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

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

    I shall retire now.




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  2. @Eddie:

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

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

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

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

    When I asked

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

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

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

    To which I wrote:

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

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

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

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




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  5. @Professor Kent:

    OTNT_Believer, Eddie, and others

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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

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

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

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

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  7. @OTNT_Believer:

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

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

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

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

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

    This is reflected in the fact that:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  8. @Professor Kent:

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

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

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

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

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

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  9. @ Bob

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

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

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

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




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




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

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




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  12. @wesley kime:

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

    LOL – nice turnaround πŸ˜‰

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  13. OTNT_Beliver wrote

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

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




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

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

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

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

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

    in Christ,

    Bob




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

    Answer —

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    And then of course there is always –

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

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

    in Christ,

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

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




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  16. Bob Ryan wrote

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

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

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




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  17. @ Sean Pitman

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

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

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

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




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  18. Sean said:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  19. @Bob

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

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

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

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




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  20. @OTNT_Believer:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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

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

    in Christ,

    Bob




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

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

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

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

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

    Instructive for the unbiased objective observer.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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

    in Christ,

    Bob




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

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

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

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

    in Christ,

    Bob




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

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

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

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




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  26. Bob Ryan wrote

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

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

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




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  27. @Eddie:

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

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

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

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

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  28. @Eddie
    @Eddie:

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

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

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

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

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




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  29. @Sean

    If you haven’t figured out where the lines should be drawn, or why they should be drawn at all, upon what do you base your belief that such a line probably exists?
    I think a line exists because I think I know the statistical cut-off point beyond which RM/NS becomes completely untenable this side of a practical eternity of time. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have a rational reason to propose any kind of limitation for evolutionary potential…

    I think you missed my point! I agree with you, I just don’t agree with developing a totally new set of terms to describe what I believe is going on when the existing terms, with some degree of tweaking, will work just fine.

    We have the terms right now. Microevolution is changes below the species level. macroevolution, in standard terms represents changes above that level. In creatoionist terms, macroevolution would represent changes from the origin of species to something short of true, novel, functionally different taxa (or “created kinds” as many creationists describe such). Megaevolution (and this is the tweak advocated by some creationists) represents those changes that introduce funcrionally, unique, new taxa and beyond.

    Now, as a creationist, I believe that megaevolution is not possible. I believe macroevolution, as modified above, works fine. Even evolutionists distinguish between macro- and megaevolution, they just have not bothered to give it a term. I think that is partly due to the fact that there is really a continuum involved, and drawing the line betweem macro and mega is a tough one. Your theoretical description in another message above is fine but like the biological species concept, which you want to replace, it is extremely difficult to see how it can be applied in practice, especially considering the fact that the proteome for even one eukaryote has yet to be fully determined.

    All I am asking is that you consider using language that at least most of us who know something about biology already understand. Why make up new terms for something if it is no better than what it is replacing, and is confusing to boot? And as for Darwin’s finches, your proposal to include them as conspecific with other domed-nesting birds would get you laughed out of any group of taxonomists. What good is a definition like yours if it has nothing to do with morphology, or even with the ability to interbreed. You can say you think they would easily interbreed, but on what basis? There are cryptic species of fruit flies that don’t interbreed, even though morphologically we can’t tell them apart.

    And I also wish you would quit harping about the deficiencies of the current taxonomic use of the species concept. Of course different criteria are used in different cases and you won’t find an evolutionist or taxonomist alive that doesn’t recognize the deficientcies in the current concept. So what! Taxonomists still use it because it is the best we have, and yours, in practice is actually worse, because short of a thorough proteomic comparison among all the taxa of interest, how will you ever know where to draw the lines? And considering the argument you are making, it must be a proteomic comparison, as a genomic comparison only tells part of the story. Now that we have become more acquainted with the RNome we know that it exerts a vast amount of control over what types of polypeptides are produced.

    Maybe when we get better at the types of molecular analyses necessary your concept would be ready to be used, but even then, I think it would be better used to separate macro from mega, rather than as a species concept. Whether you like it or not, the current species concept is extremely useful in many practical ways, even though defining what is a species is sometimes a little arbitrary. In better than 90% of cases there is universal agreement about where the lines should be drawn, so why toss out something that works so well. Even should your approach someday be adopted, the things we now call species will still need to be recognized some way. Subspecies maybe, varieties? So in the long run it’s really about semantics, and bucking the current system hardly seems fruitful.




