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. @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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  2. 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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  3. 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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  4. 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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  5. @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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  6. @Professor Kent:

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

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

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

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

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

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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

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

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

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

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

    Surely you do not imagine that this is really helping?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

    in Christ,

    Bob

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

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

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

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

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

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

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  10. Emk

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

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

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

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  12. @Johnny Vance:

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

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

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

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

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  13. Bob Ryan wrote

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

    I never claimed this. Period.

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

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

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  15. @ Sean Pitman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    And herein lies the trouble with Adventist Education.

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

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

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

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  18. @ Shane Hilde

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

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

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

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

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  20. @Professor Kent:

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

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

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

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  21. @Eddie:

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

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

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

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

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  22. PS: Oh, and what about “organic,” as in “organic foods”? and “sustainable.” It’s a game, listing all the slick new vocabulary changes, like us kids used to see who could count the most new car models we saw on a trip. Why hasn’t Facebook thought of it? Changes you can believe in.

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  23. Ok – we might be arguing semantics here but for the sake of defining terms – you said –

    Again, a genome includes all the basic gene types for a single organism – and, by extension, all organisms within the same “gene pool”. However, a given genome will not include all the various different types of allelic options or variations for a give type of gene. The gene pool, on the other hand, does include all of these allelic variations.

    Which appears to be addressing a few different things – one of which is that a personal genome does not include all allele variations for a given Gene. However I assume you agree that the organism genome (as in the Human Genome mapping, or the horse genome mapping) does include a given gene and its allele instances for the entire organism. Or is this also a point where we are using different definitions?

    In addition – your “gene pool” term appears to include any form of chimera without limit – since all chimeras result in a “set of genes” contained in chromosomes. In those cases – which organism’s “genome” are you attributing the chimera to?? For example we now have pigs with human blood and we have mules. Who do you attribte the resulting “gene pool” to?

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  24. @ Sean Pitman

    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

    Sean, the problem with existing species concepts, and therefore the currently used term for “macroevolution,” is that the entire enterprise of taxonomy is based on an effort to categorize variation that is continuous into discrete compartments. All biologists recognize this problem, yet existing species concepts and operational definitions lead to agreement on probably 95-99% of classifications. Only a small percentage are quibbled over…and, of course, creationists look to anything they can to criticize conventional science. To state that these scientists are not “up front” is misleading. They publish, argue, and publish some more. The creationists only argue.

    I’m sure you won’t accept this, but the problems with your definitions of “species” and, hence, “macroevolution,” are manyfold. First, you are the only one using them. Second, your definitions have not been published (nor will they ever in a journal with an impact factor of 1.0 or more). Third, they lack operational clarity; no one is really able to look at two populations of squid, or kangaroo rats, or tortoises, for example, and readily quantify which differences are “functional” and which are not. Any measures of “functionality” will undoubtedly be continuously distributed, so the question becomes: how functionally different is “functional?” Fourth, your definitions haven’t been tested by application to real data in thousands of case-by-case studies, so we have no idea how well they perform and whether they are superior to other definitions. Fifth, your definitions undoubtedly suffer from the same fundamental problem as the others (as I’ve already mentioned for measuring “functional”): no matter what criteria one uses, one simply cannot partition continuous variation into neat and tidy boxes.

    I suggest a little humility when you assert that your definitions are superior to those that have been tested in real time by real scientists using real data.

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  25. @BobRyan:

    The “gene pool option” context above is certainly interesting and true. But I am not aware of any example of genomics maping variable chromosome organisms into “one” genome.

    Well, you’d be wrong. I’ve listed off several examples for you and there are many many more examples where individuals with differing numbers of chromosomes are indeed classified as the same species and can interbreed to produce viable and fertile offspring.

    What this means is that they all descended from the same ancestral parents – the same original gene pool. There is no such thing as “one genome” that encompasses all the genetic and phenotypic potential of a particular species or “kind” of organism.

    Recently the discussion has drifted to the idea of the exact same gene pool but in a different chromosome configuration.

    That’s correct.

    At this point I don’t find a way to equate an organism’s genome to the idea of a “gene pool” encompassing different organism’s genomes’ where they do not contain all of the same gene in the respective organism genome.

    A particular organisms genome contains all the gene types that are within the gene pool at large. Consider, for example, the “genome” of a bicycle. This genome would contain definitions for two tires, two peddles, a handle bar, a chain, a couple gears, etc… exactly like every other “bicycle” of the same type. However, there could be various options for different types of tires within the pool of options. The tires coded for in the one particular genome may be knobby while the tires coded for by another genome may be smooth. Just because a given genome doesn’t code for both smooth and knobby tires doesn’t mean that both smooth and knobby options are not contained within the same “kind” of bicycle – within the same “pool” of options.

    The same thing is true of living things. Some people are homozygous for “blue eyes”. Others have the code for “brown eyes”. Just because the particular genome for a “blue eyed” person doesn’t contain the genetic code for brown eyes does not mean that the brown-eyed option is not part of the overall human gene pool of options. It is.

    But even in that case – mixing two different organism’s genomes where there exists gene types in one organism’s genome that do not exist in the other organism’s genome – is what I am calling a parent mix that creates a chimera. (A + C = B).

