single genome. They do not create new more complex genomes from simpler ones. It is not “observed by science” in nature – because it does not HAPPEN in nature.

    I already pointed this out with wolf, the endless breeds of dog, coyote and jackal — all ONE single static genome (in terms of the number of coding genes)!

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  86. Bob Ryan wrote

    I prefer the more precise term “genome” because there is an objective method for measuring it and it allows for idosyncratic phenomina where groups within the same genome are not known to interbreed. … I already pointed this out with wolf, the endless breeds of dog, coyote and jackal — all ONE single static genome (in terms of the number of coding genes)!

    This argument is so stupid it’s pathetic. A “genome” is the entirety of an organism’s heredity information. There is no single “genome” that encodes a species. Google the term and read up on this yourself if you seriously want to believe that Bob Ryan knows what he is talking about.

    I’m tired of this constant and absurd hogwash from the SDA science “experts” who invent their own terms and definitions to lead gullible readers down rabbit trail after rabbit trail. They insist they have all the answers–and they certainly have the ones the average Church member wants to hear. It was mistake to venture back here. Ignorance is bliss. Enjoy it.

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  87. OTNT_Beliver wrote

    BTW, it is no surprise to evolutionists that species are notoriously difficult to define. Not even a single definition is used in all cases. Some have responded by throwing out the whole concept of species and using the clade concept from cladistics. Each distinct clade in a phylogeny is simply considered an OTU (operational taxonomic unit).

    Ahhh, yes, you’re speaking of the PhyloCode. My colleague, Kevin de Queiroz at the Smithsonian, led out in the development of this new approach to taxonomy. It remains controversial for now, but I suspect it will one day supplant Linnean terminology. This stuff is way too new for creationists to grapple with. They will have to come up with completely new arguments to deal with–no doubt mauling more definitions in the process to attack the science rather than contribute to it.

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  88. Ahhh, yes, you’re speaking of the PhyloCode. My colleague, Kevin de Queiroz at the Smithsonian, led out in the development of this new approach to taxonomy. It remains controversial for now, but I suspect it will one day supplant Linnean terminology. This stuff is way too new for creationists to grapple with. They will have to come up with completely new arguments to deal with–no doubt mauling more definitions in the process to attack the science rather than contribute to it.

    Yep, that’s the one Cladistics all the way. Ha! Old time taxonomists hate it, because even taxa that are indististuishable on a morphological basis can be given taxonomic status in this approach. I know one of the guys, a botanist, that was at the heart of proposing this new approach. Don’t know if it will catch on until all the old guard are gone. 🙂 Even then, who knows. Tradition is hard to shelve.

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  89. argument is so stupid it’s pathetic. A “genome” is the entirety of an organism’s heredity information. There is no single “genome” that encodes a species

    Hint each organism has A Genome hence the “human genome project” rather than “steve’s genome project”. You are conflating the concept of personal genome with organism genome as if this helps your argument – and then using the term “pathetic”. How appropriate.

    “Human” taken as “an organism” has A genome. That genome is static in terms of the number and type of coding genes and Chromosomes. At the individual genome level within the organism (form of life) entirely new coding genes do not pop into existence and express themselves. Rather existing coding genes for the organism in general are damaged or switched on or switched off in addition to having various naturally occuring forms (alleles) yet it is still the same gene type. (for example OCA2 as one of the genes that helps to determine eye color). In the human genome project – the human organism has the OCA2 coding gene and it is always on the same chormosome and in this organism the number chromosomes are fixed.

    Now that your interest in the “primer” is over – what about the actual point that was raised? If you had examples of new coding genes being added to eukaryote genomes (at the organism level of course) you would have pointed to “science fact” instead of pointing to vacuous evolutionist ad hominem as your sole point.

    Your methods and practices are far more transparent to the objective unbiased reader than you appear to imagine. Why embarrass yourself on behalf of evolutionist storytelling? Choose science fact, choose truth, come out of the darkness into the light.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  90. All the variations within a single genome are — variations within a single genome (at the organism level). They do not create new more complex genomes from simpler ones. So Wolf, Dog, Coyote, Jackal – ALL have the same number and type of coding genes producing the same set of proteins if those genes are activated and expressed in phenotype, all the same number of chromosomes — Obviously.

    Such “new coding gene TYPE pops into existence for this genome” fiction is not “observed by science” in nature – because it does not HAPPEN in nature.