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Now see – there again we agree.

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

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

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

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  31. @Professor Kent:

    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 Pitman

    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 thought you were a “creationist”? πŸ˜‰

    When you’re in a discussion with a creationist over the potential and limits of the evolutionary mechanisms you need to clarify which definition for “species”, among a great many out there, that you are using. Certain definitions of “species” are well within what creationists accept as within the power of RM/NS to achieve. However, certain definitions of “species” are not within the rational power of RM/NS to achieve – even given a practical eternity of time.

    The limits to RM/NS come in the form of novel functional changes. If you’re talking about functionally neutral definitions of “species”, there is no real problem. However, if you’re talking about qualitative functional differences, problems quickly arise because of the exponential decline of RM/NS with each increase in the functional complexity of the differences under consideration.

    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.

    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.

    For example, Hazen et. al. define functional complexity as follows:

    1.
    n, the number of letters in the sequence.

    2.
    Ex, the degree of function x of that sequence. In the case of the fire example cited above, Ex might represent the probability that a local fire department will understand and respond to the message (a value that might, in principle, be measured through statistical studies of the responses of many fire departments). Therefore, Ex is a measure (in this case from 0 to 1) of the effectiveness of the message in invoking a response.

    3.
    M(Ex), the total number of different letter sequences that will achieve the desired function, in this case, the threshold degree of response, rEx. The functional information, I(Ex), for a system that achieves a degree of function, rEx, for sequences of exactly n letters is therefore

    I(Ex)= – log2 [M(Ex) / Cn]

    (C = number of possible characters per position)

    Robert M. Hazen, Patrick L. Griffin, James M. Carothers, and Jack W. Szostak, Functional information and the emergence of biocomplexity, 8574-8581| PNAS | May 15, 2007 | vol. 104 | suppl. 1

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

    What is also interesting is that Hazen et. al. go on to note that, “In every system, the fraction of configurations, F(Ex), capable of achieving a specified degree of function will generally decrease with increasing Ex.” And, according to their own formulas, this decrease is an exponential decrease with each linear increase in n – or the number of “letters” or characters (or in this case amino acid residues), at minimum, required by the system to achieve the beneficial function in question.

    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.

    What I suggest is that you try to realize that the debate between mainstream scientists and creationists isn’t over neutral evolution or differences in functionality that are not qualitatively unique. Rather, the debate is over the potential of RM/NS to produce qualitatively novel functionality within a given gene pool beyond very very low levels of functional complexity in a reasonable amount of time. That is the only definition of “macroevolution” or “species” that is relevant in a conversation such as this because that is the only definition over which there is any real disagreement between creationists and evolutionists…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  32. Just to clarify, the term “megaevolution” has been proposed and used by evolutionists sporadically, as early as 1944 by George Gaylord Simpson. However, it is not a well-established term in current science vernacular.




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  33. @Sean:

    The same is true for many human ethnic groups which are free to “randomly” interbreed with other ethnic groups, but tend to prefer their “own” group.

    Some have used assortative mating among human races as a pretext for subdividing humanity into different species. However, humans mate assortatively not only by race but by language, culture, religion, nationality, economic status, educational level, personality traits, hobbies, political views, moral values, music genres, computer games, cell phone providers, etc. Furthermore, there has been a marked decline in assortative mating during the last several generations as social equality–including racial equality–has become embraced and legislated by some modern western societies which have become increasingly cosmopolitan due to their immigration policies. Social equality tends to break down the barriers which divide us. We’re all the same species!




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

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

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

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

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

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

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  35. @

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

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

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

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




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  36. @Ervin Taylor:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    in Christ,

    Bob




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

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

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

    in Christ,

    Bob




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

    Another Testimony on the Planet Vision

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

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

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




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  40. @OTNT_Believer:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  41. If you check my posts on this thread – the first time I state the “organism genome” distinctive – I use the boolean condition of different genes (at least one gene that does not code for the same protein in the organism’s genome, so not an allele of an existing gene common to both organism’s genomes) – and a fixed number of Chromosomes.