    Then you don’t understand Mendelian genetics – i.e., the concepts of homozygous and heterozygous. The parental population of a species may have the potential for a huge number of phenotypic options, some of which members of subsequent generations may not have. For example, say the parent population has codes for both blue and brown eyes. Members of subsequent populations may loose codes for one or the other. For example, a population of blue-eyed people may arise that no longer has the code for brown eyes within its own particular pool of options. This does not mean, however, that if a person from this community that is homozygous for blue eyes mates with a member of a brown-eyed community that their offspring will be a “chimera” is the classical sense of the term. Nothing truly new will have been created in the offspring that was not already present in the ancestral parental gene pool of phenotypic options.

    And getting back to the original point – this does not address the requirement for macroevolution which is (A + A * a billion = C).

    Exactly. In order for a new qualitative type of genetic function to be realized within a given pool of options, there will have to be a mutation to what already exists within that pool that produces something functionally unique that was never in the ancestral pool of options to begin with. This is the only way to truly change the gene pool, in a functionally novel way, beyond the original functional potential of the ancestral gene pool.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  26. @Eddie: “..there is no need to redefine the long-accepted definition for the term…”

    Thanks! Thanks compounded. Oh goodness, what a relief, your dictum — and don’t you wish anybody followed it. Just when I thought I knew what “wireless” meant (no wires, as for a mouse) they change it (a network, which may involve lots of wires). Oh, you mean “cordless.”

    Meanwhile, perfectly clear words like “compassion,” “reform” (as in tax and medical “reform”), even “democracy,” suffer casual metamorphosis that would challenge Photoshop. How about “racism,” “bigotry”? All of American History is instantly rewritten, by academia, yet. And mores and norms and ethics, redefined nonchalantly. And “debate” is right here being redefined, endearingly adroitly and lavishly. Even Webster Wordnik can’t keep up with such moveOn.Orgage, to re-morph a term myself. Fun, I agree.

    And, alas, Adventist doctrine, as taught me in school, including La Sierra College (before it was a U), somehow doesn’t sound at all the same nowadays. As they say in pop-academia, “Live with it.”

    Seriously, though, they taught me in debating school (night school; life is a school) that before a well-trained debater launches into his rebuttal, he repeats, as Sean is wont to do, his opponent’s proposition so both sides will understand exactly how the definition is being used, or nuanced? No, what I learned was that the protagonist is expected to repeat his understanding of the going definition so that the antagonist, if he can’t handle the argument, can jump on him for mauling the definition, to heck with the argument.

    And while we are reprising ripostes, the neatest, gentlest, most charming (I couldn’t but smile), most lethal, most Christian squelch I’ve ever heard — and I offer it as an example to our own less polished debaters — was executed right here at LLU by a beloved professor, an author of one of our new theistic evo volumes, upon none other than our Dr. Pitman as he was, Ken will want to know this, declaiming Creationism. “Did … I … understand you to SAY…?” But it’s got to be said with the exactly right incredulous tone of voice.

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  27. @Professor Kent:

    Yet another example of a Robertsonian polymorphism is the house musk shrew that lives in the central region of West Malaysia and has a variation in chromosome numbers from 36 to 40. Also, in Southern India and Sri Lanka musk shrews can be found with having between 30 and 32 chromosomes due to Robertsonian-type changes in chromosome structure. – Sean Pitman

    So how many chromosomes did the original house musk shrew have that came out of the ark? Let me guess: you will argue that it had 40 and in some populations lost some, since you maintain that there can never be an increase in genetic information (or “functional” genetic information, as you please).

    Genetic information is not dependent upon chromosome number or even the arrangement of genes within the chromosomes. Do you not yet understand this point? This means that chromosome number can both increase and decrease without any substantive change in the information itself. Humans, for example, evidently sustained a chromosomal fusion event (producing Chr. #2). This means that we now have 23 chromosome pairs whereas our original ancestors most likely had 24 chromosome pairs (the same as apes).

    http://www.detectingdesign.com/pseudogenes.html#Fusion

    Note, however, that this fusion event, which reduced the number of chromosomes in the genome, did not reduce the associated genetic information. The same would be true if we humans were to go from having 23 chromosome pairs to 24 chromosome pairs. The increase in the number of chromosomes would not necessarily change the associated information in degree or quality.

    Chromosomal fusions happen to be fairly common – even within the same species. In fact, there are humans alive today that have chromosomal fusions – and surprise surprise, they’re still human! – morphologically and functionally indistinguishable from other modern humans. Another example can be found with horses. Hybrids of the wild horse have 33 pairs while the domesticated horse has 32 chromosomal pairs. Also, domestic dogs and wolves of the genus canis have 78 chromosomes while foxes have a varied number from 38-78 chromosomes. Yet another example is the house mouse Mus Musculis, which has 40 chromosomes, while a population of mice form the Italian Alps was found to have only 22 chromosomes.

    Again, chromosomal number has very little if anything to do with the amount or quality of the information within a genome.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  28. @BobRyan:

    I agree that instead of evolution – you could simply cross-breed plants or animals. However I maintain that this is a case of mixing existing genomes (A chimera) – it is not a case of staying within the same genome.

    You misuse the word “genome”. As already noted, a genome describes the genetic material of a single individual. When a man and a woman have a child, they are “mixing existing genomes”. The resulting child is a combination of the different parental genomes – and they are always different.