    I already pointed this out with wolf, the endless breeds of dog, coyote and jackal — all ONE single static genome (at the organism level – in terms of the number of coding genes AND the type of coding genes, the number of chromosomes etc)!

    Obviously.

    But if you need this point hammered home a few more times – that can be arranged.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  91. @OTNT_Believer:

    Yep, that’s the one Cladistics all the way. Ha! Old time taxonomists hate it, because even taxa that are indististuishable on a morphological basis can be given taxonomic status in this approach. I know one of the guys, a botanist, that was at the heart of proposing this new approach. Don’t know if it will catch on until all the old guard are gone. Even then, who knows. Tradition is hard to shelve.

    My point exactly. Depending upon what definition of “species” one is talking about just about any slight variation in any group of living things can be given taxonomic status – even if the variation is not a morphologic or functional variation. A 0.3% difference between the cytochrome b sequence in a Darwin “finch” compared to certain tanagers or various other types of finches is enough to classify a different species or even a new genus.

    “Cryptic species” are not morphologically or functionally different, but are classified as different “species” based only on underlying, essentially neutral, genetic differences. By such definitions, even certain human ethnic groups could be classified as different “species” and given “taxonimic status”.

    Mainstream scientists can change and come up with novel definitions of “species” at will it seems. It doesn’t change the fact that the production of non-functional differences, or differences which are the result of a loss or a change in the level of functionality of a given type, can take place very rapidly within a gene pool. However, the evolution of truly novel functional elements, that are not simply variations of degrees of function of pre-established functional systems, will take longer to realize within a gene pool. In fact, if the new system in question requires a minimum of more than 1000 specifically arranged amino acid residues, the average time required to realize this level of complexity is in the trillions of years.

    That’s the problem with the “species” concept and the potential for “speciation” to occur in a given span of time. It all depends upon what definition you’re talking about…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Species#Definitions_of_species

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  92. Re Sean’s Quote

    “However, the evolution of truly novel functional elements, that are not simply variations of degrees of function of pre-established functional systems, will take longer to realize within a gene pool. In fact, if the new system in question requires a minimum of more than 1000 specifically arranged amino acid residues, the average time required to realize this level of complexity is in the trillions of years.”

    Dear Sean

    We all agree change happens, given enough time. That’s good, nice to have points of agreement.

    Do you have a mathematical model to demonstrate that Macroevolution takes trillions versus billions of years?

    Regards
    Ken

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  93. @Eddie:

    As Professor Kent has repeatedly pointed out, there is no need to redefine the long-accepted definition for the term “macroevolution.” To avoid the accusation that creationists twist its meaning, why not follow Dr. Brand by using the term “megaevolution”?

    The point is that the term “macroevolution” is meaningless without a standard definition of “species”; or at least an up front clarification as to which species definition one is using in a discussion of origins – especially when one is talking about the potential and limits of the evolutionary mechanism of RM/NS…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  94. Re Bob’s Quote

    “If you had examples of new coding genes being added to eukaryote genomes (at the organism level of course) you would have pointed to “science fact” instead of pointing to vacuous evolutionist ad hominem as your sole point.”

    “All the variations within a single genome are — variations within a single genome (at the organism level). They do not create new more complex genomes from simpler ones. So Wolf, Dog, Coyote, Jackal – ALL have the same number and type of coding genes producing the same set of proteins if those genes are activated and expressed in phenotype, all the same number of chromosomes — Obviously.”

    Dear Bob

    Are you saying that all variations of a single genome must have the same number of chromosomes?

    Regards
    Ken

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  95. @ken:

    We all agree change happens, given enough time. That’s good, nice to have points of agreement.

    Do you have a mathematical model to demonstrate that Macroevolution takes trillions versus billions of years?

    Thanks for asking. As a matter of fact, I do – at least when “macroevolution” is defined as the evolution of a truly novel functional system within a gene pool that is beyond very low levels of functional complexity. 😉

    http://www.detectingdesign.com/flagellum.html#Calculation

    Let me know what you think…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  96. @ken:

    Dear Bob

    Are you saying that all variations of a single genome must have the same number of chromosomes?

    The same functional type of gene pool can have different numbers of chromosomes. For example, horses have 32 pairs of chromosomes while donkeys have only 31 pairs. Yet, they can mate and produce viable offspring (i.e., mules and hinnies). Therefore, they are part of the same functional gene pool of underlying genetic options.

    For a further discussion of having the same basic type of functional information in different chromosomal arrangements or places, see:

    http://www.detectingdesign.com/donkeyshorsesmules.html

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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