    BobRyan Said

    http://www.educatetruth.com/news/an-apology-to-puc/comment-page-2/#comment-22480

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

    And then the next post

    BobRyan said
    http://www.educatetruth.com/news/an-apology-to-puc/comment-page-2/#comment-22481

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

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

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

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

    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.

    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).

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

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  42. @ Sean Pitman

    The debate is over the potential of RM/NS to produce qualitatively novel functionality within a given gene pool beyond very very low levels of functional complexity in a reasonable amount of time. That is the only definition of “macroevolution” or “species” that is relevant in a conversation such as this because that is the only definition over which there is any real disagreement between creationists and evolutionists…

    No one’s talking your language, Sean, but you. In using your personal definitions for “macroevolution” and “species,” you’re only debating with yourself. I don’t think you will ever comprehend this.

    Macroevolution (speciation), as used by everyone other than you, happens. That’s a frightening thing for you and Pitmanites the world over to concede, but it happens. Megaevolution–a non-standard term proposed by Dr. Brand and perhaps others, and mentioned several times here by Eddie–may well be a different story (I would say so). But macroevolution happens, and one can deny it only in utter ignorance or arrogance.

    And again, for those who think otherwise, I’m a young-earth creationist just like Sean. An honest one.




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

    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.

    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.




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  44. @Sean:

    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?

    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).

    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.

    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.




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    hbear




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

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




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  48. @ Harold Bear

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

    Outstanding advice.




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

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




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

    in Christ,

    Bob




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

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

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

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

    Ness said:
    So much for being able to have an honest discussion. I have been concerned already about Educate Truth’s approach to these things. Ask anyone who knows me and they will say I am a strong supporter of Adventism. This “lecture” was an attempt to bring out the issues facing the church, and I in no way have ever criticized anyone for believing as they choose to believe. I respect those who believe in a literal Genesis flood, but I also have to be honest about the scientific difficulties with such a belief. I guess what Educate Truth wants it’s rigid doctrinal adherence rather than a frank discussion of what the real issues are. I am deeply, deeply disappointed and I apologize to all lay people who may believe what Educate Truth seems to imply about my attitude toward the laity in our church. I strongly support the views of the lay members of our church and feel no need to shake their faith. I am an educator and must at the very least state where the issues lie.

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

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

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

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

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

    in Christ,

    Bob




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

    ReplyProfessor Kent says:

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

    Perhaps a few hints are in order for you –

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

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

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

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

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  53. Re Sean’s Quote

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

    Dear Sean

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

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

    Cheers
    Ken




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

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




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  55. Re Sean’s Quote

    “There is no such thing as true academic freedom’

    Dear Sean

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

    Cheers
    Ken




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  56. BobRyan said –

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  57. Re Bob’s Quote

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

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

    Dear Bob

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

    Regards
    Ken




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  58. @ken:

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

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

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

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

    Let me know what you think…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  59. @BobRyan:

    All the variations within a single genome are — variations within a single genome (at the organism level). They do not create new more complex genomes from simpler ones.

    The term “genome” is a reference to the genetic package of an single individual within the gene pool. Genome variations between individuals are contained within the gene pool of options. To quote a relevant Wiki article:

    Note that a genome does not capture the genetic diversity or the genetic polymorphism of a species. For example, the human genome sequence in principle could be determined from just half the information on the DNA of one cell from one individual. To learn what variations in genetic information underlie particular traits or diseases requires comparisons across individuals. This point explains the common usage of “genome” (which parallels a common usage of “gene”) to refer not to the information in any particular DNA sequence, but to a whole family of sequences that share a biological context.

    Although this concept may seem counter intuitive, it is the same concept that says there is no particular shape that is the shape of a cheetah. Cheetahs vary, and so do the sequences of their genomes. Yet both the individual animals and their sequences share commonalities, so one can learn something about cheetahs and “cheetah-ness” from a single example of either.

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

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  60. @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.

    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.

    For true polymorphism within a single genome you would need to show the same-karyotype parents producing offspring with varying number of chromosomes – and then of course for macro evolution the offspring would need to include code for new proteins.

    As I’ve already pointed out to you, parents with different numbers of chromosomes can produce offspring that are both viable and fertile. This means that a functional “kind” of organism is not based on the number of it’s chromosomes.