    A better concept is that of a gene pool of options; options that are available within the totality of individuals that are capable of crossbreeding to produce viable offspring. Crossbreeding is only possible for those individuals that have very functionally similar genomes to begin with. This is what makes them part of the same basic “pool” of functional options.

    Note also that the actually number of chromosomes is irrelevant to being part of the same gene pool. Consider, for example, that foxes have a varied number of chromosomes ranging from 38-78. Yet, they are all “foxes” and can interbreed to produce both viable and fertile offspring – even though the parents may have different chromosome numbers than each other or than their offspring.

    For another example, consider the house mouse Mus Musculis which generally has 40 chromosomes. However, populations have been discovered with chromosome numbers varying between 22 and 40. For example, over 40 Robertsonian “races” of Mus musculus domesticus have been found in Europe and North Africa. Yet, all of these house mice are still the same type of mouse. The number of chromosome arms are the same and banding studies reveal the genes to be homologous. Obviously, in terms of their relationship, these different mice are all one group – part of the very same gene pool of functional genetic options.

    Yet another example of a Robertsonian polymorphism is the house musk shrew that lives in the central region of West Malaysia and has a variation in chromosome numbers from 36 to 40. Also, in Southern India and Sri Lanka musk shrews can be found with having between 30 and 32 chromosomes due to Robertsonian-type changes in chromosome structure.

    Certainly the Horse-Donkey –> mule example is one of the easier less invasive ones to acheive a resulting composite genome (no new feature not already present in one of the parents).

    This is where you are mistaken. There are no functional features in the genome of the mule that were not already present in the parental gene pool of options. The morphologic differences between a horse and a mule or a donkey and a mule are simply the result of the novel combination of the very same basic type of functional options between the horse and the donkey.

    It’s basically the same thing as a man and wife from different ethnic backgrounds producing a child that is a hybrid between the two different ethnic groups. For example, the skin of the child may be of an intermediate shade vs. the skin of the father and mother. However, the functional aspect of “skin color” is not functionally unique in the child vs. either parent, the genomes of which both contained codes for “skin color” that could match up properly during gamete fertilization.

    A chimera genome of that variety only produces a distinct dead-end genome not capable of reproducing, not capable of breeding even with itself. (So even IF you did yield to the temptation of “can breed with x or y” as a definition, you have to conclude by that definition that “cannot breed with x or y or even with itself” is “a new genome”. The chimera case is unique and is artificial.

    Along those lines – we are seeing a wide range of chimera mixing of genomes and it will only get worse over time.

    You don’t seem to understand why a mule is actually sterile. It isn’t sterile because it is a “chimera” that has functionally unique genetics. That’s not true at all. The mule is sterile because there is a chromosomal inversion in the donkey relative to the horse. This chromosomal inversion allows for effective mitosis, and therefore the embryologic development of the mule or hinny. However, when the mule or hinny try to produce their own gametes, the chromosomal inversion that they inherited prevents effective meiosis (do to ineffective chromosomal crossover during meiosis) and the gametes are not genetically viable since they don’t have a complete genomic set of information.

    So, you see, it has nothing to do with the information itself, information that is functionally the same between the horse and the donkey. The sterility of mules and hinnies is the result of how the information is arranged on the chromosomes.

    You need to do a bit more reading into this topic. As a start, you might be interested in actually reading through my essay on this issue:

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

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  29. @ Sean Pitman

    Yet another example of a Robertsonian polymorphism is the house musk shrew that lives in the central region of West Malaysia and has a variation in chromosome numbers from 36 to 40. Also, in Southern India and Sri Lanka musk shrews can be found with having between 30 and 32 chromosomes due to Robertsonian-type changes in chromosome structure.

    So how many chromosomes did the original house musk shrew have that came out of the ark? Let me guess: you will argue that it had 40 and in some populations lost some, since you maintain that there can never be an increase in genetic information (or “functional” genetic information, as you please).

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  30. @ Sean Pitman

    However, certain definitions of “species” are not within the rational power of RM/NS to achieve – even given a practical eternity of time.

    What are you talking about? The most frequently used species concepts (which is more germane here than “definitions”) are the biological, phylogenetic, and evolutionary species concepts. The operative definitions used to delineate species boundaries, such as reciprocal monophyly and 100% reciprocal discrimination, make no assumptions whatsoever about RM/NS.

    My definition for functional complexity is quite straight forward and has been published in mainstream journals. The concept of a “level” of functional complexity being based on a minimum size and specificity of arrangement to achieve a particular type of function is not new nor did it originate with me.

    Here again is the crux of the problem. In either ignorance or arrogance, you fail to recognize or acknowledge the accepted concepts and operational definitions for “species” and substitute, instead, your off-the-wall insistence that species must be defined by “functional complexity.” I don’t believe anyone, including Hazen whom you quote, equates some minimum “functional complexity” with actual boundaries delineating species.

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  31. 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”.

    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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  32. @OTNT_Believer:

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

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

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

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  33. Okay, okay, OKAY. Sean Pitman says domesticated dogs and humans are represented by many species according to the criteria used by practicing taxonomists (none of whom interpret the data this way). The rest of us can disagree with his thinking, and those who believe the man truly has it all figured out can continue to see it that way.