    As I stated in the chimera context – I am not claiming that no chimera could reproduce – I only point out that the mule is an example of a dead-end chimara genome where the genetic content – regardless of allele range for genes in that context – it does not work at all. This case is nothing like a mother and father from two different cultures.

    You are mistaken here. A mule is not a “chimera”. As already noted, the reason why mules are sterile is not because of some chimeric difference in the functional aspect of the information contained in the mule’s genome. It is because of the actual arrangement of the information on the mule’s chromosomes (i.e., a portion of one parental chromosome is inverted relative to the other parental chromosome). This inversion creates a looping problem during meiosis and makes the mule’s gametes unbalanced with regard to genetic information… and therefore “sterile”.

    The very same thing can happen with humans. It has nothing to do with the quality of the underlying information – only the arrangement of the information on the chromosomes that results when certain chromosomal rearrangements occur.

    Your point that “gene pool” includes polymorphism does not rule out the source being the chimera phenomina rather than a single genome really splitting on its own.

    Again, you don’t seem to understand the concept of “chimeras” or the idea that chromosomal number is not necessarily related to “speciation” or producing some phenotypically unique creature.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  61. BobRyan said
    For true polymorphism within a single genome you would need to show the same-karyotype parents producing offspring with varying number of chromosomes – and then of course for macro evolution the offspring would need to include code for new proteins.

    As I’ve already pointed out to you, parents with different numbers of chromosomes can produce offspring that are both viable and fertile. This means that a functional “kind” of organism is not based on the number of it’s chromosomes.

    It appears we have both given examples of two parents that have different numbers of chromosomes – between the parents – having offspring and agreeing that this could be offspring that are fertile not limited to non-fertile offspring. I find that statement in my posts above and in yours.

    Where we appear to “differ” is that I claim that some of this may be the result of chimera mating and you appear to argue that this can never be the source.

    Bob said
    Your point that “gene pool” includes polymorphism does not rule out the source being the chimera phenomina rather than a single genome really splitting on its own.

    Again, you don’t seem to understand the concept of “chimeras” or the idea that chromosomal number is not necessarily related to “speciation” or producing some phenotypically unique creature.

    Here “again” you have ruled out the mixing of parents that produces a chimera as the source for the difference in chromosomes — as if “by definition” chimeras are not produced in such a way.

    Fine – please let me know what definition you are using for chimera if not a case of parents of two different “organism genomes” producing offspring. My statement above is simply that the chimera offspring may be fertile or in other cases may not be depending on the genetic compatability.

    (Assuming we agree on the diffinition for an “organism’s genome” in this question) — where is it that my use of use of the term “chimera” is flawed?.

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  62. @CBond:

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

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

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

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




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




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  64. @ Sean:

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

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




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  65. @ Bob:

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

    Huh? Where did you get that come from?

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

    Wolf X coyote yes, coyote X fox no.




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

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

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

    OTNT said

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

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

    OTNT said

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

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

    OTNT said

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

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

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  67. @Eddie:

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

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

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  68. @ Sean:

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

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

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

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

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




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  69. @Sean

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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




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

    OTNT,

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

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

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




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

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




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  73. Kent said

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    in Christ,

    Bob




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

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

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

    Obviously.

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

    in Christ,

    Bob




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

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

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

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

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

    Obviously.

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

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

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

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

    Oh well …

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  76. @Eddie:

    Social equality tends to break down the barriers which divide us. We’re all the same species!

    Not always true. The fact remains that certain groups of humans, regardless of anything else, are simply more physically attracted to their own ethnic group than to various other ethnic groups – regardless of social equality between groups. They just like to mate within their own group. It seems like in certain cases the same thing is true for various kinds of animals – especially when it comes to “cryptic species”.

    So, if you want to be consistent…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  77. @OTNT_Believer:

    I think you missed my point! I agree with you, I just don’t agree with developing a totally new set of terms to describe what I believe is going on when the existing terms, with some degree of tweaking, will work just fine.

    While we both agree that there are limitations to the evolutionary mechanism, we don’t seem to agree when it comes to the clarity of the “species” concept – and therefore of the “macroevolution” concept. This is why Brand says that he believes that “some forms” of “macroevolution” are possible. It is important that he use the qualifying phrase “some forms” when he talks about macroevolution because, without this qualifying phrase, the term “macroevolution” is too ill-defined to be very useful in a discussion of the potential and limits of the evolutionary mechanism.

    Again, I never said that one shouldn’t use the terms “macroevolution” or “species” from the creationist perspective. What I said is that one should not use these terms without qualification. One must define the limits of “macroevolution” and upon what, exactly, these proposed limits are based in a discussion of the proposed potential and/or limits of evolutionary mechanisms.

    Now, as a creationist, I believe that megaevolution is not possible. I believe macroevolution, as modified above, works fine.

    It all depends upon what you mean by the term “megaevolution”. If you mean that it is impossible for RM/NS to generate novel systems of function regardless of the level of functional complexity under consideration, then you’d be wrong. The evolution of truly novel functional systems is not only possible, but is commonly demonstrated in real time. It is just that all of these examples are at a very low level of functional complexity…

    So, again, one must be more precise in exactly where the line should be drawn between different biblical “kinds” of gene pools.

    Your theoretical description in another message above is fine but like the biological species concept, which you want to replace, it is extremely difficult to see how it can be applied in practice, especially considering the fact that the proteome for even one eukaryote has yet to be fully determined.

    I never said that it would always be easy to clearly determine a unique uncrossable barrier between gene pools of different “kinds” of living things. A great deal more information than we currently have available would be needed in many cases. However, it is important to have the basis for approaching such a determination in place. Otherwise, there really is no basis upon which to even look to make such a determination – even if it ever did become possible, much less practical, beyond a theoretical proposal.

    And as for Darwin’s finches, your proposal to include them as conspecific with other domed-nesting birds would get you laughed out of any group of taxonomists. What good is a definition like yours if it has nothing to do with morphology, or even with the ability to interbreed? You can say you think they would easily interbreed, but on what basis? There are cryptic species of fruit flies that don’t interbreed, even though morphologically we can’t tell them apart.

    The biological species concept is not based on similarity of appearance. Although appearance may be helpful in identifying species, it does not define a species – even according to mainstream taxonomists.

    There is a difference between species that don’t interbreed vs. those that can’t interbreed to produce viable offspring. There are many reasons why certain groups of animals don’t interbreed in the wild that have nothing to do with their potential to interbreed to produce viable offspring.

    This potential to interbreed is a very important clue in determining the possibility of being part of an original ancestral gene pool within recent history – especially given a lack of a complete protenome for a given type of organism (as you’ve already pointed out).

    You won’t find an evolutionist or taxonomist alive that doesn’t recognize the deficientcies in the current concept. So what! Taxonomists still use it because it is the best we have, and yours, in practice is actually worse, because short of a thorough proteomic comparison among all the taxa of interest, how will you ever know where to draw the lines? And considering the argument you are making, it must be a proteomic comparison, as a genomic comparison only tells part of the story. Now that we have become more acquainted with the RNome we know that it exerts a vast amount of control over what types of polypeptides are produced.

    This is absolutely true! I’m not suggesting that my system is easily applied. It isn’t. It is based on a sound theory that has excellent predictive value given a known set of data. However, obtaining the data itself will no doubt be quite challenging. At the current time, my system is much more easily applied to simpler systems for which much more detailed information regarding the gene pool/protein pool is actually known (like E. coli).

    However, the lack of detailed information regarding the entire gene pool or protein pools for higher level organisms does not mean that the function-based concept is therefore useless. Whenever higher level functional differences between gene pools are discovered, the functional concept can be used to propose the inadequacy of the RM/NS mechanism to explain such differences.

    Maybe when we get better at the types of molecular analyses necessary your concept would be ready to be used, but even then, I think it would be better used to separate macro from mega, rather than as a species concept.

    Maybe current species concepts would still have some utility given such advanced knowledge, but probably not much. Certainly at the current time the species concept is generally useful, but it still needs to be qualified in discussions like this one concerning the potential and limits of evolutionary progress over a given span of time.

    The only real disagreement I have with you (beyond your comments on the dating of Egyptian dynasties) is over your assertion that certain species, like Darwin’s Finches, are so clearly unique from all other species that they cannot be rationally explained as being reproductively isolated over a period of just a few thousand years. I think you’re overreaching in this particular assertion of yours. As far as I can tell, you haven’t demonstrated the need for significantly longer periods of time to explain the seemingly minor genetic differences (most of which seem to be non-functional) between different members of the “domed nest clade”.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  78. @OTNT_Believer:

    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.