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  34. @Eddie:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  35. @Eddie:

    And where are such barriers for various cryptic species for which there is no readily apparent phenotype block to mating with the production of viable and fertile offspring? – Sean Pitman

    For the benefit of those who perhaps are confused by the subject matter, cryptic species refer to two or more species that closely resemble each other to human eyes yet somehow recognize each other as distinct species. They may occur in sympatry (living together), parapatry (narrowly overlapping in range) or allopatry (geogrpahically separated). They never or seldom interbreed because some sort of a reproductive isolating mechanism other than external morphological appearance has “evolved” (if I can use that term here).

    Obviously, but how fundamentally important are these non-morphologic differences vs. those morphologic and non-morphologic differences that are very evident in different breeds of dogs or cats or even different ethnic groups of humans? – who also preferentially “breed” within their own particular groups?

    I earlier mentioned a classic example, the Alder Flycatcher and Willow Flycatcher, which occur sympatrically in northeastern North America and are virtually identical yet differ in their vocalizations. The distinctive vocalizations of each species represent a behavioral reproductive isolating mechanism that prevents an individual from mating with the wrong species. Many similar examples exist among birds.

    So there are birds who prefer to mate with other birds who have a more “attractive” song? – a song that matches their own particular preference? How is this somehow a basis for species classification whereas more striking differences between human ethnic groups, to include mating preferences, are not?

    I think you’re simply demonstrating the arbitrary aspects of taxonomy quite nicely… to include its political implications.

    Another classic example that I earlier mentioned is the Eastern Gray Tree Frog and Cope’s Gray Tree Frog, which are essentially identical but differ in their number of chromosomes, 48 in the former and 24 in the latter (providing a rare example of polyploidy among animals). Although sympatric throughout much of their ranges, they cannot hybridize because of the different numbers of chromosomes. They can recognize each other through their distinctive vocalizations, which represent a behavioral reproductive isolating mechanism.

    This argument is clearly mistaken. Differences in chromosome number does not, by itself, prevent successful breeding or the production of viable and fertile offspring. Also, as I’ve already noted above, variations in chromosome numbers is not all that “rare” among animals.

    For example, hybrids of the wild horse (33 pairs) and the domesticated horse (32 pairs) are both viable and fertile, and yet they have an odd chromosome out, just like mules do. Also, foxes have a varied number from 38-78 chromosomes yet can all mate to produce viable and fertile offspring. Yet another example is the 40+ Robertsonian “races” of Mus musculus domesticus found in Europe and North Africa which have chromosome numbers ranging from 22-40. Yet, the number of chromosome arms are the same and banding studies reveal the genes to be homologous. In other words, the information is the same. Another example of a Robertsonian polymorphism is the house musk shrew that lives in the central region of West Malaysia and has a variation in chromosome numbers from 36 to 40. Also, in Southern India and Sri Lanka musk shrews can be found with having between 30 and 32 chromosomes due to Robertsonian-type changes.

    The significance of centric fusions (Robertsonian translocations) in domestic animals, with special reference to sheep, is also interesting. A study was done that considered 856 ewes with either a normal chromosome number 2n = 54 or carrying one or more of the three different translocations (centric fusions) t1, t2 and t3 in various heterozygous and homozygous arrangements. Rams, which were used in the matings, were homozygous for one of the translocation chromosomes (2n = 52), double heterozygotes (2n = 52), triple heterozygotes (2n = 51), or were carriers of four translocation chromosomes (2n = 50) and five translocation chromosomes (2n = 49). A remarkably even distribution of segregation products was recorded in the progeny of all combinations of translocation ewes plus translocation rams in those groups in which sufficient animals were available for statistical analysis. Forty-eight chromosomally different groups of animals were mated. Further, the overall fertility of the translocation sheep (measured by conception rate to first service via the lambing percentage and number of ewes that did not breed a lamb) was not significantly different from the New Zealand national sheep breeding data where this study was done. In some groups the poorer reproductive performance could be explained by the age structure of the flock and inbreeding depression, which probably affected the performance of some animals. Sheep with progressively decreasing chromosome numbers, due to centric fusion, 2n = 50, 2n = 49 and 2n = 48, were reported. The 2n = 48 category represents a triple homozygous ewe and a triple homozygous ram and is the first report of the viable evolution of such domestic animals. Less than 1% of phenotypically abnormal lambs were recorded in a total of 1,995 progeny born over 10 years. It is now considered that there is little or no evidence to suggest that centric fusions in a variety of combinations affect the total productive fitness of domestic sheep.

    Bruere AN, Ellis PM., Cytogenetics and reproduction of sheep with multiple centric fusions (Robertsonian translocations). J Reprod Fertil 1979 Nov;57(2):363-75. (http://bison.zbs.bialowieza.pl/isacc/suncus/srihtm.htm)

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  36. @Student said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  37. Dear Karl:

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

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

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

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

    Thanks again, Karl, for your candor.

    God bless!

    Pastor Kevin Paulson

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  38. @Mary A. Jane said:

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

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

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

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  39. @ Karl G. Wilcox and Kevin Paulson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  41. @ 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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  42. I have to admit that I love the Coke/Pepsi analogy. Imagine this:

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

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

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

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  43. @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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  44. @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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  45. 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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  46. 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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  47. I have read all that La Sierra has had to say on this topic. They waiver between opinions, trying to please both God and the world. Yet rather than address the issue head-on, they have spoken ill of Educate Truth.com and blamed it for the problems that they are facing. La Sierra has much more to say about this website than it has to say about the very fact that its teachers in the biology and religion departments routinely cut down the church.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    in Christ,

    Bob

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  50. Re Bob’s Quote

    “I respect those who believe in a literal Genesis flood, but I also have to be honest about the scientific difficulties with such a belief. ”

    Dear Bob

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

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

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

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

    Cheers
    Ken

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

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

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  53. @ Bub

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    God bless!

    Pastor Kevin Paulson

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  55. @ Sean Hilde

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

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

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  56. @Karl G. Wilcox:

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

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  57. @Shane Hilde:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  61. @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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  62. @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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  63. @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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  64. 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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  65. I began teaching at PUC 20 years ago(1990-1994). It is an ‘open secret’, among those of us who have taught at PUC in that period and later, that the Psychology department advocates homosexuality as a perfectly moral and acceptable lifestyle within the frameword of a Christian lifestyle. I have no reason to think that this position has changed. If it has, then I would welcome the news!

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

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

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

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

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

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  66. @OTNT_Believer:

    Either you are showing your ignorance or you are just playing with me. No mainstream definition of species has anything to do with divergence of a DNA sequence. Brand and every other geologist uses the biological species concept in combination with the morphological species concept.

    There are in fact mainstream definitions of species which are almost entirely dependent upon the divergence of a DNA sequence independent of any detectable morphologic difference. For example, “cryptic species” are defined as, “a group of species which satisfy the biological definition of species—that is, they are reproductively isolated from each other—but whose morphology is very similar (in some cases virtually identical)…

    For example, mitochondrial DNA research published in January 2008 suggests that there are at least 11 genetically distinct populations of giraffes. Similar methods also found that the Amazonian frog Eleutherodactylus ockendeni is actually at least 3 different species that diverged over 5 million years ago.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cryptic_species_complex

    A similar basis has been used in literature, as already noted for you, to establish a very close relationship between Darwin Finches and several other types of birds within the “domed nest clade”… with sequence divergence of cytochrome b as little as 0.3%. “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

    So, unless you qualify what type of difference you’re talking about when you use the term “macroevolution”, this term can mean many very different things that are not necessarily related to any novel functional difference between the gene pools under consideration beyond very low levels of functional complexity (as defined by Hazen et. al.)…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  67. @Eddie:

    Sean, I applaud your attempt to redefine a species but if you think your new “functional species concept”–or whatever you choose to call it–is superior to previous concepts, you’ll have a hard time getting it accepted by biologists unless you publish it in a mainstream biology journal instead of burying it in a creationist journal.

    No mainstream journal is going to publish anything that suggests that the mechanism of RM/NS is actually limited to very low levels of functional complexity… even given a practical eternity of time. Just look at what happened to those who published Stephen Meyer’s paper on this topic:

    http://www.discovery.org/a/2189

    This isn’t just science we’re talking about here. This is about people’s religion – a religion based on the creative potential of mindless Naturalistic mechanisms. Such people do not accept much less publish challenges to their religion lightly 😉

    Of course the real reason why species are such slippery entities to define is because they are dynamic rather than static, with similar populations differing from each other because they are in various degrees of divergence–what biologists refer to as speciation, or “macroevolution.”

    This isn’t the only reason why the concept of “species” is very slippery. Another reason is because functional as well as non-functional definitions are used…

    Incidentally, the biological species concept works reasonably well with sexually reproducing vertebrates. The American Ornithologists’ Union, for example, has always applied the biological species concept and rejected all other species concepts in its classification of bird species in the Western Hemisphere.

    Even biological species concepts are not always based on truly novel functional differences compared to the ancestral gene pool of original phenotypic options.

    Sean, after trying to digest all the stuff you’ve written above I’m still a bit puzzled by what your “functionality” refers to. You seem to be applying some sort of a measurable genetic definition whereas I think of functionality as being ecological–i.e., the functional role of a species within an ecosystem.

    There is no functional role of anything without there being a functional aspect to the underlying genetics of the “species” under consideration.

    Can you provide us with an explicit definition of your species concept and then explain how it would be applied by taxonomists?

    Sure. A functional difference is a novel phenotypic change compared to the ancestral gene pool of phenotypic options. Low-level phenotypic changes can be realized via RM/NS over time. However, such changes are limited to the production of novel systems of function which require less than 1,000 specifically arranged amino acids. Anything beyond this level of functional complexity (as defined by Hazen et. al.) would require trillions upon trillions of years of time to produce within any gene pool of phenotypic options.

    Therefore, from the creationist perspective, the biblical “kind” should be defined as gene pool differences that are based on qualitatively novel systems of function beyond the 1000 fsaar threshold level of functional complexity.