    “The biological species concept defines a species as members of populations that actually or potentially interbreed in nature, not according to similarity of appearance. Although appearance is helpful in identifying species, it does not define species.”

    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosite/evo101/VA1BioSpeciesConcept.shtml

    The problem with this “biological definition” of species is that it is based on reproductive isolation – a feature that is not universally applied. Great Danes and Chihuahuas are arguably “reproductively isolated” yet are still classified within the same species group. Also, when it comes to “cryptic species” the isolating factor may be geographic rather than genetic. Functionally and phenotypically speaking, certain cryptic species would be indistinguishable. They would also be able to mate and produce both viable and fertile offspring.

    So, it is very hard to argue that cryptic species would be easily identifiable as “species” without knowledge as to their separate geographic distribution and underlying functionally-neutral genetic divergence.

    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 it rather difficult to marginalize creationists or design theorists further than they’ve already been marginalized by mainstream scientists. There is a deep seated fundamental disagreement over the creative potential and limits of RM/NS. Until this basic dividing line is crossed, there will be no general agreement over differing concepts as to either the origin or basic dividing lines between different “kinds” of living things.

    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 [B]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.

    The reason I don’t like the general use of the term “macroevolution” is because it is used to include what Brand and other creationists and IDists would describe as requiring the outside input of Intelligent Design. Macroevolution is not generally qualified as to type. That is why I’m trying to get people to actually qualify what they mean, specifically, when they use the term “macroevolution”… especially in the context of a discussion over the potential and limits of evolutionary progress.

    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.”

    They aren’t clearly part of a separate gene pool from other members of the “domed-nest clade”. In other words, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the Darwin Finches could interbreed and produce viable and fertile offspring with other members of this clade.

    So, when someone like you comes along and argues that Darwin’s Finches are so dramatically different from everything else that they are difficult to explain over the course of a few thousand years, I have to scratch my head and wonder as to the reason for such an assertion?

    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.

    It makes it even easier to explain, specifically, why one believes that there are obvious creative limitations to the RM/NS mechanism. If you can’t do this, it really makes no sense for you or me or anyone else to argue that various forms of “macroevolution” are possible, but not “megaevolution”. If you don’t know why there should be such a distinction, you really don’t have much of an argument…

    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?

    If you haven’t figured out where the lines should be drawn, or why they should be drawn at all, upon what do you base your belief that such a line probably exists?

    I think a line exists because I think I know the statistical cut-off point beyond which RM/NS becomes completely untenable this side of a practical eternity of time. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have a rational reason to propose any kind of limitation for evolutionary potential…

    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?

    These “quibbles” will end up changing the basis of taxonomy if basic concepts such as “irreducible complexity” and limits to evolutionary progress based on “levels of functional complexity” are ever accepted by mainstream scientists…

    These quibbles also help to clarify what one means when one uses words like “macroevolution” – a word that is often used, by mainstream scientists, to cover everything from neutral genetic differences (evolved due to geographic isolation in certain groups within the same functional gene pool) to the functional differences between reptiles and birds…

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  79. @Eddie:

    Despite its limitations, the biological species concept works just fine with most vertebrate taxa.

    I agree. The biological concept of isolated or largely isolated breeding pools certainly has some utility. However, when the topic at hand is specifically concerned with the potential and limits of the mechanism of RM/NS to produce changes over time, the concept of “species” is not an adequate measure of either the potential or limits of RM/NS.

    There are very many similar or extremely similar taxa that live together in sympatry but never, rarely or occasionally interbreed, demonstrating that they are discrete biological entities–what biologists refer to as species by virtually any definition. If they’re not species, what else would you call them? Maybe your definition is more akin to a genus–which is a subjective taxonomic level although there have been attempts to apply biologically meaningful definitions.

    The demonstration of a discrete biological entity is one thing. The demonstration that this discrete entity has evolved something functionally unique that was not already present in the ancestral gene pool is quite another – certainly when it comes to the evolution of higher levels of novel functional complexity.