    Does it require genetic measurements? For example, the Snow Goose has two dramatically different phenotypes: a “blue” morph and a “white” morph. Are these morphs considered to be sufficiently “functionally” different to warrant recognition as distinct species? The Rat Snake has dramatic clinal variation throughout its range, including essentially black populations (“Black Rat Snake”), yellow populations (“Yellow Rat Snake”), orange populations (“Everglades Rat Snake”), blotched gray and black populations (“Gray Rat Snake”), etc., with intermediates. Are these color morphs sufficiently “functionally” different to warrant recognition as distinct species? The Alder Flycatcher and Willow Flycatcher are virtually identical yet differ in their vocalizations. Would their voices be considered sufficiently “functionally” different to warrant recognition as distinct species? The Eastern Gray Tree Frog and Cope’s Gray Tree Frog are essentially identical but differ in their number of chromosomes, 48 in the former and 24 in the latter. Would these differences be considered sufficiently “functionally” different to warrant recognition of distinct species?

    No. None of these “differences” require qualitatively novel functionality beyond what was available within the ancestral gene pool beyond the 1000 fsaar of functional complexity. The loss of coloration, producing a white phenotype, is often based on a mutational loss to a pre-existing gene for color. Such mutational losses are very easy to realize within a gene pool in a very short period of time. Also, function is not based on chromosome number. There are many examples of organisms with different numbers of chromosomes that can and do mate to produce viable and even fertile offspring. Such examples demonstrate the fact that the very same information can be located on different numbers of chromosomes and even in different chromosomal arrangements.

    Consider also that many of the phenotypic features you list are expressed by different breeds of dogs or cats or chickens – or even different ethnic variations of humans. Yet, no one refers to such phenotypic differences as a basis for different “species” classification between humans.

    In short, the ability to interbreed and produce viable offspring is a big clue to the functional nature of the respective gene pools – indicating a shared original ancestral gene pool and membership within the same biblical “kind” of organism.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  68. @Sean

    There are in fact mainstream definitions of species which are almost entirely dependent upon the divergence of a DNA sequence independent of any detectable morphologic difference. For example, “cryptic species” are defined as, “a group of species which satisfy the biological definition of species—that is, they are reproductively isolated from each other—but whose morphology is very similar (in some cases virtually identical)…
    For example, mitochondrial DNA research published in January 2008 suggests that there are at least 11 genetically distinct populations of giraffes. Similar methods also found that the Amazonian frog Eleutherodactylus ockendeni is actually at least 3 different species that diverged over 5 million years ago.”
    A similar basis has been used in literature, as already noted for you, to establish a very close relationship between Darwin Finches and several other types of birds within the “domed nest clade”… with sequence divergence of cytochrome b as little as 0.3%. “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.”

    In all of these cases you refer to the DNA divergences or similarities were not used to define these taxa. In each case the biological species concept was employed. I have no problem with your functional difference ideas, I just disagree on your use of such ideas. We have a well functioning definition of species used by mainstream taxonomists, and trying to replace it with another equally problematic species concept that is used by no one else but a few creationists just further marginalizes any potential for discussion with mainstream taxonomists.

    i think I understand the point you are trying to make with functional difference being the dividing line between “created types” and variation within a created type. This is essentially the point that rand is making with his term megaevolution. So why not at least work within the framework of what other creationinists already have defined? Even Behe and Demski have defined these kinds of boundaries, basing them on irreducible comlexity arguments.

    You may not like the biological species concept, but just tossing it out and substituting it with a functional difference requirement only adds a different problem, and since no one else uses this definition of species, you have no common ground for discussion. According to you reasoning Darwin’s finches are not separate species at all and in fact are conspecific with other members of the “domed-nest clade.”

    It seems so much more resonable to consider Darwin’s Finches as simply separate species, as recognized by all taxonomists, and as an example of macroevolution, as defined by evolutionary theory. Then, ala Brand, consider birds and reptiles as separate classes (or even part of the same monophyletic group) and as an example of megaevolution. This makes it then a lot easier for me as a creationist to say that I accept the more limited definition of macroevolution that formed the different kinds of domed-nest builders, but reject the megaevolutionary process proposed to have been the mechanism whereby birds evolved from reptilian ancestors.

    Of course, for me personally, I haven’t yet figured out where the lines should be drawn between macro- and megaevolution. I certainly don’t think birds evolved from reptiles, so that is megaevolution, but what about hummingbirds vs. sunbirds? I think there is enough work to be done using these more compatible concepts, so can’t we just use them and quit quibbling over what a species is and leave that to taxonomists?

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  69. @Professor Kent:

    So let them say it, Sean! This doesn’t justify lying to Church members by reassuring them macroevolution does not occur, or inventing a new definition to ensure that macroevolution does not occur. What’s wrong with being forthcoming like Dr. Brand and saying the truth: macroevolution happens. This is NOT the same as saying megaevolution (change at higher taxonomic levels) occurs.

    As I’ve already noted for you, the term “macroevolution” means so many things depending upon the definition of “species” being used. It may be based on non-functional differences. Or, it may mean the differences between birds and reptiles. Because of this, it is misleading to say “macroevolution happens” without a great deal of qualification.

    As far as publication is concerned, a paper of mine is currently under review for publication in Origins on this particular topic. It has been accepted pending additional refinements suggested by various vetters of the journal. Jim Gibson wrote to me and told me, “I was told the reviewer likes the paper, but feels it needs further clarification.”

    Now, regardless of if such ideas are published or not, you personally shouldn’t need peer review and the opinions of others before you are able to think for yourself in the consideration of new concepts and ideas… especially when they are as intuitively simple and straight forward as a functional basis for determining the potential and limits of evolutionary progress over a given span of time…

    If you insist on your own definition, you’re simply talking past us and others–and you’re misleading your many blind-faith followers.

    I’m only pointing out that creationists don’t have a problem with neutral evolution or with definitions of “species” that are based on functionally neutral differences or losses of functionality from what was originally available in the ancestral gene pool of options. Creationists do have a problem with with claims of “macroevolution” when it comes to novel functional differences beyond very low levels of functional complexity. This has always been the case. And, you don’t need to be a genius to understand this concept or its relevance to the creation/evolution debate.

    I don’t care what words or titles you want to give to such functional differences, but the concept is quite simple and has been defined in mainstream literature. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know what I’m talking about. I’ve given talks before well-educated doctors and scientists as well as college and high schools students. All understood exactly what I was talking about as well as the implications for mainstream evolutionary theories. Your efforts to make it appear like this concept is somehow mysterious is nothing but a clear attempt to try to avoid the obvious.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  70. @ Sean PitmanDude, no one is disputing that different forms of “macroevolution” can be discussed. OTNT_Believer, Eddie, and I are crystal clear that we are using the same definition used by biologists the world over–and you have the temerity to put us down for that (as in “Try thinking for yourself for a change”)! If you insist on your own definition, you’re simply talking past us and others–and you’re misleading your many blind-faith followers.  (Quote)

    “Dude” Hmmmm, is “Professor” Kent loosing his cool?

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  71. Sean, I applaud your attempt to redefine a species but if you think your new “functional species concept”–or whatever you choose to call it–is superior to previous concepts, you’ll have a hard time getting it accepted by biologists unless you publish it in a mainstream biology journal instead of burying it in a creationist journal. Of course the real reason why species are such slippery entities to define is because they are dynamic rather than static, with similar populations differing from each other because they are in various degrees of divergence–what biologists refer to as speciation, or “macroevolution.” Incidentally, the biological species concept works reasonably well with sexually reproducing vertebrates. The American Ornithologists’ Union, for example, has always applied the biological species concept and rejected all other species concepts in its classification of bird species in the Western Hemisphere.

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  72. Sean, after trying to digest all the stuff you’ve written above I’m still a bit puzzled by what your “functionality” refers to. You seem to be applying some sort of a measurable genetic definition whereas I think of functionality as being ecological–i.e., the functional role of a species within an ecosystem. Can you provide us with an explicit definition of your species concept and then explain how it would be applied by taxonomists? Does it require genetic measurements? For example, the Snow Goose has two dramatically different phenotypes: a “blue” morph and a “white” morph. Are these morphs considered to be sufficiently “functionally” different to warrant recognition as distinct species? The Rat Snake has dramatic clinal variation throughout its range, including essentially black populations (“Black Rat Snake”), yellow populations (“Yellow Rat Snake”), orange populations (“Everglades Rat Snake”), blotched gray and black populations (“Gray Rat Snake”), etc., with intermediates. Are these color morphs sufficiently “functionally” different to warrant recognition as distinct species? The Alder Flycatcher and Willow Flycatcher are virtually identical yet differ in their vocalizations. Would their voices be considered sufficiently “functionally” different to warrant recognition as distinct species? The Eastern Gray Tree Frog and Cope’s Gray Tree Frog are essentially identical but differ in their number of chromosomes, 48 in the former and 24 in the latter. Would these differences be considered sufficiently “functionally” different to warrant recognition of distinct species?

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  73. Indeed, a certain amount of macroevolution does occur! I love this man’s honesty and integrity. He understands the proper meaning of “macroevolution” and makes no pretense that it is “impossible.” He does, however, object to “megaevolution”–the evolution of higher taxonomic groups, which he views as “created kinds.” Personally, I embrace Dr. Brand’s views on microevolution, macroevolution, and megaevolution, and reject Sean Pitman’s unique, unorthodox, unpublished, and untested views.

    This is exactly how I view things as well. I have known Brand for many years and have found him to be a real man of science and a man of the church. But anyone here at ET who wants to claim agreement between Pitman and Brand simpky has not taken the time to read Brand’s works, Pitman’s posts, or both. There is very little resemblence. And Brand, thankfully, uses standard terminology and knows what a species is, even though what a species is to Pitman is a mystery to me.

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  74. 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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  75. @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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  76. 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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  77. Just so this is perfectly clear in my mind, are you, EducateTruth stating that we as Adventists should be ignorant as to the other theories that exist? That we should not learn to challenge our beliefs and understand why we believe what we believe? I suppose ignorance is bliss though. Sure seems to be the case here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    This episode has taught me something.

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

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  79. @ 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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  80. @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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  81. 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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  82. @ 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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  83. @ 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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  84. 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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  85. @Sean

    I’m sorry, but there seems to me to be more than a bit of subjectivity involved in who is and who is not given taxonomic status as a unique “species” due to reproductive isolation. Even your argument on the use of differences in chromosome number between different groups of animals is not a consistent marker of unique “species”.