    Discrete entities can therefore evolve. If you want to define these discrete entities as “species” and their evolution as “macroevoltuion” that’s fine. Just qualify what you mean when you use the term “macroevolution” in conversations about the potential and limits of RM/NS since many use this term to refer to non-functional as well as high-level functional differences between various gene pools.

    The mere ability to interbreed does NOT define a biological species. A good biological species is not necessarily completely reproductively isolated from other populations. The best criterion is free or random interbreeding among individuals. Occasional interbreeding with another taxon does not mean that they are freely interbreeding. Mallards have hybridized with many different species of ducks, especially in captivity when their choices are limited, but Mallards generally prefer to breed with their own species. Hybrids with other species occur in the wild, but they are relatively rare.

    The same is true for many human ethnic groups which are free to “randomly” interbreed with other ethnic groups, but tend to prefer their “own” group. The same is also true for various breeds of dogs, cats, chickens, etc. Many of these breeds actually prefer to mate with their own particular breed. Yet, even when interbreeding is significantly or entirely limited (as between a chihuahua and a Great Dane), the different breeds or ethnic groups are still given the very same species classification.

    Again, all that the potential to interbreed and produce viable offspring really means is that the two gene pools are essentially the same when it comes to the basic types of functional options available. The lack of the ability to produce viable offspring is a good clue to the probable lack of functional compatibility between the genomes of two organisms. Depending upon the level of functional complexity that makes up the functional difference between two gene pools the mechanism of RM/NS may or may not be able to reasonably account for the functional differences within a given span of time.

    If you want to call higher level functional evolution “megaevolution”, that’s fine. It is just that this term is not well defined in mainstream literature. This means that in conversations like this one, over the potential and limits of RM/NS, you need to define your terms up-front because terms like “species” or “macroevolution” or “megaevolution” are not defined with any kind of limitation to RM/NS in mind in mainstream literature… which is a problem.

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  80. @Professor Kent:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  81. Lucian says: “Dude” — Hmmmm, is “Professor” Kent loosing his cool?

    Ah, that’s the macro-mega-question taking over right now. Natural instinct and norms of decorum and usage evolved over the eons would easily recognize that cool is, sigh, being lost. But research into the emergent norms of pop-academia, employing google or data from any mega-macro Postmodernist seminar, especially those of a theological bent, compels the opposite conclusion. “Dude” is not uncool; “dude” is cool. “Dude” is “in” — in academic street talk as well as MTV. Hard to tell the difference sometimes. Indeed the latest underground “Handbook of Style for Postmodernist Doctoral Dissertation,” a privately published mega-macro-volume, duly mega-macro-peer-reviewed, renders “dude” absolutely mega-mandatory to all academic discourse. Working in “dude” is as pivotal to peer-acceptance as working in footnotes and booting out Genesis 1. Micro- vs. mega- may still be quibbled among the unlearned, but not “dude” among the enlightened. “Dude” is the not-so-secret ivy password, like in the trenches of WWII, like to get into a speakeasy, or for a high-five between spies, or when we were kids in tree houses.

    That “dude” is mega-established as cool is not moot; whether it is to be coolly applied to friend (as once “brother” was among us) or foe (as in “you’re on a slippery slope, dude”), is. Context herein would seem to suggest the latter, but usage, according to research into it, is sloppy.




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

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

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

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

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  83. @OTNT_Believer:

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  84. Re Sean’s Quote

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

    Dear Sean

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

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

    Regards
    Ken




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




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  86. @ken:

    Dear Bob

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

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

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

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

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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  87. Re: Bob’s Quote

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

    Dear Bob

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

    Re Ervin’s Quote

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

    Dear Ervin.

    Thank you my friend.

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

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

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

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

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

    Your agnostic friend
    Ken




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

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

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

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

    in Christ,

    Bob




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  89. “If the goal of the course is “to prepare future pastors for dilemmas they may face in ministry while strengthening the students’ faith in the Adventist Church and its core beliefs,” we would think that there would be evidence within the lecture to demonstrate this was actually happening.”

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

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




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  90. @Ervin Taylor:

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

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

    Sean Pitman
    http://www.DetectingDesign.com




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




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

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

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

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




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

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

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

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




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

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

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

    in Christ,

    Bob




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