    And the fact that taxonomists use a b it of subjectivity is a new revelation? Come on Sean, you are nitpicking. Of course there is some subjectivity. There is no completely objective criterion for defining species. It’s sort of like saying there is an objective way to determine good writing from bad writing. We rely upon experts who know the organismns involved to decide what is and is not a species. That’s what taxonomists do. As soon as you find an objective method for defining species that can be practically applied, then by all means, publish it. I am sure there are a lot of taxonomists who would love you for it.

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  86. @ Sean Pitman

    And how are various human ethnic groups distinctly different from certain groups of animals that are classified as “cryptic species” which arguably have less phenotypic variability than between various human ethnic groups?

    Surely you’ve watched “The Dating Game.” I think you’d “get it” if only Animal Planet would host an animal version of this game.

    As Eddie has pointed out, the animals themselves perceive differences that are not so readily apparent to us, so the term “cryptic” is applied in a strictly anthropocentric sense.

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  87. @Professor Kent:

    Historical isolation resulted in the different races of humans via a process very similar to allopatric speciation in animals.

    Ok…

    When differentiated populations come into contact and begin to interbreed, two factors are readily used to examine whether these populations have evolved sufficiently to become distinct species: (1) the degree of introgression (non-assortative mating) and (2) whether barriers rapidly evolve to reduce or prevent introgression.

    And where are such barriers for various cryptic species for which there is no readily apparent phenotype block to mating with the production of viable and fertile offspring?

    There is no lack of data for humans. In contrast to many differentiated animal populations recognized as distinct species, contemporary Homo sapiens is NOT comprised of multiple species, no matter how staunchly one tries to argue the point. This debate is becoming absurd.

    And how are various human ethnic groups distinctly different from certain groups of animals that are classified as “cryptic species” which arguably have less phenotypic variability than between various human ethnic groups?

    Don’t tell me that there is no subjectivity at play here…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  88. @OTNT_Believer:

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

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

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

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  89. @Sean:

    So there are birds who prefer to mate with other birds who have a more “attractive” song? – a song that matches their own particular preference? How is this somehow a basis for species classification whereas more striking differences between human ethnic groups, to include mating preferences, are not?

    Song is a reproductive isolating mechanism for many species of birds. Reciprocal playback experiments demonstrate that birds strongly prefer to mate with their own song type. If they don’t want to mate with each other they are reproductively isolated–which is the criterion of the biological species concept. There have been reports of hybrid Alder X Willow Flycatchers but apparently none have been confirmed.

    As for humans, numerous studies have demonstrated that genetic variation among human populations is lower than that of most animal species. The genetic evidence indicates that there has never been strong racial differentiation among humans, at least in comparison with that of many non-human animals. A good review of this can be found here:

    Tample, A. R. 2002. The genetic and evolutionary significance of human races. Pp. 31-56 in Race and Intelligence: Separating Science from Myth (J. M. Fish, ed.). Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc., Mahwah, NJ.

    I suppose there is the potential for speciation in humans to occur as a consequence of assortative mating among racial or ethnic groups, but considerable interbreeding has historically occurred wherever and whenever different racial or ethnic groups lived together, unless it was prevented by culture, which has a strong influence (e.g., miscegenation laws preventing interracial marriage weren’t abolished in the USA until 1967). Maybe assortative mating is based more on culture than biology. Several studies have demonstrated that the degree of assortative mating based on racial or ethnic groups has declined over the past several decades, which is more suggestive of culture than biology. Furthermore, as I mentioned earlier, assortative mating among humans is extremely complex, occurring for both biological and culture factors. Assortative mating occurs for several biological traits besides skin, hair and eye color/texture which we often associate with race and ethnicity, including height, weight and (especially) age.

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  90. @Eddie:

    Song is a reproductive isolating mechanism for many species of birds. Reciprocal playback experiments demonstrate that birds strongly prefer to mate with their own song type. If they don’t want to mate with each other they are reproductively isolated–which is the criterion of the biological species concept.

    That’s my point. The “biological species concept” can be based on something as minor as a bird’s preference for the song of another bird… without any other distinguishing features that would prevent successful mating or the production of viable and fertile offspring. Certain types of birds are certainly notoriously picky about choosing a mate – that’s a given. The choice can hinge on extremely minor differences in appearance or song or even nest building skills. Yet, at the same time, far more striking phenotypic differences, and even unique genetic differences, between various breeds of dogs or even between different human ethnic groups which have been established via some span of reproductive isolation are not classified as different “species”? Why not? – even though some of these phenotypic differences do in fact influence mating selection (animals and humans are simply biased to mate with those who are most similar – as a rule of thumb)?

    I’m sorry, but there seems to me to be more than a bit of subjectivity involved in who is and who is not given taxonomic status as a unique “species” due to reproductive isolation. Even your argument on the use of differences in chromosome number between different groups of animals is not a consistent marker of unique “species”.

    You do realize that some fertile humans have different chromosome numbers than the usual 46? – right? – due to Robertsonian translocations? Should they therefore be classified as a different “species”? In fact, human chromosome #2 has been fused during some population bottleneck. It used to be two separate chromosomes. In other words, humans originally had 48 chromosomes. Did this fusion event create a “new species” of humans?

    Hint: It isn’t the extra chromosome that makes apes functionally unique from humans. It is the unique information coded by all the chromosomes (largely found in the “non-coding” regions of the genome) that produces the key functional differences and is responsible for the inability of viable hybridization between humans and apes…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com

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  91. 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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